Staying Fit After 50, with Zane Griggs

This Podcast In Summary

Dr. Nayan Patel, Chief Scientific Officer at Thrivleab is joined by fitness trainer and author of "Kicking Ass After 50",  Zane Griggs as he emphasizes the need for strategic fitness approaches as we age, stressing the importance of diet, exercise, and sleep for longevity and high performance. Dr. Patel underscores the critical role of sleep in recovery and the impact of muscle mass on metabolic health. They explore strategies such as whole foods, strength training, and testosterone replacement therapy to optimize health and combat age-related issues. The conversation also touches on biohacking techniques such as creatine supplementation and sauna. Through success stories, Zane illustrates the transformative effects of personalized approaches tailored to individual needs, offering valuable insights for achieving fitness and longevity at any stage of life. 

Check out Zane Griggs on Instagram @zanegriggs fitness or his website


Dr. Nayan Patel (00:00)

Hello everybody, welcome to TRT Talks. This is Dr. Nayan Patel with Thrivelab. And today we have an amazing guest Zane Griggs, who is the author of the book, “Kicking Ass After 50”, and “Healthy After 50” podcast as well. Zane, please introduce yourself.

Zane Griggs (00:21)

Thank you, Dr. Patel. Yeah, my name is Zane Griggs. I've been a fitness trainer and coach for 25 years. And I've just found that as I got closer into the 40s and closer to 50, there's a, things shift, things change, things become a little more difficult. And we have to be a little more strategic in our approach to fitness, longevity. Staying high performers in our careers and being available for our families when we have those special hours with them. So focusing in on that has become really my niche, my focus at this point. I'm 53 and I definitely felt the difference. I really felt it in my late 40s. I felt it coming on where I had to change my own strategies. I just couldn't. There were some things, some stressors, some things I was doing that I couldn't continue to maintain at the level I had been, say, in my early to late 30s or early 40s. And so I just had to be a little smarter. And so I think it's really about working smarter, not harder. But that has really been the focus of the book, gave me some strategies and to help people see, hey, there's help out there. But it really starts with diet, exercise and sleep. Prioritizing sleep and recovery and then a few bio hacks along the way, but those are the foundations is diet, exercise and sleep. And so that has been over the last, I would say six or seven years, the focus of my practice with my clients and in my own life and just the message that I'm trying to get out to people is like, we don't have to let off the gas. We don't need to retire to the the armchair just because we're running down, we have alternatives to really keep charging forward. And so that's why I want to encourage people to do it. We just have to be a little more strategic about it.

Dr. Nayan Patel (02:21)

Absolutely, and people always say sleep is overrated, right? And so, oh, I don't go to sleep until one in the morning and I'm completely fresh the next day. But to get fresh, they drink coffee on top of it just to get going. So I completely hear you, right? I have an 18 -year -old kid right now that sleeps at two in the morning. I said, come on, how do you stay fresh? And said, oh, it's easy. I said, maybe when you're 18, but when you're 52, 53, my age, you know, it becomes very, very difficult. So thanks for sharing that because it's not the workout, it's the recovery that makes the difference. That makes a difference. At Thrivelab, you know, I'm the Chief Scientific Officer for Thrivelab and we design all these treatment plans for all these people. So we are front loading them with all kinds of help with the therapy and hormone management about endocrine system management and it's just front loaded. But what you just said was just profound is that it's not what you do in the front, it's how you recover in the back end, which is the most important portion of this whole thing. So thanks for sharing that. So.

Zane Griggs (03:28)

Absolutely. No, all those things help with recovery as well though. They all help with recovery if we allow them to if we, if we allow our bodies to recover, right? All of those things you got you're talking about though. They're they're very important for recovery. But yeah, I don't- not to interrupt you but- it being that they play both sides in performance and recovery, but we just we've been we've neglected recovery for so long. It's been pushed to the side.

Dr. Nayan Patel (03:52)

So why is maintaining body composition so crucial as we age?

Zane Griggs (03:55)

