00:01:53 Key Principles for Optimal Health
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Introduction: Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here’s your host, Darren Kirby.
Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for men in their 40s who want to improve their health through nutrition and fitness. This is Episode 101, and today is going to be a solo episode. And we’re going to be discussing the three principles that men over 40 should adhere to. If you want to have optimal health. So let’s dive into the podcast. But before we do that, I just want to take a minute to mention the show’s sponsor. Athletic Greens So Athletic Greens is a probiotic prebiotic supplement of 75 different vitamins and minerals. And as most of you know, I advocate getting all of our vitamins and nutrients and minerals from food. But unfortunately, due to various different modern farming methods and the stresses and strains of life, we can’t always get the food that we perhaps would have if we were able to. And so Athletic Greens is kind of like an insurance policy, really, and I take it on a daily basis to ensure that I’m getting all of my vitamins, nutrients, probiotics, prebiotics and optimizing my gut health. But Athletic Greens is offering the listeners of the show a 10 percent discount off your first supply. So if you go to AthleticGreens.com For Fitter Healthier Dad and you can sign up to your first order of Athletic Greens.
Darren: So as I said, let’s dive into the show. So the thing that I want to talk about today are the three key principles that you need to follow if you’re over 40 to ensure that you are at optimal health.
Darren: And a lot of the times when men get to 40 or even before 40, it was for me anyway, about thirty nine, you kind of have this kind of self reflection moment. And, you know, up until that point you’ve been, you know, gung ho headstrong into family, career, life. And we let our health take a kind of not of a back seat, but kind of step to one side. And it must be something about this magic number of 40. Do you have a bit of a reflection and think that you’re perhaps not in the shape that you want to be in or perhaps not as healthy as you’d like to be? And so you want to make a change. And the first thing that we do as men with our action based attitude or ego driven attitude, whatever you want to call it, is we might decide. We want to make the change and we go full on into whatever kind of exercise, regime or protocol you want to follow, and that’s great. But that alone won’t optimize your health. And unfortunately, I work with a lot of guys who it’s gone one step further for them. And they might have liver issues. They might have Type two diabetes that might have high blood pressure.
Darren: And these are pretty serious conditions. However, they are all reversible with the right diet and the right lifestyle. And a lot of it is lifestyle choices. So I’m going to dove into the three principles that we use on the 40 method in our coaching. And hopefully this will give you a kind of a foundation really on the three principles to consider when you are looking at your health.
So the first thing is, like I mentioned previously, is exercise. But the principle that we use is movement. And the reason it’s movement is because there’s lots of different forms of movement, basically that we can do. And it’s not all just about killing yourself in the gym. So, you know, there’s lots of different variations you can do from one extreme. You can start doing high intensity interval training or you can do endurance training where you’re exercising for long periods of time if you have a specific goal. But I would really advocate that if you have if you started this from a very sedentary standpoint, where you perhaps you’ve back in the good old days where you were commuting to work, he was sitting in an office or sitting in a car all day, then you were commuting back home and then sitting on the sofa in the evening is stopped by in just a very gentle way. But unfortunately, ma’am, we don’t want to do that, we want to go headstrong for long, and I would really just kind of caution you against that, because if he’s not moved for quite a while, there’s lots of immobility and muscle restrictions on your face.
Darren: And if you go from zero to 100 mile an hour, you’re likely to end up with injuries. So the first thing I would start with around movement is just get in at least 10000 steps in a day. And for some people, depending on what your daily routine is like, that’s a little bit difficult. So a lot of this will be around reforming habits. And I will talk about the third principle, which is mind set later on in the episode. But for now, we’ll talk about the first principle, which is movement. And so, yeah, get ten to fifteen thousand steps in a day. So just think about when you are moving about in the day, how you could get those steps in, you know, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you’re commuting and going out for a walk before you go to work or going out for a walk if you’ve had dinner. And then once you start to get consistent on that, then you can start to think about doing a little bit more exercise. So that could be running particularly. I always advocate for men over 40 to really consider swimming because swimming is a whole body workout. And not only that, it is the least impactful workout that we can do on the body because the water supports us, we’re moving all of our limbs, we’re getting our heart rate up.
Darren: So swimming is a good one. Cycling, if you’ve got young kids or older kids, you can even go cycling with them. And then obviously there’s various different workouts that we use from home workouts where you can do a 15 to 20 minute session in the House or outside in the garden. And then you can obviously go to gyms as well where they have classes. I personally go to a local crossfit gym and for me, I love that because that mixes up from what I’m doing with my endurance training to what I’m doing with a home workout and then crossfit as well. It just makes this thing up. And that’s one of the key things I always say to people, is that I come across so many people who actually don’t like the gym, so don’t go to the gym is quite simple. There’s so many other training and exercise modalities that you can use now, and the fitness world is awash with various different things. You can try to just try them, even skipping a lot of people that’s become quite popular and I’ve become aware of anyway quite recently. So things like that. The objective really of movement is to move our limbs, to move in different movement patterns, to make sure we’re getting full range of movement in all the joints of the body so that as we age we still maintain that mobility.
