Today I had a great conversation with Josh Trent of Wellness Force Radio about how to use technology to improve health. Technology, like tracking apps and wrist devices, can be intimidating and overwhelming. We focused on the simple yet powerful devices and how they can be used to guide awareness and inspire change.
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The Importance of Tracking Nutrition … 00:03:23
Monitoring Caloric Intake … 00:05:38
Tuning Into the Body’s Natural Signals … 00:09:24
The Accuracy of Food Tracking … 00:11:06
Robb Wolf’s Carb Test … 00:13:21
Continuous Glucose Monitoring … 00:14:25
Time Sedentary vs. Active … 00:15:49
Periodic Activity Reminders … 00:18:11
Tracking Movement with Wearables … 00:22:07
(click gray Topics bar above to expand and see full outline/time stamp)
A Guideline for Daily Activity … 00:22:50
Moving Throughout the Day … 00:24:15
Nootropics and Box Breathing … 00:27:00
Using Music for Relaxation … 00:27:50
Breathing Reminders with Spire … 00:29:41
Fitness Tracking and HRV … 00:31:13
Recovery Time and Mindfulness … 00:36:25
Personality Types and Accountability … 00:39:12
Meditation Apps: Muse and Headspace … 00:40:48
Tracking Sleep with the Fitbit & Oura Ring … 00:44:16
Controlling our Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions … 00:50:22
Tech for Healthcare Professionals … 00:54:08
Avoiding Unnecessary Testing … 00:55:34
Episode Wrap-up … 00:57:55
Download Episode (Right click on link and ‘Save As’)
Using Technology to Improve Health and Fitness, with Josh Trent
Dr. Michael Ruscio:
Hey, everyone. Welcome to Dr. Ruscio Radio. This is Dr. Ruscio. I am here with my good friend Josh Trent. And today, we are going to be talking about gadgets and gizmos that can help you track certain health parameters to improve your health, but not do it in such a way that makes you feel crazy. And I love Josh’s perspective. He’s got a really good, balanced perspective on this. So I’m super excited to have him on the show and have a chat with him today.
Josh Trent: Thanks for having me, man. We’re going to talk about gadgets, gizmos, and we’ll also make it sense to humanity as well.
DrMR: Absolutely. Can you tell people just a little bit about your background and how you’re using some of these tools before we jump into the specifics?
JT: Fifteen years ago or so, I had a pretty serious health issue of my own. I let go of 80 pounds. I didn’t have the real toolset when I was born as a kid. So flash forward, I’m 21, I’m 280+ pounds. And that got me really motivated about health and wellness. So that led me to a career to become a trainer and a fitness and health and wellness professional.
So, 10,000 hours on the floor with clients, 10 years in the industry, running teams, and just really trying to ask myself the question every day of how do I use the things that I know so that I can actually live life well? And that led me to understanding this new segment of wellness that we understand as wellness technology.
And so, I’m the host of Wellness Force Radio, where we talk about physical and emotional intelligence, which are two big blocks of, I believe, what make up the wellness wheel. And then, also, I have a show in the fitness space: the Fitness + Technology podcast, where we explore kind of global fitness and wellness brands, how they’re contributing to our space through technology and uplifting humanity there.
DrMR: Awesome. And like I said, I’m excited to have this conversation, because if it was handled the wrong way I think we could give people a whole lot of details about frivolous markers that would probably do more to stress them out than it would to help them.
DrMR: But when we met initially—and we met at this year’s Paleo f(x), actually, in the kitchen of Mind Pump. And I didn’t know who you were before I met you, just kind of two guys ended up standing next to each other over a beer, over a conversation. And I said to myself, This guy has got his head on straight, and he really seems to know what he’s talking about. And we had a really good conversation.
I said, “It’s too bad we couldn’t record this.” So here we are kind of picking that ball up where we left off.
JT: Yeah, this is exciting man, because I think we were fighting over the guacamole. We wanted some healthy fats together or something. And I realized at that point that I hadn’t dove as deep as I wanted to dive in your work, which was so fun to have you on the Wellness Force podcast. And I think the topic actually was the way that men and women interact. I think that was one of the things we explored.
And then, somehow, we got into this wellness tech piece and I understood what you do for people, and I was just blown away. So, yeah, just super stoked to talk about this today.
The Importance of Tracking Nutrition
DrMR: So, yeah, let’s get a little bit further into this, and there’s a number of tools out there. But I figured let’s start with a simple one, which is devices or tools that help people with tracking their diet. And just really quick, my perspective—I think I shared this on the show recently. I have been using or had been using for a little while, a couple weeks, MyFitnessPal just to track what I was eating.
And I took this away from a conversation with the guys over at Mind Pump where they had said almost without fail, when people tell you that they’re eating this much or doing this much or sleeping this much, and you actually have them measure, they differ wildly in what the data shows and what they estimate.
So I said, “Well, let me see where I clock in.” There were a couple really helpful things I took away from doing that for a few weeks. And that essentially was, when I drink, my diet goes to absolute s-h-i-t. Just terrible. And it’s usually because I end up having a meal afterward that is just way off plan.
Now, if that’s done in moderate doses, it’s not that big of a deal. But it helped me to see, okay, I need to plan ahead for that. Because if I end up going out, having some beers with friends, and I come home and I’m too lazy to cook and I go to Cheesecake Factory. A lot of their food is delicious, but man, is it loaded with calories.
And that was the other thing that I learned. A Cheesecake Factory salad has like 1400 calories in it. So it can be deceptive. And not that I’m a huge fan of just indiscriminate calorie counting. But it helps you see, like, oh my goodness, I had two other meals today and both of those meals were less calories than the one salad I had from Cheesecake Factory.
JT: It can be really challenging sometimes, man. I feel like if you don’t manage anything, then you can’t really understand how you’re showing up. In other words, if you’re just kind of eating hyperpalatable foods and you’re getting tugged in that way, it can be a matter of three months—somebody can go off the rails in three months.
And I think a lot of people that have other issues going on, like they’ve lost their body’s intelligence. Maybe they have some gut dysbiosis. Maybe they have blood sugar issues. It’s almost impossible, in my experience, for people to really change how they’re showing up in their relationship with food unless they manage it, unless they’re doing some type of tracking.
Monitoring Caloric Intake
DrMR: Absolutely. Absolutely. So regarding tracking, what are some of your thoughts on diet tracking? For example, calories compared to macros compared to both. Tools that you think are helpful and some tips that you’ve found helpful for people who are trying to wade into doing some diet tracking.
JT: Man, you know what’s fascinating to me is—last time I checked—there were almost 17,000 different health and fitness apps on the iTunes store, which just boggles my mind. So for most people, I would say the first step is really talking to the circles that you walk and run in and see what’s actually been working for them.