Oh, well, I mean, where do we begin. Let's start with metabolic health. How about so we can look at the body composition? That's your fat to muscle ratio. But what drives that? And that really has lots to do with several hormones. The first one, I think, being insulin. And many people don't really address their metabolic health until there's a problem, right, until they go to the doc and they get numbers like their fasting blood sugar, the A1C is too high, or maybe they're putting on some extra weight, or they have high blood pressure. And we really need to be looking at that far before that happens. I think, and it's unfortunate a lot of doctors don't include this on blood work, but looking at fasting insulin really needs to be standard on blood work in my opinion. But many of my clients have to ask their doc to add it. I'll encourage them to, but it's like the fasting insulin can clue us into, elevate insulin levels can clue us into a blood sugar or metabolic issue years before our blood sugar actually starts coming, you know, out of range. And so I think looking at metabolic health, start with fasting insulin, definitely as we get older, keeping an eye on testosterone levels because that has a lot to do with our insulin sensitivity. And then strength training has a lot to do with, I mean, really keeps us insulin sensitive as well, basically keeping active. Healthy amount of muscle mass because that's a glucose sink. That's a place where our blood sugar can go and if they're active, they're gonna be much more, if your muscle is staying engaged and active, it's gonna be much more insulin sensitive, which means insulin can get in there and shove that glucose in. We don't have elevated glucose levels, we don’t have elevated insulin levels. We're not having excess fat storage because it can't get into the muscle. As well as staying insulin sensitive at the liver, which I think where a lot of people's insulin resistance starts is at the liver. And then comes and then leads to downstream, to other tissues. Fatty liver disease is a growing concern. It's become from almost a non -issue maybe 30 years ago to now it's what 25, 30 percent of the population, even higher maybe, it has fatty liver disease. Which again is leading to feeding the type 2 diabetes and obesity issue, but just hormonal dysfunction. And so all of those tie into our body composition, which again, which I had to repeat myself, diet, exercise, and sleep is your foundation of that. Exercise is certainly important. I think that's been kicked back many times as well. Lately, people say, oh, sleep is so important to become trendy. Which of these do you think is more important? I'm like, that's a terrible question. You should be prioritizing all three of these. And so I think prioritizing adequate protein to support muscle mass, strength training to support muscle mass as well to make sure you're even gaining muscle mass because we know we'd start losing it. The beginning stages of sarcopenia are just the lower growth hormone. We start losing muscle mass in our 40s very quickly. And then with sleep, it's that recovery. It's the growth hormone is keeping all those, allowing our bodies to actually recover from our day and make better food choices the next day. Because if we have under slept, our insulin levels are going to be high. Our ghrelin levels are going to be high. We're going to probably be a little hungrier, a little crankier. We're going to make comfort food choices instead of sticking to our diet. So body comp is kind of an indicator of, or a symptom of what we're doing, again, as I'm back in with the diet, exercise, and sleep, and we can keep eyes on that through blood work, through DEXA scan, looking at if visceral fat's going up, the fasting insulin, hormone levels. It's not a one quick or one easy fix. It's just multifaceted. This comes through different areas of our lifestyle and more than one hormone for sure. So, but metabolic disease is what's driving the majority of our disease and, and chronic disease and death in our country, especially. And, uh, if you can control metabolic disease and push that out as we age, you are adding years to your life. Cause nobody lives longer, has a great lifespan or health span when they're diseased. The best way to have a long lifespan, health span is to avoid disease. And I, and I, again, I think, you know, we've got.

Dr. Nayan Patel (08:20)

True, true.

Zane Griggs (08:40)

We've got infectious disease covered pretty well, but so much of the diseases being that we're seeing overtaking our hospitals, that's debilitating people in their careers, maybe sending them to an early retirement sometimes is metabolic health. And it's all fairly, for the most part, preventable through lifestyle measures.

Dr. Nayan Patel (08:43)

Right, so you talk about muscle mass. Are there any risks associated with muscle mass, muscle loss in life?

Zane Griggs (09:08)

You know, what's, what's wild. We're seeing, they're seeing more sarcopenia with young adults. Now they're seeing some of them in their twenties and thirties are seeing what would we, we would be typically defining as sarcopenia. And that is truly through lifestyle. But as we get older, if we're not taking action to build muscle, we're losing it hormonally. It's just physically, we don't, we don't.

We don't create as, our muscle protein synthesis is not working at the same levels it did in our 20s and 30s. So we're not driving protein into muscle tissue like we used to. We're not assimilating protein as well. We probably have to eat a little bit more. And we need to tell it where to go with strength training. So if you're not stimulating that muscle, you are, and training that muscle, you're losing it. Cause your body's going, hey, we can use these resources somewhere else.

Dr. Nayan Patel (09:57)

True, true. Absolutely. I mean, you nailed on a few things that are very, very dear to me as a medical professional. You know, we deal with this kind of issues all the time. When you say that you have fatty liver disease, Over 50 % of them don't even know that they have it. Liver processes all the fat. So by the time the liver gets fat, guess what? All your other organs surrounding the liver was already fat around them. So metabolic disorder is by far is a big component. And when you talk about muscle loss, and yes, you mentioned the muscle mass is so important for us. But at the same time, we have so much fat in our body, the ratio is always off a little bit, right? And so you said a good point that you eat protein because people do consume a lot of protein because I know how much protein people eat all the time because I get diet things, but they also eat a lot of junk food. But regardless, they do eat a lot of protein. But then you said something profound is if you don't exercise, how do the protein know where to go? Right? So that is that. To me, I want people to understand that point a whole lot that, hey, with the protein intake, you still have to exercise, still have to do a resistant training, you still have to do all those things to basically get the benefit of the protein you just ate. On the pharmacy side, guess what? We prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone, if you don't use it up, guess what happens to it? It converts to estrogen. Then you have side effects of gynecomastia, you have water retention, and they say, oh my God, Doc, I'm not feeling good with this testosterone replacement therapy. What am I doing not right? I said, what you're doing is not doing anything with it. And so you got to do something with it. So I appreciate you saying that.

