Tag Archives for " functional fitness "

April 11, 2023

Get functionally fit to live a life you love

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Everybody wants to be healthy and fit, but what does that really look like and how do we get there? On episode 585 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how to get functionally fit so you can live the life you love.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:42.440] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:45.420] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:48.220] – Coach Allan

Busy, as always, but enjoying it. Bringing on some clients for my new program, and I'm actually doing a little bit of in person stuff. One of the reasons I wanted to do the retreat was I kind of missed having someone in the gym lifting and doing the thing, so I went ahead and brought on some local clients, working with them. They're all over 40, so I'm not breaking any rules, so I'm kind of doing that. And then our daughter Summer is getting married in really just a few short weeks. So also planning a trip back to the United States for a few weeks, see family do the wedding thing. Second and final, daughter married off. All kids married off. Done. Scratch that.

[00:03:39.180] – Coach Rachel

Nice. That's fantastic.

[00:03:43.250] – Coach Allan

And enjoy some time with Tammy while we're up there traveling.

[00:03:48.150] – Coach Rachel

That sounds wonderful.

[00:03:49.760] – Coach Allan

How are things up north? Way up north

[00:03:52.870] – Coach Rachel

Good. Yeah, way up north. I'm the exact opposite of you. I am doing my best to relax and rest this week. I'm kind of in taper. I've got a big race this weekend, so I'm doing my best to get a few miles in, but not too hard, and to do all my recovery and rest tricks and tips that I tell all my athletes. So I'll be ready and ready to go this weekend.

[00:04:18.420] – Coach Allan

So for folks that really haven't done a whole lot of training for running but are interested, can you explain what taper is?

[00:04:27.340] – Coach Rachel

Yeah. So the taper would be the few weeks between your last big week of training and the run, your actual race, and it depends on how much time you need to taper, depending on the run. So if you're doing maybe a five K or something a week, taper would be plenty of time. You kind of taper down the amount of running and the intensity, and you rest. You focus on fueling, you focus on nutrition, you focus on getting your head right, strong and confident and ready to go. And I'm actually tapering for an Ultramarathon, so I've been tapering for a couple of weeks now, but my big race is this weekend, so same thing. I'm still running, but fewer miles and less intensity, and I'm pounding in all the best nutrition and hydration I can so that my body is ready for this weekend, for the miles.

[00:05:21.900] – Coach Allan

How far is this ultra?

[00:05:24.860] – Coach Rachel

This one is about 34 miles, so a little over 50K.

[00:05:29.630] – Coach Allan

Cool. I know you got this.

[00:05:32.290] – Coach Rachel

Looking forward to it.

[00:05:33.280] – Coach Allan

We'll talk about it.

[00:05:33.950] – Coach Rachel

Oh, I know it'll be fun. Yeah. I'll let you know how it goes.

[00:05:38.590] – Coach Allan

All right, great. Are you ready to talk about functional fitness?

[00:05:44.260] – Coach Rachel


Episode – Get functionally fit to live the life you love.

What I'm going to do on this episode is I'm kind of kind of wrap up a whole lot of different topics around fitness and mindset that I've discussed over the years. I just haven't really ever done it in a full wraparound thing, and so we're going to be bouncing to a lot of different things. But if some of this resonates with you, I definitely want you to check out the quiz that I'm going to talk about at the end, because that'll kind of help start you on this journey or get you further down the line on it anyway. So now a lot of times the reason that I'm talking to a potential client or a new client is that they really struggle to stay motivated when it comes to fitness. In some cases, they hate exercise at all. They don't like working out. And even some say, I just don't want to get sweaty. I don't like being sweaty, or I don't like the gym, or I don't like. There's a lot of things that they're using as these barriers that are keeping them from being fit.

And some of that's real and some of that is imaginary. But we're going to talk about these in a way that you can explore this thought, this process, and find a way to stay motivated to work out and get fit. So one of the core attributes for the way I approached training, it's the way I fixed myself, was commitment. Getting away from the levels of decision and resolution and willpower and all of that and really just drilling down into commitment. Now, commitment has two parts. There's the why. Why do you want to do this? Why do you want to be more fit? And the why kind of usually has about two aspects to it. Sometimes it's a little bit more, there might be something exciting in your future that you want to be ready for. But in general, the why relates to people. Almost always relates to people. We don't do this typically for ourselves, although sometimes we do, but there's usually other people involved, the people we care about. We want to be fit so we can be there for them and so that they don't have to take care of us. The second aspect of that is what we want to be able to do.

And that gets a little bit overlapped into the vision. But sometimes just having that big goal is reason enough. I wanted to do a tough mudder and I wanted to do it with my daughter. I wanted to be fit and be able to participate in her life. And so that was my why. That was a very compelling why for me. And so it pushed me to do more. Now, before I got started on the journey, though, I had to understand my vision. What does that mean? What does it mean for me to be fit? And so initially there were some capabilities that I needed to have. I needed to be stronger, I needed to weigh a little less, I needed to have more grip strength. So there were these capability, things that I wanted to have related to that race. My capabilities that I need now are actually much the same. I'm the guy who lifts things at Lula's. I have to be there when I'm working out with my clients in person. I also have to be able to move the equipment around and I need to be able to be strong enough to protect them if they were to drop a weight or make a mistake.

So there are certain capabilities that I need to have in my life also. Your vision can be driven around lifestyle. We've talked a lot about things that our parents used to do or grandparents used to do that they no longer do, and their lifestyle changed. My grandfather loved to play tennis, and then at the age of 80, he couldn't play tennis anymore. And that changed his lifestyle significantly. Not being able to take care of himself changed his lifestyle significantly. So thinking about the capabilities and the lifestyle that you want to have kind of starts to give you a clear picture of what your vision is. And then the final bit is about values. And this is where we tie the vision to the why. The values are who you are. They're how you want to be seen in the world. So you don't want to be seen as someone who's dependent. You don't want to be seen as someone who's not capable. You don't want to be seen as someone who's weak. And so those values of you wanting to be a contributor, wanting to be a part of things, wanting to be independent, those values that you hold dear are the wraparound.

That's how we form this commitment, because it ties the vision to the why. Okay, so now when you think about that vision and you think about what you need to be able to do, the lifestyle you want, the values you have, now, this is not so much about working out. Working out doesn't sound fun. It sounds like a job. It sounds like another thing to do. Exercise. That word sometimes even sounds worse. Sometimes exercise just sounds like we're doing something for no apparent reason at all, like running on a treadmill, going nowhere. I'd like you to introduce the term training. When you're doing something that's improving your fitness, you're training. You're training to be the person that has the capabilities that you want to have. You're training to be the person that has the lifestyle you want to have. So you see how now it changes the complexion of exercise, working out, movement in general, because now it's done on purpose. You have a purpose. And so for us to meet that purpose, for us to accomplish this vision, we need to start training in a way that builds just that. So no longer are we just going into the gym for half an hour and piddling on that and doing a bit of this.

We literally go in with a mission. We go in working on what we call functional fitness. And functional fitness is where we're able to build a fit for Task body. It's where we're able to get ourselves in the condition we need to be to do the things we want to do. And that could be something special. Like, I did a tough mudder. I've talked to people who want to do Mitchell pushu and other hikes and other things, races and whatnot. And so you're training for those things, and you're also training to have what you need to succeed in all of your life, to have the lifestyle and the capabilities that you want. So let's break that down. What does that look like when you start training for your vision, when you start training to be functional fit for task? Well, first it's important for you to consider this from three different optics, okay? There's a short, a middle and a long. Now, initially, we need to be playing this from the long term perspective, okay? What am I going to be like when I'm in my 80s? What am I going to be like when I'm in my 90s?

What am I going to be like when I'm over 100? And so we don't want to do short term things that break us too far away from our long term goals. So I know some people want to have six pack ABS. It sounds cool and all, but a lot of times when you see the actors or you see the bodybuilders with the six pack ABS, they're doing unhealthy things. They're doing things that are actually messing with them in the short run to have those ABS, to do that movie or win that show. So when you're thinking about this from a long term perspective, first priority, it changes things a little bit. Now you're doing things to maintain health. Now you're doing things to maintain this over time. We're not damaging joints. We're not doing things that are silly for the sake of a short term thing. And then you can start looking at the short term things. So you may want to run a five K. You might want to lose a little bit of weight, whatever it is. Those short term things, being able to pick up a tennis racket again, being able to play volleyball again, those short term things are the quick wins.

They're built in such a way that you should use them to know you're moving forward and help build confidence. So the Couch to Five K program tends to be a really good approach for someone that wants to build stamina so they can keep up with their grandkids. And they use that as a training mechanism to start building that stamina. The Couch to five K. You can go in and start a basic strength program initially for the short term of putting on some muscle so you look a little better for the summer coming up really quick here. But you're looking at your long term and you're going to be able to do more. And so as you watch the weights go up, as you get stronger, there's some confidence building there. You know you can get stronger. You see yourself getting stronger. So your long term drives the whole thing. The short term are these little stepping stones that are going to show you how you're moving forward. So they're basically mile markers. And I'll talk about goals in a minute. But this is a way that you build a program that works for you because you get the short term wins building towards the long term.

And then there's sort of this midterm. And this is where when I said I want to be a participant in my daughter's life and not a spectator, that's where this comes in. So the midterm things are where you look at life tasks. When you look at bucket list items, you look at things that you want to be able to do ten years, 15 years, 20 years. You're looking at the midterm of your life and saying, if I'm going to be on this planet for another 50 years, I don't need to be training the whole time just to be stronger, stronger, stronger. I need to have some things that I'm going to enjoy. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement. I want to be able to enjoy grandchildren. I want to be able to enjoy a lot of things in my life. So I'll have these midterm goals that are basically where I expect to be on the aging curve at any given point. Because we have control over our aging curve, we're still going to age, but we can do it quickly and peter out, or we can slow that down, stay strong, keep our stamina, and be able to do things for the rest of our life.

There's zero reason my grandfather should not have been able to play tennis in his eighty s, I mean, golf in his 80s. There's zero reason if he had started training in his thirty s and forty s and fifty s, he would have been able to play golf. But he played golf, and that's all he did, and then he lost golf. So training would have helped keep him in the game much, much longer. Okay? When we look at the long term, we're looking at healthy aging. We're looking at maintaining our health and our independence. We're looking at being able to do the things that are necessary. So I make the joke I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105, but that's on purpose. That's my long term. I vision the long term. And I've heard I'm kind of weird for doing this, but vision the long term and build your programming to think in terms of the long term first, then the short term, and then we break out the midterm and say, how does that look? And we manage that, and we have training programs, and we take those steps, and there's always the short term.

We keep looking at building towards the midterm and then the long term, but we got to keep that all in mind so we're not sacrificing one for the sake of the other. Now, a few weeks back, I guess maybe a couple of months back, I talked about smart goals, where we add the extra A, making it smart goals. Now, if you've worked in business, in a corporate environment, I know you know what smart goals are, and they're typically listed out as specific measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Okay? I added action based, because if an outcome is your true goal, which it's a vision is an outcome, if your outcome is the goal, it's really hard to measure, it's really hard to achieve, it's really hard to make it time bound because the outcome isn't 100% in your control. You could have an outcome goal of wanting a PR on your next half marathon or your next five K, but if you twist an ankle that's out, it's not going to happen. So smart goals are about actions. Smart goals are things about actions, things you can control. So the way I want you to think about it is to have what I want, what do I need to do to get there?

So if I want to get a PR on a five K, well, I need to work on my running, not just running the five K, maybe running a little further than a five K in some of my training runs, maybe running a lot faster on some of my training runs or running hills. So the actions are certain training mechanisms that I want to do in a given week and the weeks leading up to that five K. So if the five K is eight weeks from now, I might have a training program that says, okay, week one, I'm running two to 3 miles a day, five days a week. And then I say, okay, the next two weeks, maybe I go ahead and take one of those days and I bump it up to a three mile, I mean to a five mile run, and I take one of those days and I turn it into a speed on the Hills speed and Hills Day. So now I'm building more endurance so that the five K, which is 3.1 mile, is actually easier for me because I can run further and I can go faster because I've worked on my speed.

And so my smart goal would be, here's my training program. I'm going to do this training program for the next eight weeks. It'll include these runs these days and here's why I know I can do it. Now, this is relevant to my short term goal of being able to get a PR on my five K. So it works. And I'm running these five KS just as a measure of building stamina so I can keep up with my grandkids when I take them to the zoo this summer. So you can kind of see how you can break all this down and build these smart goals. And then each of those workouts, you click them off. It's like, I did my five miler, I did my Speed hills day, I did my runs for the week. And so each of these is that little step. The training you're doing is the step, it's the next thing. And so that becomes more motivating because you're seeing it happen. Some people even like Tony Horton was on the show a while back, and he pulls out a paper map and just basically says, let's start checking off workouts. So if five runs happens to also correlate with your five days of the week for the weekdays.

Then literally, you should see an X or check mark on every one of those days during the calendar. And maybe you have a couple where you see, if I miss it, I'm going to do it, make it up on Saturday or Sunday. You can do that too. But you see the check marks, you see them happening, you're getting a streak going. You're getting it going, and you're seeing the results. And so that's where this all kind of comes together. Now, all that said, this sounds practical and easy when I say it right. And you've probably gone down this line a few times of setting goals and starting the workouts, and then something happens along the way that derails you, okay? And that something is us. It's our own mindset. And so that's where the rubber hits the road on. A lot of this is going through that self awareness practice. So we know what our tendencies are. We know what's going to go on. I wake up in the morning and I'm supposed to do my run, and it's raining, and then I don't do my run. What happens? Well, maybe I miss the next run too, or I eat like crap that day because I messed up.

I didn't do my run. I should have got on the treadmill and done my run, or I should have run in the rain or whatever, but I didn't. And so a lot of times we get in our own way now in doing that self awareness work. And this is really work you'll do for the rest of your life. We don't really ever solve ourselves. We just learn more and learn more, and that makes us better at being ourselves. And so as you go through your self awareness work, and you keep going through your self awareness work, it's worth going back and kind of relooking at it and reanalyzing it. So as I've worked with clients over the years, I basically come up to about five different mindsets as people approach fitness. And each of these mindsets, if they're not worked toward and understood, tend to get in the way. So they can block you from being more fit. But many of them are also superpowers. If you know them, you can lean in. You can lean in and figure out how that mindset can make you stronger, how that mindset can make you faster, how that mindset can help you build stamina so you can go longer.

So all the fitness things that you want, once you know your fitness mindset, it makes it a lot easier to stay on course and get where you want to go. And so if you want to learn about this and you want to learn what your primary blocker is, you can go to 40 plusfitness. COMFIT. This is a free quiz. It won't cost you anything. It takes about 60 seconds. So quite literally, if you started right now doing the quiz online at 40 plusfitness. COMFIT, you'll finish that quiz before we finish this episode, okay? And now this will tell you what your primary blocker is and then you'll know what you need to do to get past it and use it to move forward. I don't run all my clients through this, but I have a good conversation with them at the very beginning of our sessions, and we talk about what they are and how they work. And nine times out of ten, I could just call out their primary mindset at the beginning because the words they use and how they approach it and what they've done in the past, it becomes apparent to me.

So this quiz is going to help you a lot, figure out what your fitness blockers are so you can go to 40 plusfitness. COMFIT. So let's take a step back and kind of recap what we've talked about today, okay? You need to be a certain person. You need to be a certain person today, tomorrow, and maybe 50 years from now. And to be that person, you need to train. And so when you train for a purpose, a function of who you're going to be, that's functional fitness. So you should look at your training, not exercise or workouts or sweat sessions or whatever they are. You doing something to train yourself to be something else. Like we went to high school, to graduate high school, to be adults and live in the society and know how to speak and write and read and everything else, right? This is training. It's the same thing, okay? Now when you're looking at your training, you want to focus on all of your needs across your entire lifespan, your aging, span. Start looking at the long term so you have a good picture, mental picture of where you're going overall.

