Some individuals believe that 40 is the new 30. When it comes to your profession, family life, focus, and purpose, you might be reaching your stride in life. However, despite your passion and drive, changes in your body may be attempting to throw you off your game as you grow older.
You’ve might be searching for “peak 40,” because you feel like everything in life is going well and falling into place but now it’s time to focus on the health and fitness aspect of your life. Applying new strategies to conquer your performance goals and health challenges in your 40s.
Stress and unhealthy habits that come with ageing have been linked to numerous men’s health conditions such as lower sex drive and testosterone.
What’s important in an evidence-based approach to living healthy into your 40s?
But what does it mean to peak after 40? What is the most important question you should start your health and fitness journey with? Do You want to upgrade your health? Have more energy in the morning? Have a leaner, stronger body and sharper mind?
In this episode, our special guest, naturopathic doctor, performance nutritionist for Canada Basketball and ALTIS, Dr. Marc Bubbs, review the science and how to navigate the conflicting fitness and nutrition information, how to build solid healthy habits, the most important secret to achieving your goals. He teaches you how to build solid healthy habits, conquer your performance goals and health challenges in your 40s.
Tune in to learn how naturopathic medicine can help you improve gut health, lower stress, boost midlife performance and live a healthier life.
Dr. Marc Bubbs
Dr. Marc Bubbs is a Naturopathic Doctor, consultant Performance Nutritionist for Canada Basketball and ALTIS. He is also a speaker and a former Strength Coach.
He is a nutrition advisory board member for Strong Magazine, a contributor to Breaking Muscle, and the author of the best-selling new book Peak 40: The new science of performance that is revolutionizing sports – An integrated and personalized approach to athlete health, nutrition, recovery and mindset.
For almost two decades, doctor Bubbs has been working with elite and professional athletes and busy executives and motivated individuals using his own evidence-based approach to nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.
Marc is also the host of the Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast, and a Speaker at health, fitness and medical conferences across Canada, USA, UK and Europe.
Connect to Dr. Marc Bubbs
- Who is Dr. Marc Bubbs and what is Naturopathic medicine
- How to manage stress in order to perform better in all areas of life
- The importance of an evidence-based approach and practice
- Three important things to take into account in an evidence-based medical practice
- How to build solid healthy habits
- Navigating conflicting diet info on the internet
- The most important question you should ask before you embark on your health and fitness journey
- Strategies to apply to conquer your performance goals and health challenges in your 40s
- How to start your day to feel and perform at your best
- The most important secret to achieving your goals
- The biggest health and fitness mistakes people do
- Gut health and overall health
- The “all or nothing” mindset: Does it help?
- How to be healthy while enjoying your life
- How to boost testosterone levels and get your sex drive back
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Peak 40: The New Science of Upgraded Health for a Leaner, Stronger Body and a Sharper Mind with Dr. Marc Bubbs
Ted Ryce: Dr. Marc Bubbs, thanks so much for being on the show today. It’s been a long time coming. And I just want to jump in and say you’re a naturopathic doctor, you’re the performance nutrition director for Canada basketball, and you consult with a lot of different professional athletes as well as Olympic athletes.
And you’ve written several books, one of which I had back in 2015, I thought it was excellent. It was kind of more of a paleo type of approach. But now you’ve come out with two new books, the latest one being the most relevant to our listeners, which is Peak 40: The New Science of Mid-Life Health for a Leaner, Stronger Body and Sharper Mind.
And I want to get into all this, but I think the time that we’re living in, Marc, I think the best way to start to open this up about who you are, and what you’re going to be sharing is that you’re a naturopathic doctor. What do you call your approach? Do you call it integrative medicine or functional medicine?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Hey, I appreciate you having me on, Ted. It’s been a long time coming, so thanks... Good that we can finally connect.
And I mean, basically 20 plus years ago, when I was doing my pre-med studies, I was really into nutrition and exercise and how those things impacted our health. But you couldn’t find anything on that. Sport dietitians didn’t exist, performance nutritionist didn’t exist. And the integration of nutrition in medicine wasn’t really a thing.
And so being from Canada, we have this thing called naturopathic medicine and so I pursued that and, you know, my practice is built around a nutrition, exercise and evidence-based approach there. And it’s been really cool to see this progression over the last 20 years now. You go online, and almost every doctor you see is talking nutrition and health, whereas before, it was, you know, you just really didn’t see it.
So, yeah, working on both ends of the spectrum, working with athletes, on that top end, work with the general population and execs downtown Toronto, or here in central London in the UK.
And I always find it amazing, actually, there’s so many themes that are similar amongst those sort of athletes and those executives in general population that actually do crossover, even though we kind of think of them as quite separate, right? Like, okay, this person’s aiming for Tokyo 2020, therefore, they’ve got different problems than I do in my day to day, but I’m sure we can dive into that a little more.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. Because we’re all kind of... I mean, some people in our industry hate it, when there’s a connection drawn between athletes and say, entrepreneurs or high-performing professionals, but I like that, I see the...Because really, what it’s about, it’s about managing stress in your life, isn’t it, to perform at the highest level, if you want to just simplify it.
But Marc, the reason why I asked you about the whole what you call what you do, is we’re—and we talked about this a tiny bit before we hopped on—we’re living in a strange time. I mean, I’m not a doctor, I dropped out of college, but a lot of people come to me, even though I was doing the pre-med thing, wanted to go into medical school.
