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TMHS 460: 10 Surprising Secrets To Live Longer & Improve Your Healthspan Today!
Have you ever considered what affects your lifespan? While we used to think that life expectancy was largely determined by genetics, we now know that only about 20% of longevity is from inherited traits. By and large, that means that we hold the power to influence our health and how long we live.
On this compilation episode, you’re going to hear from ten of the best experts on the topic of longevity. You’ll learn about the basic foundations of longevity like nutrition, exercise, and mental health. We’re also diving into scientific topics like how influencing your microbiome and telomeres can increase your lifespan.
Most importantly, we’re going to explore how to maximize your longevity so you can live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life. I hope this episode arms you with the information you need to create a strong body and mind so you can live the life you desire. Enjoy!
In this episode you'll discover:
- The difference between lifespan and healthspan.
- What role our microbiome plays in our longevity.
- An explanation of telomeres, and what we can do to keep them healthy.
- How many categories of longevity genes exist.
- What it means to eat stressed foods.
- The importance of addressing societal norms about aging.
- What the oldest form of strength training is.
- The power of simplifying your workouts.
- How staying in shape can help you prolong your career.
- What a cultural portal is.
- The true meaning of growing older, and why our beliefs are so powerful.
- A distinction between strength and power.
- How exercise can act as a fountain of youth by resetting gene expression.
- The link between cortisol and gluconeogenesis.
- What the Japanese term “Ikigai” means.
- How having a sense of purpose can make you healthier.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Foursigmatic.com/model — Get an exclusive discount on your daily health elixirs!
- Barukas.com/model — Save 15% off the healthiest nuts in the world!
- Your Microbiome & Your Lifespan with Dr. Steven Gundry – Episode 336
- How to Eat to Beat Disease with Dr. William Li – Episode 345
- Why We Age & Why We Don’t Have To with Dr. David Sinclair – Episode 381
- How to Change Your State & Age in Reverse with Natalie Jill – Episode 347
- Getting Stronger with Progressive Overload with Jay Ferruggia – Episode 253
- Get Yourself in Position to Win with Ozzie Smith – Episode 301
- Secrets of Living Healthfully to 100 with Dr. Christiane Northrup – Episode 196
- The Link Between Power & Aging and How to Play On with Jeff Bercovici – Episode 295
- Burn More Fat & Become Metabolically Flexible with Mark Sisson – Episode 257
- The Surprising Science of Stress with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee – Episode 376
- The Longevity Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry
- The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry
- Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution by Dr. Steven Gundry
- Eat to Beat Disease by Dr. William Li
- Lifespan by Dr. David Sinclair
- Aging in Reverse by Natalie Jill
- 7-Day Jump Start by Natalie Jill
- Play On by Jeff Bercovici
- The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
- The Stress Solution by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
- How to Make Disease Disappear by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Yeah, interestingly enough, 11 years ago, I wrote my first book called Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution, and the subtitle was Turn Off The Genes That Are Killing You. And back in those days, we didn't know really anything about the microbiome, the bugs that live in us and on us, and I thought that it was actually our human genes that were controlling our fate. Fast-forward for this book, and the reason that book was called Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution is because my thoughts have evolved, and quite frankly, if you're spouting the same thing you said 10 years ago, I probably don't want to listen to you because...
Shawn Stevenson: Right, it's probably broken.
Dr. Steven Gundry: Yeah, guess what? Time marches on and research marches on. So the fascinating thing is that our genes really have very little to do with what's going to happen to us. Huge NIH study recently published that you're aware of, showed that of everything that's going to happen to us in longevity and diseases, our genes have only about 8% effect on what's going to happen to you and me. So that means 92% of the genes that are going to have an effect on you aren't yours or mine, they're actually our microbiome. So, we have trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of bacteria, viruses, worms, protozoa in us and on us. And even though they have fewer genes per little bacteria than you and me, because there's so many of them, the microbiome actually has well over 260 times more genetic material than you and me.
And what's really cool, I learned this from a professor of microbiology in Paris a few years ago, and he thought, and I actually subscribe to his theory that because what this huge resource of, if you will, computing power of genetic material that lives in our microbiome that reproduces constantly, he believed, and I back him up that we uploaded most of our information processing, just like we upload our information processing to the cloud, we uploaded or downloaded to our bacterial cloud, because they've got more computing power. And it sounds kind of far out there, you know, 'Do-do-do-do,' but I think he's right, because we now know that the bacteria within us actually control our fate. And it's really hard for, you know, a smart person to say, "Oh, come on now, these little one cell organisms are going to control me?" But in fact, it's actually true, because this is their home, and I like to tell people, and get people to understand that we're basically a condominium for bugs, and this is their home, and they're actually living in us and at our request.
And if we keep their home good, they'll keep us well. Because quite frankly, if we're doing well, they'll have a great home the rest of their lives. And we'll probably get into this, but the amazing thing is, you can take people who are 105 years old, very much like Edith Morrey and who are doing well, and look at their microbiome, which has been done, and compare that to the microbiome of 30-year-olds. And the 30-year-olds who are doing well, will have the same microbiome as the 105-year-olds that are doing well. And it turns out, most people, when they... If they get to that age, have to have a youthful microbiome or they're never going to get there.
Shawn Stevenson: Next up in our longevity compilation is Dr. William Li, and he's the author of over 100 scientific publications in leading medical journals. Dr. Li has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School, Tufts University and Dartmouth Medical School. And he's also the author of the New York Times best-selling book, Eat To Beat Disease. And in this clip, he's going to be talking about the relationship between our telomeres and our longevity, and some simple nutrition tips to keep you younger longer. So let's jump into this clip from Dr. William Li.
Dr. William Li: So think about your DNA like a yarn, that's like a big string, a big lump, a big pile of yarn. You're going to wind that yarn up, right? So you wind it around something, and that's really what our chromosomes are, our DNA is wound up into these Xs and Ys that are packed inside our cells, that's really our genome packed into chromosomes. And at the very end, if you can imagine if you're winding up a ball of yarn, you got to be able to get that yarn to... So it doesn't unravel to stick, and so you got to put a cap on it. The cap is the telomere. Physically, it kind of looks like the plastic tip on the end of a shoe lace, kind of protects it and holds the thing to prevent it from unraveling. That protective cap on our DNA is part of our protection. Longer the telomere, longer we think we're going to live. Cellular aging, shorter the telomere, the shorter these cells are going to live. And so, one of the big areas of research right now, by the way, this research led to The Nobel Prize a few years ago, is what can we actually do to lengthen our telomeres?
So for those people that are sort of the Ponce de León people who are looking for the fountain of youth, everybody's looking for things that actually keep our telomeres longer. Well, the answers are from research that I write about in my book might actually be and already in our kitchens. So for example, coffee turns out to be a beverage that actually can, not just prevent our telomeres from burning down like a fuse, it actually can lengthen the telomeres as well. So that's really quite an amazing thing that coffee can actually do that, but actually it's probably more dietary pattern. And people that have good dietary patterns tend to be generally healthy or they tend to exercise and sleep better and all that kind of stuff, but the Mediterranean diet is one of the best examples of a whole food, plant... Primarily plant-based diet with healthy oils, seafood and with relatively low red meat and minimal processed foods, that combination tends to lengthen telomeres.