So that’s why I’m really excited to talk to you today about this, because I’ve come across a company called Nutrino. It’s actually the friend of Justin Andrews. We had him on the podcast here. And what they’re interested in is a program called FoodPrint.
And it’s essentially for people that have diabetic conditions; however, the app is really smart. They’re using some machine-learning algorithms in here. And for people that get a little scared by machine learning, don’t worry. It’s not Terminator. It’s essentially using the data sets that are around you: menus, healthy restaurants, things that are in your community based on a geo tag. Your phone, in this program, can actually ping you to give you those healthy recommendations.
Now, when you’re about your life and you’re busy and you’re just living and doing everything you do, the challenge can be, even though you want to track your calories, where do you actually go to get the nutrients that you want? Yeah, you can go to the grocery store, but as you mentioned, we’re human beings. We like to celebrate. We like to go out.
And so, if you have an app that can be really smart, that has all the menu data, all the caloric data that’s in the app, you literally can just, while you’re at the restaurant, search in the app. Not every restaurant, Dr. Ruscio, has calories printed on the menu.
DrMR: Oh, yeah.
JT: And a lot of them don’t for a specific reason, because they’re like, “Wow, nobody would eat this food if they knew there was 4000 calories in here.” So I would say that’s the first one that comes to mind. I’ve also played around with MyFitnessPal, but I think when we look at Nutrino, they’re doing a great job of data aggregation.
So not only this machine learning so it can be smart with the menus that are going to serve people on a caloric budget, whatever they’re doing, but also too just to understand, hey, how can I plug in other things to my calorie tracking program that’ll help me make better decisions in the other parts of my life: my movement, my sleep, things like that.
And I think what they’re doing with continuous glucose monitoring is pretty big. We know that certain foods affect certain people’s insulin levels different than their neighbors. And so, I think, number one, it’s just, look, pick a program. Pick either MyFitnessPal or pick Nutrino, and just start tracking what you’re doing. And don’t put any pressure on yourself. Don’t try to change 20 things at once. Just literally ask yourself the question, this week am I willing to track how many calories I’m eating without trying to cut those calories down? Let me just see how I’m showing up.
You do that for seven days, and I think most people will be shocked at the amount of calories they’re taking in.
DrMR: I agree completely, and that’s how I started. I said, “Let me just do what I’m doing every day and just see where I clock in,” and it would be amazing for me to see MyFitnessPal estimated that I should be eating about 2000 calories a day, which when we had Ben House on, he kind of criticized that. He said, “Geez, a guy like you, I’d put more at 3000.” And that’s a question I want to ask you in a second in terms of the accuracy of the recommendations for calorie consumption by these apps.
But I’m looking at 2000, so I’m looking at my Monday, my Tuesday, my Wednesday. I’m trucking on really good at about 2000 calories every day. And then I have one Cheesecake Factory salad, and all of a sudden I’m at 3125 calories. So I’m at a plus 1000 from one off-plan meal.
So, yes, it makes me start thinking about, Geez, maybe I could’ve made a better choice at Cheesecake Factory. So just from the perspective of increasing your awareness, I think there’s huge utility here.
Tuning Into the Body’s Natural Signals
JT: And I think also what we’re touching on is there’s one camp of quantifying what you’re doing with your macros, with your food choices. Then there’s the other camp that is really just about body intelligence. If you’re thirsty, your body’s going to give you the signal to drink. If you’re hungry, your body’s going to give you the signal to eat. Same thing if you’re sleepy.
But what happens is, is that people’s natural signals get blunted. They’re stressed. They have hormone issues. They have gut issues. And all these things get in the way, and they start to kind of turn down the volume of the natural signals that are in our body. And then place technology addiction on top of that, and, man, you have got the most crazy cocktail for somebody trying to live well in this modern world.
And I think what the power of this could be is really just understanding, okay, am I just willing to take a breath for seven days and just track the macros, the calories that are coming in and just do that and take a real honest inventory of, all right, what does my data actually look like? And now, once I’ve done this week, what am I prepared to do for the next two weeks? Do I need to work with a coach? Maybe even in that seven days, by the way, most people, they just get back in tune with those natural signals.
DrMR: I think that’s incredibly well said, where we don’t want to take this to a point of you have to weigh out… I’ll use an example. When I was in early college, I was really into bodybuilding. And one of my best friends from childhood was over, and he was watching me weigh out my meal for the day. And I was trying to get my—on the scale—the weight of my serving of broccoli just right. And I took a clove of broccoli, and I had to split it in half and then put it back on the scale.
And my buddy Vinny goes, “You are absolutely crazy.” And I looked…
JT: That sounds psychotic. Yeah.
DrMR: I looked at myself. I said, “Yeah, you know what? That’s pretty much right.” We’re totally not trying to push people to that level of depth.
The Accuracy of Food Tracking
But one question I do want to ask you about the accuracy of, okay, you punch in your height, your weight, your activity level, your body composition, and these tools give you a… And you may also, I’m sorry, plug in your goal. I want to gain some weight, lose some weight. And then they give you a recommendation.
Do you think that those recommendations are fairly accurate, or do you need to be going to a coach or someone qualified to get your target for maybe your macros or for your calories? Or can you just use these apps?
JT: This is such a powerful question, because there are three different real body types that respond. And you know as well as I do, the measurement of BMR has been disproven so much when it comes to specificity around people. If you’re an ectomorph, you’re going to be very tall and lanky. Mesomorph, you’re going to be kind of muscular in the middle.
I’m an endomorph myself. So people that have a large rib cavity. We typically tend to carry more visceral fat, things like this. Those dietary recommendations that are in these applications, they’re trying to just do a blanket algorithm that covers everyone. And so, of course, we take it upon ourselves as kind of like the CEO of our own health here. We get to apply a template in the beginning, and then we also reserve the right to shift that template. So just start somewhere.
Look, if you’re on a scale and that scale is seven pounds off, if you use the same scale for 60 days, you’re at least going to have a baseline, even if it’s not perfectly accurate. So I would say there is an error margin. It’s probably 7-10% for most people. But if you look at the grand scheme here, just judging how you perform, judging how you feel in your body, what’s your energy, what are your cravings, yeah, you can start at the calorie recommendation from the application. But just know that a template is a template, and you’re not a template. You’re a human being.
DrMR: Sure. So it’s a good first step for awareness. You use that to learn and then if you need help with refining, that might be a good time to bring in a coach. Right?
JT: 100%. And look, 7-10% is pretty close. So you’re going in the right direction. I think a lot of people, they want to have everything preplanned and perfect when it comes to tech. Like, well, I’m not going to use the app because I heard from a friend that it’s not accurate. It’s like, you know what? At some point, you’re going to have to put on that pair of pants and see if they itch you. So just do the damn thing anyways.
JT: And start on that one baseline and then take it from there. And along the way, reserve the right to change it.
DrMR: Well said, well said. So anything else before we leave diet trackers? The next place I want to go to is pedometers.
