This transcript is brought to you thanks to the hard work of Trish Roberts.
Welcome Allan, to the Keto Woman podcast. How are you doing today?
I’m doing well Daisy. Thank you so much for having me.
Well, I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you and get you on the show since I met you at Ketofest. I very much enjoyed the presentation you did there.
Thank you. That was a lot of fun.
It scared me a little bit, I have to admit. You’re very good at hammering home a few scare tactics, but, we’ll talk about those later. And what we can do about them. Because you don’t just scare us, you tell us how we can fix the problem – which is always a good thing.
Yes. If you don’t take anything else away from this podcast today, I want you to have this one message: that is as long as you have a breath left in you, you can do something positive for your health or fitness. You know, our bodies are these amazing, amazing things that adapt and change, and if we put the right stimulus on, if we do the right things for us, the right food in our mouths, we get better. The good message for today is you can take control of your life. You can take control of your health and your fitness. You just have to do the right things.
Absolutely. And put some effort in, I’m sure.
A little, a little.
Why don’t you tell us a bit about you, and what led you to be doing what you’re doing now?
I was a corporate guy, I got out of college, got a job, working to make a living, make better of it than a living. You know, working my way up the corporate structure. I was quite successful at that, and I think a lot of people can relate – it was taking care of your family, or getting a job and trying to be really good at your job. Sometimes those things become like almost singular focused and you spend all of your life really focused on that one thing. Well, that was me. My career was where I was at most of my time, most of my mind, most everything I was doing. As a result, I was in a toxic relationship, my health was declining, my fitness was going away, and I found myself at the age of 39 just unfit, fat and unhealthy. I’m sitting on the beach in Mexico taking a vacation because my stress level was through the roof and I was like, they say take a vacation… but the vacation was just as stressful as the work was, because I wasn’t getting the work done and I was thinking about the work while I was sitting on the beach.
And then, I went ahead and decided that I would buy that timeshare there. So I bought the timeshare, and I’m sitting there and they have volleyball. So I was like, okay great, I get the daily activities, I get to play some sand volleyball. I started playing volleyball and I had to, I had to sub-out after about a game and a half. I was just too winded. I felt really, really dizzy. I almost thought I was going to have them take me to the hospital. I recovered, but I realized at that point that I had lost something that had been very, very important to me. Something I’d been able to do my whole life up until that point, and I hadn’t realized that I’d lost it. I was sitting there thinking about what had happened and I thought, okay, I’ve got to get myself back in shape. I think a lot of people can relate to…they’ve let themselves decline to a point and now…okay, we make that decision, that big decision to go do something special for ourselves.
I started working out and I changed my food a little bit, but not substantially. I cut down on the alcohol and I would see a little bit of gain, and then I’d lose it, and then a little bit of gain, and I’d lose it. That went on for eight years… of this ebb and flow of sometimes being a little bit less and a little bit fitter, and sometimes being a little bit more and unfit, until I finally had kind of this epiphany moment where I sat down and said, I’m losing me, and I have to look at why I want to do this, and I have to make a commitment. That’s the key word is commitment.
My daughter, at the time, she was 20 years old and she was getting into things like Crossfit and these mud obstacle runs like the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder. I said, I want to be spending time with her. I want that thing. I don’t have a good relationship. I broke up with my girlfriend. I went ahead and said, I’m going to start spending more time focused on my daughter, and spending time with her doing the things she likes to do. So I started training for Tough Mudder, and I started eating Paleo, and that’s when it kind of clicks, and all the clicks started to go off in my head. It’s like, I’m not able to out-exercise my diet. That became obvious. Eight years of trying and I hadn’t done it.
Yeah, there’s only so much you can do, right?
Yeah. So I said, okay, I’ll try this Paleo. It makes sense to me and it’s something I know I can do. So I started eating Paleo, and I started training for this run, and I started doing pretty well. I dropped a little bit of weight and then it kind of plateaued; and I said, okay, well I need to lose more weight if I want to do what I want to do. I need to be stronger, so I started just changing up the types of foods that I was eating. I didn’t really know what else I was doing other than saying, I’m going to get rid of these types of foods that are more starchy and I’m going to get rid of these kinds of foods that have a little bit more sugar in them. Then one day I noticed that my breath was smelling pretty bad and I brushed my teeth and it’s still not right. I’m like, I don’t know what’s going on here. I started doing some research and I came across a podcast at the time…
Did you ask Google, why does my breath stink?!
I don’t know what I exactly did that, but I was… I started saying, okay, I’m eating low carb. I started listening to Jimmy Moore. I think he was the primary guy out there doing low carb at the time. No one was really talking about ketosis a whole lot. There were some shows I ran into a little bit later, but then I realized I’m in ketosis. That’s what’s just happened here. To kind of tell you like a linear thing that happened, I dropped 25 pounds being Paleo – 25 pounds of fat. My DEXA scan from when I started this, I dropped 25 pounds of fat in like, the first four months…
and then I got into Keto, and I dropped 30 pounds in like, a matter of two months. The difference was, my daughter had seen me in March and here we were in November, going to go do a Tough Mudder, which is a much more difficult mud run than we had done in March. She got off the plane and I met her at the gate and she’s like, Dad, you’re skinny! I had lost 65 pounds of fat and had gained 11 pounds of muscle. I’ve got the pictures in the book, if you do get the book, The Wellness Roadmap, to kind of demonstrate what I did. I got myself into condition that I, not only could complete the 12 mile mud run with obstacles with my daughter, I didn’t slow her down at all. We finished the race holding hands, hand-in-hand to finish that race. You can change yourself. You just have to make the commitment to do so.
And have the right motivation…find that why.
And that’s the why, yeah, and that’s part of the commitment. Commitment kind of has two pieces to it. It has a why. Just like if you were going to get married to someone, or you’re going to pledge yourself to Jesus or some deity. You’re just going to say, okay, I believe and this is who I am. You have this very deep emotional why – you feel it in your gut – and you know this is important to me. So if I was going to get married and make the commitment to get married, it’s my wife and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Then you start saying, okay, well what is that life? What is that vision of who we grow old to be? What does that look like for us? What’s that vision of how we go about that? You know? It’s fun with family and, you just have all these things in her head that say, okay, that’s my vision. You can do the same thing with your wellness of saying, I’m going to get well. At the time it was for my daughter, and my vision was I want to spend time with my daughter doing the things she enjoys doing. Not as a spectator sitting in the stands watching her, but actually doing them with her. We took a trip right after we got married, and when I take these trips with my daughter, we would find CrossFits in all these different countries and cities around the world, and we would drop in and do a CrossFit workout together. That was part of my time with her, was not me taking her to a CrossFit gym and watching her workout. It was the two of us doing the workout together.
How wonderful. Yeah, I think it really is. There’s a lot of value in sitting down and spending time thinking about and refining that why, and that vision, because you’ve shown so very well the difference between the two. It’s that difference between, you sat on a beach and you thought, yeah, I’ve got out of shape and I need to lose some weight, and I need to get a bit fit. Those are good goals but you haven’t refined them. They’re just this, sort of a bit of a woolly image possibly coming from a place of, well because I should do, to fit in or, I should do because it’s what is expected of me, or whatever. But then when you refine that into this really specific vision that has a lot of clarity, it gives you that… like you say, that real emotional connection to want to do it.
Yeah. The vision doesn’t have to be clear at the very beginning because sometimes that’s very hard for someone to have expectations…
And of course it changes. It can change as well as you go.
Because I was thinking when I started, you know, it was a Warrior Dash it’s a five km run, which I felt within a reasonable amount of time I could train myself for, but I didn’t lose a lot of weight because I didn’t feel like for that distance I really had to. Once we did that and we had fun, I told my daughter, we should do something better. She said, what? I said maybe a Tough Mudder, which is at that point you’re literally talking about something that’s four times longer. Okay. But it was eight months away and I knew between March and November I could get myself in reasonable shape to be able to complete.