And so, that's really one of the amazing things. I have a colleague, Dr. Dean Ornish, he and I worked together on looking at sort of healthy patterns of diets, and we actually found in fact that healthy diets like the Mediterranean diets, not only actually lengthen telomeres, but also at the same time again, being... Mother Nature being very efficient actually are also anti-androgenic that can protect you against cancer. So something that's good for the goose is probably good for the gander.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, that was Dr. William Li, and he definitely sprinkled in a few surprises there, one of those being coffee and the impact that it can have on our telomeres, one of the greatest biological markers that we have, telling us how long we're going to live. And a lot of folks don't realize this, but this was referenced in the journal, Practical Neurology, demonstrated that folks who regularly drink coffee were found to have protection against cognitive decline and reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. That's pretty remarkable, but of course, the quality matters. We don't want to have some incredibly beneficial coffee potentially coming along with pesticides and herbicides and rodenticides, things that are proven to create neuroinflammation to cause neurological damage, right? So, the quality of the coffee matters and also we can stack on that, and this is what I do personally, is I stack on that.
I don't just have the coffee, I have it along with really high quality medicinal mushrooms like Lion's Mane. This is because Lion's Mane, and this is according to the University of Malaya, discovered that Lion's Mane can significantly improve the activity of something called nerve growth factor, nerve growth factor in the human brain. And essentially helping to regulate growth, maintenance, proliferation and survival of our brain cells. And is being studied for its benefits in neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells and protecting the brain against the ramifications even through things like traumatic brain injuries and helping the brain to recover.
Really, really remarkable stuff, you get that, Lion's Mane in combination with high quality organic coffee with Four Sigmatic. Alright, so I'm a huge fan, it's what I had this morning. It's foursigmatic.com/model, that's F-O-U-R-S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C.com/model. And you're going to get a special discount, 10%, 15% or more, depending on how many of the mushies you get. Alright? Mushrooms, these medicinal mushrooms combined with high quality coffee. So, when we're talking about longevity, this is one of those things that has massive amounts of clinical evidence that high quality coffee and also things like Lion's Mane and Chaga can add to our longevity, not just our lifespan, but our health-span. Alright, so that's foursigmatic.com/model.
And now to jump back in, our next expert is Dr. David Sinclair. And he's a professor in the Department of Genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, where he and his colleagues study the molecular causes of aging and how to improve lifespan. Dr. Sinclair is also the author of the best-selling book, "Life Span: Why we age and why we don't have to." And hearing this clip from a conversation we had, he's talking about additional aspects of our DNA and cellular aging, plus a science backed nutrition insight to help us to increase, again, not just our lifespan, but our health-span. So let's jump into this clip from Dr. David Sinclair.
Dr. David Sinclair: This is the crux of everything. And most scientists don't talk the way I do. We've had to invent our own vocabulary and metaphors. So DNA, we all are very familiar with, without DNA that we get from our parents, we're screwed, right? Without the ability to encode proteins and run the cell, it's important, but that information is much more robust than we realize. We think of it as this very fragile chemical, it's actually not fragile, you can boil it, you can find it in fossils, it's pretty strong.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. Million of years old.
Dr. David Sinclair: Yeah, so this is robust and it can certainly last 80 years, our lifespan, it can probably last a thousand years if we're good to it. So what's the other problem? So that you said that's the digital part of the genome or the information, so there's ATCG, okay? People will remember from high school days, if they're not biologists, it's just a digital code encoded in chemicals for them. And instead of being as ones, and zeros, it's just four letters. But there's this other type of information that's just as important for our survival, and that's the epigenome, okay? So what's the epigenome, that's a complex word for the control systems that control the genome in a way that... Forgive my anachronism here, but a DVD is the digital information, and the analog is the ability to read that, so the digital... The DVD player is analog, so it's moving around and it can move in any possible direction, what does that mean for the cell?
Well, what's actually literally happening is that as we develop as embryos we're spooling out parts of DNA in every cell differently in every cell. So if you're a nerve cell at this part of the brain is developing, you'll have this big loop of DNA and those genes will stay on for most of your life, if not all, but there are parts that you don't want on, you don't want a liver gene on in the brain, so it spools out very tightly, like you would a hose reel, and that keeps these genes off, hopefully for 100 years or more. But what I'm proposing is that insults to the body, and if our body becomes complacent, and you know there are good things we can do to our bodies, what we lose is that structure, these loops and these tight bundles and those fall apart, we can see that in our studies, and we can actually measure that, and it's a clock, it's a clock of aging. If we measure those loops and the changes to this epigenome, I can actually tell you how old you are biologically, and I can predict with high accuracy when you're going to die, almost to the month.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. That's nuts.
Dr. David Sinclair: It's scary, right?
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Dr. David Sinclair: I haven't had it done. Would you get your clock done?
Shawn Stevenson: I mean... And this is just a little side bar here, but this brings to mind the science behind telomeres and measuring that is this biological marker, but there's more, there's much more to it.
Dr. David Sinclair: Right.
Shawn Stevenson: That's just one aspect.
Dr. David Sinclair: Yeah, and what's comforting about this theory, and it's the mark of any decent theory is that it should be able to explain not just one aspect, but all aspects of a very complex system.
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
Dr. David Sinclair: And aging is the ultimate complex system, and we've also got 1000 years of observation that we have to explain. And if it doesn't explain half of it, throw the theory out. But as I've described in my book, the theory does actually explain everything, even telomere loss. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes that wear down over time. The epigenome, the proteins that package those loops and those bundles are also packaging the ends of the chromosomes, and the unraveling leads to acceleration of that loss as well. And actually the factors that stabilize our epigenome, and we work on some of these, they're called sirtuins, we've worked on them for 20 years, we can activate them by being healthy, they are involved in protecting the ends of chromosomes as well and bundling them tightly so they don't erode and cause aging to happen as well.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. I want to talk about these sirtuins. This is really, really fascinating. So, you are... Is this under that umbrella of what you're calling longevity genes?
Dr. David Sinclair: Yes.
Shawn Stevenson: Okay. And how many are there?
Dr. David Sinclair: Well, in total, there's dozens, but they fall into three main categories that we know of. The sirtuins, there are seven of them in our bodies.
Shawn Stevenson: And we all have some of them?
Dr. David Sinclair: Well, you better have all of them, or you're dead, they're really important, but we have better copies than others. Some people have variants that predispose them to long life, there's one called SIRT6, and if you have your genome, we can have a look to see if you've got the right variant to live a long time. But by the way, only 20% of longevity is genetic, so the good news is that a lot of it's in our hands, because it's epigenetic, that's what's great about this theory is that if I'm right, genes are only a tiny part of the story. But these genes are still important because they protect the epigenome, make sure that DVD is read correctly and doesn't get scratches, so you can read the symphony for longer.