Then you can start working on the short ones that are going to give you kind of that quick hit, confidence boost, easy win, quick win. So that's the thing you can do that's going to happen this month. So not this huge long term thing, but what can I do this month? What's important to me this month that I know is also kind of moving me in the right direction for my long term goals. And then you can start peppering in the medium one. So maybe you are retiring at 65 and you want to go do Mitsubishu. And so you want to be fit from a stamina and strength perspective to be able to do that at 65. So your medium term goal is to make sure that you build and maintain stamina and strength and balance and that you're ready for when that day comes. So you see how you can take your long term. You can mix in in short term wins and then build out your medium term to make this all fit together into a long term program that serves you your whole life. Now, the way we get these short term ones done and that just builds the blocks going forward is the mile markers to keep us moving forward are the smart goals.

So we're specific measurable attainable or achievable and action based relevant. So they tie back to who you want to be long term, medium term and short term. And they're timely. So again, most goals need to be a month or maybe a quarter, but usually a month. And when you're doing the month to month, it allows you to adjust. As your life changes, you can adjust them. So timeliness needs to be in your face, it needs to be now. And so if you're writing your goals for your short terms that are driving towards your medium and long terms, you've got everything set out in front of you. And the only thing left to do beyond that is to look for those blockers and do some self awareness work so that you know what could get in your way and what could prevent you from reaching those goals and therefore hitting your short, medium and long term visions for who you need to be. So I hope this was helpful for you. If it was, go ahead and email me or message me on Facebook and let's have a conversation. I'd be interested to know what your long term vision looks like and how you want to build a program for yourself that's going to take you there.

So message me on Facebook or you can email me. Coach at 40plusfitness.com.

Post Show/Recap

[00:29:22.010] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:29:33.900] – Coach Rachel

Hey Alan. I always love talking about functional fitness and being fit for task. And the other thing I like to talk about, especially something I've been reflecting on lately myself, is having this level of fitness later in life. We spend a lot of time planning our careers, our families. We plan, we know we're going to retire, we put money away in the account for that, but we don't spend quite as much attention to detail or planning on planning a healthy retirement. Like, I want to travel, mike and I want to be busy when we do get the chance to retire. And we want to be healthy enough to hike mountains and do all sorts of fun stuff in our retirement. So we kind of need to start planning now so that we're active and healthy and good to go today. So that a decade or two decades from now, we still have maintained a level of fitness so that we can be as active as we want later in life.

[00:30:32.420] – Coach Allan

So, yeah, way I kind of equate that is, is your fitness paycheck to paycheck or is your fitness are you investing in a 401? So there's going to be something there later, right?

[00:30:43.620] – Coach Rachel

Sure, yeah, that's a great way to look at it.

[00:30:47.140] – Coach Allan

And your fitness should never be paycheck to paycheck because that just means that. You're going to age and you're going to dwindle and you're going to lose. You're going to lose in this thing because you've got to put something in the tank and you got to be consistent about it. You got to be doing it now and a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. It's not like you got to kill yourself. And it's not like you have to train for a 34 miles ultra, but just a little bit. And thinking, what do I need? What am I going to need? What kind of stamina will I need to keep up with my grandkids? What kind of things will I need to be able to be there for my family, be there for my wife when she needs me? And so it's making a small investment now that, you know, will pay off and being consistent about making that every single time, the same way you do your 401, it just becomes automatic. You just do it and you don't think about it anymore. You just do it. And there are times where you step it up a little because you can, and it makes sense.

[00:31:42.970] – Coach Allan

And there's times you back it up a little bit because you just can't. But you're always putting something in and you're always on it and not looking at this like, well, I'll do that tomorrow. It's paycheck to paycheck kind of fitness.

[00:31:57.340] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, well, you also mentioned the word exercise. And who likes to exercise? Nobody likes that word. It's a terrible word. Well, you know, we do, but we're not really exercising, like you said. We're training. We're doing something that we love. And I love to run. You love to lift, heavy things other people might like. Tennis or pickleball is a really growing sport right now, and there's all sorts of things that are out there. And when you're doing something you love, pickleball is not exercise. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is not exercise. You're training to do these things, and it just gives it a whole different connotation. And I'm sure that there's something out there that somebody would love to do, maybe not running like I do, but there's got to be something out there.

[00:32:46.830] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And if you find that there's just something holding you back and you're just really not wanting to do this, then I would definitely look at that quiz I talked about, the 40 plusfitness COMFIT. So 40 plusfitness COMFIT, it'll take you 60 seconds, and you'll learn something about what might be keeping you from making that investment perfect.

[00:33:09.640] – Coach Rachel

That sounds like a great thing to do.

[00:33:11.670] – Coach Allan

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

[00:33:15.780] – Coach Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:33:17.400] – Coach Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to move freely and live fully with Juliet and Kelly Starrett

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

When you optimize your movement, everything you do gets easier. Juliet and Kelly Starrett have put together a manual to help you do just that with their new book, Built to Move. On episode 584 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we dive in and learn how we can improve our movement and our life.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:46.790] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:47.770] – Rachel

Hey, Allan.

[00:02:48.990] – Allan

How's the last few minutes of your life been?

[00:02:51.460] – Rachel

Pretty quiet.

[00:02:52.690] – Rachel

It's nice to be holed up here in my office.

[00:02:56.150] – Allan

Yeah, our hello section. We're doing two episodes at the same time, so nothing's changed other than a few minutes on the clock since we did the last one. But just thought we'd take a moment to have our little hello session anyway. So, Ras, are you ready to have a conversation with Juliet and Kelly Starrett?

[00:03:13.750] – Rachel



[00:04:13.650] – Allan

Juliet, Kelly, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:16.940] – Juliet

Thanks so much for having us, Allan.

[00:04:18.590] – Kelly

Thank you.

[00:04:19.140] – Allan

Now, your book is called Built to Move: the Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully. And the interesting thing was when Becoming a Supple Leopard came out, loved the book. When the second edition of it came out, I bought it again and gave the first edition away. And then when Deskbound came out, I bought that. Those are both sitting on my bookshelf over here. And then this one comes out and I'm like, how did you write a better book than the best books that are already out there? And you guys did it. You did it.

[00:04:52.720] – Juliet

Thank you so much. Thank you so much. We're really excited about it.

[00:04:56.480] – Kelly

Well, I think what you can see is some evolution in our thinking that we maybe have been very keen on our roots are high performance, that's where we came from. But as we've progressed and gotten a little bit more old or mature or wise or our lives have gotten up, we're looking around and seeing that we had to have a slightly different conversation because some of the things that we were talking about ten years ago really haven't come to pass. And if we were going to take a crack, honestly, at saying, hey, fitness and wellness has left a lot of people behind, what does that look like to us and what's important to us now as we start to crest 50? And it turns out that all of that experience has been integrated into this book. And if we were going to be honest, something that Juliet I talked about is that those other books really lacked this blueprint, this daily manual about how to go about your life. That was what was missing from our writing.

[00:05:47.910] – Juliet

In some ways we think of this book almost as a prequel to Supple Leopard because this is sort of again, we think of them as base camp practices and Supple Leopard is sort of like the advanced class.

[00:05:59.890] – Allan

Yeah, well, I always talk to my clients and we talk on this podcast that fitness is not CrossFit. I mean, CrossFit is great. I love CrossFit, but they call that the fittest person on the earth when they do their competitions. And that's great. But for us, fitness is fit for task. So it's being the best grandmother you can be. It's being out with your friends and feeling confident and comfortable that you can play tennis or pickleball. It's being late for the bus and having to take a little sprint there to catch the bus stop before the bus pulls away. It's the things we do in our everyday life that is what real fitness is about. And I've always also said there's not a user manual for us, but built to move. Well, there it is. You've basically given us the user's manual for how to move our bodies. And if our bodies are not moving the way they're supposed to, we can evaluate and then we can do something about it. And that's the beautiful part of this. It's not just saying, here's your diagnosis, good luck. Your doctor says eat less and move more, then you're like, okay, but you guys are actually giving us more of a manual of how to do it and how to actually improve it and if it's already working, how to keep it going, which again, I just think it's brilliant. Thank you.

[00:07:14.350] – Juliet

Well, and I really love how you're framing the idea of fitness. And one of the things we really wanted to do with this book is make it as accessible as possible. And one of the ways we frame fitness in our own minds is just simply being able to do the things you want to do physically for as long as you want to be able to do them. And that is really wide ranging, as you said. I mean, that can be just having the stamina to walk 25,000 steps with your grandchildren at Disneyland or that can be you want to be a 65 year old triathlete. I mean, it's very wide ranging. But I do think we've overly narrowed the definition of fitness to people think it is sort of like the CrossFit body or whatever that means. But to us it's really much broader. And I think that's how our own thinking has evolved over the years.

[00:07:58.760] – Kelly

And let me say that one of the things that we know was the truth about some of our earlier work was that we had objective measures. And our objective measures were your native range of motion. That's the underpinning of sort of our old work. What is it that everyone agrees the shoulder should be able to do? How can we get you back to those positions? And then the proof was in the output, the wattage, the poundage. And one of the things that we realized was that we hadn't given people clear objective measures or vital signs, physical vital signs, around some of the other features of our behaviors, whether it's nutrition or sleep or walking or moving. So what we've done here is recognize that if anyone can know what decent blood pressure is 120 over 80. That's not great blood pressure, but it knows it's a range where you're saying, hey, I need to pay attention, or I need to make a change. And what we've tried to do in Bolton move is give people objective vital signs where you can say, hey, I have a newborn, or I'm on a deadline and my sleep is awful, but I'm just below the vital sign line right now.

[00:08:57.790] – Kelly

This objective measure, and it gives you a place to say, I should pay attention to that or helps to inform you about some blind spots, because, frankly, people are working. They're crazy. They're working hard and have complicated lives, and we need to show them that it's not all or nothing.

[00:09:12.380] – Allan

Yeah. And to kind of give folks an idea, what we're talking about from a range is you guys saw that commercial with the old man trying to lift up his granddaughter. I ball every time I watch.

[00:09:23.650] – Juliet

Me, too. I watch it, like three times a year and just cry my eyes out.

[00:09:26.790] – Allan

I cry every time I see it. And you've got that. So the guy's just trying to lift up his granddaughter to put a star on the tree that he bought for her, and it's just that moment he's been training for. And to go as far as Juliet, your father, who's out there rafting and hiking and doing these things with his kids and keeping up with them, yeah, it's hard, but he's doing it because he's at that level. This is a wide range of fitness that we get ourselves into at this age group, and so it's right for all of us. So I think that's what's really beautiful is this is not just something if you have bad movement patterns. This is a great book. Even if you do, this is how you keep having those patterns and you keep moving. Well, yeah.

[00:10:07.540] – Kelly

One of the things that Julian and I are fortunate enough to be in is a world of high performance sport, and we get to work with alongside a lot of superhumans men and women and really complicated, amazing teams. And what we've realized is that our grounding is in this high performance, but that only is important because it informs us what good practice looks like. And part of what Juliet and I have been trying to do is say, hey, if sport and high performance environments is a laboratory, and that's how we've kind of always viewed them, that if we don't actually apply that science to society and transform our communities, then that stuff is less important to the both of us. It's more hate circus and entertainment. And so we're really trying to sort of conjoin those behaviors. And one of the questions that we regularly ask and you're pointing out is, how is it going? Are we being served by our current lab results? And it turns out that just about anything you care about probably is trending in the wrong direction globally or even nationally, from obesity to being overweight to depression, substance abuse, pain.

[00:11:16.260] – Kelly

And one of the things that we have come to realize is that the underpinnings of any high performance environment is this book. And it's not diet and exercise. And what we're seeing is if we are going to in fact be 100 plus years old, which we're definitely trending towards more and more with science and drugs and surgeries and all the things that are coming, we better think differently about how we're living our lives because the environment person sort of interaction is becoming a little bit more convoluted and complicated.

[00:11:45.990] – Juliet

And one thing I would add to that too is it is a myth that all of these high performers actually are checking all the boxes as well. I think it's easy for those of us who are weekend warrior types to think, okay, well the Starretts work with these elite athletes and they've checked every single box. And in some ways because I think we have gotten so much more sophisticated in training, so much more knowledge is widely available thanks to the Internet. We have this explosion of technology that can be applied to fitness that there's an assumption that all these high performers are getting the basics right, but in some ways they're not. In fact, because of all this, Sophistication they too have forgotten to focus on the basics. And so I think it's important for your listeners to know that the things that we are prescribing to do for weekend warriors everyday movers are the exact same things we are actually prescribing for the highest performers to be doing as well.

[00:12:41.750] – Allan

Yeah. Now there was one thing that you brought up in the book that I think is really important because if you go into any bookstore and you start looking for fitness books that relate to people over 50, you're going to find the stretching books because we've lost a lot of flexibility, we lost a lot of mobility. And so when you bring up mobilization or mobility training, which I bring up a lot, they default to this oh well, I already stretch before I do my workout and I stretch after my workout, therefore I'm covered. Can you kind of compare and contrast what is the difference between mobilization and stretching?

[00:13:18.630] – Kelly

May I, should I take a swing at this?

[00:13:19.720] – Juliet

oh yeah.

[00:13:23.090] – Kelly

When people say stretching, it really is sort of a nebulous term. If I said diet, that could include traditional diets, paleo juice, cleanse keto. It's a really nonspecific idea. And one of the things that we're trying to say with mobilizations that we're prescribing is that you are a complex, amazing, systems based human being. If you just feel tension in a muscle or a tissue that's not necessarily making changes in that muscle or tissue. Because I think when what's happened is we've all known, hey, we should stretch, but we all don't know why. To what end? What is enough? And is it working? Because remember, the goal here is to restore our native range of motion. In fact, what we want everyone to be thinking about here is that your range of motion and ability to move freely has nothing to do with your age. It's the one aspect of your movement that sort of is age independent and age proof that it's more difficult to heal as you get a little bit older. We slow down, but we still heal, but it's slower. It's harder to keep muscle mass on. We know it's harder to change body composition, to lose those stubborn few pounds.

[00:14:34.850] – Kelly

But your range of motion, that's a really stable system. And what we know is that as we get older, maintaining our range of motion allows us to maintain movement options. Movement solutions. Your balance will improve if you have better ankle range of motion. You are more likely to have fewer aches and pains if your hips do what hips are supposed to do. So what we're talking about in the mobilizations are saying, hey, here are some targeted techniques that we actually call in house position transfer exercises. We're doing this slightly different variation on restoring what your tissue should do to a specific aim of restoring a range of motion you should already have. So you might stretch because it feels good, right? Like you just move your neck around. But we can think about stretching. If someone said, hey, I go to yoga, isn't that enough? Well, yoga is a movement practice, and you may feel tension in your musculature and tissues while you do that, but that may be an incomplete way of addressing a range of motion. So what we're trying to do with these mobilizations are introduce some other techniques like contract, relax, and some other sort of key concepts to help people be able to return to their native range of motion in a specific way.

[00:15:49.890] – Kelly

So this is more akin to an exercise that restores your range of motion than, hey, I'm passively pulling on something because someone told me this is good for me at one point in my life.

[00:15:59.590] – Allan

Yeah, and it's sort of that concept. We do the stretching because we want it to prevent us from hurting ourselves. But the reality is it's mobilization and being able to move through the full range of motion that allows our body to do the things it's supposed to do so we don't get injured.

[00:16:15.530] – Kelly

And what you're bringing up is a really important thing. Oftentimes when people come I think when we were working with younger populations and we were earlier in our careers, 15 20 years ago, we were using these sets of mobilizations and ideas of restoring to how your tissues slide and glide and what your joints do. We were using them to restore positions so that our athletes could go out and win world championships. That's great. But that has nothing to do with me as a 50 year old man. And what it turns out is that those same mobilizations oftentimes can be employed to return my, again, native range of motion. What is it my body should be able to do? Everyone agrees that this is what your shoulder should be able to do. Every physical therapist, every doctor, every surgeon, there are these native ranges to every human, not gymnast ranges. I'm not talking about that would be nice, but that's not the reality. What we saw was that when people had pain or stiffness, one of the easiest things we could do was do something to change their physiology. So by getting some input into the tissues that was different than just tension stretching, we saw that sometimes that was enough to restore or change how their brain was thinking about the tissue.

