The “New” Epic Fitness
In the midst of a Global Pandemic, so much has changed and truly upended our lives. As our team loves to say, “Control the controllable’s.” The best way to do this it to think of all the things you have the power to control. Your health, your fitness, your nutrition, your mindset. We all have the internal power to take control of these things.
We have seen a big influx recently of members that have joined that have made their health a priority, and we love to see that. We also have been striving over the past 8 months to be THE PLACE our community can come in and train safely. We are happy to report that since re-opening our doors on May 1st, we have seen ZERO confirmed cases that have come from the gym.
Check out what we are currently doing to keep our Epic Fitness Family safe in the above video.
Are you ready to take your health into your own hands? We are only accepting 8 more people for our November 21 Day Challenge! Click the link below to learn more, sign up and save over 40% for a limited time!
We are so excited to be sharing the stories of our amazing Rockstar members throughout the next several weeks. These strong humans help us stay stronger together, and in times like these it is always best to stay “stronger together.”
We are so honored to share the story of Chris Gabrenas this week. Chris has overcome so much in her life before she joined us, including a bout with cancer. She shares how she is able to stay strong through a pandemic and keep active during a time when it is so important!
Ready to get the kickstart you have been looking for? Ready to finish 2020 strong? There is no better time than the present. Let our team take care of your health and fitness over the next 21 days. Check out how you can start with us TODAY and save over 40% for a limited time!
This is often a question that is asked almost all the time – “Can I out-train a poor diet?” We are going to talk about the science a little bit here, but also in staying true to our values, we wanted this video to be both fun and educational! Enjoy, and we hope you learn a lot from it!
Ready to get a kickstart on your health, fitness AND nutrition? We have a few spots left for our 21 day Epic Challenge! Check out more information below to save your spot.
Let’s Talk About Stress, Baby!
By: Ben S. Fogel
Now, more than ever we are experiencing higher than average stress levels in our lives. Many of us are dealing with similar complex stressors that come with a global pandemic. I know I have been quoted as saying “control the controllables” but even the controllables sometimes feel out of control. My goal today is to help you distinguish the things in your life that create stress versus those things that make you feel less stressed. Also, how to add more stress reducing behaviors into your life to create more balance and a sense of control.
Understanding the natural stress response
Let us first discuss the stress response, and how our body’s naturally deal with it. For example, when you encounter a perceived threat – such as a large dog barking at you during your morning walk – your hypothalamus, a tiny region at your brain’s base, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. These are all things that your body does to keep you safe and alive during times of fight-or-flight.
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear.
When the natural stress response goes wild
The body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.
But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. This is where many of us live on a day to day basis. Need to pay the bills, work that extra late shift at the office, finish that end of the month project – all of these things can creep up on us and keep our stress response high 24/7.
The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors. This is where some of our expertise comes in.
Life is a sprint, not a marathon
In all honesty, screw running a marathon. Especially trying to run a marathon every day! This is how stress can creep up on us. Not giving your body the ability to recover is what will kill us early. Every day, when you work 10-12 hours a day, day after day, your body starts to accumulate all of these stress hormones.
Instead of running a marathon – focus on sprint, recover, sprint. A great example of this method that I love to use is called the “Pomodoro Technique.” The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks – usually 5-10 minutes. For example, during a work session, I will set a timer for 25 minutes with the intense goal of completing a set task/project/etc. When the timer goes off, another 5 minute timer is set and starts for me to jump out of my chair and stretch out, go for a walk or take a rest. Then, the 25 minute timer starts again with a new goal to complete another project. Sprint, recover, sprint.
What I have found is that after 3 cycles, I need a longer break. If I complete 6 Pomodoro work cycles in one day, I know I moved the needle in a positive direction. This is about 3 hours of focused work, and I will get more done in these 3 hours than I would in an entire 8-10 hour day of unfocused, cluttered work spread throughout the day.
Learn to react to stress in a healthy way
Stressful events are facts of life. And you may not be able to change your current situation. But you can take steps to manage the impact these events have on you.
You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations.
Stress management strategies include:
- Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
- Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, practicing deep breathing, getting a massage or learning to meditate (more on this below)
- Taking time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
- Fostering healthy friendships
- Having a sense of humor
- Volunteering in your community
- Seeking professional counseling when needed
The reward for learning to manage stress is peace of mind and perhaps a longer, healthier life.