But what we can do right now is pretty simple. So you mentioned nutrients, first of all, we have a theory that bears out, which is eight foods that are stressed, stressed out, which is a weird concept, but we do it naturally, we drink... Some of us drink red wine, which is a stressed grape before we pick it. We often eat colored food, so spinach is a dark green food, there's blueberries, which are dark. The whiter ones are not as good. So why is that? Well, stressed food produces a lot of what we call xenohormetic molecules. And I'll explain what that means, it's a terrible word we coined, but xeno, X-E-N-O, means from other species, and hormesis is a very important word. You got to remember the word hormesis 'cause every day you should think about it. Hormesis is what doesn't kill us makes us live longer. And it's a term that means you've got to get your body out of its complacency, you've got to trigger those defenses, those longevity genes. So xenohormesis is, you don't have to only run and eat well at the right times, but you can also get these molecules from the right animals and plants, but particularly plants that are stressed, 'cause when plants are stressed, they're making these molecules of health for their own benefit. They're trying to survive, they're turning on their longevity genes. We forget plants have longevity genes too. So a stressed plant will make these colored molecules to protect from UV and dehydration.
When we eat them, they trigger our own body's defenses and you can get the benefits. So that's nutrition, colored foods, stressed foods, organic is stressed. You don't want the perfect lettuce that's been not put in any stress. And we need to do more of that, we need to let our plants stress a little bit before we eat them. And then nutrition. There's a lot of nutrition. Now, there's a debate every week about what's good. What I do is on the part three of the book, I list it out. So I truly believe that we've got to mix it up. The secret is not so much what we eat, but when we eat and also what we eat should have variety. So I don't say only eat meat, I don't say only eat carbohydrate. I eat a little bit of everything. I try to avoid big amounts of meat because there's one of these longevity pathways, remember I said there are three main ones. One of them senses how much meat we eat, and amino acids. So you need to give it time to rest and settle down. So that's important.
So often, I'm not eating a big steak, but I will eat meat if I've worked out, 'cause our body needs amino acids, but that's it. Make sure that you... Actually what's more important than what you eat is when you eat. How's that for an interesting thing to say? And what we've discovered with my collaborators, and I need to give a shout-out to one of my friends at the NIH, National Institutes of Health, Rafael De Cabo, he studied 10,000 mice. And what he tried to figure out was, is there a diet that makes them live longer, any mixed combinations of carbohydrate, protein and fat? And was hoping to see finally what works, and he found out they all did the same thing. They all had short lifespans. But there was one group where he only gave them the food two hours a day instead of all throughout the day, and they lived about 20% to 30% longer.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, I love it, wow.
Dr. David Sinclair: So if there's one thing I could say that I've learned, after reading 10,000 papers and studying this my whole life, it's eat less often.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright. Next up in our longevity compilation is the incredible Natalie Jill, and she's a world-renowned, fitness icon who's graced the covers of dozens of magazines. But here's the thing, she didn't appear on her first magazine cover until close to her 40th birthday, and she's also the author of the best-selling books, 7-Day Jump Start and Aging in Reverse. And in this important clip, she's going to be talking about addressing our toxic beliefs around aging. So let's dive into this clip from the amazing Natalie Jill.
Natalie Jill: So the reason I called my book Aging in Reverse is imagine if we didn't have all that outside noise around aging, because when I say aging, especially to women, what comes up for them is they don't want to be that, or they feel dated, or has been. So people want to fight, fight, fight, like, "I need to look 20 forever, I need to look 30 forever." But that doesn't have to be the way. And I'm not saying go accept and age gracefully either. That's not what I'm saying. But what I'm saying is, it doesn't have to look a certain way. Aging can look like whatever you want it to look like.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, absolutely.
Natalie Jill: It could be your powerful years, it could be the years that you get stronger, it could be the years that you learn more, where you become more authentic, where you have more fun. It could be all of those things, but it starts with that shift of like, "Okay, what am I telling myself about this? What am I deciding? What do I want? And where am I finding evidence to support things?" Like if you're finding evidence all day long that, "Hey, 40s, 50s, 60s is bad," and that's what you keep programming yourself, of course, you're going to set yourself up for issues. But when you look for the opposite and you validate that people can be healthy, can be strong, can be vibrant, can do these things, it starts to shift your perspective on that as well.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh, so, so, good, so powerful, and so real. And this is something I've been thinking a lot about, as well recently, is that we are bombarded with messages of aging is...
Natalie Jill: Yes.
Shawn Stevenson: Because of all the examples and also even the way we've grown up and seeing the aging of our parents or grandparents, and there are folks who they are needing assistance in their 50s and 60s, and maybe their arthritis is so bad they're in a wheelchair or a cane. But then there's also these examples of people who are in their 70s and 80s who are running marathons...
Natalie Jill: Totally.
Shawn Stevenson: And competing in Spartan races...
Natalie Jill: Totally.
Shawn Stevenson: And living their best life.
Natalie Jill: So what are you going to decide to make your norm? That's the thing... I hate statistics. I hate when doctors say, "Well, statistically, you have a X percent chance to live or you have percent chance of this happening." I hate that, because you could be the 1%, you could be the 2%. Get rid of that and just go for where is the evidence of the one that's overcome this? With my leg, with that happening in my back, in my leg, I instantly could have said, "Oh, I can't work out anymore, I'm not going to... This is just what happens." And you know what, no one would have challenged me. I could've enrolled the whole world on, "Why my leg doesn't work, and I can't work out anymore, and I can't do this, and I'm going to do a whole another career." I could have... That could have easily been done. But that is not fully living in Aging in Reverse. And I interviewed a woman on my podcast, Janine Shepherd, and her story really stuck with me because she.
She was an Olympic athlete, she was training for the Olympics, she was hit by a truck, hit by a truck training for the Olympics imagine this, totally paralyzed, airlifted to a hospital, told she would never walk again by multiple doctors told this, every reason to believe that she refused to listen to it, she found evidence of others that could re-train their brain and she is a documented walking paraplegic now, a walking paraplegic, there's been movies about her all because she decided and refused to let in the noise that that wasn't going to happen for her and when I heard that story, when I interviewed... When I met her in person it's like, how can I stay caught up on my leg with that, really how can I stay caught up on that.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, oh my gosh so again, just get this message, we have to tune into different stories.
Natalie Jill: Yes.
Shawn Stevenson: And not get caught up on the societal norms and conditions because the reality is for centuries prior to this there was a whole different experience in aging and the people think like well, we live a lot longer now that's taking it... When we're talking about the average we're taking into consideration a lot of people dying a lot younger.
Natalie Jill: Totally.
Shawn Stevenson: Due to not having access to healthcare and clean processes and these kind of things, infection but we actually see if we look at indigenous cultures folks who are much older still out kicking it, dancing with the kids, being a contributing part of the society and today it's just a different story.
Natalie Jill: Yeah, and let me tell you that's a perfect example too, of you looking at years ago somebody had to decide it was possible to live longer, that had to happen. I have a vision that a 100 years from now 50 and 60 is not going to be old, that will still be young, people will still be having kids then maybe, that will still be your youth because a 100 years ago it was very different the life expectancy, 150, 200 years ago a totally different story so this is, you have to have that vision and that willingness to step out of what you've been told or what you've believed and look at there's another possibility and here's the thing right or wrong you might not agree with me okay, but right or wrong what does it hurt to believe that, seriously if you want to give in to excuses and validating and saying it's not possible and argue with me great does that make your life any better because we've just taken away any possibility.