Darren: So that’s the first principle. The second principle is metabolism. And the reason is metabolism is because, one, I don’t like the word diet because it has a role. It has a negative connotation in it, because diet is something you do for a short period of time before you go back to how you used to eat. But metabolism is reset. We reset our metabolism. Why? Because the Western diet has evolved so that the type of macronutrients that we have is not balanced in line with how we’re moving, how we live in day to day. So I get a little bit more into depth around that. And if you’re a regular listener of the podcast, you’ll know what’s coming and it’s around macronutrients. OK, so we want to make sure that we’ve got the right ratio of proteins to fats, to carbohydrates. So proteins being meat, fish, if you’re vegan, it could be things like tofu corn, things like that. And then with fats within the proteins, you can have fatty, oily fish, you can have nuts, which can’t contain a lot of fat and avocados and things like that. We want to make sure that we have that balance in our diet and then carbohydrates. This is the biggest challenge that I see with guys I work with, because, again, the Western diet has evolved so that largely our macronutrient breakdown, over 50 percent of it, generally when I keep getting someone to keep a food diary, is carbohydrates.
Darren: Now, the body needs carbohydrates because that’s where it gets its glycogen. So basically it gets broken down into sugar and then stored in the muscles as glycogen and in the liver. And that is the body’s primary fuel source. Is the fuel source in which the body is able to access easily. We have a secondary fuel source, which is fat and it all depends on your activity levels as to whether your body is burning either carbohydrates, glycogen or fat as fuel. And we unfortunately, we have. Yeah, most of the guys I work with, I’ve yet to have this. This proven over 50 percent of their micronutrients are carbohydrates and we just don’t move enough. The body doesn’t need that much. In relation to our exercise levels, so is making sure that we when you’re looking at your plate, when you’ve got either your breakfast or your lunch or evening meal, you can identify which is your protein source, which is your fat source and which is your carbohydrate source. And on the FitterHealthierDad website, I’ve got an infographic which breaks that down like the ideal plate. So yeah, we want to reset on metabolism and we want to make sure that the body is getting the right balance.
Darren: And what happens when you do that, even before you start exercising the body will just naturally start to get to its right weight level and the right composition in simple terms. You start dropping fat, you start dropping weight. And this is before you even exercise, because what I find is a lot of people come at this from the wrong side and basically they focus on fitness before they focus on diet. And you can train again. I’ve said it lots of times before in the podcast. You can train like an Olympic athlete. But if you have not got your diet dialed in, then you will not shift fat and you will not drop weight. And to add some context around that, a lot of people, when they first start in the movement principle, I go for a run and they’ll go out for a five K run and great, you’ve got all your serotonin, your dopamine levels have raised. You’re feeling good, you’re feeling refreshed, you’re feeling energized, and then you come home and you continue to eat as you’ve always eaten. Unfortunately, that five K run, you will be lucky if you’ve burnt more than three hundred calories. And to add some more context around that three hundred calories is basically if you’re based in the UK, you know what this is, is a Kit Kat. So you burn off the equivalent of a Kit Kat from doing a five K run.
Darren: So you need to make sure that again outside of the macronutrients you’ve got the right portion sizes as well. We eat way too much. The portion sizes that we’ve evolved to have in the UK, in other parts of the western world, it’s just too much. We just eat too much food based on our activity levels. And that is one of the simplest, easiest ways you can start dropping weight is just eat less. You know, it’s quite simple. It’s just eating less. And then when you couple that with the micronutrient level, the writing of macronutrients, sorry, should I say you will find before you even go to the movement principle, you will start dropping weight. Not only that, you will start to have better energy levels. You start to have better mental clarity. You’ll get rid of this brain fog and you’ll have better moods. You will have better sleep. And nutrition is way underestimated how important it is for all different elements of life. I think I’ve done a podcast on gut health podcast number one was on gut health, and we have the gut brain connection. It’s called the vagus nerve that goes from the gut to the brain. And so whatever you put in in your gut will affect what goes on in the brain. So if it’s inflammatory, you create inflammation in the brain and that’s where you get brain fog from when you’re eating a lot of sugary fatty snacks.
Darren: Now, there are good fats and bad fats. And that’s obviously another episode. But yeah, so that’s the second principle is metabolism.