Maximize the things in your day that give you pleasure
I know, kinda cheesy, right? But really, if you can literally minimize the things you do everyday that make your body feel as though you are under constant threat, you will see some very positive results. More simply put – minimize the things in your life that don’t give you pleasure, and maximize all the things that bring you pleasure. Start thinking of all the things that you do to enjoy your day.
The best exercise I can give here is to make a list. Make a list of all the things that you do that make you feel stressful. When possible, see if you can delete these things out of your life all together. Then, make a list of all the things that bring joy and pleasure into your life. Use the list above as a starting point. See how you can start to schedule these things daily into your life. For example, for me it is having a morning and nightly routine. My morning routine is getting ready for my day with a short meditative practice and my nightly routine is about spending quality one-on-one time with my kids and my wife. Something this simple to “bookend” my days keeps my stress levels much lower.
Are you looking to find a good meditative, relaxation and yoga practice? Something to bring those stress levels down? We have just 8 spots left for our upcoming 6 week Yoga Workshop starting on Wednesday, September 9th. The early bird pricing ends on 8/31 where you can save an additional $50 on the program!
By: Ben S. Fogel
Are You Bored From Success?
Being in the fitness industry now for 15 years and seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of fitness “trends” and health “hacks” come and go, I am going to make a bold statement and say the greatest threat to your success in health and wellness is not failure, but boredom.
Boredom from Success
Boredom from those workouts your coaches keep putting you through – push, pull, hinge, squat, carry and all of the things we know work. You keep asking “Isn’t there something more sexy than this?”
Boredom from that nutritional plan that actually WORKED. Eating protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy sources of fats. You aren’t sure if it will work long term, so you want to try something else.
Here is my theory – We get bored from these habits because they literally stop delighting us. The outcome becomes more expected while our habits become ordinary and mundane. We lose the weight, we get our jeans to fit, and we reach our goals but then we start derailing our progress by seeking novelty.
Novelty may be the biggest hinderance to achieving long-term, sustainable results. It is also known as “shiny new object” syndrome, and it is literally killing our progress. Perhaps this is why we get caught up in a never-ending cycle, jumping from one workout to the next, or one diet to the next.
As soon as we experience the slightest dip in motivation, we begin seeking a new strategy, even if the old one was working! As the old Italian Philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli noted:
“Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly.”
Companies are turning these “novel” ideas into multimillion-dollar ideas. I never knew that our muscles needed to be “confused” until Beach Body came out with P-90X! Who would have known that the Paleo diet was going to be all the craze in the 21st century – like eating animal protein, fat and vegetables was some new nutritional strategy – when it was really popularized with our ancestors thousands of years ago!
What is the best solution to the problem we find ourselves facing then? How do we get rid of all the clutter around us, all of these new “novel” ideas that are being thrown down our throats by the marketing machines of the 21st century? Honestly, I don’t think I have a solution to this. We are going to be constantly bombarded by crazy ideas that so-called “professionals” throw out there every day, just to try and make a buck.
The best advice I can give you is to form your own wellness principles based on ordinary habits that you can actually do 80-90% of the time. These principles will act more like your “north star” directing you towards long term, sustainable health and wellness practices – and when practiced daily can lead to some pretty dramatic results over the long term!
To come up with these principles, I would suggest asking yourself the following question as you come up with your own unique principles:
Will I be able to replicate this principle daily in my life and make it a sustainable habit over the long term?
If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then you are well on your way to building some pretty amazing principles to guide your daily habits. Strength Coach Dan John likes to call these principles “Pirate Maps.” A pirate map would look like this:
“Fly to St. Johns Island. Drive 2.5 miles south until you see a large coconut tree. Walk 7 paces east of the tree and start digging.”
Think of a pirate map as all of the daily repeatable habits that you can do to get you closer and closer to your own defined goal or finding your “buried treasure.” Some ideas of principles that you can add to your own “pirate map” may include:
- A sleep hygiene strategy – something you can repeat each night to get yourself ready for the next day (like having a “to-do” list!)
- Carving out time in your day for taking care of your own health and fitness
- Committing to eating certain food groups (like more vegetables)
- Having time built into your day for mindfulness
It really depends on where you are at in your journey, but what we suggest are habits that you can also “stack” onto other things you are already doing. For example, since you are already brushing your teeth at night, why not place your time of being mindful (meditation, writing your gratitude for the day in a journal, etc.) and stack it with that habit that you are already performing. This will help the new habit “stick” and become a daily part of your routine.
