TJ’s Gym Weekly News 9/22/2018


Noon classes in San Rafael are ALWAYS a good time. You just have to be willing to put up with the incomparable Dr. Doug. (Photo by Amy Perl)


Message from TJ:

How to Live Forever

Hopefully that caught your eye. Honesty, living forever doesn't sound that awesome to me. Being a hot bloodsucker like Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire doesn't even look appetizing. Feeling like I'm 50 for that last 40-50 years of my life sounds way better.

Increase and maintain lean body mass. Do the same with bone density. Keep bodyfat levels low.

That's pretty much the formula. Everything you could suffer from can pretty much be remedied through these pathways. Brain function, musculoskeletal health, hormonal stability, and cardio/pulmonary strength will take care of most of the possible issues you could face, as well as your genetic hand of cards.

Eat a diet of quality, non-inflammatory foods to satiety. Perform functional movements at uncomfortable intensities 5-6 days per week. Vary your activities to stimulate your body and your mind.

I've been doing a lot of reading and listening about this stuff, and I think the next few blog posts are going to be dedicated to this. Let's face it, writing blogs is a form of helpful information and narcissism.

My recent interest in this subject matter started with a podcast featuring Dr. Peter Attia, a longevity doc. In one of his podcasts he told a story of how a patient came to him with a ream of paper containing results of all of the blood work he'd had done over the last twenty years. Attia tossed it aside and said "None of that matters. All I need to know is what your parents died from."

Whoa. According to him and the stats he then spewed out, genetics are the key. Avoid what killed your parents (barring fatal accident), and you should be fine. What!? Cancer? Stroke? Heart Attack? I need to worry about everything, right? Not according to Attia. Your body loves certain things and hates other stuff. Your job is to figure it out.

So, let's do it.

Ok! Let's kick this off with Carol's* story. I've known her for almost five years. She's 73 and originally from a Far Eastern country. She moved here for college and stayed. Every year, she diligently went in for her yearly check up. Over the last ten years, she slowly but surely gained fourteen pounds Oh well, what are you going to do, right? Age is age, and this stuff happens. The problem is that, along with that weight, her other numbers started to creep up. We talk a lot about the deadly quartet. Besides cancer, it's what kills us. Hyperinsulinemia, Upper Body Obesity, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol. Along with her weight (bodyfat) increase, came an increase in the other numbers. Everything was up. Not good. She was already on some low doses of medication for BP and Cholesterol, and because her A1C (blood sugar) was increasing, her doctor told her that she was now pre-diabetic. Overall check-up grade? D-

Let me tell you a little bit more about Carol, or more importantly, about her family. Her Dad died at 85 of an infection he got from the hospital where he was being treated for something routine.

*Rule 1- Do everything you can do to stay out of the hospital. Doctors and nurses tell me this all the time.

Her mom lived to 86 and died of cancer. Her aunts and uncle lived to late 90's and many past 100.

*Rule 2- Don't get untreatable cancer. How do you keep a cancer cell alive in a lab? Feed it sugar.

Carol's dad never drank or smoked, but many of her relatives who outlived him did. He was incredibly fit and healthy. He swam every day in the ocean and played nine holes of golf every single morning before work. He practiced Yoga and Tai Chi and worked in his company every day, nearly till the day he died. He also ate a "Plain Jane" diet of a few simple things, in moderation. Carol is a no-bullshit person. She enjoys wine and noodles. She enjoys going out to restaurants with friends and family or entertaining at home. She travels extensively. I see her often. She's a powerhouse of a person housed in a tiny frame. The things she's accomplished and continues to do with her life astound me. We were chatting about her previous week, and she told me that she'd had another check up.

"It's been a year already?" I said.

"A little less," she answered.

"Well?" I asked.

She shrugged and nonchalantly said "I've lost 16 lbs."

I almost fell over. How was this possible? I see her twice weekly. Even though she wears loose-fitting workouts clothes, I surely should have noticed. I felt terrible for not noticing. I apologized, and again she shrugged and told me to get over it, no big deal.

"How'd you do it?" I asked.

After her poor checkup score the last time around, she took a page from her Dad's lifestyle book and decided to simply eat and drink, a little less. At every single meal. For 11 months.

Her Dr. was ecstatic. She was no longer pre-diabetic, as her A1C had plummeted. Her other medications were cut in half, because at this new weight she was getting dizzy. She didn't need that big dose anymore.

I asked her if she cut out anything. Not as much wine, but still some. Not as many noodles, but still some. Not as many desserts, but still some, and in general, she just ate a little less. No need for snacks or "I'm bored or stressed" food. She just stopped.

What difference did this make long-term for Carol? Probably all of the difference in the world. Did her diet have a name? No. Did she track calories and weigh and measure her food? No. She kept it simple.

I'm going to be writing about what science is currently telling us, versus what we've been sold. My hope is to make it interesting and not technical. My hope is that you will engage and ask questions or start conversations with somebody--anybody. Your personal advocacy is so important, and not getting caught up in the minutiae is huge.

I'd love to discuss this with you if you want. The key to creating and reaching goals is showing them to someone. I want to help.

Have a great week.