Welcome to Pushing The Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone and welcome back to Pushing The Limits this week. Today I have another very special guest, also a repeat offender on the show: Dr Cam McDonald, who is the CEO of ph360 in Australia. He is a exercise physiologist, as well as a nutritionist. This guy's a bit of an overachiever, as are many of my guests, It might add. And Dr Cam has spent the last decade furthering his knowledge and skills so as to promote health in a way that makes it easy and obvious for his clients. So Dr Cams blends his background as a dietitian and exercise physiologist with his long standing personal interest in health, and his passion for understanding the latest research in genetics, and environmental influence on health. Now, Dr Cam is one of my teachers, and he is a mind full of information on the way your genes and how your genes are expressing. So today we're going to be talking about all about genes, again, personalized health, how you can tailor things to your personal situation and your personal life.
Before we go over to the show, I just want to remind you, if you want to check out our Epigenetics Program, please go to lisatamati.com, hit the Work with Us button and then you'll see all of our programs. And one of those is our epigenetics health optimisation program, which is all based on your genetics. And so you can understand and learn how to optimise your potential, your health, your performance, your diet, your exercise regime, and so much more. So check that out, especially after listening to this podcast, you're gonna want to check that out. So make sure you go to lisatamati.com, hit the Work with Us button and check out our epigenetics program.
I'd also like you to check out our running program, if you are a runner out there and you haven't got a coach and you don't know where to go and you haven't got a structure. Maybe you're doing your first five K's, maybe you're just starting out, maybe doing 100 miler, I don't care, we take them all. We do customize, personalized plans, based on your needs, your lifestyle, your injuries, your goals, and make that specifically for you. We also do a full video analysis to help you improve your form. And you get a one on one consult with me. And then ongoing support with the team. So please check that out. Check out the package, runninghotcoaching.com. runninghotcoaching.com is the place to go to, there. And check out our running program. Right now over to the show with Dr Cam McDonald for a very exciting interview.
Lisa Tamati: Well, hi everyone and welcome back to Pushing The Limits. I'm super excited to have you here with me again. Today, I have another superstar, Dr Cam McDonald, all the way from Australia. And he is one of our mentors and teachers here. He is the CEO of ph360.me. So people are listening out there, you've probably heard one or two episodes where we've talked about genetics and epigenetics and how to understand your genes. Well, that's what we're going to be talking about today. And Dr Cam is an absolute expert on this. So welcome to the show, Dr Cam.
Dr Cam McDonald: Thanks, Lisa.
Lisa: Great to have you again.
Dr Cam: It's great to be here. It's been a long time between chats, but there's been an awful lot of interaction between. It's always been great.
Lisa: Yes, so you're our repeat offender on the show. But I think it was a good couple of years ago now. So I mean, meanwhile, we've dived deep into the world of epigenetics with you and learned from you and learned a ton of stuff. Way overdue that we had this conversation and started to share a little bit of your knowledge and the amazing things that we can now do with genetics and understanding how we run.
So everything in regards to epigenetics and genetics is all about personalising everything to your specific set of genes. And this has really been a game-changer for us personally and professionally, for our athletes, for people that we're working with, in the corporate setting and everything because everything should be personalised now, shouldn't it? Should we start there? I think that's a good place. Why is personalisation key?
Dr Cam: Yes, I mean there's a number of reasons why we definitely should be personalising. But the first is that we actually have the knowledge now, that's one thing. We have an understanding of how we can actually do this. I guess for our long history, and I guess for the history of the people that are alive, the people listening to this right now, we always know innately, ‘I'm different to that person’.
But then, when we go to recommendations. And when we go to how we go about our life, whether it be the job that we're sitting in, it's like, ‘You have to do this job in this way’ or ‘You can't do that great. We'll get someone else to do this job this way’. Like you must do this job this way. You must, ‘Oh, you're going to get fit? Great? You go to this gym, and you do this boot camp. Everyone goes to this boot camp because that's what is going to be great for everyone because the latest science says this’.
And when it comes to food, it's like ‘You should definitely do this because this is what the average of everyone should do’. And so we know that everyone's different. But then when we go to actually doing the thing, we apply the average or we apply what we think is appropriate thinking that everybody else is the same. So we have this disconnect between knowledge and action.
And so why we need to? I guess what we know now is that the timing of your food, the timing of your exercise, the type of exercise or foods that you're consuming, the type of work that you're doing, the types of interactions that you're having, if you don't get that right, it creates disease. If you align your body with its environment, then your body goes into a healing and recovery state, and you get healthier. But if you misalign, and that can just be getting up at the wrong time, and we see this with shift workers all the time—the longer that they do shift work, the more likely they are to die prematurely.
And this is when you get a misalignment with the body and the environment. But the really incredible thing is now, it's not just that we all should avoid shift work, it's rather that some people are going to be better suited to it than others. And when it comes to every other domain of life, there's going to be something that is great for one person. Like a big Gatorade is going to be the best thing ever for a runner during their race for it’s in the mean of best thing ever, and I'm not attached to Gatorade as a brand.
But let's say that you have some sort of electrolyte fluid as a drink. And that's going to be fantastic for a marathon runner 30K's in versus a person who's been sitting on the couch for the last six years and has a significant waist circumference and diabetes.
Dr Cam: That drink is diabolical. And so, when we start thinking about personalisation, we start thinking about, well, ‘What's going to help this person align and perform’? Because if you misalign, it creates disease. So that's another motivation.
And then I guess, as I started, we now have the understanding of how people are different, what people need to do about it, and we've got some really wonderful results on if we apply that to these individuals, they're going to get a great result for themselves. It's now the time that we can act on this innate knowledge that we've always had but do it in a very intelligent way.
