We give our body a 16-hour window to cleanse itself when we do intermittent fasting. Penny Zenker’s guest today is Dave Sherwin, the Founder of Dirobi and a certified fitness nutrition coach, entrepreneur, and practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. In this episode, Dave discusses with Penny how the two biggest processes in our body are running our brain and running our digestive system. So when we give our body a chance to focus on replenishing our brain while we sleep with intermittent fasting, we wake up with a sharp mind. We feel good and we’re ready to conquer our day! Want more tips on fitness, nutrition, and productivity? Tune in!
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Tips And Strategies For Fitness, Nutrition, And Productivity With Dave Sherwin
I’m excited to talk about something very important, which is our fitness and the principles behind making our fitness help us to be successful in life. Dave Sherwin is with us and he’s a Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach, which I like that there are both. It’s not just fitness or nutrition, it’s fitness and nutrition. He’s an entrepreneur himself and he will share about some of that. He’s a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. He’s passionate about helping grownups to navigate the real world, business life and the challenges to achieving the best health and wellness at any age. He’s the Creator and host of the Dirobi Health Show, which covers everything to do with health and wellness, including the latest in nutrition, exercise, supplements and clinical studies.
I’m super excited to have you here, Dave. Welcome.
I’m honored that you would invite me. Thank you so much.
I love to have great people who have different perspectives to share and open people’s eyes and create that heightened awareness for what’s going to make a difference for us to show up at our best. When I talk about productivity, it’s not about doing more. It’s about living more fulfilling lives and doing the things that are most important and not getting caught up in all the nitty-gritty. I’m interested in what’s your definition of productivity?
My definition of productivity has changed over the years. I had an epiphany at an event in Atlanta. I went to this event and it was for eCommerce sellers, you had to do over $1 million of sales in a year. I was the small fry in the room. People were doing massive amounts of business. It was fun to network with people like that but you had to show that you had reached a certain level of sales. There was a productivity speaker on the stage. Here we are sitting with all these very successful people and he says, “How many of you are totally productive for ten hours a day?” Not one hand goes up. There are 300 people in the room.
I’m surprised that people admitted that because a lot of times we think we are productive when we are really not.
It gets better. He says, “The United States workday is eight hours. How many of you are productive for eight?” Zero hands. I kid you not, 0 out of 300. Bottom line, cut to the chase, when he got to two hours, the majority of hands were up in the room. He said, “Are you working around that? What are those two hours?” For some people like Winston Churchill, the English parliamentarian, he said that his best hours of the day were from midnight until 2:00 AM.
That’s very odd but for other people, it’s in the morning. For some, it’s in the afternoon. That was a real epiphany for me and that correlates to Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek Principle of there are only 1 to 2 great things that you need to do to be productive in your business. Between those two things, I find that if I get my 1 to 2 mission-critical objectives done in a day, I consider myself productive. I try to do them during my best two hours, which is always in the morning.
We need to know when that is. We are all different. Try to stick ourselves in the same box as everybody else but we all have different rhythms. Some people are night people, some people are morning people and we have to know who we are when we do different activities and what’s the best time for those activities.The feeling we 'should' be doing something is a lie. Click To Tweet
For example, there are proactive activities like what I mentioned that are mission-critical, you get them done. While you are getting them done, you shouldn’t be checking your email or multitasking in any way, shape or form. The one thing that I have learned over the years is that when I’m doing those 1 to 2 very important tasks, it is in isolation and total focus. No one can access me and then there are reactive tasks like checking email.
First thing in the morning, I scan my email to make sure there’s not an important file to be put out. At the minute I decide there’s nothing I’ve got to take care of, I leave it alone. In the afternoon is my dead time. I’m not as sharp and not as productive so I sit there and I scan my email box. I get it down to inbox zero. That’s how it works for me and that little routine works well. Proactive stuff in the morning, reactive stuff in the afternoon.
You can share some of your entrepreneurial experiences and those are great tips for people in terms of how to win their day. I’m interested in the correlation between our fitness and nutrition. How that relate to productivity and how we can up our productivity when we are getting results in those areas?
There’s a great segue from what we talked about right into the fitness world because we live on 24-hour cycles for the most part. Each day is a new beginning. We have a physical 24-hour period. Men and women each have a cycle. Men, it’s more 24-hours. For women, it’s more than 28 to 31 days. We have these natural life cycles in our health and our fitness where our hormones are changing, our blood sugar is going up and down and our HGH, testosterone, estrogen, all of those things are happening. Melatonin in the evening makes us drowsy. On my website, if you go to Dirobi.com, there’s a Resources page. We won’t have time to go into all the nitty-gritty of this but I hope to give you a good chunk of it. There’s a free resource, you don’t even have to enter your email or anything, just download it. It’s called The Virtuous Cycle.