Did I have a vision of exactly what I looked like on that day? And the answer was no… it was a little fuzzier than that. I have other visions in my life because I want to be independent. I don’t want my family to have to take care of me or feel bad about putting me in a home. I want to be the guy who can wipe his own butt when he’s 105. Those are just things that are in my head saying, okay, I don’t feel like getting up and going to the gym today, but I want to be able to wipe my butt when I’m 105, so I go to the gym. Because I need the leg strength. I don’t need to lose that muscle. I don’t need to lose the bone density. I need to be able to sit down and get back up, and I need the mobility to do the things I got to do when I’m in there.
Just realize that your vision might not be all that clear and it will potentially change over time. I got married, so now it’s not just my daughter, it’s my wife and our kids and there’ll be grandkids at some point. We didn’t have mud runs when I was younger, so that was new. I don’t even know what the kids are going to be doing when they’re teens, but I want to be grandpa doing it with them. I don’t want to be grandpa watching from the stands.
Fantastic. When did you make the switch between careers? When did this take over and become your passion that you had to pass onto other people?
Well, just because I made the commitment, or the decision that I wanted to change myself, unfortunately my boss is not going to let me take hours away from work to go train and do this. I was still travelling – sometimes as much as 90%. I was like, I can’t really hire a personal trainer, which I knew I needed. I needed some coaching. I needed some information to help me do what I needed to do for myself because I started realizing that my movement patterns were wrong. I risked injuring myself because I didn’t know all the exercises as well as I should. I went ahead and decided I would become my own personal trainer. I went and got certified as a personal trainer. I got specialties in corrective exercise and fitness nutrition. Then I went for the functional aging certificate. I basically became my own personal trainer. I didn’t intend to train anybody else. I just wanted the information and I figured this is a group that certifies, so I’m going to do that.
Then of course, listening to podcasts and things like that, you learn a little bit here and there and you’re able to apply those tactics to your life. So that’s what I did. I basically became my own expert. One of my best friends saw me in March because he did that same Warrior Dash with us. Then he saw the picture I posted in Facebook in November. He messaged me and said, what the heck did you do? Because I want some of that. That was about the time I was thinking about doing a podcast. And so I said, well, hey, you know I’m about to do this podcast. I tended to take a client through and use them as part of the podcast, so I’d be hot training someone for the podcast, but I wasn’t going to be a personal trainer. That person quit. They didn’t stick it out. So I told him, I said, John, I’ll train you, but I will only train you if your wife trains with us – so I’ve got both of you, and you’ll come on the podcast. That’s the payment is we record a weekly call, and that becomes part of the podcast. And I did that. You can actually go listen to some of the early episodes all the way up through, I think it’s 67 and 70 were the last two episodes that they were on. John lost 39 pounds and his wife lost 28 pounds. We did most of that with just getting them close to keto. They were very low carb. I don’t know that they were in ketosis during the time, but just went very low carb with them, got them moving as much as they could. She had some issues with her back, so she was not able to train the way he was. Also, guys tend to lose weight faster than women in general.
Yeah, it’s annoying that!
But estrogen is important. They had good results and I got to thinking, there’s other people now listen to my podcast that know I do this. I can’t necessarily meet with them because I still had this full-time job, but it was like, I can do this online. I started occasionally bringing on a group of clients and working with them. I put together a couple little quick programs that’s kind of do it yourself, but I’m available through Facebook or messaging. You just call me if you have a question. Then at the same time I was going through some major stressors at work. We were doing major layoffs. In fact, my group that was 23 when I started, was laid off all the way down to zero over the course of three years. I had to let go of a lot of people that I had worked a long time with. The stress was really, really difficult, and as I got to look in where I was in my life journey, I realized that was kind of like the final piece I had to put together to get myself truly well.
I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, happiest person you can be, and they’re all equally important. If you’re missing one of those then you’re just not quite there. I knew that the stress was kind of that last little bit that was getting me. and working in a corporate environment, people using the… you’re in a meeting, and they’re using the term headcount. Like it just doesn’t mean anything. Like it’s just another digit on their balance sheet. I’m like, no, this is not just a digit. This lady bought a house this year and she’s just now getting to a point where she feels comfortable. This guy, his kid’s sick and he’s having some issues with his daughter. They’re people.
With all the stress of all that, when they laid me off – the final guy to walk out the door, I finally just said, I don’t like this and I’m not enjoying this, but I do enjoy the training. I enjoy having the weekly conversations with folks that I’m training – be it the group call, or the one- on-ones. Hearing their wins, and being there when they slip… because we all do. Just helping them along their path and seeing the things that can happen in their lives. They’re the ones doing it. That’s what’s so funny about this is, I’m just there as a coach and a cheerleader, but they’re the ones making the substantive change.
I just decided I wasn’t going to go back to corporate. I will just downsize. I’ll simplify and I’ll make sure that I can make a living with the personal training because now it lowers my stress level to almost none. Now the most stressful thing I have to do is when I want to drive off the island to go to the grocery store. It’s about as stressful as it gets, you know? And pretty soon I won’t even be doing that because we’re about to move to Panama and I won’t even be driving there. I’m just getting myself to a perfect spot for me and I want to help other people.
Wow. I can hear that in you. I mean, what a change that must have been from being in a job where you felt like you were doing anything but helping people to the absolute reverse. I mean, that sense of fulfillment must’ve had a profound effect on your mood.
Oh yeah, it did. Part of it was, I would know that the layoff was coming and I couldn’t tell anybody. I would have to say, okay, now I’m going to have to fly all around the world to meet with all of these folks, and sit down with them and tell them that the company doesn’t want them anymore. Yeah, the stress was just not there. It was just too much, and I don’t ever want to go back to that type of situation. I know not everybody can say, I’m just going to go ahead and completely try to eliminate stress. I do talk about that in the book. If you can eliminate stress, do it. If you can’t, then put some tactics in place that are going to help you manage that stress. It could be breathing. It could be meditation. There are things you can do to help reduce the stress in your life, or at least deal with it better and it’ll help. But when you’re in that situation where you’re just chronically stressed all the time, find a way out. It’s just that stress is a very important part of the health model. If you want to be healthy, and fit, and happy, you have to be managing your stress.
Yes. Interestingly enough, I watched a television program on the BBC a few weeks ago dealing with just that and they took, I think it was three or four people with different kinds of stress and they measured their stress by monitoring them with heart monitors and things. Then they tailored an approach to each one of them that was slightly different. So, one it was exercise outdoors and they explained why there was a real difference between doing exercise outdoors, and how seeing fractals in nature was calming and all sorts of things. For someone else it was meditation. The difference in all of them was incredible because none of them could change their lives. None of them could get rid of the stress that was there, so they all had to find a way to manage it.
Yeah. That’s part of what I go into the book is my friend John asked me, how did you do this? What did you do? I could have told John all the things I did, and it may or may not have worked for him because we’re all unique. I lifted heavy weights, I started eating keto. Not everybody is going to want to do that. Finding the tactics that work for you is a part of the grand experiment. We weren’t born with a user manual, so we have to write our own. Some of that’s going to be through trial and error. Some of it will be, like you said, we see a program like that and just the working out outside. Perfect example. It’s going to work for most people just to get outside a little bit more and commune with nature.
Just realize that all these things are out there. Unfortunately, a lot of people like to start with the tactic, and they don’t put the front end of that as the commitment. The tactic is what you’re doing…how you’re going to eat – hose things. People will go on a diet and then they fall off the diet because they didn’t fix the commitment. If you have the commitment, then you do self-awareness, then you put strategies in place, then the tactics come along and then you build habits. And that’s the lifeline. That’s how we consistently improve ourselves by starting with the commitment and then putting those tactics in place, experimenting with them, giving them the time to see if they’re going to work, and then you’ll see the results. You can tweak and change as things go.