DrMR: But anything else regarding diet trackers that you think is helpful to mention?
Robb Wolf’s Carb Test
JT: Yeah. Thank you for this space, because I am so fascinated with Wired to Eat, with Robb’s work, because doing that 30-day cleanout and then a seven-day carb test, I think that is the most powerful thing that we’re seeing in the health and wellness industry.
We look at continuous glucose monitoring to really tailor in those carbohydrate sources for people, I think used in combination with an app. So if you could have an app that records all of your daily glucose, all of your daily insulin levels, getting them in there… Over the course of time, how powerful is that to see over a month’s period what foods did to your insulin and how you felt afterwards? Then there’s no guessing involved.
I think this is the real power of quantifying, using nutrition tracker, using a monitor that’s in comprehension with that tracker, understanding what do these foods do to you and can I put a number on them so I’m not having some anecdotal guess.
DrMR: Right. And of course, people can check out Robb Wolf’s book Wired to Eat. And I know he goes into a lot of detail about that.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring
And the continuous glucose monitors, can you remind me—are those readily available? Do you have to have some kind of healthcare practitioner assist you with getting those dialed in?
JT: Yeah, you know what’s interesting is, I was actually going to ask you if you could write me a script, because you have to go through a naturopath or a medical doctor. Right now, the citizen scientists, the people that listen to your show that are really empowering people around health and wellness—they want to get all the tools and things they can use—you unfortunately can’t get one of these CGMs unless you have some type of a diabetic condition. That’s the only way that you can get them right now, which is unfortunate.
We have some organizations, I think the Paleo Physicians Network is one of them that is pushing for people to have access to this. So the short answer is no, unless you have a condition, like a diabetic condition. You can’t really get one unless you have a forward-thinking physician or a naturopath.
DrMR: Now, I’m assuming you can get somewhat proximal if you have your classical finger prick test.
JT: Yeah, you can get something very close to that. It’s just thinking about, all right, am I going to wear that all the time so I can see over the course of time how my blood sugar dips?
JT: I guess you could continually prick your finger. I believe the continuous glucose monitor—and I’m going to try it here coming up next month—is a lot easier. And especially when I looked at Robb’s work and the success it had for him and his wife, I just feel like pricking your finger 12 times a day… I don’t know.
DrMR: Oh, yeah.
JT: It sounds a little annoying, right?
Time Sedentary vs. Active
DrMR: Yeah, I totally agree. All right. So pedometers. Now, one of the other things that I was trying to do was take another piece of advice I got from Ben House, which was 10,000 steps a day. So I had a pedometer that worked for about a week until I think I got it too wet. It was supposed to be waterproof but then it stopped working on me after a week. But I did get a week of data.
And I noticed that days when I’m in the clinic, I get about 5000-7000 steps in a day. Days when I work from home, because typically if I have a call or if I’m going to get a coffee or something like that, I’ll walk around the block during my call or I’ll walk down to the coffee shop, and I get 10,000 on those days pretty easy.
So it taught me that, okay, on clinic days I need to at some point squeeze in a quick walk around the block. So that was helpful. But what are your thoughts on pedometers? What are some good tools? What are some good goals for people to shoot for?
JT: You know what? There is this kind of 10,000-step-a-day, another blanket recommendation, and it was brought to us by the World Health Organization. Of course, if we take 10,000 steps a day, we’re obviously more active than most, but here’s the kicker. I think the number one—and you can really quote me on this—probably the number-one thing when it comes to tracking is time sedentary versus active.
The time sedentary versus active quotient is the most important thing. Now, whether you’re wearing a Fitbit or an OURA Ring or any kind of device at all, it’s setting up that device so that it’s giving you a gentle nudge to move every hour. And we’re not talking about a lot here. All we’re talking about is 250 steps, 300 steps, the equivalent of a brisk, three-minute break.
And that is the number-one thing, because you’re obviously going to have more respiration when you take that break. You’re going to have more blood flow. You’re going to get out of that hip-flexed, seated position. You’re going to stop rounding your back. You’re not going to be toxic with your upper-crossed syndrome and your breathing. Just that one marker alone, the sedentary versus active, I believe that is probably the most powerful thing when it comes to having any wearable device give you that push to move.
And I think looking at the data sets that are coming in from Europe versus America—and I can send you this for your show notes. There was a study that was done. Europeans just move more and they move more throughout the entire day compared to America. And it’s because, for some reason, we have developed this badge of courage that we’re supposed to sit for a long time and not take any breaks. Well, it’s killing us. And I think technology’s going to give us more mindfulness there.
Periodic Activity Reminders
DrMR: It’s funny you say that, because I used to be the same way where I would pride myself… This was more so when I was a student. But if I was the last person to get up in study hall and have to get a drink or take a break, I’d be like, yes, I outlasted everybody.
And now, I’m realizing that that’s a fast way to burn yourself out, because you can do that for a little while, but if you’re not getting that regular activity, I 1000% agree. One of the things I’ve spoken about in the show before is how getting a pair of those flat, minimal-soled shoes and going for a walk was just a game-changer for me in terms of feeling good in my body, getting that activity, getting that, as you said, respiration.
Something else that I’ve done that’s been really helpful. I have one of those little stress balls, those kind of bouncy, squeezy stress balls. And I’ll walk outside. And I’ll go up to a wall, and I’ll throw it off the wall. And I’ll do things that kind of get some hand-eye coordination going and getting a different part of my brain firing. So I’ll throw right hand, right hand, right hand, right hand. Then I’ll throw left hand, left hand, left hand, left hand. Then I’ll go right to left, left to right, right to left, right to left and go back and forth.
That gets you moving. You’ll drop a couple. You’ll have to pick them up and your throws won’t be perfect, so you’ll have to reach. You’ll have to bend. You’ll have to twist. And that’s a great way of almost getting a similar effect as a cup of coffee where you get an energy boost, but you’re doing it through activity. And it’s also kind of fun. It’s got a little bit of a game aspect to it. And all you need is a wall and like a $2 stress ball to be able to do that.
JT: That is so good. I’ve also implemented what I call a movement snack, and I stole this from Dan Pardi. Like literally having five exercises that you do and you do them in a three-minute time period. So we’re talking about 10 push-ups, 10 air squats, 10 plank holds of like five seconds, just do those in a row. Put your knees down, maybe just do a 60 second plank. Just light up your body for literally three to five minutes as a snack.
You don’t have to make it a workout. I know people that are listening that might be wearing slacks and a button-up here. You can’t get all sweaty. But you can change your physiology, and you can do that with a reminder through technology because we have more demands than ever. People have responsibilities. People are at work. These are real humans involved in our current, modern industrialized society. We cannot just give people these blanket…
Even if it is great recommendations, no one resonates anymore off of some wellness influencer saying, “You guys need to eat better and you guys need to sleep more.” General recommendations don’t work. We need practical pragmatic tools that guide us along the way for good behavior.