Lisa: And do it in a very structured way. A great example of this is that the whole fitness industry was really run by people with a certain type of genetic combinations. And so we trained, and I belong in that group, and you belong in that particular group. We train people we like to train and how we see benefits. We see benefits from the way that we train—high-intensity workouts and getting up early and training. Well, that suits you and me, right, Dr Cam? Because we're very close on the epigenetics wheel, if you like, have similar genetic makeup. So that works for us. Whereas it doesn't work for someone on the other side, so who's more that of the endomorph type of body.
So I've used this example before, but my husband, I used to make him get up at five or six in the morning and do a CrossFit workout when he's what they call a Diplomat. And now in that terms, which means he has a different set of genetics, basically, that is not suited to getting up at that time and doing that type of workout. Both are wrong for him. From a chronobiological perspective, he should be in bed because his testosterone, his hormones are doing their thing at that time in the morning. So that was a problem.
Number two, I had him doing a type of exercise that was wrong for his body type. His ATP doesn't replace as quickly, and his cells are doing back-to-back sets just seem to map on a stress reaction. So his cortisol would be up, and then it would be up for the rest of the day. And what have I done to my poor husband? I've made him actually put on weight and not get further and feel like crap all day. So whereas for me, that same class, that same set of exercises, that same time of the day, perfect, and I'm good to go, and I'm really rearing to go. So that just gives you a little bit of an example.
So today, let's look at chronobiology because this is all about at the timings of when to do what. So can you explain what the science of chronobiology is, Dr Cam, and how it applies in this situation?
Dr Cam: Yes, absolutely. So chronobiology is how our biology interacts with time. And we know about this because we all get older—that's a chronobiological effect, is that we get older. But what's really interesting as well is that within because of the sun, and it's showing its face every day or so. It comes along at about 6 am and then leaves at about 6 pm whatever it might be. Because we've been living on this planet with this big stimulant from the sky, essentially our bodies have got adapted to things happening in a rhythm.
And so, it's just like we wake up, and then we go to bed, we wake up and then, that's a daily rhythm. We have a menstrual cycle. We have ovulation. We go through the menstrual period, and that happens on a 30-day cycle. We then have our early life. We have our middle age, and we have our later life. That's another cycle.
Even a yearly cycle as well, we have the circannual cycle. And so, we have seasons. So winter, it gets colder, and our body does different things. And so, essentially, now that we understand that we got these different patterns of time that are occurring, our body is constantly responding to cues from the outside.
And so where this work first came about was they started looking at shift workers instead of wondering why all of these people were getting so much more cardiovascular disease, diabetes. And they found that if you're waking up at night, and you're getting lots of light, and you're getting food at night as well—all of those things, tell your body, ‘Hey, you should be awake’. And so it wakes the body up.
But you've got this momentum of a cycle that's coming from generations of being exposed to the sun and sleeping at night, and all of our physiological systems are actually setting up for us to sleep at night and rest and recover and do a whole lot of things that definitely don't require doing heavy work or digesting food as much. And so we get this disruption. We get things happening and things being signalled to the body that shouldn't be signalled at that time, which creates irregularity in the hormones that flow through our body. Our cortisol, our melatonin, our testosterone levels, our adrenal levels—all of those things get shifted out of whack when we give ourselves an artificial time input. So we want to—essentially, the first and foremost, the first thing that we gauge what time it is is what amount of light we have.
Lisa: How much light, yes.
Dr Cam: Yes, and then when we get—when the sun comes up in the morning, it sets off this cascade of wakefulness. It takes us from dead asleep to awake in a very short period of time. There's a big hormonal shift that occurs to make that happen, and it maps into sunlight. And so, as we go through the day, we have this homeostatic drive of ‘The longer that I'm awake, the more I want to go to sleep’. That's a natural thing that we have. The more that you run, the more that you want to stop is another way of thinking about this one. So we have this—as the day goes on, you get more tired.
And we then also have these rhythmical changes. Essentially, it's not the homeostatic drive for tiredness, but the circadian drive of tiredness, and you'll have peaks in your day, or maybe in the afternoon, you're firing. Other people are really, really tired that they wake back up at night. Some people are really energised in the morning. We have all of these different things that are happening throughout the day as well. So to simplify all of this, our body is designed to rouse with early morning light or rears with light. We then are meant to—essentially, our body is searching for the rhythm that suits our body.
And what's really interesting, if you take light away from somebody—and I know I'm jumping all over the place, but I will bring this all together. So if you take light away from somebody. A great guy did an experiment on this way back in the day. He sat in a cave for a couple of months and with no changes in light at all, just exactly the same ambient light the whole time. And what happened was, his rhythm went to 24 and a half hours for a daily period. So what happens is, if we were to not have any sunlight input, we would run on a 24 and a half-hour cycle. And the was out of sync by a few days after a couple of months.
Lisa: After a couple of months.
Dr Cam: He actually—and he thought it was only a month that passed, it was two months that passed. His time really—oh no he thought it was three months that passed. It was only a couple months because time really slowed down. And so what we know is that inside our body, we have a rhythm.
Dr Cam: But that gets reset every day with the sunlight. And so, and it actually keeps us on track with the hormones that have been flowing as a result of that sunlight. So sunlight is one time giver. And if we disrupt that, it creates lots of disease in that shift work. Not only does your waist circumference get bigger the more shift work you do, all of the risks—cancer, diabetes, heart disease—increases the longer you do shift work.
Lisa: Wow. Wow.
Dr Cam: And what we see is if you disrupt a body for three days with bright light at night, they start looking like they get diabetes. Their insulin resistance changes.
Dr Cam: Within a few days, you can start disrupting these cycles of hormones, which makes your body say, ‘Well, there's something wrong with this environment. Why am I awake at a time where I shouldn't be? Well, there must be something wrong. Therefore, I'm going to start conserving. I'm going to start going into a stressed state so that I can escape and protect myself’, and diabetes is just the ultimate protection—starvation protection that makes you gain weight very easily. And so, after a few days, four days, you can actually start seeing some changes in metabolism if you're out of sync with your sleep alone, then four days to correct it. So you can actually get back on track very quickly.