Zane Griggs (11:35)

Yes. That's a great point. I try to tell people you cannot mask your bad lifestyle habits with hormones. Do get the hormones, but if you really want them to be effective, you have to put it to work. You have to use that energy it's giving you, the drive it's giving you, the retention of muscle mass that it can allow you to have. If you stimulate it, you've got to put it to work. Otherwise you're just going to put on water weight and you're going to. You might feel a little edgy. You might snap at people a little bit more, but you're not gonna get the benefits of it if you can't put it to work, adjust your diet, and start putting, you know, build some muscle with it. I mean, that's kind of the point. It gives you that edge so that you can have the energy and the drive and the advantage, like you had maybe in your 30s, to put that muscle back on, but it's not gonna do the work for you.

Dr. Nayan Patel (12:41)

It's not going to work for you. And there was a study that was published in the New England Medical Journal that replacing testosterone for men can sometimes push them over the edge to become diabetic because they already have insulin sensitivity. Testosterone therapy can push them over the edge to become diabetic. And the conclusion was it's a small price to pay to have a better quality of life. I said, no, that's not a good deal. Right? It's not a good deal.

Zane Griggs (13:08)


Dr. Nayan Patel (13:10)

So the question is that how do you make sure they give enough testosterone to not to push them over the edge, gain some muscle mass, reduce insulin sensitivity, and then take more testosterone and more testosterone. And so, I mean, that's what we do, right? We have to monitor people's perceptions and hey, testosterone is good for you. I have no problem with giving TRT treatments for you, but guess what? If I just give you too much and your body can't handle it, will increase insulin sensitivity or insensitivity and it can push you to become diabetic. No deal, no deal for us. And so having the balance is so much critical for us.

Zane Griggs (13:52)

Yeah, most of the majority, I think the majority of my clients are now, because most of my clients are over 40. And I would say, and those that are over 45, the majority of them are in some sort of hormone replacement therapy. A huge game changer for a lot of them, just tremendously beneficial.

Dr. Nayan Patel (14:07)

It is. If you've done correctly, it's the angel of life, right? If you don't do it correctly, it becomes angel of death. And that's the part, right? It's a very small, it's a fine balance. I wanna go back to something that you said earlier about training, right? So one of the most important things that you look at when it comes to the clients who is having difficulty losing weight, building muscles, or even experiencing low energy and, you know, as they're getting up to the age.

Zane Griggs (14:40)

Ooh, wow, that could I mean, that's very individual, but I would start with looking at their diet for sure, because that's going to fuel the energy. And if you're putting toxins in, you're going to there's not a lot you can do to overcome it. So I try to shift people to whole food as much as possible, avoiding processed food. Which I believe are very inflammatory and are really affecting our energy level. I think a lot of it's stored in the fat and create some inflammation in our fat cells and they're not always available for burning. So we get stuck there. Now that's a theory. It's hard to prove that. But what I look at is that we go back to 1900, we were eating all sorts of food. We were eating off the farm, right? Most of us ate from farm type food, whatever it was in different ratios. We had meat, we had eggs, we had dairy, we had grains, we grew our, you know, we made bread, we ate fruit, we ate potatoes and vegetables. We had a mix of whole food. We didn't have processed food. It hadn't been created yet. Our obesity rate was 1%. Heart disease was almost unheard of and type 2 diabetes really hadn't even been named yet. We had type 1 diabetes, but we didn't have type 2 diabetes. We certainly didn't have an epidemic of it. We moved through the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, especially TV dinners in the 60s. In early 70s, our ingestion of these processed oils through processed food has increased by 90 % since the early 70s. And if you track that increase in our diet, in our food system, you can also, you can parallel with it the tracking of chronic disease, of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. So my personal, my personally believe that processed food is our biggest enemy. That's, that's the most accepted enemy within our food system that we need to really be concerned about. Now we can take different strategies to reverse disease, but the cause of this disease, I think is processed food. So I try to move people. That's a long -winded way of me saying move people to whole food. And then find the balance for them that works of what that looks like and what they can do with protein versus fruit, versus veggies, whole food, starches. So I try to move to whole food and get strength training in there at least twice, ideally three times a week at minimum to stimulate the, improve insulin insensitivity, but also stimulate the retention of, if not possibly the growth of muscle mass.

And so I look at those two things. It's like, how much are we putting muscles under stress and how much can we clean up the diets? We at least have whole food coming in and we're not continuing to feed toxins in our body that create inflammation. And I really believe inflammation is kind of the beginning of disease for most of us. And so reducing inflammation that is bad inflammation coming in from our diet, but creating the acute stressor, the acute inflammation, if you will, from strength training that we can recover from and improve our muscle mass. And then I might ask about their sleep and try to get, give them some idea of how that affects their hormones. But the one I think I can make the most impact in is strength training, clean up your diet. And so I usually just really start there. And then from there, make minor changes that are more individual, but that's kind of the foundation.