[00:17:25.430] – Kelly

So suddenly that pain didn't mean I was injured. My body was throwing up an error message. And immobilization was a simple way of turning that message off. By changing some aspect of my tissue or by mobilizing, I was able to return or change or improve my range of motion. And my brain thought that was different. So we ended up realizing that we had this sort of spinning coin. And on one side was, let's return your positions so that you can do what you want to do. On the other side was, hey, I'm in pain. Well, what can I do about it? I can restore my positions and own my shapes and own how my tissues move. And that may be enough to get me out of pain or change how my brain is perceiving what's going on in my body.

[00:18:05.260] – Juliet

And one of the things we're really trying to change the perception about in this book, and I think this is particularly relevant for those of us over 40 who do suffer from aches and pains because we're trying to use and move our bodies, is that and Kelly alluded to this a little bit, but pain doesn't necessarily mean you're injured. And I think that's where people often go in their minds, like, oh, I have knee pain. I'm injured. And one of the things we're trying to be evangelist about is, hey, before you take time off work and get seven MRIs and go see twelve chiropractors and physical therapists, you really can take a crack at some basic soft tissue and mobility work and really potentially affect change in your own body. And I'll give you an example. I can't tell you how many people we've had come to Kelly saying, oh my God, I have knee pain. Should I go get an MRI? And I should probably go see the orthopedist

[00:18:59.840] – Kelly

we call this the pain spiral. And it's very common,

[00:19:02.240] – Juliet

and it sort of leads to this medical intervention situation that often ends in a physician not seeing anything on an MRI and instead just telling that person, well, you should stop doing what's hurting. So you may love running, it may bring you joy, but you definitely should stop doing that, which is not what people want to hear. Instead, we're able to say, hey, look, your knee is a system connected above and below with muscles and tons of soft tissue and connective tissue. And I can't tell you how many people we've said, hey, you need to spend seven days doing soft tissue work on your quads and your calves, ten minutes a day that are connected to your knee. And people are blown away like they don't believe us at first that it's going to make a change in their knee pain because they think for sure they're injured. And so one of the things we're trying to do, and we do have some sort of pain toolkits in this book, is to try to reframe thinking a little bit, such that if you do have aches and pains in your joints and shoulders, there obviously will be a time at which it's totally appropriate to go see a physician.

[00:20:05.820] – Juliet

But maybe that shouldn't be your first course of action. Maybe you take ten minutes for a few days to just see if you can make change. Because the amount of people we've been able to see who can is astounding.

[00:20:16.990] – Kelly

And if I may just jump in there. The other side of that is that people fail to appreciate that the environment, the lifestyle decisions we make influence how regular and how tough and durable our tissues are and how our brains perceive what's happening in our bodies. So one of the first conversations we have with anyone when we're dealing with an acute injury or chronic injury or persistent pain is we actually look at their sleep. And then what we know is that if you're a stressed person who's getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night, we know that that is not helping you sort of calm this ringing bell down and that if you want to heal, change your body composition, grow, put on muscle, get skinnier. Whatever your goal is, it turns out eight is a really magic number. So the rest of the book it seems like, and this is what's really confusing, I think, about how we presented fitness and wellness to people is that we are a system and that my moving during the day affects my sleep and my sleep quality and sleep density. But if I can sleep more, I can oftentimes heal more effectively or even just get my brain to stop being so twitchy and freaked out and perceive my body as a threat.

[00:21:29.030] – Kelly

So if pain is a request for change, we want to sort of expand what that means. Well, hey, we can work locally and change some aspect of your tissue or get some different input. But also let's look at these other things that may be contributing to a system that sort of has a blanket.

[00:21:43.250] – Allan

and in the book, you kind of identify basically as that. It's like, okay, here are some things, and you have ten vital signs, is what you call them vital signs, but they're basically checks to kind of do that, check in with yourself, how am I doing with this? How am I doing with that? And it's not subjective. In some cases, it's a little subjective, but in a general sense, you've put measurements. You said, okay, let's try to do this and see how you do. And then from there, we kind of have an assessment of where we stand. And that's always a good thing, because when we talk about goals, you got to have a measurement. You got to know when you're successful, all those different things that go into writing a really good goal. This is the perfect start, the perfect benchmark, and then the tool that makes that stuff happen. So we sound complicated when we start talking about tissue and moving and this and that, and, okay, if it's my knees hurting, how could it actually be my hips that's causing this? And so that's the hard part that you guys have worked out, is you do these assessments, you have a better understanding of where you stand.

[00:22:44.320] – Allan

You do the exercises, the pain goes away, your movement improves. And all of these things, all ten of them, they literally build on each other to form a platform for you to be a better human, to move better, to live that life fully that we talked about all the way through the century mark. And so can you go through just briefly and kind of talk about each of the ten vital signs you have in the book? A little bit about why they're important, each of them is important, and then a little bit about how we could kind of maybe assess them and understand where our weaknesses and strengths are, and then just kind of how to put it all together.

[00:23:20.210] – Kelly

Before we jump into that. I just want to appreciate that the most important part of the book is something that Juliet and I came to work and understand, working with people who are very busy. So if we went to the Marine Aviation Weapons Tactical School, which is a very intense program where they're teaching marine aviation advanced techniques, no one is sleeping. So if we walked in and said, sleep more, that's not a solution. And if we had busy working parents with young people, and we said, hey, we need you to spend an hour a day at the end of your day doing this checklist of things, we also saw that that was impossible for people. And so Juliet and I spent better part of the last decade coming up with something we called a 24 hours duty cycle. And this is important in context, because what I want everyone to understand is you don't have to run this perfect checklist. We've really started to conceive that behavior change starts, when are you going to have some control and agency? When are you going to fit this into your life? So it's yet not another thing you've got to get done.

[00:24:21.280] – Kelly

And our motto around the house is, let's be consistent before we're heroic. And if we don't help people conceptualize where they can sort of layer or feather these things into their lives, it's not going to make a change. So that's the first thing I want people to understand about the book, is that it's a really easy starting place to begin to make fundamental changes. And let me give you an example. If we look at the first vital sign of getting up and down off the floor without your hands, it's really a sneaky vital sign about looking at hip flexion and what your hips should be able to do. But the easiest expression of that is, can you sit cross legged and get up and down off the floor without using your hands or putting your knee down? And that's not a strength issue, and it's definitely not a big range of motion I need to be a gymnast to sit crisscross applesauce. But one of the easiest ways to begin to change that is to say, hey, I'm going to watch TV tonight and sit on the ground for ten minutes while I'm watching TV.

[00:25:15.050] – Kelly

And every time I get uncomfortable, I'm going to fidget. So if most of us are watching TV in the evenings, which we are, right, watching news, we're getting caught up, we're self regulating, we're calming down. All we need you to do is get onto the floor and lean up against your couch and you've already begun to change your behavior, which is putting range of motion into your hips. You're changing shapes, and you're going to have to get up and down off the floor before you go to bed or get that snack or something else.

[00:25:41.140] – Allan

Or just sleep, right there.

[00:25:44.030] – Kelly

We've constrained the environment. We've shaped a behavior without having to make another choice. And that's one of the things we're really trying to do here.

[00:25:51.760] – Juliet

And one interesting note from a data perspective on this particular vital sign, which is get up off the floor. And it's the first one we put in the book, in part because it's kind of a fun test to do and you can get your whole family involved, and I think you learn really quickly where you are when you do that test. But one of the things we know is that in countries where people sleep and toilet on the floor, they suffer from much fewer low back pain orthopedic injuries, hip replacements, knee replacements, and fall risk. Fall risk, which everybody knows once you fall, especially as an elderly person, that's sort of the beginning of the end. And so there's some really interesting data behind it. But what we love about this particular vital sign is that it is so easy to immediately get some information about how your body's working. And then it's also the practices that we have around it, one of which literally is sitting on the floor more often while you watch television. And we know also from data that everybody is watching quite a bit of television a day. It's just an easy way to fit it into literally any busy life.

[00:26:54.120] – Juliet

And just to add a little bit of further context to what Kelly said, and I think it's important on these vital signs, I mean, we spent a lot of years thinking about which ones we did and did not want to include in this book. And the ultimate question for us is what do we do? We are users, we are busy parents of two kids and we work full time jobs and we are like normal people. We're not fitness people that spend 24 hours a day making Instagram videos about our abs like that's not what our life is like.

[00:27:24.180] – Kelly

I would like to have making 24.

[00:27:26.050] – Juliet

Hours, but we are users and these are the basic practices, all ten of these vital signs that we actually are focused on implementing in our own lives. And so getting off the floor is the first one.

[00:27:39.720] – Juliet

I believe our second vital sign is breathing. And people have started to, I think, get some concept of the importance of a breath practice. People have heard of Wim HOF cold therapy plus breathing. But interestingly as people may or may not know, kelly's a physical therapist. And when he has a client come in, especially a client that is complaining of low back pain, which is a very common problem, and I'm sure many of your listeners have or have had the first order of business Kelly does with them is work on their breathing. And we find it to be so critical in terms of how your body functions and also how your brain can think about and manage things like pain.

[00:28:23.280] – Kelly

What's interesting is, again, instead of saying, okay, now here's another practice that you have to do, what are you going to kick out? You're going to kick out making breakfast for your kids so you can do a breathing practice? What we are trying to say is we've got something called a blood oxygen level test, the Bolt test in there and it was popularized by a really brilliant thinker named Patrick McCone, and he is oxygen advantage. And it's a simple idea of understanding how CO2 tolerant we are. So hang on in there everyone. Remember that Juliet and I are really obsessed with being old and maintaining the things that we love to do as long as we can. But the other side of that is that we realize that we never have to have a compromise between being durable and longevity and performance. When we focus on helping the body do what it should do and improve its capacities, it turns out you can play more pickleball and you can do that spin class or whatever it is you like to do more effectively. And one of the things that I think is misunderstood about sort of some of our breathing traditions like yoga or meditation is sometimes we didn't always appreciate the impacts on the physiology.

[00:29:33.580] – Kelly

And that when I could get someone to breathe and do some breath practices. One of the things that we know, for example, is that you can strip off more oxygen off of the hemoglobin. Remember that blood is carrying oxygen, but the mechanism by which that oxygen comes off that blood cell is actually driven by your CO2 levels, the carbon dioxide gas. And so the more I can get my brain comfortable with having higher CO2 levels in the bloodstream because the CO2 is what triggers me to breathe. Suddenly, what we see is that you can actually access more oxygen, which means it's easier to go upstairs, which means if I have pneumonia or emphysema or I'm dealing with a chronic condition or I want to hike more effectively, and destroy the people in my hiking club or my bike group. I'm talking about this is the conversation we've had with our elite Tour de France cyclists. That this same idea of, hey, let's improve the efficiency of the system ends up going a long ways, but it also improves how well your rib cage moves, and it improves how well you can take a big breath, which changes your Vo2 max and makes it easier for you to move and balance and put your arms over your head.

[00:30:43.150] – Kelly

So when we start to see breathing not as a meditation alone practice, but as a mechanical practice, it's shocking the impacts that it has downstream.

[00:30:52.850] – Juliet

And just a note on the practices in our breathing chapter. And again, because our whole focus has been how can we fit this into our lives without adding another hour long breathing meditation practice? We recommend, and we are inspired, of course, by Jacob Nester's amazing book Breathe that one of our future chapters that we can discuss is walking More. And so we don't have a separate breathing practice. We suggest that while you're walking more, you actually just practice nose only breathing. Or one of the things we do a lot in our own practices whenever we're exercising, part of our warm up is just to work on a little bit of breath practice during our warm up. So again, it's not an added new practice. It's something that we're conscious of, we know the importance of, but we're figuring out how to just layer it into other things we're already doing and just bring an awareness to it. So we obviously are huge fans of walking and adding in generally more movement in the day. And so the time when I practice most of my nose only mouth closed conscious breathing is while I'm walking.

[00:31:51.340] – Kelly

What you can start to see in the book is that almost the book is split into sort of two categories. One of them, for example, and another vital sign is extend your hips. We're really trying to look at hip extension, which is my ability to walk and bring my knee behind my butt like I was in a lunge position. Because of the amount of time we're spending sitting, because of just the nature of being a human in today's world. We've seen that this inability or loss of capacity or loss of freedom to put the hip behind us ends up with a phenomenon called tail wagging the dog, where as soon as my leg starts to come behind me, it ends up taking my pelvis with it just because I'm a little bit stiff in that lunge position. And if you look at any of our movement traditions like Pilates or yoga, they are obsessed with hip extension. If you look at our sprinting and some of those practices, they're obsessed with hip extension. So I'd like to be known as the knees behind butt guy. And the idea is that we find that when we're managing again, restoring what the body can do.

[00:32:51.320] – Kelly

And we have something in a test called the couch stretch, which, if you follow our work, you know, is the arch nemesis of every human being. But the idea is it's just, hey, let's take this leg into some extension and challenge the tissues here. And what we find is that ironically, just by improving the shape, we often see commensurate changes in pain around the knee or people's low back starts to feel better and they can go up the stairs, run, get into lunges more effectively, have more movement choice. And again, what we're seeing is part of the book is saying here are some objective measures, like putting your arms over your head, being able to sort of take a breath, looking at balance, and then some end up being very much around the behaviors that make a robust person. Like nutrition, like sleep, like not sitting too much. And so I think what ends up happening in these vital signs, so we don't just kill people with boredom over all the ten, is you take the ones that were maybe a blind spot for you and we can see. Was that sort of a behavior or was that a movement behavior?

[00:33:53.030] – Kelly

Was that a way I was living my life? Or hey, I didn't realize this is something I didn't have access to?

[00:33:57.420] – Juliet

And just one quick backstory on that. I mean, we really backed into what we call sort of these lifestyle conversations. And, you know, from reading our other book, Deskbound, we never set out to be like the standing desk people or the walking people. It's not that sexy, it's way sexier to say that we work with the 49ers or something. But we've really backed into these lifestyle practices. Again, seeing that we've really just missed these base behaviors. People are in our neighborhood, moms and dads are saying, hey, should I be keto? Should I be taking what supplements should I be taking? And what we always go back to is the basics. We say, okay, wait a second. Before you embark on some diet or start taking a bunch of supplements or buy some kind of pod that you sleep in at night, like, are you sleeping? Are you eating fruits and vegetables? Are you moving enough throughout your day? Can you move your body into the shapes that allow you to be able to do the things you want to do? If that's pickleball, great. And so we really did sort of back into the lifestyle side of this book.

[00:34:57.100] – Juliet

And again, also because these are the things that we've realized in order to feel good and be able to move the way we want to do, those are the things we have to prioritize in our own life.

[00:35:06.310] – Allan

Yeah, and I think you said something that's really important there is you stack this stuff, which is really good about when you go through your 21 day challenge, you stack this stuff and you say, okay, we're going to talk about walking. But at the same time you're walking, there's a breathing technique and there's some things you can do to mix both. I think everyone can relate to the fact that there's kind of this running joke amongst people that I know I'm not getting on the floor until I have a plan to get back up. And so if you relate to that, then there's something in this book for you. The breathing, I think, is kind of an interesting thing because a lot of us can relate to going up a flight of stairs and getting a little winded. I'm carrying luggage and talking to my guests at our bed and breakfast. Sometimes when you're carrying about 50 60 lbs of luggage and you're going up a flight of stairs and you're talking, you get to the top and you're kind of like, wow, I'm a little winded. But instead of me going out there and saying, you know, what I need to do is get up in the morning and run these stairs about 20 times so that I build up this endurance to do this stuff.

[00:36:06.680] – Allan

A breathing technique of just getting my body used to taking in just a little bit more and holding carbon dioxide and being a little more comfortable with that is going to allow my body to use oxygen more efficiently and I'm less likely to get winded walking up the stairs talking. And then for me, mobility has always been a struggle. And it's really a struggle because you spend the first 40 years of your life doing everything wrong. If you're a bodybuilder,

[00:36:32.130] – Kelly

well, you can do whatever you want. Let's be honest, that's the magic, right?

