I did a podcast on Conquer Aging or Die Trying!
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Michael Lustgarten: Hey, everybody, welcome to the channel; today, we’ve got something a bit different. This is the Conquer Aging or Die Trying podcast episode one, and today we’ve got Crissman Loomis, who is a former AI programmer, a mathematician, a health and longevity researcher, and he’s the owner and operator of unaging.com. So, if you’re interested in that, check out his site. So we’ve got a lot to go through. And where should we start, Criss?
Crissman Loomis: Thank you. I’m really happy to be talking to you. We’ve been talking back and forth while having great conversations, and what I was really interested in and stuck by is that we have sort of a similar routine in a lot of ways. And so I think where we should start from is what kind of philosophy is like. How do you decide what it is that you want to add to your routine?
If you’re looking at food or exercise, or a habit, how do you know your benchmark? What’s your weighing point for deciding what you want to do to live the longest, healthiest life you can? So I’ll put it over to you first.
ML: Yeah, so starting with the five Habits that get life expectancy to an average of around 90 years<Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population>, both women and men, and for those who don’t know, I’ll link to all the papers that we’re going to talk about in the video’s description. So check that out if you’re interested. But those included a BMI less than 25, okay, check not smoking, check moderate alcohol intake. So I’m not on that. And we can discuss why.
But I’m not opposed to alcohol intake; it’s just it’s almost everything. And then exercise, so I get more than six hours per week. I’m just below that. I’m in the four to 6-hour range, so I’m just below and then a quote-unquote healthy diet by the Alternative Healthy Diet Eating Index. Having a high dietary score versus a low dietary score puts you in the highest category, all right.
So that’s just getting you to 90. So, as you know, the name and the channel is Conquer Aging or Die Trying. So, you know, we’ve got to find ways beyond just those general recommendations to potentially push that curve out further. So where I see the two biggest places to impact, maybe potentially three with, you know, specifically titrating BMI, as you know, BMI of 24 versus 21.
That’s very debatable, but we could even get into how I or others potentially decide what is the best BMI that potentially maximizes their health and maybe longevity. But I see the two biggest places to intervene as exercise dose and diet quality, and even going beyond what you know touted is the high Diet Dietary Quality.
So, which subdivision do you want to take there first? The dietary quality or the exercise dose?
CL: Well, let’s see, let me answer my own question first. Oh, by the way, as you might notice, I have a walking desk and a background for that. So nice day for a walk in the park today. So when I first started to read your stuff, I think I might have even found your content because I was looking for a blood, aging, or blood test to figure out what age you are according to your blood test results.
So getting your normal blood panel and being able to look at that and then from seeing that, I’ve seen that in a lot of your stuff, you’re looking very closely at sort of the epigenetic indicators or other things and the testing things. So, for myself, my background is not a medical degree. I’m more on the analytical doctor side or the quantitative mathematical side of things. So what I’m looking for when I’m looking at an intervention, and I’m well familiar also with the five factors that you talk about, and they’re a great place to start from.
And so for going beyond that, how to get beyond 90 years old? I’m looking for things that will affect all-cause mortality, so this is the best sort of general criteria across the board. There’s so much advice out there about what you can do in order to live longer, and it’s really hard to prioritize.
You could spend or you could make it your entire job like some people like Brian Johnson has, in fact, made it almost his entire job, just trying to keep up with all the innovations, but without knowing which one’s the most important, it can become confusing. So, I try to bring everything back into an epidemiological study of some kind that shows how much it actually increases your lifespan by reducing premature death.
And then take a look at that. So when I’m looking at my interventions, I’m always looking at what’s the effect on all-cause mortality. Does it reduce premature death? And if so, by how much? And then I can model that to say, okay, well, this is more important than this, and then also put it in, yeah, but that takes more time or whatever. And then that’s how I decide what I want to do. And I think on that one I think we should start to answer your question. I think we should start with physical activity and exercise.
ML: Wait, so before going there. I just know that, obviously, all-cause mortality data is a humongous part of my approach. But it gets to the idea of okay. General recommendations are good. Taking that a step further, all-cause mortality data, but then even taking that a step further. I integrate how a given biomarker changes during aging.
So, for example, before going into that. Fruit and vegetable intake has been found in epidemiological studies that show that risk all causes mortality risk is maximally reduced somewhere between five and ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But what if your total intake of fruits and vegetables is far beyond that? What if it’s 20 or 30 or whatever servings per day beyond what’s been published, right?
So now you’re in this quote-unquote healthy user bias group where there is no data? So how do you push beyond the epidemiological studies when there’s no data which gets into the also a big part of my approach, which is biomarkers and looking at as many biomarkers of organ and systemic function as possible. Now, even there, there’s nuance because the reference range isn’t the quote-unquote optimal range because it isn’t designed for healthful longevity. It’s just that you are in that range, and if you’re outside, potentially it’s a disease. And if you’re below the range, it’s potentially a disease.
But you may be getting progressively worse in that range, increasing or decreasing over many years still within the range. So I look at the aging data for a given biomarker, and it’s all caused mortality data to come up with a what’s optimal and then in addition, well what’s what’s youthful and then try to push all of my data which for most people probably think you can’t change these things or slow these things down, but the fact is they can be measured.
So I use diet and exercise and try to optimize sleep and whatever supplements are right to try to optimize kidney and liver and cardiovascular everything comprehensively, not just metabolic health, but with the goal of having as youthful of a biochemistry as possible for as long as possible. So okay, with that in mind. I guess we get into the exercise dose.
CL: Yeah, right, so now, and that’s you’re right like your approach is, that’s why I enjoy talking to you. One of the reasons I enjoy talking to you so much is because it gives some immediate visibility beyond what you can find epidemiological studies for right like you’re saying okay for some of those the ranges are based on basically are you average right and we’re trying to shoot for far beyond average.
So, right in the area of physical activity or exercise. So I think the study that you talked about is a great example. The Harvard Public Health Study, where they go through that, and they talk about getting a certain amount of exercise, and people who are in the highest quintile of exercise got around eight more years of life. Right, it was the most significant. I mean, after not smoking a lot.
It was the most important intervention that they were to make. But I think that’s a good example where the government’s suggestion is going to get you average, right. Generally, what you’ll hear is something like you should get around 150 minutes of medium or high-intensity exercise in a week, right. And then that then says, okay, well, if it’s high intensity, then maybe 75 or so. But from going through the studies to say, Okay, well, what’s the effect on all-cause mortality?
I find that there are actually very different categories within exercise that need to be hit. Just as doing 150 minutes is going to get you some benefit, if you actually break it down and you say, okay, I’m going to do this much strength training. I’m going to do this much aerobic training, and then I’m going to do this much high-intensity interval training, I think that you can put the pieces together and get more benefit in terms of all-cause mortality. specifically in a reduction of premature death, than if you were to just, I don’t know, play soccer for 150 minutes.
ML: Yeah. I hear that. That’s a more specific approach than just general recommendations based on how many hours you are exercising and dividing it into resistance training, cardio, etc. But if you look at the graded dose on that curve where people who were in the, I think, three and a half or four to six hours and then more than six hours per week of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, which moderate includes just walking, right.
So, the four to six-hour-per-week group was about six hours of increased life expectancy. And as you mentioned, eight years for more than six hours. No matter how you cut that, it seems like there’s a graded response, at least in terms of duration, but what’s going to be the life expectancy gain for the subdivision that you mentioned when considering that you know we’re going from six years to eight years? Is it going to be 15 years? Is it going to be 20? I don’t see a big jump coming from that, which then I know I’m going to sound like a broken record which goes down to specificity. How can we get more? You know. I hear what you’re saying; which kind of gets us on that road towards a more precise dose, right? But this comes down to biomarkers, right? And how? How would you know what the appropriate amount of resistance training is for you? And you know cardio for you, right and all of the total duration for you?
