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June 3, 2019

Fix your back pain with Dr. Sabastian Gonzales

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At some point in our lives, we're almost certain to suffer from back pain. In his book, I Will Beat Back Pain, Dr. Sabastian Gonzales gives us some great strategies to fix back pain.

Allan: (01:22) Sebastian, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Gonzales: (01:25) Hey, how's it going? Thanks for having me.

Allan: (01:27) You know, there's a stat you put it in the book that I'm very familiar with. It's that 80% of us are going to face back pain at one point in our life. I find it hard to believe that it's only 80%. I know I have a couple of times, had some issues with my back for various reasons. We'll get into some of those in a moment, but when your back is hurting, it is like the end of the world as you know it because you're just not capable of pretty much doing just about anything movement wise that you would want to do. And even sometimes just laying, you know, the depression and all the things that happen when you're going through that kind of pain, it just really is debilitating.

Dr. Gonzales: (02:13) Yeah, it's a tough thing. If you consider like shoulder issues and ankle ones and like, they're terrible, they're not fun, but when you have a back condition, you literally cannot get up off the ground sometimes. And I know that people don't always like to talk about this, but you can't, sometimes you can't have sex with your wife or your husband, you know, it's like there's all of the other things that are very depressing and it affects a lot of people around you. So yeah, back pain is, it's pretty terrible. And the 80%, I would actually venture to say it's maybe a little bit more because a lot of people don't report their tightness as being a back issue. So just a thought on that.

Allan: (02:49) Yeah, and I would agree with that and you know, you sit there and you just do something and it's just, we'll call it a tweak, you know, it just hurts a little bit, you're a little uncomfortable, it kind of puts you out of sorts for a few days, and so you're obviously at that point, you're just going to pop some Ibuprofen and go about your day, but you're not living an optimal life because you're just not capable.

Dr. Gonzales: (03:12) Yeah, I think it's when it hits a certain point for people when they can't do some normal stuff throughout the day, then they start reaching out for help. But luckily a lot of them do tend to self resolve and I think the body is pretty innate about figuring this thing out. I guess an example would be if someone dislocate your shoulder, you never see them walk around with their shoulder over their head. There's, I think there's these little reset points which would help us kind of get through these, but sometimes you just need a little help along the way, you know? And that's why people are in chronic pain sometimes, you know?

Allan: (03:42) When you got into the book, and this is a little deeper into the book then the beginning, and I kind of wanted to jump ahead to this because I think maybe one of the reasons that we struggle as much as we do is a lot of people actually don't understand how the back works. There's a lot of myths about back pain and one, I'll share with you. I have this great doctor. He's, he's my wellness doctor. I go to him for wellness visits and every time we talk, you know, he is like, so what exercises are you doing? How are you doing? And so when I tell him I'm doing deadlifts and I'm feeling pretty good, he was like, oh no, don't ever do deadlifts they are bad for your back. And I'm like, well, actually no, they're strengthening my back. You know, if I do them right they're not that bad. There's this thing out there of don't do deadlifts. They're bad for you. There's some other myths that you share in the book. So I hope people realize that's a myth. And that's why I'm saying that if you know how to do deadlifts with good form, they're not bad for you. They're actually a good way to strengthen your posture.

Dr. Gonzales: (04:52) It was actually funny, recently I saw a whole thread going around on Instagram where I was, it was the news I think in Michigan or something like that. Some institute put out, never do, squats and never deadlift and stuff like that. So it was kind of interesting, all these things that kind of fly around, but there is a lot of myths surrounding back pain I think. And I guess I should kind of preface this and frame it cause I know there's people out there who are going to maybe take this the wrong way. But this is all based on my own clinical experience as well as the current research that I'm reading. So, I don't want to say I'm Poo pooing on all of these things always, but for the most part, like say rest, like people tend to rest a bunch and I think there's a time and place for resting. But I think there was actually a study where I have to find it. But, when you have too much bed rest, it actually makes things worse sometimes, you know? And kind of with training too and weightlifting, like there's these bell curves, right? It's like you kind of want to be in the middle and the soft spot on a lot of these, I guess myths and fallacies that we have too much training is too much. Not enough training is not enough and you're deconditioned, right? You wanna be in the middle.

But some other things that people tend to think about, you know, their back is that the tightness should always be stretched out. And a lot of times this tightness is protective. Like the body's pretty smart with this stuff. It says if you hurt yourself bending forward, the muscles tighten up in the backside to stop you from doing that from a period of time, you know, and the dead lifting one is obviously something. And a really common one I think is everyone who's getting into their 40s and 50s and so on that it's not always age related and there's not actually, I think the peak actually as I look back, but the peak of people having back pain is usually within their 30s. And a lot of people who are in their 40s and 50s just saying like, oh, I'm just getting older and this is how it is, I'm getting arthritis. And I see people every day and sometimes I'll discuss this with them, sometimes I won't, but they'll say, well, I get the shoulder issue, maybe it's arthritis. And I'm like, well, you know, arthritis doesn't really hurt that often. It's just a sign of something going on. It's like water on the ground it your house and it's just a sign that there was a leak there maybe but there's not anymore. And it doesn't always have to hurt and I think a lot of people, that probably one of the biggest myths ,that I guess would be that people tend to lean a lot of their back pain on that. The fact that they're getting older and that degeneration is occurring and arthritis is there an osteophytes are there that you'll find with an MRI and that's not always the case. I know that you've had experience with some back issues. Did they talk about that with you too or no?

Allan: (07:32) Well, I actually didn't go to a medical professional my back pain. I was fortunate to know what I had done and why it had happened. I was doing crossfit and I let my ego get in the way. The instructor there, the coach, like to program a heavy lifts and then he liked to program dynamic movements and so this was a heavy deadlift for max rep of three. He started us at about 65% of max for 3. And so I calculated my max and then I started just bouncing up. Well, they started running out of weights so my increments up, were a little more than most, most were throwing, you know, two, two and a half on the other side or five pounds on either side. I was going in increments of 10. And so I got up to, what was basically my one rep max and I pulled 2 really easy and the 3rd one I didn't pull as easily. I was fatigued, you know, and a smart man would have quit.

But I had a metcom to follow up with, so I go and I get warmed up for the metcon and then it's a quarter mile run and then it's as it's hang clean and if you don't know what a hang clean is basically where you've got the bar resting against your thigh just slightly above your knee and you lower it down to closer to your knee and then you clean it up to your chest. And to me that movement didn't have perfect form. I didn't do the exercise as well. Plus it was all for time so again, just another confounder of good form is trying to do things faster than you should because you're being timed. And so yeah, that was just a few rounds of that, I think we were supposed to do three rounds and I was on the second round and I finished the round and I walked up to the bar and I looked at it for a minute and I just said, okay, I'm done being stupid. But I sat down on a box and I just sat there for a minute and I'm like, okay, you know, I've got a problem here, I'm hurting and I'm just going to let his sit for a while. That was the end of my workout. I didn't finish that work out cause I at least was smart enough to know when I was injured and you know, not smart enough to keep myself from being injured. But, and then the worst part of it was that I had walked there and it was about a mile from my house so I had a one mile walk.

So that seared into my brain that, you know, the back is one of the most important elements in the kinetic chain. It is a part of the connect chain, whether you're talking about the posterior or the anterior. So front or back, it affects your movement, or side to side, it affects your movement and just about all the different planes that we studied for movement kinetics. And if you're not taking care of it, then you're going to end up with some pain or some tightness from time to time if you're active and doing things. And even if you're not active, there's still the likelihood that you're going to have some back issues at some point.

Dr. Gonzales: (10:45) Yeah. And I really like what you said there with yours and I recognize this with mine too, is that when I had mine, it was also from deadlifting. It wasn't too much. It was just enough to create an issue. And I look back and I thought after one of the reps I'm like, hmm, it feels weird. Okay, I'm going to keep going. You know. And so I liked it with yours, you're taking a good responsibility with it cause you, although they programmed it for you, you really did it to yourself. And mine was ego too. And I think there's a lot of times, the people listening are thinking about all these considerations of the reasons why their back hurts, you know, and maybe they say they sit too much or that their mother or father had back pain or you know, they say it runs in their family and all this kind of stuff.

I always like this to say that the environment is not static. Like we can change it however we want to and we don't have to do anything that we don't want to do. And when it comes to exercise programming, maybe in that one, if someone had an issue with their back and couldn't been forward, who had a past disc injury, maybe a dead life, a clean and then toes to bar all possible rounding, forward torquing movements on the spine. Maybe we'd split that up. Like maybe I wouldn't do deadlifts that day. I would do split squats or instead of toes to bar we might do bird dogs or something. And I had a friend that, he had an interesting story. It was a little bit more relationship to I guess a sciatica type of presentation. But he was working at a clinic at a school and he had all these track athletes that were coming in and they all had hamstring strains, they would call them. But really they presented as like a nerve based tightness because sometimes nerve will create tightness in an area as a response to protect the nerve or the back.

And so he asked them about their programming and they were doing crunches and Russian twist and things like that, a lot of them. And so he basically removed some of the rounding moments in the exercise that they were doing everyday and he replaced them with an extending one and almost all of them got better without even having to treat them at all. And so in that type of condition or that situation and say what yours is, if that's the programming every day, that's the driver of the condition and the back tightness isn't normal. It's just a result of what you're exposing your body to throughout your entire day. Entire Week.

Allan: (13:10) Yeah. And that was my big takeaway from that was that while this guy is fairly decent at his programming you know there are times when he is not on his game and I need to pay attention to that, you know? And so that's less than, and that's really in my mind, that's the value of pain. A lot of people think pain is a bad thing to be avoided. You know, use Ibuprofen, use a pain killer. Pain is actually a very good thing if it's telling you that your movement patterns wrong, it gives you that opportunity to fix it before you do some real damage.

Dr. Gonzales: (13:49) Right? There's one guy I interviewed that had a good saying, he would say if patients are really not getting the point about pain. He says, “so it sounds like, correct me if I'm wrong, but pain is here to punish you throughout your life.” And they're like, well, no, I don't think that's it. It's like, well, pain is your alarm. Pain protects you, right. So when we think of it that way and use pain as your guide it very rarely steers you wrong and you figure out the mechanics of how you can actually improve what your conditioning is. Whether it be a back or hip or an ankle or whatever.

Allan: (14:24) In the book you talked about some questions I assume. It sounded like a question that you'd probably ask your patient and it was, What do you believe to be true about your back or leg pain? Cause I thought, you know if I went to a doctor, if I felt like I needed to go to a doctor and I was there and he asked me that question, I would have a hundred different answers, you know, but, but that's only because I've studied corrective exercise and I've done those things back before I did those things. I remember going to a chiropractor with my then wife, now, ex wife, and she was going to the chiropractor and loved him. And then I went over there and he was basically I can't think of what the actual name is, but he was this Swedish guy, you know that perfect, Swedish looking guy. And I'm like, that's why she's here. And she says, well, let him check you out.

At this point I was 29 years old. I was about as fit as I could possibly be. I was at about 11% body fat and lifting, moving, doing everything I wanted to do. And he starts, you know checking my hips and checking this and that and he says, oh, you could really use an adjustment. I'm thinking I'm not in any pain. I have no outward symptoms whatsoever. You can physically look at me and know that there really weren't any muscle imbalances at that point. I was actually still really good about training balance and not just training upper body and ignoring lower body. I was very well balanced and you know, and if he had asked me that question I would've just said, it's that you get pain and then you do something about it. But what are the most common answers that you get when you ask them?

Dr. Gonzales: (16:26) There's a bunch. So a lot of times they'll tell you that it's muscle tightness. And I just got off the phone with this lady that had gluteal pain. And so right around the cheek on the side hurts when she gets up in the morning, it gets better a little bit throughout the day hurts to sit, actually squatting was okay she said, but deadlifting is not good. And so I can investigate all I want to and then deduct that I want to do a certain thing with her, but unless she's willing to accept the suggestion, she's gonna think I'm full of crap. And so I like to really figure out who, I don't want to say my opponent, but who the other person I'm playing chess with because this person's in here too for my guidance.

And I had an intern in yesterday and he said, I really like how you communicate with your patients. And I'm like, well the way I see it is that this person, this lady in yesterday, she was in for an elbow condition, which she believed it was Golfer's elbow because she was a golfer and she had pain on the inside part of the elbow. And I've found that actually I can change her elbow symptoms based upon a position. So seated she had elbow pain, laying down she didn't. And I'm like, if you had a thing in your elbow right there that was like torn up and just beyond belief, just imagine it just like a fraid piece of meat. It doesn't matter what position you're in, it's going to hurt. Right. And so I told the answer in that I think my responsibility, no matter what the person who answers is to validate that I heard their concern and to disprove them if it needs to be disproved.

Because no matter what I say, what I think is not going to matter because their value system is stronger than what I'm saying today. I had a girl in recently that I'm just going to do the ones that come to mind, a back one doesn't come to mind right now, but this one was fun. She had a knee condition and I said, and she was in for a couple of things, but I said, I was concerned mainly with her knee and so I'd seen her a few times and she said, hey, I'm like, how's this knee doing? Cause it's been flaring up over the last few months or so. And she said, well good. I'm like, explain that to me because you don't seem confident in that answer. Right. And she's like, it its okay.

And like does it hurt? And she's like, yeah, it hurts. I'm like, so do you want to do something about that today? And she says, no. And I'm like, well, how come? She's like, that's just how it's going to be. And she's 35 she's not, she's not old. So she says, this is this why? Because when I was 15 I tore my ACL and I said, did that hurt last month? She says, no, and I said, it hasn't hurt for 20 years and now it hurts today. She says, yes. And I said, so you believe it's from your ACL injury. She says yes. And I said, what do you think's going to get rid of that? And she says, losing weight. And I said, so, which one? Is it losing weight or is it the ACL? And last month you were in pain. So through that, they're not always wanting to have this discussion but to implement what is gonna be useful, whatever that might be.

We need to refute what they've been told and some people have been told, with their back that again, that they did they have a muscle strain. A lot of times they'll get hung up on these imaging findings and a lot of times they'll end up with me, with I have, I was told when I was 15, I had scoliosis, I went to another doctor and he took x-rays and I have arthritis there. I had a disc injury when I was 18 and working out with my friends in the gym and we were squatting and it hurt her since or I have a weak back. So sometimes the remedies are, well, I think I should clean up my nutrition and maybe that's merited. Maybe it's not some people than with the weak back conversation. They'll say, well, I need to strengthen my core.

And so they have all these beliefs of, again, they could be right, they could be wrong based upon what we see. And then they have the corrections they think they need. And I feel like my responsibility with that is again to prove or disprove that. And if there is an intervention that they're doing, which is harmful, and let's just say what the back they're saying, well they are with the core one and they say, well my core is weak because my back is weak and I need to do sit ups. So if bending forward is a triggering movement for them, which it is for a lot of those with disc issues, big or small. Then they're triggering their symptom. So in that case I would tell them, well, here's the reasons why I don't agree with that and I'll prove it and disprove him anyways.

And then I make a suggestion of something else we can try. However, if that same person says, my core is weak, I'm going to do Superman's. So extensions, a lot of times these people extension is fine. So at that point we kind of choose like, is it worth fighting this battle with this person or not? And it probably isn't at that point. So we need to figure out what the triggers are with their symptoms, figure out what their beliefs are, what's going to help and then pick and choose of where we want to dabble with their life. You know?