If I say you know what, you're right you're thyroid, you're this, your metabolism you're right it sucks you're right, your hormones are short you're right, you're just going to be overweight now you're right, you're going to be pain forever you're right what does that do for you, what kind of life is that, that's a life without hope so to me validating excuses serves no purpose, it literally serves no purpose, it makes you temporarily feel better in a moment, it does not do anything to help you live a bigger life and for me I'm taking a stand for people to have a bigger life because validating excuses is doing a disservice to people.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, I hope that you enjoy this longevity compilation and next up we've got an absolute powerhouse of a human being Jay Ferruggia and he's one of the most influential fitness icons in the world, he was literally one of the very first professionals teaching strength and fitness online and he's also a consultant for professional athletes in every major sport including the Los Angeles dodgers and many other organizations and he's a writer for Men's Health, Muscle and Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, Men's Fitness, ESPN and more and he's one of my really close friends and in this clip he's going to be talking about an important longevity insight when it comes to training your body, alright so let's dive into this clip from the amazing Jay Ferruggia.
Jay Ferruggia: Fitness has been huge for me for since I was 12 years old and growing up watching Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and Stallone and Schwarzenegger on the big screens so I've always been a meathead and to this day if you look at Arnold, The Rock they talk about that's the foundation, everyone that I know that I look up to that's successful that's their foundation, that's their anchor and you can't be your best self if you're not taking care of your body this is just a fact, people LL, Dr. Dre they're all doing it and I think when I was younger, when we were younger people who were at 45 seemed like they were old and retired you know what I mean and I think there's still people that believe that 'cause I get messages sometimes like oh, I know my best days are behind me and I'm like what, no, you're just getting started, look at like Will Smith, look at LL they're 50 plus and they're dominating so I think there's been a paradigm shift there for sure and I don't feel old, I feel like I'm just getting started.
But fitness is the thing that's got to be the foundation and also you have to be selfish, I think most of the time you should be selfless and focus on other people but you have to take care of yourself first so if I don't get my morning routine in, if I don't get my workouts done then I can't be my best for you, for everybody that I see, then I'm behind the eight ball, then I'm stressed out, then I have anxiety so you got to take care of yourself is the best therapy I think yeah, so it's always got to be the foundation and I put it like that because people complicate it too much now with Instagram in 2019, it's like, look, three to five days a week lift some heavy stuff, do some basic exercise you don't have to do all the crazy stuff you see on Instagram, just basic stuff and just get it done.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, but in those basics and even in this very short sentence you say something that I don't think we talk enough about, it's not just lift but you said carry why carry?
Jay Ferruggia: Well, I mean that's basically the oldest form of strength training right it's just picking up heavy stuff and moving it to build shelter thousands of years ago so I think there's still value to that is picking up... You'll have to do that in real life you're not going to lay down in real life and press a bar like this but everybody is always going to pick up suitcases, bags, kids, people, whatever and carry stuff so that's the most functional thing you can do and so farmers walks, zercher carries, whatever, you should always incorporate that in your weekly program.
Shawn Stevenson: You know what's crazy man, it's been probably the last three months, you know I told you about my injury, but I've been doing carries, I'll do that to warm up, I'll just get it. Nobody else in the gym is doing this, I'm just walking around with a heavy kettlebell on one hand or in two hands and just walking around, walking back and they're just like... Is he putting it somewhere? You know what I'm saying, but I'm just replicating something that we would do normally in life that we should be training for, so...
Jay Ferruggia: Totally, and it strengthens everything from head to toe your ankles get stronger knee stability hip stability.
Shawn Stevenson: Obliques.
Jay Ferruggia: Low back obliques yeah actually that's the single arm one that you're talking about, your QL muscle, your quadratus lumborum is one of the muscles that people don't know about that causes a lot of lower back pain and Dr. Stuart McGill, who's the leading spine expert on the planet, he says, doing those is one of the best things you can do to strengthen that and thus prevent lower back pain.
Shawn Stevenson: Yes, so grab a heavy dumbbell or heavy implement heavy kettlebell, whatever it is, and carry one, just pick up 100 yards or whatever it is, just walk around your gym, do that and switch hands, walk back. I think it'll be really helpful for everybody...
Jay Ferruggia: Absolutely.
Shawn Stevenson: That's great, man. And then also you said drag... That's another thing. We don't really think about it, but drag heavy things.
Jay Ferruggia: Again, going back to building shelter or killing a moose or something, to drag on, that's one of the oldest forms of strength training, that's what we had to do. And it just builds strength in a more functional way than just getting in a machine or just doing like I said, a one arm row or something like that, very functional, and great for a knee strength too, and then preventing or rehabbing knee injuries.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah. Men so good. Another one of these 45 lessons from 45 years is, less is more. Less is more, why did you put that on there?
Jay Ferruggia: I've always been attracted to that, and I think most people, if they don't think about it, when somebody comes in it simplifies something for you, like if you're like, Oh, should I do this, this, and you have a million options, and somebody's like, Dude, those are crazy. Just do this one. You feel such a sigh relief, some of my favorite books are the One Thing and the 80-20 principle on essentialism. I think less is always more, the more you can reduce... That's why Steve Jobs and then Mark Zuckerberg and people have a wardrobe that they wear all the time, the more you can reduce options, the more your anxiety and stress goes down, the more you simplify things, the better it's going to be... No matter what it is, that's why I said with fitness, everybody goes on Instagram and like, Oh, should I do this this? And It's like, just simplify it, just do a push-pull or a squat a hinge, it's pretty simple stuff. So I'm always looking for ways that I could simplify things.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, one of the things I talked about with Steve Weatherford was he's really been, I think in the last couple of years, shifting more towards eccentric training, just slowing things down, and he feels like he feels that pump and the changes with his muscle and the soreness, but his joints don’t hurt, he's not just hammered.
Jay Ferruggia: Totally.
Shawn Stevenson: Like he used to be, but he's still incredibly fit, right, so it's just like... And he's doing less exercises, which it's very counter-intuitive because we think we should do more, we've only worked out for 30 minutes. We got to do 90 minutes, right? But the opposite is often true.
