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A Smarter Way to Exercise [E069]

After ‘blowing out’ his elbow this year, Dr. Jason shares his insights in the last six months about how he has become wiser about what his body needs. He reflects on the purpose of exercise. For him, it’s related to longevity. Anybody over the age of 30 can relate with the body breaking down and not being able to do the same activities as before. Learn how you can start to listen to your body and start the smarter way to exercise!

Table Of Contents

Introduction To Smarter Way To Exercise

Introduction To Smarter Way To Exercise
Photographer: Bruno Nascimento | Source: Unsplash

Jason Hamad: I was talking to Dr. Bryan today in regards to some of the insights that I’ve had over the last six months, not only dealing with some of the challenges that we have faced in 2020, but personally, I had some challenges where I really blew up my elbow pretty bad, and I’ve had to change a lot of things in my life with respect to fitness. And a lot of insight has come during this.

There’s been some blessing with respect to the injury, what it’s taught me as well as some of the stress that a lot of people are under, due to the COVID and whatnot. And I was telling him I think I’ve got to be able to communicate a message to people that I’m really becoming aware of personally but I see how my body was trying to tell me for probably the last seven years, how to start exercising more appropriately for my life. I think that today I want to share that with you. And he was like, “Yeah, that’s a clever idea. Let’s go ahead and put that out there.”

From prime to injury

Bryan Joseph: We’ve heard multiple stories of patients coming in here saying that they were, and I won’t use any names in case this gentleman is listening to the podcast. But we all might have had some glory days where we actually felt fast, where we were quick. We might be able to be the first or second to win any race.

And I’ve heard scenarios where patients that have come into the office and said, “I’m now almost 40 years old. This young little punk came into our new work environment challenging me that he could beat me in a race. And here I am,” the beer muscles started to creep up and I got all excited and I started to say, “I can crush this person and I get out there and I do a full fledged sprint race against this guy.

And what happens? I hung for a little while, but then I ended up on my butt. Couldn’t slow down, I wiped out, and got road rash all over me. And inevitably it was one of the dumbest mistakes ever made. My body wasn’t used to actually going at that speed.”

Workouts Have To Serve Me

Workouts Have To Serve Me
Photographer: Meghan Holmes | Source: Unsplash

Jason Hamad: You’ve known me a long time and I’m not one that likes to give in to the whole I’m getting old thing. And so I still don’t believe in the concept of I’m getting old. I think now I’m embracing; I’m getting wiser. I’m understanding what is needed for my body to feel strong, stay mobile and to have a lot more longevity. But honestly, and here’s what the biggest learning lesson was this year is, is that my workouts must serve me. But if you’re putting so much intensity into your workout, now you’re digging a hole and you have to be able to fill that hole up just to go out and do life, like go to a job, manage kids, handle relationships.

There’s a certain point or at least in my perspective that I had to start seeing where in my workouts I was getting mad that I couldn’t recover. And then the injury allowed me the time to stop and slow down and not be able to do those workouts and then have to slowly build back up. And I’m looking back, I’m like, “Well, no wonder, man. You’ve got four kids. Two of them are teenagers and they’re all getting their own opinions. You’re still trying to make sure the marriage is strong and date your wife and everything else.”

Then we’re dealing with the COVID and dealing with the business and the practice. There’s a lot of variables and now I’m at 43, which isn’t old. But at the same token is 43 and the ability to recuperate, handle stress, is different than 23.

Bill Logan and longevity

Bryan Joseph: I can’t remember how old Bill Logan was. If you haven’t listened to episode 26, you might want to go back and listen to that one. We had a gentleman that was still competing athletically, and I think he in the 70s or 80s.

And he offered a lot of insight to us personally on record and off record about how he maintained longevity. He also shared some of the stupid things that we do in our youth to overtrain that’s unnecessary. Your injury has really helped you shape some of the conclusions of how right that conclusion that he shared might be. Today we want to just discuss what are some smarter way to exercise without depleting and beating up our body.