Now, light isn't the only time giver, there is also heat that you have in your body. Food is also a time giver. Exercise is also a time giver. And so if you eat regularly at the same time each day, your body will start falling into a rhythm of ‘I expect food’, and this is what happens when you change your diet. Some people go from six meals a day to two. Let's say they're doing some fasting or something like that. They'll be really, really hungry at the times that they were eating when they're doing six meals a day for about a week.
Then what happens is each cell in our body has its own timekeeper as well. The master clock is coming from the sunlight, and then each tissue in our body has its own timekeeper. And so our gut takes about a week to correct itself, and then it starts getting on track with the new routine, and so then, it starts setting up for the new routine. Therefore food, it gives time to the body, it actually gives the schedule. And along with that food intake comes insulin release, hormone release, all of those types of things.
But then the really important thing we need to consider is if you don't stimulate the body at the right time to get the right hormonal outflow, you start going into disease. And so, if you're eating food at the wrong time, you're stimulating these hormones just as if you were not sleeping at the right time. If you're exercising at the wrong time. Let’s some bodies are really, really well adept at tolerating stress in the morning. If you exercise, that's a stress.
Dr Cam: You give your body that ‘Stress is coming now’. And if you do that regularly, your body's gonna say, ‘Okay, stress is coming now’. It prepares itself, and it deals with it quite well. But then if you take a night owl, and you give them that same stress in the morning, it gives them the time of stress in the morning, but their body is not set up for stress at that time of day. And so they start trying to compensate later through weight gains, like ‘I spent all of this energy at the time that I didn't want to. I wasn't set up for it, so I'm going to have to conserve my energy because something's wrong’.
Lisa: That’s what I was doing to the husband.
Dr Cam: Yes, absolutely. So what you see in a practical sense—and I'll just say one more thing as well, that the mind is also on a clock of its own. And essentially, if you're exercising at the wrong time, you set up the wrong kinds of hormones, and you can actually create complete status in your health. As in it doesn't get any better even though you're working really, really hard or can sometimes take you backwards.
And we're seeing this with some diabetes now is really high-intensity exercise in the morning, in some studies is indicating worsened blood sugar levels at the end of the day because everybody goes into survival of ‘Oh, this environment is really stressful’. So where you position things in your day…
Lisa: It’s crucial.
Dr Cam: ...sets a rhythm. But if that rhythm doesn't align with what your body needs in order to be in its best health, then it creates disease. And that disease, obviously, tracks down pathways of compensation and stress, and you end up with a body that has been getting up eating five meals per day, has been doing the early morning exercise, just like your husband.
Lisa: Yes. They’re getting nothing out of it.
Dr Cam: And because they’re putting stress out in the morning, they're giving them too much insulin response throughout the day because their bodies just not designed to get five hits of it throughout the day. Some bodies are, some bodies are.
Dr Cam: After 12 weeks, they've gained a kilo and got a bad knee. And they're wondering, ‘What the hell is going on’?
Lisa: And they've been a super disciplined person getting up. And I mean, just to give you a couple of examples of the set of my life because I like to put things into stories.
Dr Cam: Yes, please.
Lisa: So that people actually get the science. Six months ago I went through this terrible time with my dad, who was unfortunately dying and passed away in July. In the 16 days that we were in the hospital battling for his life, I was round the clock with him. Now my blood sugar levels went through the roof. So afterwards, I was showing like diabetic levels of blood sugars—fasting blood sugars because I was so out of whack and so stressed alongside of it. And it took me a good two to three months for me to get my body back into rhythm. So that was just 16 days of sleep deprivation, being up all night, hardly any food, in this case, was actually sharp throwing my blood sugar's up through the roof and the stress hormones that were coming out. So that's a really extreme example. And obviously, that was for a specific purpose.
And I've seen this also with ultramarathons that I've done, that I've been going for days on end. You would think that a person who was exercising 24/7, around the clock, sort of thing for not seven, but let’s say two, three days, that they would lose massive amounts of weight, and so on. And I would actually put on weight when I did ultramarathon. So I typically lose it initially, and then I would have all this weight gain. And then I would have this response. And within a month, I would be usually heavier than when I started, which was really frustrating.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: So this stuff matters, and this stuff is really, really important. And I've done podcast episodes already on circadian rhythms in regards to light and why we need to block out blue light at night time because, again, that's giving us a signal to stay awake and stopping our melatonin production.
And the example there with the cortisol, right? We want cortisol. We want these stress hormones at the right times of the day. So there is also a genetic component to this. And this is where, what we do at ph360, and what we find out in the programme that we run is looking at your specific genes in relation to circadian rhythms. Can you explain a little bit?
So why is it for my husband that if he gets up at 5 am and does that, that's not good for him? Whereas for my body type, that's not so bad?
Dr Cam: Yes, sure. So when we're talking about this, there is a genetic component, and I guess what we're going to be talking about today and what we've kind of alluded to is that there's also an epigenetic component. And so when we talk about chronotypes, and whether someone's an early bird, a night owl, or an intermediate type, or somewhere in between because there's a full continuum of where people are. This is based on not just their wants to wake up, not just that ‘I can wake up’, I'd prefer to sleep in’, or ‘I'd prefer to wake up early’. It's not necessarily that. It's actually as to when a body can tolerate stress and how that stress should be placed on them.
And in our body, at all times, there is a system of stress and then recovery, and it's that balance that we're trying to fluctuate through with our rhythms throughout the day. That's actually what the rhythms protect is that stress-to-recovery balance. So waking and then sleeping and then eat and then rest or, move, eat, rest, all of those types of things.