Maybe you could explain a bit to us, bring in some of those shock tactics I mentioned. I mentioned earlier, because I know for me, and I know you focus on the over forties and I’ve definitely noticed… how should we put this nicely… a slight decline in my strength. Two things that happened actually. Obviously, I’ve got older, but something that was a light bulb moment to me the other day that is obvious really, but I used to weigh twice as much as I do now. I insisted on carrying on living normally. Had a fairly active job. I was a gardener so I was actually pretty strong, and whenever I did sign up to a gym or something, they were always quite amazed with my fitness levels. I’ve always been lucky and I’ve been metabolically fairly flexible, so I always had quite good blood work.
But I’ve always been fairly strong. I used to get out of breath and all the things, but no wonder cause I was carrying another me around. What I didn’t do, I lost a lot of weight reasonably quickly over a couple of years, and what I didn’t do and what I should have done, was compensate because I am way, way less strong now than I was then. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but I sort of naturally thought I was going to be fitter because I weighed less. Of course I was going to be fitter because I was slim instead of being as overweight as I was, but actually the opposite has happened.
You’re touching on a couple of really, really important things. One is, when we talk about resistance training or weightlifting or whatever it’s called it, or whatever you think of it as, I like to call it resistance training rather than exercise workouts, or weightlifting because you have a specific thing you’re trying to accomplish, which is to put resistance on a muscle so you can make it better. When I say weightlifting or I say resistance training, just recognize that it doesn’t have to involve the gym. It doesn’t have to involve rusty iron bars and plates, and clanking and all of that. All that scary stuff that sometimes bothers people. It can be body weight and so the fact is you were active carrying around an extra bit of you that’s body weight, and that that was what allowed you to be that strong and then as you stopped lifting as much…
I took away that resistance.
…your muscles reacted. You took that resistance away. Here’s the good news. Your muscles, they know if you start adding resistance to them, they know they need to get stronger and here’s the core of it and another thing that’s happening in our bodies, after the age of 35 we start losing muscle mass. It’s called sarcopenia. We also start losing bone density. It’s called osteopenia, and we start losing strength. The three of those things, they’re going to go on a steady, basically 1% decline each year until we’re 65, and then that decline is going to speed up. I’m sure you’ve seen it walking around the street, you’ll see an older lady or older man, and they’re all crumpled up and feeble. That’s what that looks like. That’s osteopenia and sarcopenia over a course of a lifetime. That’s what that looks like. The good news is you can slow that and in some cases, reverse that with resistance training. It does all of those. Resistance training improves strength, it adds muscle mass and it adds bone density. It’s this triple perfect thing to help your body be better.
Another reason that it’s very important for you to focus on maintaining muscle, is the fact that one out of three people over the age of 65 falls every year. Okay? What that results in in the United States is 3 million visits to the emergency room. 800,000 hospitalizations and almost 29,000 deaths in the United States. People are falling over the age of 65 and they’re breaking their hips, breaking their arms, and they’re hurting themselves pretty badly – in many cases fatally. If they had more bone density, if they had more muscle mass, that may not have happened. They may still fall because they haven’t worked on their balance, but with the additional strength, and additional muscle mass, and additional bone density, they’re less likely to end up hospitalized.
Yes, it’s very important balance, isn’t it? Again, I think it was another BBC program. They were talking about that and they were looking at that specific, you know, those statistics about falling and how people, once they’ve fallen once, they then start losing their confidence, they’re actually more likely to fall again because of that. Having the strength, I mean literally to get back up again, but the balance is so important and they were showing people exercises to really improve that balance, so reduce the likelihood of that fall in the first place.
Yeah. If you’ve ever walked where it’s icy, you’ll notice how you kind of duck your feet. You kind of take little duck steps. You do that. It’s just a natural reaction to the fear of falling. Even when we’re younger, we’re going to do that. We’re not going to take full strides. What that actually does though, if you think about it, is you’re bringing your feet closer together, which means that you’re more top heavy and more likely to fall. And when you fall, since your feet are closer together, you’re more likely to fall sideways. That’s where the broken hips come in. What we want to work with, with clients or what we all want to do for ourselves is, work on things that will help generally improve your balance and your side-to-side mobility. One of the things I’ll tell someone, and you don’t even have to do this, this is not special, this is just something pretty simple. Each night when you’re brushing your teeth, which I hope you do and you do for about two minutes, try to stand on one foot. When that becomes easy, try closing your eyes.
Yes, it’s a lot harder when you close your eyes, isn’t it?
It is, it is. But that’s a function of balance. If you’ve got one hand close to the counter-top and once you know you’re going to have to put your foot down, you’ve got that third point, you can do that. When you’re in the kitchen and you’re washing dishes, rather than turn and walk straight to something, side-to-side, a subtle step side-to-side, and try to take wider and wider steps in different directions. Just to get comfortable and have a wider base and keep your gate as wide and long as you can. If you start losing gate, if you’re stepping shorter steps because you’re getting older and feebler, you’re creating that situation of the fall.
Yes. You mentioned this in the book that as time goes on we get more and more stuck in this linear pattern movement.
Yeah. Well, you sit down, you stand up, you walk to where you want to go. When was the last time you walked backwards? When was the last time that you did side-to-side walking? Unless you’re doing an exercise program where they’re doing side lunges or they incorporate some of those things, you’re not going to do that in the normal course of the things you do. But you can. It’s just as simple as when you’re at the sink rather than turn and walk, just step sideways. Try to do those little things to incorporate that. Then in your workouts, think about the things that you’re doing that are all linear and try to figure out some things that you can do that are side-to-side that would change things up. So, side lunges instead of just doing front lunges or back lunges, try doing side lunges.
There are exercises that I’ll do with my clients. I like this exercise called karaoke, which is where you’re basically crossing your feet with these side steps. It’s a little bit more advanced than just the side shuffle, that I’ll do a karaoke with squat. Basically, one foot in front of the other, the other foot up, the other foot back behind and then up, and then do a squat, and then do it to the other side. It’s a good balance exercise because you’re incorporating a squat. You now have some resistance training with the body weight squat. It’s a really good basic movement to get people more comfortable with the side-to-side movement.
Something like Zumba then, is a really good thing to do because it incorporates all sorts of turns.
Dancing is wonderful. I’m not much of a dancer. I would do a Zumba but I wouldn’t like it, but I would do it. If I felt like that was really kind of the core way for me to get something that I needed. Like I said earlier, you have a vision. At some point I may say I really need to be focused much more on my balance and my breathing and just doing the things for my body that it needs, which includes, like I said, balance. I could go throw heavy weights around all day long, but that’s not going to improve my balance. I need to do something specific for balance. It can be a simple, like I said, standing on one foot while I brush my teeth, putting a sock on while you’re just standing on one foot. Those little things like that can go a long way. Or I can go ahead and try a class or do something, look up a video on YouTube of balance training and just add it to your program.
What are the core pillars, if you like, of the different things we should be looking at? You’ve already mentioned balance and then I presume, strength is important and you talk in the book about how important grip strength is.
Yeah. Basically these are fitness modalities and the way I like to couch them is, these are the building blocks that are going to make you the person you want to be. Okay. Most people will come to a personal trainer and say I want to lose weight, and I’m like, you’re not ready.
Lose weight and get fit – the standard.
Yeah, I want to lose weight. I’m like, okay then that doesn’t tell me anything because after we lose the weight, are you happy? Are you healthy? Are you fit? Short answer is no. When you look at the, particularly the fitness modalities, strength is probably the most important one. Second to that, I think a lot of people do care about body composition. Let’s make sure we know that term. Body composition tells you that you have muscle and you have bone and you’re losing fat. So it’s a body fat percentage. That should be a number that’s much more important to us than weight, because I can chop off my left arm and lose 15 pounds. Am I better for it? No, I can chop off my head, and lose 11. If weight is all we’re worried about, we don’t care what we’re losing, but I don’t want to lose muscle. I don’t want to lose bone. I want to lose fat. So, make it body composition.
