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I have a powerhouse session with Dr. Tommy Wood of Nourish, Balance, Thrive where a great many topics are covered that can transform your health. This is the first of a two-part show, so fasten your seatbelts for a wild ride covering a wide range of health, fat burning, and longevity topics. Tommy is a medical doctor trained at Oxford and Cambridge, with a Ph.D. in neonatal brain research from University of Oslo. Of British and Icelandic heritage, Tommy has landed in the Seattle area, where he and his wife both do professor-ish stuff at You Dub, or the University of Washington. He is the Chief Scientific Doctor for the comprehensive health and peak performance testing and consultation service called NourishBalanceThrive.com. This is the absolute cutting edge of progressive health for athletes and anyone wanting to achieve peak performance. The NBT program goes beyond traditional medicine to identify hormonal and nutritional deficiencies through extensive blood, urine, stool and saliva testing, expert consultations, and targeted supplementation.
What’s most cool about Tommy is that he is as absolutely ankle-deep into the science of health, metabolism, and longevity as anyone on the planet, but he emphasizes the simple, practical healthy lifestyle practices above all. He did a whole show on the Nourish, Balance, Thrive podcast channel about how owning a dog can significantly boost your health (get outside frequently, engage in spontaneous play). Brucebowen, the regal white boxer seen in the show photo, has received the highest possible honor by the American Kennel Club of being banned from championship dog shows out of respect for fair competition for all lesser breeds.
Tommy talks about how positive social interactions help us manage our level of systemic inflammation—a key predictor of disease and demise when it’s out of control. We then talk about the prominent fight or flight hormone, cortisol. Understanding how to manage the chronic stressors of daily life and optimize cortisol is the secret to recovering from training, staying healthy, and minimizing disease risk. Tommy encapsulates this important concept by explaining that cortisol spikes “liquidate your assets,” quoting from a book he recommends, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.”
During my career as a professional triathlete, I was repeatedly fooled by the mechanisms of the fight or flite response that had me feeling great, albeit bathed in stress hormones on an artificial chemical high where I was liquidating my assets. A wallet filled with cash and credit card bills stacking up.
Tommy explains how we respond to stress differently, and how can teach ourselves to better handle traffic jams, work stress, and even training sessions, so the stress impact is minimized. Listen to Joel Jamieson’s podcast about Rebound Training where you can do workouts that nurture the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Tommy recaps his talk at Ancestral Health Symposium where he started with the compelling premise that today’s model of fitness and athletic training are wholly modern constructs that have little to do with our ancestral hunter-gatherer activity patterns. Studies from the modern day hunter-gatherer Hadza tribe in Africa show that they move around a lot but are never plunging into destructive chronic patterns like modern athletes. Tommy also talks about how gut dysfunction is very prevalent among hard training fitness enthusiasts, and how becoming fat adapted can help alleviate the stress on your digestive system caused by exercise.
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