And I think a little reminder that buzzes your wrist, there’s no harm in that. And actually, the studies are showing that people are so much more healthy because of that positive reminder.
DrMR: Hey, everyone. I wanted to thank the two companies that help to make this podcast possible. Firstly, Kettle & Fire, which has a great line of bone broth products. They are, of course, organic and devoid of fillers, preservatives. But in spite of that, they also have a very stable and long shelf life, which is great for me, because one of the things that happens is I sometimes end up wasting bone broth. So having a serving that is shelf-stable and lasts a while is definitely helpful. So I would definitely check out Kettle & Fire. They taste good, they’re clean, they’re convenient, and they have a long shelf life. So, definitely something that can be very helpful and has help made consuming bone broth easier for me.
Also want to thank Equip Foods and Perfect Keto, two companies that are owned and operated by Anthony Gustin. And as you probably heard on the podcast before, he went to great lengths to make sure that his line of protein powders, of pre- and post-workout powders of exogenous ketones, and medium-chain triglyceride powders were devoid of excipients and fillers. And I have to say, I feel the best, namely the least bloated, when I use these products out of any of the products that I’ve ever tried. So I highly recommend also checking out Equip Foods and Perfect Keto for some of those powdered products. Okay, back to the show.
Tracking Movement with Wearables
So how do you set that up? If someone gets a device, do most of them have settings that are labeled active-to-sedentary ratio? How does that work?
JT: Yeah, so no matter what you have, and there’s so many wearables out there, all of them have something baked in where it’ll give you that movement reminder. So for example, I even have the OURA Ring, which is just a fascinating product. It gives me a reminder on my phone, so it doesn’t vibrate on my hand.
Now, if you had a Fitbit or if you had something that you’re wearing on your wrist, that will give you a gentle vibration. So we don’t always want to be looking at our phones. So that’ll give you a gentle vibration. That’ll remind you, “Hey, Joe, it’s time for you to take that three-minute deep breath that you deserve anyways. So why don’t you go ahead and keep the promise to yourself. And this watch is going to remind you to do it.”
A Guideline for Daily Activity
DrMR: Perfect. I like that. And then, is there a general ballpark for people to be looking for in terms of… Okay, you have your time in the day. Is there a certain ratio or a certain amount of time sedentary to a certain amount of time active that people should be generally striving for?
JT: I think the specificity is if you’re up for 12 hours, can you be active for eight? So if you’re up for 12 and you’re working and you’re doing things… Now, look, if you’re going to be lying on the couch for four, that’s fine too. But out of those 12 hours, can you move for eight of them? I think that is a beautiful baseline for everyone. It allows for some flexibility if you’re in meetings, if you’re having to sit for a job function or whatever.
But, again, going back to the practical and pragmatic things we can do, eight hours out of 12 is completely approachable for most people, no matter what career you’re in. I can’t think of many careers, unless you’re a truck driver, that you have to sit for that may hours.
Moving Throughout the Day
DrMR: And so, when you say eight hours, so is that eight hours of cumulative movement dispersed over that 12-hour of sedentary period?
JT: Visualizing a grid with 12 squares on it, can you fill eight of those in any order you choose? So out of those 12 hours in your day where you consider those to be “working hours” or hours that you’re not doing meditation, not sleeping, not relaxing, because those are important hours too. But out of those 12 hours, can you be mindful enough to fill eight of them up with those 250-300 steps?
DrMR: Gotcha. So it’s not eight hours of continuous activity. So in eight of those 12 hours, you had a short bout of activity.
JT: 100%. And I would say that that is probably more healthy—and I don’t know about long-term metadata studies on this, but if you take an hour and you step 10,000 steps in an hour or if you do an intense CrossFit or a HIIT training session in an hour and then the other 10 hours, 11 hours, out of the day you don’t move at all, it’s not rocket science to know that the healthy version is more movement done in smaller chunks, spread out over the day than crushing yourself in an hour, which this is like a paradigm that we get to change right now in our industry. People work all day without movement, and then they go to the CrossFit box and do Fran, and go home and wonder why they have all these health issues. That’s the real thing we’re talking about here.
DrMR: It’s funny that you mention that, because my sister now is a pretty avid cross-fitter. She sent me a picture of her tracker showing, I think it was 3000 steps in a day. And she said, “Yes! I achieved my goal.” I said, “Oh, I just interviewed a guy and his thinking was that 10,000 was a good goal to shoot for.” She goes, “Oh, well, I don’t care about that. I go to CrossFit and get my workout in there.” My response to her was, “Well, I get that, but there seems to be this paradigm shift where the foundation seems to be chronic, low-level activity, like walking, like hunter-gatherers would have walking or tool-making or foraging.”
DrMR: So getting little outlets of activity periodically throughout the day may be even more important, more foundational than that intense CrossFit activity. And I think she had a hard time swallowing that pill because she’s inundated by the Kool-Aid at CrossFit, which is fine. That’s where she is on her path.
JT: It helps a lot of people too.
DrMR: Yeah, totally.
JT: This is not a dis on CrossFit.
DrMR: Totally. But it was just funny to hear exactly what you laid out. I just had that same conversation with my sister where she was like, “Oh, screw it. I don’t care about walking. I got a really killer workout in at CrossFit and I sweat until I bled” kind of thing.
But you’re right. I can speak firsthand to that where I’m always trying to get the most performance out of my days, because I have really demanding days. And, gosh, I can tell you that I will have far better performance throughout the entire day if I’m taking those breaks.
There’s really no way around it. I’ve tried from every angle. I’ve tried Performance Aid. I’ve tried the piracetams. I’ve tried caffeine. I’ve tried phentermine. I’ve tried combinations of those. And they’ll get you a boost, but you’ll burn out. And really, if you can just take that time and get those periodic activity breaks, you’ll get the same type of boost that you would from some of these other substances, minus the burnout. So it’s really much better long term.
Nootropics and Box Breathing
JT: This is so powerful, because I’ve taken Qualia for a long time. It’s kind of like the limousine of nootropics. And I feel the same way. Like even when I do my nootropics, I must go for my movement breaks. And I actually have something that’s unique to my physiology. Earlier in life, I had a lot of stress, a lot of trauma. And so, now, the only way that I can regulate my stress is through doing some cyclic breathing.
So for me, I do what Mark Divine calls box breathing. That is technology as well by the way. So just because today on the show we’re talking about wellness and tech, it might be on your wrist, but listen. The hieroglyphics that were done in the pyramids, that was technology too.
So breathing is a technology. I really drop into some box breathing. I do about five cycles of box breathing. That changes my physiology just as much as doing the push-ups, just as much as maybe your ball throwing against the wall. So breathing is a powerful tool, as well.