Remember, the hardest thing that will happen once you start to apply many of these new habits is you will get bored. You will want to try something “new and shiny.” DON’T DO IT! Stick with your plan, stick with the pirate map that you have created, and before you know it you will be achieving things in your life that you once never thought possible!
**PRO TIP** Here is a little secret about habits sticking. They will ONLY stick if they become repetitive, have a stable context, and elicit positive emotions. As James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits” has said the 3 things that help habits stick are:
1) Repetition. Habits form based on frequency, not time.
2) Stable context. If the context is always changing, so is the behavior. You need a reliable environment.
3) Positive emotions. If it feels good, you’ll want to repeat it.
Looking for some expert help on how to make each of these things a true, sustainable habit? We are here to help! Check out our upcoming 6 week yoga workshop where you will learn to master all of this and more!
Today, we wanted to share a little message about motivation. Yes, right now getting motivated for just about anything can be SO hard. But that is even more of a reason to get fired up, and “control the controllables!” – Your mindset.
Here are a couple tips on motivation:
To make a new habit or behavior stick – Make it SO EASY that you can’t get it wrong (like the story I tell in the video above), but not so hard that you can’t get it right.
I know so many people that have the “all or nothing” mindset, but motivation will start to dwindle, and you are left with the nothing part, and back to your old ways. Remember, willpower is not unlimited. There are ways, however to keep motivation and willpower at a high level – especially during times like these.
So here is the quick formula to help with motivation:
CONSISTENCY + DISCIPLINE + DESIRE = RESULTS!
Consistency – It is important to mention that what you do consistently matters. It is also important that it is performed in the same context (done the same time each and every day).
Discipline – Make sure the thing you want to do is repeatable. Remember, Make the thing you want to do consistently SO EASY that you can’t get it wrong, but not so hard that you can’t get it right!
Desire – Make sure the thing you are doing elicits a very positive emotional response from you, and you actually have the desire to follow through with yourself! Otherwise, you won’t want to do it everyday.
This formula has worked for me for over 20 years of competing at the highest level of competitive athletics, to owning a business now for over 12 years. It is these 3 things that constitute and make up our daily habits, and it is our daily habits that decide our future. I LOVE this quote:
“People do not decide their future. They decide their habits. And it’s their habits that decide their future.” – F.M. Alexander
Now, ask yourself – What is the ONE change you can make in your life that will draw you 1% closer to your goals!?
Ready for a jumpstart to your motivation? We have the perfect solution for you! Our 21 Day Epic Challenge starts up on Saturday, August 1st and we only have 5 spots available! Also, if you sign up before July 31st, we will extend your dates thru August 31st to work with us (an additional 10 days on us!) Check out more information below and to reserve your spot. The next month could change your habits, and change your future for good!
Pandemic of Obesity – The Facts
We are currently living through a Pandemic. Yes, that is nothing new. The last 6 months have radically changed our lives, and we have had to start rethinking how we navigate our lives and lifestyles during times like these.
But today, I want to talk about another Pandemic – the Pandemic of Obesity. You see, since 1962 Obesity has been increasing each and every year. It has continued to push forward for more than 50 years, and not much has been done to slow down this medical disease. Yes, I called Obesity pure and simply a “Medical Disease” because that is what it is. This is a medical problem, and as a society we should start looking at it as such.
We should also stop stigmatizing Obesity. Stigmatizing the individuals that are suffering from this medical disease is unacceptable, and only discriminates against those that are overweight and obese. Studies already suggest that those who are obese have a much lower quality of healthcare than those not obese. This type of discrimination needs to stop, and it will only stop if we start to give the best healthcare (preventative and otherwise) to all individuals suffering from Obesity and Obesity related diseases (which we will be going over in great detail below).
People are not born Obese, and one day don’t just wake up and “decide” to be Obese. It is true – there is a combination of factors that come into play when you look at the high prevalence of Obesity – from the combined interaction between physical, social, and environmental factors. All of these factors play a huge role. I won’t be getting too much into that in this post, but more into how being Obese places you at such a greater risk of being hospitalized from COVID -19.
First, let’s define Obesity how the CDC does in the United States. Obesity refers to an individual with a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 30 (Calculate your BMI here). Although this is not the most accurate way to say whether or not a person is truly obese (this only factors in height and weight, and not body composition) it is one of the most reliable ways to track Obesity in our country.