[00:36:35.760] – Allan

But the thing is, you're training as a bodybuilder and it's like full extension is not what they teach you to do. They teach you to do tight and stay tight. So lengthening your hips, because you sit all day, those types of things. As you kind of go through this, I think you're going to go through every vital sign and say, wow, that's important. Oh, that one's important too. Oh, I'm not eating like I'm going to live forever. I'm eating like Twinkies are going to go out, and I'm not going to get another one.

[00:37:02.390] – Kelly

Well, you brought up something, I think that's really great here one is we're talking about a movement practice, or essentially is, can you be useful? Can you do what you want to do? Do you feel like, hey, I'm afraid to ride this bike, or I'm having a hard time skiing because my hips are getting stiff? We have all these conversations. They're all on a continuum. The next question is, okay, what do I do about that? And the next question is, okay, when do I do that? And then how do I get consistent? That right. Well, if I schedule yoga and I go yoga every two weeks, that's probably an incomplete solution. We think that that's great. Go do yoga.

[00:37:37.580] – Kelly

Go it's a movement practice. Breath. It's fantastic. Tons of end range Isometrics built in there. But what we'd rather you do is spend the last ten minutes of the day when you actually have some control in your life or in the evening towards the end of the day, getting on the ground or working on a tissue or working on a position. And what we found clinically was that if we said, okay, take off your shoes, hike up your dress at work, get on the ground in the office, no one's doing that. That's crazy. But if I said, hey, once you're down, shifted a little bit at home, put the roller or a ball next to the TV, next to your coffee table, and let's spend and ask ourselves, what feels stiff? What feels tight? What haven't I done? Where did I work today? What's kind of barking at me a little bit? And now we've connected a soft tissue mobilization practice with what's really happened with someone in the day, and we've done it in a way that they can be really consistent at it. Because we saw that ten minutes ended up being a really sort of critical mark.

[00:38:33.810] – Kelly

If I said 15 minutes or 20 minutes out the door, I'm out. But ten minutes, everyone has ten minutes. And you can do a lot of other things while you're doing that. You could do a breath practice. You could just zone out and watch TV. But if you spent that ten minutes and you aggregated that five or seven days a week, a month, two, it's pretty transformational. So you really brought up this important idea of, hey, I need some additional inputs. Why? To maintain my range of motion. And if something is good, then I don't need to work on it because I've sort of above the minimum, but some other area where I've sort of contest myself or see what's going on or even ask what's sore or what wasn't I able to do today? What we found is that when people made that commitment to just ten minutes with a simple set of tools like a foam pool tool noodle. Or roll on a ball of wine, whatever it is you need to do, we saw that we could actually impact how they felt and impact how they move. Another thing we have around the shop is athletes that feel better, perform better, human beings that feel better, have better lives.

[00:39:32.860] – Kelly

So I think that's a really important piece that you bring up there.

[00:39:35.750] – Juliet

And one of the things we do on this, encouraging people to actually do these things which are difficult to do again, because we all have busy lives and sometimes that one thing is just one too many things is we do this thing called Peppering Our Environment which we are huge fans of this idea. And if you came over to our house and saw our living room because we love TV and we often end our night by sitting down and actually watching TV for an hour, like it's a nice transition for us. And so if you look at our TV room you will see that it is littered with lacrosse balls, foam rollers, different mobility tools. I recently bought these little kind of yoga mats that you can sit on because we do a lot of sitting on the floor and I realized that our floor was super uncomfortable and that was limiting the amount of time I wanted to sit on the floor. So I'm trying to take all these little micro steps to make these habits as easy as possible for me to actually do.

[00:40:30.620] – Kelly

We want you to spend your willpower and doing really hard things.

[00:40:34.240] – Juliet

I just wanted to not take care of your body. One of the other vital signs we think is so important is underlooked. I think overall is balance and it's one of the first things to go as people age. In fact, as we're cresting into 50 we're actually starting to have more and more friends who are reporting feeling that their balance is starting to go even as early as 50. And again, nobody is going to say okay, let's go to a balance class for an hour. Nobody is going to do that. One of the things we do is pepper our environment. We have these little portable slack lines we keep around our kitchen called a slack block. And we have little balance tools in our garage, like an endo board. And we just have little tools around our house and at our desks at work so that we can incorporate things like a really simple balance practice into our day. Again, without adding on, having to go somewhere, go to a class, add on a new behavior. It's just another stacking behavior.

[00:41:29.970] – Kelly

Even the test is a great daily practice that you don't have to do anything. And if you haven't ever seen the old man test, one of our friends, Chris Henshaw, came up with this, and he was an elite triathlete who was trying to come up with a task that he could beat his kids at. And they were such good athletes. And literally is stand on one leg, don't put your other leg down. And put your socks and shoes on. Then stand on the other leg without ever touching the ground again. Put your socks and shoes on. And if you just did that every day, if you just practiced in a year, you would spend hours working on your dynamic balance, trying to balance on one foot, you're going to do it.

[00:42:07.830] – Kelly

So let's just work this in. And now we've just taken that off the table. Holy crap.

[00:42:13.650] – Juliet

And the other thing we've tried to do is make it fun, because I think that's another thing that we've done a horrible job of in the fitness business is we've made it just so like drudgery, where you've got to go to the gym and check these boxes. It's not fun. And just these little balance tools we have around the house are very playful and fun and sitting on the ground with your kids at night and working on your mobility and practicing your balance. And we've just been in our living room with our own kids doing the old man test, and it's hilarious and fun and we don't always make it. And so we've just sort of tried to add like, an element of fun and play to this. Because, again, our thinking here is that a lot of what's out there in this space is about restriction. How can I restrict my diet and restrict the things I'm doing? And we want this book to be about expansion. In our nutrition chapter, for example, there's no restriction. Our nutrition suggestions are appropriate for any diet anyone follows, whether you're vegan or carnivore.

[00:43:10.410] – Kelly

But hold on, I challenge you to hit those two benchmarks. Good luck with it.

[00:43:16.190] – Juliet

What people need is some expansion and less restriction. And in our nutrition chapter, we're just saying, hey, you actually probably need to eat more fruits and vegetables

[00:43:26.540] – Kelly

and you're not getting enough protein that's it.

[00:43:30.370] – Juliet

We're just trying to make it fun and accessible for people.

[00:43:33.360] – Kelly

And one of the things you heard Juliet say was fun and accessibility, that happens in the functional unit of change or health, which is your home. So the second we bring in a physical therapist or a physician or some third party, that really removes our agency and our control. And what we know is that it doesn't work. It's not sufficient enough. Unless your physician and your dietitian and your physical therapist lives in your house, it's not going to happen. And so we see that this functional unit of change is the home we call it that's like a hyper local object, hyper local phenomenon. And that if you have a garage and a kitchen and you put your shoes on and suddenly you realize that your control around feeling better actually happens in your time, under your demands and under sort of your watch. It's not an external piece. And that really feels like a revolution for people.

[00:44:24.130] – Allan

Because it makes it accessible. You're not having to pay those bills. Go to the masseuse, go to the physical therapist, go to the orthopedic guy and get them to do what they do or chiropractor, and you're not going to their place. Limited time, limited exposure, limited attention. Get this done. They give you the homework. It's a piece of paper with some pictures on it. And 99% of the time, they never look at that picture again. They never look at that paper again. The interesting thing that you've said, and it's kind of what brought this full circle for me, is I have this joke. It's not really a joke, it's actually real, but I say, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. And people right, but people think and then it starts to hit him. It's like, wait, so he wants to live to 105. He wants to be able to move and be independent and do these things. He wants to be able to do a squat. He wants to have the mobility and dexterity to do the paperwork. He wants to be able to just go and not worry about whether he's going to make it or not.

[00:45:20.060] – Allan

So there's a lot built into that little sentence. But the cool thing about what you guys have here, and again, that's why I love it so much, is this is going to give you benefits today, and it's going to give you those benefits in the future, because a lot of people will tell me it's, hey, Allan, you're 7, so you're talking 50 years from now. You want to be able to do these things. It's just hard for me to wrap my mind around doing something for 50 years from now. I want to do something that's going to stop my back pain or knee pain. Right now I want to be fit now. I don't want to be fit in a 50 years, but this does both. And I think that's what's so wonderful about the way you guys have approached this is you're looking at it and saying, okay, here's the thing to know how you're doing, to gauge yourself, here's a practice or a few practices that you stack together. You fit them in with what you're already doing. You can stand on 1ft. Close your eyes while you're brushing your teeth. Go for a minute, brushing your teeth at 1ft with your eyes closed.

[00:46:15.420] – Allan

And then the ding goes off. You switch feet. The second minute you're supposed to be brushing your teeth for two minutes, you're on your other foot for that whole time, or like you said, putting your shoe on the old man test socks and shoes. It's extremely hard because I've tried it. It is really, really hard.

[00:46:29.840] – Juliet

It's really hard. Well, I think you bring up a thing that I think a lot about, and I think you're right, it's got to be both. I think very few of us are inspired by, okay, I want to be able to do these things when I'm 100 years old, short game and long game is but, yeah, I think you're exactly right in terms of the short game and the long game. And one of the things I like to point out is that we are all so comfortable with this idea of setting goals either in our home lives or definitely in our businesses. Everybody is aware that you've got to save for retirement and sets financial goals around that. So I would challenge everybody to set some short term and long term physical goals. Because again, I think what happens to a lot of people is they turn 70, 75 and they haven't set those goals. And all of a sudden they've lost the ability to do the things they want to do again, whether that's just play with their grandchildren or go for a hike or whatever. And so there's so many things in this book that can make people feel better, move more freely right now.

[00:47:28.320] – Juliet

And I think this is like your 401k for movement when you're older, because nobody's goal is going to be, I hope I'm stuck in my Lazy Boy or in a skilled nursing facility when I'm 80. That goal is for zero people. So everybody wants to be able to move in some capacity and move freely now and into the future. This book is sort 401k of the movement.

[00:47:52.930] – Kelly

And let me say that that is completely in line with when we come into professional organizations, premier national teams, choose some big crazy organization in sports, on TV. We've been there and working with them. We start with a goal and we literally work backwards into what does it that look like today? What does that look like in a week? And chunk that out might be in three months chunks, might be six month chunks. So Juliet really brings up this important point. No one, or very few of us have actually said that my goal is to be independent, be able to toilet and transfer them 105. Then you can really work backwards and say, what does that look like? Well, it looks like I need to walk today and manage my sleep to the best of my ability. So you've nailed the idea. The other thing that I want people to understand is that these practices create buffer zones. They allow you because as you get older, bad things are going to happen. You're going to fall, you're going to injure yourself. You may have been injured from high school soccer whatever it is, or you may have a disease problem coming down the pathway.

[00:48:52.290] – Kelly

And so we talk about our own experiences in the book here, but understand that sometimes what looks like miraculous outcomes when people are confronted with cancer or a big surgery or trauma, it just turns out maybe they had a little bit more resilience and tolerance built into the system. And so what we're doing here is saying, hey, look, it's going to be unlikely that you get out of the next 50 years completely unscathed without having to go to the doctor. But how you show up for that event is going to definitely impact its outcome. And we're not trying to scare anyone here. Again, our focus is we think you can feel better and move better and do all the bad stuff, but it turns out these things are what is essential about being a functional, durable human.

[00:49:35.740] – Allan

Before I let you go, I think there's going to be one big question. People are like, well, wait a minute, wait a minute. Juliet, Kelly, you can't write a fitness book and not talk about weightlifting and running. You talked a little bit about yoga. Where does exercise fit on all of this?

[00:49:51.840] – Juliet

Well, I will start by saying not including it as one of our ten practices was a very conscious decision, in part because we feel like everybody is fire hosed with information about particularly diet and exercise in this sort of moment in time in our fitness space. And what we realized is, ultimately, we are totally exercise agnostic. You'd think we wouldn't be? We owned a CrossFit gym for 17 years. We've worked with elite athletes. We both have certain ways that we like to train. But one of our own evolutions over the last ten or 15 years is becoming exercise agnostic. Those of your listeners who read the book, you will see we do pay homage to the fact that we both do love to exercise. Exercising is a huge part of our life. It's how we both probably manage our mental health. It's what we like to do. It's our hobby. We used to both be professional athletes. So, yes, we are huge believers in exercise. We believe people should do it. But we really wanted to not write an exercise book. We didn't want to put a stake in the ground about what exercise is or isn't the best.

[00:50:58.150] – Juliet

And our philosophy has really become so reasonable that we are of the mind that, yes, people should exercise.

[00:51:06.600] – Kelly

And we can define that as you should probably breathe hard and you should lift a weight.

[00:51:09.980] – Juliet

You should be under breathe hard and lift a weight. But how you do that, man, the sky's the limit. Because what we've seen over the years is people will do what they enjoy. And what people enjoy is wide ranging. I mean, whether that's pickleball or zumba or CrossFit or orange theory or triathlons or you name it, right. When people are told to do something that they don't enjoy, they don't do it. Period, end. If you don't enjoy doing it, you will not do it. And so we do think it's critical. Anyone who follows us online knows that we do exercise and we love exercising, but we really wanted to sort of stay out of that lane and say, yes, we think you should breathe hard and lift a weight, and how you do that is really up to you. Anything to add to that?

[00:51:56.740] – Kelly

I think Supple Leopard comes out ten years ago in a month, and if you'd asked me then, I would have been like, yes, you should have a double body weight deadlift, and you should be able to write.

[00:52:07.770] – Juliet

That was 39 year old Kelly.

[00:52:11.460] – Kelly

What I will say is one of the things that's nice about this book is that you can actually use it as a diagnostic tool, and that if you enjoy some exercise and you think you're doing it, come in and take some of our tests and see how well your exercise regime is actually supporting your native movement. And ultimately, one of the things we'd like to see is that you can hit some of these things and conjoin some of these things. If you're doing good strength conditioning, you're working on balance, you probably don't need to do lots of extra balance. You can work it in. You're working on breathing in there. But ultimately what we've realized is watching the world expand in sort of hyper technicality, the confusion that is the internet with exercise is that that message isn't getting there. And that if we told people to exercise more and here are more COVID body weight pump shred exercises you can do in your living room with a therapy and a book, that message hasn't changed the range of motions or capacitives of someone. So I think if everyone had a kettlebell and a jump rope or a kettlebell in their kitchen and a hill, I mean, there's an old Russian coach, I think, or he was an Eastern block throws coach, and someone asked him, what should you do for cardio?

[00:53:24.760] – Kelly

And he's like, you should go run or walk a steep hill. And they were like, what if you don't have a steep hill? He's like, I don't know what to tell you. But it was that simple of an idea that go walk up and down the hill until you breathe hard, you feel like you've had enough. And that's a pretty elegant message. I think the fact that we have seen that you can buy bumper plates and Olympic lifting shoes and kettlebells at Kmart and at Walmart means that those tools are available to us. And as Juliet saying, how much is enough? Well, that depends on your goals. I think what's happened is we've taken diet and exercise and made it all about, do I look good naked? Is this about body composition, ego not what am I training for? And I think when we come back to that goal setting that Juliet said suddenly then we can ask, well, are you doing the kinds of training that really does make you a better runner or better at skiing or better at playing pickleball? Then that's a different conversation. But ultimately what we're shouting at people is, hey, let's use this to burn calories because that's the only thing that matters and that's really the wrong conversation.

[00:54:28.460] – Allan

So I asked for three of these and I usually would ask both guests and so I'll give you the option, you guys can alternate and just give me three or you can each give me your three. It's cool. So, Juliet and Kelly, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:54:48.120] – Kelly

Watch this. We're going to say most important thing and we haven't talked unison. One, two, three. Sleep.

[00:54:53.880] – Juliet


[00:54:56.430] – Allan

Vital sign number three. I mean, number ten.

[00:54:59.470] – Juliet


[00:55:00.670] – Kelly

What would you take next, J, in your own kind of life around those three things?

[00:55:04.880] – Juliet

I would just say I would say sleep and then general movement and movement throughout the day. Again, I'm a fan of exercise, I do it very regularly.