For some people maybe they do great on ten hours total exercise per week. No matter how you cut it up, right. Some people may be doing better on three hours per week, and I say better by looking at the full complement of all their biomarkers, not just strength and VO2 max, but like kidney and liver and, you know, inflammation, etc.
So that’s how I look at it now. The argument against that is there’s no published data on what kind of life expectancy gain. Will you get by using a biomarker-driven approach to titrate exercise dose? There’s just no data. It doesn’t exist, right? So this is where I’m okay to differ from everybody and, you know, know.
So now we can have a bell curve distribution where my data will be an outlier because there’s no previous data to guide me on that right. So I’m either going to be on the left side, which was a disaster. I’ll have an average benefit, or maybe I’ll have the greatest benefit, you know, maybe I’ll push it to 15 years. So. We can get into specifics because people are like. What are the specifics? How would you do that? Do that all right?
CL: Yeah, so, like. Yeah, let’s do the specifics; what’s your like in one week? What do you do? How would you describe it? I’ve seen your videos, of course, but it’d be for those who haven’t seen them. Maybe to describe your workout routine?
ML: Yeah, well, in addition to just the workout routine, so I’m doing two work two right now. It’s two 90-minute workouts per week. Those workouts include weightlifting, calisthenics, mobility, flexibility, balance, and a little bit of taekwondo stuff. The goal is to optimize muscle mass and function for as long as physically possible to attenuate any potential age-related decline.
The workout is completely standardized. I know exactly how many sets and reps of each movement I’m doing. These are compound movements. I’m almost never doing bicep curls and tricep pushdowns. You know, these single joint movements? It’s, you know, pullups and pushups off a ball, you know. So for the extra resistance over the shoulder press, deadlifts, but so that 90-minute workout now after each 90-minute workout because I’m tracking things like heart variability and resting heart rate.
We’ve got to remember that exercise is a stressor, and for those who are going to try to misinterpret my words. I know that there are maybe some that are out there, and I won’t name names. Exercise is a stressor. Now, I’m not saying that in a negative light – it’s a hormetic stressor, which means, in the short term, that’s chronic stress, that acute stress; over the long term, we will become more resilient against and develop our systems to better resist that stress.
Now there’s going to be an upper limit, you know, and I’ve used this analogy before, you know, in baseball, there are some pitchers who can throw 200 innings, 250 innings. It used to be 300 innings in the 1970s. And now baseball has been reduced to where we’re afraid of your injury risk, you know, based on no data. And then you’ve got 60-inning pitchers that try to get stretched out into 200-inning pitchers.
But then they get injured, so they probably didn’t have that genetics. Now, the analogy of that story is. Are you a 60-inning pitcher? Are you a 200-inning pitcher? Are you a high-volume exercise athlete? Are you a medium-volume athlete? What body? What volume of exercise is best for your physiology? So, this goes to the idea of stress. How much stress can your body tolerate now before finishing that road?
I’ve seen people say, “Well, just do more and continuously do more. Over time, your body will adapt.” This is false. This may be true for a select amount of people, but in tracking my data, I even just looked at heart rate variability, resting heart rate, even looking at, like, you know, deadlifts and squats, and volume of exercise.
For me, there is a volume of exercise which optimizes strength and function over time. And if I go beyond that, I’m increasing injury risk. I’m overtrained, and now I’m chronically stressed, you know. Biochemistry, where is that going to be best for optimizing maximum lifespan? Maybe I get an increase in average lifespan because we all know about the health benefits and, you know, average lifespan increase for exercise. But I want to get to the maximum, so I want to get a hormetic dose. I want to get hermetic benefits in terms of health and average lifespan, but I also want to minimize any overstress above that where now I’m reducing my ability to potentially get to the max. So that’s a long-winded nutshell.
CL: Okay, yeah. So, from the biomarker point of view, it’s about tuning that kind of thing. So, from my point of view, from looking at all causes of mortality, I’m very sensitive for each of those vector components that I talked about for the high intensity, the aerobic, and the strength training. I’m very sensitive to when was the longevity benefit reached and maximized, and after what point was it no longer helpful?
So you talk about some people thinking they want to run every inning, every game, all season long. And actually, I think we’ve had a bit of a discussion. I’m not sure if you remember what I’ve said. I think you’re doing too much at 90 minutes, 180 minutes a week. Like my routine for exercise is actually two 25-minute runs, and then about a half-hour-long strength training exercise interval. And so my total time is actually under 90 minutes a week.
ML: But you’re doing more in terms of walking on non-exercise days, whereas those days are quote-unquote recovery days for me where it’s very low volume.
CL: Yeah, the walking desk is key for getting a 20,000-40,000-step day is pretty standard for me.
ML: So along those lines, on days where my step counts have been as high as that, my resting heart rate and heart rate variability take a very long time to recover. So when I first started, when I first started on this journey in 2018 with tracking the heart rate variability resting heart rate, my data looked chronically overtrained, with an average heart rate variability of 47 and an average resting heart rate of 51.
Now I was doing three-hour workouts, and I know people are going to call BS on that. But for whatever reason, I admit, I’ve said this before. I have guerrilla genetics where I’ ‘ve just thrown heavy weights around for a very long time.
I like the challenge of doing it for a very long time because it feels good to do like ten sets of squats and, you know, ten sets of bench or whatever. But it was just murder on me, you know, and I felt cognitively terrible for a week, and then I couldn’t make consistent strength gains, even just maintaining strength if I can’t train for a week, you know, strength train.
That’s not my optimum window, just from trial and error, for being able to maintain or increase it over time. So I’ve cut that down a lot now in terms of the 90 minutes being too much.
The argument against that is pull-ups. All of my strength indices have not declined, at least over the past five years. Overhead press your consecutive push-ups off the ball. Rows all of the fitness metrics that I look at, even flexibility, nothing has declined. If anything, there’s a small increase in certain areas; a big part of that, too, is avoiding injury risk. And I’ve had a history of lower back herniations from ego lifting in my 20s.
So even that, I’ve been able to minimize that. So, the argument against that I’m currently still doing too much is no strength. Basically, I’ve maintained strength; now people can say, Oh, you’re maintaining strength, but we both know you can’t increase forever. You’re going to hit that above-average fitness level, and then the trick is how long you can stay there, right? So that’s one side of it.
The other side of it is the heart rate variability resting heart rate, as those measures of stress are both better, significantly better, not by a little bit or a lot over the past five years. So if I was doing too much, the argument would be, well, your metrics of overall stress aren’t great, you know. So that’s the argument against that. I’m currently doing too much.
CL: That’s right, so let me refine my point. I don’t think that you’re doing enough to be harmful. I think that you could get the same benefit even if you were to. If you were to tune it more finely, you could maintain the same benefit. I have the same. I’ve been weightlifting for about, let’s say, I think it’s about eight years now and have the same thing kind of reached the max and have held steady at that point with just one weightlifting exercise term a week for about half an hour.
And I’m hitting the bigs like deadlifts or squats, bench incline, decline, or flat and back exercises, lat pulldowns or rows or something else. Those are the big ones, those are the key, and that’s all you need to do. As you said, “No, no bicep curls, no like, try, know, kind of pushdown kind of things,” but you hit the big ones, and then that takes care of it. Weightlifting, as you found out before, has a kind of a sharp curve on it, actually for the benefit.
The studies will say, as you sent over before, and we can link in the comments,<Resistance Training and Mortality Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis> that if you’re exercising over two hours total time in a week, you’re actually not getting any more longevity out of it. Your premature death is now the same as if you’d never walked into the gym. But if you’re doing a mixture of things like you’re doing or you’re getting aerobic in there, you’re getting some other activities as well as your weightlifting time, it’s within the right window.
As long as you’re under an hour, you’re still getting the peak benefit out of it. Once you get over the total time of weight lifting, strengthening alone in a week, then it starts to. You’re no longer at peak, and once you’re over two hours, now you’re actually – I think it’s actually two and a half hours, if I remember correctly – then at that point it’s worse than if you had never gone to the gym.