Below is some of the latest data about the Obesity Pandemic from 2017-18 and shows the following percentage of Americans that are Obese, Overweight (BMI between 25 – 29.9) or normal weight (BMI of 18.5 – 24.9):
Normal weight: 25%
This data is truly staggering! Only ¼ of the US population is within a “normal” weight. The other 75% of us, or ¾ of the population is considered overweight or obese. Does anyone else besides me get a little sick to your stomach seeing this data?
Even worse, from from 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2% (Severe Obesity is a BMI of over 40).
You are probably wondering what percentage of the population is Obese based on their age. Here you go:
20-39 years old: 40% Obese
40-59 years old: 44.8% Obese
60+ years old: 43% Obese
More information on the most recent data of the current Obesity Pandemic can be found here. All of this data comes from the CDC, and the latest data is from 2017-18. I am only going to guess that these numbers have risen over the past 2-3 years.
We continue to see the numbers rise, but we are not doing enough as a society about it.
But now, we may be forced to. Coronavirus is taking its toll on the 42.4% of Obese Americans as we speak, and it is so sad to see what is happening right now. I have spent the last 15 years of my life trying to come up with the “cure” for Obesity. Reasonable exercise, reasonable nutrition (eating many colors of the rainbow), stress reduction techniques, etc. But this is clearly not enough.
We already know Obesity related illnesses include:
Heart Disease, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. But now, we can put Coronavirus on as an Obesity related illness.
Many studies are showing that people that developed critical COVID and died had a higher average BMI than people developing a more mild disease:
Now, if we could take one thing away from all of this data, it is this: Out of data taken from 3.9 MILLION people (From the COVID Symptom Tracker) which included height, weight, medical condition and daily health report, people who are obese are 20% more likely to be hospitalized with COVID symptoms. That is 1 out of every 5 people who are Obese in our country are ending up in the hospital (and are more likely to need respirator support/ventilation).
What all of this data is telling me is that we, as a society, need to start a movement to improve global immunity. Where do we start, though? Here are my recommendations for Obese individuals during this Pandemic:
Socially Distance and wear a mask (many of us are still not doing these 2 basic things)
Follow all Hygiene guidelines (handwashing for at least 20 seconds, keep hands out of your face, etc.)
Eat Nutrient Dense foods (think of eating the least you can get out of a box or a bag, and as much as you can get from the produce Isle, as well as fresh foods that need to be refrigerated).
Consider Vitamin D. Most people who are Obese have a Vitamin D Deficiency.
Regular Physical Exercise (Do something every day that is repeatable).
Consider your mental health. Positive mental attitude transfers over to every area of your life.
If we just start with those 6 things, TODAY, we can become a much healthier society. But, alas, here is the problem, you are going to say to me, “6 things! I can’t do all of these things all at once!”
I understand. So, what I recommend is the first 2 are non-negotiable. Then, from items 3-6 pick the ONE thing that you are 90% confident you could do for the next 7 days IN A ROW! The secret about habits sticking is they will ONLY stick if they become repetitive. As James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits” has said the 3 things that help habits stick are:
1) Repetition. Habits form based on frequency, not time.
2) Stable context. If the context is always changing, so is the behavior. You need a reliable environment.
3) Positive emotions. If it feels good, you’ll want to repeat it.
What ONE thing will you start doing TOMORROW to back your future a much, much better one?
Would you like some expert help on how to make each of these things a true, sustainable habit? We are here to help! Check out our 21 Day VIP experience below to get started to take control of your body and mind.
Yours in Health and Strength,
Ben S. Fogel
Age Is Just A Number
During this global pandemic, we have all witnessed the overwhelming tragedy and death across our country. Reaching the grim milestone of over 120,000 deaths in the US has been a very hard pill to swallow for all of us that feel like we are in the business of helping people become the healthiest version of themselves and fight diseases like this.
We at Epic Fitness are literally on the front lines of being able to help make lasting change for people and their health right now.
But we aren’t doing very well her in America, and the numbers are showing it. A disproportionate number of Americans are losing their battle to this virus that are over the age of 60 and also have co-morbidities (the presence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions). High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease – while most of these conditions are preventable with diet and exercise intervention, we are at a place right now where the average American is not getting enough exercise and are not eating food that is nutritious and nourishing for the body.
The latest statistics show that over 40% of Americans over the age of 51 are considered overweight or obese. This is a staggering number that we all need to take seriously right now.