Using Music for Relaxation
DrMR: I totally agree. And it’s funny that you mention that, because today I found this… Let me see if I find it again. I want to give it a plug because there’s this awesome tai chi music CD that I used to listen to. This is going back into late high school, early college. And I used to love doing yoga to this soundtrack, and I just recently found it today in my old—what was before, like the first iTunes player device that was the…?
JT: The iPod.
DrMR: The iPod. Yeah. So I had to dig out my iPod and find it in there. Gosh. So it’s Tai Chi Music for Relaxation by Thomas Walker. And I just love this soundtrack. And I was telling you about all this pressure and 1000 things I have to coordinate for the book to launch successfully, because it’s almost like launching a space shuttle, I feel like.
There are just so many details that have to connect in different aspects of the book and inventory and shipping and all this stuff. It’s quite remarkably business challenging. And I just needed a minute today. So I put on that music and I was doing deep breathing for about 15 minutes because I was just getting that… You know that feeling where you’re just going so fast in your mind…
DrMR: Where you almost get this—you feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel. And you have to break that cycle because, if not, what I have found anyway is the whole rest of my day I will just be in that frantic, kind of chasing the wheel mentality unless I break that. And so, I listened to that tai chi music, I did some deep breathing, and it really kind of got me back to center.
So I completely agree with you. All these things, they’re simple, they’re free, they’re not sexy or super high-tech, but, gosh, they can be powerful.
Breathing Reminders with Spire
JT: They really can, man. And you know what’s interesting? I interviewed the founder of Spire. They’re a breath tracker. It’s this incredible breath technology, and it keeps track of your health and your breath if you’re not paying attention.
So if you’re in a behavior change foundation right now, if you’re literally in the first couple of weeks of a new program, you most likely get to have more deep breaths than any other time in your life because when you’re changing a behavior, that’s when your breath is under attack. That’s when your attention span is under attack because you’re being pulled by the conditioned bundles of nerves that have been formed in your brain.
So if you can use something like the Spire… What it does is it just reminds you on your phone. I believe they’ve updated it so it can vibrate at your waist. It’s just a clip-on for your belt. And if you’re a busy executive who does feel like they’re stressed out and whatnot, it’ll remind you to take a deep breath at the time that you most need it. And it’ll measure your biometrics, and it’ll just nudge you to take a breath.
And I think, god, in this day and age, how many of us need the deep breath. So that’s yet another way, along with some different meditation technologies that are out there. But the Spire’s specific to breath, and I think when we look at what they’re doing with some different sports teams that they’ve partnered with has been pretty powerful. We just know that breathing can change our physiology almost faster than anything else.
Most people, when they go to the bar, they’re not looking for the beer; they’re looking for the breath. The beer gives them the chance to change their physiology, so they can get the breath. But all roads kind of lead to the deep breath.
DrMR: I agree. How many times have you sat down at a bar with a friend and you sit down and you just go…
Fitness Tracking and HRV
DrMR: Yeah, exactly. I totally get it. So what about fitness trackers, things that track your heart rate or your calories expended during exercise? I don’t know a lot about this area in particular, but I feel like that may have a little bit less utility relative to these other things, but curious to get your thoughts on that.
JT: Yeah. It’s asking the question who am I, what do I do, and why I do it first? If I’m a general weight loss client and I’m looking for just letting go of some body fat here, we should not get lost in the weeds when we look at specific heart rate training and fitness tracking.
However, if you’ve gotten through a plateau and now you’re at the point where you really want to up-level your fitness, then, yeah, absolutely. My first suggestion would be to just really start understanding heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is the micro time in between the beats of our heart.
The more that time varies the healthier we are, the more ready we are, athletically ready we are for the day. Zero is you’re not ready at all. Zero is you’re almost dead. Hundred means you can go and do the most intense workout of your life. If you’re in the 80s on one day, then you probably get to push it a little bit and move the needle. If you’re in your 60s or your 50s another day, that’s a day for you to do that light walking.
And so, it’s just resurfacing now, especially with people like Jason Moore from Elite HRV that are just doing such groundbreaking work in understanding not only can they use HRV and heart rate variability for athletic readiness and for fitness tracking and training, but they also can use it to reduce the morbidities of people, where they can start predicting CHD and start predicting all these other things from looking at large-time data sets of HRV.
So I would say the first thing, if you’re interested in using tech for your fitness, start getting clear on HRV and heart rate variability. There’s an app you can use where I believe it’s called HRV4Training, the number four. And you can put your finger on the camera of the iPhone. And you do that in the morning, and it’ll give you your athletic ready score.
So if you’re pushing it and you’re kind of feeling like, ah, I’m going to push past my weak point. Ah, why don’t we use data to actually see how you’re showing up? Then you can just give yourself permission to not crush yourself at the gym when you’re tired.
DrMR: Yeah, it’s so interesting that you say that. Sorry, guys, if I’m sharing too many of my own personal experiences here, but I’m hoping that this will hopefully resonate with some people. I haven’t been doing HRV, but I think that I’ve recently increased my variability by training less. One of the things I was doing for a little while—I talked about this before—I was exercising.
After I would exercise, I would do a steam bath, because steam baths or sauna baths post-exercise is supposed to increase erythropoietin, which can then increase red blood cells and, therefore, increase oxygen carrying capacity and, therefore, increase endurance. And I was also fasting.
And, ironically, I felt a little bit better at first, which was probably my body going into a stress response. And then I felt like when I got on the soccer field—because this is where I really feel my endurance or my lack thereof. After a little while, I just had nothing. I just felt like a car that couldn’t go above second gear.
And I reflected on this, and I said, “Geez, I know that the training that I’ve been doing, which is lots of supersets”—or however you want to term. I would go from one exercise to the next with very little rest in between. I know that that is one of the primary forms of exercise that can lead to overreaching or the term adrenal fatigue, which I don’t like. But anyway.
And then another one—I recently read a study that one of the fastest ways to cause overreaching or overtraining in an athlete is having them do high intensity cardiovascular exercise in heat. So I was kind of coupling exercising followed very closely by a heat stressor and coupling that with fasting. And I think I completely just overloaded my body, and now I’ve been scaling back the length and also the… Well, intensity’s not the right word, but I’ll use that term loosely.
JT: It’s almost like a training load. Yeah.
DrMR: Yeah, I’m reducing my training load, and I’m really reducing the cardiovascular impact because I’m taking longer rests in between sets. And so, my heart rate’s never getting super high and staying super high. And I’m already noticing that I have more pop on the soccer field, and I’m assuming it’s exactly my ability to have that heart rate variability where I’ve got that juice to be able to turn it up when I need it and also I’m probably turned down quite a bit when I’m off.
JT: This is such a great point, because you’re doing different modalities of training, and you’re having a very strong signal from your body. Like you said it best, “I felt like I didn’t have the pop, and then when I adjusted some things, I felt like I did have the pop.” Not everybody has that kind of intuition, and their signal of their body’s intelligence isn’t as loud as yours might have been.