Dr. Nayan Patel (18:07)

Gotcha. You know, at Thrivelab, we do measure some of those inflammatory markers that you were suggesting, homocysteine levels in particular, CRP levels, we measure those out. And yes, we see a major shift in over the years on how people have elevated levels of this inflammatory markers in the body. And most of the physicians are negating that there's nothing they can do about it. They just say, hey, you know what? Adjust your diet, reduce your stress and you'll be fine. But they don't give them any specific instructions on how to do what to do. You just said seed oils. I mean, you should carry a card saying that I'm allergic to all seed oils so that way you'll never eat them again in your life, right? And so things like that are supposed to be done to help them out. And the last part, again, this is very dear to me about liver health and processed foods and all those things because I wrote the book, “The Glutathione Revolution”, for one reason, is because glutathione is the most abundant molecule that is produced in the liver. And by far, you kind of get the liver clean at all times, you know. At Thrivelab, most of our patients that have been on some sort of treatments are also on glutathione treatments along with it. We have a topical version of glutathione, which is patented system. To make sure that all the things they're doing to building the body up, that it's staying clean from inside so the body has a fighting chance to recover and proliferate faster than anything else. So.

Zane Griggs (19:44)

Absolutely. Yeah, and it's one of the most powerful antioxidants we create an endogenous antioxidant, but of course, like any of the other hormones or your supplement, I mean, the more glutathione you can get, the better odds you have of reducing inflammation, whether it's from dysfunctional metabolism or just like you said, life.

Dr. Nayan Patel (20:06)

Yes. What’s your program or approach you said bio hacking your way in. Do you have any success stories with your clients, you have some to share with us?

Zane Griggs (20:14)

Across the board, like I mentioned before, most of my clients are on some sort of hormone replacement therapy. And that has got to be the most impactful hack that someone who's age related, that's what most of what I deal with is an age related hormone decline, complete game changer, not just with their fitness, but just a total outlook on life, on just how they positively,

shift to a more positive outlook on life, which includes libido, but also in, you know, which is very, very helpful in making your life a little better. But also just a more optimism, you know, and clearing that brain fog. You know, a lot of people think about hormones, especially testosterone is about muscle and getting ab, you know, being leaner. But I think the most, one of the most impactful symptoms I see clear up first is or impact of testosterone to clear up the symptom I should say, is the brain fog is the clarity, you know, in the afternoon that that mental energy which improves focus, creativity, problem solving, your willingness to even take on a task. It just it amplifies like you feel like, OK, I've got to now I've got the wisdom at this point in my life and I've got the discipline but I'm missing the drive I had 20 years ago. And if you can add that drive through a little hormone replacement, the productivity of these people is exponential. It just increases to the point that they just feel better about themselves. They feel better about life. They're just a little more optimistic and they're enjoying their life a lot more. And then when they see the results in their workouts, they definitely have, the way you see the product of their workout, of their hard work, is actually more visible through hormone replacement. Now from there, I mean, I like creatine as a great supplement. I think everybody should be taking creatine. It's not, it's over the counter. It's probably the most studied over the counter supplements on the market for, I mean, over a hundred years studying this supplement. And we're seeing benefits of creatine to not just muscle mass, but a cognitive improvement. Um, bone mass in women. I think i've seen benefits to you know problem solving memory, you know, so a lot of the cognitive improvement and even to um, I think energy to the heart, you know, it's getting more energy to the heart as, and I think there was one study that improved in higher doses they were using it to improve depression in women and so we're seeing more and more creatine has a wide array of benefits and almost no risk to be found. Like the only, the risk is you're gonna put on more muscle. You know, your weight, the scale might tip up, but it's muscle, you know? And so I think that's one of those overlooked supplements that's been kind of relegated to the gym bros for too long. And we really all could benefit from taking something so simple so that you can get anywhere, it's inexpensive and over the counter is creatine. Certainly not a replacement for anything else. Hormone replacement, number one. But as far as a simple supplement, creatine, and then from there, I think sauna has a lot of great impact, but not everyone has access. But as far as things that people have access to, I'd go with hormone replacement right out the gate.

Dr. Nayan Patel (23:40)

Absolutely. So, saunas and cold plunging, they go hand in hand. Those are amazing things. So, we know what we have seen at Thrivelab is when we do hormone replacement therapy or TRT in short, that's the last piece we fix it. Because if you look at the whole endocrine system, the 40% of the problem is because of stress induced. That's on the bottom. If you look at the pyramid issue, as a whole issue of all endocrine system, the bottom 40%, which is in your hands, is stress management. That's adrenal glands or cortisol, stress management, whatever that is. Whatever you call them, that's 40%. Right above that one, 30 % of the problem is insulin, diet, nutrition. Whatever you say it, right?