ML: Yeah. I should clarify. So it’s not 90 minutes of all weightlifting. It’s far from that. As I mentioned, I’ve had to cut down the training volume for the strength training portion of the workouts because it’s just not. I want to cover all of the bases and all of the movements from a variety of angles. So, for example, for my overhead press, I’m doing a warm-up set and basically two work sets, right? So that’s essentially for all of the compound movements. At most, it’s the same idea. It’s like an upset and then two work sets with kind of a pyramid.
The first works set is, you know, maybe 70% of one 1RM and the second being 85 know or so 85% or so higher. So, if I looked at total strength training as a portion of that, it might be 45 minutes, maybe maybe a bit less. But then, even then, how do you quantify? Because it’s almost like a circuit training workout, too, where it’s a 90-minute workout, and granted, it used to be an 80-minute workout, and I have made it close to a 90 because I’m starting to like it.
I said I like the challenge of pushing myself for as long as you know, but again, I have to follow the data overstrain, not overtrain it, but if you looked at, say, I’m doing 12 work sets total for the compound movements upper and lower body, maybe it’s 15 whatever it is. The total work time in each set is maybe one to two minutes.
You know I’m not doing like one RM, I’m trying to get to know the combination of strength and endurance like overhead press 70 times 12 reps like I’m not doing four reps or two reps, so that may take one to two minutes at most. So, if I’m doing at most. 15 works 15 sets total. At one to two minutes that’s like 30 minutes of strength of actual movement time.
During Strength Training, there’s very little sitting around and now screwing off on the computer in between. There’s very little of that. I try to minimize that as much as possible. So yeah, the actual strength training portion, if we really quantified it as a small part, but yeah, that’s what works for me. Other people maybe can get away with doing it more often now. The other aspect of this, and you know we’ve talked about this before, is why not? Why not cut the workout up? And you know, split the routine over many days, and now I’ve got to juggle with my in-person. You know, you know, the deal.
But most people may not. I’ve got to juggle around the in-person work schedule and, for whatever reason, even just doing like a 45-minute workout or a shorter workout. My data in terms of the fitness metrics may not be recovered enough, and start to look overtrained the day after or the second day after. If I then include another workout, so on a Monday and then a Wednesday, when that Friday comes to repeat the Monday workout. I may not have recovered enough, and I say. May I’ve tried it in the past? Then, the Friday workout, which is supposed to be the second version of the Monday workout, I’ve got to push that to allow for, and when I do that. I started to throw the whole system off. You know, at most. Day one, day five, so Monday and Friday, I can maintain strength.
That’s what’s worked to maintain strength over time. But if I get into six days after doing any portion of my workout, and if that’s a consistent thing over time, once every, you know, Monday – Saturday, Monday – Sunday, it’s harder for me to maintain strength. I start to see strength, decrements, and yeah, so the long story short is I have to juggle around the in-person work schedule, which dedicates some amount of heart rate increase, which slows recovery, and I’m getting no fitness benefit from it. You know if I could make my own schedule and have my own, you know, timesheet for how often I would work out how much I would do, i’d be able to get a hit on the on the non 90-min workout days and a lot more mobility work and joint work, you know, knees and ankles, flexibility wise. But in time that’s for sure. On the to-do list.
CL: Yeah so I think that covers sort of the strength training side of it and the aerobic is like another key one. The aerobic can be done from what I’ve seen in the studies and also looking specifically at the mitochondria level where they’re looking at the sort of the growth of mitochondria. The most important part about the aerobic is getting a regular dosage every week. Like the studies seem to show that for all cause mortality reduction basically happens after the first 15 minutes of aerobic and then after that it’s pretty much flat and there are other benefits that come from aerobic right like there’s sort of like the energetic feeling of it, lots of people just love running because they love running, but in the terms of all cause mortality you only see the benefit for like the first 15 minutes, so I do a 25. I can’t bring myself to do the minimum 15 minutes a week but about 25 minutes of aerobic.
But that one doesn’t have the sharp curve like lifting weights. Like you can very easily overstress your body lifting weights too much. But people can run a lot and still be pretty good. Life for you, your 90 minutes, probably the stressful part is probably more the weightlifting than the aerobic running. Would you agree with that? Does that sound right?
ML: But it’s cumulative. It’s funny. I took a screenshot yesterday of my stress. You know, the stress monitor that that Whoop has. If you look at it during the workout, it’s going up the whole time, you know, during my workout, right. So the argument there is it’s, you know, it’s the whole workout just the duration of it. It’s pretty. I mean. I guess it’s pretty high-intensity right. So right,
CL: You’re getting cardiovascular drift. That’s what they call it, where your heart rate just keeps on going up as you continue to run or jog right.
ML: Yeah, but in terms of the 15 minutes that’s for that’s probably for high intensity for the hit training right. Whereas in terms of VO2 max, I think half of the benefit of VO2 max is associated with all-cause mortality. It’s like after a VO2 max of 40, most of the benefit is up to about 40, and then there’s a small you know, it’s like a ten percent further reduction to go from a via two max of 40 to 50, something like that.
So someone who’s out there saying. Oh, I’ll only have to do 15 minutes a week of hitting. I mean, the question is. Did it get your VO2 max to at least 40 to get most of the benefit. For some people, maybe that’s not enough. They may need more for whatever reason.
CL: Right, sort of the non-responder issue for that. I mean the other point that I want to make that I kind of think of a lot is that there’s oftentimes questions of okay. Well. I don’t walk as much as I think I should, or I don’t do as much aerobic exercise as I should, or I don’t like going to the gym. But I do this other thing like, “Okay, I don’t walk as much, but I run for an hour” or something like that. And from what I’ve read and seen from the studies, they seem all to be different buckets. So it’s sort of like, each of those activities like aerobic exercise, high intensity exercise, strength training, and walking, those are sort of what I consider to be the four fundamental components of physical activity. For each of them, you can get a certain amount of benefit out of doing them, and if you don’t do them, you miss that benefit. But there’s no makeup and there’s no overlap like, even if you’re running, let’s say an hour a day, you will still get additional longevity from walking another two hours a day.
Right so each of them seem to be and in one way you could say that you’re making up for it because some of the longevity you didn’t get from that you can get from something else but you could have also eaten vegetables and fruits right so it’s interesting that the components then seem to basically be different kind of aspect of some way of slowing down the aging process so that you can get the benefit from it.
So that’s why you. I think it’s really important just to break it down and make sure that you’re hitting each of the buckets and at least getting the requisite amount inside of that. The HIIT then is like another one and that’s like another about 15 minutes or so a week like you say and then regularly every week we’ll give you another building for that and VO2 max increase and other things.
ML: So this is why I prefer greater specificity and which can kind of address that right. So the combination of that approach is that, and then the amount of time spent and volume of training is that is able to maintain your fitness level strength VO2 max. You know whatever cardiovascular fitness metrics you want to track, heart rate, variability rate, blood pressure etc.
All the things that come with exercise is that total volume and frequency and intensity and duration is enough to at least maintain it over time. That’s the big question. Then. So that’s part of it. The other part of it is, you said those are the four main pillars, but another aspect, and I think most people overlook it is mobility and flexibility training, which if most and balance.
If you’re not training that stuff’s going to get worse too and joint health right. So the idea that you can just take glucosamine or hyaluronic acid or something and have quote unquote good joint health, yeah, okay, maybe a little bit, but we can you know there are you pretty good YouTube channels out there, you know, knees over toes that whole approach where you know you can do a variety of movements aimed at increasing blood flow to your joints and increasing strength in the joints which training through a full range of motion which unfortunately most people probably are ignoring and even just focusing on like low back hamstring flexibility which as a former personal trainer you know, training people in their 70s who never worked on these things that could barely flex, you know just barely flex their spine at that age from a lifetime of neglect.
