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The Wild Health Take: Week 6

Each week Dr. Carl Seger listens to your favorite podcasts to summarize the data and give you our precision medicine take.

Who: Tara Brach

What: Navigating the Dark Ages

We all show an expression of grief, fear and distress with the current state of society. For example, how can our spiritual path and practices guide us into a descent of the dark ages? How in our personal and collective lives can we meet the darkness and suffering that brings healing and freedom?

  1. “The realness of your experience shows itself through the kindness you express with each of the beings in your life.” The outer expression of the awakened heart is kindness. The heart can be kind, thoughtful and generous. This is what we need to share with the world.
  2. The evolution of consciousness occurs when we become aware of and engage with primal energies. When this happens, compassion and mindfulness is related to the frontal cortex. When we meet with primal energies we create an essence of energy. When this energy is confused, it becomes anger.
  3. Our challenge, and the reason we get stuck in the dark ages, is that we are not aware of these energies. The suffering and experience is denied or voided within our body. When the shadow isn’t faced, it becomes a destructive force. We end up getting cut off from our potential, intelligence, creativity and kindness. When others are caught in the shadow of unprocessed feelings, their violence brings out our shadows and we react in violence. These feelings cause a ripple effect.
  4. When we are faced with the shadow, how do we bring ourselves back to an open heart? It is typically the feelings, not just the thoughts, that need to be acknowledged. “Don’t feel guilty. Guilt, anger and fear are part of the problem. If you want to save the world, save it because you love it.” Love is the only power that is able to transform. There is no way to bridge differences unless there is love. One must make a movement towards collaboration and connection. Our spirit is expressed through kindness.
  5. It is necessary to have a wide view of current events in the world, but we also need to be present to shift into our immediate surroundings. Being with others and naming the truth of what we’re feeling creates a heart space that is large enough to hold what is happening. This creates immediate connections.

How: Buddhist text: “Hatred never sees us by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is the eternal law.” In this day and age we will be faced with the darkness and the shadow of fear, hate and anger. The only way to overcome and stop this cycle is to face these feelings head on with love and kindness. If we don’t work to stay out of the shadows, we lean into the cycle of violence and hatred. The following are ways to practice navigating these shadows: A) Sharing loving and kind feelings with others, which allows us to build connections. B) Recognizing and improving these feelings through meditation.

Who: The DRIVE with Peter Attia, MD

What: Earning the Gift of Life

  1. Time is our biggest asset and most valuable belonging. Many people would choose time over money. However, many people’s actions are not aligned with this value. After a near-death experience, Ric Elias shares that he started to create stricter boundaries for the choices he makes in regards to his time. One of the biggest changes he made was identifying the things he was doing and people he was spending time with that did not align with his values or fill his cup. He made changes to better align these things with how he wanted to feel in his life.

  1. Ways to change the way we spend our time to ensure it aligns with our values: delegate when possible and to say no to the things that aren’t aligned with goals and priorities. “When you say yes, you say no to something else.”  If the things you say “yes” to aren’t what you really want, then you may be saying “no” to something that you actually want.

  1. What you measure moves. Paying attention to where you spend time can help you to identify what to change. This applies to any goal and can be the biggest differentiator between those who achieve their goals and those who don’t.

  1. Part of this episode shifts to parenting and leadership, which provided great parenting advice:
  • In order to lead effectively, you have to meet your kids where they are at. This helps them gain confidence. With a gain in confidence, children are able to see what they are capable of.
  • Ric shares a saying that his mother used to say that parenting is “A game of Tug Of War that is incrementally lost.” Thinking of parenting in this way allows us to see that we (as parents, or leaders) can't always be “right” or “in charge” and that by incrementally losing the game of Tug Of War, we are creating space for independence and confidence to flourish.
  • Raise your kids to navigate their current environment, not your past environment. This generation is growing up amid so much technological advancement that many parents did not experience growing up. It is important to prepare children to navigate this so they can use the technology they have access to responsibly and with compassion, rather than trying to have them avoid it at all costs.

How: Much of this podcast was really about reigniting our thirst for life, and our gratitude for our own experiences- good or bad. This episode provides takeaways to create a life that is aligned with how we want to feel, simply by getting curious about where we currently are. Ric shares insights into auditing how you spend your time and energy. He also explores how to be more present and intentional with your time. There’s also some great parenting advice that could really make a difference for this next generation!