[00:55:14.960] – Juliet

But for me I feel the best when I've added in plenty of non exercise activity type of movement. So that's making sure I'm walking enough in the day, moving around during the day, either standing while I'm working or making sure I'm getting up and down quite a bit if I'm sitting while I'm working. So for me it would be sleep and plenty of movement, especially in the form of non exercise activity. And eating a vegetable. That would be my third thing, eating a vegetable.

[00:55:43.540] – Kelly

We'll leave it there.

[00:55:44.660] – Allan

Okay, cool. Kelly and Juliet, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, Built to Move, and of course the other awesome books you guys have. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:55:56.450] – Juliet

Sure. Folks can check out. Built to move at builttomove.com you can learn more about the book. Of course, it is available at every bookstore and every online book retailer. You can follow us on Instagram at @thereadystate and all of the other socials as well, twitter, Facebook, @thereadystate.

[00:56:15.170] – Kelly

And I want to shout out to our Juliet and our amazing staff at builttomove.com. We have a 21-day-follow along challenge. It's free. You just need to put your email in. And we've got an email video course, supplemental to the book. It'll really useful to have the book, but we know that sometimes, hey, if I can follow along and get a little sort of nudge and some support, we can go a little bit further. So we've created a whole back end, gorgeous little sort of experiential platform that goes along with the book. And again, just go to builttomove.com. You can sign right up for it. And there's a 20-day sort of follow along challenge that mirrors the book. You'll get some daily reminders and some videos of us showing you what it actually looks like.

[00:57:00.140] – Allan

That's an awesome resource. So, yeah, go check that out. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/584, and I'll be sure to have the link there. Kelly, Juliet, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:57:13.570] – Kelly

Thank you.

[00:57:14.090] – Juliet

Thank you so much for having us.

Post Show/Recap

[00:57:24.730] – Allan

Welcome back. Ras.

[00:57:26.030] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. I probably could have listened to you guys chat for probably another hour. There is a lot you guys talked about with the book, Built to Move. I don't even know where to start. There was a lot to go over.

[00:57:36.680] – Allan

Yeah. The interesting thing is Jill from the last week, Kelly and Juliet, and then another interview that's going to be coming up in a few weeks. Katie Bowman they're all movement specialists. That's what they do. They're into how the body moves, how to breathe, how to optimize the movement of your body. They do work with extreme athletes. They work with normal, everyday people. And it's really what it's all about is using the human body the way it was designed to be used. And so a lot of times we talk about performance and you might think, well, I'm not an athlete. I'm not trying to make the Olympics or NFL team or this or that. But what you are is an athlete from the perspective of the movement patterns that you need to do to be who you need to be, that could be a caretaker. So your ability to help someone get up off the floor when they fall, your ability to get yourself up off the floor when you fall, your ability to play with your grandchildren, your ability to keep up with them, your ability to do all these different things, and all of them are fundamentally built around your ability to move.

[00:58:46.630] – Allan

And a lot of people get into their forty s and fifty s, and they start talking about this ache and that pain and this joint I can't and the doctor said don't, and the only reason doctor is telling you don't is because he knows or she knows that it's going to hurt. And he and she knows maybe you're just not going to do anything to improve your performance, and therefore it's always going to hurt.

[00:59:12.520] – Rachel


[00:59:13.280] – Allan

We create these situations, but if we start moving our body more and we start moving it the right ways, and we start paying attention to how our body was designed to move, then it just makes it a lot easier. I get on the floor all the time to pet my dogs.

[00:59:30.220] – Rachel

Oh, good.

[00:59:31.050] – Allan

When I have grandchildren, that's never going to be a problem. I don't even think about it. I get on the floor, I get back up, and I can keep doing that. And if I wanted to do a cardio workout in my home, that's exactly what I would do. I'll get on the floor and get back up. Get on the floor, get back up. Try doing that for about three minutes. That's a workout.

[00:59:49.940] – Rachel

It would be, yeah.

[00:59:50.880] – Allan

Okay. But just try sitting on the floor and you'll find you squirm a bit, move a bit. The Starretts watch TV with their family sitting on the floor. They're not sitting on standard furniture. Katie, who we'll be talking about too in a few weeks, she's even more extreme. She's conditioned herself to not even need a mattress or a pillow when she sleeps.

[01:00:09.210] – Rachel

Oh my God.

[01:00:10.690] – Allan

Which I've done the last time I talked to her, which about five years ago. I did that for a while. And it will literally change the way you move, the way you feel, because your body adapts and builds capacity that wasn't there. We wear padded shoes, thinking that's protecting our knees. In reality, it's weakening our feet and ankles. And so when we go barefoot, it's really, really hard because our feet hurt because they're not used to being strong enough to support our body weight without that padding. And so as you start thinking about movement, in particular with their books, the Starrett's books, because he did The Supple Leopard, and then there was a second volume of that, and then they did Deskbound, and now they have this book. This book is sort of like, I'm not going to say a step change better, but it's an evolution. He was originally thinking about how athletes could move and should be. So it was a really good book, but it is mostly adapted to athletes. And then he did Desk Bound, which was more of the person who is sitting at a desk or sedentary a lot, not through choice, but just where you are.

[01:01:17.370] – Allan

This one balances it all out and says, what can normal people do to live better? And it gives you all of it in this one book. So I love their books, I love what they do. They're amongst the best books on the market. They're always going to be in my perennial favorites, and this one's no different.

[01:01:36.080] – Rachel

That's awesome. One of the light bulb moments that I had listening to the interview was somebody mentioned about nobody has a goal of sitting in a Lazy Boy for the rest of their life. And I love that, it's so true. But let's think about that for a second. My grandfather was probably in his 70s, so retired, and he loved to play golf. He did a lot of golfing, which is great. He would walk or take a cart, but he'd be out there hitting the balls all the time. Well, his shoulder started paying him and I was too young. I don't know what his shoulder injury was, but then his doctor said, you should give up golf if it hurts when you golf, give up golf. And that's what he did. And it's not that he actually sat in his Lazy Boy for the rest of the life. I'm sure he didn't. But when you're thinking about these later stages, when you retire from work, don't you want to be active? Don't you want to go and do things and play the sports you enjoy playing or travel to the places you want to travel?

[01:02:32.680] – Rachel

So between then and then, between these ages, these decades, even, you can think about, well, what can you do to maintain the range of motion or the endurance of the activity that you want to do, whether you want to do nine holes or 18 on a golf course? And it's just something that I always thought about. He was in his prime of his retirement and then became more or less couldn't do the things that he loved to do. And so watching your range of motions and like they mentioned, peppering your environment with all the tools, the foam rollers and the weights or whatever you want to do, if you have it near you, you're more likely to use it and get benefit from it and like you getting up and down off the floor. These are all activities that will help you stay fit for task as you age with each decade.

[01:03:19.450] – Allan

Well, and that's what I tore my rotator cuff, and I very easily could have gone to a normal doctor, and the doctor would have said, well, okay, stop doing these things, stop lifting these heavy weights, and stop doing these obstacle course races and stop moving. And that was never an option. When I went and looked for the surgeon, I found the surgeon that worked with athletes at the university. I found the physical therapist that worked with athletes at a Division One level school, and those were my team. I brought the best team for recovery for me to get back to being an athlete, if you will. That was my whole goal with the team. And I did the homework when I went in for the surgery. I still could do just about everything except press. And we went in. We're going to get the surgery done. I got the surgery done on Thursday. I was in physical therapy on Monday.

[01:04:21.130] – Rachel

Wow, that's awesome.

[01:04:23.490] – Allan

And like I said, I had one of the best physical therapists. He worked with the football team at the local university for a while. And I went in and I said, no, I don't want to just recover. I said, I want to be back to 100% of what I was before. Let's make that happen. And I did everything he told me to do. I did every bit of homework, and I actually didn't do more than what he told me to do. So there was no rushing it, if you will, to say, no, I've got to recover faster, and doing more is going to be better. It was really just this seasoned approach of saying, this is what's necessary. Get it done and don't injure yourself further by doing something silly.

[01:05:07.880] – Rachel

That's great that you had a team that was not interested so much as fixing you and reducing the pain, but helping you prepare for continued activity. There's kind of a difference in perspective there.

[01:05:19.770] – Allan

There is. If I had been your grandfather and they said, you can't play golf, and I'm like bull, right? I'm not a big golfer, so no, I mean, but realizing if if that was something that was one of the most important things in my life, fix me, what do we do so I can play golf? If the doctor said it, I'm like, I'm going to have to fire you. You're not a team player.

[01:05:44.130] – Rachel

Right. And I'd like to think that at least some of the doctors that I work with, I mentioned, okay, these are my goals in life. This is what I want to achieve, and what do I need to do to get there healthily? I have been injured myself, and I looked for doctors that would be willing to get me back on my feet to running and not just a sedentary lifestyle again.

[01:06:02.900] – Allan

Yeah. So imagine if someone said, Rachel, you broke your foot a second time. You got to stop running.

[01:06:08.220] – Rachel

Yeah, I'd laugh. We all laugh at these things. I need to find another doctor.

[01:06:15.740] – Allan

I'm sorry I got to fire you. I'm not a team player. You're not trying to help me. I'm going to run. You just got to make it happen. And so it's just a part of this has been thinking about where you want to go, and movement is the key for all of it because you're not I mean, who doesn't like sitting in a Lazy Boy watching movies?

[01:06:35.390] – Rachel

Yeah, once in a while, but not retirement.

[01:06:38.650] – Allan

That's not where I want to live for 40 years. And so it's just kind of one of those things is saying, no, get yourself moving the right way. And then books like this are going to start you in a very good way. They're going to teach you the right way and very simple, easy to start. And I think that's one of the values here is it's not like you got to be working out seven days a week. They're not even talking about that. Exercise is the sort of the cherry on top of this thing that we're not even talking about exercise. They're just talking about general day to day movements, patterns that you should be able to do safely and without pain. And if you're doing it right, you're less likely to injure yourself and feel pain. That's part of it, too.

[01:07:21.780] – Rachel

Awesome. Fun interview.

[01:07:23.730] – Allan

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

[01:07:25.870] – Rachel

Sure. Take care.

[01:07:27.140] – Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to be more human with Tony Riddle

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As we age, most of us lose a lot of functional fitness that makes humans apex predators. This happens for many reasons, but it isn't something you have to accept. You can learn to move better and as our guest, Tony Riddle titled his new book, Be More Human.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:29.590] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things going? 

[00:03:31.850] – Rachel

Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:33.670] – Allan

I'm doing good. I recently finished my coursework for the Precision Nutrition Level One and waiting for my certificate to come in. I set up on monthly payments, so it's kind of one of those things where because it's not cheap, but they offered monthly payments, I'm like, okay, I'll do monthly payments. And considering how long it usually takes people to get through that course, they said, okay, expect it to take three or four months, and you have to get about that many payments in before they'll even let you say that you're certified. So I think I have to wait until the end of this month. It's already July to wait till the end of this month, and I make a payment on the 29th. And so a couple of weeks from now, when this goes live, I'll get that payment in, and they should send me my certificate, and then I'll be precision Nutrition Level One certified.

[00:04:33.620] – Rachel

Nice. Congratulations.

[00:04:35.290] – Allan

Thank you.

[00:04:36.140] – Rachel

What did you think about the class? Did you learn anything interesting or anything?

[00:04:40.600] – Allan

I did. For a lot of people, when they're thinking about this, they think about, I don't want to log everything I eat, and it's so hard to track this, or, oh, they want me to do away with this or do away with that. And Precision Nutrition is a lot more holistic things I've said. So it kind of fits my model of thought is one, eat whole food.

[00:05:08.230] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[00:05:11.870] – Allan

Eat whole food. And then just take some time to start understanding portion sizes.

[00:05:17.330] – Rachel

Oh, yeah, that's a good one.

[00:05:20.030] – Allan

And then it's sleep and making sure that you're staying hydrated. And those are the kind of the four core principles of it. And guess what you don't have to do when you understand portion sizes? You're getting adequate sleep, you're staying hydrated, and you're eating real food. You don't have to track calories. You don't have to really worry about tracking macros, because guess what? You can't overeat whole food.

[00:05:49.010] – Rachel

Oh, cool.

[00:05:50.040] – Allan

Think about it.

[00:05:51.030] – Rachel


[00:05:51.380] – Allan

If I said, okay, here's what you got chicken or beef or fish as a protein, and maybe you want to do vegan or vegetarians, like, so you get your protein together, and you get your vegetables and fruits together and then try to overeat it.

[00:06:06.030] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:06:07.050] – Allan

Try just try to overeat meat. Okay.

[00:06:13.950] – Allan

I'm really trying to cut a little bit more weight to get ready for the tough mudder, which is going to be in another month and a half from when this goes live. And so I've started really trying to get myself into ketosis and pushing through on that. And right now I'm going through something where anything I eat that has carbs in it pops me down, and I'm like, I'm right on that line. It's like, right over the line or right under the line. And I wouldn't be too terribly troubled about it other than I'm not cutting body fat right now, because I drop out of ketosis when I eat any carbs at all. So I'm actually, at least for the last 48 hours, full carnivore.

[00:06:58.930] – Rachel


[00:07:00.090] – Allan

And I can tell you so I had steak for breakfast. I had eggs for lunch. I say breakfast, I ate it like noon, but I had my breakfast at noon. It was steak. I had eggs for lunch, which was about 3:30, and then for dinner at about six, I had another steak. So I'm talking about eating maybe about a pound a steak. So a big 16 ounce steak and then three eggs is what I had for lunch. So kind of a light lunch and then another steak. So I ate about another pound of steak for dinner, and I couldn't eat anymore. I got some leftover steak here. I'm like, well, I don't want to go to waste, so I'll wrap it up and save it for tomorrow. I could not have eaten any more than I ate. And if I added up the calories, I'm pretty sure I was really low on calories. I mean, because a pound of steak, I don't know. But 2 lbs of steak and three eggs, you guys can look it up and kind of figure out how many calories I had that day. That's all I ate. And I stayed satiated full all day long.

[00:08:06.310] – Rachel

I would imagine that sounds fulfilling. Wow.

[00:08:10.200] – Allan

Whereas I could eat a whole loaf of bread without even batting an eye, literally buy a whole load of French bread and just sit there and eat it, and then I'd be hungry ten minutes later, 2 hours later, I'd be starving. So you look at the nutritional density of your food, and that's really kind of where the fundamental difference comes in. Whole food is nutritionally dense, and you get full before that, whereas a lot of other foods that are processed or even somewhat slightly mildly processed, they're just more calorie dense. And that's where the weight gain comes from.

[00:08:48.200] – Rachel

because they're just not satiating, they just don't fill you up.

[00:08:51.340] – Allan

So that's kind of some of the core principles between precision nutrition and there's a huge component of behavioral change. A lot of what they're talking about is how we build habits, how we change behaviors. And so that's kind of the secret sauce to the precision nutrition process. It's not just telling you what to eat or naughty. It's basically saying, beyond that, we have to build these habits. We have to build these things. And they don't just happen. You don't just decide. So there's a big behavioral component of making sure that happens, and within it is like they break it down. It's like sometimes you're dealing with elite athletes that want to really hit a physique target or something like that. So it gets very specific into some of the things that you would deal with, with someone who needs to lose a lot of weight versus someone who's really just trying to cut another 3 lbs without losing any body muscle mass and stuff like that. So there's a lot of that in there, too. It's kind of what I would say outside of my core demo. Most of us are not trying to win physique contests, but that said, it's a really good certification.

[00:10:07.070] – Allan

So anyone that is certified out there, I would look at precision nutrition as a way of understanding the nutrition aspects of personal training and then being able to offer that as a more holistic service.

[00:10:18.890] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. Sounds like a great class.

[00:10:21.990] – Allan

So what's up there?

[00:10:23.620] – Rachel

Good. You know, summertime brings some really fun stuff. Right now, we've got two massive mulberry trees on our property that are dropping mulberries like crazy. It's ridiculous. They're all over the ground. And my dogs love it. They get a free snack every time they go outside, but it also brings in other animals. And I just saw red fox the other day. So the little fox family living somewhere in our wooded subdivision is coming to snack on the mulberries that are on our property, and it's been a real treat.