Dr. Nayan Patel (24:52)

So 70% of the total solution or the problem, whatever you look at it, right? One sees problem, one sees solution. 70% of the solution is guess what? You control it based on your stress and based on your diet. Once you do that part, the rest 30% is thyroid and sex hormones, which is testosterone replacement therapy. But yet, they expect that 10 % of the solution, to take care of 100% of the problems. I said, no, it doesn't work that way. It just does not work that way. So the reason I say this story is because we have so many patients at Thrivelab that we have helped them because they came and said, oh, I did some testosterone replacement therapy. My buddy of mine told me to do that part. He's feeling fantastic. I want to do it too. And so we said that, well, yes, what are you willing to do?

That's the first question we asked him. What are you willing to do? I said, what do you mean? I said, well, how much would you like to exercise every single day? Oh, no, no, I have a full-time job. I have three kids and I have a wife and I got all those things. I said, okay, would you give up alcohol or some other drinks? Well, I only drink, yeah, I said, oh, I only drink on the weekends, which is, when does the weekend start? Wednesday, Thursday, Tuesday?

Zane Griggs (26:07)

Right. That's exactly what I was thinking.

Dr. Nayan Patel (26:15)

Right and everybody has a different story about the weekend some people say oh, it's only Friday Saturday Sunday I drink or Thursday Friday Saturday I drink but that's a lot right and that's a lot so managing expectations is is what we would would be go for it and helping making sure to get the best success for our patients we had to incorporate stress diet thyroid and sex hormones all of this thing combined right? To make sure the overall health is better. I don't know if you have seen with your own clients or own people that you have worked with to see if you've seen any benefits like this before.

Zane Griggs (26:56)

Well, the benefits, you know, it's really hard. Because I can't prescribe it, obviously, I'm just a trainer. So I see the benefits and as far as how they're applied or prescribed is out of my control, is out of my wheelhouse. And I'll tell them to talk to their doctor, obviously, about or, you know, refer them to someone who can help them with that. But no, I definitely as I said, I recommend changing your lifestyle habits first or making sure that if you're going to add the hormones, you are at the same time, effectively changing your lifestyle habits to allow you to have more sleep, to lower that stress level, reducing alcohol, if not eliminating it. Because if you're 40 pounds overweight, you've got high blood pressure and your insulin is high, your blood sugar is high, the last thing you need to be doing is drinking alcohol. That is just fuel on the fire, not to mention taxing the liver, obviously, which is trying to manage all these things. But reduce alcohol. Which will improve your sleep as well. If you if you stop drinking, your sleep will improve. Anyone over 40 knows if you drink within three or four hours of going to bed, you're gonna be waking up in the middle of the night with your eyes, you know wide open looking at the ceiling. It has such a negative impact on sleep, and sleep is our biggest weapon against managing stress healing recovering from the previous day or the stress of the week and dealing with stressors in our dream, in a REM sleep getting that getting into a deep sleep. Alcohol can really have a negative impact on that. So what I've seen is, I mean, reduced, you know, 40 pounds dropped many times over and over again with men who had the weight to lose 40 pounds in a matter of four or five months on multiple occasions and then improved lean mass. But they just again, they feel better. They feel more energized. They just feel like they have a little more hope. You know, and that's a big deal. That's a big weapon, compared to someone who is feeling like, oh, my gosh, am I going to feel this way for the rest of my life or I can't get rid of this extra 40 pounds and it's affecting my blood sugar. I'm now on blood pressure. I'm now on, you know, six different medications and, you know, and they're only 55 years old. And there's it's just it's all the culmination of what they've been doing over the last 15 years.

Dr. Nayan Patel (29:25)


Zane Griggs (29:25)

And they're saying, how do I reverse all of this? And so I have seen, again, pounds lost, blood pressure come down, sleep improved. And with women, same thing, improved sleep, improved libido. Just a better outlook on life. I feel like, oh, this is me again. I feel like myself again, you know, and just a lighter mood. And so many women, you know, get perimenopausal or postmenopausal. They are I mean, that has a tremendous they hit a wall that not only affects them physically, affects them emotionally. And I think and many times before they cross even that menopausal line, that a little testosterone really gives them the boost they need to like lose weight, put on more muscle, feel better about themselves and manage and be able to manage their metabolic health going into menopause.