I wouldn’t just put it on strength and VO2 max and running, walking. I wouldn’t put it on that it’s mobility through a full range of motion. And what’s interesting too is if you look at older people who even mildly fit people who ignored their mobility or you know joint range of motion over time. You can tell by just someone’s movement pattern or their gait, but from a lifetime of disuse. For example, getting up off the floor you know and I don’t mean sitting, know, crisscross applesauce. I mean just how quickly can you get off the floor? You know? Someone older, chronologically older who’s never trained ever.
Someone chronically older who’s actually mobile and has trained those things. There’s just a youthful aspect to it, so independent of the strength and cardiovascular. There’s something about mobility, balance and flexibility that there’s a huge youthful component that I think most people ignore. For example, there’s another guy.
I think his name is Movement by David and his catchphrase is “Stay flexy’”. And this guy’s mobility is fantastic. I mean, it’s like a gymnast, I don’t. Even if it’s Cirque du Soleil level, one of his youtube videos is you know I’m small, but I’m strong. And if you look at the feats of mobility and calisthenics that he’s doing, it’s just amazing.
So the long story is short. I think that that’s why the part of my workout is so long that I’m trying to incorporate. I’ve always tried to incorporate some aspects of mobility and joint and flexibility and balance, but that’s an easier said than done thing, because you know we sit at a desk all day. And long story short is the back and get tight, so you got to do a lot. I’ve got to do a lot to really warm it up and strengthen it and so on.
CL: Yeah, the balance is one that definitely degrades as you get old and the studies on it have not looked hopeful, like when I’ve looked at the ones where they talk about your time, say, standing on one foot for the older people and older, we’re talking 80’s and 90’s not the new middle age of 50’s. They’re like measured in like under ten seconds, and when they do interventions at that age they really don’t find any useful improvement, so it does seem to be something that you really need to keep in one of the things i can’t even remember where I saw it is brush your teeth with your eyes closed while doing the yoga tree position.
So I ride my bicycle around and make sure that I’m always doing a certain amount of time riding with no hands like I did when I was a kid, just trying to make sure that I keep the balance up. The stretching I feel that I get enough of the stretching from the weight lifting like good squat will help your hamstrings and other things right and the studies show that actually they do a head to head of stretching exercises and then strength training and they find that actually they got more increase in flexibility from doing the strength training than from actually doing a stretching exercise.<Strength Training versus Stretching for Improving Range of Motion: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis>
ML: Just to add on to that. So you’re exactly right. So doing a weighted squat should have greater flexibility than doing an unweighted squat, because you’re basically pushing yourself. You’re forcing yourself down with extra gravity right, but there are people who will only train to 90 degrees, and that’s not a full range of motion and we’ve been brainwashed. We could say. I hate to pull the conspiracy theory garbage, but you know, we’ve, we’ve been taught, oh, we’ve heard it forever that you’ve only got to go to 90 degrees.
And how many bodybuilders have I seen that trained to 90 degrees. But that’s not a full range of motion for the squat right. So sure, you’ll have a better range of motion than if you didn’t do any squats at all. But you know, there’s ankle flexibility. There’s, you know, shoulder flexibility. I mean, these are all things that can be trained to their full range of motion and then adding a strength training component to it. Which should further improve flexibility in that movement, so I’ve got to go for some of those movements now my squats are pretty decent, but I’ve got an ankle problem that goes back to being tackled at high school football.
You know, almost. I have got a hairline fracture, so my flexibility there isn’t great. So I’ve got to do a lot of work on my squat, which is somewhat limited because of my ankle mobility. Yeah but in terms of the gain for me it goes back to that you know that mobile phenotype right not just balance on the bike or balance with your eyes closed. You know, it goes back to having a youthful movement pattern and that’s not something like Depak Chopra and saying I feel young so I’m young.
It’s something I think has been taught for a very long time. You know I never want to get up off the floor and someone look at me and like my parents like when I see them get up off the floor or a couch that’s an old pattern and I’m not trying to ais an aist or you know that kind of boat but they haven’t trained it right. I can try my best to get up and look and look spry but without actively training it. You know it’s going to look aged, you know so.
CL: Yeah. I try and do, the other thing that I’ll do is do some kind of tabata workouts or something sort of a very high-intensity workout and something like burpees inside of that right like at 20 seconds of burpees right where you’re jumping as high as you can and then going down to a push-up and then jumping. And that’s the kind of thing that really gives you mobility. Sort of the ability to dynamically react to the world around you. But yeah, it’s I keep it as a small part of mine, but for you it’s sort of a major thing. Especially if you’ve had some injuries and things that sort of require a bit of attention to it. I can understand that.
ML: But the other aspect of it too, is for example, stretching and strengthening the lower back while also stretching and strengthening the hamstrings. So for example, doing like an L right where I’m, I’m basically, you know, my body straight up and then I’m leaning forward like this right. So it’s kind of like a good morning like that. So but doing that now I’m holding a weight holding 45-pound weight, and you know I’m not touching the floor.
I’m just trying to hold this position for as long as I can, so I’m getting that hamstring stretch and I’m also getting the strengthening in the lower back and the hamstrings. But then I’ll dip and get rid of the 45-pound weight and. And then I know I’ll do the full. Even standing off the chair so I can get way beyond putting my knuckles to the floor. So now I’m getting strength through a full range of motion.
So a little bit is, you know, warming up back, but it’s also strength through that full range of motion, you know, touching my toes, that’s not you. That’s a partial range of motion. It knuckles to the floor and even goes further beyond that. But also adding that weight to be strong in that movement, not just flexible,
CL: So I’m bad at that stuff, to be honest. I can touch my toes, but I’m not putting my palms on the floor at any time.
ML: Yeah, and the argument against that, you know, you could say, well, there, what’s the all-cause mortality data and you know.
CL: Exactly, and that’s kind of like I haven’t seen. It doesn’t show from the all cause mortality stuff, so I’m like all right, you know, I’ll put some time into that. But not going to be my primary focus.
ML: But for me, it goes to the quality of life and being highly mobile at any age, and trying to avoid that aged movement pattern that I see chronically in older adults that haven’t trained it. So. Imagine you drop something on the floor and you’ve got to bend down to pick it up and if it’s hard to touch your toes, that’s going to look like an aged movement pattern. I don’t want that like you know if I drop. So if I’m at the grocery store and I’m trying to get a pepper from the top and it falls on the floor, I can pick it up from the floor.
No problem. I’m not like Oh no. I got to bend down and pick it up. I’m never worried about that and maybe that seems like an inconsequential thing. But again this idea and I keep saying it. But age movement pattern it. I’m trying to avoid that forever indefinitely.
CL: Yeah, keeping it, keeping it moving. So should we stop over to anything else that you wanted to say about the exercise stuff?
ML: We got it
CL: Okay, should we jump over into food then
ML: Yeah, let’s do it, what do you got?
CL: So let’s see. So I’ll start off on this one. So my diet is somewhat less strict than yours and thank you for that by the way, because my friends all think that I’m, you know, really, very precise in what I eat, and I’m like, “Yeah, you think that, but boy, this guy. Dr. Lustgarten writes down every gram he eats every single day.” So for the food things well I think it comes down to some fundamental categories of food and the interesting thing is I’ve gone through the all cause mortality studies is that they seem to say that basically it’s not about the subcategory, so it’s not about eating, say bananas versus kiwis versus oranges. It’s about how much fruit you’re eating, it’s not about eating green salad versus potatoes. It’s about how much vegetables you’re eating.
And so it seems that people spend a huge amount of time trying to figure out “Oh my God, I need different colors, antioxidants or something, this kind of thing.” But as I look across the studies they say that basically they’re all the same thing and those seem to be the same bucket, right? So, if you’ve eaten, say, three servings of potatoes, poor maligned white potatoes, that you’re not going to get additional benefit from eating some cucumber and some lettuce after that. Like you’ve already hit your allotment of what you could get is the benefit from the fruits, and so for each of the foods there seems to be a very clear benefit from it or disadvantage of the things that are bad for you.