And I think having something that’s a measurement to go off of—and I think so many people out there, they train hard, they work hard. And it’s like, well, you know your body also gets to rest hard as well and recover hard. And I think just having the data for people, it can be such a permission slip for them to have that mirror of mindfulness.
All these records, all this tech and tools, they’re just really signals and mirrors of mindfulness for us so that we can actually do the thing that’s best for us. That gets blunted from maybe just too much going on in our lives.
Fitness Tracking and HRV
DrMR: Yeah. I agree completely. And one of the things that I’ve been telling myself in my head that just has helped me with getting over exactly what you said, which was that kind of badge of courage where the harder I work, the better I feel. I’ve said to myself, If I want to be able to really turn it on and just smoke people in soccer, I’ve got to take some time to gear down because unless I take that gear-down time, I’m not going to be able to gear-up.
When I’m in that position where I’m saying, Yeah, I’m at the gym. I could go a little bit harder. I could go a little bit longer, I say to myself, No, I’m not going to turn on fully right now. I’m going to save that for some time later.
So it’s almost like I’m looking at this where I’m partitioning rather than always trying to be maximum. So I just offer that in case it helps anyone with the psychology of it.
JT: Man, and also too, when we’re talking about tracking, why do we want to track in the first place? It’s because we want a quality result. So whether you’re looking at HRV or time sedentary versus active or nutrition, whatever it is, we’re really just trying to use these little pieces of tech to give us the correct path that’s going to give us the desired result.
And so, boiling it down into a nutshell, we also have to get clear on why do we actually want that result in the first place? Who do we get to be healthy for? Why do we want to sleep well? Why do we want to have good nutrition and great digestion? Those are questions that I think a lot of the A-type analytical people, they might just get so caught up in the tracking, in the doing, that they forget to breathe and figure out their why.
Like, why the heck am I actually doing this in the first place? That’s a big one, and that boils into our thoughts, feelings, and actions, which, I’ll tell you, a lot of clients that I’ve worked with, they start tracking how they eat, move, and sleep, and it starts bringing up red flags about how they think, move, and act. And that is what I think the data is most powerful in. It’s as we see the data change or as we even see the data in the first place, it starts giving us these little hits, these little intuitive hits that the things we’ve been trying to change, we were actually lying to ourselves.
And it’s not about shaming someone. It’s not about making anybody wrong. It’s like sometimes people think that they eat better than they actually are. Sometimes people assume that they sleep better than they’re sleeping. Sometimes people feel they move throughout the day more than they actually move, and it’s okay to just accept the truth. The data doesn’t lie.
And so, if you’re looking for the honest path, why don’t you combine the data with it?
DrMR: I think that’s well said. So I’m hoping a lot of this conversation is resonating with people in terms of how do you use the technology. If nothing else, start guiding some awareness. It’s not something that I think people should be looking at as the end-all, be-all. I have to be highly meticulous, but…
DrMR: Help me make a mirror where I can look at myself through almost another person’s set of eyes. So that’s kind of what data can do. You look at your diet, and you think, My diet’s really good, until you actually look at a report of what you’ve eaten and you’ve said, “Geez, that’s not as good as I thought it was.”
Personality Types and Accountability
JT: Okay. So one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, she talks about tendency types. I am an obliger. I do really well with external frameworks of accountability. People that are rebels, people that are upholders, they have a different tendency type. Same thing with questioners.
But for people like myself, where if this resonates with you and you’re listening, have you ever had trouble doing something just for yourself when you look at expectations, but yet you can always easily meet the expectations of others? If so, you’re most likely the tendency type of an obliger, and you will just thrive so much by having an external framework of data and tracking and being connected to fitness communities and going to the gym and having small bands of tribes that exercise together. This, just, self-awareness is really… I mean, isn’t this what we’re talking about today? How can these devices help us become more self-aware?
The same reason that someone goes to a naturopath is because they’re aware that something’s wrong. They want to figure out how they can heal thyself. Well, the technology can be the same thing; we’re just doing it from tracking their lifestyle and tracking how they’re really showing up. Because you and I both know the brain kind of gives us credit sometimes for things that we’re actually not doing.
And also, the negativity cycles that run in our brain, the incessant thinking, that can be healed by meditation. And meditation, obviously, there’s so much technology out there about meditation. I use the Muse for that, and I don’t know if you’ve talked about meditation, kind of transferring people over—I’m sure you have—on the show to the parasympathetic branch.
But when you drop into the breath, if you can get some tech to help you meditate… It’s been really powerful for me. I’m actually probably three years now, using the Muse device. And that’s been great, man.
Meditation Apps: Muse and Headspace
DrMR: So let’s talk more about that actually, because we’ve talked briefly I believe on the podcast about the Headspace app, which is kind of like a breathing/meditation app. But, yeah, I’d love to hear your thoughts in terms of a good app to help people get started into meditation.
JT: I love the fact that you brought up Headspace, because that’s an awesome start. Now, if you’re like me and you really do well with that exterior framework, so check in if you’re listening here, do I do well with seeing how I’m showing up? Do I like data sets to show me? Muse is probably a great choice for you then because this is almost like a meditation assistant, like a personal meditation assistant.
What it does is it measures the alpha, beta, and theta waves that are in your brain. Alpha 2 is this holy grail that many people in brain science and neuroscience talk about. Alpha 2 is the flow state. It’s where things are easy and light and free. Those other brain waves, those are the ones that we get caught in when we have these negative thinking loops, when we’re not breathing, when we’re distracted by the day’s stress or if we got a fight with our spouse.
So wearing that device for 10 minutes, even five minutes, it’ll allow you to see what style of meditation is best for you. And I think this is the take-home for any kind of meditation tracking. What style of meditation, knowing there’s hundreds, maybe even thousands at this point, of styles of meditation. Is it transcendental? Is it visualization? Is it meditation that’s mixed with box breathing? Is it some type of meditation where you need to be guided? Figure out which one actually resets you and gets you more into that alpha brainwave, and that will shift your parasympathetic nervous system to it, so it can really turn on and be strong.
So I like it because it allows me to have a quick report after I’m done. And over the course of time, I can see, all right, well, not only do I know why I was probably out of my alpha brain waves there, but I get to see over time maybe in this stage of my life I get to change my meditation practice right now. It’s also, for me, like a badge of completion. I look at my meditation—and a lot of people struggle with this. They struggle with the meditation component in the morning.
And so, if I can see that out of 30 days in a month, I meditated this month for over 20 days. That feels good to me. I’m proud of myself for doing that. We all have things that we want to accomplish throughout the day and responsibilities. That little reset in the morning, that 10-minute kind of pouring the concrete for a healthy day, that can be so powerful.