But a lot of people come to me for advice about things that are science-related, even though I don’t have a degree in nutrition, health—didn’t make it to medical school, thank God. I’m sure you feel the same way about that. But then there are doctors who say things that are completely untrue. And you mentioned the word—a term, not a word, but a term, evidence-based.
And we’re living in this strange time where if you’re a chiropractor, you can be practicing an evidence-based approach, even though the training that you received may be somewhat unconventional, or you as a naturopath or me as someone who didn’t even finish my four-year degree, versus someone who went and finish four years of medical school then the residency.
And let’s say they even became a plastic surgeon, because I actually worked with a plastic surgeon in Miami, who was giving advice on nutrition, but it wasn’t, let’s say, evidence-based advice. So, can you talk a little bit about how you view it and more importantly, how someone who is in this world, like, before, you could just trust doctors, that’s what it felt like, at least, but now you just don’t know who to trust, so can you share your views on that?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, a lot to unpack there. I think the first thing when we talk about evidence-based practice, it’s actually three things. And oftentimes online, we just see it, as, you know, the most obvious is the fact that we look at what’s in the research, we then say what’s efficacious, what’s not efficacious, what are the therapeutic doses, like, how much do you need of that thing? Can you get too much of that thing?
And that’s how we try to practice, but sometimes even online, it can become very linear, as if that’s all evidence-based practice is, is just diving into these research papers and then figuring out what’s the best approach, where really it’s a threefold thing. And the other areas are basically that clinician or practitioner’s experience, right?
Because we’re dealing with complex problems. And as complicated as surgery is, or flying a plane is, computers can do it, right? If we get enough ones and zeros together, we have the solution. Whereas in a complex problem, there’s just so much more ambiguity and uncertainty. And from a health perspective, this is like the type two diabetes, this is your high blood pressure, your cardiovascular diseases, there’s not one way to fix them and there’s not one reason why the person develop them.
And so, in evidence-based practice, we have what’s in the research papers, we have the clinician’s experience, but the third piece is almost the forgotten one, which is the client experience, the patient experience. What resonates with them? How do we connect with them? Because as you know, compliance is the biggest deal breaker, right? If we could just keep people consistent throughout the months, whether it’s training, whether it’s nutrition, that’s the best likelihood of success.
And it’s difficult, and whether it’s a professional basketball player, even our executives, if they’re Type A, they want to gravitate towards the shiny new toy and the new fad diet stuff from an exercise regime. And this is where I try to draw parallels and say, "Well, look, this guy or gal is in the Olympics, and they didn’t do that. That’s not what they do to become the best in the world."
And so that tends, to your point before, it’s kind of a way of just waking people up a bit, this idea of, you know, we can’t fast track this, if you want to get to, you know, the nice part is you have to make small changes, but you do need to repeat them over time, build some habits.
So that’s that evidence-based practice piece, then I would say, around even like naturopaths, or chiros, or whomever, you go through board exams, you have to be registered with a college, people can bring suits against you if you say things that are false. And so, anyone who’s registered has this level of responsibility.
Whereas to your point, like on the internet, you can just say what you want, right? Like people could just make up and throw it against the wall. I think Dave Chappelle called… what do they call Twitter? Like the bathroom wall? So, you can learn a lot, obviously, from it, but it can be kind of a weird space as well.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I feel super comfortable with who I learned from and who I view as an expert worth listening to. But I’ve been in this situation before when I was in my 20s. I’m 44 now, but when I was in my 20s, I got really into a guy, who’s kind of making a resurgence now, Paul Chek, and I learned a lot from Paul. Do you know that name, by the way?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, I work in strength and conditioning the same time frames to Paul Chek, Poliquin, all these guys.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. So, they really helped open my mind to a lot of things because probably, I guess we’re similar ages, we’re in the business at a similar time. Before that, it was all about these guys who were obviously on steroids in the muscle building magazines, and it was really just bad information for someone who wasn’t on the same sort of supplemental hormonal…
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Regime.
Ted Ryce: Therapy, yeah.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yes, this plan is not working for me, why is that…?
Ted Ryce: Not at all. But for a person who’s really struggling with the conflicting information, what advice do you have for them on that, besides…I’ll tell you one, right now, listen to this podcast, obviously biased, but I believe I...
Dr. Marc Bubbs: That’s a good place to start?
Ted Ryce: …do an awesome job. And then guys like Marc, are really solid as well. What advice do you have for someone who is really struggling with the conflicting information?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s always importan t to start with your goal, like, why is someone doing this? And it sounds obvious, but oftentimes, we’ll immediately go to the strategy, like I want to do this diet, or that diet or this exercise regime, but we haven’t actually gone, why do we want to do that? What are you trying to achieve?
Because if you’re married to one strategy, it’s like hitting a five iron on every shot all the way around the golf course. There’s a reason why we’ve got 14 clubs in the bag, we’ve got to pick the right strategy or tools for the thing that’s in front of us.
And sometimes, with diets, it’s normal that for a client, they want to start somewhere and sort of have like this path of vegan diet, paleo diet, whatever diet, low carb.