So, we have individuals that as they're developing in the womb, they get a heightened sensitivity to testosterone, they have a greater development of their adrenal system and their response to adrenaline, and that's due to embryological epigenetic factors. And to make that simple is that there's different tissues that are developing in the womb, obviously, that make up our body. Depending on the genes that you have and in the environment in the womb, you will give more dominance to certain tissues. And this particular person, they called the Activator in our ph360 circle. The Activators have, they develop the tissues more dominantly that are related to the muscle, the skeleton, the testosterone, and the reproductive glands, adrenal glands, kidneys. And so as they develop throughout their life, these hormones and these tissues have more dominance than the other tissues.
And so, I'll give another example just to give a comparison in a second. So if you've got a body that's more sensitive to testosterone, it also has a slightly stronger adrenal system. And Lisa is a perfect example of that, and I'm not too far from that.
Dr Cam: And essentially, what this body does really well is that it responds to that adrenal system very powerfully. And first thing in the morning is when your adrenal system is the strongest. This is when you get the biggest glucocorticoid release that's your cortisol and your adrenalines. And essentially, it's to say, ‘Hey, you were dead asleep, and now you need to be awake’.
And because they've got tissues that are also ready for that, they even take that energy. And if they use their adrenal system at that time, it matches their strength. This is what they've grown to be strong in. And so it matches their strength to be really great at this. And so, when they use it, it aligns with what their body is looking for. And then they ride that energy all the way through to the end of the day. And this is because we've put the right body into the right environment at the right time.
However, a Diplomat, which is the opposite side of the circle, and what we see with embryological development is, on a circle, opposite sides, you'll see opposite effects. And so, instead of it being the adrenal system and the testosterone system that's really sensitive within the body, the other body, we actually see their digestive system and their neuro system being more developed and more sensitive.
And so what's happening in digestion in the morning is that it's, essentially, it's regulating where all the fluid is going to go in the body. It's finishing off these really important digestive processes, clearing out the digestion, making sure that the gut is rested and ready for new meals. And it's doing that right up until 7am.
And so this body is having to focus all of its energy on its digestive system because that's the really important system for this body. And if you then stress this body, what happens is it goes, ‘Well, I was trying to put water into the right place, I was trying to get my digestion on track, and I'm running all of a sudden’?
Lisa: You’re just taking what. Yes.
Dr Cam: ‘Like this does not match at all. I don't need adrenaline right now. This is bad news’. And so what happens is the body then goes into compensation. It says, ‘Oh, God. Well, I'm gonna have to make up for this later. I've spent all of this fluid of sweat. I've used all of this energy’. And so this body goes, ‘Well, I didn't get time to put my fluid away, so where is it? Okay, I'm going to retain fluid now’, because, and this is exactly what happened in that body.
Lisa: You’ve put on weight.
Dr Cam: You have enough cortisol at the wrong time.
Dr Cam: They make that retaining fluid. And this is exactly what's happening—they get the adrenal burst in the morning, but if they then run with that with some morning exercise, it becomes too much for their system. They can't then do those digestive processes. Their gut goes off, which influences their serotonin production, which makes them less happy.
Dr Cam: What's really interesting with this kind of crowd is that the things that we'll see is an individual wakes up, like I said before, we'll get up, and they'll do their exercise. And what they'll notice is they start getting this bit of weight around the middle.
Lisa: Around the middle.
Dr Cam: And they'll also start accumulating fluid. They'll get a halo effect from exercise of two to three hours because their stress levels actually stay a lot higher for a lot longer because they shouldn't be stressed at that time. So they get this, and stress hormones make you feel alive, and they make you feel awake. And so, for the first three hours of the day, you're going, ‘Yes, I'm an early bird. This is awesome’, and then come lunch, it crashes really, really hard. And you also become more diabetic in the afternoon, for lack of a better term, more insulin resistance.
Lisa: Insulin resistance
Dr Cam: Yes. And so, this individual has been working their guts out literally, and all they've got is more fluid retention, tightness in the afternoon, weight gain around the middle, which is the thing that they're doing exercise for.
Lisa: They’re stuck.
Dr Cam: And if they just shift that exercise later in the day when their body is ready for movement because this body likes to conserve energy in the morning, make sure everything is sorted in their body, and then they can move in the stress and all that sort of stuff in the afternoon. And if they do that, there's no cortisol rise to the same extent. They have much lower cortisol all day, which means they don't deposit fat around their stomach.
Lisa: Because cortisol is a real effect on…
Dr Cam: Huge one. And this particular body, absolutely, because it's the opposite of the Activator, the Diplomat is, they don't like their cortisol so high. They like things to be cruisy and peaceful and steady as opposed to high-intensity and… Exactly. And so, whenever you put this body into this thing at the wrong time, you end up with this adverse effect. And you start questioning yourself, it's like, ‘What the hell could I be doing better? I'm waking up, I'm getting my food in…’
Lisa: ‘I’m useless’.
Dr Cam: ‘...I’m doing the things I’m supposed to do, and then I'm crashing in the afternoon’. And all of a sudden, now they're having three or four coffees, which is just another stimulant of cortisol.
Dr Cam: And then they worsen the effect. And so we see for this person, if they just sleep in, they actually start losing weight faster than if they exercise. And this is…
Lisa: So counterintuitive.
Dr Cam: So counterintuitive. But when you think that whether you put muscle or fat tissue on, it’s actually—not to do with your food or your exercise, it's got to do with the hormones that those foods and exercise stimulate.
Dr Cam: You don't grow muscle from protein alone. Because we'll see people in hospital who are malnourished, and we're feeding them lots of protein and they just burn then they lose weight. What we're trying to do is we need to modify the hormones. And if we get the right rhythm to our day—cortisol is acting, testosterone is acting at the right time, growth hormone is acting at the right time—if we were able to match our day with our hormone release that's relevant to us, then our body is able to—anytime that it gets some protein, is able to put it to work rather than burn it off in stress.
