Why Strength Is So Important, Plus The Little Things & More – Weekly Roundup 19 NOV 18

Every week I bring you the best in health & wellness from around the web and social media.


This recently published paper showed once again how important strength is to long term survival. Multiple peer reviewed studies have shown that the strongest 30% of the population have the lowest rates of illness and death, across all age brackets.

The study followed around 4500 people over a period of three years and found that the weakest individuals are most at risk for early death, regardless of other risk, and lifestyle factors.

If you want the best chance of living a long, and healthy life make sure you’re getting in some regular strength training. For general weight loss / health purposes, whole body twice a week is good enough for most people.


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It's not so much about WHAT you eat, it's more about WHY you eat, and why you eat what you eat. Lots of junk, or fast food gets eaten simply because of poor time management, lack of social support, emotional coping, etc. What's your reason? I can be guilty of all of the above sometimes, but by practicing simple, daily habits, including planning and meal prep, much less often, which is paying big dividends in health metrics like blood pressure and blood sugar. @Regran_ed from @thealanaragon – Excellent graphic by @antidiet_dietitian. It captures the importance of the big-picture focal points. These often hidden & overlooked factors are crucial to successful weight loss in the long-term. I had this in my story, but it’s worth immortalizing on the feed. #mindsetshift – #regrann

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Success is not the one magic bullet. No matter what your fitness, or weight loss goals may be, the secret to success is small actions, done consistently over time. There’s no magic diet that’s going to take the place of good, sound nutrition and exercise habits day in and day out. Understanding why you make the food choices you make, time management and some mindful eating practices are all necessary skills for long term, sustainable eating. If you would like some help finding answers to these and other questions that might be hurdles between you looking and feeling the way you want, check out our online coaching program here.


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This is Doug. Doug weighed himself every day for a year during his weight loss journey. He tracked his calories, and workouts and vlogged the whole thing as he lost 100 pounds.

Do you need to count calories to lose fat? Not necessarily, but that’s not what I find interesting about Doug’s videos. One of the things I find most interesting is his video views. On his stunning final transformation video, he has over a million views (a viral video), but most of his day to day vlog posts have maybe 1000 views or so.

What this says to me, is that, not that many people are interested in the “grind”. The small, daily actions I mentioned above that make the difference between success and failure.

Personally, I’m most interested in the small, daily actions Doug took to drop from 245 pounds to 145 pounds and 9% body fat.


Check out the latest episode of the embodiedMIND podcast which I co host with Prince Bell.

This week, we talk about opportunities to study with Venerable Jiru in Arizona, self proclaimed MMA fighter Xu, Xiaodong gaining international notoriety, why a calorie is not a calorie, nasal breathing vs. mouth breathing, and the role of temperature in optimizing your sleep.

Join us in Phoenix for a Three Day Mindfulness retreat –

Inner Strength Gym IS Complete coaching for MIND & BODY.
● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ●
Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power!

Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.


Who Should (& Shouldn’t) Watch ‘Fasting’ on Amazon Video…


I recently watched the documentary “Fasting”, available on Amazon Video (free if you’re a Prime member).

In their recent debate on the Joe Rogan podcast, virtually one of the only things guests Chris Kresser and Joel Khan, MD agreed on was the benefit of fasting to the overall health and wellness of nearly everyone on the planet.

If you haven’t been following the news regarding fasting in recent years, here’s just a few of the health benefits you might see:[1]

  • better blood sugar / insulin sensitivity
  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced cholesterol
  • less body fat
  • improved cognitive performance
  • possibly lower rates of all cancers
  • reversal of diabetes

There’s been additional research that shows the power of fasting extends to improving outcomes from chemotherapy if you’re undergoing treatment for cancer. It appears that a 72 hour fast in advance of treatment, strengthens healthy cells, yet pushes cancer cells closer to cell death.[2]

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Much of the benefit of fasting appears to revolve exactly around this increase in apoptosis and autophogy (cell death, and breakdown / recycling of junk or damaged proteins in the body).

In a fat loss / weight management application, I find that fasting two days a week is the easiest, most sustainable way to create a caloric deficit for the week.

Coming from a martial arts background, I also find immense spiritual benefit from fasting. Similar to the Japanese practices of shugyo, which involve meditation, time in nature, cold water immersion, fasting, other hardships to discipline the mind and purify the body.