Allan: (21:29) Yeah. Cause I think that's a lot like with what I do as a personal trainer is I have a limited amount of time with a client, and if they're not buying into the program, then they're not doing the things that we need them to do when they're not with me. You know? So that's where my challenge is say, okay, look, I can work your butt off in the gym or I can work you out online. I can give you a program to do. But if you're not doing the work or you're not eating the way you need to eat, or you're not getting the sleep that you need, or you're dealing with chronic stress, we're still not going to get you exactly where you want to be.

So they do have to kind of do that buy in. And then I want to talk about that buy-in because I think that's a huge, huge, huge thing that it's kind of the 10 amount to what your book is about. If you don't have that, you don't get there. And then I appreciate that question kind of takes us there. And I think the reason that you can do that is because you've become an expert through self requirement. You got injured when you were younger playing baseball and then you got older and you had another injury and you still wanted to play baseball. So I can completely appreciate that. I played football in fairly competitive leagues, flag football and otherwise until I was 41. So I can get the wanting to be out there. And then when your body's just starts telling you, hey, take a break and your brain's saying, no, I still got it.

Can you talk through your second injury? Cause I think that's the one that I really felt like, okay, at that point you were not new to back pain, and you were not new to injuries but you approached it in a very, I think really, I mean you were mature but you approach it, it's hard to be mature when you're in pain. It's hard to be mature when you're dealing with your own issues and it's hard to be mature when there is doctor Google. But you approached in a very good way. So I appreciate if you tell that story.

Dr. Gonzales: (23:29) Yeah. Thanks. So yeah, the second one, I was 35 at the time actually. So the difference of the first one is 16 and I think the big difference between the two was that number one that I now, I hadn't had nine years, eight years of clinical under my belt. So I kinda knew the body a little better, but also because I was older, it was funny how quickly I ran into this what it's supposed to be. Like getting older type of thing, you know? And because everyone tells you after a certain age, it's like your body's going to start to wear away. And so even though I kind of knew better, it still creeped in. And I find even now with some of the things that I'm like, I had a patient just the other day that that had a little bit of mid back pain up and it's not a lot, it's just a little aching and burning and so on.

So this person comes in and they explain it and I'm able to troubleshoot it with them. However, it's hard to troubleshoot on yourself. It's really hard. And although I knew how to work with people with back conditions, it was hard to see through like the fog of having it. And so through the second time I went and saw a friend who was right around the corner and he's a good physician and I offered him money. I wanted to pay, I didn't want anything for free and I know my insurance wasn't going to cover, but I know the value of it and I know what this can turn into. So it's very, very scary and it's depressing and, I want to make sure that I was gonna get better cause I know you can get better.

I just, for some reason I couldn't find my own way doing it myself and I was fearful of movement. I didn't want to bend forward. I didn't want to pick up a weight anymore. You know. I stopped running, I stopped doing everything. And, so I didn't want to de-load and I didn't want to get worse over time, so I talked to him, I said, look, Cody, I had this thing, I want you to help me with it and I want you to be my quarterback basically, and I'm willing to pay you. I will do everything ask, and that's it, you know? So I kind of submitted myself to his judgment of what he thought we should do versus my own. And it was actually, once I kind of did that, it was very relieving knowing that someone else kind of has an eye out for you.

And so he tested everything and like I was even freaking out thinking like he'd get these little flickers in your legs sometimes and it's just, I call him creepy crawlies and it's like, hmm, just Parkinson's, is this MS is this, I mean, so your mind just runs wild. And so he ruled all that stuff out beyond reasonable doubt and gave me a game plan and probably within the first week, and I documented all this to make sure that in case I ever misspeak, that I wrote like a ledger. I wrote like a diary and did an audio throughout the thing because I knew it would be a unique situation that I hope I'm never in again, but I'll probably be in a couple more times. And I think I was about 50% better in a week and I just followed his game plan.

And then, so as I went through that, I eventually got to the point where I was better. I'd say I was like 80/90% better, like didn't have any pain but still have thought. And so as baseball season started to come around again, I, I went back and I said, hey, Cody checked me out. Like I want you to stress test everything. Just figure out where, if there's any risk reward variables. Like, am I going to risk anything by going in his swung a bat, because back when I was 16 I did like four months of Rehab, swung a bat, I was down again really quickly like the first swing. So it freaked me out cause I had this past experience thinking of swinging a battle is going to take me down. So he stressed test everything and he's like, you're good to go.

He's like, the biggest problem with you right now is that you don't have a general physical preparedness. You're not lifting anything, not doing anything. And so I reached out to a strength coach and he took me through deadlifting and squatting and single arm pulls and pushes and so on. And he came into my office and I paid him over a hundred bucks at a time, you know, and he did it twice a week. And so I'm, I'm really the living version of what I wish people would do with back pain. And I know how to cue a deadlift. I wrote a whole darn article on it on bodybuilding.com and but having a keen eye to it and having someone cue you and coach you is extremely valuable and just knowing that it's going to be okay. Like just saying, is this safe now? Like, yeah it's safe now do it. You know?

So that was very helpful. So that was what got me through that. And then now I'm out on my own and I play baseball at season. I have no problems. But it really gave me a good insight to see what patients see on the other side because it's doubt. It's doubt is what they basically get. Are we doing the right thing? Are we progressing in the right direction? Am I going to hurt myself again? You know? And it is scary. So we can help people with that. And I got a unique dosage of it.

Allan: (28:18) And that's what I really liked about that story is it really kind of brought to bear the fact that when we're going through pretty much any kind of physical or a health issue, our brain is the most powerful thing in the room. I mean, if we don't believe we can get better, we're not going to get better. If we don't trust in the process that we're going through, it's not going to work for us because we're probably going to skip parts. And if you're afraid of the pain and all you want as an escape from the pain with the meds, then you're, you're not really getting to the fundamental problem and as a result, you're not getting the help that you need. I do really appreciate that you took the time to say, I want to go ahead and bring in the professionals that are going to get me where I need to be so I can get there quickly, can get and know that I'm going to get there the right way and not re-injure myself, not set myself back even further. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, particularly with your clinical experience, some of your patients are going to come in with the mental disconnects the depression. Some are going to come in with the physical limitations. How, how does someone who's coming into this, how do they beat both of those?

Dr. Gonzales: (29:38) So the first thing is, I think I'll start with this. Just so this is just my overall general overview to people. And I want to make sure that when people come in, they understand that there's phases of the things and things drop off. And cause I know people think that, well, I was given this one thing this one time and it worked and I'm going to stick with it for the rest of my life. So I used to recommend four categories roughly.

There's scab picking, based upon Stuart McGill's work. There's first aid, there's Support and then there's Loading. And some people come in needing a lot of first aid, they just tend to trigger their symptoms a lot and they need to do a little bit more of just wound care and it's simple stuff, then you don't do it forever.

And scab picking is people who with say, fluxion and tolerant back pain like disc injuries, they just like deadlifts and they just don't stop. The good thing with those people is that, and deadlifting is not bad, It's bad at that time. Let me make sure to clarify that or re-clean it up. So that's why I start with a disclaimer. But so the people that are actually willing to keep going, they're actually the easiest ones to help because the people who are scared of movement or scared of weight, they get freaked out really quickly and they, I don't say they overanalyze it, but they're very keen to what their body's feeling.

And I did have a lady before, she came in and I couldn't even examine her at all and she wouldn't get out of a very straight spine position. And I said, let me see. I just want to see what your tendencies are. Let's go ahead and touch your toes. And she's like, nope, don't want to do it. And I always say, why not? She's like, I think it'll hurt. I was like, will it hurt? And she's like, I don't know, but I don't want to attempt it. So imagine getting that person then into encountering load and by load, which is kind of the fourth step, which I had a gentleman last night that he was very straight with picking up weight for, I just have them do a simple care, like a farmer's carry 25 pounds per side, nothing big like grocery bags. And so he's very straight by picking it up. And so I said, I'm okay with that at this point, but what I want to clear with you on is that you look like you're afraid to bend your spine and that's no way to live. You know, and these implements here, like barbells and trap bars and kettlebells and bands, these are all implements to teach how to encounter loads through life. And so he's like, cause he's wondering how far we're going to get with like, what else should we do? I'm like, well, uh, how would you pick up your child? And he would demonstrate it. I'm like, great. That's basically a squatter deadlift. And I'm like, how would you start a lawnmower? You know, and it's a single arm pull and there's a little bit of resistance behind it.

So everybody, I tend to start with, just ask, there's a long process. I start with about an hour of just question, and answer time. And I want to see where they're at with things because some people you can kind of see their hesitancies. Sometimes they're being strong and they're not showing their weaknesses and they just don't talk about it. But when you dig enough you start to figure out where their tipping point is. So I think the original question was how do you differentiate between the two? Is that right?

Allan: (32:54) Well, it's more of, you know, yes, I guess you kind of halfway answered it. When I come into the clinic, you have to be part doctor, part shrink to say, okay, is this a person who's going to drive through and want to do this or is this someone who's going to hesitate and you've got to bridge both of them. You got to keep the, the Gung Ho Ego guy from continuing to hurt himself or hurt herself. And you've got to keep the scared mouse aware that they are going to have to do some things that will scare them in order to get past this.

Dr. Gonzales: (33:27) Right. And so those ones who are a little bit more gung Ho, again, they're easier because they're not afraid of really hurting themselves. They're willing to try things. They're adventurous. So we can be a little bit more cavalier with these people and just as long as I do trigger their symptoms, you give them a safety net. And a lot of times that's their first aid that we've gone over that first day. And it might be something simple. The mouse, like people, I always think it's interesting in being on the other side. When I paid the strength coach to come in and work with me. So he'd come a couple days a week and eventually came one and then he came once every two, you know, and so he's texted me and he's like, did you do some strength work this week?

And I said, well, I skipped a day, or he'd find out that I wouldn't do all of, I wouldn't put as much weight on when he was there or when he wasn't there. And so I think it's useful to be very realistic with these people and say, I think just directly, are you going to realistically do the things that I'm asking on your own? Because I think a lot of people have the best intentions with it, but they don't do it or they don't do it well, or they have hesitation. I did have a guy that came in the other night that I gave them about three things I wanted him to try. And that part of the dealing is me testing to see whether this is gonna work or not and if not, I need to pick a different tool. And so he came back and he said, it hurt to do it and stopped and I didn't do anything. And I'm like, so one of them hurts you, but you didn't do the other two? And so I think it's useful to be very realistic with these people and have the conversation that are you really going to do on your own. And if not, you need to have someone who keeps you accountable. If not me, somebody else, it's fine, but you need to talk to someone about it.

Allan: (35:16) And that's one of the things, you know, when I sit down with a client, I'm like, okay, we're not going to get to the end game if you don't have a very deep emotional desire, I call it a “why” to get where you want to go. So the vision, so if it were back pain, I would, the vision is to no longer have back pain and be able to do the things you want to do physically. But you have to have a why. You have to really have something that's going to drive you and keep you, you know, seated and moving forward. And that's the commitment. So effectively, I think what you're, what you're doing there is telling the patient or the client, you have to be committed to this process or we can't get you where you want to go. And it's not always going to be easy. And sometimes it might be scary and sometimes it might hurt a little bit, but here's the parameters and here's the steps. And when they do that, I imagine it works pretty well for them.

Dr. Gonzales: (36:12) Yeah. And actually I listened to your podcast on goal setting. I think it's very good being very honest with what your goal is and not for losing 10 pounds to fitness skinny jeans. It's to, you know, live longer for your children. And sometimes people are willing to reveal that to us on day one. Sometimes not. I'm sure it happens in fitness coaching as well, but it's because I consider it like, when they come in I'm opening a novel, and their novels big, It's like the size of a Bible, you know? And we're flipping through and we don't know each other and I don't know what's going on with you and you don't know me. It's like, it's almost like a first date too. It's like, how much do you reveal on date one?

So I think as I start to learn more about them, I start to realize where I can ask these questions at. And some people it takes longer than I want it to. And I realize every time they're paying to come in and see me they're paying for, and I beat myself up a little bit about this sometimes because I want to get there quicker for them because I want to be very courteous of their costs, but it's really about the experience and the next part of the experience is them trusting me enough to do what I'm asking them to do. And if we haven't hit that point yet, t's like a stray cat. Like you just, you can't rush that process. It just happens, you know? So I think you're right on the goal setting. For me, sometimes it's scary for people to reveal that.

Allan: (37:39) Yeah. And I can, I can, I can definitely get that. You know, pain is kind of one of those things that cuts through most of the other things that are there. And if we want to avoid it then well, it is. 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?

Dr. Gonzales: (38:03) Well, I would say keep, keep moving and I think everyone has a different definition of fitness and moving. Um, I like your wellness definition by the way.

Allan: (38:13) Good, thank you.

Dr. Gonzales: (38:13) But I think we've come a long way in fitness to where you see everyone's highlights on Instagram's of their PRs and whatnot, and I tend to think you should just start doing a little bit of something every day and start to expose your body to different things. It doesn't have to be heavy. It doesn't have to be extremely challenging, but just do different things. They might be walking. So just go ahead and move. I would say use the shark analogy move, you know. Probably another is, if we're talking about physical fitness or at least related to back stuff is I like people to again, goal set and figure out, you know, why they are trying to get in the shape that they are there in. Um, because I think there's very happy people who are overweight, you know, and like I've seen very mentally unhealthy people that are skinny. And I don't think we realize that until we come out on the other side.

But some of the reasons why they end up in my office is because you're doing things that they believe will get them to that fitness or mental goal that aren't necessarily even needed. So really setting your goal, I think could be useful in figuring out why the heck you're doing it in the first place. Um, the third is just chill. You know, don't take your life so darn seriously. Just relaxing every once in a while your workouts and you're all day doesn't have to be a 110%. Just relax, have a cup of coffee, take some deep breaths, take a walk, you know, just chill. And I don't think we do that enough. And you could do that more in Panama by the way.

Allan: (39:49) Yeah, I did this morning.

Dr. Gonzales: (39:52) So yeah, just chill, you know, like, I tend to not sweat the small things, I'm very calm now and not all things bother me. Uh, In the past they used to, you know, I would get really fixated on certain things, but they're really not that big. And then when, you know, when it comes to the grand scheme of things there's no point in getting yourself worked up about it, you know?

Allan: (40:15) Yeah. I like those. I have a client, I keep telling him, you know, I really like this statement, I stole it from someone else. But is this really going to matter in five years? Will you remember that it happened in five years? So why are you giving even, you know, 10 seconds of thought to something that five years from now is not even gonna bother you. So don't invest that time today to worry about it. But I liked those, so thank you for that. So if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book, I Will Beat Back Pain. Where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Gonzales: (40:49) Probably go to my website, it is going to be easiest. Um, p2sportscare.com. It's for a while I will have just a picture on the front. You can click on it and it just takes you to Amazon. Some people are gonna forget the name of the book, I Will Beat Back Pain. But uh, if you go on Amazon, it's on kindle, it's on paper, it's on audio at audible.

Allan: (41:14) One of the cool things about the audio book is you actually put a little bonus content in the audio book, right? And your audio journals and stuff.