It’s a way for them to get introduced and to learn something, but as I’m sure you see, we then need to start to personalize things to suit them, right? Is this individual 10% body fat and training consistently and also logging long hours at the gym, at work? Or are they trying to lose 30 pounds and they’re largely sedentary?
The context really drives the question there. So, you always want to start out with, what is your goal? And always come back to that whenever we’re hitting those roadblocks. Like, why am I measuring my HRV? Is it actually serving me in any meaningful way? Or am I just adding more noise? Because the challenge now is there’s so much noise in the atmosphere, that to find the signal gets really tough. And the more stuff you end up doing, the more noise you bring in.
And this is where, ultimately, we’re just trying to develop habits in clients, so they can do a lot of stuff on autopilot. And again, it’s the same for an athlete, like, we want you to be thinking about one or two things. But if you’ve got this long list of 1or 2 things you’re trying to do everyday, whilst working, whilst taking care of your relationships and your finances. Not even athletes getting paid millions of dollars could do that. So, it’s not a recipe for long term success.
Ted Ryce: Well said. It’s the power of focus, knowing what you want, focused on what you want and focused on strategies that help you achieve that, while ignoring strategies that don’t or strategies that may help you, but are unsustainable.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah. And to give you a more concrete example there, I would just say, with a lot of clients, I start with breakfast. Let’s start with the start of the day. If we get breakfast wrong for that person, then we’re going to get this really exaggerated blood sugar response, we’ll have all this energy to start with, by mid-morning, we’re going to be tumbling down, we’re going to be a bit hypoglycemic, and you’re looking for snacks, and caffeine and all these things.
And so, we start with breakfast, like, are you adding sugar, maple syrup, honey tea, your coffee or tea? Does your smoothie have 100 grams of juice and carbohydrate, when really, you only need a lesser amount, or whatever it might be? If we can get people off to a good start and get them feeling better, we can then start to kind of work our way through the day.
So that’s sort of a tangible way of looking at. Because if the first meal of the day is no good, it’s going to impact your energy and your mental focus throughout the rest of the day. And then we’re just trying to play catch up, right?
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s a great point. So many people like focus on, well, I want to lose 20 pounds or 30 pounds. It’s like, yeah, but what about breakfast? What about just getting one day right? Or what about getting one meal right? And starting and building from there, instead of zooming out so far? And getting maybe confused about what to do or...? Yeah, great points. Do you have you have something you were going to follow up?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: I was just going to say, yeah, those outcome goals, like, I want to lose 20 pounds is great. But then it’s like, if we keep thinking about outcome all the time, we’re going to struggle to achieve our goals. If I go back to the golf analogy, like, if you’re standing on a tee going, "Man, I really want to hit it in the fairway," the chances of you hitting it in the fairway are pretty low, right?
Or if you’re a tennis player, like, you want to be thinking about a process, right, like a swing tip, or something to do with the movement, something to do with the actual process. And to this conversation, it’s like that breakfast meal, that’s the process-oriented.
Don’t worry about whether or not you’re losing weight, you know, tomorrow, when I email you, did you get the breakfast in? Were you able to accomplish that?
And then we can start stacking wins. But once we start getting worried about the weight, because as you know, body weight’s going to fluctuate for a lot of reasons. Even working with MMA fighters or boxers, I mean, you could take 12/15 pounds off guy or gal in 24 hours, so none of that’s bodyfat.
Yeah, really important points there. And Marc, what would you say are the biggest issues, besides what we’ve already covered with conflicting information and that type of thing? What are the biggest issues, or biggest mistakes that people are making? especially relevant to your book where you’re helping people in midlife get leaner, stronger, and increasing the sharpness of their mind?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I think it’s just that, you know, people are busy. To give you an example, yesterday I had a doctor, a rocket scientists, a lawyer, a housewife, these people who are smart, successful, can organize themselves.
And so, these kind of false narratives that we hear people are lazy, or people don’t have enough discipline, or people, they can’t understand it.
Well, if that’s true, how can they do all those things in their professional lives and personal lives to fantastic level, right? It’s more to do with just the busyness that we’re in. And we know that, you know, if you think of...I know, for me, it’s like accounting, I mean, I’m sure my accountant or bookkeeper has asked me the same question, or I asked them the same question a million times because I just want to offload that onto somebody else and I want someone to just guide me, right?
And so, when life’s busy, we tend to operate on heuristics. And there was a really fascinating example of this, there was a gentleman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for asset allocation. So how to diversify your—or excuse me, a strategy to invest into to maximize your outputs. Harry Marcowitz is his name. Years later, they asked him what he did for his investment strategy.
And it wasn’t what he used to win the Nobel Prize, he defaulted to what the rest of us do, which is just diversify everything. And so, it’s an example of, in these busy, crazy environments, we tend to just revert to what we’re hearing online, or what a friend might tell us. And so I think the big thing for people is to just take the long approach.
Don’t try to win in 30 days, just like you wouldn’t try to build your business in 30 days, or save for retirement in 30 days. We’ve got to take the long approach. And then let’s just stack some little wins. Because I think most people end up, I’m sure you see this, they end up doing a lot, and they don’t get much for their efforts.
So, if we can flip that and say, "Hey, do this little thing," and start making them feel a bit better, maybe we’re losing some weight. Now all of a sudden, we can build that kind of intrinsic motivation where the person wants to, "Hey, Ted, Hey, Marc, what’s the next thing you want me to do?"