This was one of the big stumbling points in the film for me. Instead of talking to members of various faiths, and their practice of fasting, the film focuses solely on the Mormon church, and two of their representatives. Fine if you’re Mormon, but maybe not so much for everyone else who don’t identify with the Mormon faith.

The film brings together some of today’s most vocal research scientists and health care providers like Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Satchin Panda and Valter Longo.

As much as I am a proponent of regular fasting, I have to say that overall I was disappointed with this piece. It was high on production value, and low on substance.

With the exception of the well known doctors mentioned previously, in the end, you never really know whether or not anyone on screen is a paid actor, which, in my opinion greatly reduced the impact of their testimonies. Is this person for real, or is this a paid testimony?

If you’re completely unfamiliar with the practice of fasting, and some of it’s benefits, then this could be a good entryway for you, but if you’re already familiar with fasting at all, this film would largely be a waste of time, unless you’re looking for something to tickle your confirmation bias.

I think overall, the piece does the most disservice to those at risk, or with a history of, eating disorders.

Fasting, at it’s heart is simply a practice of restriction and control; the hallmarks of anorexia and bulimia.

Although they did have a lone dissenting opinion, they instead follow two individuals who claim that the practice of fasting has instead, helped them overcome their eating disorders.

The cycle of “binge and restrict” is also common among overweight individuals accustomed to yo-yo dieting and those who tend to stress eat, etc. (often referred to as “disordered eating”), and these people would be far better served by first developing a more healthy relationship with food and eating, before any kind regular fasting. Like most ardent proponents of any method though, the messengers are over zealous in their delivery of the message.

If you’re interested in something more substantial, I’d recommend you instead spend the time watching the interviews Dr. Rhonda Patrick has done with all three of the previously mentioned doctors, on her podcast Found My Fitness.

Inner Strength Gym IS Complete coaching for MIND & BODY
● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ●
Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power!

Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.


  1. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan
    Author links open overlay panelValter D.Longo12SatchidanandaPanda3
    Show more
  2. Safety and feasibility of fasting in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy
    Tanya B. Dorff, Susan Groshen, Agustin Garcia, Manali Shah, Denice Tsao-Wei, Huyen Pham, Chia-Wei Cheng, Sebastian Brandhorst, Pinchas Cohen, Min Wei, Valter LongoEmail author and David I. QuinnEmail author
    BMC Cancer201616:360

Health & Wellness Weekly Round Up – 11 NOV 18

Every week I bring you the best in health & wellness from around the web and social media. Sometimes it’s my own content, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always something I found a gem in.


This post by Ben Bikman was a real eye catcher. It’s generally considered the a low carb, ketogenic diet is not ideal for performance, but here have an ultra endurance runner smashing the record for fastest 100 mile run ever. Incredible! Of course, we should bare in mind that most of the criticisms against ketogenic diets are in regards to anaerobic power sports, but there are examples of Olympic lifters excelling on keto as well.


An inevitable fact of losing weight is often feeling hungry. When you sit down to eat, and you’ve been hungry since your last meal, it’s easy to miss your 80% fullness cue, and over eat. Here, we have a strategy from Alan Aragorn, which basically amounts to filling yourself up on water in advance of your meal.

In my opinion, this is not a beginner strategy. In other words, if you haven’t mastered some fundamentals like regular meal prep and eating mostly whole foods, you should not be trying to use this kind of trick to keep yourself from eating, but if you have mastered the basics, and you’re in a calorie cutting phase, this might help you squeak under your goals with less discomfort.

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The “Water Trick” is a uniquely effective tactic for dieters because it puts the focus on adding or increasing intake instead of reducing or taking it away. It’s ideal for occasions such as eating at restaurants or social/family gatherings. – The attached are my own research-adapted methods that work consistently in the trenches. The upper end of the guidelines (bravely) exceed the doses in the study protocols :). I nudged the 30 minutes down to a max of 20 minutes as well. Lo & behold, this almost never fails to curb the desire for large food servings, a second plate, or a post-meal dessert. – These tactics are ideal for those who want to default to lower caloric intake with minimal effort toward calculating or quantifying. – #inthetrenches #streetwisdom #boom

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In the video below, YouTube creator and meal prep extraordinaire Bobby Parish takes you on a tour of Costco to his top picks for eating well.

I was shocked to learn about Costco’s organic eggs receiving such a low ranking from For me it underscored that we should frequently check ourselves: what do I know, and how do I know it? Quite often the narratives the we spin in our own heads do not match up to reality. I had begun a narrative in my mind that all Costco products must be good, because that narrative aligned with how I feel about Costco as a company, and how they treat their employees.

