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Simplicity, Synbiotics, Exercise + Mindfulness, Sleep Debt, and Much More

Issue 179

Good afternoon Nikkola Newsletterers!


Just saying the word to yourself or out loud has a calming effect, doesn’t it? I’m trying to embrace that word this year.

We’ve overcomplicated almost every area of life, and that’s especially true when it comes to health and fitness. If you follow influencers on social media or get caught up in the advertising around your fitness center, you’ll start to believe that the only way to get fit is to:

  • Crawl out of bed and into an ice bath every morning

  • Workout almost every day of the week

  • On off days, do yoga, group fitness, or run a half marathon

  • After each workout, get a session of stretching in with your stretch coach, followed by 20 minutes in a hot tub

  • Prep meals twice a week so you won’t have to have your lips touch something unprocessed

  • Take time each evening to do some extra stretching and then take 10 minutes to do some brain training games on your iPhone

  • Shoot, you didn’t fit in a sauna. Make that work in there somewhere, too. And meditate while you’re in the sauna because there won’t be time to fit it in anywhere else

I get tense just imagining trying to do that all.

I’ve watched the fitness industry excitedly embrace dozens of training and recovery methods, programs, gadgets, and tons of gear, trying to figure out how to get everyday Joes and Janes to spend money on it.

If you’re a professional athlete or retired with no responsibilities, it might be realistic to do it all. But if that’s not you (and it’s certainly not me), make time for the most essential habits, and be okay with not following the crowd into the overcomplicated and time-consuming ones.

If people just got enough sleep, strength trained four days per week, and ate a high-protein diet, they’d be blown away by how lean, strong, and healthy they became, physically. And if they started their day with the Happy Juice supplement stack, they’d be well on their way toward better mental health.

Simplicity is sustainable. Complicated is not. Choose simplicity this year.

Enjoy this week's carefully curated newsletter!

Handle stress better. Crush your to-do list. Feel motivated to eat well and exercise. Guaranteed!

I wish this had been available throughout my health and fitness career. It would have made such a huge difference in my clients’ success. But it’s here now, and it can impact yours (and your clients if you’re a fit pro).

🏃‍♀️ The Warm-Up

Brief summaries of the latest research findings.

Synbiotics (probiotic + prebiotic) are more effective for weight management. Another new study shows the benefits of synbiotics (the combination of a probiotic with the right prebiotic fiber) for reducing body fat and visceral fat. The emphasizes the importance of taking probiotic formulas along with the right fiber sources. That’s what Amare does with formulas like MentaBiotics and GBX Fit, combining specific probiotic strains with the exact fiber source that helps them grow and proliferate. In this new study, the researchers found that “combined intake of GCL2505 and inulin improves the intestinal environment and reduces abdominal fat.”

Exercise + mindfulness better than either alone. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but mindfulness practices combined with physical fitness programs result in better mental health than what either offers alone. Each impacts your mental wellbeing in different ways. Imagine what drinking your Happy Juice before getting started with them could do!

Sleep debt does more damage to your brain than it does to your body, for athletes, too. To be physically and mentally healthy, kids aged 6-12 need 12 hours of sleep each night, teens need 10 hours, and adults need at least seven hours. It’s bad enough that many adults fall short, but it’s even worse that so many kids don’t get enough. Even physically fit athletes suffer when they don’t get enough sleep. Coaches, consider this, “Studies of collegiate athletes show that when they don't get enough sleep, their reaction times and accuracy decrease. One study focusing on basketball free throws and three-pointers found that sleep-deprived athletes can see a drop of 50% in accuracy. With 10 or more hours of sleep, accuracy can increase by 10%. That's a 60% potential difference in performance.” When sports practice limits sleep, athlete’s performance suffers.

With age, you need more strength training and more protein to build or maintain muscle, not less. As you age, your body develops a condition called “anabolic resistance.” In order to build or maintain muscle, your body needs a “louder” signal than it did when you were young. That means, you need to eat more protein and strength train with more sets (a.k.a. volume) than when you were younger. Most physicians don’t understand this, which is why they rarely emphasize how essential a higher-protein diet and a good resistance training program are for slowing age-related decline.

Along those same lines…the mismatch between what heart disease patients are told to do, and what research shows they should do. Most patients with coronary heart disease are told to walk slowly or do other low-intensity aerobic exercise. Many, unfortunately, are told not to strength train. And even worse, most are told to avoid high-intensity exercise. Yet, according to a new study, high-intensity interval training actually reverses atheroma volume and counteracts coronary artery disease.

🏋️‍♂️ The Workout

Full-length features from my blog

Kids Mood Plus: The Best Pixie Stick Ever For Kids. Kids have moods too. Sometimes, they’re not the kinds of moods they want, nor that their parents want. Fortunately, there’s safe, effective, and great-tasting way to improve kids’ moods with Amare Mood+. Keep reading…​

Myokines: Pharmaceutical-Like Effects of Strength Training. Strength training, along with optimal sleep and a high-protein diet, could be considered a preventative treatment as well as a medical therapy. Benefits of resistance training include:

  • Reversing muscle loss (sarcopenia or cachexia)

  • Restoring a healthy metabolism

  • Reducing body fat

  • Improving physical function, strength, coordination, and mobility

  • Improving insulin sensitivity and reversing type II diabetes

  • Enhancing cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides while improving vascular tone

  • Increasing bone density

  • Enhancing mental health

  • Reducing inflammation

That’s quite a list of health benefits. If a drug did all that, it would be a bigger seller than a COVID-19 vaccine. Keep reading…

🧘‍♀️ The Cooldown

Other interesting articles from around the web

5 Therapist-Recommended Exercises to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis (The Epoch Times). I can usually spot a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from across a room. They are almost always rubbing the backs of their hands and grimacing. RA is an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, causing joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. It commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, or ankles but can also affect organs and tissues throughout the body. It’s the leading cause of work disability in the United States, affecting more women than men and with a higher prevalence among older individuals. Keep reading…

Biden ‘Saves’ Democracy by Destroying it (American Greatness). When faced with the possible return of President Donald Trump, the current agenda of the Democratic Party is summed up simply as “We had to destroy democracy to save it.” The effort shares a common theme: any means necessary are justified to prevent the people from choosing their own president, given the fear that a majority might vote to elect Donald Trump. Sometimes the anti-democratic paranoia has been outsourced to state and local officials and prosecutors to erase Trump from the primary and likely general election ballots as well. Keep reading…

In faith, fitness, and fortitude,
Tom Nikkola, CSCS

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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