Summary of Week One

Double Blind Placebo Controlled Clinical Trials

It has been a week since I started this kooky quest to reverse my biological age.  The week was filled with some great wins and some disappointing losses; some high highs, and some low lows.  It has been a trial and error process of what works and what doesn’t (Broccoli, Kale, and Strawberries do NOT mix) and I will continue to learn and improve my protocol.  The week was tough, but fortunately, not as tough as anticipated.

I failed to stick to regimen as closely as I’d like to have, but overall, I’m quite satisfied with my discipline and progress.  I missed one session of High Intensity Interval Training, one Wim Hof Method Session, and one session of Lumosity, all on Thursday because I had a date right after work. I also consumed two glasses of red wine on the date, but happily managed to stay under the 600 calorie requirement for a fast day, despite the wine.  Aside from the wine, I pretty much just ate a bunch of grapes and drank a lot of water that day.  The vitamin component of my protocol needs tweaking for reasons I will elaborate upon later in this blog.

Let’s review what went well:

Oct. 1st                Oct. 8th            Change
Weight                   186.2                178.59             Lost 7.6 lbs
BMI                         29.16                27.97              Lost 1.19 BMI
Body Fat                 25.5%               23.7%             Lost 1.8% Body Fat
Muscle Mass          36.2%               37.2%             Gained 1% Muscle
Water                     56.5%               57.9%             Gained 1.4% Water

***Current Body Data***

I did not only lose a considerable amount of weight, I lost body fat, gained muscle, and even increased my water content.  There have been times in the past in which I have busted my ass to drop weight quickly.  I always found it incredibly irksome when someone would respond to news of my weight loss by saying, “Anyone can do that!  It’s all water weight!”  Something comparable was actually said to me within the last few days.  In this case, however,  I can prove that I actually GAINED water weight as a percentage of my body weight.  The human body is made up of over 50% water (57.9% in my case).  That means that in order to maintain a healthy equilibrium, for every ten pounds someone loses, roughly 5 of those pounds should/must be water.  I gained 1.4% of water weight, lost almost 2% body fat, and gained 1% muscle.  I am thrilled with the results of week one!  Had it been true that all of my weight loss was water weight, I would have lost it all in the water percentage of my body and not gained muscle mass or lost body fat.

Another, equally irritating, response to news of quick weight loss I’ve heard (usually from a fat person) is, “Oh, that’s so not healthy!”  Many people just seem to accept this as fact without giving the matter any real thought.  It begs the question, “Why is it unhealthy to lose weight quickly if I am consuming an adequate number of calories from nutritious sources?”  Prevailing wisdom seems to indicate that one should lose no more than 2 to 3 pounds a week.  Conventional wisdom is often simply wrong (I suggest reading Freakonomics), as it is in this case.  There is no study or data in existence that even suggests losing weight quickly while consuming an adequate number of calories from nutritious sources is the least bit unhealthy.  In fact, it is extremely healthy.  Being fat is the killer.  Don’t be fooled!

My Lumosity Performance Index surprisingly improved significantly.  I expected it to improve over the course of the coming year, but not this much and not this quickly.  I started at 1342 and soared as high as 1366 during the week.  Previously, I had been moving sideways.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

Another positive aspect of the week was that I did not turn on my television from Monday through Friday.  I watched a documentary on Saturday and a movie on Sunday.  This mission is practically a full time job between cooking, juicing, high intensity interval training, cycling static training, Wim Hof Method every night, cold showers, Strong Lifts, documenting data, and reading to learn more,  I have very little time for much else.  I’m neither unhappy nor am I complaining about my lack of time because with this new lifestyle, I’m more productive, living purposefully, and happier.

There were certainly some hiccups during the Week One.  I barfed up a mixture of Broccoli, Kale, and Strawberry juice.  The date night caused me to miss one session of HIIT, Lumosity, and WHM.   Growing wheatgrass in my apartment is a problem because it is not really growing right.  I’ve mostly been substituting it with Kale.  And finally, my farts smell like the farts of a stranger.  They are revolting.

My biggest concerns are my heart rate and my O2 Saturation.  My heart rate is not going down.  In fact, much to my dismay, it is going up.  On one day, I had an average resting heart rate of 75.  That is awful.  I’m not sure why this is happening, but while concerned, I remain confident it will eventually slowly begin to tick down.  I have recorded O2 Saturation levels of 88.  That is absolutely terrible.  That’s like I should be in the hospital.  I am not certain why my levels are so low, but the Wim Hoff Method may have helped me discover the source of the problem.  As a result of all the breath work I do in the program, I have come to notice that I often inadvertently and subconsciously hold my breath, especially when I am deep in thought, which is fairly often.  This is bad.  I am not sure why I do it or how to prevent myself from doing it.  I also likely do it while sleeping.  That is really, really bad.  I’m hoping just being conscious of it and the WHM will help me slowly raise my O2 Saturation numbers.

I’ve had terrible diarrhea most of the week.  I’m still not exactly sure why.  I initially thought it was the vitamins, so I made adjustments, but even on days on which I consumed zero vitamins, I had repeated, explosive diarrhea.  Another potential explanation is that  I could be detoxing.  Yet another, is that my body just isn’t accustomed to all these fruits and vegetables I am consuming.  This issue remains unclear, but I will eventually get to the bottom of it or the problem will just fix itself.  It is mildly frustrating, uncomfortable, and disappointing.