Versus a lot of times, I’m sure we see trainers wagging the finger, like, "You’re supposed to do this" or giving a bit of tongue wagging like a hall monitor or something. People just don’t respond well to that, especially when they’re obviously successful in the rest of their lives.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, you’re bringing up some great points. It’s kind of interesting, because I thought this conversation was going to be more talk about physiology. But we’re coming back to behaviour change, because people don’t understand what I do.
They’re like, "Oh." I’m not the most knowledgeable person about nutrition by a long shot. That’s not what people come to me for, at all. If they have complicated issues with gut health, or that type of thing, that’s not what I do.
Most of what I do is based on the fundamentals of nutrition. I mean, I focus on fat loss, in other words, but fundamentals of fat loss, nutrition, and then cognitive psychology and even neuroscience to help people achieve those goals, because that’s where at least my clients tend to struggle with the most and hearing you talk about, like, hey, this is about not being focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
And then about building intrinsic motivation and with small wins, instead of taking on too much and staying away from people whose coaching skills, when they give you like, "Okay, you’re going to eat pescatarian on Wednesday..." I actually had a client like this, they went and saw Coach, "pescatarian on Wednesday..." and I can’t remember exactly, but it was literally this nutty, it was pescatarian on Wednesday, but then vegetarian on another day, and then shakes on a...
Every day was something different, and it was a different dietary approach, and had them doing a lot of cardio as well. And it gave them results, for sure, but she was a mother with four kids, and like, how are you going to keep that up for long periods of time?
Also, she was the person who was bringing the Tupperware meals to…she was Jewish, and they have certain meals in certain religious traditions that they’re part of. And she was the weirdo bringing the... I don’t call her that, but that’s what I call that archetype.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: She’s the one that stood out because she was bringing the Tupperwares, yeah.
Ted Ryce: I call it don’t be a nutrition weirdo. Don’t be the one when you’re trying to connect with your family and you’re bringing a Tupperware of your food. I mean, maybe if you’re doing a physique competition, or something very specific, and you’d need to do that. But if this is like day-to-day life for you, don’t be that person.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Well, that’s the thing. I mean, it’s always like, what’s the exit strategy? If you want someone to count calories, or count macros, whatever, that’s sort of fine for a short period of time. But yeah, what is the exit strategy? Is this person or this lady in this example, going to do this for the rest of their lives? Not really, right? So yeah, to your point, we’ve got to find a better way.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And if you don’t mind, though, I would love to hear some of your ideas on gut health, for example. And so, there’s some talk about gut health related to immunity, related to some of the inflammatory conditions that people have. But there’s a lot of misinformation about it.
There’s not a lot of RCTs or randomized control trials and metaanalysis, providing like a foundation, a large body of evidence to base decisions off of. What can you tell someone about gut health, what you work with, and what do we need to know about it, in your opinion, Marc?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, it’s a great question. And my first book, Peak, I had a chance to interview some of the best researchers around the world around microbiome as it related to performance and health, and you’re right, it’s really such a massive space that it’s difficult to make a lot of real concrete statements about it. The one thing that these experts would agree on is that higher gut diversity tends to associate really strongly with health.
And it’s like, okay, well, what creates higher gut diversity? Well, let’s look at what inhibits it, right. So, if you’re overweight, if you have high belly fat, if you have a poor aerobic capacity, if you’re struggling with an autoimmune condition, potentially with, as we see with a lot of leaky gut and a lot of damage to the gut, these are things that will compromise like gut diversity.
And so, to your point, it’s like, sometimes we talk so much about the microbiome, it’s almost as if the microbiome is running us. Whereas when you talk to most of these experts, it’s still responding to us and the environment, right. So, what we eat is then impacting the gut, how we move, our mental stress or capacity to cope with stress, has a tremendous impact on that gut bacteria.
So, great place for people to start as again, it’s like the Olympic athletes, let’s focus on the fundamentals and become real experts in them, let’s build up some type of aerobic capacity. So let’s improve our fitness, and that’s going to help, and let’s eat a more diverse diet. It doesn’t mean you need to pick the most exotic things from—I saw your facility not too long ago—the four corners of the world, and if you like that stuff, hey, go for it.
But let’s start to just build a repertoire. maybe it’s broccoli with some asparagus, some cabbage and overnight or mixing up the salads you might use, but that’s a way that your trainer, your coach can slowly start to build that out rather than, you know, it’s a bit intimidating, we get a list, here’s 50 new foods I want you to try.
So it’s really, you know, I can barely get my lunch ready for the for the day without getting out of the house with the kids and everything else, right?
Ted Ryce: Yeah, so incorporating more variety when you can and doing it in a way that makes sense in your lifestyle.
Marc, I read about the diversity of the microbiome, or creating a more diverse microbiome, like you said, and you mentioned stress, exercise, belly fat, etc. There’s an article, I’m sure you read it as well, where someone went and lived with the Hodza tribe for a while.
They measured their microbiome before they went and then during…and it was just a lot more diverse. But they were living this hunter-gatherer lifestyle, literally living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. And then when they came back to…I forget where the person was from, but they were American, they came back to their city, started adopting their lifestyle again, it went back similar to what it was before.