For entrepreneurs and business people, it’s even more important than for many other people who have more set schedules. The Virtuous Cycle gives you a visual. It’s a PDF you can print and put on your fridge. It shows you, in 24 hours, what’s happening in your body and some things that you can do to be at your best and you are most productive. I would like to start at 6:00 PM. Let’s say at 6:00 PM, you stop eating, which is what we recommend.
You have probably heard of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is not a joke and it’s not a fad. The science on it is so solid. There have been so many studies done. There have been studies done on unhealthy people, healthy people, old people, young people, athletes and non-athletes. It has been verified that we do our best when we eat within an eating window. When we start munching and having snacks in the evening, we are working against our own circadian rhythms. By stopping eating after dinner, whatever time that is for you, 6:00 maybe 7:00, try to make 7:00 the last hour. I tried to do 6:00, again as you mentioned, everyone is different but try to have a hard stop at 7:00 the best that you can. Don’t eat another thing but drink water.
For how long? Some people don’t know what intermittent fasting is. I would like you to give us a quick understanding of what that is and how long you have to go without food to have that benefit of the fasting period and what that does.
12 to 16 hours of “fasting” because we are sleeping through a lot of it. It’s not that hard. If you cut off at 6:00 PM and you have breakfast at 10:00 AM the next morning, you are golden. That’s a wonderful window. 10:00 until 6:00 is 8 hours of an eating window. That is fairly easy for most people. I didn’t think it would be for me. I started this years ago but I’m the type of person that wakes up hungry normally. It took me a few months to train myself and I would find myself quite hungry at 8:00, but then I found I can last until 9:00, and then finally, I was able to easily now hold off eating until 10:00 AM and cut-off eating at 6:00 PM. You start to feel so good so quickly that your body adjusts to that type of schedule.
Why is this good for our bodies?
In the 24-hour virtuous cycle, what’s happening is now your body gets to digest all the food before you go to bed. In the meantime, melatonin is rising. The hormone helps us feel drowsy so that we can sleep better.
We would sleep better because we are not busy digesting.
We are sabotaging our sleep every time we eat after 6:00 or 7:00 at night. It takes a lot of energy from our body to digest food. The two biggest processes in our body are running our brain and running our digestive system. Think about this business people, when you are giving your sleep the chance to replenish your brain and get rid of pathogens, carcinogens and toxins from your body, instead of digesting the food, which is adding new toxins, carcinogens and pathogens.
I’m guessing, that’s when they build up because we don’t give our body a chance to release them.
We are giving our body the sixteen-hour window to cleanse itself. Again, we can drink lots of water during that time. I have a pre-workout drink. That’s not a big deal. Some people get real purist about this. I don’t. If you get hungry, you could have up to 50 calories of something healthy, maybe a small piece of fruit. I have been doing this now with a lot of people. I haven’t run into anyone who hasn’t given it a good college try for 90 days who doesn’t find it fairly easy to do. It’s so healthy for you.
Let’s go the next morning. You wake in the morning. Your mind is sharp. You feel good. You are ready to conquer the day. Your HGH, testosterone and estrogen are all up. Those are good things. That’s what we want. That’s when we are in our best state for exercise and important work. This is the time of morning where for me, I meditate if you are a meditator. If you are a spiritual person that prays or whatever type of spiritual practice you have, that’s a great time to do it and then planning your day. I think you plan your day and work things out better. That first thing in the morning than at night, that’s a personal thing but experiment above.
As long as you do it ahead of time. You don’t start and plan as you go because that is less effective.
What I do is I check my schedule for the next day the night before but I don’t spend a lot of time on it. The next morning when I get up, I do my meditation, then I sit and I take my daily plan. I add in all the flesh on the bones, like I’m doing this show at 1:00 so I’ve got to prepare and find out what did the host asked me to talk about exactly and all those little things so that I’m prepared for what’s coming up. It’s a great time to exercise. I realized back to the circadian thing, some people prefer to exercise at night but the fact is for those of you reading, if you have to, I get it. If you work and you are a first responder or something like that, do whatever you can. If you are choosing to exercise at night, if you can change that and train yourself to do it in the morning because you are messing up your hormones, the fact is your hormones are prepared to give you a good workout first thing in the morning. At night, you have probably had this experience. Have you ever gone out and played a sport, maybe a game of volleyball with some friends or you go and exercise, you are wired and you don’t sleep? I don’t know if you have ever had that experience. I have.
I have had that experience. I don’t remember. After all, I do like to work out during the morning as well because, for me, I get caught up in things and then the day is gone. I haven’t worked out and I don’t always feel like I want to work out. I have less drive to have myself do it in the evening. I’m definitely somebody who I want to do first thing in the morning.