My wife, probably about a year or two before she went into menopause, started taking testosterone replacement therapy. And she had been doing, I mean, we eat very healthy. We cook most of our meals at home, whole food. But she had, at that time, about 20 pounds that she had, that had crept on over a couple of years that she could not shake. She was running, she was working out, she was eating, doing everything she'd always done. But for whatever reason, right around 48, it was like, it just stuck. It was like, it was up and down, up and down, but not really moving. Within two months of a little testosterone therapy, she had dropped that 20 pounds without changing anything else in her lifestyle. The 20 pounds came off. She was doing the work, but her body was like, you know, things are different in here. These don't work the same. And so 20 pounds came off from like December to February, you know, the hardest months of the year to really lose weight. And so that was a big eye opener for me. And that was probably six years ago that I saw what a difference it could make in someone's life. And it's not just for men, it's for women as well. And so I have both men and women who are benefiting from testosterone placement therapy. And I think it's, again, it's not just the physical aspect, it's the mental and emotional aspect of it, which gives them like a renewed sense of like, I'm gonna take this on. Like it gives power to their charge forward and to their efforts to change their lifestyle and to keep being productive. And we all need that.

Dr. Nayan Patel (32:12)

Absolutely. And the one thing people forget is that both men and women, the number one hormone we produce is testosterone. And people always think, oh, for women, no, it's not testosterone, it's the estrogens. I said, no, the number of hormones that women produce is also testosterone. The only reason you produce too much estrogen or progesterone is to sustain a pregnancy, is to get your body ready to get pregnant and to have babies. But after that, once that is over, the number one hormone in your body is still going to be testosterone. And so I always question, I said, hey, we have TRT treatments for men approved by FDA. How come there's nothing been approved for females? Right? Don't they need something? But anyways, thank God for the compounding pharmacies all across the country that we have. They are making this price for the females all day long for decades. And it's available for them. And so at Thrivelab, that's exactly what we do as well. We take care of the women for both TRT as well as the men for TRT because they both need it. And it's not just the physical muscle mass. And by the way, the question I always ask is, hey, which is the biggest muscle you have in the body that you cannot live without? And it's not your legs or your arms. It's your heart. Right? Your heart is a muscle. It needs help. It needs help. So I'm glad you brought this out because it's very, very critical. If you don't mind, I want to switch some topic words towards some foundations, right? So the foundation for me is, how do you think that nutrition plays a role in optimizing workouts and promoting midlife wellness?

Zane Griggs (34:06)

Ooh. You know, I was a big, for a long time, I was really big in intermittent fasting. I started intermittent fasting in 2010. And I've always been a big proponent of low carb for weight loss people. And I think it's a great tool. I think both of those can be tools that can be used effectively. I think as we get older, we have to be careful that we don't over leverage those tools and create too much stress, elevate cortisol levels beyond what we really need in order to really, whether we're under fueling, you our body has to, we'll break, use cortisol to break down our lean mass or from aminos from our skin, muscle and bone to create blood sugar, right? It all happens in the kidneys and liver. And so I think, managing those stressors is really crucial, whereas you will see a 30-year-old go all in and pull all the levers and do all these metabolic stressors and have hard workouts and fast and do all the stuff. And they can sustain it. But as we get into 45, 50, 50 plus, we have to be careful that we're not breaking down too much lean mass. Lean mass becomes much more precious and harder to build. And so I think one, as I mentioned earlier, sustaining substantial amounts of protein intake like you would for an athlete. Like I recommend anywhere from point eight to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day as a target goal or ideal body weight. You know, someone who's always they say, oh, wait, I want to get to two. You know, the guy trying to get down to 200. Well, then 200 your goal because they have excess fat. If it's a woman who's trying to get to 130 or 140, that's your target. And I do like, especially if they're working, even if they're working out in the morning, fueling some way before a workout to fuel performance. Rather than trying to excess stress, I think the workout itself provides enough metabolic stress, but to fuel performance in that workout so they can really activate the high threshold motor units, the high threshold muscle fibers that need fuel. They don't burn fat very well. They're very glycolytic. They like glucose and they will tap out if they're under fueled. So especially for women, fueling a little bit before a workout. So whether they take on maybe 20, 30 grams half hour to an hour before a workout, if possible, get in maybe 20, 30 grams of protein for breakfast first thing as a minimum to get that protein on board. It creates a little bit of satiety but also gets that protein on board to get that muscle protein synthesis starting first thing in the morning and to cut off any kind of cravings that might cause sort of comfort eating or quick eating or snacking. So getting that protein on board right away as soon as possible, I think it helps the workout and recovery from the workout. And I think it helps with satiety throughout the day, kind of sets you up to have stable blood sugar through your morning. Post-workout, I definitely recommend people have some sort of combination of protein and some clean, like whole food carbohydrate post-workout, again, for recovery. Because, as I mentioned before, recovery becomes so important as we get older. Recovery from workouts to reduce inflammation, to reduce fatigue, help us keep charging forward, because none of us are going to slow down in our jobs. You've got kids, you've got demanding careers. The rest of your day. You don't get to like an athlete, go take a nap and then go back at it. You're working out and you're going back to the rat race or you've got kids to get here, there and everywhere and you've got stress coming at you. Recover from your workout. Part of that comes starts with your post workout meal. So some protein again, I think at least 25, 30 grams of protein post workout with maybe 30, 40, 50 grams of carbs, depending on your size and the exertion during the workout just to refuel and get your body ready to go again. So it's ready for a subsequent workout the next day or just like taking on life. And then from there, managing, I think managing carb intake based on your activity level and what your goals are, whether your goal is to is primarily to put on more muscle or is your goal right now to take off 40 pounds of fat, then we start measuring whole food carb intake based on that goal. But the protein and the workout helps you at the very least sustain the muscle through either of those pathways. Whether you're trying to lose weight or you're trying to put on muscle, lean out and be a little more, you know, improve your body composition, you still need the protein and the strength training to sustain the muscle through the weight loss or through the stress of your of your life. And so that's how I got and then getting enough ample sleep. So making I'd say a bedtime that's like pretty much set on a nightly basis, you know, it really doesn't vary. Ideally finishing your last meal at least two, ideally three hours before you go to bed to give your body time to digest it and that will allow for better deep sleep, know that your body temp will be lower. Your heart rate will probably be lower because you're not trying to digest that. And if your blood sugar isn't up too high, it's leveled out, right? We don't want varying blood sugar through the night. So, and alcohol obviously should be abstained from, but at least three hours, if you're gonna have a glass of wine or something like that, at least three hours before bed to give your body time to process it. But I think, you know, but a heavy meal right before bed or an hour before bed, it can really negatively impact the quality of your sleep and how much deep sleep you get. And that's when our bodies recover. That's when we have the growth hormone release. And so I think, you know, habits like that, setting up your schedule to allow that time before, you know, before bed that you're not eating your last meal, you're not drinking and then scheduling that meal say an hour or so, hour or two prior to the workout and within the first hour after, those are like kind of foundational. And then from there we can individualize what needs to happen based on their goals and their schedule and their lifestyle.