Jay Ferruggia: Dude I think it's always true, honestly, I think most people do way too much, if we're talking less is more specific to weight training and strength training. That's how I went from 147 pounds to over 220. That's how I got a lot of similar results with hundreds of people in my gym and online, is I really like working up to one to two top end sets on stuff, so if you're doing a leg day, maybe work up to one heavy set of leg curls and do one heavy set of split squats, one set of squats, one set of rdls, and where most people are doing, especially these days, they're doing rounds and they're doing four or five sets, it's like that's a lot of junk volume. I think the main thing that really makes a difference is setting PRs, so if you could do split squats with 35s today for 10, you should be doing 11 next week, and then you should move on to 40s over time, if you just get stronger and an easy way to get stronger, is to do less 'cause that what your body is not so beat up, you're going to transform you're going to feel better. Your joints are going to be better.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, yeah, I love that, man. So good, so good. Next up, we've got somebody who really doesn't even need an introduction, but when talking about longevity man there's no greater example than the Hall of Fame shortstop from the St. Louis Cardinals Ozzie Smith, now Ozzie Smith, set Major League records for career assists and double plays, and he also has a National League Record with 2511 career games at his position. Now Ozzie Smith won the national league Gold Glove Award for play at the shortstop position for 13 consecutive seasons, 15-time All-Star and he accumulated almost 2500 hits, 580 stolen bases, and he also won the national league silver slugger Award as the Best hitting shortstop. And again, Hall of Fame inductee icon in St. Louis baseball, but just baseball in general, often referred to as The Wizard of Oz for his incredible almost magical game play, and what he, was he able to achieve on the field was not an accident, and here in this clip, he's going to be talking about something that I want us to really understand and embrace that longevity isn't a straight line. Success isn't a straight line. Things are going to happen along the way for sure, especially if you've got a dedication to a big goal, whether it's with your health and fitness, whether it's with your career, whatever the case might be, stuff's going to happen, you're going to have to deal with some troubles along the way, and we're going to have to find ways to overcome them.
Shawn Stevenson: And continuing to thrive long into the future, part one that Ozzie is going to address part one is the mindset regarding longevity, and part two is about physically getting stronger. And that's one of the things that Ozzie's continued to do. We met each other in the gym and seeing him, there training in his 60s, there working on weight training, getting stronger, working on his mobility, and in fact, Ozzie and this is part of his longevity formula, was weight training long before it was fashionable, long before it was in vogue, because it was thought that you just don't touch weights because you want to be able to maintain your flexibility, your ability to flex, now, your ability to move around on the baseball field, this was something that was just not done, and he's somebody who utilized it to help them persevere through this crazy, what would seem like a disability on the field, and enabled him to continue to win Gold Glove Awards, win a championship with the St. Louis Cardinals, and just continue to be a perennial All-Star. So really excited about this. Obviously, a big hometown hero for myself personally. I was so grateful to have him on. So let's dive into this clip in our longevity compilation with the one and only Ozzie Smith.
Ozzie Smith: We went out there every day, working hard to be the very best that we could be defensively, and the very best that we could be offensively. Now, for me, I always work with weights and stuff in the off-season. But being a small guy, never really understood...
Shawn Stevenson: That was a very popular thing in baseball.
Ozzie Smith: No, it wasn't. No, it wasn't, because they... As a short stop, you want to be flexible, you don't want to be too tight, but I wanted to be stronger. And so in 1985, and I think this is where we were going, in 1985 I had a chance to meet a guy by the name of Mackie Shilstone, who took Michael Spinks from a light heavy to a heavy weight. And it was at that point that things kind of changed for me, 1985. My greatest accomplishment in the game today has been playing with a rotator cuff, a torn rotator cuff from 1985 to 1996. And I didn't get the rotator cuff worked on until after I retired, because it was starting to affect my golf game. Talk about priorities. But Mackie, when I met Mackie, I told Mackie that what I wanted to... I wanted to prolong my career. I wanted to be able to play beyond 40, because 40 was the number. You can't play beyond 40. Saying, "Well, that ain't what I've been taught. You can play as long as you want to play, as long as you're... You keep yourself in good shape and stuff." I said, "40, that's nothing." So we started working and we started working on protecting the area around the rotator cuff, doing all of the arm band exercises, internal, external, the sword in, sword out, I know all of these exercises now because it's...
Shawn Stevenson: Really?
Ozzie Smith: Yeah. It's those little muscles around the area, and I don't know if people... If you've ever had rotator cuff tear or strain or whatever, that little muscle does so much for everything that you do in your life. Opening the car door, turning the radio dial, you name it. And so what I had to do is I had to work from below the shoulder. But what happens when you lose one instinct? Another one takes over. So I was already pretty quick and accurate, and it just enhanced that even more. But from 85 to 96, I was still able to win Gold Gloves, not being able to get up on top.
So I say to guys, "It's easy to play when you're healthy. It's easy to play when you're healthy." Show me that guy who can go out there and still get it done when he's ailing every day. If you show me a player that goes to a coach and say, "Coach, I'm 100%, I'm going to show you somebody who's not giving a 100." Because if you're giving a 100 every day, there's no way that you go out there and you don't have some type of ache or pain, be it your knee, your foot, something has to be aching. So the guys that excel at it and become greats or that are out there every day, and I know that winning is much more than getting a big hit or making a great play. Winning is being able to help my team psychologically. My being there at 80%, sometimes our team is going to be better than somebody else at 100, psychologically. And so I tell young people all the time that when you're one of the people that the team depends on, you got to show up, man. You got to figure out a way to get it done. And just the intimidating factor sometimes. When you can intimidate a team by saying that, "Well, I'm not going to hit it to you." When a guy would say to me, "Well, I ain't going to hit it to you today," I got him. I got him.
Shawn Stevenson: Before it even starts.
Ozzie Smith: Before it starts. And that's the... That's the type of edge that you're looking for.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright. Now, when talking about longevity, obviously, our nutrition is of paramount importance. It's literally what we're making our cells out of, but more importantly than that, nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics, our nutrition is literally determining our genetic expression. So looking at the things that are literally printing out copies of us, and the quality of those copies, we want, again, it's not just life span, it's health span, we want to be printing out great copies of us long into the future. And in this category of nutrition, there's this term called superfoods. And these are foods... I don't use this term lightly. They have to have exceptional qualities. So I'm talking about superstars in their categories that put them head and shoulders above other foods. And in this particular category that I want to share with you guys, this one just blew my mind, I couldn't believe how much data existed on this food, and most folks have never even heard of it.
Now, in a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, published in the journal Nutrition, researchers put test subjects on diets that were equal in calories, but one group of test subjects were able to add in the superfood nut called Barukas as part of their diet, while the other group did not. At the end of the study, even though everyone was consuming the same amount of calories, the study participants who got to include Barukas in their diet lost an additional two and a half centimeters off their waist. Again, calories, the same, the Baruka nuts did something really amazing for their metabolism and for their waistline. The researchers noted that the Barukas have substantial benefits on reducing abdominal adiposity. Also, found to increase HDL and normalize blood fats.
Now, the reason that this food is a true superfood in this category is that Barukas are a complete protein, which is extremely rare in nuts and seeds. They have three times more antioxidants than other nuts. They're low in lectins and they're packed with micronutrients. And to top it off, improving our ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s is a big player in our longevity. With the omega-6s being the pro-inflammatory omega fats, and the omega-3s being the more anti-inflammatory omega fats. We need both, but they need to be in balance. And having an abnormal ratio with high amounts of omega-6s is one of the leading causes of inflammation and early aging. Now, as a comparison, some of the healthiest nuts like Brazil nuts and almonds have a ratio of 232:1 omega-6s to omega-3s, incredibly high in omega-6s, but they're still super healthy. And almonds, on the other side, is 129:1, omega-6s to omega-3s respectively, so we want to get our omega-3s up. Barukas have the power to do this, with Barukas being 13:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Incredible.