[00:10:54.940] – Allan

Now, the thing about foxes, we see these cute, cuddly little pictures of foxes, and we see the pictures, and we see the cartoons, and they seem like they're just these lovable little animals.

[00:11:07.950] – Rachel

They're adorable.

[00:11:08.870] – Allan

They're adorable. But some of them are really, like, not adorable. So you could get a good fox or a bad fox, but they're dangerous. They're wild.

[00:11:16.450] – Rachel

They are.

[00:11:17.260] – Allan

And they could go after your dog. They could go after you. So, yeah, you got to mind your Ps and Qs when you walk. Okay?

[00:11:25.960] – Rachel

Yeah, I keep an eye on my dogs, and I do let them out, and I'm always looking first before I let them out just to make sure there's nobody in our yard. With fox, we've had deer run through. We've had groundhogs coming through as well. So we've got a whole fun menagerie of wildlife in our property.

[00:11:46.040] – Allan

But it's like Noah's Ark.

[00:11:47.750] – Rachel

It is. It really is. Yes. But it is always fun. It's fun to see.

[00:11:53.610] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Tony Riddle?

[00:11:56.790] – Rachel



[00:12:22.930] – Allan

Tony. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:12:25.390] – Tony

Thanks, Allan. Great to be here, man. Thanks for the invite.

[00:12:28.770] – Allan

Your book is called Be More Human, which I love. Be More Human: How to Transform Your Lifestyle for Optimum Health, Happiness and Vitality. And I think one of the reasons that your title and this book resonated so much with me is a lot of what I've done to improve my own health and Fitness has included a lot of the things that are in his book, including we moved to a small island, Caribbean island off the coast of Panama. And so while I do live in a town, I'm very close to the jungle, and I'm closer to nature and everything than I've ever been in my whole adult life. I can literally go out and be in places and not see a person walking for over an hour. And it's

[00:13:16.880] – Tony

just kind of a dream.

[00:13:18.020] – Allan

It is special, I know, but a lot of this in the book doesn't require you to travel thousands of miles and move into the jungle to experience a lot of the benefits that I get being here. And so I want to talk a lot about this, what's in the book here, because I think this is a really special way to get healthier, connect with the Earth.

[00:13:47.770] – Allan

You say that you're be more human, but I'm like, be who you're supposed to be. Be the person you want me to be.

[00:13:55.390] – Tony

Yeah, you're human. What the universe uniquely assigned you to be. Get into the understanding of that, what your own human potential is, or purpose, we could even call that. And I think we get so distracted from that in our everyday environment because we're simply not getting our needs met within those environments. And that's largely what the book is about. It's not about demonizing the urban environment or the lifestyles in the city or the city itself. It's trying to dismantle, deconstruct those ways of living that aren't serving us and then reconnect into ways of living that enable us to thrive in any environment. That's the point. To become the connected, empowered being that we entered with. We're all in a tiny, wild, connected, empowered beings. It's what we land with. And over time, unfortunately, we get pulled off the path. But really, for me, it's about every day should still be a get, a need and most fundamental needs that then enable us to thrive and really tune into, well, what's this human's potential here? How do I be more human?

[00:15:08.590] – Allan

And I like the way you put it in the book, because it really puts it in a really good context, is that we create our own human zoo. And then you introduce the term rewilding, which you see a lot of people are going to initially kind of have a cringe moment when they think about going back to the Stone Age, living in caves or maybe tents with stone tools. Can you go a little bit more into what this rewilding getting out of our human zoo is all about and why it's so important?

[00:15:45.730] – Tony

Yeah, when I first started this kind of path, there was this language of zoo human versus wild human. And first of all, it's a bit of an insult to call someone a zoo human. And at the same breath, we can't really connect to being what a wild human is, and even indigenous cultures don't want to be perceived as being wild right there. But again, looking at the indigenous template of what it is to be, there's some incredible kind of moments where I've had these deep insights in nature because it's taken me to unplug myself from the urban environment to really tune in to how sophisticated it all is, right? And, you know, if you look at indigenous cultures, how incredibly wise and understanding those cultures are to that landscape of which they're custodians, really, we could look at the what is it, the study I brought up in, there like, four to 5% of the world's population is indigenous, and yet look after 80% of the world's biodiversity. So then it's like, well, what is it that we're doing then, if that's 4%? And so firstly, there's the biodiversity. There's the question of that. What is it that we're doing within the environment?

[00:16:59.740] – Tony

Is it because we're so separate from it? So I guess that's where I'd go with the wild understanding of it, that we are part of nature, not separate of it. We're interconnected in that sense. And then the zoo human in my mind is the fact that we've become disconnected and unplugged from it and that we see ourselves separate. So there's the ego versus eco conversation. So a lot of the work for me is disconnecting from an ecosystem and reconnecting to an ecosystem, again, not by demonizing the urban environment or the environments of which we choose to live in. It's the habits, perhaps, that are in those environments. So we could be looking at movement, perhaps, what does movement looks like in nature? That would be a wild or organic way of moving versus what does it look like in the human zoo? What does it look like in our everyday urban setting? So we could even put movement down to let's look at one study of the Hadza, for instance, to give us an example of cultures that have been living the same way for tens of thousands of years. The Hadza are just as sedentary as we are.

[00:18:11.500] – Tony

As in they sit for ten and a half hours a day, as in we sit for ten and a half hours a day. But there's something very different. Well, we have a chair, whereas they're sitting practices of floor sitting. Therefore, there are multiple different rest positions we can be choosing on the ground, which ultimately will lead to one primary position, which is a squat. And that squat position enables me to recognize the same body weight on my feet in the base of support of my feet to which I would stand. So squatting is the same weight, same areas of the feet that I load when I'm standing. But it's a rest position. And we see squatting as kind of an exercise protocol or strength conditioning protocol, but ultimately, beneath it, there's a rest position that we can communicate, be around the fire, eat, poop give birth in, right? And if we then look at the chair, perhaps in that conversation, or the sofa, where we may spend ten and a half hours of our day committed to, in a way, it compromises or is the saboteur of the way that we stand. So suddenly we find ourselves locked in the hips or stagnation occurring in the hips.

[00:19:27.850] – Tony

Then the pelvis and the lumber become incredibly unstable because the hip joints aren't mobile enough. So the core element, the core we love talking about, becomes unstable. The mid back becomes compromised, our chest starts to collapse, our head position starts to shoot forward and all those postural changes aren't conducive with standing and we spend a large portion of our day in that position. So that could just be well, that could be a zoo posture versus a wild posture. And in terms of wild, I would say what is it to be this wild, connected, empowered being? Well, it could just be just simply the way we move through a landscape or interact with it. How upright we are, how open we are. Is our posture connected and our joints working how they should be? Are our feet connected how they should be? Are they? Nourishing. The behaviors of the ankle, the knee, the hip stabilizing, the lower back, we could then put sleep in that box because we all love the topic of sleep, right? And there are so many studies in what would be the human zoo or the human laboratory even, because most of the studies are in the laboratory which help us understand what we need.

[00:20:37.540] – Tony

8 hours sleep a day. We must get 8 hours sleep a day. And to the point people are stressed about getting 8 hours sleep a day because they've heard the news that if you don't receive 8 hours sleep, then you have a sleep debt or you'll have a number of symptoms based on the fact you haven't accumulated over 8 hours. And they are diabetes, obesity, inflammation. And yet, when you look at these indigenous cultures, there's a great study in the book again, Professor Siegel from university in California, he looks at three different geographic locations or three independent tribes. So different geographic locations, independent tribes, hadza are in there again and they all have the same time asleep. It's like 5.7 to 7.1 hour, no 8 hours at all. But no one is asleep for 8 hours or 5.7 to 7.1 hour in a solid state. It's this sleep wake cycle. And if you strip it back and think, well, that makes sense, right? Because in nature can be quite hostile. If it's been the same sleep or the same environment they've been inhabiting for tens of thousands of years, then that might have been hostile if they were all asleep for 8 hours.

[00:21:57.870] – Tony

So in that time, would we be here today? Would those cultures be here today in those hostile environments? If they went to the land of nod for 8 hours. So in that sleep wake cycle, what they're doing is they're waking, they're tending to fire because you have to have a fire, they're fixing tools, they are even known to smoke party or whatever it is. But when they break away from the study and they look at the hatza, for instance, and they assess for 220 hours, they study them, 33 members of that one tribe, 220 hours, they only ever sleep for 18 minutes together. They're all doing this all different sleep wake cycles. So where is the obesity, the chronic inflammation, the obesity? It's not there. They're in incredible shape. And if some of the studies, when you look at them, because we have this idea about longevity, that they're only living till their 40s, some of these tribes know they can live beyond 70. That's not the case when we look at it. It's quite an interesting model to unpack just looking at how does it look in nature and how does it look in the environments of which we're inhabiting and then what is it that's different?

[00:23:14.390] – Tony

So what is different in that sleep habitat? It's like lighting, right? There's no turn the light on to create sunrise at sunset. So we know then that through the studies around melatonin and light pollution and blue light spectrum, they've become the saboteur of melatonin which is this incredible hormone that we only really associate with sleep, but it has antioxidant properties, anti inflammatory. It's also the main regulatory system of our digestive system around Glenn, Glenn and Leptin which then regulate whether I've had too much food wherever I need to eat, right? And then insulin, right? So there's this link to pancreas and the insulin. So then we have a inflammation, diabetes and obesity all in a conversation around melatonin and lighting all of a sudden. So is it the 8 hours sleep or is it the environment of which we're choosing to so then my question is how do we rewild that environment? And that's the context of rewilding a zoo or zoo environment as simple as the bedroom. We could look at that one environment if we're looking to spend 8 hours in it. So what can we do? We could change the lighting. You can now bring in circadian lighting which offers the same biological darkness which is like starlight, moonlight and firelight.

[00:24:35.540] – Tony

So it brings in amber tones and anything they suggest between 60 and 600 hundred lux will inhibit a blue spiritual light or will inhibit melatonin. Then what else is different? The temperature. There's also studies that suggest that if the temperature could also be a saboteur of melatonin so it's about getting the temperature down in the evening. So if you think of it again about being in the outdoor environment, if you've ever camped, you know that once the sun goes down, it gets cooler at night. So we know this cooling down of temperature too. And then there's something else which is the materials that perhaps we're breathing in and out in that environment. So in nature, again, it's an organic experience. So we're only ever really inhaling, or let's call it consuming through everything, our ears and nose, our senses, our taste, everything organic. So how do we make that expression more organic? And it's probably one of the points in the book. Everything else is free, really, the points I put in the book. But this is one where you stuff out of that bedroom environment to replace it with more organic material that might be the bedding or things like breathing.

[00:25:43.810] – Tony

We can change breathing mechanics. We now know that for nasal breathing there's a change of relationship between parasympathetic and sympathetic and then the information that we receive, right? So we all have one of these now that's quite bright on my phone. There's some fantastic studies around just fields of vision. So that's quite bright for that alone the light will inhibit melatonin. It's the suppressor of that we recognize that now, the saboteur of that, but also the fact that the visual state is so concentrated and that's associated more sympathetic, which is like fight and flight, whereas an open visual field is more associated with parasympathetic. So you have one condition where we're staring at a blue light which will suppress melatonin. The second one we end up with really hypervisual state, which is sympathetic fight and flight before sleep. The next one is then dopamine because we're typing and swiping, which again isn't conducive with sleep. And studies suggest that up to 400% melatonin from just typing and swiping. And then it can just be the information we were receiving. So is the information up regulating? Am I perhaps the difference between the fire and the indigenous tribes around the fire is perhaps romance, comedy, imparting wisdom, whereas this can be quite toxic and we've even normalized emotional bullying over social media, right?

[00:27:08.240] – Tony

It's okay to drop this comment and that's incredibly abusive to one person that they might receive before sleep. Or it could be a movie you're watching which is incredibly violent. That would be the equivalent of being around the fire with your tribe in this really down regulated state and being invaded or something, right? Or in a moment a predator comes in. So then you switch to what would be fight and flight, right? That would be a reaction to it. But we have that in our possession the whole time. So when you see it like that and you understand, it's much easier to think, okay, I get it now. It's not really about the length of sleep. The length of sleep is almost symptom relief. It's a symptom. What's the cause? It could even be the bedroom of which you're sleeping in could be the cause of the very conditions that are leading you to suppress melatonin are leading to inflammatory disease, diabetes and obesity. Just simple factors like that. And we can address it relief or we can look at the cause and the cause change the environment.

[00:28:17.150] – Tony

Now, one of the things that's fascinating about you is you're an endurance runner and your runs barefooted. And I can tell you the other day it was raining and I had wore because I was planning to meet my wife out and I had wore my leather boat shoes, brand new leather boat shoes and I didn't have an umbrella. And I was like, okay, I can't walk home in these. I'm going to have to walk home barefoot. And so I put them in a plastic bag and I put them in another bag and then I started walking home barefoot. And when stepping in a puddle, when you can't see the bottom is a little kind of scary but sharp rocks. I seem to be able to find every single sharp rock between two points. How does someone get into barefoot running and do it in a way where they're not hurting themselves? Like I said, I think you can condition your foot and obviously it gets stronger. I know that because I spent a lot of time walking around barefoot. But to me, running barefoot is a little scary.

[00:29:17.590] – Tony

Yeah, I mean, there's a mind aspect to it, right, as well as obviously the physiological. But there's also a technique. I think we sometimes neglect the technique, but there's a study in the book from University of Liverpool, which is Chris Dart, and they look to the strength side the physiological changes that can occur by people returning just back to barefoot footwear, like Vivo Barefoot, for instance. In this particular study was Vivo Barefoot and within six months they'd improve 60% foot strength and 40% balance just by returning that. So if we think of that being the foundation of your superstructure so the first phase could be well, you could change to more minimal footwear. That's one step because then you're still getting the shape of the foot because ultimately you want to look at what's the shape of a foot versus the shoes that I'm wearing. So if you were to take a piece of paper, draw around your foot on the paper and you'd find the toe area like the foot, this area is much use. My dirty feet wide and the heel is much more narrow, right? Whereas if you then grab your footwear and you draw around it you might find that the toe box is actually much more narrow.

[00:30:29.550] – Tony

It's aesthetic so it's more aesthetically pleasing. But it's, again, the saboteur to how that foot is designed and to move and nourish the rest of your posture and the way that we move above it. So if the shape of the foot is compromised there's 26 bones, 33 articulation joint actions like 100 muscle, tendon, ligaments, 29 muscles. And then it's made up of tendon ligaments and then there's 200,000 receptors, like receptors like the equivalent of your hands that reside in a foot. I mean, it's. Phenomenal engineering, but that then feeds and nourishes how your joints and behaviors are above it to make you more efficient and minimize the risk of injury. But let's say Alan decides I'm going to take my shoes off, I'm going to walk over a hard surface which has hard stones on it. If I was to ask you to jump up and down barefoot on a really hard surface, what gives, Alan? Is it you or is it the hard surface?

[00:31:32.390] – Allan

I'm going to have to it's not going anywhere.

[00:31:35.450] – Tony

Not going anywhere. Or we'd be hitting hard on hard and one of those surfaces will have to break. Right? So what happens is that if you were to jump up and down on a compliant, really soft surface, we become can, more stiff and more rigid because the surface is doing this. So come 1969, it was normalized all of a sudden to wear more rubber. And then we have more rubber, but we also have a narrow toe box. So we create a narrow shape for the toes to go into. Then we put rubber underneath it with a heel, which raises it and pushes the foot into the footbed even more. So we create a stiff, rigid foot which becomes narrow in the toe box. And the whole point of that super wide foot is not just the loading points, leverage and pivoting. There's specific actions that have to occur in the foot that are based on leverage and balance. And this ability to even grip with the foot, when the foot becomes incredibly stiff and rigid in that shape, when you try and return back to walking over a stony path, you're then going back to that hitting hard on hard and stiff on stiff.