We have been getting a lot of recommendations lately with the Coronavirus pandemic based on our age range. Some experts are saying that if we merely fall into a certain age range, then we should consider changing our lives and lifestyles for the foreseeable future. All that this takes into consideration is ONE thing – the year you were born – that’s it! I have to disagree with this assessment. I honestly feel that our chronological age alone isn’t the only marker on how this virus is affecting us – I feel our physiological age (also called “biological age”) has 100% to do with how this virus is affecting us, and whether or not you are at a higher risk of getting sick, and even worse, dying from this virus.
First, let us clearly define what “Physiological Age” is. Physiological age can be broken down into three categories:
- Physical Health
- Emotional Health
- Mental Health
Before we break down these 3 categories, I want to share some of the research on physiological aging (this will get a little “sciency” but it’s important to understand as well).
How Physiological Age is Determined
Research suggests that telomeres and DNA methylation play big parts in the aging process. Telomeres are the nucleotides on the ends of chromosomes. They keep the ends of chromosomes from deteriorating and fusing with a nearby chromosome. An easier way to think of it is like this – at each end of a chromosome is a telomere which you could compare to the plastic tips at the end of a shoelace. Telomeres are important because they prevent chromosomes from unraveling. Essentially, telomeres dictate how quickly cells age and die.
Scientists have discovered that the higher a person’s chronological age, the shorter their telomeres. One study found that people with shorter telomeres were more likely to have an early death or develop a disease or neurodegenerative disorder.  But Another study suggests that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can actually reverse aging by lengthening telomeres! This is good news for us as health and fitness professionals to continue to preach and teach living healthy lifestyles.
Three Ways to Improve Your Physiological Age
- Physical Health – Everything from exercise, nutrition and sleep habits play a critical role in your overall physical health. If you have gone in for a routine physical, the question of “How often do you exercise?” comes up now because doctors are very aware of how this one factor can positively affect your life.
We work with many clients in their 60’s and even 70’s, and most new members can never guess their age, or when they find out how old the person “really is” they are amazed! We know the reason is because of how well these individuals take care of their bodies physically day in and day out. Physical health is made up of daily habits that take time and need to be mastered.
- Emotional Health – Emotional healthis your ability to accept and manage feelings through challenge and change. Someone who is emotionally healthy can allow their emotions to be digestible. The mundane hassles of daily life offers opportunities to practice positive responses, rather than negative reactions, to allow emotional health to flourish.
Think of the last time something didn’t happen the way you would have liked it to in your life. How did you respond? Did you react negatively, allowing that stress response to take over your entire day? Could you instead merely start to practice a better response when these things invariably come up? (Try this 5 minute meditation practice here!) Think of what happens to your body every time it has a stress response. Your body gets flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone that limits the body’s ability to recover and heal quickly. This “fight or flight” response should occur more rarely in our lives, and when we really need it – like when we are truly in danger and need to “fight or flight.”
- Mental Health – The Journal of World Psychiatry has given a great definition for mental health here:
“Mental health is a dynamic state of internal equilibrium which enables individuals to use their abilities in harmony with universal values of society. Basic cognitive and social skills; ability to recognize, express and modulate one’s own emotions, as well as empathize with others; flexibility and ability to cope with adverse life events and function in social roles; and harmonious relationship between body and mind represent important components of mental health which contribute, to varying degrees, to the state of internal equilibrium.” 
This definition was given back in 2015 and couldn’t be truer for the world that we live in today. What is meant in the definition by the expression “universal values” is deemed necessary, in the light of the misleading use of this expression in certain political and social circumstances. The values we are referring to are respect and care for oneself and other living beings; recognition of connectedness between people; respect for the environment; respect for one’s own and others’ freedom.
Here is the truth – people in good mental health are still often sad, unwell, angry or unhappy – and this is all part of a fully lived life for a human being. But in spite of this, mental health has been conceived as a purely positive affect, marked by feelings of mainly happiness. Once we accept that negative emotions are normal in life, and that these emotions actually contribute positively to our mental health, we will be able to have a more positive relationship with ourselves and with those around us.
Like the quote on mental health states above – what we are truly looking for is a state of “internal equilibrium.” Finding a state of internal equilibrium in our physical, emotional and mental health is what can contribute most to decreasing our physiological age. Doing “little and often over the long haul” is what will always prepare us for these moments of challenge in our lives.