Again, it's in a league of its own when it comes to this category of superfoods in the domain of nuts. Barukas are one of my favorite snacks. I can see them over there on my counter right now. You've gotta get your hands on some barukas. Go to barukas.com/model for 15% off these incredible nuts. It's B-A-R-U-K-A-S.com/model and you're going to get 15% off. Barukas.com/model. The world's healthiest nut, incredibly packed with antioxidants, complete protein, amazing ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s, and also clinically proven to aid in reduction of belly fat. Really remarkable stuff. My all-time favorite nut. Again, this is my favorite snack, it's over there on my counter right now. Barukas.com/model.
And now, to continue on with our longevity compilation is somebody who's also one of my heroes. She's been in the field of health and wellness at the highest level for decades. It is Dr. Christiane Northrup. She's a board-certified OB-GYN physician, and Dr. Northrup graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and completed her residency at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston. And she was also Assistant Clinical Professor of OB-GYN at Maine Medical Center for 20 years. She's the author of several best-selling books including "Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being." And in this clip, she's going to be talking about the priming of aging in our culture. Priming us for our beliefs around aging, and how you can start to prime yourself for longevity. Just dive into this clip from the amazing Dr. Christiane Northrup.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: If you think you're just human, then life is not so much fun. But when you know there's this eternal part of us, then life becomes a very different thing, so you stop being influenced by so-called cultural portals. So here's a cultural portal, having my hair done and my hair-dresser was 29. And her friends, they'll say to her, "What are you going to do next year? Woah. The big 3-0 is... “Like that means anything, or the retirement age of 65. That was chosen by Otto von Bismarck in Germany in 1880, so that the pensioners could have a little rest before they died. And at that time, the life expectancy was 18 months after age 65. It's now 24 years. So when people associate age 65 with retirement, meaning no longer useful, then there is a tendency to internalize that and teach your biology that that means you are irrelevant. When in fact, many people are just getting started in their 60s. See, growing older in the words of Mario Martinez is the opportunity to increase your value and competence.
We got a guy here in Portland, Maine, who runs Gateway Studio, Bob Ludwig. I don't know how many Grammys this guy has got, but he's well over 60 and he's got a golden ear, which just gets better. Beliefs are actually more powerful than our genes. And if you look at the scientific backing of this, Ellen Langer at Harvard back in '94, did a very famous study. She took a bunch of guys and for 10 days, I think it was 10 days, she had one group go to a monastery where they're just away from people, the other control group went somewhere, too. But the group that went away lived as though they were in their prime. So this was men, 70 and on up. They measured their hearing, their eyesight, they took pictures, their lung capacity, cardiac output, hearing, eyesight, all of it, they measured all of it for seven to 10 days. They lived as though they were in their prime. Time Magazine from their prime, TV shows from their prime, and they had to act like right now, they were in their prime. They then repeated all the tests. Everyone's hearing, eyesight, cardiac output, lung capacity, it all improved just from living as if, and they all looked 10 years younger.
And if you talk to Ellen Langer about that, she said, "A game of touch football broke out in the backyard." Now, here's what happened though. When their families came to get them, then the game was off, "Oh yeah. Okay, dad. You're old. Let me carry your suitcase." So here's a bunch of guys that got vital, and they got younger. They go back into their environment, and they're treated like they're old, and then they start acting like it. And in our medical center, in the psych department, they actually had a dictum that anyone over 65 needed to be taken care of by the senior team. Which means when you started to walk down the hall, someone would come and take your arm. Now talk about priming for decrepitude. Yeah, that's our problem.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh my goodness!
Dr. Christiane Northrup: But it's also the solution.
Shawn Stevenson: Next up in our longevity compilation is the author of one of my favorite books diving in and looking at this incredible revolution happening in sports performance. His name is Jeff Bercovici, and he's the former San Francisco bureau chief of Inc Magazine, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling book, "Play On, The New Science of Elite Performance At Any Age." In this clip, he's going to be sharing a key distinction in a certain aspect of fitness that ends up getting lost over time, plus he's going to talk about how exercise can function as a virtual fountain of youth. So let's jump into this clip from the amazing Jeff Bercovici.
Jeff Bercovici: I spent a lot of time thinking about this phenomenon that we all see around us. As sports fans, we see all of our favorite athletes just hanging around longer, hanging around, having the peaks of their careers later and later. People like...
Shawn Stevenson: This is new.
Jeff Bercovici: Absolutely. New, 'cause you hear them talking about it. Every time you watch sports now, they're saying, "No one's ever won a major tennis tournament at the age of Roger Federer. No one's ever played more minutes in the NBA at this level like LeBron James." Whatever sport it is, they're talking about these people who are 35, 38, 40, Tom Brady, setting new records. And I said, "What's going on here that all of these people can compete so many levels above what I'm trying to do, and they're healthy, and they're performing their best. What are they doing that I'm not doing, and what actually makes a difference?"
Shawn Stevenson: So one of the most fascinating things... I want to dive into some of these reasons why folks are able to have longer careers and what we need to look at, some of the things that's going on behind the scenes that might rob us of that. And you shared in the book that because we tend to think it's because of loss of muscle, for example. Losing strength as you get older. But you say it's not a loss of strength, it's a loss of power, is one of the issues. So can you talk about that?
Jeff Bercovici: Yeah, power is the ability to generate force in a short period of time. So if you think... If you can lift up a 100-yard... A 100-pound barbell, that takes strength, but to kind of explosively throw a 100-pound barbell, that would be... That would be power, that's the difference. Someone demonstrated for me, it's the difference between... He said, "Tap your finger on your chest, and now take it and pull it back and go like that." That's power. And you lose power, because you have these quick-twitch muscle fibers and the slow-twitch muscle fibers, and they... As you age, your muscle fibers don't reproduce as well, they die off basically, your motor units. But they die off at different rates, the quick-twitch ones are... Don't age as well, basically, and there's different possible reasons for that. But the result is that athletes in power sports that involve sprinting or hitting a baseball, anything like that, they're... They tend to have earlier career peaks than athletes in endurance sports like marathon-ing or distance swimming, things like that.
Shawn Stevenson: That's so fascinating. And so one of the things we need to possibly look at is training for power, I would assume. So do we have some examples of folks who are doing that?
Jeff Bercovici: Yeah, absolutely. Somebody that I talked to... For instance, there's John Welbourn, who runs a company called Power Athlete. He's a former... He was in the NFL for 10 years as a lineman, and now he's... As an offensive lineman, and now he's basically a power coach guru. This is his whole thing. And a lot of the training methods and technologies that I talked about and that I researched in the course of writing this book have to do with maintaining that power. In some ways, it's the key to having the physiology and strength profile of a younger athlete.
Shawn Stevenson: So I want to talk about exercise, just general. This is, in many ways, considered this virtual fountain of youth. So from your experience and the things that you've learned, how important is that? Just if we're talking about being able to be functional as we get older, what role does exercise play for us?