Dr. Nayan Patel (40:56)

You mentioned something about the muscle being the easier fuel to burn, it's the first thing to burn if you don't exercise regularly. That stuck to my mind because, okay-

Zane Griggs (41:09)

Well, if you're not eating too, if you're fasting. So if you're fasting and you start exercising, you're strength training. So any kind of intense movement, whether it's sprinting into interval running, you're on your spin bike, spin class or something like that, where you are, you would fatigue at that certain level between 15 seconds and three minutes. Okay. So if you're doing a movement where you would fatigue within three minutes, that is going to, that movement requires the fuel for that movement is about 65% or more coming from glucose or glycogen. Okay, you can't burn fat fast enough to keep up with that level of movement. If you're doing a steady state zone 2 you're just cruising, you're out for a walk, you're just maybe jogging at a low lower heart rate zone 2 heart rate. Most of that's going to come from fat and you could probably go through that with you know, get through that workout without too much without you know, worrying about too much fueling from glucose.

But if you're doing intense activity and you haven't eaten that day, or you haven't eaten yet that morning, or you aren't properly fueled, or you're on a very low-carb or ketogenic diet, and I'm not saying those are bad diets, but I'm saying you have to be strategic about it, you have to be smart about it. Your body has to pull glucose from somewhere. Your liver will dump it, right? Your liver will put out glucose during a workout or any stressful event. An argument, a speech you have to give when you're nervous. If you're in traffic and you're mad at the guy who just cuts you off, your liver is going to dump glucose. It's just fight or flight response, right? And so if you, if anyone's ever wanted a glucose continuous glucose monitor, they can watch it. You know, they haven't eaten anything, but they'll watch your blood sugar go up and down. And that's just a natural response. Well, where does that liver getting that sugar? Well, if you haven't eaten much and the glycogen is low in the liver, once it gets down to a certain point, it's going to, it's going to tell your body, Hey, we need more glucose here because if the liver stops managing your blood sugar, you're dead, right? And our bodies won't let us do that. So it'll break down amino acids or protein from our muscle, skin and bone using cortisol and it will start to create glucose to replace the glycogen to fuel that workout. Fat is not enough to fuel the whole workout. You need more glucose.

Dr. Nayan Patel (43:26)

People think I'm dieting, I'm doing everything right, I'm exercising, how come I'm getting worse than before? In our practice, we have seen similar there, where we do the TRT treatments, we put them on the nutrition plan, we put them on a excercise regimen. And it's not just one thing, it's a combination of all three things that they decide to see results in three, four months down the road. And of course, the back of the mind, they always look at us, hey, what's my T score? Hey, my T score is high, that means I should be doing good. I said, no, it has nothing to do with anything. What the T score means is the total T score depends on your nutrition, your excercise regimen, and your hormone levels. And sometimes the hormone levels always precedes, is always after everything else gets optimized first.

You cannot do the other way around. You cannot do testosterone therapy first and then hopefully you'll get nutrition and exercise afterwards. No, it doesn't work that way. All the excess hormones is going to get metabolized into different systems and it's going to just cause havoc in your endocrine system. So you've got to go stepwise, you know? Anyways, can you briefly give me, I don't know, three to five tips from your book?

