ReversingMyAge.com Quarterly Update

How badly do you want it? How badly do you want to be healthy? How badly do you want to reverse your age?
A quarter of a year has already passed since I began this wacky mission to reverse my biological age by lengthening my telomeres.  So much has happened.  I feel like a new man with a new life.  In many respects, both characteristics reflect reality.  Physically, the changes my body has undergone, both internally and externally, are striking.  The changes in my day to day life also make my pre-October 1st life practically unrecognizable.  All indications are that my efforts are working.  However, we will not have any telomere data until the end of next quarter, the midway point.  I am confident my telomeres will be longer.  I have collected a small mountain of data, so we can form certain absolute conclusions concerning the effects of my efforts.  Here’s what we can definitively say has happened:
Overall Health
If a group of doctors looked at my quantified self from October 1st, and then again on January 1st, they would not believe they were looking at the same blood work and statistics of the same individual.  I am a new man.                   
                                                   Oct. 1, 2017              Present
Total Cholesterol                               256                         122
Triglycerides                                      254                          97
Blood Pressure                                141/95                    101/59
Blood Glucose                                   100                          86
Resting Heart Rate                             75                           51
Weight                                             186.2                       159 *
BMI                                                   29.16                       24.8 *
Body Fat                                            25.5                        19.2% *
Muscle Mass                                     36.2%                     39.7% *
Water                                                56.5                        61.5% **
I’ve been tweaking my nutritional regimen since Christmas and gained 6 lbs as a result.  I briefly considered altering my fasting strategy, but have ultimately decided to stay the course.  I perform water fasts two days a week.
Lean muscle mass is a biomarker of aging.
Strength Training
I have grown significantly stronger since October 1.  Fasting makes it tough to pack on muscle, but then again, I don’t really want all that much bulky, heavy muscle.  I am more interested in training as an endurance athlete because the average ultrarunner, amazingly, has telomeres that are the average length of someone 17 years their junior.1  A lot of muscle is good for short bursts of power, not endurance.  For an endurance athlete, having a lot of muscle is a liability because it is just more weight to carry around and more tissue to feed.  So, while I will continue lifting weights three days a week, I am no longer focusing on building much more muscle because I believe it will only slow me down in the long run.  While I am not the strongest I have ever been, I am the strongest for this weight.                            
                             Oct. 1, 2017                Present
Squat                         135                            215 *
Deadlift                      95                              215
Bench Press               115                            195
Military Press             95                              145
Bent Over Row           95                              135
*Dropped weight from a high of 230 lbs to focus on endurance training
Cardio Training
My cardiovascular gains have been nothing short of spectacular.  Cardio is something I haven’t really done since high school because I previously viewed it as an exercise in masochism, something I am simply not particularly interested in.  I have remained fairly consistent with high intensity interval training and on December 7th I began training to run.  Since October 1, I:

  • Cycled 100 miles in a single day.
  • Cycled 200 miles in a single day.
  • Ran 10 miles in a single session.
  • Ran 20 miles in a single session (in 4 hours and 5 minutes).
  • My VO2 Max has increased from 42.5 to 55 (top 10% for my age and gender)

I am a slow runner, but making fantastic progress.  My distances keep going up and my body quickly acclimates to, and recovers from, the increasing stress of running greater distances.

Mind Training
I have been consistently spending a few minutes several times a week working on Lumosity.  My Lumosity Performance Index has gone from 1342 to 1568, a 17% increase.  According to Lumosity, I am getting smarter.  Maybe; but then again, maybe I’m just getting better at playing the games.  The jury remains out on this.Remember when your teachers and parents warned you not to drink alcohol because it kills brain cells and you never create new brain cells?  Not true.  Science has proven neurogenesis is possible.  Not only that, you can establish new brain connections and make your mind work more efficiently.  I believe my lifestyle changes are accomplishing this, though I lack access to the testing equipment to prove it.Most would say that intelligence is genetic.  I say intelligence is epigenetic.  Maybe 40 to 50% of how smart you are is predetermined by your genes, but I believe you have an enormous amount of control over how those genes are expressed.  If you have really intelligent parents, this may disappoint you.  Inversely, if your parents are dumb as door knockers, there is still hope for you.  I am convinced you can turn some genes on and others off.  More accurately, I believe one can turn up or turn down genes just like a thermostat.  What you expose your genes to is what turns them up or down.  Engaging in active, mentally demanding activities over the course of years, plain and simply, makes you smarter.  So you may want to pick up a book and stop watching reality TV shows.  They really do make you dumber.
Education
I’ve consumed 38 books related to aging since I began thinking about reversing my age.  I have read books, blogs, articles, news, and listened to audiobooks and podcasts.  I have also watched dozens of documentaries and spent countless hours combing the message boards of reddit.  I learn something new every single day.  Just reading the news articles I post at www.reversingmyage.com/news every few days delivers a fascinating education.  Arguably, I am giving myself a graduate level education in biogerontology.  I may even start trying to obtain the syllabi from courses at the best universities with the hottest biogerontology programs so that I may study all the books from the classes.  It has been challenging to balance my desire to educate myself with my desire to train as well as my desire to write about, and record, my progress.  I am thrilled by the speed at which I continue to learn as well as the impact my self directed education is having upon my evolving views on aging.Mental Health
I can definitively say that I am, generally speaking, much happier.  I think finding purpose one is passionate about and developing tangible goals/objectives are keys to happiness and fulfillment.  This endeavor has given me both.  The French call it raison d’être or “reason for being.”  The Japanese call it ikigai, which, they believe, requires a deep and often lengthy introspection necessary to develop meaning in one’s life.  In the culture of Okinawa, a part of Japan that has an inordinate number of centenarians, ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”.2  In a TED Talk, Dan Buettner suggested ikigai as one of the reasons people in the area had such long lives.3What makes you get out of bed in the morning?  Do you do it with excitement or do you dread the day you are about to face?