They’re sometimes bad for you throughout the entire range, but my favorite example is nuts, and there have been several studies that have shown that a very small portion of nuts, like less than an ounce like if we’re talking a very small handful daily, is one of the greatest reductions in premature death that you can do. It’s a 17 or so percent reduction in cause of mortality and the funny thing about it is that’s just for that first half handful, and then after that there’s no additional benefit. So if you like nuts go ahead and keep on eating them, there’s no harm to it. But you’re not getting any further reduction in all cause mortality and for each of the components – say nuts, beans or legumes, fruits, vegetables, red meat, processed meat, all those things – there’s very distinct curves that say this is how much you should get and this is the benefit you’ll get, and then after this, well if you like it, sure it’s fine, but you’re getting no more benefit from it.
So, my diet is basically to get beyond just the alternative health eating index. I really rigorously go through and try to follow those basic guidelines, but to be honest, there’s a lot of room in there. I haven’t been able to find studies that show the benefit of, say, eating more than even one serving of fruits and one serving of vegetables, having that much of an impact on all-cause mortality. And that’s one of the places where we differ. I know that you’re looking at the biomarkers and you’re saying “Well, yeah, but my biomarker has got a different benefit.”
But when you’re just going to sort of like where the all-cause mortality comes, I have a healthy breakfast, very healthy breakfast. I get about two or three whole grain servings, oatmeal, wheatberry kind of things. I have some salad beans in that as well, and then some hummus and some veggies and some fruit, and of course a small handful of nuts. And that covers a lot of what I need for the day.
If I have a salad later in the day for some more vegetables and things and some fish for dinner, which is another very healthy food, it’s going to cover most of what I need . After that I’m your cheat days are kind of a normal day for me. I’ll have a croissant or something for almost every day. I think that sugar is overly vilified in the culture these days. It seems like the great evil. But that’s sort of how I run it as far as the component style of it, but feel free to tell me what the biomarkers say about that.
ML: Before going to the biomarkers. The biggest, the biggest. I don’t want to say the lowest hanging fruit could be total calories. What dietary approach can lead you to us being able to take in an amount of calories that allows you to be your leanest. Assuming that your leanest is going to reflect, end up reflecting your most youthful biomarker profile.
For example, in my data, blood pressure, which is potentially a big one for dementia risk and systolic blood pressure increases during aging, thereby potentially increasing dementia risk. In my data, body weight, which is largely driven by a modest calorie restriction over time as I haven’t increased the exercise duration, frequency, or intensity. Body weight is one of the most significantly correlated with blood pressure in my data. Now knowing that calories are driving that which again goes back to what dietary approach can lead one to their you know calorie intake that allows them to be the leanest. Now is it going to be a junk food diet? Is it my cheat day? Is it Criss’s every day?
CL: Normal day, it’s a Tuesday.
ML: If did that every day. I’d be overeating, you know. And I don’t mean overeating by a couple 100 calories a day, I mean, you know, 4000, 7000. Whatever I can’t. That’s why I have to cut those cheat days to a very infrequent thing, because beyond that, it encourages it in my brain, you know, bad behavior. So some people, you know, now this is where another one goes beyond the published studies.
You know, I’m not a dietary ideologist meaning know vegan versus vegetarian versus even carnivore which there’s very little published data on all cause mortality risk because and again, I’m not trying to promote any one diet right so each diet can lead you to your most satiated where you can have some amount of calorie restriction while also maintaining muscle mass so that you can optimize and maintain function over time.
That’s I think that may be the biggest thing now. How much does diet composition contribute to that formula for longevity? I don’t know. But in terms of the published research, if we’re going to go for the gold standard of longevity and the people that are exercise fanatics, and again, I’m pro exercise. If you know, like. I said proper exercise, I’m doing workouts, I’m throwing around heavy weights, I’m pro-ex exercise. I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I’m anti-exercise by any means.
But Calorie Restriction beats regular exercise in terms of the lifespan maximum lifespan effect average and in recreational physical activity, or even just, you know, voluntary wheel running in rats, for example, just using an animal model extends average lifespan just like in people, you know, elite athletes, and I’ll put these studies in the video description.<Mortality rate and longevity of food-restricted exercising male rats: a reevaluation> Elite athletes have an increased average life expectancy compared to the general population, but where are the Olympic athletes at 115? I’ve said this before, where are they right? So there’s simultaneously something good and bad about exercise.
We want to get them both now going back to the diet that goes that way, then knowing that calorie restriction, without exercise gets this an even greater increased lifespan. Average lifespan relative to exercise in the animal studies and increases maximum lifespan. Like I said, the dietary approach that gets us to being able to and I don’t mean a calorie restriction of you know your maintenance is 3,000 per day you’re going to eat 1,500 per day. Nobody’s going to be able to sustain that. But the published studies show somewhere around, you know, 35% at most if you can sustain that and I wouldn’t just directly jump to 35%. I mean, for me it’s been a very slow gradual process over time, and I’m not trying to look like a stick figure again. I’m trying to have some amount of muscle mass right.
So, but the calorie amount may be the biggest factor in longevity right. So all right now that also then gets into the body weight and the BMI component right of the five factors right it going to be, you know, some in the calorie restriction society think that a BMI even less than 18.5, which by definition is anorexia, which is not associated with improved health and longevity. Some of the society thinks that that’s going to be better now.
Show me your biomarkers. Show me your markers of organ and systemic function, not just metabolic health or selected cherry-picked data. So the amount of CR that gets you to a BMI that comprehensively optimizes the net sum of as many organ systems as possible, so then the actual composition that is inherent within that may vary. I mean. Maybe some people do better on I don’t know. 16% fat. Some people do better on 10% fat, but again using biomarkers as the driving tool. I hear you on all-cause mortality, but there’s got to be greater specificity right. So I can you know, can I know what works for me based on you know, almost 50 blood tests now since 2015. But there is.
You know, I’ll give you an example in terms of composition, right, so I’ve been eating with the goal of getting spermidine and ergothioneine. I’ve been eating an average of about 300 grams of mushrooms per day. Pretty you know, maybe about a year or so. I’ve been doing it for like three days a week where it’s like, you know seven to eight hundred grams a day on three days and then basically nothing for the other three days. Now inherent in that isn’t just spermidine and ergothioneine, which may extend lifespan based on the animal studies or ergothioneine extended lifespan and flies.
There aren’t mouse data yet, but besides mushrooms containing those two metabolites, they are also a rich source of niacin now knowing that NAD in the bioenergetics and obviously mitochondrial function NAD being a big component of that as it’s in the TCA cycle, so and your NAD levels are low, you’re going to have suboptimal TCA cycle function, potentially suboptimal mitochondrial function and we all know how mitochondrial function declines during aging, probably going to be a bad thing for quality of life. Average and maximum lifespan. So knowing that mushrooms are a great source of niacin, my niacin intake has been two and a half times the RDA for a very long time as long as I’ve had mushrooms in the diet.
So when I measured NAD. I didn’t expect it to be relatively low. Or quote unquote aged in the 20 micromolar range, now 20 to 25 micromolar. You know, how’s that possible? My niacin intake is, you know, this much, I’m getting it from mushrooms and sardines and you know, it’s a mix of plant and animal.
So. Knowing that nicotinic acid which is also a niacin and you know one of the niacin main Niacin nicotinamide with nicotinamide being the other. Knowing that nicotinamide supplementation in very low doses increases, my NAD. Suggests to me that the niacin that I’m getting from mushrooms is not nicotinic acid, but potentially nicotinamide now. Another aspect of this story.
Another aspect of the story is that nicotinamide has been shown to increase homocysteine more than nicotinic acid, my homocysteine levels have been pretty close to age expected, which for me, that’s, yeah, better than that. Yeah, not just that for me, that’s like an offensive slur word, hearing “your data is age expected,” right.