Keep Something In The Tank

Keep Something In The Tank - A smarter way to exercise
Photographer: Eduardo Flores | Source: Unsplash

Jason Hamad: I think the biggest takeaway that this year, and now finally last say six weeks being able to get back into using some of the weightlifting equipment has taught me. Speaking into all our listeners is the best phrase I can say is just keep something in the tank. And then even you and I are talking before we got on the air today is my mindset is different. I still want to exercise and still want to push myself, but it doesn’t need to be the spot where every single set is taken to failure. Or I’m building up a crescendo of different smarter way to exercise to get done at 40, 45 minutes later and be exhausted and then take a nap. That doesn’t work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday when I’ve got work obligations, getting the kids to school obligations, it just doesn’t work.

And I’m not sure how come I couldn’t see that. Maybe because I was in it and this is how I’ve always done it. I even said to Whitney this morning, I said, “I have no idea how I trained for the Ironman.” That was only four years ago. I have no idea. I’m not even sure how that fit. I don’t think it did. I’m not sure, but where I’m at right now and what I would advocate when I have begun advocating to our patients, to friends and to family, especially those that are on the other side of 35, I’m looking back and at 43 going back seven, eight years ago, I started to notice that my body wasn’t recovering and I thought it was weakness. I thought it was just me mentally.

The needed space for recovery

Bryan Joseph: I want to go back to one of the statements and ask you a question around it. As you said, moral of the story is keep some reserves in the tank. You’re referencing when you’re going out and working out. You don’t have to go to maximum failure, but can we also be thinking of that in terms of the needed space for recovery throughout a week? Some of us might guilt ourselves into thinking that we need to exercise every day, no matter what. Smarter way to exercise every day is part of depleting the tank, as opposed to leaving some energy stores to repair and recovery

Jason Hamad: There are two aspects we got to cover. One is, guilting yourself because you didn’t work out. If you love to work out, then work out. And you can work out every day. I’m not 100% convinced to that. There is important for recovery, no doubt, but it’s same token as if you’re not going to full on blow your body out, stress out your nervous system going to max, where every time you work out for 45 minutes, you’ve got this full pump. If you have literally smaller workouts, say 20 minute workouts that were intentional, like you and I talked about where you’re focusing on pushups, you’re focusing on squats, back muscle groups, whatever the case may be, if you’re not going to full failure.

Daily movement is important

Jason Hamad: Going back to your question in regard to working out, I still contend that if you really want to maximize how your body works, the daily movement is important. I don’t believe that you have to beat yourself up though through really, really uber intense workouts every day to feel like you’re moving the needle forward or still staying healthy. You can alternate between 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of some resistance training, 20 minutes of yoga, and every day you’re doing something to move your body.

I think there’s a lot of value in that. Where I’m at now though. I just don’t feel like you have to dig yourself in such a big hole by, again, I think CrossFit’s amazing and I have nothing against CrossFit, but just that mentality of pushing yourself to the highest RPMs every single day. I think that where I sit now, it’s contrary to living a life that’s still got a lot of other stressors out there that you still want to have enough in your tank to recover and still with stress and still be able to stay injury free.

Bryan Joseph: Maybe the end in mind has a lot of value, like purpose of your training, what it is that you’re trying to exercise for because you see a lot of people who exercise for different purposes. There are some that are trying to get in shape for a show. Some that might just want to lose a few pounds here and there. And some that want this vehicle of our body to last for a lifetime for longevity.

A Smarter Way To Exercise: What’s the Purpose?

A Smarter Way To Exercise: What's the Purpose?
Photographer: Emily Morter | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: When you’re talking about a smarter way to exercise and leaving some in the tank, which purpose are you aiming at?

Jason Hamad: My purpose is it’s always been clear and it has been probably because I lost my identity on the age. I have a vision of who I want to be as a great grandfather and I want to be an active grandfather and a great grandfather. I want to be the guy who can go play golf with his grandkids, who can throw a baseball to them, who can go for a jog.

There’s a vision of this man grayed out and yet is still in decent shape. And that guy doesn’t need to squat a thousand pounds to do it or be able to run a marathon and do it. But he must have strong muscles, strong joints, pliable joints, and a ticker, or heart that works. That’s the vision that I have. I’m not a pro athlete, so if I was LeBron James or someone else, it’s a different game, like you and I were talking about, but my game right now honestly is longevity, is strength and mobility.