Dr. Gonzales: (41:22) Yeah. So all those ones that, um, I remember the one that I was snippet in. You can hear the cars passing cause I was on PCH over here and I was just getting off a paddleboard and I was like, should I edit them? Like, no, it's kind of cool. It makes it real, you know. But I sounded damned depressed in that thing. So you can't write that stuff, you know?

Allan: (41:42) So this is going to be episode 384 and you could go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/384 and I'll be sure to have a link to your site there Sebastian. So thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Gonzales: (41:58) Yeah, thanks for having me on. This is fun. You're a good interviewer by the way. Everyone should, uh, leave a review for Allan.

Allan: (42:03) It's always nice to have another podcaster on.

Dr. Gonzales: (42:07) Yeah, I appreciate everything you're doing. It's a good job on the podcast and I audio is great. Everything's good.

Allan: (42:13) Awesome. Thank you.

So how did you like that interview? Did you take something away from it that was really good for you? I hope you did. And if you did, would you please consider being a supporter of the show? You can do this by going to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support, and that will take you to our Patreon page. I'll patron is a really cool service that allows you to make monthly contributions to a show like this and help us keep the podcast going. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and become a patron of the 40 plus fitness podcast. I really do appreciate it. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

May 27, 2019

Super wellness with Dr Edith Ubuntu Chan

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  • Judy Murphy
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Thank you!

With a mix of Chinese and western medicine, Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan helps you find better health with her book Super Wellness.

Before we get into today's episode, I did want to take just a moment to make an announcement. My calendar is still open for free consults. You can book your own 15 minute free, 15 minute consult with me to discuss your health and fitness goals, things that you can do, things that you may want to tweak, or maybe not. I had a client I talked to today who basically this programming is perfect for him. He's really enjoying it. He was just concerned that he might actually be overtraining. So we talked about that. What is overtraining and how does it affect him and what, what would be the symptoms and things that he should be looking for if he wasn't getting the rest and recovery he needed. So, you know, in some cases I'm able to just help someone feel more clarified that what they're doing is right. And maybe that's you too. So please do go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult to book your free 15 minute consult with me, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult. Thank you.

Now on to the interview…

Allan Misner: 00:03:38 Dr Edith, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:03:42 Thanks so much for having me Allan.

Allan Misner: 00:03:44 You know, I wrote a book on wellness not long ago, and so it's really cool when I start seeing this term wellness showing up in books and you know, I define wellness as being the fittest, healthiest, happiest person you can be. So I see it more as a kind of a whole word versus the bits and pieces. And as I went through and I got thinking about this this term again, because I'm seeing it in your book and I'm seeing it a little bit more and more in some discussions I thought, you know, when I was in my twenties the word in my head was always fitness.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:04:15 Yes.

Allan Misner: 00:04:16 And then as I got into my thirties and early forties, the health thing started becoming more to the forefront of this whole thing of okay, I gotta have, you can't just have fitness, I got to have health. And it's really just been kind of in like the last five years that the wholeness of I need to have joy and happiness in my life, or I haven't really completed the Trifecta, if you will, of what wellness means, at least from my perspective. And I think as we get older, we actually kind of start figuring this stuff out is okay, it's not one dimensional. Wellness is not one dimensional. And I kind of liked that your book actually, not only does it acknowledged that, but it also kind of comes across and says, you know, there's these things that the standard western medicine wouldn't necessarily embrace that is more and more starting to prove that eastern medicine actually had it right. And I just thought, I'm so happy to hear that there's practitioners like you, that are kind of coming into this market and saying, hey, let's marry these two things and let's get get people well.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:05:37 You know I was just talking with a MD patient of mine. I have a clinical practice in San Francisco I work with people from all walks of life. Essentially two major groups of people, athletes who are striving for their highest level of human performance and also patients struggling with complex chronic illnesses. Sometimes mystery conditions sometimes conditions people say that is incurable. But we all know there's no such thing as incurable. There is just a big misunderstanding out there.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:06:01 Well, this patient of mine is a burned out, very good hearted but totally sausage fried burned out MD who's taking a sabbatical and reevaluating her life and her career. And we were talking about how Western medicine hijack the term health care. Because what she does is excellent emergency lifesaving medical procedures, but it is not health care. Yeah, it's sick care it's illness care and is very important. But it's a teeny tiny fraction of the whole picture of what health is. So I think people don't get confused if we use the term wellness. Right. Cause health, the word health has been confused for way too long in our society.

Allan Misner: 00:06:54 And I don't disagree with you at all on that one. I do actually have a relationship with a doctor, and I went to him specifically because he focuses on wellness care. We're going to have appointments on a regular basis. We're going to get blood work done. We're going to talk about what's going on in your life and we're going to solve your health problems before they become health problems. And that's rare. That's rare to find folks that are doing it, but it's just more and more common each and every day I think.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:07:25 Yeah, I think it's no secret to any of the listeners out there, our medical paradigm is so horribly broken. Our doctors are aware of this. You know our doctors have such good hearts and such good intentions. They went to medical school to get all this training because they want to make the world a better place. They want to help people, they want to serve but then their education trains them into this narrow sliver of reality. And in some ways, sometimes they forget about the other 99% of reality out there in the mind, body, spirit one is the joy in your life. Time and nature, breathing, sunshine, hugs, laughter, all these things are part of health and wellness and guaranteed they don't have classes about this kind of stuff in medical school.

Allan Misner: 00:08:15 And if they get more than, I guess a semesters worth of classes on nutrition, that's kind of a special because that's not what medical schools are really all about. But unfortunately a lot of what's happening with us is about what we're putting in our mouths, what we're putting on our bodies, the movement. And I think each and every one of us is just, fundamentally no. If I find I'm not eating well and I'm not doing some form of movement, practice resistance training or stretching or cardiovascular, not doing something. We know we're not doing ourselves any favors. But in the book you come up with the concept, even that, if you're doing those things good, that might not be enough for us to actually be well.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:09:02 Okay, so chapter one in my book, “SuperWellness” is as you know, “Why Eat Right and Exercise is not the Key. And a little disclaimer, obviously I picked that title to catch your attention and I hope I did.

Allan Misner: 00:09:16 You did, and even I as a fitness trainer, but even I will sit there and tell my clients, I'm like, you're in the gym with me, if we're going to work out we're spending three hours, if I work out with them directly, do most of my work online now. But if I were to work out with you as a trainer, I would get three hours a week with you, maybe five. If you're really gung Ho and want to keep coming back. But you've got another 173 hours or 176 hours that you're not in the gym. Other things are going on that are affecting your health and fitness. And so I do tell them I'm a fraction of the value that you're really going to get out of this whole equation. But even then, you know, it's like, okay, so you're eating well and you're exercising, but there's still more to this wellness thing.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:10:05 In all of my training, I've been told, and I've taken all of these different certifications and two different graduate degrees in holistic medicine. Everybody says you got to eat right and exercise right. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, my clients are usually very health savvy people. You know, people who are already eating super clean, already working out doing yoga and pilates, I have athlete patients and yet they're still suffering from chronic illness. And so they come to me confused and frustrated because they feel like they're doing everything right. It's like they are aware that is not a drug or surgery that they need,that its something with their lifestyle, but they eat the squeaky clean diet. They work out every day and still they suffer from chronic illness. So it frustrated me as a practitioner for a very long time until sometimes, you know, you ask those super obvious questions and you hit your forehead like, duh, why didn't I see this before? I just asked the question, what if it's not about their diet or exercise is like the flood gates started opening and you realize, wow, this person doesn't sleep right. They don't breathe right. They don't see sunshine, fresh air. They're chronically stressed out. They're in a toxic relationship. They're in a job that they hate. You know, they have so much toxic levels of stress in their life that no amount of healthy diet and exercise could undo that kind of toxicity. And so in researching for my book, it was so fascinating. I found this 2016 study, that was the first time I've ever seen a study, I love that they're starting to do studies that look at these kind of synergistic, multifactorial things in our health. They wanted to see how stress and diet interact with each other. So they took these women and split them up into two groups. One group ate a super controlled inflammatory diet that they knew what increase blood markers of inflammation, like c reactive protein and so on. Then they took the other group and gave them an anti inflammatory diet. Guess what they found?

Allan Misner: 00:12:15 Well, I know what they found because I read the book, So why don't you tell us.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:12:18 All right. Well, it turns out that for the women that reported high levels of stress, it didn't matter what they ate, whether they eat this squeaky clean, got diet or a crappy diet, they were still inflamed because the stress had them so inflamed already. But for the low stress group, people who report, report at low levels of stress eating the crappy diet made them blood markers worse eating the cleaned diet decreased their inflammation, made their blood markers better. So that's just one study. But is it possible that that diet is secondary to stress after you've got your stress well manage, well controlled, then look at your diet. I'm not saying everybody should be out there, you know, like binge eating, ice cream, potato chips. But it's good to consider how these things synergize together to ultimately create the wellbeing that we're looking for.

Allan Misner: 00:13:16 Yeah, once I got hold of myself from what I would call a health and fitness perspective, and then started understanding wellness a little bit better. You know, I'm sitting there and I met probably the lowest body fat percentage I had been and I don't know, 20 years or so. And you know, I'm as fit as I really almost have ever been and I'm doing tough mudders with my daughter and I'm kind of doing well from prespective. And it felt good because of the difference from where I had come from. I would go into the doctor and I get the blood test and my c reactive protein was off. My homocysteine was off. When I sat down, my blood pressure was kind of right on that edge of hypertension and occasionally I'd come in, my thyroid function wasn't optimal and it would just be having these conversations. And I'm like, I really don't want pills. I don't think pills are the answer to this problem. The more and more I kind of got into it, I'm like, okay. I looked at my blood test relative to when we were doing layoffs at work and when I was going through relatively stressful periods of time, I could see the stress levels moving my blood markers. And that's, that's kind of when that light came on. It's like, okay, I'm in a job that is effectively killing me. I'm not necessarily working for a living anymore. I'm working for a dying and if I don't do something, then that's, you know, that's my choice. I could choose to do something about it or I could choose not to. And you know, now that I've been in Panama for a while, I'm waiting for my blood results to come back in and I'm willing to bet that my numbers are going to be a lot better.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:14:58 You know I have a similar story, back in the first dot com boom, I had first, this is 17, 18, 19 years ago, I used to work in software. So my story is that back when I was four years old, I grew up in Hong Kong and I watch this amazing Chi-kwan healer, in one session, emit Energy and heal my dad's back pain that was unresponsive to all Western medical treatment and heal my sisters ankle sprain that was all swollen and nothing was helping. In one session, I'm age four watch this, Woowoo Sharman basically emit energy from his hands and heal my father's back pain and heal my sisters ankle in one single session. And I remember at age four I said, that's what I'm going to be when I grow up.

Speaker 3: 00:15:51 But all that said, you know, that's not practical, you can't do that, you should go to school, get good grades and buy a house, have 2.5 kids. And so I did what the world said you should do. I went to school actually after they said you can't be a healer. I said, well maybe I'll be an astronaut. And so they all said, good, be really great at math, science and engineering and maybe you can be an astronaut. So fast forward, years later, I'm at Harvard getting a math degree and I graduate and I ended up going into software and I'm rocking it at this job. And you know, getting promotions and everybody says, great job. My hardworking immigrant parents are super thrilled, so proud, and I'm getting employee of the year awards and I'm miserable. I'm 10-15 pounds fatter than I was, 10-15 pounds fatter than I am now. I had acne, I had stomach pain, I had monthly debilitating menstrual cramps. The list goes on and on. Chronic headaches and migraines. Well, one day I walk into this board meeting with the super high ups, I was so excited. I finally got invited to this really awesome high level board meeting because my job was as a translator between business, business development and technology. That's always kind of been my gift is translating technical concept into lay person friendly concepts and back and forth.

New Speaker: 00:17:19 I'm at this meeting, serving this role to kind of bridge the gap between the business requirements and the technical requirements and I walk in, I see these Uber successful high level senior executives that I see the whole room. It was like the record player just came to a screeching halt. They're all looking stressed out, frazzled. They were just like me. You know a few of the other ones also had migraine headaches like me. You know, none of them, I can't know for sure what's going on in their lives, but none of them look particularly bright, shiny, joyful, fulfilled or healthy. It was like life was showing me, if you keep going down this track, this is a life you're choosing. And this voice just said, is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up? You know, and in that instant it flashed me back to age four when I saw the healer healing with his energy hands, I thought, what? What happened? I'm living somebody else's life. This isn't the life that I said I want it to live. And it was right after that meeting that I went back to my desk and figured out how to, how to change my career. And so it was, as you know, is a tumultuous journey to kind of come to terms, listen to your heart versus what the world says. I have so much respect for you Allan. It takes huge courage to walk away from all of that success.

Allan Misner: 00:18:51 For you too, because I did it after I already kind of had a career. So it was not, to me, I don't feel like it was that hard of a challenge or that hard of a decision, it just hit me, you know, okay, you're not doing this thing. You can go send out resumes and go back into that fight into that thing. But it was really kind of just a natural, no, you know. This wellness is my goal. You know, wellness is what I'm after. And that kind of last piece of what I call kind of the, for lack of better word, before, nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress. And I'm like, you know, the only one I'm really not hitting on right now is the stress one. And if I could nail that one, you know, I'm 90% there. So I don't think it was a hard decision. I think it was the only decision. I only had one choice. So it's not even like flipping a coin. It was just, this is just what it is.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:19:45 Well, for some people, the longer you've been in a career, that harder is to leave, isn't it?

Allan Misner: 00:19:53 I remember working for Silicon Valley too. I had my years there as well. And it gets in your blood and you're like, okay, I want to move up, I want to do this. And you know, this is cause it's all high energy and you just kind of feed on it.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:20:10 What you consider normal sometimes gets skewed and distorted by the community you're surrounded by, you know, now I hang out with all these biohackers and holistic health nuts and people who do Chigong and meditate and we spend time in nature. You know, I live outside the city now. I spend tons of time hugging trees. I live a full on hippie lifestyle. And so it's easy to keep going like that. But back then I was surrounded with people who would just work 8,000 hour weeks and then blow off steam and drink tons of alcohol on the weekends and this very inflamed and not very healthy cycle that I was part of seemed normal. It's just like take some Ibuprofen, you got a headache. You know, take some painkillers and keep pushing That was the culture and so I believe that on some level in our bodies, in ourselves, our souls will speak to us through our health and through our bodies.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:21:12 And so our bodies is like a trusty friend there to tell us, hey, something is really out of alignment. You know? So that's why in my book we have these five myths and one of the greatness is going to bring tears to my eyes because I've had the honor of accompanying patients through some really serious life threatening situations with their health. And it is so moving to see how people can use that as an opportunity to really take stock of everything in their life. At first when you get a serious diagnosis is so heartbreaking and so scary, but the ones who like you have the courage to listen deeply and realign their lives. It is so beautiful to watch a human being go through that journey. I just feel so honored to have a job where I get to accompany people in that process. So getting sick sometimes. Some people tell me that's the biggest blessing because it caused them to listen deeply to themselves.