Similarly, people often sabotage their own efforts at nutrition by spinning a story around their choice like “it’s okay I ate a dozen donuts just now, because I’m heading to the gym, and I need the pre-workout…”

Inner Strength Gym IS Complete coaching for MIND & BODY.
● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ●
Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power!

Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.

Health & Wellness Weekly Roundup – 11 NOV 2018



Lean mass favors protein. More protein in your diet will lead to better all around body composition (more muscle, less fat)!

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Lean mass favors protein. The results of recent research shows improvements in body comp, and no risk to bone mineral density, kidney health, etc. Not everybody needs to go #keto, but most Westerners, particularly of Euro decent, could do with a lot more protein and less carbohydrate in their diets. @Regran_ed from @thealanaragon – Protein has been the most revered macronutrient, but it also has carried its share of persistent mythology. Thanks to the recent battery of studies by Jose Antonio (@the_issn), Anya Ellerbroek (@anyaelle), et al, several long-standing protein myths have been slayed. Daily intakes at roughly 3-4 times the RDA have failed to show harm in a range of health markers (including those of liver, kidney, and bone). – Interestingly, increased protein intakes tend to not result in fat gain in resistance trainees (in fact, the opposite has been seen). This is potentially due to increased satiety, thermic output, and a certain degree of misreporting. – It’s good to know that the body is quite adept at handling high protein intakes safely – at least in healthy subjects without preexisting kidney disease. Furthermore, the “disappearance” of extra protein has interesting applications for dieters seeking to control appetite while minimizing threats to the caloric deficit. – #science #research #evidence #brotein #mythsdiehere – #regrann

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A post from my friends over at Power Speed Endurance on the neurological connection between the breath and the brain. If you’re looking for a little bit of the science behind why you should be practicing your qigong / pranayama it’s about three minutes long.


Our most recent episode of the embodiedMIND podcast with my partner Prince Bell from Golden Bell Training.

Inner Strength Gym IS Complete coaching for MIND & BODY.
● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ●
Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power💥✨!

Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.

The Epigenome, Qigong & The Fountain of Youth

Qigong Image - Classes held in Tempe, AZ
Most Chinese martial arts, like the one I train and teach (I Liq Chuan) include some kind of qigong 氣功 practice.

The word qi (pronounced chee), is made up of two parts: the character for rice, and steam. The idea being the intrinsic energy that is in the breath (and food). Gong, in this case, means exercises, so qigong means something like “breathing exercises” (although movements that coordinate with the breath are also usually included).

For centuries, the old masters practiced various qigong methods to strengthen their bodies, improve their health and extend their lives.

Today, scientists are using technology to understand how these ancient practices work; the epigenome!

The epigenome is made up of chemical compounds and proteins that can attach to DNA and direct such actions as turning genes on or off, controlling the production of proteins in particular cells. That means that we’re not (entirely) victims of our DNA, doomed to whatever fate they have in store for us. Outside factors, like diet and lifestyle, can have a massive impact on how the switch gets flipped in certain genes.

Think of the genome (DNA) like a car, and the epigenome like the driver.  Both work together. You can’t change what kind of car you inherit from your parents, but you can steer the car in different directions, or whether or not it even gets started and taken out of the driveway to begin with.

So, back to qigong; a 2005 study by Li et. al. showed that regular practice can turn on genes that fight inflammation and help us stay young!

Remember that scientists are linking systemic inflammation to cardio vascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, so it really does look like practicing things like meditation and qigong and tai chi, have very real, observable effects on our health and well-being.

Although the study was small (N:12), it’s a very exciting start to providing real, scientific evidence of the benefits of qigong, tai chi and other mind body interventions in human health.

There are five different major types of white blood cells. Neutriphils being the most plentiful, on average making up half to two thirds of your white blood cells, lead the assault in the body’s immune system response.

The study showed that practicing qigong can increase the lifespan of these cells, while pro-inflammatory neutraphils died earlier through increased apoptosis (basically cell death and recycling). Researchers currently suspect that when damaged cells don’t die off in a timely manner, they may play a role in the formation of cancer. So while it’s too early to tell for sure, that means that practicing qigong, tai chi, or other mind body interventions can possibly help prevent cancer from ever getting started to begin with!

Qigong is also a great tool for managing stress which is a key factor in helping to maintain a healthy weight, recovering from exercise and performing your best; which is why it’s a key factor in our coaching program here at Inner Strength Gym.