Tuesday evening I decided to cycle to Liberty State Park to perform a session of High Intensity Interval Training.  As I got about halfway to my destination, my stomach began to  rumble.  I tried to ignore it and pedaled a little faster.  My bowels refused to permit me to ignore them and the rumbling became more urgent.  I decided I must relieve some of the building pressure in my gut by opening the valve to release a little noxious gas.  I cracked the valve and relieved some pressure, instantly making me feel better.  A moment later, I sensed, to my horror, that the pressure I relieved was not gaseous, but liquefied fecal matter.  The situation was further complicated by the fact that I soon realized I must relieve at least a little more pressure, which would also likely be liquefied feces.  And by this point, I knew the floodgates were about to come roaring open.  I pedaled faster.  And faster. I began to sweat.  Then came the goose bumps.  I was no longer sitting, but pedaling while standing, as I came racing into the parking lot in front of the Liberty State Park Rest Area.

I intended to save a second by hopping the curb to park my bike next to a handrailing.  I have easily hopped a hundred curbs in my bike riding career, but miserably failed to hop this one.  As the back end of my bike violently rose as my body was propelled forward over the handlebars, time seemed to stand still.  I was truly shocked and thought to myself, “I am 40 years old and about to go flying head first over my handlebars.  The last time this happened to me was when I was in the 8th grade riding the trails with my friends Jeff and Ronnie in the ‘Sands’ on the South Side of River Vale.  It hurt badly.”  Sure enough, I sailed over my handlebars.   Fortunately, I landed in grass.  While I grunted rather loudly upon impact, I quickly managed to struggle to my feet and ran past bewildered looking onlookers.  I’m sure they realized what was going on as they saw me sprint for the Men’s Room.  I did what I had to do, threw my underwear away and was back on my way in no time.

Reversing your age is hard, dirty work, yet it is incredibly satisfying!

Comments

    1. John Loehr

      Ron, thanks for your question! I thought about quickly replying to it with:

      Lumosity is a brain game website that claims regular use will make practitioners “smarter” because of neuroplasticity. A daily workout includes five games which take about 15 minutes. When I finish the workout, I receive a current Lumosity Performance Index number. I have chosen to pay to use this service because it is the only way I know of to easily and relatively quickly measure intelligence. I maintain a strong belief that eating a “healthy” diet and regular, vigorous exercise, of both the mind and body, is important to maintaining brain health. Go check it out for yourself at http://www.lumosity.com.

      As I began thinking more deeply about your question, I decided it warrants a more involved response which is as follows:

      As young adults, I remember being taught alcohol kills brain cells and you cannot create new brain cells. We now know that while alcohol consumption does kill brain cells, we can, in fact, create new brain cells in a process called neurogenesis. Further, if you believe you cannot create new brain cells, you also likely have a fixed view related to “ability” and accordingly believe that you cannot become smarter, or stronger, or faster, or better at sports, or math, or reading, or playing an instrument, or learning a language, and you’ll never ever be able to reverse your age. I vehemently disagree. It just takes a lot of grit and effort.

      Now, with respect to Lumosity, critics claim it does not make you smarter at all, it just makes you better at playing the games/taking their tests. I believe that objection has some validity and more data is needed on the subject. The same argument used against Lumosity, however, can also be used against virtually every universally accepted measures of “intelligence.” If taking an SAT preparatory class did not work, then why are parents all over the country spending thousands of dollars on them? The fact of the matter is they do work and kids raise their SAT scores after taking them, not because they are “smarter”, but because they have gotten better at “playing the game/taking the test.” If I begin studying and taking IQ tests daily, my IQ will unquestionably go up significantly. Will I have gotten smarter, or did I just learn to take the test? Perhaps I’ll spend the year after I prove one can reverse his or her age proving that just about anyone can get into Mensa with a healthy dose of effort and determination.

      In conclusion, the point of logging a Lumosity Performance Index Score daily is to track my “intelligence” because I believe my brain function will improve with the lifestyle changes I am making. Is Lumosity the best method? Certainly not. Nevertheless, I can think of no better method that does not take up a lot of my time.

      Thank you so much for the question because it has prompted me to consider pursuing other forms of potentially more fulfilling brain exercise like learning a language or learning to play an instrument (banjo, violin, or guitar).

    1. John Loehr

      Thanks for the question!

      The simple answer is “yes, I have gotten stronger and faster.”

      The more complicated answer is:

      I am doing strong lifts and increasing my weight with every workout. That being stated, I started out super light (squat 135, bench 115, row 95, overhead press 95, and deadlift 95) which, I maintain, was the proper thing to do. My quads were literally toast for the entire first week and they remain a little sore, especially when I sprint. I will get demonstrably stronger quickly enough. Your question has reminded me to link my current Strong Lifts workout to my webpage.

      I definitely feel like I am getting faster, both when I sprint and cycle. I am not, however, using anything to measure my sprinting speed. Do you have any easy suggestions? Strava, which is a fantastic app that I urge every cycler and runner to use, measures my average speed when I am cycling. I am logging both my cycling distance and average speed. The only app I am using for High Intensity Interval Training is a timer that beeps loudly to let me know when to start and stop sprinting.

      Please do share any suggestions you may have.

      Thanks again!

  1. Ronnie bravo

    Are you sure you actually gained muscle mass? I believe you lost fat and yes water. I don’t think you gained muscle mass. Your muscle mass percentage may have gone up because of the fat and water loss but I am not certain you gained muscle mass.

    1. John Loehr

      I had a hard time figuring this out, but you are correct. I actually lost muscle mass.

      Here are the figures I came up with for 10/13/17:

      Weight – 174.8 lbs
      Lost – 11.4 lbs
      Fat Weight Lost – 7.45 lbs
      Water Weight Lost – 2.77 lbs
      Musle Mass Lost – 1.67 lbs

      So, it seems I’ve lost 1.67 lbs of muscle mass. While slightly disappointing to realize, I am confident that number will eventually stabilize as I stop losing weight and then I will begin rebuilding muscle mass.

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