 

ReversingMyAge.com
I created ReversingMyAge.com as an afterthought.  I started it as a way to document exactly what I was doing, so if I successfully manage to lengthen my telomeres, I will have a pile of time stamped data and observations to prove the veracity of my claim that I reversed my biological age and lengthened my telomeres.

You probably think you are one of only about seven people reading this.  For awhile, this was true and I would continue to share your sentiment if I didn’t have additional information.  Yet, something began to happen somewhere along the way, and it continues to happen.  Word is spreading that lifespan, healthspan and quality of life are largely within each individual’s control.  It is an uplifting message in a world filled with negative news.  Even when I just had seven consistent readers, it inspired me to cycle just a little faster and farther.  Knowing a few people were reading my exploits kept me up well past midnight on many nights as I struggled to write my next blog entry.    People like what I’m doing.  They know they can do it too.

All types of people, of all different ages, from all over are coming to visit this site, which has gotten as many as 2,000 hits in a single week.  That’s without any help whatsoever from search engine driven traffic, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of all internet traffic.  I am starting to think I’m actually making a difference in some people’s lives.  Even if I positively affect one person, it’s a huge win.  If you’re reading this, you’re likely thinking, “Hey, I can do that.” Or, “That’s not so hard.”  You really can do whatever I’m doing  and it’s really not that hard.

Next Quarter
The most important goal of the next 3 months is to continue to focus on lengthening my telomeres.  I’ll be remeasuring them on April 1, three months from now, and six months after I began.  I am now going to begin concentrating on running for the aforementioned potential effect endurance running could have on my telomeres.  I will continue to add weekly alternative methods to my routine.  I have begun doing research on several exciting alternative methods and am eager to begin implementing them and relating back to you my experiences with them.Determining optimal nutrition for my purposes is something I continue to struggle with.  Questions I frequently contemplate, and hope to work out in the coming months, include:

  • Does continuing to fast make sense considering the volume and intensity of my training?
  • What should my nutrition regimen be during long periods of exercise?
  • How can I tweak my vitamin and supplements regimen to maximize its effect?
  • Should I try to become fully fat adapted?
  • Should I begin practicing a Keto nutrition regimen?
  • What therapies could I employ in the future?

 

Conclusion
It’s working.  All of my biomarkers of aging are dramatically improving.  If I successfully prove I lengthened my telomeres when it is all said and done, we won’t know what, specifically, caused them to lengthen.  We will know I did something to make them longer, but what, specifically, and how, exactly, it worked will remain a mystery.  I’ll leave that to the ivory tower eggheads to figure out.  Maybe I’ll even become an egghead myself and try to help.

Are you “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”?4  You don’t have to be.  You can do what I’ve done.  Really.  I mean YOU.  Get up.  Take that first step.  I’ll even help.  I’m pushing you out of your chair.  I’m pretty strong now, but I can’t even budge you because you are so big and fat.  Come on, help me out a little!  Just take that first baby step.  Me and your momentum will keep you going.  Remember, a mere three months ago I was you; a hair away from obese and also fat, sick, and nearly dead.  Make the transformation I have made.  I want  you on my team!  Nevermind that vegetarian peacock you know who struts around and brags that he can run a mile in 6:30 without breaking a sweat.  I much prefer to have the guy on my team that runs a fourteen minute mile and it nearly kills him to complete it but he keeps pushing himself forward relentlessly.  In six months we’ll both be eating peacock for dinner.  All you need to do is take that first step.

Citations
1  Blackburn, E., & Epel, E. (2017). The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer. Grand Central Publishing. P.181.
2  Ikigai. (2017, December 11). Retrieved January 09, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai
3  Ikigai. (2017, December 11). Retrieved January 09, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai
4  Cross, Joe. “Fat Sick Nearly Dead.” Fat Sick and Nearly Dead | a Joe Cross Film, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/about-the-film/learn-more/.

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