Me too. I don’t relate very well but for those of you reading who choose to work out at night, I would highly encourage you with almost all health challenges, 90 days. By the way, health changes you make in your life, give all of them 90 days.
Why 90 days? Is this the 90 days to create a new habit kind of thing?
A lot of health changes are negative before they are positive. For example, some people, when they start eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies per day, actually have maybe constipation or the reverse, a little bit of diarrhea effect. They may even get headaches. Some people quit soda and get migraine headaches. In the early stages, we can have a negative, and then over time, by giving it 90 days, we get a chance to immerse ourselves in it. We get to experiment. Let’s say, it is the habit of eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies per day, we get to go to the grocery store and try some new things. We get to experiment with the ratio between fruits and vegetables. By 90 days, we have given it enough effort and time to have dialed it in, to know what works for ourselves and to have ingrained it as a habit. I think anything less is just as giving ourselves the short shift. We are not giving it enough of a chance to know how good it is.
I want to talk to you about this idea of building the habit because I’m a believer that habit can go away like that. All of a sudden, you get sick, you were in good eating habits, good exercise habits, and then it’s gone. Something changes in your kid’s schedule and then it’s gone. I believe that the next level above habits, we are working to create good habits, but then we want to make their rituals. We want to put them to a place where we own it at a higher level that no matter what happens, we are committed and we have decided that this is part of who we are. Maybe this is a big question but how do we get to that place? How do people get from a place of, “I have to do this, I should do this,” and they are doing it because it’s a should in their mind and not because this is a must for me?
It starts with them why. Too many people come across a friend who lost twenty pounds and goes, “You look terrific. You lost some weight.” They go, “I did keto.” You are like, “Cool. I will do keto.” That’s all fine. The problem with it is how about if it wasn’t a motivator because you ran into a friend who lost some weight. What if you sit down and go, “Why did it motivate me when I saw Carol who would lose 20 pounds? Why did it make me want to do the same diet that she did? What is it I want from my health?”
In my coaching transformation program, the first thing we start with is what’s called the five whys. I asked them, “Why are you taking this program?” A lot of them say things like to lose weight. That’s fine. “Why do you want to lose weight?” “I want to look better.” “Why do you want to look better?” “When I look in the mirror, I don’t like what I see.” Why do you not like what you see when you look in the mirror and some people go, “My husband hasn’t looked at me the same since I had our third child and I have not been able to get rid of the baby weight. I want to have the same relationship we had before I had kids.” When she says that, it’s more meaningful and she realizes, “I want to do this for me and him.” All of a sudden, we have hit pay dirt.Great abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Click To Tweet
Something that connects them more to what it is their goal is going to give them after that.
Dig deep. Ask the question why five times. Also, don’t judge yourself. The fact is you wouldn’t be human if part of that weren’t, “I want to look good.” What is wrong with that? Of course, part of fitness is looking our best. When we get unfit, it’s perfectly normal to look in the mirror and go, “I don’t like what I see.” There’s a fine line between body shaming when other people do it but we can body shame ourselves, too. It’s not about looking like an Instagram influencer. It’s looking our best, given what we have been through in life. It’s going to change over time. It’s being our best at whatever age we are at, what our goals are and what matters to us.
What makes us feel good? At the end of the day, there was a great saying that Tony Robbins used, which was something that sticks in my head when about what I eat. He said that nothing tastes as good as thin feels. It’s a feeling. It’s not how you look. It’s you have more energy. You feel good about how you hold yourself. It gives you more confidence. There are so much that goes along with not weight but health. When we are focused on our health and we are, as you said, getting rid of the toxins and creating more energy for ourselves, then everything is uplifted.
We do have to also accept our genetics. Some people are never going to have six-pack abs because they are not genetically designed to have it. Once you are past 30, if you are still carrying about six-pack abs that may be beyond trying to look good and getting a little too into the vanity side of things. We know that we can have a little extra weight on us and still be very fit, reach our goals and still have a piece of pizza on a Friday night if we like. It depends again on you, your goals and how strict you want to be.
We are coming to the end of our time. What else do you think is important for people to know and to get to that core place of deciding that their health is important? We tend to put our health last. It’s the first thing that we give up. We say, “We will sleep when we are dead.” Entrepreneurs, especially, I don’t need so much sleep. Grab this Snickers or whatever fast food is there and it’s all, “Get back to work.” Maybe there’s something that you can share with us around that and creating that space also to have extra space to be more productive.
It’s a similar answer for me as to the five whys of health. You do a show here for business people and I would ask them the same thing, “Why are you doing your business? Is your business running you or are you running your business?” I take every Friday off I have for years. I’ve got a group of friends. I love to golf and we golf every Friday. My business doesn’t get in the way of that. I will check my email. Of course, I will take a phone call or whatever but I don’t miss golf on a Friday. Too many people, as you said, they let their fitness away. Why would you do that? Why are you in business? To make money. Why are you trying to make money? To have a great life. What does a great life mean when you are 60 and 70? If you squandered your health, it’s not going to be great. I don’t care how much money you have.