Beyond that, then we’re looking at cardiovascular endurance and stamina. If you want to go do something, like you’re going to take your grandkids to the zoo, and they’re running all over the zoo and you don’t want to stop them and make them walk, you want to be able to scoot along with them. That’s your cardiovascular. But you see how that relates to your life, what you want out of your life. That’s why I think each of these modalities is important, but at varying degrees to each of us. Then we’re going to have mobility. It’s how well are you able to move the way your body was designed to move? The hip problems, and the knee problems, and the neck problems that most people have, come from the fact that they have poor movement patterns. They don’t have the mobility. I’ll have someone do a squat with their arms over their head, and if your upper body wants to go forward when you try to do that squat, if you can’t basically see your chest in the mirror when your arms are over your head, you have some mobility issues. If I put weight on that, then you have the risk of damaging joints and causing some problems. So mobility is important and we get less and less. I have one client I need to keep working on him. He can’t sit with his legs crossed on the ground. When you cross them over – like kids listening to story-time will cross their legs and sit on the floor. Well, he doesn’t have the mobility in his hips to do that. So, that’s again, just another area that you want to look at. How mobile are you?
Closely related to that is flexibility. Some people will have more movement in a joint than not. I just prefer the term mobility because most of what you can do is going to be with the muscle, and getting that to relax versus actually getting more flexible in your joints. Your joints are kind of what they are.
Speed and agility. If you want to play tennis or another active sport, speed and agility could be something else that you would want to train for. All these fitness modalities that are there, are trainable. That’s what’s really cool about them, is you can improve all of them with practice.
Yes. You need all of them and you need a sort of a certain level in all, and it’s going to depend one, on the individual who they are, how much they need to do to bring them up to the sort of minimum requirement; and then depending on what they want to do, which ones you want to tweak to get more.
Yeah. A perfect example would be your gardening, you need a certain fitness level and mobility to be able to do that. But if you wanted to play sand volleyball, now that’s a different level of endurance. It’s more agility and speed versus I wanted to do the Tough Mudder which meant I needed endurance, I needed strength, and I particularly needed grip strength. Grip strength was going to be what I would need to pull myself up ropes, to climb over walls, to do all the things that I needed to do for that particular event. All of these modalities are going to matter at some level to us. It’s just you tweak them based on what you want out of your life.
You brought up grip strength earlier and I did want to talk briefly about that. A good measure of generally how strong you are, is grip strength and there have been direct correlations to reduced grip strength and mortality. If you’re losing grip strength, you can’t open the jar… one, you’re closer to the grave than you might think you are. And two, you’ve just lost your independence. If you can’t open the jar and someone else has to open that jar for you, you’ve just started down that trail of losing your independence. Like I said, I want to be the guy at 105 who can wipe my own butt. It sounds kind of funny to a lot of people, but that’s a real true thing that a lot of people end up losing their independence way too early. Whereas some training today can have you aging slowly, or slower. We’re all going to age. If you decide that you don’t want to lift weights, or don’t want to do resistance training, you’re just deciding to age faster. That’s your choice.
That’s a question that a lot of people ask, I think, which is more important – general fitness, cardio type workouts, or the resistance weight training type workouts?
I have a bias because I am a fitness trainer. I do believe that the weightlifting, the resistance training is the most important because that’s the thing you’re going to lose the fastest. You saw it when you lost your body weight, that that just went down. Your endurance, probably even though you weren’t working out, was actually probably improved. Endurance is one of those things that you can train yourself for, but how many people need to run six miles today? They do it because they enjoy it, and a lot of people do actually lift weights because they enjoy it. That’s important too. I would not tell a client, even if we’re trying to just gain muscle mass and that’s our goal, I wouldn’t tell a client to not do the runs if they enjoy the runs. Because again, wellness is happiness, fitness and health. So that happiness, if he needs to run six miles today to get his mind right and feel good, run, enjoy it, that’s what this is all about.
Ultimately that endurance modality that you spoke about, that is quite a common thing that you want to do to be able to keep up with your kids at the zoo or whatever it is. Quite often you need to be able to be on your feet all day. Maybe your walking around the shops all day. Whatever it is, there’s that. So there is a kind of a certain level that is useful and I know some people who really focus on the weight training, who when it comes to that stamina endurance, they have none. There might be a difference in balance. There’s more importance because I suppose also, especially with what you’re saying, that’s the thing that it’s that weight training that makes the real significant change in the strength that you’re losing as you get older. That’s the thing that’s going to make more of a difference. So that’s why it’s important.
Yeah. It’s about that vision, you know? When you look out and you say, okay, this is my vision of who I want to be in five, 10, 15, 30 years. You want to think about the elements of what that person is capable of doing, and needs to do on a day to day basis. If it’s, like you said, doing the shopping, running around, taking care of grandkids, doing these other things and on your feet moving most of the day, then yes, you want to train to have the stamina to do that. If you don’t want to lose strength and you want to maintain muscle mass and bone density, you want to do the resistance training. You can do both. You know, there’s no reason that you can’t do both, you just have to figure out how you want to workout, what you enjoy doing, what you need to do, and put together a program for yourself.
Once that’s in place, those workout tactics are there. You know, this is what you’re going to do. Now you make them habits and you just keep doing them. There’s just a habit that you go to the gym each day. The reason the habit sticks is the commitment, because if you told your significant other that you were going to pick them up at the airport at five o’clock in the morning, guess where you are at five o’clock in the morning? If you love yourself as much and you make a commitment to yourself and you need to be at the gym at five o’clock in the morning, guess where you are at five o’clock in the morning? It becomes that automatic. You would not tell your significant other no, or I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m there. So, think about all the things that you need and devise a plan to help you build those core modalities.
It’s completely true about that habit thing. I mean, I walk my dogs every day. They wouldn’t put up with me not doing it. They don’t put up with me saying, it’s pouring with rain, I really don’t want to go today, thanks, I’d rather not. They’re not going to have that. It’s a habit that I have to do every day, but I do, and for the most part, unless it’s pouring with rain out, I do enjoy it. Because it’s fun and it’s in interaction and all the the rest of it, but it’s using that same habit-forming technique for other things that feel like exercise. They feel like something different. They don’t necessarily feel like part of the day, and certainly strength is something that I need to work on.
Where should someone like me start? I don’t particularly like going to the gym. That’s not my thing. And I certainly don’t have a good choice here and don’t have the budget for it. What would you suggest for someone like me with no equipment. What would be the things that I should start that would be easy to do. I will just say here because I did speak to you when we were at Ketofest, and I mentioned that I had a bad back and you did reinforce how important it was for me to get that sorted out. Which I did. I went to a physiotherapist and did a lot of work with him. So, you did make it clear it was important to fix any problems, any pain that you have before you start on an exercise program.
Anytime you’re going to change your food, or your movement, or your exercise, go talk to your doctor. Get the kinks worked out first, if there are any, and then if you can, and you can afford it and you want to go to a gym, go to a gym. But you don’t have to. Like I said, you’ve got all the weight you need right there in your body, and the only a piece of equipment I would recommend that you purchase would be a set of resistance bands with handles. They’re going to be very, very good at helping you do more exercises than you can just do with body weight, short of having a pull-up bar. You can use these bands to do a lot of different things.
But ones that won’t break. It was Yogi Parker’s post on Facebook. “I tried that with some and they broke and I ended up punching myself in the face!”