Jeff Bercovici: Oh, it's everything. Exercise is... I think it's increasingly being recognized as the key to healthy aging. Everything from just maintaining strength and mobility as you age to avoid things like falls once you are in your 70s and 80s and may have some osteoporosis. That's a significant cause of death for people in that age group. But the amazing thing about exercise is it really does trigger in the body the mechanisms that reproduce... Physiologically, exercise is youth. It resets gene expression in a way that causes your hormone production, your other blood factors to be indistinguishable from those of a young person. They can... When they look at something called your fitness age, somebody who is very fit in their 50s can have the exact same biomarkers and the same life expectancy as somebody... A healthy person in their 20s.
Shawn Stevenson: It's crazy and amazing. And you just said it, it's just how... Exercise is just one of those things, I think it really makes us human, it's a part of being human. Your genes expect you to move. And if we're neglecting that, then, man, we set in place the opposite, this accelerating aging process.
Jeff Bercovici: Yeah. And this is something where... Your genes expect you to move is a great way to put it, because we are just starting to understand the epigenetics, basically, all the stuff that goes on with gene expression and protein formation in your cells...
Shawn Stevenson: Talk about grey matter as well.
Jeff Bercovici: And grey matter, and they don't even know but basically, it turns out that exercise, especially intense exercise is as far as preserving your volume of grey matter in your brain, basically the stuff that makes you human exercise is just as effective as things like playing chess or playing bridge or doing crossword puzzles. We understand it makes intuitive sense, why using your brain for advanced cognition use or lose it, why it helps you preserve that matter, but we don't totally understand why exercise has the same effect, but it does.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, man, and by the way, so grey matter, this is part of the central nervous system, glial cells, neuronal cell bodies, synapses, the synaptic clefts, all this connection, there's so much going on with grey matter and you develop more support, your grey matter and not losing it by exercising, so please, please make this a call to action that no matter what, we're getting some movement in, not just for the physical benefits, because a lot of times we exercise because we're trying to get sexy, but that's kind of a side effect, it's not the main objective. The main objective is keeping our brains young and keeping our bodies, like you said, those biomarkers significantly younger, just by getting into movement.
Next up in our longevity compilation is somebody who has become a true model and just an example of what's possible in our 60s and 70s with our body composition and our performance. He's a former elite endurance athlete who's made the transition into cutting edge health, fitness and longevity education. He's the author of several best-selling books, including The Keto Reset Diet and the Primal Blueprint. Our next clip is coming from the one and only Mark Sisson, and in this clip, he's going to be talking about why reducing stress is a crucial part of our health and longevity. So let's jump into this clip from the amazing Mark Sisson.
Mark Sisson: Stress is devastating throughout the body for a lot of reasons, and it's almost... If you looked at lifestyle factors and reasons that people get sick, bad diet is right here, stress is like right below that, and the inability to manage stress is a huge component of what we call the etiology of disease, so you can talk about the stress component of some autoimmune diseases, you can talk about the stress component of Type 2 diabetes, you can talk about the stress component of obesity in general, and metabolic syndrome, what happens under most conditions of stress... And by the way, stress is not generally a bad thing, you build muscle as a result of stress that you incur in the gym.
Shawn Stevenson: It's hormetic stress.
Mark Sisson: But these are hormetic stressors, these are acute stressors that when controlled actually cause the body to respond positively. And the best example I'll give you is that when I was a runner, the occasional hormetic stress was going to be contemplated to make me better at what I was doing but doing it the same thing day in and day out, 15-20 miles a day, every day ultimately destroyed me, because all It did was accumulate damage. It was an accumulation of stress. So when we talk about what happens to the body under stress, the biochemistry of it is that there is a signal sent from the brain to the adrenal glands to secrete hormones, adrenaline, norepinephrine epinephrine are the common ones that we think about, but cortisol is this long-term stress response, that has interesting consequences. So when you're under stress, the body secretes, cortisol, cortisol, tears down... It tears down muscle tissue, first of all, so that the amino acids in the muscle can be sent to the liver to be made into glucose, so the brain can be... Can have more glucose, so the muscles can have more glucose to run fast. It basically shuts down a lot of bodily functions, so cortisol suppresses the immune system. Cortisol from the perspective of evolution would be like, Okay, why would I invest in resources that might save me in a year or two with an immune system when I might not live the next hour or two.
Cortisol basically shuts down a lot of reproduction processes, again, the body goes, Well, why would I invest in reproduction when I might not even live the next couple of hours, so cortisol decreases the uptake of calcium by bones, again, you want to divert the calcium to the electrical channels that are causing nerve to fire and hearts to beat, rather than building a structure that again, will have no use if I don't survive the next couple of hours. So Cortisol has all of these these consequences that make sense in terms of a short term event, like I'm being chased down the plains of Africa by a saber-tooth tiger, I got to survive the next two hours, and if it takes me a couple of days or weeks to repair the short-term damage to improve the uptake of calcium by bones, to reset my immune system back to where it should be then so be it, I just need to survive the short term. So that makes sense in the context of these occasional traumatic stressors, now, fast forward to modern times, oh my God, the bill is due, the mortgage payment's due, the noisy neighbors next door, the traffic on the way to work, all of these things that we take on as stress. My relationship isn't where it needs to be, I'm worried about the kids, are they going to... We all find ways in which to generate this same signal in our brain that causes the same secretion of chemicals that has the same devastating effect, except now it's not just once in a while...
Shawn Stevenson: It's chronic.
Mark Sisson: It's chronic. It's all the time. So one of the effects of cortisol is that it encourages the deposition of fat, and it also encourages what we call gluconeogenesis, the manufacturing of glucose by the liver. So if you are trying to burn off fat and yet you have got these stress hormones that are causing you to make more sugar in your liver, and also causing you to want to retain the body fat that you already have and not take it out of storage and burn it, those two things don't jive, they don't go together, so we need to figure out ways to reduce stress.
Shawn Stevenson: All right, next up is our 10th and final expert in our Longevity Compilation. And this clip is coming from Rangan Chatterjee, MD, and he's the author of several best-selling books, including "How to Make Disease Disappear", and "The Stress Solution", and he was also the star of the hit BBC television show "Doctor In The House", and in this important clip, he's going to be talking about the surprising way that having a sense of purpose influences our health and our longevity. Let's dive into this clip from the amazing doctor Rangan Chatterjee.
Rangan Chatterjee: Not having a sense of purpose in your life is associated with much poor health outcomes across multiple conditions. It's associated with much less happiness, lower income level. So many things are associated with not having a sense of purpose in our lives, and I feel that, fundamentally, a life which has no meaning and purpose, is inherently a stressful life. We can talk about all the other things, but actually not having a reason to get up in the morning, not actually knowing where you're going with your life, I think it's incredibly stressful. Now, I appreciate that even simply saying that can sound stressful to someone. If they're hearing that and they're going, "Yeah, okay, fine, but I don't like my job, I don't like where I live. What can I do about that?" And so, why I started the book with this, 'cause I think it is probably one of the most important things... And yes, of course, breathing, exercise, meditation, nature, all those things are important and I cover them all, and I give practical tips on them, but I think the meaning and purpose piece is probably the most important, and I think it's one of the freshest, and it's a new idea for people to latch onto. And so, Shawn, a few years ago, I came across this Japanese concept, "ikigai". Have you come across it before?