And I think using the tech to show us what type of meditation is best for us and that we actually did the meditation itself, both of those are, for behavior change, I’ve seen been really powerful for people.
Dr. Ruscio Resources
Hey, everyone, in case you’re someone who is in need of help or would like to learn more, I just wanted to take a moment to let you know what resources are available. For those who would like to become a patient, you can find all that information at drruscio.com/gethelp.
For those who are looking for more of a self-help approach and/or to learn more about the gut and the microbiota, you can request to be notified when my print book becomes available at drruscio.com/gutbook. You can also get a copy of my free 25-page gut health eBook there.
And finally, if you’re a healthcare practitioner looking to learn more about my functional medicine approach, you can visit drruscio.com/review. All of these pages are at the drruscio.com URL, which is D-R-R-U-S-C-I-O dot com, then slash either ‘gethelp,’ ‘gutbook,’ or ‘review.’ Okay, back to the show.
Tracking Sleep with the Fitbit & Oura Ring
Awesome. So, similar to meditation is sleep. There’s a couple things that go through my mind. One is the fear I have, or the concern I have with helping someone realize that they’re not sleeping well would be making them more stressed about having insomnia.
DrMR: And so I just want to let people know that if you’re wakeful or if you’re having a hard time falling to sleep, almost every day in the clinic I’ll see sleep improve. And it’s been documented, I talk about this in the book, there have been numerous studies showing different inflammatory conditions in the gut amongst other things can lead to poor sleep, and by remedying those problems, you can enhance your sleep.
So certainly, there is a litany of good options out there to help you improve your sleep, especially if we follow kind of the start with the gut flow that can really help you with that. So please don’t freak out if you start tracking your sleep and you’re realizing your sleep’s not that good. There’s also some simple things that you can do like reduce caffeine, have a better pre-bed routine, dim the lights, try to relax, avoid things that are stressful.
Also, something that can be helpful for people is having a snack before bed, because some people wake up because their blood sugar gets low. So those are all things that can help you. Let’s say someone is tracking, Josh. One of the things I’ve struggled with is it seems like some wrist devices automatically track your sleep, and others require you to manually say that you’re going to sleep. And the manual just seems like another thing I have to do.
So what are your thoughts for easy ways for people to get into the sleep tracking bit?
JT: I think any device that makes you input something, you should not use. And I’m being dead serious about that. We live in this age of just radical technology where it’s moving so fast every month, and to have a device where you have to input your sleep, how is that sustainable?
We just do not accept that in our modern world of tech. So having a device like the OURA. I think the OURA has been fantastic. I’ve used it for a couple weeks now. I used the Fitbit though for two years, and I really liked the Fitbit because it had the LED that shot into my skin and that gave me a good indication, because it measured my heart rate and my movement. So if you can get those two pieces in there, then your device can start figuring out, okay, what did your sleep cycles look like: your awake, your REM, your light, and your deep. Those are the kind of four big ones here.
And I think when we understand the skin temperature as well—that’s a big one. So skin temperature with the OURA Ring, it’s literally getting the pulse right from the bottom of your finger. It’s the same place that when you go into a physicians’ office that they measure your heart rate. So it’s a very accurate signal from the finger compared to the wrist.
And we know actually that Fitbit had some legal trouble, and they were sued because of accuracy issues. Well, I’m really curious to see the long-term effects of measurement at that finger point from OURA instead of the wrist. So knowing that you have the quality device, then seeing over the course of time.
And I honestly say that two weeks is probably a good measurement. In two weeks, you’re going to get a snapshot of your life. Maybe even in a week. But over the course of two weeks, can you just see that when you get certain deeper sleep levels, it was because of a healthier lifestyle habit and vice versa?
I found—I don’t know if you can attest to this—it’s really screen time for people. The majority of people that are activated by that blue light and they get that upregulation, I mean, it’s literally preparing you for movement. You’re cuing your body that there’s going to be light at some point.
So taking out the blue light’s been big, and you’ll see that in your data. There are some things you can do when looking at your deeper sleep. Maybe taking a supplement here and there. I think melatonin’s fantastic. I really enjoy melatonin. Magnesium’s been huge as well. I notice personally if I’m working late there’s this little moment—and I know you probably can relate to this—where I ask myself, Could I work for 30 more minutes or do I just get to go to bed now? Which one actually is it?
And I think if I’ve been looking at my data, if I’ve checked my data that morning, and I know that it’s within my best interest and health for me to get to bed, I’ll get to bed. But if I haven’t been mindful, if I didn’t look at my data for a couple days or I just happen to not be aware of how I’ve been sleeping, I think my reset is always just to go to bed. And I like to go to bed as early as possible.
Now, when you’re working and when you’re busy and when you have a lot going on, the challenge can be, am I able to get my work done and yet still be mindful to keep my promise to myself to take care of my sleep? And I think if we can get a measurement of really how we’re doing over the course of two weeks, that is going to show us how much sleep debt we’re in.
Everybody knows that—I actually talked to Dr. Parsley. It was some type of test where they put people in a completely dark environment for two weeks. And once they reset, they all slept within seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep. So we truly know this. It’s kind of an industry standard thing that the body just deserves that seven to eight hours of sleep. And if we’re not getting that, the health components that are going to suffer are just exponential.
DrMR: So would you say the Fitbit is good for getting some sleep, getting the activity as an all-around measure? Or would you say use Fitbit for some of your activity but not for sleep?
JT: If you’re owning a Fitbit, I think it’s a great device to start with, because at least, again, going back to if the scale is off for seven pounds. Even if the Fitbit isn’t as accurate as the OURA, you’re still going to get some type of input for a successful health behavior change.
So I say, yeah, that’s great, especially the one like the Blaze that will get your heart rate combined with your movement. If you’re not getting heart rate with your sleep data, if you’re not combining those two sets, it’s pretty challenging in my mind for the device to get an accurate picture of actually when you’re in REM and when it knows that you have that lowest heart rate or what time of night in your sleep cycle you had that heart rate. So I think that’s probably the best place to start is if you have a tracker that you’re wearing on your wrist like a Fitbit, then continue to use that.
If not, I would say look at something like the OURA. It seems pretty powerful, but I sound like I’m on an ad for OURA right now. I do not have any connections to the OURA. I’m just really fascinated by their tech.
Controlling our Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions
DrMR: Gotcha. Fair enough. So I have a few kind of closing questions I want to ask you. But before we transition there, is there anything else that you think is important to mention in this conversation?
JT: I think we’ve done such a fun job of talking about the eat, move, and sleep, and those are all things that can be quantified. But what’s really challenging to be quantified and to be tracked, with any kind of technology, is our thoughts, feelings, and actions. And so, it’s the thoughts and our feelings and our actions and, below that, the beliefs. Those are the things that are going to be triggered when you start to track your eating, moving, and sleeping.