Yeah, you do invest. And that’s the other thing, when you think about health and fitness, we go to a doctor. We’re willing to pay the doctor bill because it’s for our health and wellness. Make an investment in yourself and it doesn’t have to be huge, because resistance bands are not that expensive, but buy good quality. And if you start to notice that they’re fraying or they’re getting a little old, chuck ’em and get another pair The basic workout, and again talk to your doctor before you start a program, but I would say I would do body weight squats and if your legs are strong and you don’t have problems doing body weight squats, slow down. Do them very, very slow, like a countdown of four and a count up of two.
It’s a lot harder, isn’t it?
Time under tension is what we call it in the business
You’ve got to hold it halfway. But I know I was in a Zumba class once when I was in the UK a while back, and they had you go down, and then they had you come halfway up and hold it there. Oh, it was hard.
Bodyweight squats would be one. I would do push-ups.
Now that’s something I can’t do. And I have looked online and you work down, don’t you? To being horizontal. You start against the wall.
Because I cannot do them on the floor.
Yeah, to scale it down, you can start pushing against the wall. You can use a counter-top. Just make sure you got skid-resistant shoes so you won’t fall, and then you can be on your knees doing the push-ups and then eventually you’ll be able to do a full push-up. Then I would do side lunges. You just basically lunge out to one side, and then come back up. You can do sets of those. Then the reason I would say the resistance bands is that resistance bands are going to allow you to do some form of row. You’ll fasten the center of the bands to like a door knob or something, that’s stable and tight. Or a post. Then you can do the rows back, and work your back. Then you can stand on the bands, and go overhead with an overhead press. Basically at that point, those are five exercises that’ll work your whole body and, you can just go through them. I would do five sets of five of each. Maybe more of the squats at first, but just really slow until you get comfortable with them. For most people that’s going to be a pretty steady workout. It’s going to take you about an hour if you take a little break between each set and you’ll feel it. You’ll definitely feel it the next day if you haven’t been doing anything like this.
And you can do it anywhere. You can do it in your living room or do it outside. And when you say a set, that’s a certain number?
Oh yes. Yeah, I’m sorry. Typically what we’ll say…okay, so if I go to do an exercise, I may say I’m going to do three sets, which means I’ll do three, I’ll do it, stop, do it, stop, do it. But I’ll do five – see, three sets of 10. So maybe just say three sets of 10. So, I’ll go and I’ll do the exercise 10 times, and I’ll take a short break and then I’ll do it 10 more. Take a short break and then I’ll do the final set of 10, and then I’m done. A good strength program is going to be five by five. That’ll work for those exercises. Like I say, if anything is super, super easy, just slow it down. If the squat is real easy for you to do all five, slow those down. If the lunges or easy for you to do all five, just get down to the bottom, and kind of sit there for a second and pause, and then press up. That’ll make it a little bit more difficult. You can slow down on the push-ups. Once you get to the strength where you’re doing normal push-ups, you can do those very, very slowly. With the rows, same thing. You just add more bands. There’s several colored bands that’ll attach to that. It’ll be pretty hard, and then you can move yourself further away from the anchor point and that’ll add additional resistance.
Fantastic. And how often should we be doing this? Because I know you stress how important it is to rest in between doing them.
Most of the time you’re going to want to take at least 48 hours off between exercise sessions. So the way I like to do it is, let’s say you worked out on Monday, you could do Monday, and then Thursday, and then Sunday, and then Wednesday, and then Friday. So basically, you’re getting two and a half workouts per week, but if you just have two days off in between each set, each workout, you’ll be good. Now, as you progress, you might find that, okay, my body’s recovering, but I want to do more for each muscle group. Particularly if you’re at a gym, you’ll have the ability of access to equipment to do this type of thing, you may get to an intermediate level and want to start doing what they call splits. So, one day you’re working legs, one day you’re working your push muscles. The other day you’re working a pull. That’s more at an intermediate level, but you never have to step foot in a gym if you don’t want to. You can still build the strength and retain muscle mass at home.
There’s a case to be argued that the machines are great and you, I suppose it can be easier to get the right form on machines because they’re all set up for you. But they’re very tailored to specific movements, where if you’re using the more free weight type approach, you’re employing more muscle group,s and the balance, and all the other things that go with it. I would have thought sort of arguably in that real life strength situation, they’re potentially a bit more of an all-rounder – better for you.
Yeah. When a child walks up to you and you’re going to pick them up or your dog, you’re going to pick them up, they’re not on a rail. They’re not going to follow a straight line.
They might move around.
In some cases, they might be flailing. Yeah, so that’s a strength pattern and there are tools like kettlebells, and sandbags, and things like that that can give you more of that, but you’re right, a machine is going to be on a rail or it’s going to be on a set fixed path. That makes it very easy for someone typically, like you said, sit down and know the movements. Typically you don’t need a personal trainer to show you how to do that or you don’t have to watch a lot of YouTube because it’s right there on the machine. This is going to work your chest. Obviously you want to sit in the seat, and there’s the handles, and there’s the weight, and you push. Machines can be very safe though because the weight’s not over you at any point in time unless you put your fingers down where you’re not supposed to put them. But machines are relatively safe, but they are fixed line of pattern. If you’re recovering from an injury or just really not super comfortable with workouts, machines are okay, but I would start trying to move over to that free weights section. I know they’re scary, rusty iron bars and all of that, but you’re to get a lot more variety. You’re going to get a lot more general benefit from the other muscle groups as you said, that you’re not getting on a machine and that’s going to be more functional in the long run. So, I would always encourage people to primarily work with the free weights, but there are ways that you can work machines in.
I use machines like a leg press machine with some of my clients when they get afraid they’re under squats, and so the weight is getting to a point where they’re afraid they’ll go down and not be able to make it back up. So, they have this brain thing that’s keeping them from getting any stronger because they don’t want to put any more weight on the bar. So, we’ll shift them over to the leg press machine where they don’t feel as freaked out. They are then able to build more strength, and then when they go back to the squats, the confidence is there because they’ve moved more weight than that. So, they know their legs are stronger and they feel more comfortable.
I guess also with the days that you’re not doing the weight training, that is the ideal time to start doing some of this more general cardio endurance type. Whether it be going for a walk or a run or something that is a more gentle movement on those muscles on those rest days. I think you called it active active rest. Would that come under that category?
Yeah. Active rest. Active rest is important because one, you don’t have to just sit around and not do anything for those two days. You can go out and do things. Now, you want to make sure you’re not reworking that muscle because it needs time to recover and rebuild. But if you were working upper body or you’re doing your workout the next day, you feel generally okay and you want to go for a long walk or run, or maybe even do a high intensity interval session to just get something quick in. Those are perfectly fine. You can also use that to work on your mobility. You can work on your balance. You can do some speed and agility training. So, all the other modalities that are there, you can mix those in all around your training. I have one client right now, he works out almost twice a day each day because he’s in splits, so he can do that. Then he’ll do cardio or he’ll go for a long walk or, he’ll do some balance training. You can always add those other things in and build the program that’s going to, like I said, get you closer to your vision .
Yes, and quite often I think it’s the case when you get into one kind of fitness routine, you want to start adding to it and doing some other things anyway.
It can get somewhat addictive. Yes, but you have to be careful about over training as well. It’s very hard for a new trainee to overtrain but I have seen people that just go a little too far. I was friends with one girl, on MyFitnessPal and she’s doing a little bit of cardio in the morning and sort of thinks, “Cool”. Then I just noticed that her cardio sessions are going longer and longer and longer. So, she’s like doing two and a half, three hour cardio sessions, like intense on an elliptical machine. And I’m thinking, this is not healthy at this point. Every single day, two and a half hours. It can get a little too much. But it’s very hard to overtrain. It’s usually professional athletes that are doing the overtraining, but you just want to make sure you’re getting a good mix of work and rest, and do things with purpose. Because that’s going to make it a habit because like I said, it’s something that fits with who you want to be.