Dr Cam: And the same thing with exercise. If you do exercise stress at the right time, you stimulate the right growth hormones, which like in ultramarathon running, and I use this example all the time, it's just so appropriate right now. If you run for three days, are your muscles bigger by the end of the three days?
Lisa: Hell, no
Dr Cam: Exactly. They’re broken down. Exercise is a stress, and it just stimulates your body to say, ‘You need to be stronger here’. So this is where—whenever you're thinking about exercise and food, you've got to be thinking about ‘What hormones am I modulating here? And what hormones do I need right now’? And that's the information that we can have. Just two very simple examples that we provided before.
Lisa: Yes, and this is why this information in the programme that we do is so powerful because it gives you that specific information along with a ton of other things about what time to do things and when, in optimising your whole daily rhythms. But it isn't just about exercises, it is also about the food timing. So let's look at a little bit into the food timings and then also the whole neurotransmitter side of things.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: Like when am I going to get the best out of my brain? All that type of stuff as well. So from a food perspective.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: So you and I are Crusader. I'm a Crusader-Activator on the cusp there, means four to six meals a day is ideal for us or regular food. My mum's a Guardian. Opposite end of the wheel, again.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: Two to three meals a day, ideal. That doesn't mean that you and I can't do intermittent fasting. That doesn't, by the way. We can still do that and get the benefits of autophagy and stuff, but it's a shorter fast from what I worked on.
Dr Cam: That's exactly right.
Dr Cam: Yes. And that's the perfect—I was actually going to use those two examples for that, Lisa. Spot on. So we've got Activators and Diplomats, which we’ve spoken about. Then, we got the Crusaders and the Guardians. So Crusaders are, essentially, Lisa’s a really good example, I’m a good example.
Generally slight like a soccer player—taller, leaner, slender. And one of the features of their body is that they're very neurally-driven. So as opposed to adrenaline and testosterone, as opposed to digestive, the Crusaders are very neurally-driven. Everything is about mental focus, mental drive, and creation of hormones that allow you to keep driving forward. And you see these types of people in triathlons and marathons and anything that requires that long-term high-intensity focus.
Now, with this body, not prone at all to obesity. You have to really, really really push with bad habits to get this body to a level of obesity versus the Guardian. Naturally, this is your strongest, thickest jointed, biggest muscled, and also, they have the greatest capacity to store fat. So anyone that you see at powerlifting or in shot put or in those power sports, like the world's strongest men. Oprah is a good example of a Guardian. This is a body that's just more substantial.
And so what's really interesting about these two bodies is that—and I guess the most relevant one, we can start with the Guardian because it's kind of interesting. And then we'll come back to the Crusader, which is more—the most appropriate for general healthy guidelines than any other one.
Lisa: So we run the show as far as…
Dr Cam: We have the other types.
Lisa: ...we have told everybody how to do it all wrong.
Dr Cam: Well, and what's really interesting is that our bodies—because we're unlikely to be obese just with the way our body is made up. That's not good or bad. We die from other things, by the way. We may not die from diabetes.But we might get...
Lisa: What can else haunt us?
Dr Cam: Exactly. Yes. There’s Parkinson's or something not so pleasant like that. So essentially, when we're feeding a Guardian, they've got a body, they walk past a bakery, and they smell it, and they gain weight.
Dr Cam: They have this ability of just accumulating mass at all times. But they have these hormones in their body, and they're more sensitive to prolactin, and they produce more insulin. And these hormones are growth hormones. They make you grow. And so, they have an abundance of these things going on. They have a slightly slower thyroid, which means that they are able to conserve weight very easily. And what's really interesting, psychologically, they're being driven to care for people. So they have the most ability to conserve energy and the most ability to nurture. So you have these big, strong protective individuals.
Now what's really interesting with the timing of food, they’re recommended to have two meals per day, breakfast and lunch and then a very, very light, if not, non-existent dinner. Now, the reason that we do that, particularly with Guardians who are feeling like they wanting to—because this is the body that's most prone to excess weight gain as well. They'll be healthy and obese, but they can also really extend out past that unhealthy obese as well.
And so, what happens overnight is your prolactin and your growth hormones, even insulin release, all of these things are greatest overnight. And the reason for that is when we're sleeping, it’s the best time for our recovery. And so all of these hormones that are associated with growth are the response to the day of spending energy. ‘I spend all this energy. I burn. I then have to recover’.
Now, what's really interesting about the Guardians is that they have like a supercharged ability to grow overnight. And both protein and carbohydrates stimulate growth in different ways, and it's modulated through—insulin is a really great growth factor. It's one of the hormones that are involved. Essentially, if Guardians have a really big protein-carbohydrate meal at night, they get all of these growth factors at a time that they're about to have their biggest growth of the day.
Lisa: Growth anyway. Yes.
Dr Cam: And this is a body that all they do is grow really well. They actually have a different rhythm that's not as catabolic, or doesn't break down as easily. In fact, it's quite anabolic by nature, it grows very easily. When they get stressed, they grow. And so what we want to do is to help this person rather than top up their blood sugar levels, rather than give them protein to feel full, it's actually—these individuals don't get that hungry that often if they're eating the right types of foods.
Essentially, what we see is if we can remove the proteins, carbohydrates, and even the fats at night and have a very light dinner and on sort of that time-restricted feeding, I say, is the way that you can think about it, but it's an early window for the day. What we do is we drop those growth hormones and the growth factors, I should say. We allow their digestive system to do a whole lot more recovery overnight. They'll wake up the next day feeling so much lighter. But we also haven't triggered off their key growth factors, which they already have plenty of anyway.And so all of a sudden, now, instead of growing excess overnight, they're able to start just recovering other systems and processes in their body.