And one thing that I couldn’t help thinking about is, for those of us who want to live this city life… I’m in Miami right now, I’m surrounded by buildings and loud Ferraris and Lambos and super bikes, and it’s not the most—and there’s not a lot of green, although the ocean is nice. But I can’t help but to think like, you know, we’re trying to look at people like the Hadza in Africa, Tsimane in Bolivia, and like, oh, yeah, well, we need to kind of eat what they eat, but live in our stressed out, high-paced, technological, industrialized world.
And it’s like, it’s a good idea. But I feel like there’s some serious limitations with what you can do with diet if you’re living in a lifestyle like this. I know your first book was heavily based on paleo, what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny we talked about…So Tim Spector is at King’s College in London, he was one of the individuals who went over to live with the Hadza and Jeff Leech is the American fellow.
And yeah, they went over there, they measured their microbiome diversity—Tim did, before he went, and then he went to the Hadza and it increased dramatically, and then it goes back to London and within three days, it’s back to where it was before.
And so, we don’t necessarily need to shoot for these hunter-gatherer tribes, because naturally, with our exposure to all the things in their environments, even without a very diverse diet, because they kind of eat the same stuff, more or less, but relatively diverse to Western, we can’t compare ourselves to them, but even within Western populations, we see the more gut diversity, the better
And maybe a great example is when I talked with Dr. Lauren Pearson, who’s an expert in the gut, she does work with endurance athletes, and they’ve measured their guts after taking a broad spectrum antibiotic. So, you get sick, hopefully not too intensely, but you might want to take antibiotics. Some people do that a little bit too early.
But what she found was that the individuals who had a good diet, after they took that antibiotic, two weeks later, all that gut diversity was back because the antibiotic eradicates 95% of diversity. But here’s where things get really problematic: is that the individuals in the study who were not eating healthily, right, fast food diet, overweight, one year later, they still had 95% eradication of all that good bacteria in their gut, just from that one round of antibiotics.
And so, the take home message here is that, yeah, we do need to keep eating more real food, and try to keep it diverse. And the stat that really highlights this to me is that, in the US and Canada in the UK, over 50% of all the food that we eat is ultra-processed, right? It comes in boxes and bags and packages. And when you go around the Mediterranean, we always hear this Mediterranean diet is kind of the gold standard in medicine as the sort of “healthy diet.”
And you go from London to Paris, it only takes two hours. And in France, it’s 14% of household spending. Down from 50. In America, Canada, UK is on ultra-processed food. 13% in Italy, 10% In Portugal, 14% in Greece, these folks are just eating more real food, right? And so, that’s a great way for us to start, is to say, okay, let’s just get mor…And nowadays, it’s easier, right? There’s a lot of places where you can buy the boxes, ready-made meals that are healthy.
But again, those are the kind of the fundamentals. We can start with that, we can start with the exercise piece, we can create that diversity, which does help on the immune side. Because if you’re constantly rundown, tired, scratchy throat, as an executive, you can’t perform your best when you’re at work every day, you can’t think is clearly, it’s going to hold you back. And if you’re an athlete, you know, we know now that, British Sport Medicine Journal, that elite performance is incompatible with this frequent illness.
So, whether we’re trying to perform with our extracurricular in our gym stuff, whether it’s the work, office, or even at home, we’ve got to keep you healthy enough to maintain that resilience so you don’t get tired and rundown and these types of things.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, it’s interesting. I love that analogy. And we talked about it before—a lot of people don’t like it, but what it comes down to is managing your stress so that your performance remains high for whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s a gold medal in the Olympics, or to have your business have its IPO, or whatever it is, to sell, to exit your business or just to make more money, whatever it is. And in athlete culture at how some— I don’t know about Olympic athletes, but professional athletes are not sometimes the most healthiest people, right?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Well, that’s what I mean, they struggle from the same problems. I get guys in the NBA, breakfast is a problem for them, too. Might be a problem for one of our clients. And so, there is these parallels that help us to relate, right? Because yeah, they’re not all doing everything to a tee, for sure.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. In business culture, at least, I think it’s changing now, at least with the entrepreneurs that I’m starting to see. With the online guy, a lot of them are younger, they’re doing really well financially, buying their first Bentley in their 20s, that type of thing. I think it’s changing, but for a lot of my clients who are in their 40s, and up, they come from a culture where: “Hey, let’s go out, let’s celebrate, let’s have the ribeye at the steakhouse, and maybe a couple of scotches,” and the waistline start to expand.
And they kind of suffer through it and they’re able to still do their thing, build their business, run their business but at a deficit, and they don’t have that mentality.
Can you tell a story of maybe a client who came to, what the issue was and what were the results of working with you, not just in the physiological level where: “Oh, yeah, well, they lost fat, their blood sugar was better, their A1C got better,” but like, what were the experiential changes for them in their life?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, I work a lot in men’s health— in that category, and men, 40s/50s, busy, work, lots of travel. And oftentimes, they joke around, there are two reasons why men go to the doctor. One of them is that if their health gets so bad, it interferes with their work. The other one is if their health gets so bad, it interferes with their sex life.
Until one of those two things happen, they’re just going to grin and bear it and keep going. And so how do we help them?
One of the things I think men struggle with is they always used to go to the doctor and getting finger wagging and they think they’re going to have to transform their entire life.