And, how do you deal with that, when you’ve, well, if you ever get to… It’s all quite exciting when it’s a new project and you’re structuring this path out in front of you and striving to get to a goal, and getting to that goal, and the journey. I know this with weight loss and gain, I was, less so now, much more getting used to the whole idea of maintenance. But it always used to be that I was either gaining weight or feeling miserable, losing weight, maybe feeling a bit better. But what happens in that zone of maintenance when you just, how do you keep it going? Is it something that….that’s where I guess it’s important that these things have just become habit so, you just carry on. But what happens if you don’t have a goal? Do you have to keep replacing and having a goal to keep you going? Or how do you sit in that maintenance zone?
That’s where I come back to the acronym I use is called C.A.R.G.O. The C stands for Celebrate. This doesn’t mean go out and have a big cake, you know, that kind of celebration. For me, the celebration was completing that Tough Mudder with my daughter holding her hands as we ran through the last obstacle. That was my celebration that day. If you see the picture in a book, you can see how happy I was on that day. That was my celebration. So do celebrate. You’ve accomplished something significant and you need to be proud of yourself for it.
The next one is the A, and that’s where you need to go and Accept who you are today because things have changed. If you changed your workouts and changed your habits, you stopped going out for drinks with the friends, and you stopped doing a lot of other things. You’ve changed, and people are going to treat you different. Like walk up and say, wow, what did you do? You know? And they’re going to treat you different. Some will be with more respect, some will be saboteurs and say, well that can’t be healthy, that can’t be healthy. You know, like that keto stuff. You’re going to have a heart attack. You might be skinny now, but you’re going to have a heart attack. You’re going to have to come to acceptance of who you are and make new friends; kind of acclimate to this new you.
The next is then for you to Reset your GPS. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a goal of I want to do – because I did the Tough Mudder round – I want to do something, bigger. I did, in fact sign up for a Spartan. But that wasn’t because… it was just something I wanted to do with some family members. Think about the things in your life that bring you joy. And so it might be that you want to go to China and see the Great Wall of China which I would highly recommend if you get an opportunity. It’s wonderful. But it’s a lot of walking if you want to walk the wall. And some of it’s pretty steep. So, you might want to say, okay, while I’ve been focused on building strength and balance, now I know I’m going to go on this trip, I’m going to go ahead and incorporate more cardiovascular training so I truly enjoy doing this trip. Okay? So, find things that are going to bring you joy and then make your training about that. Make your food about what you enjoy. SO, as you’re sitting down and you’re cooking your meals, think about, what are the types of foods that I really enjoy? What’s the variety I can add to my meals? Maybe if you’re not metabolically challenged, you could do seasonal ketosis, which is something I do. It’s just a function of me saying there’s a season of the year when I know that I’m going to want to do things like drink some beer, watch a football game, maybe have a little bit of bad food here and there. My body’s okay with that for the most part. So I’ll do that. So for me, it was developing this new lifestyle of how do I want to live and each year, and not necessarily as a function of a resolution but I kind of think of each year and say, what do I want to do this year for myself? For my well-being? For me, 2018 was deciding not to go back to corporate life. 2019 my wife and I are moving to an island in Panama. Those are things solely focused on reducing stress in my life, and I know that’s going to make me a better person. So, it’s about Resetting that GPS and saying, what’s next? It doesn’t have to be a goal. It can just be, I enjoy going to the gym three days a week, and I enjoy going on my twice a week runs, and I enjoy doing this yoga class, so I’m just going to keep doing those things.
Having taken that moment to sort of reassess.
Yeah, because you might want to… I have a friend Mike and he went on keto. His wife went on first, she was a runner and then I was talking to her a lot as her performance went down and then she slowly regained it. Now is running faster times than she ever did. Her husband then followed suit. He’s lost 60 pounds and now he’s training for an ultra-marathon. And so he is someone who is just going to want to try something a little harder, a little more. That might be your mindset. That might be your approach. It might just be that I am right where I want to be and spend time with my grandchildren without getting winded. I can pick up my own groceries. I can leap out of the way of a car in the parking lot that didn’t see me and I almost got run over. I have the agility to do that. That can be what your life is about. It’s just being who you want to be, because now you’ve given yourself that gift of having a healthy fit body. So that’s where the joy comes in. Now it’s like, okay, what can I do to have more joy in my life? Where I seek out more joy? And that might be the next thing.
And then G-O in CARGO is go. You’re the only one that can do this. You’ve got the wheel in your hand, you’ve got your foot on the gas. So you drive, and you drive you where you want to go and don’t let life’s circumstances and all that, really keep you from being the person you want to be. I tore my rotator cuff about two years ago and I could have used that as an excuse to say, okay, well my gym days are over and I won’t be able to do the Spartan like I wanted to. And I said, no, I’m going to figure out how to do those things. I want to keep working out. As a result, when I went into my physio after the surgery, he was shocked with how much mobility I still had in my shoulder after the accident because he was like, most people stop moving their arm and then they wait weeks for surgery, and then by the time they get their surgery, they’ve lost so much in their arm and shoulder that it takes us a lot longer to recover. I was doing the full exercises he wanted me to do within about two weeks. He said, normally it takes someone two months to make that kind of distance. Now, and this is me in my fifties, so I kept working out the way that I could. I modified what I was doing. So, when you have those detours or roadblocks/constructions in the way, something’s going to get you off the road that you wanted to be on; you just need to relax and say, okay, how do I get back on track? Now in the car we have a GPS that automatically reroutes. You’re going to have to do that work for yourself, but if you’ve got a pretty good idea of where your vision is and what you want it to be, now you can make another plan, get back on the route. Try to get back on that highway as quickly as you can.
That’s very true, isn’t it? If you know what your destination is, it’s much easier to work back and figure out how to get there.
Yeah, and if it was just weight loss and we’re like, well now I can’t work out, so I’m going to gain weight…one, the lifting and running and all that, that shouldn’t be a part of your model for weight loss. Your weight loss or fat loss should all be about your food. That’s going to happen in the kitchen. Exercise as a side effect can lead to additional fat loss. And of course, more muscle mass, so your body composition is better. But in general, I would say that you want to focus on the kitchen. If I couldn’t work out…let’s say I broke two legs and all I can do now is some upper body stuff, but I know that’s not going to be sufficient, I have to change my food. I have to get a little bit more serious on my keto. I may need to incorporate some intermittent fasting to help me manage my daily intake, and then just give my body what it needs to repair. So, plenty of protein, calcium, phosphorus, the types of things my bone’s are going to need to mend. Then once I’m up and about, start moving again, I know where I’m supposed to be. I know where I’m supposed to go, so I’m on this little detour. I just try to keep pushing myself down the path.
Yes, it’s so very true, isn’t it? It’s so important to have this exercise factor, but not necessarily for the reasons people are thinking. We’re told over and over, eat less, move more, and they are both seemingly equal parts of the equation when somebody is telling you how to lose weight, but it’s not, it’s very much weighted on the food side. The exercise is very important. It has all these amazing benefits, but it’s not really what you’re looking at for the weight loss.
I interviewed a guy named Todd for the podcast, and I mentioned him in the book as well. He was almost 600 pounds. And his doctors basically told him that if he didn’t change, he was not going to be around. His daughters in the hospital room would not look at him. They just kept looking at the floor and he just kept thinking to himself, what a horrible picture this is, that my daughters think I’m going to die and if I don’t do something, I will. Now, Todd had all kinds of medical problems because of his weight. He couldn’t work out, like quite literally couldn’t because his legs would bleed, and so he couldn’t work out. He got into ketosis. He lost 332 pounds over a course of five years. So again, he had to have a lot of patience, a lot of persistence. But over the course of three years, he lost over half of him.