[00:32:42.830] – Tony

And it can feel like.. Until you would have to learn how to break the foot up. So again, going back into one way is to return back to minimalist barefoot footwear. So you can start to allow the foot to open up. There's a minimum layer between you and the earth. It's zero. Drop your feel stuff underneath you, but you won't be getting so much that which creates more tension. The more of that response, the more rigid intent you get, adding to more hard on hard expression. And the other thing I've put some practices in the book is to rewild the feet, which are practice like toga we call it like yoga for your feet. And that's then about opening the feet up and getting more expression into them and ultimately softening them so they can become the compliance over the stiff surfaces. And then eventually what happens, the more and more familiar you normalize it. And what you find is that you become more sensory aware, more sensitive. And I don't mean sensitive in that ah ah ah, I mean sensitive. I really learn that you'll learn how to become, again, soft when you need to be, stiff when you need to be.

[00:33:59.350] – Tony

We have the most sophisticated suspension systems within us. That's the point. And that's why those 26 bones, 33 articulations, 200,000 receptors are there and over 100 muscles, tendons ligaments or 29 muscles and the rest tendons, ligaments that make that 100 up. That's why it's there. But it's there also because it feeds and nourishes all the other mechanics above it. So that's where I'd go with feet. But then you then have well, the chair, so the chair will then the seat is sitting for ten and a half hours, then compromises the posture above it. So it's like a two pronged thing. Running for me is not just barefoot. Running isn't just about feet, it's about getting the appropriate posture and becoming much more upright and aware of that posture. And the whole point there is that our head should be up above, but we lead with the heart. The chest is the lead segment, not the head. The moment the head goes forward from typing, swiping and couching and slouching, I call it, what would happen is when you're running so that if your head is far forward of you, you have to have your foot further out in front of you, otherwise you'd simply fall over.

[00:35:08.880] – Tony

Imagine you're upright like this and we're running along. The moment the head drifts forward, you'd have to put your foot further out, otherwise you'll fall over. So the head would get to a point of tipping point. But if we can become much more upright, you can get to the point where your feet are pretty much landing underneath you and it means there's a lot less contact time. So you just catch the ground beneath you. And the idea is that leading from your heart and keeping your head up, we're literally just falling in this direction and you just keep pulling your feet softly from underneath you. And pulling is a great term, I understand that from a genius called Nicholas Romanoff who developed the Pose Method. And this idea that we think we have to push when we run and ultimately if you just keep doing this, you just pull your feet from the ground. And the idea is by pulling, you're not driving your feet down or pushing, you're trying to pick them up. And I would pick them up with sensitivity again like this, softening and you don't need to worry about putting them down, it will just happen naturally, just pick up.

[00:36:08.100] – Tony

So if you keep your head up, your chest up bead with the heart, nasal breathing also helps because again, the study suggests that there is through nitric oxide that we inhale through the nose it's stimulated will benefit vasodilation and bronchial dilation if we'll become more efficient with our lungs of breathing and we can lower our heart rate and our blood pressure just by nasal breathing. There's also 42% less vapor loss by nasal breathing, which is mind blowing, especially for me, for an endurance athlete. But it keeps us in that calm state. Again, so I think with breathing we can be relaxed with the right posture, we can deal with the forces appropriately. We're not creating longer levers or loading areas of the feet. We're not designed to load. And just by either wearing minimal footwear or allowing the feet to understand what's beneath them, again, it helps feed our movement brain to make the right calculations on what muscles, tendons and actions should be applied for that one locomotive pattern. And I say that one because walking is the same. It's like walking with an upright posture down regulated through breaths, less striding, actually trying to keep your feet underneath you, but thinking about rolling through the feet and becoming visually aware of the environment as well.

[00:37:27.860] – Tony

Because we bring the head down, the head starts to chase and we create longer levers. Otherwise again, we'd be falling over. And the less contact time, the more efficient. Again, because it requires less muscle action, you're on the ground for less time, basically posture, relaxation and the timings and the rhythms of that.

[00:37:53.340] – Allan

And the key takeaways I get from this, again, being over 40 actually over 50 now is balance, because falls become a big deal, particularly as we get over 60. So anything you can do to improve your balance, which this will do, is good. And as you mentioned, being more efficient means you're going to be capable of going faster and doing more work. So when you're out training, you're going to get more done and you're going to see better improvements because your efficiency and your capacity to do more, because your heart rate isn't racing as high, because you're not in that fight or flight state. So there's lots unpacked there that makes this really interesting. Now the other thing, and people won't know this, listening to a podcast, but you're sitting on the floor. And so sitting on the floor, it's one of the things if you hand a kid a book or a toy, immediately they're going to run over and they're going to sit on the floor. And then somewhere along their lives, probably around great school age, we start beating that out of them and then eventually they're going to be on couches and chairs just like the rest of us.

[00:38:56.440] – Allan

I found that sitting on the floor, when you're with a kid, it changes the whole relationship with that child. And I build relationships with my granddaughter. Initially she was terrified of me and I built a relationship by walking over and sitting on the floor and starting a Sponge Bob cartoon on my computer. And she came over and sat next to me and we watched SpongeBob for about an hour. And my ability to be able to sit on the floor for that amount of time, I shifted, I moved. You can't really just sit. You got different postures you have to do because your body is just naturally going to tell you to do that, which is actually part of the value. In there, you had actually like, I think, six different ways of sitting that you want to shift between. And I think actually, in my opinion, a lot of those just naturally happen. But can you talk about sitting and having a floor sitting and having a floor sitting practice?

[00:39:52.130] – Tony

Yeah, we've been a ground living floor sitting family for, I think, since lower. And really they're our eldest, so they're 13 and twelve to about 10 13 and ten. It's about around about nine years, I guess now eight or nine years. I used to have a Pilates studio and big practice, like six practitioners and people would rock up at the studio, they take their compromising, narrow toe box compliance shoes off, put them in the rack, and they would have no doubt been driving to the plate. Studio sitting would then come in and jump on the Reformers and the Cadillacs and try and dismantle all the harm that was being caused, the symptom relief from the environment, the cause, which was the footwear in the chair, because they've been sitting for ten odd hours. So I had this kind of eureka moments would pop off. It's like, wow, okay, this is like so what does that look like? Again, it came really through the barefoot running and understanding that, well, there's a natural running posture. Where do we see that? With indigenous cultures against natural running posture. It can be seen there. And again, these incredible tribes, running tribes are running the same.

[00:41:06.460] – Tony

They all look the same when they're running and have the same posture. What's different? Again, there's no footwear and there's no chair involved. That's how they've managed to maintain the same posture. What are the sitting postures look like? But it works out. You can strip it back. And you may see this as you've alluded to with kids. You see them sitting on the ground, you'll see them transition from one shape to another. And those rest positions that are in the book, there are six different series, a series of each. So there's a squatting series, a side sitting series, a long sitting series, and so on a kneeling series, each one of those rest positions is like a prerequisite or will complement the way we stand. Because that's ultimately what we used as a baby to toddler, to young adults to stand up. Right. And then what happened is at some stage a chair was pushed underneath us and then we start to sit in a chair for longer periods of time in a classroom environment with a hierarchical system, with a teacher at the front. And we're told to sit still and be quiet. And we may have had an hour then to go out and play.

[00:42:12.410] – Tony

And then that hour became lunch break and then play became PE physical education, which then involves stretching and doing all the stuff. But before the chair kid, you don't see any children, any toddlers stretching. They're just incredibly fluid and this ability to move on the ground. And what we've noticed through ground sitting and being a floor sitting families is our kids. That's how they've remained. We unschooled as well. There's no school in that conversation. So the only time we're sitting, it's unavoidable. It could be in a car or a plane or train or occasional cinema, but other than that, it's ground sitting. And their postures are incredible, right? Their framework is incredible. Their athleticism has remained incredible. They haven't had to relearn how to once they stand up from a chair. So again, I think it's understanding that there's beneath our upright, wild, empowered posture, there are these sitting postures and those sitting postures help nourish, that upright posture.

[00:43:17.710] – Allan

I love that concept of a sitting family and the reasons I think back to how much money I have spent on couches and chairs over the course of my life.

[00:43:32.870] – Tony

We use bolsters and stuff like that because you still want to create like a dining expense. Our dining room table is a low table and we have ground sitting, like little bowls, like yoga cushions and stuff like that on the ground. People come, they still have some experience as a dining experience that's not going to work for everyone. So my advice is always that look at the everyday environment. Can I spend less time on the couch? Can I set a timer and maybe kneel or squat? And you do get signals, and for some at the beginning it will be uncomfortable, but it's playing with the edges of that discomfort. Until some of those postures become a little more comfortable, they won't become so comfortable that you'll spend ten and a half hours like you could in a chair. Because nature's way is you'll get signals to tell you to move. And the beauty of that is there's a chemical metabolic cost for movement taking your everyday work. If you work from home, put your laptop down like, I'm on this call, I'm on the ground, I've been side sitting and I've been sitting crosslegged, I've been kneeling and I've been squatting already, all on a call.

[00:44:39.840] – Tony

And we're like 40 minutes in. I just have, whilst having a conversation, 40 minutes of mobility and strength work that ultimately is going to help me remain mobile in my hips and strong in my core, keep my head and chest upright, which then has an overlap in the way that I stand, I walk and I run as a 47 year old endurance athlete. Is that important? 100%. And we're all endurance athletes. That's the point. Underneath it, we are. Right? That's where we're at. And unfortunately, some of the habits within habitats aren't enabling that. And if you want to become more efficient, minimize the risk of injury, then get on the ground and just get back into understanding how those behaviors are on the ground and how that will then feed into how your posture will thrive. And there's a guy yehudi in my book, I mentioned to him, he's like 82 now. And he first came wanting to learn how to walk. And he had this stooped posture from working and collapsed in the chest and stiff in the hips and stiffing the ankles, and over time went through toga rewilding feet, rewilding footwear, vivo, barefoot, got him on the ground, ground sitting.

[00:46:00.170] – Tony

And then later on in time, the reason it turned out he wanted to learn how to walk because he wanted to climb Everest to base camp, everest base camp with his wife for his 50th anniversary. But his commute now looks like this. He walks to the tube in barefoot footwear. The tube is our underground train. He then gets on the underground and mostly people will go, do you want to seat? Because he's like 80. But no, I'm okay. And so here he hang off the bars above, so it hang on to the rails above while the train is moving. So he gets grip strength in, he opens his chest up, enables his whole respiratory system by enabling that upper posture through hanging. And then when the train stops or even squats whilst people get on, when the train goes again, the doors closed, he surf. So he's now balancing whilst not holding on to anything and surfing the train. And that just again, it proves that it's never too late, even Allan, because sometimes we look at this, we are past that. I'm never going to be able to sit back on the ground again.

[00:47:03.560] – Tony

Here we are, a dude in his 80s. That's what he's doing. And that's his practice. And he also works from home and he has a standing desk. And he also has a sitting desk. But he also has a lot of his practice on the ground that will help dismantle and deconstruct some of the poor qualities that come from sitting in a chair. But also enhance the way that he stands at his standing desk and will improve the posture of which he chooses to stand. Because standing tap desks get a lot of praise. But if I'm not posturally aware and I still have inefficiencies in movement within the ankle and the hip and I'm not flexible or upright in the mid back, which comes through sitting in a chair, then that's just as detrimental to stand with poor posture as it is sitting with it.

[00:47:50.510] – Allan

Now, one of the other areas of movement that I want to get into because I think this is another area where we kind of move from child to adult and we start casting away the things that we did. That was that quote. When I was a child, I played as a child and play as adults. Okay, I play tennis or maybe play basketball. But as you got in the book, I started thinking because you said this, it's like those sports that we play, they're usually unilateral or they're front and back or there's some aspect to them, where it's repetitive movement that we're doing. And while it's movement, which is great, I'm never going to poopoo movement at all. It's not really building us to be a better human. Can you talk about how we should play, how play would be if we got out of our zoo?

[00:48:46.090] – Tony

Yes, very specialized, the way that we observe those sports. Right. They're very specialist. And underneath it all, we're all generalist movers. So again, in the book I've put a study by Peter Gray. He wrote a fantastic book, Free to Learn, and we're an unschooling family. So it's around homeschooling and unschooling. But within it, again, three independent tribes, three different geographic locations. And he asked ten leading anthropologists, what does childhood look like in nature? And firstly, their responses. They're the most well adjusted, well rounded individuals they've ever met, which we refer our colonial minds like savages or whatever, comes to the most well rounded, well adjusted. And that's not from a lens of cultural appropriation. It's cultural appreciation. It's like, wow, okay, what's different? And children are playing from infancy through to their teenage years and they are left to play without adult intervention, without the adult supervision. So it's from infancy through to teenage years, all different ages, playing and mixing together. And they play at being everything. So they've played being the plants, the rocks, the animals. They've played at being the adults. Foraging, hunting, tracking, fire, building shelter, building. It's all in there.

[00:50:10.340] – Tony

So that the idea is that they walk into adulthood and still what would be a playful state of mind? And in adulthood we could then question, well, are those tribes that we're talking about operating with a playful state of mind? And when asking Bruce Perry, who I interview, and he's again mentioned in the book and from what said is that this Pen and tribe that he spent some time with in the Benjelli tribes is that these tribes are moving through a landscape in this meditative state, in a real parasympathetic state. What we call like flow state, they're in it. And flow state I refer to is just being placed. It's just an extension of that. And then the ability to move your physicality in that environment. Because if you're playing at being everything, you are, everything, you'll be the animals within that environment. We have this amazing ability to impersonate any animal, yet we have difficulty even moving with our own locomotive patterns. And there is this understanding how does it compare through childhood to what it would look like in nature? And so again, we enter a school system where we're very playful and we have play as the background within that, where we're moving around on a playground, a playground.

[00:51:33.300] – Tony

And we're expressing, but it's still supervised by adults. And there's now fear involved with that, that children might fall off something or hurt something. So we then start to worry about perhaps being sued. So then we change even how high kids can climb and practice climbing or jumping or balancing. And these are the fundamentals, like balance, climbing, jumping, lifting, throwing, defending, running, swimming, right? They are generalist movements. And even the imagine the amazing skills of foraging where you're down on the ground and Lowgate walking and grabbing things or have to crawl under something or over something or balance up in something or climb something. That's a generalist mover. And kids have that. If you actually let your kids just thrive in an environment, you'll be amazed at their capacity to move. But yet we go into a classroom environment where that's stripped back and we're told to sit. We then get into a PE physical education that's very specialist. And the specialist lens means that it doesn't often suit every child. We also have the age, massive age differences. So the eldest in the year versus the youngest in the year, who's going to be picked, who's going to be strongest and who's going to come away feeling inadequate.

[00:52:55.050] – Tony

The youngest kids, the bigger kids, are much stronger. They're taller. They're picked by whoever's in charge of that class. Then we have things like footwear. Again, like the basketball studies, like basketball footwear. Think of the forces that are involved in basketball. It's very playful, basketball. It's a really great practice. It would become even greater if we looked at foot function because those basketball boots we're talking about getting incredibly narrow in the toe box. The performance and behavior of the feet is compromised. That means the knee has to be the lower back. So if we then brought in that Professor Chris Dort study and said, well, what if we didn't put compromising footwear on those children to begin with and they maintained 60% of that foot strength and their balance, what potential would be there? Or we could say, what potential has been lost by wearing compromising footwear over time and then putting specialist sports through these young bodies that are, again, as you suggest, right, it's in the book. It's this understanding that they're very linear, those practices, like pushing, pulling one plane. Whereas actually, when you look at play, it's multi direction. And there's something else phenomenal that I observe through it and observing my kids.

[00:54:20.070] – Tony

It's through that tribal experience of the kids are being everything. It means that you can step outside your experience. So even if you get stuck, we get stuck, right? People get stuck in depression or could be mental health, for instance. But if you don't lose your playful state of mind, you can imagine yourself in a different position. You can play out being something else. So whereas in nature it might be I don't know, whatever we're playing out in a natural experience versus what we might be playing out in the human zoo might be Harry Potter, Dobby or all these characters. At least there's an opportunity to imagine yourself outside of that. So there's other things that empathy, compassion, that can be delivered through that. I had a big workshop it was with a yoga community and it's called Yoga Connects and I was asked to take a class at the festival and there's a large number of yogis came in and I said firstly we're going to just roll your maps up. Put them away. Take your footwear off and we will just come into the space and we walk around the space and meander around the space.