So knowing that my mushroom intake has been high to try to get these prolongevity potentially prolongevity substances while potentially increasing my level nicotinamide which may be bad for the homocysteine, now I’ve cut the mushroom intake down by a little bit, so this gets to the idea of specificity within the diet. And now I don’t know the effect of homocysteine and homocysteine.
Yet we’ll see how that goes for the next test, because this is a relatively recent change. Now conversely, because I’ve cut the mushrooms down a little bit, and knowing that. B12 is one of the components that’s been shown or it correlates in my data strongly with reducing homocysteine and I’m just using homocysteine as an example. I’m not trying to say this is the biggest metabolite measure. It’s just as an example, so folate and B12 combined convert homocysteine to methionine.
So knowing that I’ve increased B12, I’ve been increasing my folate by a small amount, just titrating it up, Again my folate intake is an average of about 1,000 micrograms per day, which again is two and a half times the RDA, but it may not be enough for whatever reason. You know background genetics, whatever it may be. So just that specificity of art I’ve cut the mushrooms down, potentially reducing Nicotinamide that should alleviate some of that potential effect of Nicotinamide in homocysteine, while also increasing my folate even further than a two and a half times the RDA to try to bring homocysteine further down.
This is what I mean, the biomarker driven approach and really trying to titrate the amounts. And just with the last bit I know I can talk forever. But your friends, given you a hard time about your, you know, the diet rigidity right. If you’re a farmer, you want the best crop yield and to have the best crop yield is going to have a specific formula. And I’d imagine that every year if you’re a new farmer, there’s probably a learning process where you’re learning, know, okay, what’s the soil composition? What’s my crop yield? How much water is there? What’s the pH of the whole system? What are the factors that are really driving my crop yield for us? And everybody the crop yield is longevity right, and I’ve, I don’t want to say stumbled, but I’ve through trial and error and many testing and rigorous evaluation and interventions, and all this stuff the biomarkers are mostly youthful right, so I know the dietary composition, you know, that correlates best with that full profile.
So for me it’s. I don’t want to mess it up, you know. I want my best crop yield, you know, and so I’m happy, and it’s a diet that makes me happy. If I wasn’t satiated and you know, comfortable on it, it would be hard to maintain forever. For example, if you said to eat ground flax seeds, which basically look and taste like sawdust every day for the rest of your life, that’d be a bit of a challenge, right, but mix it with stuff.
And you know, some days I can eat it by itself. So I enjoy it and it’s a part of the approach being, helping me to keep my body bodyweight, relatively lean and being satiated. So that’s a long story on the diet, and you know, the rigidity of it and only having occasional cheat meals.
CL: So it’s interesting. I like them so it’s funny. You say that you think the diet is the most important, but then you point to something that I think is actually, I’m not sure if it’s outside or it’s different. But basically you’re saying the overall calorie intake you feel is one of the key drivers, and I’ve been watching my blood pressure as well, and I’m kind of like, hmm, well let’s see, you know, 125 over 80 is that great?
I mean, it’s probably okay now, but as you say, that’s not one that goes down as you get older. But my youthful sort of handling in the way that I control my weight is not through daily measurements, but rather through fasting. So I follow the 5:2 system. So on my days where I’m eating, I just eat whatever I want basically, but two days a week, I’m on under 500 calories and that’s rigorous and done every week or so. I’ve been doing it for about ten years now and we’ve had some discussion before about okay, well, it’s not exactly clear in the animal studies where they say calorie restriction leads to longer life, whether that’s actually the calorie restriction, although it’s very effectively, they’re getting fasting because they’re only being fed during the office hours of the interns who are feeding them, and I think the jury is still out on that one. As you pointed out, there are some studies that seem to imply the other way. But yeah it’s a key thing.
But like from the all cause mortality studies, the right stuff seems – there are confounders, right So, people who are exceptionally thin and are oftentimes really skinny because they’re dying. Right. So it’s hard to clean the data and get that out. And for a while it looked like they were saying that people actually who are kind of middle weight, like BMI of 25 seem to live longer, even slightly overweight.
And then they said, Okay, well, let’s take out the people who are sickly or whatever and other things. But, there was much ado about that and when I see kind of that back and forth and kind of like no, it’s not this way, it’s this way and both of them are kind of showing it and basically the line’s not moving much. The conclusion I draw from that is, it’s not that big of a deal like there’s no clear winner on that one right?
ML: So I can. I can add more specificity to that right. So yeah, there are some published studies showing that a BMI at older ages I think it’s in the overweight range 25 to 30 is the lowest risk on that J-shaped curve right so right. So I could actually probably rationalize some aspect of that immune function decline during aging. So fat actually has an antimicrobial component to it. So fat actually releases cathelicidin, which is an antimicrobial protein. So I imagine that for people who experience an age- related experience, I should say for people that experience. I mean, basically everybody will experience it right.
At some age-related events, the age-related immune function declines. But right. For me it makes sense that OK age-related immune function declines. Fat mass is potentially compensatory to help the immune system as another factor of that cholesterol follows the LDL and total cholesterol follows that same pattern where it increases to about midlife and immune function declines similarly up to about well indefinitely. But cholesterol also has immune enhancing process properties as it can bind to things like lipopolysaccharide which can leak into the blood during aging.
But then like you mentioned, then after about 50 to 60, cholesterol declines and now you’re on the road to the slow drive to death because you’ve got the age related decline for immune function. And then you don’t have cholesterol to potentially compensate for, so an increase in body fatness, and I’m not saying that’s the way to do it. But for people in that category who have an age-related immune function decline, it may be that fat is potentially acting as a compensatory mechanism to try to help the immune system.
So, now that said, what if there was a healthy control group? So from youth, you know, you stay lean your whole life. You know, I think that’s a big missing drawback. Is that healthy, lean, lean basically since the youth, control group doesn’t exist. So now it is going back to specificity. One can do the experiment to see just even at the individual level if your BMI is 28 and you lose weight over some period of time and for me I think doing slower is better. That’s going to be the safest way. You’re going to be able to maintain those habits for a long time. If you’ve done it slow and steady versus you lose it all in two months and then what’s going to happen? Have you learned any habits or you just you just starved yourself
CL: Not eating and then you’re going to eventually need it again kind of thing, yeah.
ML: So if you look at the full panel biomarkers of blood pressure, all of the full lists are kidney, liver, immune, red blood cells, inflammation, metabolic, and health, etc. If you took that same person at a BMI of 28. Even a FIT 28 right fit BMI of 28 relatively fit with some amount of body fat because I can’t imagine unless you’re a bodybuilder on some amount of steroids to have a BMI of 28, it’s going to be very hard to be natural.
I don’t know going, is going to come to me now. I’m 5 feet 2 inches and my body fat is five percent. I’m not talking about people like that. Most people that have a BMI of 28, even with a fitness lifestyle, probably go on to have some amount of body fat, maybe 15-20 percent for a man. Okay, regardless, now, if you cut your body weight over time, now get your BMI at, I don’t know, 23, 24 and look at your biomarkers. I bet. At least seeing my own data, I’m going to put this in a video at some point.
I mean body weight is behind almost everything. I mean, it’s yeah, so, but again does that mean eat garbage? Some professional athletes you know they’re notorious candy eaters, and they’re lean and fit, you know. But then they may have short careers. It’s calorie restriction with optimal nutrition. That’s the goal. But then the question is, what’s the optimal nutrition? How do you define that? Which then goes to the biomarkers now going to the fasting, this is a big one right. So going by the published studies, I’m pretty sure there is no trifecta of this combination of fasting, calorie restriction and circadian alignment in people.