He knows he still has a way to go to be where he wants to be, but he knows he’s not where he was. He doesn’t want to give his daughters that kind of image. He wants to be there. His vision is to not be the hospitalized dad for his daughters, and he did it all with food, because he couldn’t actually exercise. So yes, calories in, calories out is part of the equation. If we eat more calories than our bodies burn, we’re going to gain weight. If we eat less than our body burns, then we’re going to lose weight. But calories are an estimate at best. When you see a package of food and it tells you, or you’re going to eat an apple, well is this a big apple or a little apple? If I say I’m going to eat some almonds, did I eat 16 or 17 because one almond has…
How well did you chew them? All sorts. So many factors.
All these different factors, and and no one can actually know how many calories they burned in a given day, even though there’s these formulas and I see people lose their minds on, I’m eating 1850 calories per day, I should be losing two pounds a week. And I’m like, well, maybe your body is not burning that amount. There’s not like a meter on our chest that says this is how many calories you’ve burned so far today. Even if you have one of the Fitbits walking around, they’re all estimates. So trying to come up with a perfect estimate, I don’t understand why people waste a lot of time with that. What I would do is say, know the food you’re putting in your mouth by predominantly be the one who fixed it and made it yourself. So you know everything that’s in it. Watch what happens over time. So, in about a three week period of time, if I’m eating a certain way, what’s happening? And then I can tweak that.
If I’m not losing the weight or the fat that I thought I needed to lose, I’ll eat a little bit less and maybe I’ll try to move a little bit more, but I’m not going to sit down and say, I know this is going to, like MyFitnessPal will tell you when you put your daily consumption in there, it’ll tell you, you know if you eat like this, you’re going to lose six pounds in the next six weeks. That’s never been right. Never ever has it been right on what the scale is going to say six weeks later, cause I’ve actually taken snapshots of it.
Yeah, exactly. Or you’ve burnt off 200, you can eat an extra 200 or something. I mean it’s just nuts isn’t? It just doesn’t work that way.
And that’s typically what happens. Yeah. What typically happens when people get on the calories in, calories out, is they underestimate the amount they’re eating and they overestimate the amount they’re burning. Even when they’re trying to eat a lot less, they get hungry and they say, well I’ll just have a little snack. What, it’s just a 100 or 200 calories, so no big deal. They forgot to count the sugar they put in their coffee, and they had two extra cups today because they were just running out of energy, and they forget all those extra calories. Like I said, the reason I try to get my clients to at least consider keto as a way of eating… I am not… I’m agnostic for the most part, but I do tell them, I’ve never seen anyone able to overeat on keto. They might stabilize and their weight might level out and plateau.
It does happen for most of us were going, going get to a point where our body reaches its happy weight. It might not be our happy weight, but the body seems to like it. That’s homeostasis, so when the body’s there, it’s there. I’ve seen keto stabilize, but I’ve never seen anyone gain weight on keto. That was truly eating keto. Maybe someone has, but I mean, I’ve heard people eating large amounts of calories just for the sake of experimentation, and not gaining the weight based on the calorie calculation they should have. I do believe that the keto is a sustainable way of eating for fat loss. You just have to know your body. Your body’s going to react to certain way. It’s going to be different for every person. Todd was not insulin resistant, so that’s how he was able to lose 332 pounds. He didn’t have pre-diabetes, which was kind of odd considering everything else that was wrong with him. So he was able to keep going and keep losing. Some people will have insulin resistance and they’ll have to incorporate other tactics to work around that. If they truly need to lose more body fat, they’ll have to figure out those tactics and strategies that will work for them.
My biggest thing is getting away from that math equation. I can remember going through that phase, the whole calorie counting phase and making bargains the whole time. Finding out that because it was just this equation I had these 1500 calories and it didn’t really matter what I did. So, everything was weighed and it was just this bargain every day. Okay, so how can I manage to eat my Magnum ice cream every day? Okay, so I shave a bit off the amount of vegetables I have here, and a bit off the chicken breast I’ve got here. You can see how insane that is. Going away from that, and just looking at the actual foods, because you get much more in tune with how you’re feeling when you’re eating them, whether you’re feeling full, whether you’re still feeding hungry, because you’re not working to this equation you’ve got on a piece of paper.
Yeah, I’ve done that too. You know, I think everyone that goes through any kind of weight loss mindset, we’ll sit down and say, okay, I’ve got to start figuring out what this stuff is and doing the measurements.
Well if it’s all about the calories, then it makes sense, doesn’t it?
Dr Fung said it best in his book, The Obesity Code. He said, every diet works and every diet fails and that the principle of it is, if you cut your calories back and your body’s used to having say 2500 calories, and you cut it back to 1500, your body is going to react to that by using some body fat when it needs to. But it’s also going to slow down a lot of other stuff. It’s going to say, okay, well you don’t need hair or fingernails to grow. Your skin doesn’t need to be as well maintained because we need to be able to get food, and that needs to be our first priority. We don’t want to starve, but it’s not sustainable from the perspective of we’re rational creatures.
If I want my dog to lose weight, I just put a little less kibble in the bowl, And the dog over time will lose weight. The dog doesn’t have a say. The dog can’t sit there and say, well look, I’ll trade you this kibble for a magnum. So the dog is in a fixed, confined environment? We’re not. There’s food all over the place and people are opportunistic eaters. Meaning, when we were roaming and foraging…my family is from northern Europe. I had a DNA test done and they were all northern Europe. And so this time of year – we’re recording this in February – there would be no fruits to be had. Probably very little vegetables depending on what parts of which countries they’re from. So their carb intake during this period of time would be almost nil. They’d be eating fish, they’d be eating small mammals, birds, that type of thing. And then occasionally we might decide the guys, we’d all get together and say, let’s go kill an elk or a bear. But we wouldn’t do that on a daily basis because it’s just too dangerous and we don’t want to get hurt because in that day and age you break a leg, you’re maybe as good as dead. We would occasionally go out and hunt an elk. It would be a planned excursion. We’d go do it. We would feast on that elk. We’d eat every bit of it, and then we’d go back to our normal food stuff.
Now, when it rolls around to the Spring, and the blueberries come in season, the blackberries, and then the other fruits and vegetables, they all start coming up in abundance, we’re going to eat the crap out of them because they don’t fight back. They’re easier to catch than anything else. So there’d be a period of time when we would be doing that. Now, you contrast to today when there’s a McDonalds on every corner, there’s a donut shop on every corner, and every time you walk into a convenient store, they have the ice cream cooler right there by the door.
So you have to walk past it just to get into the place. As opportunistic eaters, our minds are constantly saying, I want that, I want that. And it’s so easy to get, that it’s so easy to overeat versus in the past. You may have gone a day without catching any fish and then the next day you catch a few. So our bodies were adapted to basically be able to go without food for periods of time to eat feasts at points in time. The problem is today, there’s just too much food around us. We don’t really live that way.
Exactly. Opportunistic feasting all the time.
Yeah, and that’s why again, I think keto is really a good way of eating. I talk about this in the book. I had some property and I was out there doing some work on the property and my truck got stuck in the mud so I had to call the tow truck to come tow me out of my own yard. So he comes. It takes him about an hour to get there. His truck breaks down as he’s trying to tow me out. So it’s another three hours before he gets his truck fixed. And finally gets me out. Now, I woke up that morning and I didn’t eat breakfast. I went straight out to the property. I did some pretty hard work in the morning. While he was fixing his truck I did some fishing. It wasn’t very successful, but it was a good day fishing. I’m driving home, it’s close to six o’clock and I’m realizing I haven’t eaten anything all day and I didn’t need to eat anything.
You haven’t passed out.
I haven’t yet. Whereas before when I was a sugar burner, I would have been jonesing. I would have been saying, oh my blood sugar’s down, I’ve got to go get something to eat and I probably would have walked the two and a half miles to the dollar store to pick up some kind of salty, bad for me, snack. I didn’t have to do that. So I think taking your time and finding that way of eating, making it work for your lifestyle is the most significant thing you can do for your life.