[00:55:29.550] – Tony

I said, Well, I'm not going to teach you yoga, I'm not a yogi, but I'm going to teach you something about connection and it's going to come through play. And all of a sudden I had these yogis in the room brushing shoulders and then bouncing off one another. Next body part, next body part. Then mirroring one other's movements, then dancing head to head, looking into one another's eyes and then mimicking each other as if they're working in a mirror. And suddenly what can become even in yoga, which is the same planes on one map, performing the same movements over and over religiously, suddenly the expression changed. This amazing vocabulary of movement started to unravel in a very short window of time. Because it's like Play hydration we call it, you can suddenly start to reconnect to something we've become quite divorced from.

[00:56:15.710] – Allan

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

[00:56:26.570] – Tony

So that trifecta for me is breath work. Looking at different modalities of breath that helped me change my state, my state of mind, my being, my very being. And that might be from nasal breathing to tempos of breath. Simple practice on the hour, every hour could be simply 4 seconds up through the nose, 6 seconds out. I call it a rebooting breath so that the day doesn't get away or the experience doesn't get away with me. I can stay in check and I can keep bringing it back to the breath. It's incredible powerful. It drops us into a more restful state and just enables us to stay more present and be present in the moment. The other one of course, is nature immersion. The study suggests just 20 minutes in a natural setting. It could even be the park really. But the more natural or more biodiverse, the better the emotional state would be. I would suggest just 20 minutes is enough to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and the more diverse, like forest, you start to get things like phytincides, which are the compounds that plants like terpenes are almost like aromatherapy that's given off by plants and they're antifungal and antibacterial.

[00:57:41.580] – Tony

And when we inhale that, our body starts to produce natural killer cells which help them fight things like viruses and even tumors, right? So we have lower in heart rate, blood pressure and amazing kind of ability to improve our immune system just by being in nature. So that's breath work. I would say nature immersion and then movement. Just finding those opportunities become more of an opportunist. Go back into that playful state of mind of how you might move, get out of the chair, get onto the ground, start moving around. Think of that as a mobility practice. If you work from home, you have an amazing opportunity to move more within that environment. Just we're so conditioned to think we have to sit and do the work. And that might also mean on the commute, can I run down the stairs instead of getting the lift? Or the escalator? Can I balance on curbstones or something? Just think of that. And along with nature immersion, we could say that nature immersion also involves cold immersion, like cold water therapy and getting into cold water. And that also has an ability to completely change our section altered State of Mind.

[00:58:45.360] – Tony

In two minutes, you're done. And you can literally maybe not be like the person getting in the water, but you'll be in love with the person getting out. It can really change things in a very short window of time. So they are my three, really. I call it Tony's trifecta.

[00:59:00.650] – Allan

Tony's trifecta. Love that.

[00:59:07.170] – Allan

All right, well, Tony, if someone wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about the book, Be More Human, where would you like for them to go?

[00:59:17.910] – Tony

You can hit my website, which is www.tonyriddle.com. I'm also known on Instagram as @thenaturallifestylist, and there's lots on there. So in the link bio there, you'll be able to find links to my book, up and coming workshops, upcoming retreats and experiences. I have a big retreat going in, in end of August, which is a rewilding retreat. So it's on an incredible estate. It's an opportunity to not just rewild movement, but also be involved in the landscape there and have that experience so that Tony Trifecta is in full there. It's a great place for that. And also have a look out for the 100 Human Experience, which is a weekend events that I hold with 100 people. We have 100 people come and there's breath work, movement, cold immersion, ice baths, ecstatic dance, cacao ceremony. It's like a really just an incredible experience. So all of that can be found, really, either on the website or on my Instagram account. They're good places to head, really. There's a number of tutorials there. And if you're interested in the barefoot stuff, there's a documentary. We just wrote one best documentary for the British Independent Film Festival.

[01:00:34.150] – Tony

It's called One Man 2 Feet Three Peaks. And that's up on YouTube. There's some great stuff there. That's a record that I broke running the three biggest peaks, highest peaks in the UK. And normally the idea is you drive between them. I decided to run the whole distance and I covered the mountains barefoot as well. So it was breaking a men's running record, but also breaking it being barefoot, which is quite something.

[01:01:01.710] – Allan

It is. Thank you, Tony. I'll make sure to have those links on the show notes for this episode. Tony, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Post Show/Recap

[01:01:17.350] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:01:19.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really interesting interview, and I really like the term rewilding. Yes. I'm not so sure. I'm a big fan of his wild human or zoo human.

[01:01:34.130] – Allan

I like that. I actually think that is well, because we don't want our kids to get dirty. They stick their hands in the dirt and we want to wipe it off. We don't want to get dirty. A lot of us don't. We want clean. We want sanitary. We're concerned about all this stuff. Hand sanitizer, avoiding everything concrete, this, rubber that, gloves, masks, all of it. We do so much to separate ourselves from our environment. Sunglasses. Something as simple as sunglasses is separating you from the sun. And so, yeah, I get it. If you're walking on Pensacola Beach, it's so bright white with the sun.

[01:02:32.430] – Allan

You can be blind for 20 minutes until your eyes adjust. I get it. But we do so much to separate ourselves from our environment, and that's frankly unnatural.

[01:02:45.330] – Rachel

Well, that's why I like the term we re wilding so that we do take an extra step into nature, which I love. I'm always outside running on the trails and checking out what is all out there. But the other part of the conversation was, you've said this in the past, too. We look at our ancestors, hunter gatherers. They were active. They weren't lounging on sofas and lazy boys like we are today. But also, you brought in the child aspect of it, looking at what our children are doing. They're just running around playing without even thinking about whether their watch just saying they're productive or not. They're just out there enjoying what they're doing.

[01:03:25.790] – Allan

Right. And the whole time we were on the conversation, tony was basically sitting on the floor. He had a lower desk, and so I could tell he was sitting on the floor. He was kneeling. He would move his leg. He would shift side to side as he was talking. You can't tell that's happening when you're listening to it. But the whole time he was sitting on the floor. And as a result of our interview, which I think ran almost an hour, he was moving, and that's positive movement. But all that said, we don't get down enough. We don't get up, and we don't get down. We're in chairs, we're in couches. We spend our office hours in a desk. We might be lucky enough to have an adjustable desk or something like that where we can at least stand part of the day. And that's better is good. It doesn't have to be perfect.

[01:04:24.510] – Rachel

Yeah, but it was interesting. I didn't even think about having a sitting on the floor type desk, like you just said, he was doing in his interview. We don't get down on the floor very often unless we drop something and have to kneel down to find it.

[01:04:46.270] – Allan

You have the people that joke about, well, I don't get on the floor anymore unless I have a plan on how to get up.

[01:04:52.810] – Rachel

Right? Yeah, it's so true.

[01:04:55.230] – Allan

And we can joke about it, but the reality is that's functional movement and let's say you wanted to go camping. Well, what are you doing? You're squatting, you're getting down. You're starting a fire, because you can't start a fire standing up. You're getting in and out of your tent, which, unless you are kind of really doing something special, you don't walk into your tent. You get on your hands and knees and you crawl. You're not sleeping on a pillow top bed. You now have, at best, a blow up, but a lot of times not the best you could do is make sure you don't have a rock or a root under your lower back to the right spot to lay. And then you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You're crawling back out of the tent and walking around. And so it's just these things that we say, okay, I would love to be able to do this, I'd love to be able to do that. I want to be able to carry my own kayak. I want to be able to go camping and enjoy myself. There's movement patterns that you're going to be doing that you should make a part of your regular life.

[01:05:59.780] – Allan

So when you're camping, this is not an unusual thing. This is a part of your lifestyle. It's the way you intended to live when you go camping, when you do these other things. Yeah, if you're on the floor and you're sitting for an extended period of time doing something, it could even be watching a television show, you're sitting there and your watch is not going to tell you, oh, you move this many squirms in that many ways, and your watch isn't going to do that. There's no metric for it other than you notice that it just gets more natural. It feels better. There's not these grunts and groans or pains or aches. You're building mobility from the very fact that you're on the floor and your body is forcing you to squirm around because you can't just sit. You're going to want to move your leg to the side. You're going to want to shift the other leg. You're going to move from one butt cheek to the other butt cheek. And then maybe you want to go ahead and get up into a kneeling position. And while you're in the kneeling position, instead of both knees on the ground, you want one knee on the ground.

[01:07:07.920] – Allan

And then you're just moving around through these ranges of motion. And that's one of the things he has in the book, is he literally has those laid out of. Okay, this is a set. This is a set. This is a set. And so you can say, I'm going to spend some time in a kneeling position, I'm going to spend some time in a sitting position. I'm going to spend some time in a squatting position. Because if you get your mobility right, the squat, as he mentioned, is a rest position. I know that sounds really weird, but without having your butt sitting on something other than maybe your heels, that should be a resting position. But we've kind of beat that out of ourselves with decades of sitting. We're not able to do that. You can look at videos and see if you've ever been to particularly Asia, but mostly across Asia and somewhat in Africa. I've seen this where literally, yeah, they squat down almost, butt to grass. And that's a resting position. They're just sitting there now. They're also most of the time when I see them doing that, they're smoking.

[01:08:14.490] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[01:08:15.720] – Allan

But which we'll talk about in a few weeks with Dr. Romero. But that's the whole point though. That's their resting position. So instead of just standing around or sitting in a chair, they just plop down and they're in a very comfortable rest position because the joints are now all the pressures off the muscles and the joints. You're just in a natural lay there, sit there position.

[01:08:38.250] – Rachel


[01:08:38.700] – Allan

Yeah. There's a lot of little things we can do, and this book has some really good guidelines of how you can get started rewilding yourself. But to me, it's really just about finding function. It's about getting back to what, you know should be your natural approach.

[01:08:56.310] – Rachel

That sounds great. Interesting conversation.

[01:09:00.270] – Allan

I was pleasantly surprised with the book and with Tony because knowing some of his friends, I was expecting a totally different book from the be more human aspect of that. But no, it was a great book. And if you're concerned about mobility, flexibility, strength, all those functional fitness things we talk about right now, this is one of the best books you can buy to become more functionally fit.

[01:09:26.280] – Rachel

That sounds great.

[01:09:27.610] – Allan

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

[01:09:30.170] – Rachel

Great, thanks. Take care.

[01:09:31.930] – Allan

Okay, you too. Bye.

[01:09:33.410] – Rachel



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Another episode you may enjoy


November 11, 2016

Functional fitness with Lamar Lowery

Lamar Lowery is the founder of the Lamar Functional Training Academy in Germany and the author of a new book called Functional Fitness. While intended for personal trainers, Functional Fitness offers information and sample exercises that everyone can use in building their own functional fitness.

What is functional fitness?

Lamar explains that fitness can be functional and not just traditional. Every moment involves a chain of muscles and nerves, which when repeated over time helps to restore the body’s natural capacity for movement.

Four pillars of human movement

In the book, Lamar discusses the four pillars of human movement, which provide a strong foundation to build upon when improving one’s functional fitness. They include:

  1. Locomotion, which involves standing and moving.
  2. Core area of the body, including the shoulder to the knee. This does not stop at the hips.
  3. Pushing and pulling, such as opening and closing doors, moving a mouse. We do these motions constantly throughout the day.
  4. Rotation and diagonal movement, which involves keeping your arms swinging when the body is moving. This keeps the muscles in the upper body activated. Another helpful exercise is doing squats by simply sitting in and getting up from a chair.

The functional path to better performance

To get started, Lamar recommends starting with the basics. This involves moving everything symmetrically and in pairs. Make sure your posture is aligned. Practice basic body positions including the push up position and a laying position. Learn to control these movements and then move on to more complex exercises. This is the functional path to better performance.

Functional Fitness is a great resource of various exercises, both basic and advanced, for both personal trainers and anyone interested in improving their health and fitness. To get a copy of Lamar's book, go to your local bookstore and request that they order it for you.

August 19, 2016

How to maximize your functional fitness

Functional fitness is a term that has been made much more common with the creation and growth of crossfit.  Basically, functional fitness means training your body to deal with everyday activities.  When I work with my clients at Forever Fitness, I ask them to project their vision of health and fitness and then we can develop a program to get them there.  Functional fitness typically involves using non-traditional training equipment.

Define Functional Fitness

To train for functional fitness, you should start by defining your current (benchmark) state.  Do you have any physical limitations such as injuries or weaknesses?  What are your strengths?  What are the current demands on your body?  As you can tell, these questions are very individual to you.  Don't skip this step as it is critical to know the answers in order to design a program that will work for you.

Next, you'll determine what functional looks like to you.  This vision statement gives you a picture of what you want to be able to do.  For me, I want to be able to have the stamina to play sand volleyball.  I want to be able to move my body and objects without injuring myself, especially my lower back.

Focusing on functional fitness is going to push you to do workouts that are relevant.  As a result, you're much more like to stick with the program and meet your fitness goals.

Training for Functional Fitness

I strongly encourage you to hire a personal trainer to help develop a functional program.  It can be quite difficult to build an exercise program that will effectively hit on multiple fitness modalities and avoid injuries.  A dedicated personal trainer can help you get started and stay engaged as you build your functional fitness.

Part of your programming should focus on correcting your weaknesses.  Strengthening my core is integral for me to avoid back injury while I lift weights to build the strength I want.  I also need to focus on my mobility for the same reason.

After considering your weaknesses, you can get some work done to improve your strengths.  But it might take some patience to get your weaknesses addressed to a point it is safe to train strengths.  Again, that is an area where a personal trainer can help.  Once you're ready, you'll likely work on continuous improvement on your weak areas while you progressively push your strengths.

Functional Fitness Tools

Here are a few tools you may want to invest in (or seek out at the gym):

  • Kettlebell – A ball with a handle in many different weights.  The awkward shape of the kettlebell makes it valuable across many fitness modalities (strength, balance, endurance).  An example of a good kettlebell exercise is the Russian kettlebell swing.  This exercise works endurance and builds strength across the posterior chain (back, butt, and hamstrings).
  • Agility Ladder – A ladder-like piece of cloth or plastic that you lay on the floor.  The various exercises are to move through the ladder from side to side as you go through.  The object is to move through the ladder as quickly as possible to build agility and speed.
  • Medicine Ball – A large, soft, weighted ball.  The most common exercises for the medicine ball are wall balls and medicine ball slams.  In the wall ball, you hold the ball at your chest facing a wall.  You squat and on way up you throw the ball (using your legs) up to a target that is 8 – 12 feet off the ground.  Medicine ball slams involve bringing the medicine ball over your head and throwing it against the floor.  Both of these exercises work endurance and strength.
  • Battle Ropes – Long, thick (1 1/2 – 2 inch) ropes.  The length and thickness of the battle rope determines the intensity of the exercises.  The rope is attached to a wall or post and you grasp both ends of the rope.  Making various wave patterns builds endurance and strength.
  • Weighted Sled – A sled that allows you to stack weights to add resistance.  You grasp the handles and using your legs you drive the sled forward as quickly as possible (much like pushing a car).
  • Sandbags – Sandbags come in different sizes and weight.  Some have handles, but I find the ones without handles to be more effective for functional fitness as grasping them is harder.  You can build an entire workout using sandbags and bodyweight.
  • Clubbells – Invented in India, clubbells are clubs with weighted ends.  Swinging the clubs helps build strength and thorasic mobility.
  • Tires – Old truck and tractor tires provide for strength, endurance and power work when you work to flip and jump over them.
  • Rubber Mallets/Sledge Hammer – Using tools like this to hit or pound a tire helps build strength and endurance, expecially grip strength.

Obviously, I've gone over a lot of exercises and you may not be able to picture all of them.  You can find examples on youtube, but I'd strongly encourage you to work with a trainer so you can maximize your functional fitness and avoid injury.

Uncommon exercises