Allan Misner: 00:22:26 And its easy enough for them to kind of emotionally get their why, its right in front of them. In your book, you talk about the 5 greatest myths around wellness, can you talk through them with us?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:22:30 Well, I shared the biggest one which is getting sick is always a bad thing. That's actually myth number five. That sometimes you know, as an athlete, as somebody who trains their fitness, I'm sure all of your listeners can relate to this. This is a simple less dramatic example of how sometimes if you get, you know, as an athlete, if you get injured, the really high performance athletes use that as an opportunity. They might be bummed out for a little bit, but then they quickly pick themselves up and figure out, hey, what was wrong with my technique or what was tweaky about my equipment or my training program. Let me reevaluate and reassess with my coach. And then as a side effect of that, their performance dramatically skyrocket because they are like a student, they listened deeply and they figure out how to fine tune and optimize and improve. And often that's how they have their big breakthrough.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:23:27 And then with my patients who suffer from serious illnesses, the ones who go deeply within themselves to do that kind of soul searching are often ones that have the best healing results. By surrendering completely did the illness and using it as a teacher to listen deeply to see what it has to, what it is trying to say, hey through their body. Right? So, so getting sick and injured is not always easy, but often there's a great gift on the other side of it. And so for those of us who've ever been sick, injured, and said, darn it body, I don't have time for this. You know, we speak unkindly to the body. I think it's a big misunderstanding and it caused a lot of unnecessary frustration and suffering. Even things like getting a cold, getting a flu after you recover from a virus is not just that you recover, you get a huge gift, your body's amazing.

Speaker 3: 00:24:29 It'll create the perfect, the perfect fever, the perfect respond, an elegant cascade of immune reaction so that you not only recover, but you get lifelong immunity from that virus. So I think we owe our bodies a huge debt of gratitude that is such a miracle that we can put it through these stressful situations and it can bounce back and heal from all the stressors of life. In fact, in my opinion, that is what health and wellness is about. This ability to support and listen to the body and, and know that it can adapt and bounce back from all of the ups and downs of life. So that's a myth number five.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:25:14 But I'll start with myth number one. Myth number one is I think maybe the single most important one to talk about because we've come to think in our society that, you know, we want to like outsource everything. You know, we want quick fixes in this society. I think probably not your listeners, but most people out there in America or have been trained to have quick fixes. But I always ask people, how long is your doctor's appointment? You know, Allan, you have an amazing doctor.

Allan Misner: 00:25:51 My doctor is a little different, but I would say anytime I actually do go to any other doctor for what I would then call illness care or sickness care, it's maybe seven minutes. I'm going to spend two hours there, waiting and then being moved to another room and wait and put in another room and you're sitting there and you're on your phone. It's like, okay, I'm playing suduko and I'm waiting. And then the doctor comes in and looks at your chart real quick and says, here's some amoxicillin, you should be fine. And then walks out the door and it's your seven minutes in and it's like, okay.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:26:32 Yeah, like 5-10 minutes once or twice a year? Now contrast that to your appointment, how long is your medical appointment with yourself? Okay, it's 24/7, 365 for decades and decades and decades, isn't it? So it's just like silly when you think about it like that, that why would we give our power away to some guy in a white coat when we have the ability to listen to ourselves, to know that we are the boss and CEO of our own lives. And honestly your doctor, I'm sorry to just be blunt, your doctor is your minion working for you. You know? I always say that to my patients too because my patients say, Dr Edith, what should I, blah blah blah. I'm like, okay, well according to my clinical experience, these are the things that I think will give you the best bang for the buck results. But remember you're the boss, I'm your minion working for you. And I always remind my patients of that because that's what got us into so much trouble. It's not that we shouldn't listen to all the experts that have these advanced trainings, we should definitely, but never above and beyond our own inner guidance. Always use your own discernment. And if you don't resonate with this doctor's philosophy, fire the doctor and hire a different one. You have that choice. Don't ever forget that your doctor works for you, not the other way around.

Allan Misner: 00:28:03 If you went out and hired a plumber and said, okay, I need you to fix my sink. And they get the water running, but you don't have hot water, you only have cold water. And they say, well, at least it's running. At your age that's about all you can hope for. You'd be like, what? I hired you to work on my sink. But if your doctor sits there and says, you know, you're going to have to take this pill for the rest of your life. That's just the way it is, its just your age, it's just how you are. Then you know you're like, okay, I have to accept that because like I said, he's in the white coat. He knows what he's talking about, which is why I really like, I actually think your second myth is my favorite.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:28:46 This idea that we're always, this causes so much stress and pain and frustration amongst my patients and just people in general because people have been told things like, your condition is incurable. There's nothing you can do about it. Or, oh, it's just in your genes and there's nothing you can do about it. Well, our minds are so powerful that if we're told and we actually believe and act upon that belief that there is nothing you can do about it, then you don't do anything about it and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that it just keeps going down the same trajectory that you're on. But this is such horribly outdated, unscientific thinking that it just gets my blood boiling because there are all these myths out there. In fact, I read this article that's based on a book. What is the book is something about facts. How scientific facts have a half life that most so called scientific, especially medical facts out there. I think they are proven false within four or five decades, but some doctors were trained decades ago and it just takes about five decades for new scientific information to kind of propagate into how we run our lives, our society, and our medical care system. But in the last decade, it's been proven so strongly that our genes aren't fixed. There's this whole science of epigenetics that things like exercise and meditation and mindfulness and breath work, these things have been proven to not only slow the aging of yourself, but in some cases reverse age, youth yourself. And incurable conditions, every single documented type of medical condition that has been deemed incurable has. There's a database out there called, I think it's called; The Spontaneous Remission Database or Project. There's documented cases of miraculous healings from every medical condition out there.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:30:48 It's like you can't call it incurable is we can really just be honest and say, hey, sometimes things heal and science and medicine today doesn't fully yet understand the full mechanism of action of how to create that healing. One thing is for sure, I always invite patients to think that our western doctor at least today, and I'm glad to see it starting to change, at least for now. The vast majority of conventional doctors are super smart and super well trained in drugs and surgery, right? Like you don't go to your car mechanic and ask him about your plumbing. So it's not appropriate to go to a doctor who's been trained in drugs and surgery to understand things that are outside of drugs and surgery such as nutrition and lifestyle and mind, body connection and so on. Unless they have specialized training in that, right? But we have a big misunderstanding. So when a doctor says, Hey, there's no cure for this condition, instant translation, and by everybody to carry an invisible language translator with them when they see a conventional doctor, if they ever says, this instant translation means as far as science is aware or your condition, there's currently no known cure within drugs and surgery. That's what that means. That's all that that means, which is super good news because it means wow. Now you can focus more of your energy on looking at things that are outside of drugs and surgery because the doctor just ruled out that that category of tools and modalities isn't the strongest one for you to look at. So you should be grateful instead of in dispair because he's just cleared the path for you.

Allan Misner: 00:32:40 Yeah, they can address the symptoms, but we don't have pills that can cure your problem. So, you know.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:32:50 There are so many alternative options out there so whenever a doctor says, Hey, there's nothing you can do about it, I just say thank you very much. That means I should start looking places outside of drug and surgery because his expertise in this category and it means that it's not his wheelhouse. So I'll go look elsewhere. Great. Thank you very much.

Allan Misner: 00:33:07 And, and I think that goes into your third myth, which is that we're treating the body and the mind, we're treating them separately and not recognizing the connection.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:33:18 Yeah, I think that might be the fourth myth, but we can jump around. The fourth myth is this idea that I think we, as a society, we're outgrowing. This is such an outdated idea, but we used to think that, you know, some diseases are just in your body, some conditions are just in your mind, and I hope no doctors ever said this to you, but if you have a medical condition or you don't feel well and they don't know what's going on, how often do you hear this? All the time people just get prescribed some kind of an antidepressant because it's like, well, we don't know why you have chronic fatigue. We don't know. I have chronic fibromyalgia. So, um, yeah, so just take this antidepressant and go away, right? It's all in your mind because we can't detect anything from the blood tests or imaging what's wrong with you? You know?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:34:12 And so truth is, we've all had those experiences where when we eat some food that you know, agrees with our system, our minds feel brighter. If we eat foods thats inflammatory, we feel cranky and, and moody and our minds, our emotions, we become irritable and we think that the food that we ate is just physical. No, it affects our mind, body, emotions and spirit. Many people tell me, and that's a big part of the super wellness book, has this journey that it takes you through, that after they clean up their lifestyle, then they go to a meditation retreat and they have big breakthrough spiritual awakening experiences because after they've cleaned up their bodies, then that clarity, that spiritual awakening becomes so much more easily assessable to you, and this may sound woo-woo, but it's over and over again my experience accompanying patients in cleaning up their bodies, optimizing their lifestyle, they tell me that they not only heal their body, but their minds, their emotions and spirit feels so much lighter and brighter and clearer when they do that.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:35:22 Likewise, if you, you know, the previous, the previous example of living in a toxic, stressful lifestyle, doing work that you hate and then your c reactive protein levels go way up, your homocysteine goes up. That's an obvious of how mental and emotional stress create very clear physical manifestations. And sometimes if you linger long enough, that kind of blockage and inflammation creates real physical illnesses like tissue level changes if it lingers long enough. And so it's just a big, huge misunderstanding to ever separate the mind, body, spirit in reality, all of these are intertwined together. We have to address all of the levels of our well-being.

Allan Misner: 00:36:10 And kind of one of the cool things, for some of this is particularly we're talking about meditation, getting out in nature, treatment protocols, if you will. They're not expensive and so it's not that you have to go out and spend a whole lot of money on medicines sometime or a whole lot of money on a surgery. Sometimes health is much more accessible financially.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:36:36 Yeah, the other myth out of the five is probably the number one reason why I had to write the book. I run my clinical practice, I do online seminars, homeschooling my four year old boy and busy person, but I just couldn't bear for this myth to perpetrate the longer it was just making my blood boiled that I'm sorry to use this work, essentially indoctrinated into a belief system that the more complicated, sexy, expensive, fancy procedures are the ones that we should focus our energies on. I always invite everybody to consider that if you see billboards or advertisements on TV, just remember that that requires funding, which means that if you see all these advertisements, it means is making somebody a lot of profits out there. And that's not to say these things don't work, but we've skipped over the free things. The free things that in my experience shop often surprise me, often work even better than some of the expensive things, and so things like breath work, sunshine, time in nature, a really good night's sleep. These things are scientifically documented now to create such profound influence on your health, your healing, and your well-being. But the problem is that nobody can make money off of just inviting you to take three breaths in between every meeting, to make sure you go get fresh air and sunshine to take off your shoes and ground your body in physical contact with nature. All of these things are so free that you're never, there's never any profits to drive advertisements on TV or billboards on the highway. And so we have to take back that attitude to recognize that actually some of the most potent and powerful self healing tools are already available to us in abundant proportions is free or almost totally free, super simple, easy, abundantly available. We just have to make that choice.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:38:53 And sometimes I think it's kind of, the analogy I like to make is like this. Do you use a MAC computer? Okay. So let's say you have a MAC and you bring it to the genius bar at your local apple store and you wait in line, you're like so frustrating. I can't wait to get some professional help on this. And they look at your computer and they say, you know what, your battery's low. You just need to plug it in. Just plug it in and it'll start working, you know, and maybe, after you plug it in and charge up the battery, you could do some optimization with the apps. But it's like that with our health so much, isn't it? I don't want to belittle it, but it's like we are running around with low battery because we don't breathe the right. We don't hydrate well, we don't get proper sunshine. We're like zoo animals living in these boxes in such an artificial environment. Our Circadian Rhythms is all out of whack these things are the fundamental, I call them essential neutrients or life for your health well-being. And when these things are missing, no pill or procedure out there could ever be as powerful as recreating that really necessary foundation for your health and your well-being is just like plugging your laptop back into the socket to charge up the energy. You know your body energy, like how is your battery operating? First, get it plugged back into the system, get your energy flowing, get your circadian rhythm, get your breath, get your hydration, get these basics back in order. And a lot of times those complicated conditions either just manage or they're so dramatically better that then you can work one on one with your professional practitioners and your results might be 2x, 3x, 10x 100x better than you could ever imagine.

Allan Misner: 00:40:47 Yeah, it's kind of like the IT joke when you call the help desk, I don't know if you saw the show the IT guys from the UK, but it's a hilarious show, but they're work at a help desk and it's like every time he answers the phone it just becomes this, did you end, did you turn it off and turn it back on? You know, and it's weird to say this, but in a lot of cases our health is kind of the same way. It's just, you know, just to unplug for a minute, just, you know, go back to the basics and kind of let your body and mind, your spirit just reboot. And you're going to come at this with a lot more energy and a lot more capacity to work well and to think well and all that. Now you had this acronym in the book. It's health and, and I'm, I'm kind of a sucker for numbers and acronyms, but so I have to ask it. Can you go through the acronym for Health?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:41:46 This is based on, this book is based on a class that I started teaching back in 2012 when I started blowing my mind and my patients' minds when we started discovering that the simple things that are essentially free, easy, so abundantly available, were often giving us even better results than the expensive fancy procedures out there. So my patients and I are blowing our minds and I started just teaching a class, just sharing these findings and sharing these tools and tactics for your self-care and your wel-being. And it shocked me that when you get a group of people together with that common intention, sometimes I was getting even better results, often getting even better results with the community groups of 8 to 10 people teaching, doing these classes, that community support, that common intention, that's social learning. People were having massive transformations that I could hardly believe. And so gradually over time I discovered that the order, the sequencing, actually made a huge difference. About 8 or 10 iterations into teaching this class, I discovered that there's a step by step journey that was delivering by far better results if we explore these lifestyle practices in that specific order. And then one participant said, hey, Dr. Edith, you know, your classes are 6 weeks and h e a l t h has six letters. And then I looked at it and it fit perfectly. It was like the universe just delivered this acronym, this whole framework just on my lap. It instantly fit exactly the curriculum that we have figured out. And so blessed in writing a book and sharing this information. People love acronyms. I love acronyms is unforgettable.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:43:34 You know, so we'll start with the first H, the first module of the 6 weeks super wellness course that I started teaching back in 2012, the first H stands for coming Home to ourselves. And I think that's really the first step in any transformational journey is just to realize that you are the boss and CEO of your own life. And that a lot of times we don't need to be way over complicating things in life that we already have the answers within us. We just need to give ourselves permission to act on that inner knowingness, right? So we like to give our power away and make things so over complicated. But really in the first step of super wellness is to recognize you're the boss. What is your definition of health. We spend a lot of time looking at this because the world is always going to tell you you want to be healthy and successful. But people don't take time to be like, what does that mean to you? What does success mean to you? And what is your definition of health and modern conventional medicine says health is the absence of disease, illness or even symptoms. And that's why they have such great techniques for suppressing symptoms isn't a true? Because they're doing a good job aligning their tools, tactics and strategies to their definition of health. But we all know that most of us would not define health as that because in reality when, when we suppress symptoms is kind of like your car dashboard has the check engine light blinking and you just take a hammer and bang at it and turn off the light instead of looking at the root cause of why there's a check engine light going. You know, so coming home to ourselves, going deeply within, checking in with ourselves, what is our own definition of health? Like my definition of health is the ability to adapt and respond to all the ups and downs of life to learn and grow from every experience of life. And so instead of running away from symptoms, I run towards the symptoms and really tried to learn something. Every time my body speaks up and says, you know, this feels out of balance, to know that there's wisdom and some really important information that I need to listen to. So coming home to ourselves and recognizing that sometimes simple things like self care practices that are totally free, easy, abundantly available, it's already available to us. So take advantage of those things coming home.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:46:18 The second letter is E, and E stands for Environment. I was listening to this TED talk, this a woman named Min. Cool. did a great TED talk about how essentially zoo animals back in the day were given the right water, the right food, and you know, everything that's zookeepers knew they needed for survival and they were dying at alarming rates. And then now as well known by anybody who keeps a zoo that you have to mimic the animal's natural habitat or else they will die very quickly. You can not just put an animal in a cage and give them food and water and expect that they would thrive. Likewise in this society, most modern humans are like zoo animals these days. You know, we're living in these boxes getting toxic artificial lighting like LEDs and fluorescence. We don't get natural full spectrum lighting anymore. We have epidemic proportions of vitamin D deficiency and we don't have good circadian rhythms. So during the day we don't have good energy and vitality. At night we don't sleep in darkness so we don't get the bath of Melatonin that our cells really need to heal and regenerate every single night like Melatonin has been found to have powerful anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, immune boosting tissue healing properties.

