Health and Fitness Data: How Much is Too Much?

blond woman setting her timer before jogging

Apple Watches, GPS watches, step counters, smart phones, and fitness trackers.

Sensors in our shoes.

Sensors in the kitchen.

The sources for live health and fitness data these days are seemingly endless, and with each new gadget, data tracking becomes a bigger part of our everyday life.

But is all that data really useful? And if it is, when does it become too much?

Of course there’s no right answer, but those are the questions we try to tackle in today’s episode. We discuss the trend towards more data, how it can be helpful, and why too much data caused me to assume the worst about my health.

And of course, we poke fun of those 10,000 steps everyone is suddenly trying to hit.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why blood work left me in a panic
  • Do we really know how to interpret all this data?
  • How you should be using the information you collect
  • A case for not tracking your runs
  • A case for tracking each and every workout

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Nerd Fitness’ Steve Kamb on How to Level Up Your Life

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Steve Kamb is a blogging buddy of mine from way back. We both started our sites in 2009 (damn, that seems like a long time ago!), met in person in 2010, and were even in an accountability group together for a few months.

If you think No Meat Athlete is a blogging success story, well, then you haven’t seen Nerd Fitness. The unlikely combination of superhero nerd culture and serious fitness and motivation turns out to be exactly what the internet was looking for, and Nerd Fitness has exploded in the past few years.

In this episode, Steve and I talk about forming about how Nerd Fitness got started, how to “stop relying on discipline, and start manufacturing discipline,” and of course his new book, Level Up Your Life.

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Our Backwards Approach to New Year’s Goals

Happy New Year

It’s a new year, which can only mean one thing … new goals, resolutions, and habits.

Normally that would be the case for both me and Doug. We’d set specific goals, and work like crazy to reach them.

But this year, when we sat down to plan out this episode, something weird happened. Neither of us had specific goals, and instead we found we’re both taking a similar (and oddly backwards) approach to 2016 resolutions.

In today’s episode we talk about that backwards approach to new years goals, and how we see potential for even greater positive changes.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Matt ruined Christmas
  • Why we’re taking a backwards approach to New Year’s goals
  • The books that are shaping our resolutions
  • Potential problems with our goals
  • Should you take this backwards approach?

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Vegan Pro Soccer Player Baggio Husidic

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From mid-pack runners to professional triathletes, we’ve had the opportunity to share a lot of stories and advice from vegan athletes on this podcast. But today’s interview is a first — Baggio Hudisic, an MLS soccer player.

I’m excited to share my conversation with the vegan midfielder for the LA Galaxy about his diet, training, and how going plant-based is making him a better athlete.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The impact of Baggio’s childhood (his family fled Bosnia to escape the war in the mid-90’s) on his attitude towards soccer and diet
  • When and why he went vegan
  • Was it risky to go vegan when you’re already a pro?
  • The incredible, measurable results Baggio has experienced since going vegan
  • The affect his diet and results have had on teammates
  • How Baggio eats on a typical training day

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What Happens When You Can’t Run?

runner woman rest on the leaves in park

It was traumatic. It was uncomfortable, painful, and frightening, and Matt loves to bring it up.

Alright fine, maybe — now that’s it’s over — it’s also a little funny.

Of course I’m talking about the groin story we’ve vaguely teased over the past month. Matt has finally convinced me is worth sharing on this podcast.

But while the story might start with the groin (or actually a 50K ultramarathon) it’s about much more than that. The real story is about mindfulness, letting go of pain and discomfort, and how to handle an injury that leaves you unable to run.

That’s the part of this dreadful, embarrassing story we want to share with you today.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The truth about Doug’s groin
  • What we can learn from a terrible case of poison ivy
  • Can mindfulness help with running?
  • Where to put your pain
  • Untangling your happiness from your goals

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Michael Greger, MD on How Not to Die

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I admit I’ve been a bit behind the curve when it comes to the considerable force that is Dr. Michael Greger, author of the new (and gigantic) book, How Not to Die.

As one has always preferred reading text to watching video, it took me a while to discover what an incredible resource his site, NutritionFacts.org, is. There Greger posts daily videos about nutrition, based heavily on the distilled results of scientific journal articles and watchable in four minutes or less.

But when I watched several of his presentations on last year’s Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise — he gives more than 100 talks per year — I became an instant fan. What I didn’t know then was that he donates all of his speaking fees, doesn’t profit from his website, and gives away all his book royalties, too.

Benevolently, I’m sure, but with the pleasant side effect of preserving his scientific integrity, giving his recommendations that much more weight in my eyes.

Oh, and Dr. Greger is also the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States. No big deal.

I was fortunate to get Dr. Greger to slow down (sort of: he recorded this interview from his treadmill desk, on which he walks 17 miles each day) to record a 40-minute interview for NMA Radio, and it’s my pleasure to share it with you today. It’s one of my favorite episodes to date, and when you listen, you’ll get an immediate sense for Michael’s enthusiasm and benefit from his immensely deep understanding of health and nutrition.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Do we not need “diet” books at all?
  • Why nobody needs to give up their favorite foods
  • When we might starting living forever (it’s sooner than you think)
  • How to deal with conflicting nutrition information on the internet
  • Dr. Greger’s interesting definition of whole foods — and when we can improve on nature’s foods
  • Should Twinkies be on the Paleo diet?
  • Coffee: good for bad?
  • Dr. Greger’s thoughts on oil

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How to Make the Most of the Cold Winter Months

Man running in the forest in winter time

You know winter has officially arrived when you contemplate skipping a run altogether because you can’t find your running tights.

That’s what happened to me last week, and I have a feeling I wasn’t the only one impatiently digging through a closet contemplating the cold.

In today’s episode, Matt and I share our survival guide for how to get through the cold winter months. We tackle everything from running in the cold, to indoor exercise options for those that don’t want to brave the elements, to using winter to set the stage for the coming year.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The indoorsman’s guide to running through winter
  • Staying active without leaving your house
  • What does Doug wear in the sauna?
  • Why we should expose ourselves to winter’s elements
  • Indulging in warming comfort foods
  • Using winter to lay your habit foundation

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How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Mother and child at kitchen

If wading through all the conflicting information out there to decide how to feed yourself is hard, making that choice for your children is even more stressful.

You can pay attention to your body and how you feel when you make personal diet decisions. And if by chance you do make a mistake and your health suffers for it, you can handle that your own choices are to blame.

With your kids, though, there’s an added sense of a responsibility, and for me at least, much less tolerance for risk. Diet self-experiments might be fun for me, but when it comes to what my kids eat, I’m not interested in anything that hasn’t been proven.

In this episode of NMA Radio, I interview Karen Ranzi, raw food advocate and author of Creating Healthy Children, which T. Colin Campbell has endorsed as a “most important book … that is must reading.”

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How I raise my kids as vegans
  • How to interest your kids in fresh fruits and vegetables
  • What parents can do to feel confident in the choice to feed their kids a vegan diet
  • How to deal with outside criticism about how you feed your family
  • Finding a supportive pediatrician
  • Should kids choose this diet, or should we choose it for them?
  • The philosophy of attachment parenting

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