Like, to your point, “No more Scotch ever again, no more ribeye, you can never have that. You’re going to eat just lentils and quinoa for the rest of your life.” Not there’s nothing wrong with that.
And I think the big thing is that you could still live a little on the weekends, if you’re doing the right things, Monday to Friday.
So, to give you an example, I had a client who was traveling every week, you know, sales guy, high up in the company, his blood pressure was getting higher, he was struggling with lower mood, libido was starting to go.
And he was heavily caffeinated to start the day, and having a drink with client, events in the evening, and then also having to just take the edge off.
And it’s always, what’s that little gateway that’s going to allow us to give this guy little wins so he can start to experience a difference?
And for this individual, it’s actually just getting him to see what is, you know, he had a device that he could wear back in the day, a whoop band, it was just to show him his resting heart rate.
So, his resting heart rate when he was at home Monday, Tuesday, he wasn’t drinking, it was like 55/60, when he was sleeping. And on the nights where he was having to entertain or heavily vibing, he was up to 85 beats per minute. So, the load on the nervous system is just so much greater.
And of course, the take home for him wasn’t ‘you can never do it’. But we came up with strategies, okay, your client nights out, this is how we’re going to do it. So, you can kind of minimize the effects of the alcohol and the deep sleep, you could still enjoy a bottle of wine or whatever on the weekends. But to do those things, and to keep you in your best health, we’re going to have to then adjust some habits around what you do in the morning, exercise and this type of thing.
And the nice part when you do it that way, and we sort of layer this in, you can see this blood pressure coming down, he wanted to get off the meds, that happen, libido started coming back up.
And I think if we could just sell it to guys that had that long approach a bit like—because they all do it in their business, which is the weird thing. They’re not expecting an immediate return on their investment in two weeks or a month, right?
And I get the speeches from them on the investment side, I say, “Well, listen, you’ve got to have the same mindset when it comes to your health, right? You’re going to build this up over time. And if you take it slow, and you build habits along the way, you don’t have to wake up wondering what’s for breakfast, you just do it, right. It’s just what you prepare." And that’s where we’re trying to get people to. And with the same clientele you have, yeah, the nice part is you don’t have to overhaul a person’s life, we just got to start strategically moving the needle and spots and we can you can make a big effect.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I think that’s a really important message. You don’t have to rehaul your lifestyle and quit everything that used to do but you’ve got to look at your lifestyle and look where you can move the needle in a way that you’re not going to suffer so much. One of the things I work with clients on is that I just have the conversation, “Hey, listen, you have some meals that you really care about.” Because a lot of people do the opposite of what they should do. They’re like out to dinner, and they order a salad and probably the salad’s like 1,000 calories, because of that…
Dr. Marc Bubbs: That’s something you don’t make it home.
Ted Ryce: Right, exactly. It’s like, you think you’re making the right decision, but actually, that’s when you should just order what you want, versus the meals where you’re too busy to really even enjoy it but you got to shove something in your face, or the low energy, the hunger, it’s going to distract you from whatever you’re trying to achieve. So those are the places to make a big impact on say, in this example, like how many calories you’re eating, right?
And so, yeah, just balancing out the stress and knowing that it’s possible and that you don’t have to “all or nothing” it. In fact, all or nothing is usually…
Dr. Marc Bubbs: It works for a month.
Ted Ryce: It works for a month. That’s usually why I get people because everyone knows how these guys—I don’t know about your clients, but my clients know how to get results. They just don’t know how to keep them.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, and they’re tired of doing the same old song and dance, like you mentioned, like, intense for a month, and then it all goes back. They’ve been doing the same... It’s like a loop. It’s like it’s the same thing every year, the same challenges and they want to actually kind of make some sustainable changes. And yeah, totally get it.
Ted Ryce: I like what you said about the long-term approach. I think that some people may you know, there’s all this talk about habits, how long it takes, but it really depends on the person, it depends on the emotional side too, it’s like, “Oh, I really hate doing this,” probably going to take longer to kind of nudge your person towards better habits but the truth is, it takes a long time. You can learn what you need to but it takes a long time to for it to become, like you said earlier, automatic.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I think it works the other direction too. If I could just jump in real quick, Ted, is like, you sit in your car, you don’t think about putting your seatbelt on, right?
You just sit in your car, you reach over and you do it. And that’s because you’ve done it so many times, it’s now just automatic right?
Now, this can work against us, because for a lot of us, and we saw this with COVID, right, like end of the day, you’re decompressing with the glass of wine, you’re watching Netflix, and you’re in that comfy chair at home, right?
The trouble is, if you keep repeating that every night, than just going into that room and sitting down in that chair, your brain’s going, “All right, where’s the wine? Where’s the ice cream, where’s the…’ So even just try to do little things to break that tie to just cut into that late snacking, mindless snacking on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you know what I mean?
Even some of those little ways can be a great way for people to get into, because it’s like, “All right, let’s go for a walk, let’s do some light stretching, let’s go in a different room and read a book.”
It all sounds like really, it’s not going to help but it’s amazing how then all of a sudden, that need to have the Scotch or the wine or whatever it is, it’s amazing how that actually does shift the brain, how it lights up to just that environmental cue?
Ted Ryce: And how do you approach changing the environment with your clients? What do you tell them to do besides the example that you just gave?