The list goes on and on just from sleeping in complete darkness, simple things like that. Optimizing your environment to get natural sunlight during the day. Sleep in darkness at night, go outside, spend time in nature. Physical contact, barefoot on their earth has been found to have incredible medicinal properties of optimizing your nervous system, anti-inflammatory function, antioxidant function, shifting your nervous system out of stressful fight or flight mode into parasympathetic relaxation and healing mode and all this stuff is totally free. Optimize your environment. Give yourself the gift of these free easy things. Get out of the zoo cage and go back into your natural habitat, you'll be so shocked and surprised how simple things like that could be complete game changer in your health.

So H stands for coming Home, E stands for Environment, and then A is a huge one. A stands for first Air, then Agua, and finally my husband came up with this Amph as in the food that you eat. All Right, Allan, I'm going to ask you this. How long can a person survive without eating physical food?

Allan Misner: 00:49:14 I've heard you can go as long as 40 days without food.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:49:19 Yeah, I think it's probably a range of possibilities. I've heard of even like Yogis and Chico masters in the Himalayans that have becomes so called breathaterians and they're so highly attained that they hard, they can go for years without eating. Most of us. Full disclaimer, by the way, I have a medical license. I don't want anybody putting themselves at risk doing prolonged fasting or anything like that without medical supervision. But just for the purpose of this exercise, let's say a human being could go for 20, 30, 40+ days without eating physical food as long as they have water. Right? So how long can you go without drinking water?

Allan Misner: 00:49:59 What I've heard roughly is probably about three days then you start having some health consequences.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:50:03 Something like that, Right. And again, I don't want anybody pushing the boundaries of this unless you have medical supervision cause controlled short doses of dry fasting has been proven, ,if you have the right support and medical supervision has been proven to be really cleansing and healing to the body. But for people that have a lot of toxicity, it could be dangerous. You can have major detox reactions. So please don't this at home without medical supervision. Okay, everybody. So, but the point of this is let's say you could survive 30-40 days without eating food and unless say you can survive, say 3 days without drinking water? Is it possible that your hydration is 10x as important as your nutrition?

Allan Misner: 00:50:49 I would say, yeah. I actually believe that it probably is. Given that most of the processes in the body are electrical, you need the fluids, you need the electrolytes, you need that stuff in balance and working. And if you're not properly hydrated, I could see that being a big problem.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:51:06 Yeah. And so that's, that's a huge part of our super wellness journey is learning about hydration and water is an amazing substance though we hardly know anything about it. Turns out water is like a liquid crystal computer that can hold information and that changes the structure of the water so that it either hydrates or function physiologically more appropriately. You know, hydrate your tissues better, travel through your body more effectively, or if it's not structured in the right way, it doesn't hydrate as well for example. And water has been found to even act like a rechargeable battery system. Sometimes water isn't even H2O It can shift into this fourth phase called H3O2 which has been researched by a doctor named Gerald Pollack at University of Washington that are cellular. Water is something that is not really even H2O is mostly H3O2 and it charges up like a rechargeable battery system. It needs light, full spectrum light or infrared light is really good at charging up the water in ourselves so that it can fuel our cellular biology through the electrical mechanism. I mean it's just fascinating, mind-blowing stuff that they never taught us in our school, in our health class, in biology class, and certainly not our doctors don't learn this stuff in medical school, but this is the latest science that is changing our understanding of human biology and in super wellness. I say, why not take advantage of the latest understanding and play with our water, learn more deeply about how the hydrate, what if learning about hydration could be 10 next as important as learning about nutrition right now, take this to a whole other level. How long can you survive without breathing air?

Allan Misner: 00:53:04 I've heard around 8 minutes unless you've done some training as a free diver or maybe Wim Hof. Most of us probably about 8 minutes and then we're toast.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:53:15 Well most of us could probably go eight minutes if we train. It's probably more like 2 or 3 minutes, honestly without training. So but the point is the order of magnitude, right? What of your breathing is a thousand or 2000 times as important as your hydration for your survival. And your hydration is 10x as important as your nutrition. So that puts everything back into its proper context. In researching for my book, I found that most adult humans only breathe 30% of their lung capacity. So most of us are walking around tire frazzled, stressed out, mal-oxygenated. And the lower lobes of our lungs that we don't expand fully, cause we don't do deeper. Diaphragmatic breathing, is holding on to old toxins. It turns out when you breathe properly, that 70% of your body's detoxification happens through the breathing mechanism, only 30% through peeing and pooping and sweating.

So it's like we all know how horrible it feels if you don't poop properly and you're constipated. But most of us are walking around, literally constipated in our breathing. Our breathing is so shallow and so blocks that we feel awful. We feel tired and toxic. And what if breathing is a simple free tool that you can tap into? Nothing fancy. Just learn to take deeper breaths. Just learn to start and end each day with a set of 10 or 20 deep big breaths. And in between meetings, shift your energy state by taking three deep breaths. Like what if you just did that kind of thing consistently. It could completely change your day. And if you do that every day, it could completely change your life. So A is for, I came up with this kind of saying after publishing the book, I call it, get your A's in order Air first, Agua second, Amph, the food is third. And in the book we talk about the food. Of course food is important, but just to put everything in proper context, I'll just leave it at that. That in the book, I have a diet that makes all future diets obsolete. So if you want to learn more about it, you have to go read the book. Okay, so now that's A.

Now we've cleaned up and done all these low hanging fruit things in our health and lifestyle, L stands for Lightening up. So when we have better energy because we're getting sunshine, fresh air, sleeping deeply, we're properly hydrated and so on. We kind of feel like we're back in control of our life again. L stands for Lightening up in terms of eating more slowly and mindfully, not dieting, not counting calories, but really savoring your food, chewing your food mindfully, listening deeply to what your body wants, what it doesn't want. So many times I find my patients who have digestive GI troubles, I discovered that a lot of times it's not what they eat, but how they eat. They eat too much, they eat too quickly, they eat on the go, they eat under stress, and when we just cultivate the simple practice of mindful eating, a lot of times the GI troubles just go away. The acid reflux is gone. Just slowing down, chewing your food and not eating under stress, eating on the go. I know it sounds so crazy obvious, but we've been indoctrinated by, you know, the antiacid commercials on the TV saying, Oh, I don't have time. You know, you see this guy on the go snarling down a sandwich or a pizza like in two seconds and it's like, oh, I need some maalox right not because I don't have time for that reflux, right? That's the culture that we've grown up with. It's so crazy and so silly. It's like just slow down and chew your food like your Mama said.

And naturally you'll eat less and you don't have to focus so much energy on counting calories because it takes about 20 minutes for that sensation of satiation to reboot your brain. A lot of people know this, but we don't act on it. We don't live based on this understanding of our physiology, so we're breaking the laws of our body and our physiology and then your body will tell you, hey, that doesn't work for me. You know, and lightening up also means when you eat lighter. We've all had experience where you can, to be honest, myself too. Sometimes life gets so stressful. We use food to numb out, don't we? We use foods we stress eat. So many of us do that and so when you eat more, lightly, more mindfully, you're going to feel everything more. So when we do that, I encourage everybody to also be mindful of the information that they expose themselves to. What kind of movies? What kind of youth, what kind of media you want to expose yourself to. Lighten up on all levels. That doesn't mean that you're allergic to talking to your friend who's going through troubles and divorce. It means that you don't waste your energy gossiping about Hollywood news or stressing about things going on in our politics that we don't have any immediate control over. So kind of dial down the noise of all that heaviness that is in the media, the books, the movies, the news and the radio shows and so on and lighten it up so that you have the mental, emotional and physical energy to be fully present with your friends that need your help, to be fully present with your family, with your kids.

You know, I think we all want that kind of deeper, richer connection, but our energy is split so much, we're so frazzled, so chronically exhausted because there's so much heaviness and noise and things that are pulling our energy in too many directions. So lightening up is actually an invitation to take back your energy. To stop wasting your energy and all those directions so that you can command your energy consciously and intentionally into the areas of life that you want to choose. So lighten up on all levels, eating slowly and naturally lightening up your foods, but also lighten up all the media that you expose yourself to. And in that module, in our class, we also do a 72 hour juicing cleanse as part of lightening up.

Now that you've been through h e a l which spells heal. Now here's the juice. Now we work on our mindset, our thoughts and all that stuff that everybody knows is so important. We all know is all about mind mastery, but what I've discovered going to all these personal growth workshops is that many friends that I go to these workshops with, they are chronically sleep deprived. They don't spend time in nature. They're not breathing right. They have aches and pains, have so much inflammation and toxicity in their bodies that they can hardly sit still and, go deeply within. When a personal growth workshop says, okay, what do you really want in life? It's like, well, I can't find it because my energy is so frazzled. I can't be still enough. I can't sit still and meditate. I can't sit still and go deeply within to listen to my inner GPS and my inner truth because I have aches and pains or even things like, what does your gut say? Well, I just ate that horrible, I have lactose intolerance and I just ate that horrible enchalada and I have indigestion so I can't listen to my gut. I don't know what my gut is saying. You know like these things are really intimately related.

So I invite all the listeners out there to be thinking about their life like that. Is that to be healthy, this isn't just for the sake of health, to get your health in order so that you can be a clean and clear vessel to finally know what you want out of life. To be able to listen deeply to that inner truth and to work on your inner thoughts and to shift those old belief patterns and limiting thoughts, belief systems, old stressful thoughts that are weighing you down. We all know that we need to work on our thoughts and we all know that we need to go within and listen to our own inner guidance and inner truth. But it's so hard to do that if you haven't done the h e a l work first. So T stands for Thoughts and T stands for Truth. And in that part of the book and in my course we go deep into my favorite practices or working with old stressful thoughts and going deeply within to find that inner truth that we're all really hungry for. And once we've done the ground work leading up to this time, then it becomes really joyful, really rewarding and fulfilling to do that work. Otherwise it could be just a whole bunch of frustrations, you know? So that's what I've experienced, that that order really makes a big difference.

And finally, after you've done all of that beautiful work, you're really essentially a master of your own life again. And I think that's what everybody really wants ultimately. And you naturally radiate such a beautiful, healthy, loving energy. Now the scientists have found that your heart emanates a healing electromagnetic field when you're in the state, they call coherence. This kind of joyful, appreciative, loving state of gratitude and goodness is measurable. There's a coherence to it and that in the presence of that heart coherence, your body gets into that optimal flow state and you naturally heal everybody around you. You influence everybody around you to also drop into their optimal coherence state where everybody is in flow, there's better collaboration, better creativity, better sense of well-being. And there's some new fascinating and mine glowing science that when a group of people come together in that state of coherence, we not only help and heal each other, but we can decrease crime rates in cities and we can actually create profound healing. The earth's electromagnetic fields can also be influenced by all of us coming together in a state of meditation and in a state of heart and brain coherence. So the last H comes, it stands for living from the Heart. So h e a l t h is a full package. It's like a 360 degree survey of how we choose to live our life. And I think that's why I call Super Wellness is really wellness training for a new kind of humanity is an invitation to become a different kind of human that we haven't seen much on the planet before.

Allan Misner: 01:04:22 Yeah, you're right. Your acronym just fell right in place. I used to streets in mine and I had to do them all out of order just to get it done. And yours is really, really cool. Now Dr. Edith I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:04:45 Three strategies and tactics to get and stay well. You know, I always invite everybody to remember you are the boss of your own life. So in my book, Super Wellness, I've shared with you what I found work for the vast majority of people with the majority of the time. And so if I were to pick three, I would say number one breathwork practice. Make that a higher priority than even healthy dieting. Number two, make sure you get outside and get fresh air and sunshine on a consistent basis and spend time in nature. And number three, I would say whatever tools works for you to work on your stressful thoughts. Because we are like computer programs, and I'm sorry to say our education system for the vast majority of us except for very lucky few, have essentially programmed us to be small minded thinkers, to give our power away and to be gentle with ourselves, to know that we're all in the same boat.

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:05:50 You know, it's not, it's not pooing on anybody and many of us have wonderful inspiring teachers, but the vast majority of our thoughts that have been programmed by our society and our upbringing are very disempowering. So whatever tools, tactics, strategies, work for you to heal and let go of those old limiting thoughts and belief patterns and shift into a more empowered way of thinking about life, that is the ultimate game changer.

Allan Misner: 01:06:19 Those are really cool. Thank you for sharing. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book Super Wellness, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:06:30 Well, the book can be found on Amazon. I mean you just look up Super Wellness. I hope you guys enjoyed. I put so much love into it and I think when you read it, you can, you can feel that that is not just the tactics, tools and information, but a sincere love in my heart that I want our world to be a better place for you, for your family, for all the future generations to come. You know, because we've been suffering so unnecessarily for way too many generations. So go to Amazon and just look up SuperWellness, all one word. You'll be able to find the book there. And on the superwellness.com website, there's a lot of great free content for you to explore. We have something called a 30-day super wellness challenge where everyday I just guide you through a very simple 5 to 10 minutes self-care practice where you get to super charge your energy and melt away the stress and just blow your mind how simple simple things, 5 to 10 minutes a day could be a complete game changer. And you can look me up on social media. On Instagram, I'm Dr. Edith Ubuntu, and on Facebook, I'm Dr. Edith Ubuntu If you just type my name, Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan you'll be able to find I have a bunch of other kind of informational websites that you'll be able to find.

Allan Misner: 01:07:52 You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/383 and I'll be sure to have as many links as I can give.

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:07:52 Thank you so much, Allan. Thank you so much for the beautiful work that you do. And also your example, the courage to be the CEO and boss of your own life, to show the world how it can be done at any age and to have the courage to be that example for all of us.

All right. I hope you took something wonderful from today's show. I do really stress that with my guests. I stress it with myself. I don't want you to have an episode where you don't feel like you got something valuable that you can apply in your life. And so I do hope that you did that. And if you did, I just want to ask you for a favor. Would you please help support the 40 plus fitness podcast by becoming a patron? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and that will take you to a page where you can basically sign up and there's different levels, but you can give as little as a dollar. I ask if you could just give a dollar an episode, that would be wonderful. It helps the show stay open. It helps me keep the lights on and that's what this is all really about. I don't bring on sponsors. This is all just my personal training business and you, and I do appreciate all the help that I get. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and become a supporter of the show today. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

May 20, 2019

Get bigger, leaner, and stronger with Michael Matthews

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Michael Matthews knows a thing or two about gaining muscle and getting lean. On episode 382 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, he and I dive deep as we discuss his book, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.