Bryan Joseph: Which is great. But inevitably let’s take it off of your game and say their game. If you’re advocating for somebody that’s on the other side of this microphone to say, “Don’t use up all your good stuff and consider a focused 20 minute set with some storage that’s still there.” What are we suggesting to these people that the benefit of that is?

Jason Hamad: Longevity. I didn’t mean to make it about me. It wasn’t the intention, but the focus has been so that I back up into that.

Mobility, Flexibility, Aplliability

Bryan Joseph: What are some of the characteristics that are side by side with longevity for our body to be available? When you’re talking about it’s one thing to not go to maximum failure, but you said mobility, flexibility, appliability, are these all things that also have a stronger likelihood to be around or be available for us if we’re not going to failure?

Jason Hamad: 100%. It’s just really the quality of the movement. Great reference point. Someone comes in and how mobility shows up and what some of them may articulate is going to be different. But the end game is still strength, longevity, mobility. And here’s what I mean. Someone comes in, they want to be able to golf, they enjoy it. It gives them a lot of joy to connect with their family, their kids, their grandkids.

Well, if your joints aren’t mobile, then you’re going to have problems. You’re going to wear down the joints. If you’re not strong enough in your butt, legs and your back to support a golf swing, then you’re going to have problems. And if you haven’t taken the actions for years prior to keep the joints lubed up, then they’re not going to have longevity to be able to swing a golf club. For others it’s just going for a walk with their dog, or a walk with their spouse. They like to go hiking or traveling is important.

The question you should ask yourself

Bryan Joseph: I think in general terms, most people, when we look at longevity, the question to be asking ourselves would be, are you still able to function and perform in your daily activities the way that you dreamed you would? Whether you’re talking about playing on the floor with your grandkids or throwing a baseball, or even going to golf with your children as you get into the later stages of life, or just being able to stand at the kitchen sink and do the dishes without feeling like you’re going to keel over, or your back’s hurting you. Those are all functionalities that are going to be dependent on how you utilized your body throughout the course of the years that God gave you.

Jason Hamad: One of the things that, it’s hard for me personally because I want to help so many people and it breaks my heart, but at the same token is you got to move. As much as I want to help somebody if you haven’t moved for 30 or 40 years. And it’s really hard for me to unwind that. And the opposite is when someone still is at a place in their life where they can make changes without there being any long term damage, I can’t speak enough into their hearts and their minds to say you got to keep moving.

It’s like if you’re a financial advisor and you’re meeting with people all your life and you’re meeting with someone that’s 65 and they never did anything to prepare for further retirement, they’re like, “Well, I want to retire.” “Well, you can’t.” That’s sometimes how I feel when I meet with a 20 or 30-year-old who is just scoffing off, “Oh, no big deal.” But it is important.

A Smarter Way To Exercise: Closing Thoughts

Jason Hamad: These little injuries, not moving, not exercising at 20 and 30 leads to disease at 50, 60, and 70 and that’s heartbreaking. But as we started our conversation today was about how can we work out smarter? How can everyone out there just apply their workouts? Don’t feel pressured that you must go to this spot where you’re just totally gassed.

I think there’s a time and a place for that and it’s great to challenge yourself mentally and physically. But I think that more times than not, like Dr. Brian said, if you’re clear on what the outcome is and you know your outcome is with your fitness, I would make the argument now that you don’t truly need to go to that level of exhaustion to achieve the majority of people’s health goals.

Bryan Joseph: Well, it sounds like the moral of the story to a smarter way to exercises is to leave some in the tank. And I guess that can be said for a lot of different things, but in essence it’s funny because it seems like as a parent, sometimes we push our children to give it all and in essence, you want someone to try, but when it comes to your body’s ability to stay well for many years to come. We want our kids to give it all, mentally and we want to throw their A game out there. But in essence, you also want to protect the gift that you got and make sure that you’re leaving some in the tank so that you have this beautiful opportunity to recover.

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