Interesting funny point actually…just quickly. When you mentioned about the dogs and if you wanted the dog to lose weight, it’s just reducing their food and there is actually a difference there. I have three dogs, very different. I have a deerhound and a lurcher, so effectively two lurchers. That kind of dog where I could leave out the whole big bowl of food way more than they eat and self-regulate. They eat what they need and they don’t eat any more. Bets, who is the French bulldog would eat until she exploded. She has no switch off mechanism and I do have to put her on a diet. I have to keep her away from the others’ food if they don’t finish it all – they sometimes leave some and go back and pick on it until it’s finished. I have to keep it up high away from her, but interestingly enough, the approach I took with another dog I had like this previously, was just to reduce the amount of food and he did lose weight, but I felt so mean because he had such a small amount.
Now, interestingly enough with Bets, it’s the same problem. It very difficult for her to lose weight, even with reducing the food. But when I changed what she ate – she now eats more food, but half of that is basically protein and quite often, quite fatty beef is what I find at the supermarket. They have off-cuts of meat when they’re butchering that they sell for for animal food. And so she has half that and half biscuit, so she’s actually eating more. But that’s how I get her to lose weight. So it’s about what she eats, not just the amount.
So you may be the only person has a keto dog.
Lots of people do. She’s not completely keto, but yes part-way there, it really does make a difference and it’s the only way I could get her to lose weight and maintain it. So, it’s dogs too.
And that’s a big part of this overall journey is kind of having that self-awareness. There’s these donuts that they had where I was working in Arkansas and it was called spud nuts. So it’s made with potato powder. Basically they make the flour out of potato. They’re delicious. Ungodly delicious. If I came to work on a Friday or any given day where they were there, I could tell as soon as I walked in because the break room was like sharks being chomped. Everybody’s going to the break room like sharks. And so I just learned that on those days I have to stay out of the break room. I go to my office., I sit down and I pull out a bag of nuts and I’d sit there and snack on the nuts and I would not go to the break room at all, even for a coffee until after lunch because I knew after a few people had lunch in there, they’d all be gone.
But it was that self-awareness of knowing that I didn’t have the discipline, the self-discipline to avoid those donuts if they were in there. I had to set up strategies and things that worked for me. And everybody’s going to have kind of their own thing, you know? That one or two things that you just can’t have or you may sit down and do a really intense cardio session. This what I find. If I do really intense cardio while I’m a sugar burner, I eat more that day. As a result, I’m hungry or most of the day and I end up eating more. So any calories that I would have burned doing that cardio session, I’m going to end up eating. There’s not really a calorie number there that’s going to matter for me.
I just know that if I’m interested in losing body fat, I need to be keto and my cardio just needs to be a little different. It can’t be that high intense, go, go, go. It needs to be slow and go, and long distance. That’s when I get really great opportunities to go for long walks outside. I live near the beach so I can just go out there and walk for an hour or so and feel really good about it. It’s just again, having that self-awareness and knowing what are the things that are going to trip you up? What are the things that are going to make you take a detour? Then you can be prepared to keep those from happening as often. It’s still probably going to happen…
And that’s the thing is to learn when they do happen, is actually just take a moment to figure out what went on so that you can then learn from that and put a strategy in for when it happens next time. Because it will.
Yeah, I will drink less coffee that day and I would have my nuts as my snack.
Avoid the spud nuts! Let everyone else eat them first.
And they would. They were always gone by the time lunch time rolled around.
You could guarantee that. Well we’ve referred to the podcast and the book a lot during the show, but perhaps you could just tell us what they’re called and where we can find them.
Sure. Well, the podcast is 40+ Fitness. You can find it pretty much everywhere, iTunes, Spotify, any of the other podcatchers that you’d like to listen to your podcasts on, you can find it out there. Again, it’s 40+ Ftness podcast. I interview guests from all over. Most of them are authors,s we’re talking about books. I’ve interviewed over 215 authors. A lot of content there. They’re not all keto. There are some vegetarians and there are some others. One of the core thing that I’ve found is whenever you have these conversations, it all comes back to whole food. They all like to pile the processed food on the other guy and say, well vegan’s not good for you because they eat all that processed stuff. And they’ll say the same thing about meat eaters. And I’m like, well no, if you actually listen to them, we’re eating the same stuff, and we’re actually eating a lot more alike than you would think.
So I have a lot of different guests on there about a lot of different concepts, predominantly focused on people over the age of 40, but if you’re not quite 40, you still might find it useful. So go check it out. The name of the book is called The Wellness Roadmap, and it’s available on Amazon, you can get it on Barnes & Noble – all of those sites. I also did the audio book for it, so there’s an audio book version if you prefer those while you’re taking your long walks on the beach. That’s The Wellness Roadmap. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/ketowoman – just one word. I’ll have links to everything there so it’s all in one quick, easy place for you to find it, and you won’t have to go bouncing all over my internet properties to see what’s there. You can find everything there on 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/keto.
Fantastic. I’ll obviously have the normal show notes as well with everything listed there too. So plenty of places we can find where to get it. And now you say you focus on the 40 plus fitness, but the books not just for 40 pluses, it’s for everyone. Right?
It’s sort of is a little bit more geared to the conversation I would have with someone over 40. I wanted to write it in a way that anyone can get benefit from it. It’s just there are some things as we get a little bit older, you know, our hormones are changing, our sleep patterns change, everything changes at some level. And so the way that a 29 year old would approach fitness and wellness is going to be different than someone who’s 49. And so I do have that delineation in there of understanding that the conversation’s predominantly with people over 40. But yes, there’s benefit for just anyone. The roadmap as I’ve written it out is appropriate for everybody. So just if nothing else, at least you’ll have the roadmap to know how to chart your course and get there. But you’re going to read a lot of conversations about the future you as you get older, which again, might be beneficial to someone kind of looking forward and trying to put together that vision to say, I’m not 40 right now, but what do I want be when I’m 40? When I grow up – 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond.
it’s nice to have that niche, have something that’s tailored just for us.
I see a lot of people trying to go the route of the 29 year old. I did it myself. I bought the insanity workout tapes and punished myself with just doing the fitness test and then quit. And said, I can’t do this. I can’t even do the fitness test and survive. So, I’m no good. And what I didn’t do was show myself the self-compassion and self-love to know that I needed to approach training very differently. And so there is a difference in approach and it is this concept of gentle nudging that we have to do when we’re a little older. When you’re younger you can, go do something really intense and you recover quickly. Not always the case for us when we’re older, we’re often dealing with nagging injuries like your back and then my rotator cuff, those things are going to be a part of our journey and we just need to be prepared to deal with them.
Well, it’s been fantastic catching up and hearing all about your book and your podcasts and all the valuable information you’ve given us that perhaps you could add just one more top tip to that.
The top tip would be this. As you look at this, this whole paradigm of getting well, there’s four core elements that I think we should all be focused on. The biggest one is food, and then sleep, and then stress, and then exercise. I know that sounds weird coming from a fitness trainer saying that exercise is going to get you the less bang for your buck, but it’s absolutely true. If your food’s not right, you’re not right. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re not right. If your stress level’s too high, you’re not right. Exercise can only do so much for you. It is the one thing you have probably the most control over because you make the decision whether you do it or not, and what you do. There’s a lot of variety for you to approach it, but you’re going to get the most from your food. If you haven’t got that sorted out, start there. And then I think what you’ll find is with keto, you’re going to have some increased energy that you’re going to want to do something with.
That tends to happen, doesn’t it?
And then that keto energy is something that you can then turn on to your fitness regimen.
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for talking to me today Allan. It’s been a great pleasure.
I’ve loved this. Thank you very, very much.
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