I’m pretty sure that data on all causes of morality doesn’t exist yet, but there’s a study<Circadian alignment of early onset caloric restriction promotes longevity in male C57BL/6J mice> and I have a video on this where like you said the calorie restricted animals, they eat all of their food within a very short window and then they’re basically fasted for the rest of the day. And then if they were calorie restricted on that most of the day fasting approached and ate their food, for mice, they are nocturnal, which means they should be eating at night, not during the day, which is when lab studies have basically bent their physiology to accommodate us right, we’re going to put the mice on, keep them awake during the day, keep them awake at the day and let them sleep at night. But they actually evolve the opposite of that. So when you allow that trifecta, let them eat at night, evolve, they evolved to do. Fasted about 35 percent calorie restriction and fasted. They had about a 35 percent extension of lifespan, the longest lifespan relative to not- circadian alignment and not fasting so that could be a potentially big part of this too. I incorporate fasting every day. I try to have that eating window less than eight hours, three days a week. It’s almost all of my calories, maybe 90 percent in an hour and a half in the morning and then just the remaining ten percent in the afternoon. Um. So the vast majority of it is in a very short window, so I do try to incorporate that now.
In terms of biomarkers, I don’t see a difference with that approach versus the way it used to be where I’d basically eat, you know, do one meal a day, know four in the afternoon until six and then. And so basically I don’t see any difference in the biomarkers there. In terms of sleep quality, it’s immeasurably better, you know, trying to get that eating window and finishing it earlier in the day.
And that’s the main reason why I do it. It improves sleep quality for me. Less nighttime awakenings like if I’m eating a giant, you know, vegetable-filled meal at six o’clock, I’m up at 10, 12 to I mean I’m up every two hours using the bathroom, which is terrible.
CL: Right, yeah, it’s interesting that you didn’t actually find much of a different space off the time of day, or even the restriction is from the biomarker point of view.
ML: But I should say though, that before every blood test I do about a 17 hour fast and I don’t know why I settled on that. It’s just for the early blood test, you know, I noted that it was okay. It was 17 hours since I ate. So I’ve basically stayed consistent with that. So it could be that for the earlier test in 2015, even with the later eating style and not all of my calories earlier in the day, it could be that for whatever reason before the test, it could be that maybe one day of a 17th know seventeenth hour window which is longer than the standard you know 12 to twelve hour window fasting. Maybe that had some impact on standardizing the blood test data. I don’t know. I doubt that that’s the case. But I don’t see gross differences, you know
CL: Well It’s interesting that you point out that that shift I mean a lot of people when they get into the time restricted feeding, the first thing they do is skip breakfast and it’s one of those. Yeah, they say I should eat breakfast, but I don’t and it’s easier and it’s so great. And the studies on that are bad. They had a study where they actually looked at the effects of skipping breakfast versus not and they found first of all, your metabolism slows down by about 50 calories a day.
Secondly, the people who were skipping breakfast reported more hunger throughout the day, so they were more unhappy. And thirdly they reported them as wanting to eat junkier foods like they want to eat more kinds of chips and sort of the things that you’d like to stay away from more. So that’s one of the sort of pitfalls of it. And in the short term, if you’ve gotten used to eating three meals a day, and then you start skipping breakfast, yes, you’ll lose some weight, but they find that to be short term. And if you look at people who have been skipping breakfast over a longer period of time, they’re heavier, they generally tend to be more overweight.
So it’s impressive that you’ve shifted from like sort of the evening to the breakfast time and weighting it heavy there. And that’s probably one of the reasons why you’ve been able to keep this up for so long.
ML: Yeah, well, it was an easy change because sleep quality has always been an issue right. So like I did one of my next videos coming probably next wednesday is on slow wave sleep right. So deep sleep ought to be a restorative sleep. So I did a sleep study probably ten years ago and I was getting terrible sleep back then and my slow wave sleep was 5%` of the total now. To put that in perspective, slow wave sleep percentage declines during aging, and for a ninety-year old, the average is 8% of total sleep time.
So under the best conditions, I got 5% of my total sleep as slow wave sleep, which is terrible. Now, I’m pretty close to 25%. So what correlates with that too is body weight, which is crazy. So one component, there are others, you know so, but so the change, the shift from, you know, one meal a day eating later in the day to getting it earlier in the day. Once I saw that I was waking up less. I was feeling a bit better, not perfectly better.
But still I saw improvements in how do I feel and do I feel more well rested so that it was an easy shift? And plus with the in-person work schedule, you know. I don’t like to eat at work like that. But the other interesting thing about this too, is that so calorie restricted mice as you mentioned, they eat the majority of their food within like a couple hours or within a few hour window. And then they’re fast the whole day. But they know the next day when their food should be there and they’re waiting and eager to eat their food. When I wake up. I use the bathroom, go straight to eat, and I’m eating for like an hour and a half. It’s an in-person work day, and I look forward to it.
CL: So yeah, and yeah, it’s vegetables and fruit that takes so long to eat. Oh, my gosh.
ML: Yeah, that’s true. Well, you know, for people who don’t know, I’m not vegan, I’ve actually had like five eggs a week now, for I’ve incorporated that, and I eat dairy every day and sardines every day. So I’m not far from vegan, right. But when you say all this. Yeah I get lacto-ovo, I guess. Yeah, but I’m open to meat, it’s just it doesn’t satiate as much as the other animal products, and it doesn’t impact the biomarkers too, as much.
CL: So do you see that when you take you don’t have any red meat in your routine, one of the things your routine is very well focused and I was trying to tell you, “You should mess around a lot more to get more data on it.” But I know you’re like, “No, I got the ship steered. I don’t need to yank the rudder.” I like that there’s science we would find there.
ML: Yeah, so infinity suggests that. So that’s why I mentioned that that’s going to be one of those not along the diet lines. But you know that 600 milligrams of nicotinic acid we saw my NAD go up to like 3x higher 67 micromolar. But then my DunedinPACE was 0.98, which I’ve had nothing even close to that forever. I like nine tests. So when I. Suggested that it could be NAD too high, he was like, “No, it’s probably nicotinic niacin or nicotinic acid.”
Your nicotinic acid is too high right. So when he suggested all right, let’s raise your NAD with NMN, which is also nicotinamide in the niacin family. This is almost like for the sake of science. For me, it’s like, okay 60 milligrams of nicotinic acid. I got 38 microlar. Let’s see what it does to DunedinPACE, and let’s see what it does to the rest of the biomarkers. For me the story closed.
But to have to prove the point, I’m not and no disrespect to to Jinfinity. I’m a big fan, you know, but you know, creative. The creative process is being disturbed to prove a point. So yeah, getting me to tweak around with, you know, add more of this, add more of that. It’s got to be dangerous.
CL: So my most recent. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet perturbation of my schedule for the science and to see what it does to me. So I’ve registered for a marathon which is well over 15 minutes of running a week. So I’ve started a 16 week plan actually to get ready for it and I’m quite nervous about it. I think my VO2max is quite good. I’ve had it measured. It was about 55 which is outstanding. With the full mask on and plodding on a treadmill and every 30 seconds they goose the speed to see if you can keep up with it. But a real marathon’s a real marathon, so we’ll see. I got myself some shoes.
ML: So that raises the question right. So with marathon training, that’s going to most likely be a volume increase. Right, the training volume increases over what you’re doing now. So with that in mind. You know you should get some VO2max increase whether it’s going from 55 to 60 and you should mention that it’s not a predicted 55 like fitness tracker predicted 55. This is the mask. This was like a you know official thing right.
CL: Yes. gold standard.
ML: Yes, so you’re probably going to boost some VO2max right 55 to 60. I don’t know where. It should be somewhere higher. I’d find it hard to believe in increasing my training volume. You’re going to stay the same at what your VO2max was before. Now with that in mind, with that increase in training volume, will your improvement of VO2max. Will your heart rate variability go down?
Resting heart rate goes up, chronically, for that increase in training volume time now. So now it raises an interesting question. I’ve gotten criticism from endurance athletes because they’ll say. Well, it’s VO2max that’s the most important. Who cares about your heart rate variability? Or resting heart rate being a bit worse – doesn’t matter. I don’t care about those metrics. I care about the functional measures. So what do you think about the dichotomy of having your VO2max be the highest, but you may take a hit on your actual metrics of cardiovascular fitness and health. Right so..