And then the third principle I’m going to talk about is mindset. And again, this is something which isn’t spoken about generally in the fitness space, but it is one of the biggest factors which will mean that you’re successful in whatever your goals or aspirations are around your health. And this is such a big topic. But, you know, the principal mindset that we work on is about our relationship with food. So you might gravitate towards specific foods. And nine times out of ten, your eating habits and your food habits and foods you like and dislike will be governed by your childhood. And when you understand that, it makes it way, way easier for you to shift and to change that relationship with food. So to give you an example, when I was a child, quite rightly so, my parents used to restrict me from eating crisps. But then low and behold, when I was in my early adult years, what did I do? I would absolutely devour bags and bags and bags of crisps, which is obviously bad, inflammatory, fat lot of bad salt and means that we put on weight a lot carbohydrates, and so if you are gravitating towards food, particularly when you’re stressed, when you’re tired and maybe things aren’t going well at home, at work, you will naturally gravitate to this food because you will have this association around, you know, the feeling good factor at the serotonin and the dopamine levels that get raised when you eat these foods and there are food psychologists at work for food companies that ensure that we get a specific dopamine or serotonin response when we eat these foods.
Darren: It’s a feel good factor, which makes us want to eat more. So that’s a little bit deep. But the bottom line is we will have grown up with a certain relationship with food. So it’s understanding that if you want to change. And the other part around the mindset is habits. A lot of things that we do, 90 percent of what we do is unconscious, 10 percent is conscious. So there might be specific foods or the time that you’re eating food, which will be unconscious to you once you have recognized that you can then change it. So mindset is one of the key principles of what we follow in the 40 method. So it’s about understanding that. And this is way, way harder actually, to change your habit. And your relationship with food is way, way more difficult than actually doing a workout because you have to. It’s not something you can decide on a Sunday evening. Right. I’m not going to have this chocolate this week or I’m not going to eat these crisps this week or I’m not going to drink alcohol.
Darren: It’s nice to have that drive and that ambition to stop that, but the reality is, it takes 66, six days to form a new habit. And so you can try and just change overnight. But the reality is you will most likely fail and it won’t work for a few days, but then some life event will happen or you have a bad night’s sleep and then you just say, so I’m just going to go back and I’m just going to start eating or unconsciously you’ll go to the cupboard or you go to the shop and you buy this comfort food and this food that you like eating. You either eat too much of it or you eat consistently over a period of a week. So habits are really easy to create, harder to break, really. But his understanding is about breaking that down, is about analyzing what you’re doing and being aware. And that’s the biggest the biggest key is becoming aware of these habits that you’ve formed over a period of time and ask your partner or your family to identify it, to kind of cool you out when you are unconsciously going towards the alcohol or the snack cupboard, eating sugary fatty foods when you’re out and things like that. And gradually over time, that will change. So you need to have all of these three principles together.
Darren: It’s kind of like the building blocks, really. So. I’ve just realized that I actually started with the movement first, its metabolism first, but we’ll stick with it for now. So basically, principle number one is movement, making sure you move more and then gradually increasing over a period of time as your fitness and your health levels improve. And then, number two, metabolism is so, so important. We want to reset our metabolism, give the body the macronutrients, the micronutrients that it needs in order to operate in the way that we designed essentially, and then the mind set side of it. So being aware of our relationship with food, changing our relationship with food, trying new foods, breaking habits on the final thing, I would say our mindset and habits is just one you once you’ve become aware of your habits that you want to change, change one thing at a time. If you try to change too much, it just becomes too overwhelming. And from a psychological standpoint, as humans, we aren’t wired to like change. We don’t like change. It becomes uncomfortable. It becomes difficult. And so if you try to change lots of habits all at once, it will not work anymore. Like you said before, you know, it might work for a small period of time, but it won’t work for the long term. And that’s what we want to do, it’s a long term small change. We want to make that stack on top of each other that over a period of time compound and end up with huge change.
Darren: If you are able to change one habit a month, for example, that’s 12 habits over the course of a year. That’s a lot of habit, habitual change you would make in one year. And just imagine just how different your life would be in 12 months. So that all sounds quite deep. But these three principles work. They really, really work. And if you listen to some of the guys that I’ve worked with, Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast for a method, they will say to themselves that I’ve seen change happen in a relatively short space of time. But change only happens long term when you’re consistent and making sure that you keep that consistency. Consistency is key over time. So, yeah, I hope that as I hope that has helped. So the three principles are movement, metabolism, a mindset, you stack all of those together and you will achieve your health outcome that you desire.
Darren: So thanks for listening to this episode and I’ll look forward to speaking to you again in the next episode. Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.