Show notes are pending…

Another episode you may enjoy

May 13, 2019

The hormone fix with Dr. Anna Cabeca

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

If you're not managing your hormones, your body probably won't get the signals that your lifestyle changes were intended to send. Today, Dr. Cabeca and I discuss her new book, The Hormone Fix.

Allan: 01:18 Dr Cabeca, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Cabeca: 01:20 Hi, it's great to be here with you, Allan. Thanks for having me.

Allan: 01:23 I'm a fitness guy, personal trainer and whatnot. But one of the things that I've come to recognize is that we can only do so much in the gym or on the beach or in our homes doing exercise and things like that. If we're not managing the other aspects of our lives, particular hormones, we're not really going to get to the point of health that we want to go. So I was really excited to be able to feature and talk about your book, The Hormone Fix.

Dr. Cabeca: 01:49 Oh, I'm glad. I love talking about it. And you're absolutely right. And even in my practice, right? It takes more than hormones to fix our hormones. So these are all important components that work together.

Allan: 01:59 And that's where when I got into your book, I was thinking, okay, we're going to talk about testosterone. We're going to talk about estrogen. We're going to talk about thyroid. And that's where most of the time when you start this hormone conversation, particularly for people over 40, that's the direction that conversation goes. And there's just kind of an expectation that those were going to solve everything. But you have a very different view, in my mind, of how we can fix and manage and balance our hormones.

Dr. Cabeca: 02:27 Yes, absolutely. You know, it's so true, especially as a gynecologist, I'd love to say it's all about progesterone, estrogen, even testosterone and data. But the truth is it's not. And through my own personal journey and just working with so many patients through menopausal transition, we have to get to the underlying reason, the underlying major players and those major players are insulin, cortisol and oxytocin.

Allan: 02:53 And I want to dive into each of those because I think on the show I've talked about insulin a good bit when I talk about Keto a lot and they understand that Keto is a way to manage insulin, to manage insulin resistance, so we've talked about that a good bit. I've talked about cortisol lot because that was kind of my last thing that I've been working on trying to get myself as healthy and well as I can as the stress relief of moving to Panama, having a slower pace of life, not having as many moving things that are going on you know, getting rid of a house that could get hit by a hurricane.

And then the oxytocin is kinda the one that, I know what it is, I guess, but we don't talk about it a lot. And I'll say this, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest, happiest you can be. And this really kind of fits in that notch of that third one. But could you just kind of walk through each of those and talk about what they mean to us and our health and how getting those balanced actually kind of juxtapositions us to get the rest of them in order?

Dr. Cabeca: 03:55 Yeah, absolutely. And for so many people we don't really understand oxytocin. It's a hormone. It is the most powerful hormone in our body. At least that's my point of view. I call it the crowning hormone, the real light of hormones, and it is the hormone many women first come into contact with externally with oxytocin during labor. It's the hormone we give or we inject in women during labor and delivery to increase the amount of contraction strengths to help the baby come out and be born.

And that is that hormone, whether we've had injectable oxytocin or not that really that contracts the uterus, but that forms that bond that really defies all words, right? We can talk about this bonding with the infant, our babies, but when we feel it, when we look into that baby's eyes and we feel this imprinting, this connection, it's undeniable.

That's oxytocin. That's the power of oxytocin, the feeling of love, happiness, and I love your, I love your pillars that health, healthy, fit and happy, right? So happy is oxytocin, that happiness hormone and we can't have high, crazy stressed cortisol levels and burning ourselves out then depleting cortisol or suppressing it and healthy, happy oxytocin at the same time. It doesn't work. Not Without a lot of discipline, practice meditation and I think maybe the Dalai Lama's got it down, but for most of us, certainly for me, we feel that we find that we have that suppression oxytocin is low and cortisol's low at the same time, especially if we've been under stress for a long time and now we have this burnout phenomenon which is when we feel disconnected.

When like that person that we've loved and wanted to spend our whole life with, we no longer feel love for them and I heard my patients say that so many times and I felt and I experienced this myself, post trauma. This disconnect, this feeling of not loving the things you always loved and not wanting to do the things you've always loved doing. So that's the power of oxytocin. We also associated with joy. It's a natural pain reliever. It's a natural appetite suppressant and even studies in age, elderly, we have shown an increase in muscle growth. So this oxytocin hormone is one that we can for free, increasing our body through some great principles and practices and managing cortisol as well.

Allan: 06:28 One of the things that really, when I was reading through that, I was thinking, this makes so much sense because if you've read the blue zones or Dr Day's, The Longevity Plan, they talk about how the longest lived people on Earth have these social bonds and they're spending time socially with their family and their meals. They're sitting down together and they're having this time together where they're having that joy. They're having that laughter and that fun, and that's what's creating this hormone in circulating this hormone and it's keeping them alive longer.

Dr. Cabeca: 07:03 Yes, absolutely. That sense of community, that connection, that energetic bond. And one of the things I always tell my clients to give them a real perspectives, you know, we always talk about resveratrol right? Beautiful Antioxidant, powerful superfood resveratrol found from grapes, right? Red Wine. So we talk about have your glass of red wine, you'll get your resveratrol and that's heart healthy. But is it really? I believe that it's the community that we have that glass of wine with, the laughter, the joy, the celebration that makes that a medicinal food, right? Versus if we're drinking glass of wine by ourself tonight. That's not medicinal

Allan: 07:41 Or in your or in your pantry eating dark chocolate.

Dr. Cabeca: 07:46 Right. But I always say I love dark chocolate. I love red wine. I love coffee. And I as a researcher, I have researched thoroughly the benefits of my three vices.

Allan: 07:58 I do too. So now, you got into a concept in the book, which I've read a little bit about but not a lot. So I'm going to profess ignorance on this one and I'm going to ask you to take me down the line because we talk about having a diet that's alkaline versus acidic. And what I've known before I read the book and you kind of confirmed in the book was that our body has a pretty good mechanism for making sure there are blood acidity or ph is at a particular range and it's a very, very tight range. And if it gets outside of that range, we've got some major health problems.

Our body is very protective of making sure that we stay in the range. So I just, I guess I was confused to say, okay, if I eat the wrong foods, and obviously the foods you named as acidic, I was like, okay, well you shouldn't need a whole lot of those or any of those in some cases, the things that are alkaline, like yeah, you should be eating a lot of those where you can and it all kind of made sense. But I was wondering if I eat something that's acidic, does it affect my body that much? And in the book you kind of explain how it does.

Dr. Cabeca: 08:59 Yeah, it really does. And over time it's the wear and tear phenomenon that we experience, especially as we're getting older. So one of the things that, you're absolutely right, our blood Ph is maintained as a doctor, as a physician. If someone came in my emergency room crashing, I pull a blood arterial blood gas and I'm looking at the Ph of that blood gas. And that's from the artery in the wrist pumping, right? Blood fresh from the heart. So that's what we're talking about. That ph is so well maintained slightly offline at approximately 7.4 and it doesn't shift very rarely at all, but now the question is how do we maintain that very exact ph when the conditions are not optimal?

When we're under stress for a long time, maybe dehydrated for a long time, maybe in starvation mode for a long time eating inflammatory foods for a long time. How do we maintain that blood ph and we have to maintain it from our electrolytes, right? Our minerals and nutrients our muscle or bone and they were seeing the results of that because that's kind of like a standard American diet. So we see Osteopenia, osteoporosis in 30 year old women. I thought that was a disease of 65 year olds, you know? That's what I learned, right?

Allan: 10:20 Osteopenia typically for a healthy person, wouldn't start until they're 30 35 years old. When you go get a dexascan, the actual increments they use to base you as a 35 year old woman.

Dr. Cabeca: 10:36 As the optimum, right?

Allan: 10:37 You shouldn't be losing a lot of bone or muscle mass before the age of 35.

Dr. Cabeca: 10:42 Now ideally, but we're seeing it. And so that has a lot to do with it. So what we find is that, you know, measuring urine Ph. Urine Ph is a fabulous, easy, inexpensive way to monitor. Just like if we were checking our temperature, if or how our thermostat works on the wall to kind of maintain the good room temperature. But if we check our urinary Ph, just like the weight on the scale, it's kind of fluctuate if we've had an inflammatory food or were swollen, or for me, if I eat any dairy, I'm three pounds heavier the next day, right? So I can tell that that didn't work with my body, but I can also tell in my urine if I'm stressed, our urinary Ph drops.

So one simple thing I've had my clients do in my menopause program now, this is true for men and women because over the past several years now, I've been working with clients and working through this Keto Green concept that I talk about in my book, The Hormone Fix. And that is check, you know, test, don't guess, but check your urine because urine Ph is a marker is a guide, is an indicator of okay, bodies doing great. No, maybe is under a little bit stress. Maybe it's pulling some nutrients and urinary Ph will tell us that.

Healthy urinary Ph is seven or seven to eight and it will naturally go down after your intense workout, right? We expect to see lactic acid secreted in the blood during a workout and also cortisol during the workout and Cortisol sensitizes these receptors and the kidney, and we get a decrease in urinary Ph. So that's expected. But should it be expected after we eat, you know, depending on what we're eating. Say for example of I eat some dairy, my urinary Ph drops because it's a food sensitivity to me and it creates an inflammatory markers.

So it's interesting. It's part of just those clues, just being able to discern. Okay, this works good for me, this doesn't work good for me. And our body or cellular Ph is different at different places in our body our skin's a little acidic, the vagina's acidic, the stomach's acidic, the urine typically should be alkaline. And so different areas of our body will have different pages or saliva should be outlined. Our tears are alkaline. And so that's why when we jumped into a pool, it's slightly alkaline so it doesn't irritate our mucus membranes.

So it's interesting how we can look and see what, how our body is reacting to our nourishment and our environment. And this is true in both men and women. And so when I came across this easy and expensive marker, right? Cause I've done the guy's position, I've ordered thousands of dollars of testing and functional lab tests for my private clients and this tells us so much more. This helps the patient. This helps each individual figure out, okay, this is working for me, I need more alkalinizers in my diet, so more of the low carbohydrate. Dark, leafy green, mineral rich organic veggies as much as possible to help from that aspect. I also need to stress manage, and sleep well, and meditate. And get outside more.

Those are other things that help our body become more our urinary ph increase in alkalinity. The research has shown that when we see a healthier urine Ph that a higher urinary Ph is associated with less metabolic disease, less hypertension, less diabetes and less inflammatory conditions. So that's why I love it.

Allan: 14:13 Yeah and you got to that section and it was so interesting cause like measure for success and then you know that's kind of a standard business monitoring and I get 30 years in the corporate and it was, what you measure gets managed, the whole the tenant there. And I was thinking, okay so here's going to be a list of labs that we can run out and we can get tested and figure it out. But you took a little twist to that as well in that a lot of the stuff, a lot of the things that we can measure that they're free.

I mean how you're sleeping, how you're doing, and you have a series of almost like quizzes and tools in there to go through a series of tests as you will, that don't involve you getting pricked with a needle or going through anything kind of crazy like spitting into a tube all day long. Can you talk a little bit about some of these measurements that we can do? You talked about Ph of the urine and then you dropped the bomb on them too, as we're talking about Keto here. So can you kinda talk a little bit about some of those measures that we can do that are cost effective and will give us a lot of information about how our hormones are balanced?

Dr. Cabeca: 15:14 Yeah, This is something that I practice. When I went to medical school, I really didn't know how it was going to pay for it, but I was blessed and I received a National Health Service Corps Scholar scholarship. So after residency, my ob Gyn residency, I came to southeast Georgia, small area. So I had quite a diverse range of clients, but I was the only bilingual obstetrician. So I had very much wide range of clients and also from the islands, the Sapelo island, the shrimping area, so very low economic areas. And I had to get really creative.

So really found that the art of medicine is in listening to the patient. Right? And it sounds so simple, but it's absolutely true. So these inventories that I created, or checklists, I hope people love checklists as much as I do, but I know if I have something on a checklist, I've got to check it off. And so I created a checklist but also inventories questions like how am I doing today? How am I doing in a week, a month from now? And that's where these inventories really help at a fraction of the cost. And I can see despite what the labs are saying, cause we always say treat the patient, not the labs, right? We look at the labs for guidance, but want to treat the patient, not the labs. And that's really important because normal is not optimal and we want to be optimized.

Allan: 16:34 So let's look at a normal is not optimal. I love that because I mean, bless them. Seven minutes in and out, everything looks fine. See you next time. You know, I don't feel fine. You know, my energy level's down I'm fatigue, I've got pain, my joints hurt, you have these issues and you're normal and we are kind of taught a little bit to kind of accept that that's normal.

And if that's not going to answer for us, well here's a pill. This will deal with the pain or the inflammation. So I like that you have these kind of measures where we can look at this because most of the folks I'll deal with, I'll be honest with you, they come to me because they want to lose weight and I'll say, okay, wait is one measure, but it can't be the only measure because you're going to love yourself one day and then you're going to hate yourself the next if that's the only measure you have. So I like that you've given us these inventories so that we can go through and say, okay, how did I sleep? How do I feel? What's my energy level? What's my Ph? I like the fact that you've given us a lot of these little tools that we can measure so we can know that there's progress.

Dr. Cabeca: 17:35 Yeah, you're exactly right. Like we want to look well, right? But optimally we want to feel well in our bodies and so many of us have Yoyo Diet and over the years I was a fat kid. I struggled with my weight my entire life, been over 240 pounds and was diagnosed menopausal. Reverse that as part of my journey that I talk about in my book, but I've been there. I've struggled with my weight. The most important thing is that we feel well because feeling well gives us willpower. Feeling well helps us make right choices. Feeling well is sustainable long term. We have the clarity of thought, we have the financial success, which comes with clarity of thought and those are, those are part of living an optimal life, right?

Allan: 18:20 Yes. So your book, basically the plan or where we're going to go with this is that you said, okay, there's a place for Ketosis to help balance hormones and there's a place for an alkaline diet to help and there's evidence to support both of those. But you marry them together to come up with what you call Keto Green. Can you kind of explain the Keto Green way of eating and how it's going to help us feel better, be better and optimize our health?

Dr. Cabeca: 18:48 Yeah, absolutely. So when I hit in reality, I hit menopause a second time in my late forties, 48. And after having kept 80 pounds off for nearly a decade, watching the weight creep on, but struggling with focus, struggling with memory, struggling with relationships, all of that. But yet I knew I needed to get this weight off. And so that's when I pushed for getting my body into ketosis or doing a ketogenic diet. And however, you know, I've known about ketogenic diets, low carbohydrate diet types for decades and for my neurologic patients, Parkinson's, seizures, etc.