Shawn Stevenson: I haven't.
Rangan Chatterjee: I was on Facebook, and one of my friends posted. They said that these four circles... These four different circles and where they intersect in the middle is your "ikigai", and it's how the Japanese live. It's the way of living your life so you have meaning and purpose. And the four things are these: You need to find one thing in your life that you're good at, that pays you money, that you love, and that the world needs. And I thought, "Okay, that's great. I like that. I would like a bit of 'ikigai' in my life." But then I would use this concept with my patients, and I talked to them about this. And for many of them, they just found it too intimidating. They found... "Yeah, man, that sounds great, but how I'm I going to get there?" And actually, on the UK book tour back in January, I remember, I gave a big talk in London, and at the Q&A at the end, a Japanese student put her hand up, and she said, "Dr. Chatterjee, look, I'm very familiar with 'ikigai', it's part of my culture, but I find it very stressful. My whole life, it's an impossible ideal for me to live up to." Do you see what I mean? It's great if you can get it, but many of us don't feel we can.
And so, I create a new framework in the book called The Live Framework to help people start to find meaning and purpose. I called the Live Framework, L-I-V-E, L for love, I for intention, V for vision and E for engagements. Now, we don't necessarily need to go into the whole thing, but I think the first one is super, super interesting for people, and it will really shed some light onto their lives. L is for love, so that is about passion. So, the research tells us this, Shawn. It tells us that regularly doing things that we love makes us more resilient to stress. But conversely, being chronically stressed makes it really hard for us to experience pleasure in day-to-day things. So, it works both ways. Passion is a huge part of meaning and purpose, it's a huge part of stress, it's a huge part of health. I had a patient, maybe a year ago, a 52-year-old chap. He was the CFO of a plastics company local to me, and he came in to see me. And he was married, he had two kids, he had a good job, he was living in a pretty decent house.
From the outside, his life was good. But he came in to see me, he said, "Dr. Chatterjee, look, some days I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. My motivation's down a little bit. I feel a bit flat about things. Is this what depression is?" And we were chatting, I sort of said, trying to understand what was going on in his life. I ran some tests, some bloods, they were all normal, and I said, "Look, how's your job?" "My job's okay. I don't really enjoy it, but I've got to do it. I've got a mortgage, I've got a family to feed. That's why I do my job." I said, "Okay, how's your marriage?" "Yeah, so-so. I don't really see my wife that much. Yeah, I guess it's okay." Very, very indifferent. And I said, "Have you got any hobbies? What do you do in the week that you enjoy?" He said, "I don't really have any hobbies, I'm too busy." I said, "What about the weekends?" "Weekends, I've got to do all the house chores, the household chores, I've got to take the kids to their sports classes. I don't have time, doc, for hobbies."
I said, "Okay, did you ever have a hobby?" "Yeah, as a kid, as a teenager, I used to love train sets." I said, "Okay, have you got a train set a home?" "Yeah, I've got one in the attic, but I haven't seen it in years. It's probably dusty and got cobwebs on it." I said, "Look, what I'd love you to do when you get home tonight is get your train set out." Now, I fully appreciate it's probably not the advice he was expecting from this doctor.
But that's the advice I gave to him. Anyway, I didn't see him for a few weeks. And that's not uncommon. We have so many patients, we can't follow everybody up. But three months later, I just finished my morning clinic, I was in the car park about to do some home visits for the elderly patients who can't come into the practice, and I bumped into his wife. I said, "Hey, look, how's your husband getting on?" She said, "Oh man, Dr. Chatterjee, I just want to say thank you. I feel like I've got the guy I married back again. He comes home from work, he plays on his toy set... On his train set, he's on eBay buying collector's items, and he's subscribed to some monthly magazine now." I thought, "Okay, that's great." I felt really good. I still hadn't seen him. Three months later, I was looking at my clinic list, and his name's on it. He had done some blood test and he was coming in to see me for the results. So, I said, "Hey, how are you getting on compared to six months ago?" He said, "Doc, I feel like a different person. Life is good, I've got energy, I feel motivated, and I'm concentrating much better." I said, "Okay, great. How's your job?" "My job, I love it now. I'm really getting a lot out of my job." "How's your relationship with your wife?" "So good. It's the best it's been for years."
So Shawn I'm going to ask you a question, did that chap... Did that man have a mental health problem? I mean, he certainly had symptoms that would be consistent with a mental health problem, I could have diagnosed him with something like depression potentially, but it's not what he really has, a deficiency of passion in his life, and when we corrected his passion deficiency... When he corrected his passion deficiency, not only does he feel better with himself, now that the job that he didn't like so much, he's enjoying and getting more out of, now his relationship starts to improve, and this one is so passionate about passion. We talk about health, we talk about the amount of vegetables we're eating, we talk about the workouts we do or don't do, and of course that's important, but I want people to give passion the same priority as they will give to the number of vegetables they have on their plate. It is so important. So the prescription I give to people is, Can you give yourself a dose of pleasure every day, even if it's just for five minutes? It could be reading a book, going for a walk, listening to a podcast, it could be... It could be coming home from work, putting on your computer, going on YouTube, finding your favorite comedian and laughing for five minutes.
I don't care what it is but that's my challenge to everybody listening to this podcast. Can you give yourself five minutes of pleasure and passion every day? And the second request I make of the audience, I know it's your audience, but if you don't mind, my request, I'd make of them is, have a think, when was the last time you did something in your life that you really, really love? Something you did, not just to post on social media, but something you did, 'cause it makes you feel good. If it's not been for a while, that's okay, but I would suggest today, at some point, you look at your calendar, you make some calls and you schedule it into your diary. Passion is important for your health, it's as important I would argue as any other component of your health.
Shawn Stevenson: All right, I hope that you enjoyed this longevity compilation, and I hope that this painted a picture on how dynamic longevity really is. It's not just about our nutrition, it's not just about our movement practices, it's also about our belief system, it's also about our connectedness and our sense of purpose moving forward, all of these things fit into our longevity equation, and it's going to be different for all of us, but these pieces matter. And right now, keep in mind, this is the first time in decades that the trend of people living longer has reversed. Despite all of our technological advances, despite all of the advances in medicine, apparent advances, we are now becoming sicker and dying younger than generations before us. We can turn this around, but it takes a dynamic meta-perspective about longevity, it's not just about this belief of better living through chemistry and more drugs, it's about understanding what makes us human. And right now, again the trend of people living longer has been reversed and this is according to the WHO and many other entities, largely from preventable lifestyle diseases, so we've got to take control of our health, take control of our family's health and the health of our communities.
I hope that you got a lot of value out of this episode, if you did, please share this out with your friends and family on social media, and of course, you can tag me, I'm @shawnmodel on Instagram, that's S-H-A-W-N model on Instagram and Twitter, and at the Model Health Show on Facebook. And we've got some power house episodes coming your way very soon, so make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day and I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well, and please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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