And particularly when you're getting the breakfast and getting the lunch, you're creating stability in their system, then you're just taking away their growth stimulus at night, and they can start losing weight. And what's really fascinating about this, the studies that have shown this is if you can take people with diabetes, you give them six meals per day of 1400 calories, or you give them two meals per day of 1400 calories—breakfast and lunch. And what you see is a one-kilo weight loss for the six meals per day and a five-kilo weight loss for the two meals a day.
Lisa: Massive on the same amount of calories.
Dr Cam: Exactly the same macros, exactly the same calories, it's just that we're changing when it's coming into the body.
Lisa: So these people shouldn't be doing a morning intermittent fast. They should be doing a stop at six o'clock eating type thing.
Dr Cam: Even five.
Lisa: Even five.
Dr Cam: But really, it's about two meals. And if those two meals can be earlier, that's going to be better. And with lunch, is a time when we really tolerate foods very well. There’s a lot of systems that are really supporting us. That's actually a time when the meal can be most substantial as well. And so, this is what's really important if we're thinking about, let's say, reversing diabetes, for example. If we give someone six meals per day, it almost prevents us from doing that.
Lisa: Wow, so you just can't fix it as you’re just getting it a spot.
Dr Cam: And it is why there are so many issues with so many, the dietary protocols out there because so many of that predicated on three meals and two snacks for this body. However, for the Crusaders…
Lisa: For us.
Dr Cam: ...which is the opposite function, they are much more likely to lose weight than gain weight. Obviously, in your exception, it's different when you're running ultramarathons.
Dr Cam: But we're more likely to wither and lose muscle, as opposed to the Guardian that's more likely to accumulate and gain. And so what food has to do for a Crusader is provide energy so that they don't break down. Because food is that important for recovery, and we will...
Lisa: And we’re catabolic by nature.
Dr Cam: Exactly. Food is designed to provide growth to a body that would otherwise be breaking down. And so when we see the need for regular three meals and two snacks throughout the day, and dinner can actually be relatively substantial because overnight, you want this body to take advantage of the recovery. Because if they don't get enough growth, then their immune system doesn't come on, and they start getting sick, and they start breaking down. Whereas the strength of the immune system in The Guardian is so much greater because that's the time that they really ramp up their growth.
So we have this newly-driven body that we're not trying to protect it from diabetes and insulin problems because they don't often have them, particularly insulin resistance, and they have a faster thyroid function so their metabolism is burning hotter. They have all of this mental energy that is burning as well, and that requires more carbohydrates. So essentially, we provide regular meals with carbohydrates to this body, and their brain starts operating really, really well, that decreases their stress. And it's the decrease in stress that allows muscle growth, that allows our waist to reduce. And so, by having more regular food, we actually end up with better body composition for this person. But if we have more regular food for the Guardian, we actually end up with worse.
Lisa: You need to know.
Dr Cam: Whereas if you put two meals per day into the Crusader, now, all of a sudden—because they've run out of fuel because their metabolism turns it over really quickly, they have to dip into their stress hormones to stay energised. So they have to use more cortisol and adrenaline. And what do those hormones do? They break muscle down, and they put fat around your waist.
And so we have this environment for a Crusader, if they're having two meals, they're having to stress and push to stay awake. And now all of a sudden—oh, and to stay alert and on. And now, we're going to have the effects of what those hormones do, which is in that body, they’re with the muscle, and they gain body, and they gain fat around their waist.
Lisa: Wow. So they can—that’s the exact opposite. So Crusaders can be overweight, but that's usually they hold it in the middle of the body around the waist, which is the most dangerous fat—that visceral fat. And with the Guardian—so this is why like some people when they get stressed lose weight, and some people when they get stressed put on weight. And this was always like, ‘Huh? How does that work? Because I thought cortisol always put on fat’. And it does for the Crusader as well, but it puts it on around the middle, and that's because the cortisol has gone up, and you haven't had enough food.
Okay, what about—this is just because I'm off on a tangent again—but autophagy? We all hear about inhibiting mTOR, which is one of the growth pathways. And I'm always like, ‘Okay, I'm an activated Crusader’. I'm on the cusp there. So do I do intermittent fasting or not? I feel like if I'm looking for autophagy and wanting to knock off senescent cells and all of that sort of thing, how do I do that without triggering my body to go into a stress situation?
Dr Cam: Great question. And so, this is what it comes down to then, we spoke about the rhythms at the start of the day—like the daily rhythm, the monthly rhythm, the yearly rhythms. Essentially, when we're looking at the rhythms of the different bodies, a Crusader has quite a quick turnover rhythm. So whereas the Guardian has a much longer slower turnover rhythm.
And so, what I mean by that is if a Crusader does a day or two of intermittent fasting, their metabolism goes, ‘Whoa’, like really hits them because they're always on the edge of their fuel supply. And so the fast hits them a lot faster, but they're their nervous system, which is the thing that's driving stress In their body, that will be impacted quite significantly if they go without food for a period of time. It'll start driving muscle loss and demineralisation to keep the body alert.
And so, for a Crusader, it might be the one day per week that you do that thing just to give yourself a bit of a top up. For example—or to give yourself that effect of autophagy. Whereas for a Guardian, they have this ability to accumulate, and their rhythms are much slower. They can actually go for extended periods of time in that intermittent fasting. It's actually quite beneficial for them because they are more likely to build up toxins, and they're more likely to conserve over time. That state of a semi-fasted life is actually appropriate for them because their body, generally, their rhythms are slower and steadier, and they aren't affected by a lack of caloric intake or a lower caloric intake as much.