So be aware that when you go through these healthy behavior changes, being more mindful of the eat, move, sleep, you are going to have certain things that spike up that are going to feel uncomfortable. And be willing to make the change. Get very radically clear on why you’re even tracking in the first place.
Who do you have to be healthy for? What is your core mission? Make your mission bigger than you. Most people, they become really healthy when they have children or they’re going to get married or whatever it is. But at the end of the day, no one can make you do anything. You have to have inspiration from the inside. And so, just know that as you start changing these health behaviors through tracking, you are going to have thoughts, feelings, and actions that come up for you that are going to be a barrier you get to cross.
And I believe the only way you can cross that barrier is through human connection, whether you’re working with a naturopath or being part of a group. Or whatever it might look like, get the support that you deserve as you start making these health changes. And then, of course, use the tech to help guide you along.
DrMR: Yeah, people are huge, and we’ve thought about that in a number of contexts. And I can’t overemphasize how important that is. And I do notice in the clinic sometimes the hardest people to help get healthy are those that all they have in their life is their health problem and their health research, because there’s nothing to occupy their mind once the health challenge is gone.
JT: That’s so powerful.
DrMR: Yeah, I totally agree with you there.
JT: That is such a great point. If you don’t have something that’s bigger than you, well, then you can just get caught up in to be honest—I’m sorry if this offends you—but it’s kind of selfishness. If all you’re caring about is your drama and your sickness and your disease and you spend six hours a day researching on Google about how sick you are and about how dramatic everything is, we get it. Like, we all suffer, and we all go through it.
But I believe what really helps to get through suffering faster and transcend it is can you be of service to something outside of you? That’s the real big piece here.
DrMR: Yeah, and maybe in a way, depending on the type of service that you do, you can realize that you’re maybe not as poor off as you thought you were.
JT: Perspective is such a gift, man.
DrMR: Yeah. All right. So a few closing questions then, Josh. We’ve talked about a lot. What do you think are the most important or effective of these tools to get started with? I know that’s kind of broad, but whatever you can offer.
JT: I’ll answer two ways. The first one is if you feel like you’re in a state of stress and you feel like stress intuitively is something that you want to address, I would say the number-one thing you can do is focus on your sleep. If you focus on your sleep and you either use the Fitbit Blaze with the heart rate combined with the movement, or use the OURA, do that first.
If you’re feeling like stress is manageable and you’ve got that taken care of and you’re really focused on how much you’re moving throughout the day and your energy levels, then I would say start paying attention to either one of those devices too but the time sedentary versus active. And to be honest, time sedentary versus active, you can get from almost any tracker out there.
DrMR: Gotcha. So sleep and time sedentary versus active. And that’s kind of the second question I wanted to ask you, which was do certain people need to focus on certain tools? So you kind of broke that down to certain people, so I think we kind of already answered that one.
Tech for Healthcare Professionals
One other question: do doctors and healthcare professionals… Are some of these in your research on this and observation and speaking with people—are some of these maybe a better idea for doctors and healthcare practitioners to try to start implementing and using in their practice?
JT: Well, this is the new wave of medicine here. On the second podcast on the Fit Tech show, I interviewed JR Burgess. He does fitness training specificity in the medical industry. And so, what we understand is that we’re combining electronic medical records and activity data from wearables to give that physician or naturopath a comprehensive view of who their patient is and what their patient does throughout the day.
So, yeah, this is like the future that’s really here right now. So the combining of activity data with electronic medical records. And we’re talking about everything that I’m sure you’ve mentioned on the show, from biomarkers to gut health and all that pertinent data. This is where the industry’s going. Whether you’re in fitness or whether you’re in any branch of activity or exercise, everything’s moving towards wellness. Everything. Because we’re really all trying to be more well on this planet here.
But the challenge is that as we have technology grow, the most important thing we get to do is our awareness and our mindfulness must grow as well. Otherwise, there is a danger of this tech kind of taking us over. And I think physicians that are plugged into these data sets, and naturopaths, they’re going to be so much more powerful to help their patients than if not.
Avoiding Unnecessary Testing
DrMR: Yeah. Well said. And I see that in a different but similar respect wherein now that much available testing is available direct-to-consumer, I have to say a lot of patients who go out or consumers who go out and do their own lab testing, they come in and they show me what they’ve done.
And I typically don’t say this quite as candidly, but 70% of what they’ve done is pretty much useless. And it’s disheartening, especially because if they’re doing this testing on their own, oftentimes they’re going to have zero insurance coverage. So someone may be bringing in $2000 worth of lab testing, and I’m just saying to myself, This is a test I stopped doing five years ago because it was just so useless.
DrMR: You’re right. And I could see the same thing happening with some of these technologies where people are fretting over all this analysis, not realizing that they’re not getting the full story. They’re not getting the full picture, and some of what they’re doing is in vain. And it will be most efficient to partner with someone who can help them use that data efficiently.
JT: 100%. And we have to be mindful again on top of that in the same regard where your patients have done tests that they don’t need, there are people that no matter what, they have to get their steps in. And they’ll do like jump rope in the living room at midnight, so they can get their steps in. And that’s not okay. It’s more about being mindful throughout the day or, in your case, throughout their wellness journey to just call in the support and call in the right behaviors when they need them, when it’s going to be of most service. And that’s just something that takes time.
DrMR: Yep. All right. Last question for you. What is maybe the most fun but least healthy thing that you’ve done lately?
JT: Probably drank wine and stayed up too late. I don’t really drink a lot, and it’s funny, like I met you at Paleo f(x), it was the most unhealthy health conference of my life.
DrMR: Yeah, it’s like the spring break of health conferences.
JT: Right? So I think like a treat for me is dark chocolate and red wine. I know I’m kind of boring. People are like, pfft, who is this guy?
DrMR: Hey, if the dose is adequate, that can be a fun night.
JT: That can be pretty big. But it stems from my history. I know what it’s like to have a body that feels completely unhappy and unhealthy. And so, I never want to go back there, not from a place of tension or fear, but I just have been there, done that. And so, I just want to choose the things that make me feel good in my body. Alcohol in large amounts doesn’t make me feel good, so it’s just more of a health choice for me.
Episode Wrap Up
DrMR: Nice. Nice. All right, my man. Well, thank you for taking the time. This was a great call, and just tell people again where they can track you down. I know you have your website and you have your podcast, so just give us that one more time.
JT: Yeah. Thanks for having me, man. I really enjoyed our round kind of three conversation. We’ve had many fun ones, and I’m Wellness Force Radio on iTunes. WellnessForce.com all over the web. And if I said anything today where you’re like, What the hell is he talking about?, if we got too in the weeds on tech, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DrMR: All right, my friend. Keep fighting the good fight, and we’ll talk to you soon hopefully.
JT: Thanks for having me, man.
DrMR: You got it. Be good.
What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.
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