But whenever I would put, especially a peri-menopausal client on it, she would come back and say, I feel irritable. I don't like how I feel on it. And that's what I experienced to Allan. I call it go and keto crazy. And I talk about this in the book, but let me tell you, if you're a mom, you've got teenagers, small kids, you cannot afford to meet irritable on edge and Keto crazy, that's for sure. So I wanted to figure out what was going on. And so that's when I just said, okay, well what's happening to my body? And I just started testing my urine again cause there's a functional medicine doc I always have my clients check their urine, get alkaline. And that's something that really helped me and restoring my health in my late thirties so I started checking my urine. It was persistently five. That's the lowest Ph on my strip. It was five. Who knows what it was, but it was five or less. I'm like, no wonder I feel crappy. Right?

There's probably inflammation going on and don't have the nutrients to nourish myself. Cell function membrane, not to mention neurotransmitter support. And so it was like, okay, well let me add in Greens. It's adding the alkalinizes the Greens, and let's just bump this up, get alkaline and focus on that and then go back into ketosis. And that was a huge combination. That was a huge awakening for me. An aha moments like, wow man, this feels amazing.

And I looked in literature like half the world, over half the world fast, regularly Orthodox Christians fast, 250 days a year. Catholics on general, if they're following it fast or some type of fast every Sunday to have breakfast after communion, there's fast and lint, 40 days of fasting. There's fast built into traditions over the millennia and tied to spirituality. Because what I experienced was this, I call it energized, enlightenment, this real clarity. This spiritual connection, and from going to a place where I used to have excellent memory, a hundred percent visual memory, to having brain fog, losing my memory, losing my focus to regaining that at a higher level was incredibly enlightening as well.

And that led me to look into the research and say, surely I'm not the only one who's put these two together, but there was one paper published in 1924 out of Cambridge that looked at combining alkalinity or alkalosis with ketosis and it was an Aha moment for me. It's like, yes, this is the key. This is how we really can create a healthy cellular and hormonal balance and it helps to modulate cortisol. If we're looking at our urinary Ph, a healthy or urinary Ph is associated with a healthy circadian rhythm or healthy cortisol levels versus high cortisol is associated with low ph and we know, again, high cortisol over time burns us out, does not give us that happy feeling and kind of fights with oxytocin on the battlefield, so to speak.

Allan: 22:16 Yeah, and the fact that you're in Ketosis means you're managing your insulin at a relatively low level, you're making and potentially fixing insulin resistance, so it's a kind of a win win.

Dr. Cabeca: 22:27 Yes, exactly. That insulin sensitivity with the Ketosis, the green component, helping with cortisol management, and then bring in oxytocin, the principles and practices to create a quality, happy, joyful life. Then we have your healthy fit, happy mantra.

Allan: 22:44 Yes, I'm sitting back and I'm on social media and I'm following a lot of people and seeing what people out there doing to kind of get an idea of what the trends are. And one of the kind of the trends that I'm really, really struggling with right now is this carnivore diet and its keto, but it's just meat and eggs and it's kind of a scary because I don't know what that train wreck is gonna look like when they're done. You need nutrients from vegetables and fruits at some level. Now, not a lot of fruits necessarily, but you do need things from those. If you're not getting those, I just don't know what the long term ramifications are going to be.

Dr. Cabeca: 23:19 I agree with you and believe me, I speak at KetoCon and will be speaking there in the summer at the end of June again. And I love those guys. And Brian, the Creator of KetoCon he is a keto Carnivore and I was like, Brian, I don't know about your, you know, maybe we should be checking your neurotransmitter, we should we watched in your hormones. But bottom line is men and women are different, but all diets throughout millennia that have been successful have a strong plant based component.

I mean we need the micro nutrients from plants, but what could someone who is not able to get those plants, what do they do in order to nourish their body? And that's what I've researched. I'm like, well, you know, they talk that Ketogenic people talk about the Inuits, Alaskan natives that eat basically fatty fish, right? And that's their diet, but they don't only. They also have the huge bone broth going nonstop that they will sip on. That's minerals, that's fish bone broth that's rich in minerals to renourish their body. So intuitively or through necessity over time, they added in that alkaline or that green component through the mineral broth or bone broth. Isn't that cool?

Allan: 24:29 Yeah, it is. Because one of the things that I was kinda going through structurally, my mind, and I talked about this in my book, is I believe that we're opportunistic eaters and that's one of the problems with having a Mcdonald's and a Starbucks on every corner is that our ancestors would eat what was available in the season it was available. And so I could see being from northern Europe or the northern Americans, there would be whole periods of time when there wouldn't be much plant matter at all. So you are at that point relying on animal products to sustain you.

But then yes, the springs can roll around and there's going to be some foliage is gonna be some plant matter that you can eat. And I think that would just be a time when we would effectively go nuts because it was available. And so I just kind of looked at it and say, okay, maybe being carnivore for a period of a few weeks or a month, a couple months maybe. That might've been something that would've happened in our ancestors past. But it's when the plants came around again and were available because they don't fight back and they're easy to catch because they don't run or swim away. So I just think that when you look at what our ancestors did and try to look at it reasonably even talked about this a little bit about the different ways that people ate and the study that I guess looked at several of them and 87% of them were alkaline.

Dr. Cabeca: 25:46 Yeah, exactly. I mean how cool is that at some point. And then you think about traditions again thinking as the fasting time periods, when are the majority of fasting time periods based in regions and the winter months? So lent is typically at the end of the winter season, so most likely fresh greens, lots of foods aren't available. The resources, stocks, stocks piles or the pantries are very, very low so to speak. And so there's a practical component.

So as you were talking, it just brings to mind that we had the keto carnivore, again, some people can do it. But I think, you know, if they can do it. Men and women are different women who are my primary clients that I work with and and suffer with and feast with we have to recognize that we are different and we can't do things that guys will do. Guys will do my program with their wife and or partner and they will do two, three times better, faster. They will lose two to three times as much weight faster they will feel better, faster.

That's just it. We are different. Men and women are different. All hormones are different, but I created the Keto Green way, the diet and lifestyle component to really optimize how we are as women as well. To really get into these little nuances, the insulin, the cortisol. And then of course the oxytocin, what really matters to us most and bring that into this place. But when you were talking I was thinking we need responsible eating, right? Responsible moderation or responsible feasting as we are as a community and as a society to be able to enjoy and indulge, but really nourish our bodies in ways that make sense. And this is when I teach physicians, I always say practice medicine that makes sense. We need to take that internally to our life. Okay, well what really makes sense? What's sustainable and how do I know what's working for me specifically?

Allan: 27:41 I couldn't agree more. And I liked what you said there, that food Keto Green way of eating is kind of the base for this program. But there is an entire lifestyle component I kind of wish we had some time to get into, but we're running low.

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

Dr. Cabeca: 28:06 Wow. I definitely, initially I would always say we want to start we want to go Keto Green, right? That's really important. I've been in this moment of reflection, just looking at my life over the past years and decades, you know, going from that struggle, dealing with to menopause as early menopause at 38 going through another transition time at 48 and struggling at that point with so many aspects of my life till I turned it around, this Keto green way.

And the first thing it came down to like this mantra for myself, this strategy is number one, pause. We have to pause, take pause, be present. Really, I'd be able to just be in the moment. So I would say pause and then pray and the third is prioritized. So pause, let's get in the moment. Let's really understand where am I right now. Be able to accept that. Pause, like let everything else that's going around to stop the busy stuff stopped the racing. And for myself, I always say I went around the world to find out that everywhere you go there you are right? So pause is a real big one for me. I had to settle, I had to stop and really evaluate.

And then the second again, pray. Just being able to meditate, pray, listen to that still small voice within you. The one that knows. Oh yeah, I thought so. Oh, you know, I've been thinking about that or, I've been wanting to do that for years. So give yourself that time to get into that space and then prioritize what means most for you in your life. What are the things and people that mean most for you and your life? Allan, I admire you for leaving everything that you had and moving to a new place, a new land so that you prioritize your relationship and the rest of your lives. And that's key. That's goes a big way. Big, long way.

Allan: 29:46 Yeah, those are great. And it was, you know, I'm here on an island and in the morning time it's really, really quiet. There's a lot of activity during the day, and you probably can hear some of that on this, on this interview, but I got up this morning about sunrise and went out and did a walk on the beach and just kind of just enjoyed nature, enjoy being there and feel really good about it. So I like all three of those.

So thank you for sharing that. So Dr. Cabeca, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, The Hormone Fix, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Cabeca: 30:17 Well, I would love for them to take a look at my book. I really feel there are gems in there for everyone and it's at dranna.com/book and there'll be information and a free sneak peek into my book, The Hormone Effects.

Allan: 30:33 Okay, well this is episode 381 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/381 and I'll be sure to have the link there. So Dr. Cabeca, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Cabeca: 30:46 Thank you for having me.

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And also I'd like to give you something. If your interested in a free no obligation consult where I can literally go through and we could talk about your health and fitness goals and I can give you some guidance, give you some strategies. We can talk about things that you can try to make this summer as awesome as possible. I want to help you be successful with your health and fitness goals, so if you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult you'll be sent directly to my calendar. It's not a sales page, it's nothing like that. It's literally just a calendar page where you can put in an appointment and speak to me via a zoom conference. No obligation, no cost to you, 15 minutes, absolutely free. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult and book your consultation today. Thank you.https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult

Another episode you may enjoy

May 6, 2019

9 Ways to improve your sleep

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Thank you!

On this episode, I'm going to share with you nine ways to improve your sleep, but before I get to that, I did want to ask you for one favor. Would you mind becoming a patron of the podcast? All I'm asking is $1 an episode. If you're getting any value at all from this show, I really would appreciate your support. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and become a patron of the show. Patreon makes it very easy. There are different levels, but really just the base level of $1 an episode would really go a long way towards defraying some of the costs associated with having a podcast like this. I want to continue to bring you great content.

I want to continue to bring you great guests and I want to be able to do that in a way where I can be respectful and not bring on other sponsors and stuff like that. I get approached practically every week asking me to tout somebodies product and I've gotten to the point where I just, I just say no, you know, I want to deal with my clients. I want to deal with you. And so if you would just go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support, $1 an episode really goes a long way. So thank you for that 40plusfitnesspodcast/support. Thank you.

Now I'm going to admit I outsourced the audio production of this show. So in a sense, and I use a mic that's pretty much just the type of mic where you can really only hear my voice if I'm right in front of the mic, but I can tell you actually in my little apartment as I'm recording this, it's quite loud. Uh, there are roosters and for one reason or another, I guess roosters don't just crow in the morning. They crow all day long and so there's constantly noise. There's constantly things going on. A dog's barking next door all night long, roosters crowing early, early in the morning.

So I have really worked hard in the last couple months of prioritizing my sleep in ways that I can improve my bedtime. And so to get that sleep, obviously I have to make some adjustments and I believe you should too. You should prioritize sleep. One of the cool things, we talked to Dr. Bubbs not long ago [Episode 385, which will be released June 10th], if you'll recall in his book Peak, and one of the things they found was when Federer came back to start playing at a masters level like really getting back up into number one spot, everybody wondered what he was doing. Okay. Is he on some performance enhancing drug? How does a guy that age come back and be that good? The answer once they found out later because he didn't share it readily, was that he was just getting better sleep, better sleep will improve your performance on everything and performance as we relate as just normal human beings.

Because I don't play tennis at that level would just be everything else you do in your life. Performing at work, being a better grandparent, being a better parent, being a better friend, performance in the gym performance in things that you just like to do, even if it's not at a competitive level. Performance just means just as I say, fitness means being the best you you can be. Being fit to do the things you want to do and then performance on top of that is doing it really, really well. And so I want you to be able to do that. And one of the core ways that you're going to do that is by improving your sleep. So on this episode I'm going to share nine ways that you can improve your sleep.

Go to bed at the same time each night.

Tip #1, go to bed at the same time each night. I know that sounds pretty simple, but it's really hard for folks to do, you know, prime time TV, other things that are going on often have us on an irregular schedule and we're like, well we finally got to bed whatever time it is. But I can tell you if you set your sights on going to bed at a given time, it really does make the process so much easier.

I really prioritize sleep. So my bedtime is 8:30 and my wife almost every night, she knows 8:30 is when I go to bed. And so 8:30 rolls around, she can pretty much expect me whatever we're doing to stop doing it. And then I'm going to start getting myself ready for bed. Have a fixed time that you go to bed and it doesn't have to be 8:30 it can be whatever, but you want to try to prioritize the quality and the quantity of your sleep and by going to bed at the same time you're starting to set your brain. It's much like when we have kids, you know, we put our kids on a schedule, they tell you, put your kids on a schedule, put your kids on a schedule. You need to be on a schedule too. So try to go to bed at the same time and you'll probably find falling asleep and staying asleep a lot easier.

Avoid blue light

Tip #2 is to avoid blue light. Now you can do this through apps and things like that and you can do that through these things called blue blocker glasses. Actually in the show notes, if you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 I'll include a link to these blue blocker glasses. A lot of the bio hacker guys, they swear by it because they don't want to go to bed. They need to keep working. They don't trust the equipment that they're using to not have some blue light going on. So they wear these blue blocker glasses and that does help them in a sense to block, some of that blue light out.

To me, the easier way to do it. It's just a turn off the electronics, turn off the things that generate that blue light in the first place. read by candlelight, do other things other than watching TV, being on your screens in that thing. But if you can't, which I understand sometimes we need to answer emails or we need to watch that show because you know American idol is what it is. If we're going to be watching that show, blue blocker glasses might be something that you would be able to use. But avoid blue light.

The reason is your body has these signaling things that's come through a whole eons of evolution, the sunrises in the morning and it's pretty much becomes a reddish and blue day. You know? So you have your blue day and then at night it starts the reddish tints. If you look at sunsets and things like that, you start to see that reddish and amber colors, that type of thing. And then you get into the night when it's dark, and I'm going to talk about dark in a few minutes, but just realizing that if you're seeing blue light, that's a signal to your body that it's daytime. So time to stay awake and even though you've accumulated that go to sleep stuff, which you know, basically the chemicals in your body that say, hey, it's time to go to sleep, you're starting to get fatigued with the blue light. You're going to stay up later, you're going to stay up longer than you normally would have. So turn off those blue lights if you can, if not, use the apps to kind of tone that down a little bit and maybe get yourself some blue blocker glasses.

Avoid caffeine and/or alcohol

Tip #3, and this should come as no surprise, is to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Now a lot of people know caffeine, they know that they process caffeine a certain way and generally most people would tell you when they can stop drinking caffeine and not have a problem.

I'm pretty much good to drink caffeine until about two o'clock in the afternoon. And if I drink caffeine past that, I really struggled to sleep at night even though I can typically go to bed at 8:30 even if I've had caffeine after, I wake up in the middle of the night and still processing that caffeine. Now the way we process caffeine is unique, so you might be a lot less sensitive to caffeine than I am, or you might be a lot more sensitive to it. So play it by ear of when you need to cut off your caffeine. Move to decaffeinated beverages. Water is always the best option, but there are other options out there, so try to avoid the caffeine.

Now a lot of folks will say what, but alcohol actually helps me sleep better and I don't disagree that alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep because you're uninhibited, you're not stressed, you're letting all that stuff out. So yeah, you feel better and easier and you're able to drift into sleep better. But the problem is that sleep is not the right quality. You're not going through all the right cycles of sleep.