What are some other things that someone listening right now…? Because I feel like too many people rely on the strength of their will to make things happen. Whereas the people who are successful like me, I’m not sitting there, “Oh, there’s ice cream in the freezer right now, but I’m saying no, got to be strong.” It’s like, “I don’t do that, because I’m going to lose.” I’m a whimp, when it comes to that.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: And it’s amazing how far some of our clients can go with that strategy. And it’s actually more impressive than people who have it automated because they’re literally using all that discipline.
Ted Ryce: So true, yeah.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: The most straightforward way to say is like, if we can get the morning right, so you get the right breakfast, cut out the mindless snacking AM because most people unless you’re athletic, really don’t need it. If you can avoid things going off the rails at night, like all that extra caloric consumption, right? Over 40% of all the calories you consume an hour after 6pm, people are eating later and later in the evening, right?
So that causes a whole host of problems, not just the excess energy it brings on, but how it impacts sleep and deeper sleep.
So, get the morning right, don’t let things go off the rails in the evening. And then if you can just hit your kind of daily protein, as a way to get yourself started is a really nice way to then, you know, and depending on how many carbohydrates or how much energy you need. I mean, that all depends on the person’s level of health, their activity level, their goals, all those kinds of things.
But I think for the busy people, that tends to help, and you can live a little on the weekends. But those are things my clients tend to remember. I’m always thinking in a year’s time, when my client’s busy on the road, what kind of heuristics or simple rules can they remember?
And a lot of them will remember this idea of, you know, and we give it some terms and call it master your morning, which is basically just get the right breakfast in, don’t snack until it’s lunch, right? It sounds dead easy.
But when things are going off the rails, it’s a way to get people back into a rhythm, you start to feel better and then you can kind of progress on, because it’s easy to want to go to that exotic approach to start with, but that’s not going to build the habits that we need, right?
Ted Ryce: Infrared light on the genitals in the morning.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yes, oh, am I going to do cryotherapy today or cold-water plunge? Well, cool, but that’s not going to…you’re still going to have to eat tomorrow. So how are we doing this? What kind of pattern can we build? Some people can afford meal prep services, other people need to figure out their own food prep. But that idea of just like, cut it off at a certain time at night. And then you know when it’s Friday night, because Friday night, or Saturday night is the night that you have the bottle of wine on the couch, and you can do that fun thing, as we talked about before, you can live a little and enjoy life.
Ted Ryce: Very important to keep in mind. Marc, I want to change gears a little bit something that I mean, gets talked about a lot, and I think it gets really misunderstood, is testosterone. And for guys in particular, although it’s important for women, but both our client, the people that we work with tend to be more men. Testosterone is a thing that’s very important and it’s talked about a lot.
But it’s a little bit more…If you read anything by Robert Sapolsky on testosterone, you start to realize, well, this is way more nuanced in its effects on you know, all the things that we say it has effect on. Research by Stuart Phillips in McMaster University who’s been on the show a few times has shown like the systemic hormone levels of testosterone and growth hormone don’t really affect muscle growth the way that we thought, at least if we’re talking about what’s in the normal…
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Physiological doses, yeah, not the mega.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. Right. If you take it or if you’re maybe super low, right, okay, but can you talk a little bit about some other misconceptions about testosterone and what we need to know about it?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously important for men and women’s health, and not just for things like libido, or for cardiovascular health, or mental health, all these types of effects. And the challenge with a lot of these Marcers is we always think high is good and low is bad, right?
And depending on when you measure someone, like when I worked with some of my football players that are linebacker so big, strong, and in the offseason, they would have higher testosterone, but in season is dropping, like, wait a minute, why is it dropping?
Well, if we don’t sleep as much, if we have a high training load from exercise—for the rest of us, if we’re in work, in business, it’s the busyness load, how busy you are in a day. I stopped asking all my male clients how stressed they are because if their Type A, they all say, “I’m not stressed.” So, I just changed the question, how busy are you? And you get these great answers of how busy they are.
And, okay, well, the busier you are, the more likely that you’re recovering less and so your testosterone is going to be lower. And so you can think of it like a reflection of someone’s recovery status.
And so it’s not necessarily bad to have low testosterone if you’re in a busy period. But when it’s time to recover, or you have a gap in your schedule, and you’re looking to kind of rebuild, and if it’s not coming up, and yeah, it does reflect the fact that you’re pushing the gas pedal down all the way to the floor all the time and the RPMs are way up into the red zone and the engine is starting to, you know?
And ironically, most of these guys wouldn’t do that to their car, but they’re doing it to their bodies all the time. And so, it gets back to that idea, okay, even at the highest level in sport, you know, let’s start with sleep. If you’re getting less than seven hours, even getting to seven hours, we can get a nice 10/15% bump in testosterone, right? Totally free.
Let’s think about our nutrition, make sure we got, you know, if you’re under eating enough fuel on board, if you’re looking to lose weight, let’s maybe reduce some of those fuels from carbs or fats that are causing that higher blood sugar levels and inflammation.
And then, the mental, emotional stress, right, if there is stress there that’s simmering under the surface, then that has a big impact as well. So that’s really where we want to start. And then of course, training plan, lifting is fantastic for things like testosterone levels, but even the idea of going in once a week to your doctor to get a bolus of testosterone, it’s just not how it’s even produced in the body.