Lisa: So for us to do extended fasts as Crusader types, are we putting ourselves at risk then? If so, how do we get rid of that? Because autophagy, just for those listening who don't know what the hell autophagy is, it’s basically recycling when a body goes up, there's not enough food supply around, there's not enough nutrients because their body is sensing the nutrients that's available in our blood, and this can be low protein or low caloric intake. And then it starts to recycle old parts of cells or knock off cells that are damaged and not doing the job properly. And this is a process that we want to have, but as Crusaders, we don't want to tip ourselves into the stressed out state, where we’re actually too catabolic.
So, because there's lots of things going around about fasting and the benefits of fasting. And, again, it is appropriate for one type more than another type or at certain periods of time. So how would you optimise it for a Crusader versus a Guardian?
Dr Cam: Yes. Okay, that's good call. So essentially—probably, the thing to state here is that it's not just food that creates this level of stress or rest and recovery. If you were—let's say, for example, that you're up in some sort of retreat, where they're doing meditations a lot of the day, where you're walking in nature, where it's just very, very gentle surrounds, and there's virtually no stress on your nervous system, and you're able to completely dial out, this is as a Crusader, then you're going to be able to tolerate a much lower food intake for a longer period of time because there's less requirement that's being placed on. You have food.
But if you're in the middle of a busy week and you start fasting, your brains will go in ‘Well, I still want to get stuff done.’ And so your brain is going, ‘Let's do this’. And so in order to do that, you have to create stress hormone responses to keep your brain alive and to break muscle down, turn it into glucose that you can use in your brain for fuel.
Lisa: Oh, we don’t want that.
Dr Cam: So it definitely depends on the environment that you're in as to how long you could do this. But generally, what we say is, if a Crusader is going to be doing some sort of intermittent fasting or something like that, just doing a day per week, and on a day where you can control the amount of stuff that is going on so you're not too narrowly stressed, it's really, really good way of going.
Making sure you're meditating, deep breathing throughout the day, doing some gentle exercise, some stretching, just to really calm your nervous system. You're not having to do really big meetings and really stressful thinking sessions because you want to dial down the thing that's taking all of your energy. And for a Crusader, it's their brain.
Dr Cam: And so if that's being used lots, then the body will commit its reserves to looking after the brain. So you have to turn that off in order to do a fast without affecting yourself too much.
Dr Cam: Because if prolonged, you'll start continually breaking down muscle tissue to fuel your brain, and that's not good. And you release a whole lot of calcium from your bones to provide energy in your mitochondria.
Dr Cam: In your little, your muscle tissue within your muscle fibres as well. You need calcium to make muscles contract and do their thing. And if you're stressed and not consuming, you'll release more of that, which is not a good thing either.
Dr Cam: So this is where you will essentially know...Yes, osteoporosis is a big risk for Crusaders. So you will essentially know that if you're doing a semi-fast and you're starting to have the feeling, if you're a Crusader out there, you're having to push to have your energy. When you're using your energy and flow, it should be just this flow of energy that feels good to use when you're doing mental tasks and things like that. If you've fasted for too long, it'll now be this push. It's like, ‘I have to get myself up to do this work’. And that requires...
Lisa: You repel.
Dr Cam: Yes, yes. So if you're starting to get less motivated, and you're getting to the end of a job, and you're just exhausted, I would say you're fasted too long because your body overextending itself.
The thing about Crusaders is their bodies are quite sensitive. You'll be able to pick up on those cues a couple of days in just to see what's going on.
Lisa: That’s really important for people to understand. That again, it's not a one-size-fits-all when you hear everybody talking about intermittent fasting or doing these things on autophagy and inhibiting mTOR and all those sort of things. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach once again. It really needs to be...and just talking about the Guardians to like what we've been saying, sounds all negative. They tend to hold—and I know like my mum complains bitterly when I give her this tiny little meal at nighttime that's full of veggies, and she doesn't get a big steak like I'm eating. And that’s a pain for her at times.
However, her body—to see the advantages of being a Guardian. Like back in the caveman days, she would have survived—I would have been long gone if there was a lack of food supply. She would have carried on and survived. Her immune system is incredibly strong. She's very resilient. She was in a wheelchair for 18 months, and she still had massively strong muscles. She's not catabolic in that, but she has a struggle with her weight. And now we've seem to have cracked the code on it. Because we're doing the meals at the right times most of the time and doing it appropriate for her body, we've had this huge weight loss over a very long period of time.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: And that's the way to do it. That's what you want. You want to sort of do that in a controlled manner. And so there are good—and she's never going to get osteoporosis. Her bones aren't going to break. Mine? Quite likely.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: There's likely to have Alzheimer's even given whose particular situation. So those are some of the benefits just for those listening out there who resonate with that body type. Not to think it's all negative. And we've got an ‘Oh, gosh’, and we have an ‘Oh, good’ some things.
Dr Cam: And to add to that, survival wise, we would have these individuals who are much stronger than everybody else who has a focus on looking after everybody else. The reason that their body is built the way it is is when we go through famine as a community, their body goes into conservation, they start growing, or essentially, they start growing, or they start slowing down their metabolism so that they can provide food for everybody else. There's this internal ‘I must provide’. And so, their body actually assist with that, and it slows down its metabolism, enables it to gain more or at least stop the weight loss. And this is why, for this body, you can actually extend the fast because they have this incredible resilience.
What's interesting about this body is that when you, any kind of stress—mental stress and things like that—if they experience stress, they'll say, ‘Ah, my community mustn't be safe. If I'm stressed, I'm the most resilient and I'm the strongest. So everybody else must be almost dying. So I'm going to start slowing my metabolism down straight away’. And as a result, they're going to take advantage of those hormones that help you grow, like the insulin resistance, the lower thyroid function. They're going to take advantage of those to be stronger for the community.
Dr Cam: And this is a really important piece for any of your Kiwi listeners, particularly Modi and Modi populations.