CL: Yeah. I’ll find out some of that experientially. I’ve just started now. Because of this, I’m fully , sensored up now. I’ve got my Whoop. I’ve got an Oura Ring that I just bought last week. And I’ve got my Apple Watch. And so now I can have votes right, like what was the most important thing? What’s your actual heart rate? And it’s, it’s a little bit of experience getting used to it. I’m thinking about writing a review or something on it. Maybe we can have that one of our discussions later, but it’s the VO2max has the studies for all cause mortality. I think I’ve seen it also for the heart rate, the resting heart rate as well. Right, that’s another one where it’s sort of a known thing and I’d have to look into it. But I’m not sure. I don’t have an answer to that one yet.
ML: So maybe in the short term on your most recovered day, right, so say you’re doing a few days of training, you know, high volume training for your marathon. And then you have a recovery day right. So I’d imagine that after your recovery day, your best resting heart rate was. I think you showed me it was like 41 the other day. Right, if your best is 41 and then. You’re doing the marathon training and then your best after a recovery day is 44 right.
So now you’re getting a potential and this goes to that idea of exercise dose. This is how I see it. You know, sure, you may be getting some incremental increase in VO2max. But if that’s at the detriment of your resting heart rate is going up and your heart rate variability is going down. That’s basically a sign that you’re stressing your body to the point where you autonomic and your parasympathetic nervous system are somewhat out of whack now. How will that translate into disease risk and longevity? I don’t know. But I’d imagine. Your metrics. I think you’d want the highest VO2max with the highest heart rate variability and lowest resting heart rate. You know, does that mean training for a marathon will get you there? I don’t know. Does that mean training two hours a day, two miles a day, walking, running. Whatever. I don’t know, it’s individual right?
CL: But this is one of those places where you and I differ, for I think that I am in it to punch it and improve it over the long run, whereas you’re like, no, I’m watching it every day. My resting heart rate, if I do this. I know that the next day my resting heart rate. For you know, it’ll be high for a few days. So that day when I had a triple digit heart rate variability 103 and a resting heart rate of 41 – that was the day after I ran HIIT, like I had run like 25 minutes a hit the day before and it was a good run. I had new shoes and I was super happy because I’ve got my marathon shoes that are really bouncy. But I don’t know. It will be interesting to see. So maybe we’ll have a discussion about that in a later podcast.
ML: Wait, wait for sure for sure. But wait what was then what happened the day after that because it went far away from 103 to 41
CL: Right so a full switch around and I’m not actually sure like I haven’t worn it long enough to kind of know my Whoop to know what’s causing that flip around. But the Oura Ring agreed on the second day. So the day after that, my heart rate went up to 51 and actually my heart rate variability went down from 103 down to 37 in one day. It’s like I’m a different person. So you asked me what I did. I mean, it was kind of a normal day. I went to the gym. I did my half hour workout.
I did some heavy squats, three sets of eight reps of 110 kilograms. Those are big. But that’s not big for me. That’s a normal kind of my routine, but I had about seven drinks that night, and that was between like six and 11 o’clock at night, so it’s probably some dehydration.
ML: Um. Alcohol. Alcohol is a known murderer of heart rate variability of resting heart, that’s the thing that drives the whole ship like you can’t go from average, you can’t have an average. I don’t remember what it was like 40 heart rate variability and 50 for resting heart rate. If that was your average, then see 140 to go to Elite Endurance Athlete. No like. Maybe if your average was 40, 50. Maybe at your best you’d see like 50, 46 something like that. So so all right. So then that also raises the question, knowing that was your best data that you’ve seen so far 100 to 40?
CL: Well. I mean in like the two weeks I’ve had it, but yes.
ML: So with that in mind, then it gets to: how many drinks can you tolerate? Where instead of your average i think I saw your average was like 60 something in the 40s for resting heart rate over the one week average. Right. So what amount of alcohol is murder like I said of those data, what amount of alcohol is it two drinks? Is it one drink? Is it three drinks where you’re not crushing yourself? Physiologically.
I mean the physical enjoyment of that many drinks for sure, but the physiological detriment right, so how many drinks can you actually titrate the dose where you’re not overstressing yourself? Right so that you can always almost always see that 100 because your metrics should be better than mine chhronically. I shouldn’t with my exercise duration and how many steps you’re taking i shouldn’t, i shouldn’t have.
For granted the good news is at my best. I’m not too far away from where you were right, but with some titrating and some tweaking your data will chronically be 100 over 40, which is amazing as youthful as you can pretty much get.
CL: But that day, for example, you say titrating. So I can already tell you on that day I had a beer that evening right. That was my fasting day. My day where I did the high-intensity interval training and then had a can of beer at about six or actually know about eight o’clock before I went to bed. So somewhere between one and seven there seems to be a steep J curve in there we’ll see I’m not it also. I was staying. I was traveling at the time, so I was staying in an uncomfortable unfamiliar area bed, so that might have also had some effect on it.
But it’s good to have the data now. I just need some more data so I can figure out what the keys are.
ML: So one weakness of Whoop is, I’d recommend tracking it in a spreadsheet because I think they provide data like you know, year to year, like here’s your yearly data and you can visually see it. But if you actually wanted to track your own data over time. I mean sure you could go back and look at it. But to look at correlations. I don’t know. Maybe you could use their journal. But if you’re not manually recording it, you won’t be able to go back in time later.
CL: There’s no exports on it.
ML: I don’t. I don’t think so. And so. For example, the respiratory rate, the nighttime respiratory rate which is there, um. So. I only have like. I don’t know three years of data, but I’ve been wearing it for five years. It doesn’t go back all the way. And there may even be a shorter window than that where I wasn’t recording it manually and it’s not available on their website. Right, so I’d record it in case it disappears, you know. If you want to calculate correlations which I think would be super interesting, you know.
CL: I want to see. Yeah. I look to see the history too. So okay.
ML: How many drinks? How many drinks? Is it where it doesn’t affect your data? Right? It’s just one here. I wonder what it would be like, no alcohol at all. If I mean, granted one beer could have no impact. One beer could have some moderate impact. But if there was, you know. Is your best truly 103 over 41 or is it 115 over 30 38? I don’t know, right, so.
CL: But that’s where I pull back from the biomarkers as the final arbiter. Right, I’m kind of like, you know what I’m having beers like. I mean, it’s funny. Right. I mean, if you look at those numbers, you’d say was a different person right, like I should have been laid out like I should have been, you know, lying on my couch the whole day, but okay, I’m. I’m maybe a little tired or so, but I didn’t. If i’d had a workout today, i’d have done the workout just as I normally do. I don’t. I don’t adjust based on what you know, this readiness thing. I kind of like it. Oh, that ‘s interesting. But if I have a workout scheduled, I’m doing the workout.
ML: You are lucky. Genetic lottery physiology because I can tell the difference between my data did that oh geez like and maybe it’s placebo. Maybe it’s a real effect, but for whatever reason, you know. I wouldn’t say minor deviations affect me, but you know that my averages right now are probably a 68,42 if it’s like 50 something and 45, 46. I feel that I know it really. Oh yeah, definitely, yeah, yeah, yeah, cognitively, physically, even my workout.
So for example, yesterday it was. I don’t know if you saw it was like 80,81,39, and that’s a great thing, because I’m always aiming for that. In the morning of a workout, you know. The struggle during a workout which should be a struggle and a challenge is always harder. If my data is worse, my metrics are worse on that morning versus if they’re almost completely fully recovered. So for me, there’s something to it, you know. But if I saw my data cut it in half like yours, geez, oh, I’d be on the couch like, leave me alone. Don’t talk to me,
CL: Yeah, so I just went up and went on my day. I like it. Oh, that’s weird.
ML: I wish I had fantastic good news for you so far. Yeah, okay. So we covered a lot we could probably go on from. But we’ll save it, for the next time
CL: Sounds good. Okay, great talk.
ML: Ye yeah, all. Thanks.