The Good News!
We are all dealing with this “new normal” together. We also have many ways to take our health into our own hands and quite literally change our own physiology to become stronger, more resilient and healthier. I truly feel this pandemic will make a massive change in the way we all as humans look at our health and wellness. It will get us to realize we DO have a say in how we feel, look and act. WE ARE IN CHARGE of these things, and all we have to do now is make the decision that we are going to make a change for the better.
I challenge you to look at one of these areas of your life to start – physical, emotional and mental – and choose one thing you will start with TODAY to make a 1% improvement in that area. For example, if you want to make a 1% improvement on your physical health maybe that means you will walk 3 nights a week, after dinner, around the block.
Remember, we are all in this together. Don’t let your (chronological) age be a factor that gets in the way of how you can and will live your life! After all, age is just a number.
Ready to take your health back into your own hands? We are here to help! Check out our 21 Day VIP experience below to get started to take control of your Physiological age again.
- Shammas MA.Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011;14(1):28-34. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834121b1
- Anitha A, Thanseem I, Vasu MM, Viswambharan V, Poovathinal SA.Telomeres in neurological disorders. Adv Clin Chem. 2019;90:81-132. doi:10.1016/bs.acc.2019.01.003
- World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun; 14(2): 231–233.Published online 2015 Jun 4. doi: 1002/wps.20231
By Ben S. Fogel
Right now, this is a time in our lives we have never seen the likes of. We have never had to self-isolate and had this much fear as a society of what will happen next to us physically, psychologically, socially, or economically.
We honestly have so many unknowns out there, and with the addition of the media’s 24-hour news cycle on the Coronavirus, we should be pretty fearful, right? I don’t necessarily agree that we should. I am going to explain why fear could make you even more susceptible to lower immune function, therefore placing you at a potentially even higher risk for getting sick.
To explain this, we will cover two of the bodies main systems that keep us running strong – the Immune System and the Endocrine System (specifically the adrenal glands).
The immune system you can think of as a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. I know we have been hearing that many people that have been infected with this disease have already been “immunocompromised”, which basically means they already had an underlying immune system issue – which much of the time is a controllable health condition such as:
– High Blood Pressure
– Sleep Apnea
Now, the last one on the list I want to talk about a little bit. As a Leukemia cancer survivor, I know this was not a “controllable health condition” that I had. I had no control over being diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. What I did have total control over was how I could respond to my condition and do everything in my power to strengthen my immune system while diagnosed and now in remission. An example of a “controllable” cancer would be lung cancer if you were a smoker for 30 years, then got lung cancer – we all know these types of cancers can be preventable.
Think of your immune system as being built for internal protection of the body. All of the things that protect your immunity, and that we have control of include, but are not limited to:
– The food we eat
– The exercise we get
– The sleep we get
– The stress our bodies are under
This last one is where it can get a little tricky, especially in times like these. This is where that second system can help, but can also hamper our ability to fight of infection and disease. This is the endocrine system, and more specifically the role of the adrenal glands. Think of the adrenal glands as our “fight or flight” system. We understand the importance of having this system in the body for when we actually sense an emergency and either need to fight or flee the situation (think of our ancestors running from the Sabretooth Tiger!).
But just think of this example for a moment. Let’s say you have a bacterial infection and your immune system is working overtime to fight the infection. But, at the same time, you are literally being chased by a Tiger! Yep, not the best timing here. What percent of your energy would you use to now fight the infection, and what percent of your energy would you use to run away from that darn Tiger?! I hope your answer is that at least 99% of your energy would go towards running from the Tiger.
This is a good thing, and this is what has kept our ancestors alive. But here is the part we should also consider. High levels of cortisol and stress hormones running through the body more than necessary (being afraid about this pandemic all of the time) is shutting down our immune system that is supposed to be maintaining the body’s protection.
Think now of what percent of “fight or flight” mode you are in right now? Were you the first one in line at the grocery store to get more toilet paper that you may not even need right now? Are you watching hours and hours a day of the news that may be stoking this fire of fear?
Check out the video where I go into even more detail of how to respond to these bouts of fear, and how to control the controllable in your life, and how to protect your immune system for the long haul.
Looking for some support from a community dedicated to your overall well-being and supporting you in all of the things you can currently control in your life? We would love to invite you to check out our LIVE Epic “At-Home” Coaching Program below, where you can give it a try for 21 days!