Lisa: Yes. They’re dominant Guardian.
Dr Cam: They stick out and generally have got this incredible capacity for protection. They're very family-oriented, it's all about protection of the family. And that thing comes from the same thing that makes them big and strong. It also makes them much more tolerant of prolonged fast because their body is designed to be a faster.
What's really interesting is their body was meant to accumulate during great times. And then when the fast came along, they just ate. And as they fast, they get healthier. Like their blood sugar start normalising, whereas the Crusader or the Sensor, that the leanest of the bodies, when they fast, they start breaking down and heading towards disease because they just lack that ability to grow and that ability to accumulate. So the mTOR pathways, which is all about growth, they're actually very protective for Crusaders and senses. And so we don't want to spend too long without them versus a Guardian, Connectors. Some Connectors and Diplomats, they have probably an excess of growth. And so, for them, that pathway is going to be more relevant to modulate or at least you'll be able to influence it for longer with greater effect.
Lisa: And this is why we see in the Polynesian community more diabetes, more cardiovascular disease, more—and then they also have a tendency to like those particular types of foods even more. So when you see with Sensors—it’s another one that we haven't gotten to, but that’s a real ectomorph body—and Crusaders have a tendency to actually want more vegetables and things, and they can actually do with more cooked, slow-cooked meats, and things like that.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: But they have a tendency to like those sort of heavier, fattier, more sugar-rich foods when that's actually the worst thing for them. And that's why we're seeing, unfortunately, so much diabetes, so many metabolic disorders, and so on.
Dr Cam: Yes, well, those foods provide a lot of safety. By having so many calories, it's like, well, ‘If I've got enough weight on, my family is now protected’. And so there's this biological drive to eat foods that are very caloric so that you can have more mass because more mass equals more protection for my family. But if you just go and lift really, really heavy weights, your body feels heavier, your body gets the sense that it's more stable and stronger, and that can actually replace. It's a really interesting one that requirement.
Lisa: Ah, is that right?
Dr Cam: That requirement to feel it. Yes. So there's a feeling of groundedness you get from those very heavy weights, and we also know that it actually creates a bit more growth hormone, a bit more recovery overnight, but it will direct it with the right nutrients and the right exercise to muscle growth rather than fat.
Lisa: So that's why the Diplomat and the Guardian body types, these stronger, heavier body types are really good at heavy weight lifting. And even though—because I have this argument with some of the clients that we have—women who are Guardians or Diplomats, ‘I don't want to do heavy weights. I don't want to put on more muscle mass’. But that it's—again, that’s counterintuitive. So they ended up doing lots of cardio-based stuff, which has its benefits as well, but it doesn't have the quickest response as, say, heavyweight sessions will do.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: Is that right.
Dr Cam: That's exactly right. Yeah. And there's a number of things that need to go on, but essentially, this body needs to feel heavy. There needs to be white in the joints, like there's a joint receptor reflex that sends signals back up to the brain to say ‘You are heavy enough, therefore your family is safe’. And I know it's a bit of a…
Lisa: It’s wow.
Dr Cam: ...a narrative piece, but you only need to get someone doing this, you only need to get a hilltop, like a Guardian or a Diplomat, doing this type of training and understand the benefits of it. It's a very...
Lisa: Visceral thing really. You know what I’m saying.
Dr Cam: It is.
Dr Cam: Visceral is the perfect word.
Dr Cam: I was thinking soulful, but visceral is definitely...
Lisa: Visceral, yes.
Dr Cam: Yes, it resonates because they feel strong.
Lisa: It resonates with the dominant hormones.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: And then there's, yes.
Dr Cam: And they’ve got these massive muscles that are not designed to lift little weights. And their biomechanics actually improve when they start lifting a heavier weight because the whole muscle is engaged in the way that it's supposed to. So it's fascinating. The form has a function, and the form directs optimal function as well if you look at it appropriately.
Lisa: And if you put a heavy weight when on your awry, we are all likely to rip something.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: A tendon or a...
Dr Cam: Or both.
Lisa: We don't like it. Yes.
Dr Cam: Yes, that’s right.
Lisa: We're better suited to medium sort of weight. So still weight training but not the heavy, heavy stuff. And we can do sort of back-to-back sessions as opposed to or back-to-back sets. Whereas with my husband and my brother, when I’m doing training with them, I get them to do a set, have a rest, do a set, have a rest. Not a CrossFit style back-to-back type of training either.
And all of these bits of the puzzle, like getting this information helps you eliminate all the trial and error about working with your body, and so that you get the results that you want and deserve without like—because I bet there's hundreds of people sitting out there now going banging their heads against a brick wall because they've done the wrong thing for the last 20 years. And I was one of them.
Like doing ultramarathons super, super long distance for an Activator-Crusader body type. Not a good combination because I have more short-term strength than I do long-distance endurance. It doesn't mean I can never do it, but it just means that I shouldn't be doing back-to-back ultra marathons, which is what I did, and I end up paying quite a high price with my health.
Whereas for another person, that might be perfectly fine thing to do. Probably not as the extreme of stupidness that I did it because it was just really ridiculous. And so you start—if you put your body in the right environment, get the right foods, eat at the right times of the day, work and do your mental stuff, you'll get health. And you'll get optimal performance, and you'll get longevity, all as a byproduct of doing this in the right... Can we just touch on there, Dr Cam, just before we wrap up? Because I know it's time to wrap up. But the neurotransmitters for each different body type—and we can just go over this quickly, and I think we probably need to spend an hour just on that, but maybe we'll do that next time.
But just as a brief overview. So you said prolactin.That's the caring hormone for the Guardians and Nurturers. This is why these people make wonderful mothers and fathers and tribal leaders and leaders of companies even. Because they're that steady look-after-everybody type. If we go to the Diplomats, what are they? What's their dominant hormone