And so to your point earlier, if you’re very low in testosterone, then you will get a benefit. But if you’re sort of borderline low, you haven’t addressed any of the things that we just talked about, and you’re looking to get a bump from injections and whatnot, you’ll get that initial increase, and you’ll feel great for a little while.
But then typically, what you see is then guys are just back to where they were, if not worse, months down the road, because we have this habituation that that takes place.
So, there’s no sort of free lunch, but get some sleep, listen heavy things, try to manage that stress as best you can. And those are pretty nice foundational ways before you get into kind of anything else around how to boost testosterone.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I feel like we should do another episode where maybe I can tell my story and we can work through that as an example and maybe some of the examples of your clients because like you said, guys go to the doctor, when either their health is like, “Oh, I can’t focus on what I’m doing. I’m like losing money.” Or when the sex drive is like, “Oh, I don’t feel like a man anymore.” You know,
Dr. Marc Bubbs: It’s like, “Wait a minute, there’s got to be a problem now.”
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I’m lucky I got that problem in my early to mid-30s. And obviously wasn’t my age, although at the time I said it was. But that might be a fun episode where you and I can kind of walk through some of this and we can talk more about the details because you do hormonal testing when indicated for your clients, I assume, right?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean, we can run every test under the sun, it’s just more, again, back to that idea of, what’s going to influence what we actually want to achieve. And then, what can we run repeatedly to kind of measure that. For sure, I mean, just vascular health, you know, if we improve someone’s vascular health, libido tends to improve, right? It tends to often be a reflection, like you’ll see the guy with higher blood pressure, having struggling with, whether it’s libido or erectile dysfunction or some form.
And so it’s like, “Okay, we’ve got to improve the vessels. How do we do that? It’s always come back to the same thing. This is where, you know, it’s what you and how you move and these lifestyle factors like sleep and stress are just 80% of the story, and then on top of that, we can start to add some bells and whistles.
But to your point before, too often we start with the bells and whistles and there’s no foundation on the house. I think it was Charles Poliquin once said, “It’s hard to fire a cannon from a canon.” If there’s no foundation…
Ted Ryce: It’s hard to fire a cannon from a canoe, yeah.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: …You’re not going to do very well.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, that’s a good metaphor for what we’re talking about right now, too. Anyway, so yeah, because there’s so many things that we can unpack, but I love what you mentioned there.
I actually had a client who—this was in my personal training days—the guy was in his 60s, was struggling with body fat but was on testosterone replacement therapy, had a lot of muscle on him, obviously, because the levels were, I don’t remember, it’s not my thing, Marc, but they were high enough to cause hypertrophy.
But he had such issues with blood flow that even he had way higher testosterone than your average guy walking around because of the therapy he is on. He had erectile dysfunction because of the blood vessels being clogged.
So, you mentioned something that’s so important to heart diseases—=and this is what I get back. I say this stuff on social media say it here, but it’s like, “Guys, it’s like the T.” The T levels is such a hot thing to talk about.
It’s even why I’m asking you about it. Because if I said Hey, Marc, let’s talk about the importance of circulation, how many people are going to fall asleep with that? But you talking about testosterone levels, guys like, “Yeah.” It spruce you up.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: It’s funny, because we talk about, you know, my book Peak 40. We use the analogy with Coach Dan Reeves. I’m not sure if you remember Dan Reeves, he used to coach the Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons back in the day. And it was the playoffs, he went to the doctor, and he had just had a heart attack. And he’s asking the doc, if he could finish off the playoff run with the Falcons, because that was the year that went to the Super Bowl.
And the doc said, “Look, if you keep going you could die tomorrow morning, you’ll have a heart attack. And it’s that sort of thing of just pushing it to such an nth degree that like…And then the cool part was Reeves is that he’d made some changes. And all of a sudden, you know, he’s 70 odd now and he feels great, whatever else, but he was talking about being close to death’s door. I mean, it was literally, and had he not actually just paused and listened, unfortunately, could have crossed that threshold.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, so important and not talked about or appreciated enough. But we will give people what they want. I would love to have you back on the show. We’re kind of coming up on our time right now. But if you’re enjoying this episode with Dr. Bubbs, what you want to do is you want to go to, if you want to check out his book, Peak 40 go to Drbubbs.com/peak40. So that’s Drbubbs.com/peak40. P-E-A-K40.
So Drbubbs.com/peak 40, and definitely interested in, man, having this conversation and diving a bit more into men’s health. And we can kick off the next interview about testosterone I think, and that can lead to some really cool
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Rabbit holes
Ted Ryce: Side topics, exactly, yeah. Is there any other place that you’d like people to go after listening to the show?
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Yeah, I mean they can, you know, you want to check out the books, Peak was the first book so if you’re a trainer or you’re more interested in deeper dive in athletic performance, then you could check that out and, of course, on social media, I’ve got a funny last name, so it’s @Drbubbs on all the Twitter’s and Instagram so feel free to ask questions, comment, happy to have you interact.
Ted Ryce: Excellent. So that’s at Dr. Bubbs at D-R-B-U-B-B-S. Okay, that is where you can find him on social media. And Marc, thanks so much for doing this, man, really enjoyed it, and looking forward to having you back again.
Dr. Marc Bubbs: Hundred percent, man. Ted, appreciate it. Glad we could finally do it and I look forward to the next one.
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