Who: Andrew Huberman Ph.D., Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine

What: Jeff Cavaliere: Optimize Your Exercise Program with Science-Based Tools

1. What are your thoughts on exercise protocols?

  • Entry level training: 5x week; for example, 3 days of strength training (M/W/F) & 2 days of conditioning (T/TH). Adjust frequency based on goals. When focused on overall health, this can be done within an hour. As we age, the length of the workout tends to cause more strain than the intensity.
  • What are the general rules on splits (which body parts trained on which days)? Find a split you will consistently follow that matches your goals. For example, push/pull/legs on separate days or legs/arms/chest are efficient. However, if wishing to maximize aesthetics, may focus on one muscle group per day or session. Effort drives results, so splitting the work into two sessions may help increase effort on a particular muscle group.
  • If you want to look like an athlete, train like an athlete. You can train long or you can train hard, but you can’t do both.
  • If you want to maintain/grow muscle, incorporating cardio twice a week should be effective. If more is needed, you could add conditioning to the end of a strength training session. Consider making skill practice a part of your routine. Engaging upper and lower motor neurons in cardio exercise also challenges your neuromuscular system, i.e. jumping rope.  

2. How to Test and Measure

  • Mind Muscle Connection (Cavaliere Cramp Test: if the muscle can be flexed without load to the point of some pain, it is an indicator that the muscle can be grown). Learning how to engage the muscle better, improves muscularity drastically. The mindset of contracting the muscle for hypertrophy is very important.
  • How do you know when a muscle is ready to be challenged again? Training muscle groups again within a 48-72 hour window is the current recommendation. Different muscles recover at different rates. Muscle soreness is the only tool we have to gauge muscle recovery and time to challenge it. Grip strength is a metric tied to performance and recovery. Hand grip dynamometer is used to gauge muscle recovery. It is important to test at the same time each day. If grip strength is not as strong as prior day(s), it’s an indicator to skip lifting that day as muscles may not be prepared to fire and engage.

3. Body Mechanics

  • Are there better positions to sleep in?
  • Stomach sleeping does not provide much benefit with excessive extension of the lumbar spine, internal rotation of your arms, and the neck being bent to one side. Side sleeping often causes prolonged hip flexion with knees up. Supine, tight sheets at the bottom of the bed could cause prolonged plantar flexion and calf shortening.
  • In passive stretching, the goal is to increase the flexibility of the muscle. Ideally, stretching further out from your workout and later in the day decreases impaired performance and assists in repair. Dynamic stretching is done to increase readiness of the muscle and doesn’t impair performance. Muscle readiness increases with added reps.
  • The shoulder has the most mobility in the body, but the least stability. Perform external rotation movements to help counterbalance the internal rotation that bodies naturally gravitate towards. The Hawkins Kennedy Test can be used to diagnose shoulder impingement. A high-pull works abduction and provides the same benefit to the deltoids and traps without the stress of internal rotation of an upright row.

4. Recovery & Tracking

  • How do you manage pain and recovery? If experiencing pain during a movement, adjust to a different movement or position. Heat as a part of the healing process is a personal preference after the first 12-24 hours.
  • Should you keep training records? There’s a lack of awareness in training from all areas. Tracking raises awareness and improves training performance. Tracking also helps with objective goals.

5. Nutrition

  • People struggle with nutrition due to the commitment and the number of opportunities to show error. Find a nutritional approach that is sustainable. Eating clean and decreasing sugar are often the best approaches.  Following something that isn’t exclusionary is ideal. However, if you have certain habits or diagnoses, then a specific diet may be more appropriate.
  • Plate method: make the clock on the plate 9:20 and a hand on 12:00. The largest portion is fibrous carbohydrates, next largest devoted to protein, smallest portion starchy carbohydrates.  Protein needs to surround your workout, but the time domains have been removed. Ensure consistency in replenishing the fuel in the tank.

How: There are many theories on how to approach exercise, recovery, movement and nutrition. The overarching takeaway is to find a practice that can be performed and committed to on a consistent basis.