There's four or five cycles depending on how you want to define them, of sleep. And if you're not getting all four or five cycles as you are not going through those cycles in a normal cycle rhythm, then you're not getting the restful recovery, the type of stuff that you need from sleep. So medicines and things like that, they're not going to get you there. Alcohol's not going to get you there. So the tip #3 is to avoid caffeine and alcohol. They're going to either prevent you from sleeping or they're going to prevent you from having good quality sleep. And remember, the quality is just as important as the quantity. Okay?

Have a sleep ritual

#3 is to have a sleep ritual. So with number one, I said go to bed at the same time. Number three is where we now make that something where we're teaching our body the thing it does. And so just as with kids, we set them on a normal routine and we say, okay, now we go up there, take a shower, wash your ears, brush your teeth, you know, and get your pj's on. That's a ritual. And so you should, you should put yourself through a same general ritual. You wake up, you get up, you go in there and the bathroom.

Maybe you take the makeup off your face, you brush your teeth, you wash your face, you get yourself ready and relaxed. Maybe you take a bath or a shower to kind of calm yourself down a little bit more, get some candlelight going, maybe read some fiction, but set yourself into basically a rhythm that you go through each night.

One of the things I'll do, particularly if I've noticed, like I was really stressed and having some difficulty sleeping at night, was that I needed to sit down with something, you know, besides, alcohol and just have something to sip on. You can do herbal teas. One of my favorite is to take a product called magnesium. I don't take a lot because magnesium is also a laxative, so you don't want to take a whole lot, but I use a product and this was something that was recommended to me by Dr. Friedman in the interview we had with him on Food Sanity, it's called Natural Vitality Calm, and you can get this on the Internet, they'll ship it to you. It's a powder basically with magnesium supplement in it. It's a little fizzy. You put a couple teaspoons and water and basically it fizzes and so a lot of times I'll sit there and and like to just before I go to bed, maybe about half an hour before I'm ready to go to bed, fix myself a glass of this and sip on it until I'm ready to go to bed or stop my sleep ritual. But this is really kind of a part of my sleep ritual of having that little fizzy drink. Sometimes I'll just take the ZMA supplement. If you're interested in these products, you can go to the show notes, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 I'll have links to them there, but basically these are little products that I take or use as a part of a sleep ritual. And I rotate in and out of them because I know I don't need supplements all the time, but if I'm particularly stressed or I haven't slept well in a couple of nights, I'll often reintroduce these to my program. And that's just a part of it.

Tip #4, I guess I didn't do my numbering right. You're actually going to get a bonus tip. Tip #4 is to have a sleep ritual.

Meditate or journal

Tip #5 is to do something with that ritual that really calms you down. Meditation is a really good means of calming the brain, calming yourself down, getting all the kind of negative thoughts to just let them go. Just let them go. They're not a part of you that they're not who you are. They're there. Let them go. There's nothing you can do at this point.

Another good tip is part of this whole deal is to do a journal. When I am doing some journaling from time to time when things are just not going well, that's when I always fall back on things that I know have worked for me on the past.

Sometimes I get away from them, but I always find myself going back to those things that work. And one of the things that really works for me is to have a journal where I record my gratitudes. And so if I feel like I'm kind of losing it or my stress levels up or I'm not sleeping well, one of the things I'll fall back on is having a journal and I'll sit down in the evening and I'll write down something that I'm extremely grateful for that happened that day.

It doesn't have to be a huge thing. It could just be that my wife met me for lunch or that, you know, a friend called or I got a chance to talk to my mother, or just anything like that where I can sit down and I can write down that I was just grateful that I had that opportunity and then if I feel like I need to offload something, I might also use that journal to say, okay, tomorrow this is my priority tomorrow. I didn't get it done today and I was frustrated, I ran out of time, but I'm going to do it tomorrow and that's just in my journal. I get rid of it and I said, okay, I am not going to forget it. It's going to get done. It's in my journal. So that's tip number five.

Environment – Dark room

Tip #6 kind of relates to your environment when it's time to go to sleep and the next few do as well. So the first one is be in a dark room. So this is, this is tip number six, be in a dark room. I know I'm sensitive to light if there's a light going on and I'm going to be effected by it. One of the things I've had to get adjusted to here is in the apartment I'm in is they have outdoor lights, they have the streetlights. It's very well lit up for security reasons, but it's still very light in the room. I can't get it dark, I don't have the dark out shades. I'm not going to go buy dark shades for a place that's a temporary residents.

So what I've done is I've moved to an eye mask and my favorite eye mask is this mask called a Mantra Mask and I first came across this when they were doing their first Kickstarter. So if you don't know what a Kickstarter is, it's basically a program where they set up and they say, okay, we want to fund a product and if we get enough backers will do the product. If we don't get the backers, we don't do the product. I love that stuff. I love seeing new technology, new things come about. So I love participating in those. When the product actually makes sense to me.

And the Mantra Mask did and does. I still use it almost all the time. It is an eye mask, much like you would imagine, you just covers your eyes, but it's got these like soft cushions that circle the eye, so it's not straight across just cloth. It literally has his little cups and they fit around your eye in the very, very comfortable, very, very soft. It's got this really nice velcro back, the very high quality and it completely blacks things out. I mean when I had this thing on, I see nothing. I mean it's literally just complete blackout, which is wonderful. So with that, my wife can be on the phone, what she does and she's very respectful of it, but shouldn't be on the phone and be in the computer in the same room, which right here we only have one room, so this is a very good thing for me.

I'll have a link to the Mantra Mask in the show notes so you can find it there. But it's, it's really cool. Eye mask or having a really dark room using blackout shades. That's tip#6.

Environment – Cool room

Tip #7 is to also make sure that the room is cool. Now we're getting into the summer months, so it's going to start getting warm. And I know a lot of folks don't like to spend the money on the air conditioning, but I'm going to tell you, if you can do something to keep your room cool or keep your bed cool, that's gonna go a long way towards helping you sleep better.

Studies have shown if you can get your room temperature down or get your bed temperature down, get your body temperature down, you're going to sleep a lot better. Our body temperature naturally goes down, when we go to sleep and it warms back up when we're awake. So if you can get that, cool. And I'll include some links to the cooling system. One of the cooling systems that I've done some research on, don't own them because I just go ahead and I pay for the air conditioning when I need to, or I don't pay for the heat when I don't need to. So it kind of balances out if you're living in a cool place.

I live in Panama, so guess what? There are no cool days, or cool nights, they're all the same. It might be raining and a little cooler, but generally not a cool night. So I'm gonna make sure that I have the cooling in my room to make sure that it had a nice cool room. So tip #7 make sure you're in a cool room. So the two environmental things we've already talked about, have a dark room, have a cool room, dark, cool room that's going to help a lot.

Environment – Sounds

And then the final aspect of your environment, which is tip #8, is to make sure that the sounds are neutral. And I say neutral sounds because some folks want complete silence. Some folks live in a city and they're used to the sounds and the sirens and all of that. If you are, that's great.

I love using a box fan or something that creates white noise. So I'll go out and buy one of those cheapy little Walmart, you know, $14 fans, probably $19 by now, but just a little fan, it's not blowing on our bed, it's not blowing on us, it's just blowing. It's making that kind of buzzing sound for me that blocks out most of the outdoor noises.

It doesn't here. So here I actually use earplugs. I have a set of earplugs that I put in religiously every night so that the dog barking next door late, late into the night. And then the chickens, the roosters crowing early, early in the morning, they're not disrupting my sleep. Now one of the advantages of going to bed at 8:30 is I'm typically up by four 35 o'clock anyway, so the roosters aren't a huge problem, but if I were sleeping later, having the earplugs would definitely help.

So a box fan, earplugs, things like that going to go a long way towards getting your sound down. Now, so those are three environmental things. I want to go back over those again because I think the environment is really the big core thing. If you're not in the right sleeping environment, you're not going to get good quality sleep. So you want a cool dark room that is sound neutral that works for you. You get those three things right, you're in the right sleep environment and the other things really then make a huge, huge difference to the quality of your sleep.

Wake up more naturally

Tip #9 is wake up more naturally. Okay? Now, when our ancestors went to bed, they woke up when the sun came up. They went to bed after shortly after dark, and this was just a normal cycle of how they lived their day to day life. We don't do that anymore. We have an alarm that goes off every single morning to wake us up, and that's a horrible, horrible way to wake up because, remember I told you about those sleep cycles in which you want to do is, you want to wake up when you're kind of in a light sleep. You know you don't want to wake up when you're in a really deep sleep. That's that startling, oh my God, wake me up kind of thing. And we don't like that. We don't like that because that's our body having a huge, huge cortisol stress release that's just not healthy for us.

So if you can wake up more naturally by not setting an alarm, waking up, when you naturally wake up, you're going to be in a lot better shape. So let me show you how this works for me. By going to sleep at 8:30, I am already hitting my eight hours of sleep by 4:30 in the morning. So when I get on a sleep cycle, it's about an hour and a half. I'm looking at about five sleep cycles. Occasionally I'll throw in, occasionally six will happen, but I come out of a sleep usually around four or five o'clock and I'm rested and I know I'm rested, I feel good. And since I'm kind of out of it, I'm kind of, you know, basically coming into a light sleep and I wake up, I'm like, okay, I'm up. This is good. And I get on with my day. Sometimes I'll lay down and I'll go get another sleep cycle, like I said. But in, in a general sense, I'm going to sleep a full cycle.

I have not actually set an alarm unless I had an early flight that I didn't want to miss. I haven't sent an alarm in over four years. I just don't. I don't need it. If I go to bed early enough, I get up early enough. That's the way I've always approached this and so I don't set alarms. I just make sure I get to bed early enough and I only set alarms if there's just some set of circumstances where I've got like a five o'clock flight and I just don't want to miss it. Now one of the things you can do to kind of set yourself up, if you really do want to kind of have an alarm but you don't want it to be that cortisol spiking thing, you can buy one of those alarm clocks that basically slowly increases the light intensity in the room and by increasing the light intensity there'll be some automatic signals to your body that it's morning and time to get up. Obviously if you're wearing the mantra mask, this won't help you, but if you want to have one of those light emitting alarm clocks, it slowly gets you up. I'll have a link to one of them in the show notes 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 three you can check that out.

I go to bed early enough to know that I'm going to wake up early enough, but if you know you can't or for one reason or another you were up later. This is not a bad compromise to avoiding that huge cortisol spike in the morning when you wake up to a blaring alarm. Okay. That was nine and apparently I did a numbering snafu. I thought I was giving you nine, but there's a bonus.

Journal about your sleep

One of the things I often encourage my clients to do is to journal about their sleep and not just journal about what time they went to bed and what time they woke up, but to really talk and think about the quality of their sleep and the trends in their sleep. So we talked about things that would disrupt your sleep. Oh, you were up a little later watching a program or you had to work on your taxes and you were up a little bit later. And so therefore you went to bed later, you were at blue light later and your sleep was just not really there.

That's data. That's really good data to know that yes, blue light does impact you and that having your mind racing at nine o'clock at night, doesn't impair your sleep? Understanding. Okay. That there was a really loud noise outside because there's something going on and if I had had ear plugs or some sound going on in the background, perhaps that wouldn't have been as big a problem for me.

Maybe it was that you had some caffeine late in the evening, you know that went out to dinner and had everybody after dinner had the coffee and I for the life of me cannot understand why someone would have coffee after dinner. I mean, Geez, it's already 11 o'clock and you're going to throw down and express, so I don't get it. People do it. I know they can't be sleeping very well after they do it, but it is what it is.

So I've given you basically now 10 tips and I might change the title of this. I was originally going to call it nine ways, I guess I'll call it 10 cause I, like I said, I screwed up on my numbering, but so I'm going to go over them really, really quickly.

Summary

Number one, go to bed at the same time each night.

Number two, avoid blue light, and that can be by getting away from electronics or using some device like blue blocker glasses.

Number three, avoid caffeine and or alcohol. You're going to have certain tolerances for the caffeine. That's genetic in many ways, but just know that there's certain times when you should not be drinking caffeine or it's gonna impair your sleep. Same thing with alcohol. It even though it makes you fall asleep faster or easier, it's not letting you sleep the way that you should.

Number four is to have a sleep ritual. Okay, I like to sit down, relax, read, meditate, write in my journal and I'll occasionally have a glass of the Natural Vitality Calm just to sit down and say, okay, this is my evening. I'm done and I'm unwinding.

Number five is to meditate or journal. Meditation is a wonderful way to clean your mind, to relax, get yourself steady, get yourself ready to go to sleep. Journaling is a great way to express gratitude, to find some joy in your day and to let go of any of the negative things that have happened and to push off those things that you know you really need to sleep and then be able to do tomorrow even better.

Number six is to have a dark room. I love my Mantra Mask. I wear it all the time and it's, it's a wonderful tool if you can't have blackout shades and the whole bit strongly encourage you to look at that.

Number seven is to be in a cool room and my wife and I kind of argue about this a little bit about how cool, but the cooler you can make your room probably the better you're going to sleep. I love it. Cool. When I'm by myself, I'm down 65 easy.

Number eight is sounds, you know, a box fan, white noise, something to eliminate the sound. Earplugs also work in a pinch. Those types of things will help a lot. The last three were all about environment make sure you have the right environment.

Number nine then is to find a way to wake up more naturally. Go to bed early enough where your cycles work out and you find yourself awake an hour or so before you know you need to get up, probably time to go ahead and go or have something where you're being woke up gently, like a light emitting alarm that's going to slowly raise, increase the intensity of the light to a point where you wake up.

Number 10 is to journal about your sleep so that you find the things that have the most impact. Look for those trends that'll happen. What you're eating, what you're drinking, when you're eating, when you're drinking, what's your activities were, which your stress level was? What's your energy level was during the day and what activities you did like did you lift weights that day? Did you run that day to just spend time with family? Did you have something stressful happen? The more you kind of focus on the things that happened the day before and how they're impacting your sleep that night, the more you'll know how to affect your sleep by changing your routine during the day and then into the evening.

We covered a lot of the 10 ways to improve your sleep. I hope you'll go through and at least try some of these to see what they can do to help you sleep better because the quality of your sleep is going to drastically affect the performance that you have. And as we spoke earlier, performance is about being the best you that you can be. So you're working on your fitness, you're working on your health, and sleep has to be a component of that.

You have to make sleep a priority. I hope you will. If there's anything I can do to help you, please do reach out to me. Love to talk to you about it. But otherwise, look at these 10 things. Listen to this episode again, go to the show notes at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 you can read through the transcript, find the bits and pieces that work for you and hey, give me a comment on Facebook or on that post and let me know some of the things you tried and how it worked for you.

Hope you enjoy today's lesson. I do put a lot of research and a lot of time into thinking of the best ways that I can help reach your health and fitness goals and getting good sleep is was one of those and so I work with my clients. I'd like to work with you just to show you what I can do. I'm offering a free, no obligation, 15 minute consult. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult.

It's not a sales page. It's nothing more than my scheduling link. You go in there and schedule 15 minutes that works for you. We get on a zoom conference call and we talk about your goals. We talk about what matters to you most and what I think you can do to help you improve your health and fitness. I do believe 15 minutes can make a big difference in how you approach your summer from a health and fitness perspective. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult I'll take you to my calendar for your free, no obligation. 15 minute consult. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult today.

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