Zane Griggs (44:46)

From the book! Okay. From the book.

Dr. Nayan Patel (44:47)

Yeah. And where can we get the book?

Zane Griggs (44:48)

Well, the book's on Amazon. It's called, again, “Kicking Ass After 50”. It's available on Amazon. You know, we spend, there's one chapter that's on nutrition. And if one thing we drive in on that chapter is, you mentioned seed oils earlier, and we really get into the seed oils. I get into the history of it. I get into understanding why or how, there's more than one way that they negatively impact our bodies. But I show how they, track with the introduction of those with a food system to disease. So why we need to eat whole food and avoid processed food. That's probably the number one tip I start with, as well as getting regular eyes on your blood work, DEXA scan.

Get eyes, you need metrics. Not to see where you are and then to measure your progress as you start making changes. Get measurements on your waist. You know, get the DEXA scan to see your body comp and your visceral fat. So you need metrics, you need eyes. You need the blood work in the scans. You need to eliminate processed food. And you need to start working out? There is not just, can I just do strength training? Can I just do cardio? No, you're doing all of it. You're doing all of it. You're doing strength training. You're doing cardio. You're not in college anymore. You're 50 plus. You need to do everything you can to fight metabolic disease, to add years to your life. So it's adjust your diet, get metrics on your health, and start strength training and cardio.

And then prioritize your sleep. And you mentioned earlier, if you lived through the 80s and 90s, you heard people say, I'll sleep when I'm dead. You're bringing yourself closer to that end if you don't pay attention to your sleep. And sleep has such an incredible impact on, I mentioned the hunger hormones, insulin levels, your ability to recover from your workouts, your mood, certainly testosterone levels.

And so prioritizing sleep is the big one. So we have those three pillars of diet, exercise and sleep with tracking your blood work and scans and getting a plan in place. And I think this is the one thing that many people, they get a little overwhelmed. They think, how am I going to hold this together? How am I going to have the discipline to keep making all these changes? And so that really is a lot of mindset, but we all will at some point get decision fatigue. We will all run out of a certain amount of discipline. And I think there's this illusion that people are super fit just to have some enormous amount of discipline. And that's not really the case. You have a discipline for a time, but during that time, you need to create systems. You need to create a system and make it part of your schedule. You need to schedule your workout. And if that means with that schedule, you're meeting a friend or you're meeting a trainer at the gym and you show up and you just do 20 minutes of something until you get used to the point that now you're a person who goes to the gym. Or you eliminate smoking or you eliminate drinking long enough and you and you remove that from your house so it's no longer part of your habits and you replace it with the food that we're talking about. You start preparing your meals and planning your meals ahead of time. So it's like a system. Your sleep is on a schedule. It's “I go to bed here. I wake up here.”

Once you create the system and you're in that, it's like you eliminate the need to always have to make that decision because it's already done ahead of time, it's done for you. You just show up and walk it out like you do at work. You schedule your work, you schedule the time to take your kids to school. You flow with it into the system and after a time in the system, your identity changes. And so you start seeing yourself differently. You start seeing yourself as someone who makes healthy choices. You look in the mirror and you're like, I'm healthy, I do these- I go to the gym early, I eat better, I avoid alcohol. I make myself, I go to bed at a certain time. And those systems will lead to an identity change in how you see yourself, how other people see you. And that solidifies those habits. And I think people just- they get overwhelmed. They think how am I going to sustain this. I think, start changing one thing at a time, get into a system, then go to the next one, then go to the next one. And if that's what you need to do, add one at a time, one change at a time, create the system around it so that you're just flowing through it until it snowballs into your identity shift where you would never think of doing the things that were hurting you in your lifestyle again. Like you wouldn't even imagine that you would do that on a regular weekly basis. Because you now see yourself differently and you've created these systems that support your healthy lifestyle. And I think that's the biggest thing people can do because I think you and I know consistency, even if the plan isn't perfect, even if you're not hitting everything perfectly, if you're hitting 80, 85% debt good and you're consistent with it over time, that makes all the difference.

Dr. Nayan Patel (49:55)

Gotcha. Now thank you for sharing that part. One thing I learned from here today is plan. You know, we try to do as much as possible to ThriveLab to try to give them the whole thing. It's not just about the therapy itself. It's putting the whole plan of action together, right? Where can people find you?

Zane Griggs (50:12)

The easiest place to find me, to find out how to find me is at my website I'm very active on Instagram, but all my links would be on and you can find out whatever you're looking for on that website.

Dr. Nayan Patel (50:28)

Thank you very much. Thanks for coming here today. By the way, thank you listeners for tuning in today. Please subscribe, rate us, review the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, YouTube. This is TRT Talks today and we had amazing guest, Zane Griggs today and appreciate having you today. Thank you.

Zane Griggs (50:48)

Thank you, Dr. Patel. Had a great conversation.

Dr. Nayan Patel (50:51)

Thank you.