A lot of people are working so that they can have a better lifestyle someday. Why not start now?
Think about that two hours is huge. I promise you, in two hours a day, you can build it. In 2015, we took our family to Europe for 90 days. For 90 days, I worked part-time and our business grew. It can absolutely be done. The problem is it’s a mindset. I will tell you part of it. I know we are running out of time but one last thought I will try to squeeze in. We have a feeling inside of us almost always that we should be doing something and it is a lie. This whole thing about human beings and human doings. This is one of the reasons I meditate because I’m an A personality just like most people probably reading. I’m a go-getter. I like work and I could easily be a workaholic. I have to control it.
Through my meditation and mindfulness, that’s the practice that has helped me to be able to step back and recognize these emotions for what they are. They are lies. There are times that we need to enjoy time with our family and not be thinking about checking our email, staring at our phones and worrying about what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen is going to happen, whether we worry about it or not. We have to overcome that feeling that we’ve got to be doing something all the time and control our time so that we are doing the right things at the right time and not doing the wrong things at the right time or however you say that.
If we focus on those two most important things and spend two hours a day thinking, acting and operating strategically, that is going to make all the difference. When we focus on our health, then we are going to have more time and energy for the most important things.
It’s streaming our cubbies and sharpen the saw. When you are exercising, you are sharpening your personal saw. You become a better business person because your mind is sharper. You think better and act better. You have the energy to get out and do the things. When you do have to do a long day, we all sometimes do, you can do it because you have the fitness for it.
You have mentioned that you have a program. Tell people where they can go to find out more about you and more about the program that you are offering.
Dirobi.com, that transformation journey, we open it three times a year. It’s closed right now but there’s a place you can enter your email if you are interested. It’s not very expensive. We offer it free to our customers who buy our products on an auto-ship anyone. Anyone who’s on an auto-ship of our products, we invite them in. On the Resources page, I mentioned, there are several great resources.
We touched on some fitness things here but I’ve got a ten-page book called The Dirobi Un-Diet, which I would highly recommend and that’s a result of my years of experience in the fitness industry, along with my certification in nutrition. Taking and distilling down the absolute best, most important seven habits. They are quite easy to do. Many people will find them refreshing because there’s no calorie-counting and no food-weighing. It’s very simple. Something that any busy person can easily fit in but achieve great health. That Resources page I highly recommend.
Thank you so much. Before we end, I want to know what inspired you to bring those two worlds together? It’s very often that people are separate in their approach, either in fitness or their nutrition.
I come from the fitness side. I was a high school athlete and I have loved athletics all of my life. I have done a lot of competitions and a variety of different things and I find real fulfillment and joy in that. Nutrition always came second. It was getting into the health industry in 2009 where I finally started to realize from the experts that nutrition comes first. I had to personally realize that hitting the gym is not the answer to longevity, endurance and lifelong fitness. Hitting the kitchen properly is more important. It was personal progress for me because I have a sweet tooth. If left to my own devices, I would eat poorly. It had to be a real focus. I have had to work on it to make nutrition important. It is very important. What we put into our mouths is more important than what we do in the gym. For me, it was growing up from being an athlete to being a holistic fitness and nutrition-minded person.
I’m glad I asked you that because that’s probably the best lesson for everybody who’s reading that nutrition first. I do think that there is that myth that I can exercise enough that I can eat poorly and get away from it. You can’t.
The rowing machine behind me is one of the primary exercises I do. If I work my butt off on that rowing machine to where I want to curl up like a baby and cry on the floor after a hard workout, that’s burning 300 calories. That’s two Dr. Peppers that I could drink. You can work your butt off and you cannot overcome a bad diet. No matter how hard you work, you are only going to burn a few hundred calories a day through exercise. You destroy it with a couple of bad choices. Great abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.
That is a great one. I love it. I’m writing that down.
I wish I could take credit for that. Everything I have said, I have stolen from someone. I’m not a very creative person but I can read like anyone else.
I don’t think that matters. Nothing is new. The way that you express it may be different than the way someone else’s expresses it. I always say that if I had an original quote or something, I don’t care if somebody takes it. It’s more important than the impact is made. It’s a great saying and it helps people to understand quickly what it’s all about. Start with the kitchen.If you want to change your lifestyle and work fitness, be willing to put in that effort. Click To Tweet
I would love for people to download that book. As I said, you don’t even have to enter your email. I’m not trying to capture people or anything like that. I give that stuff away free on the website. I’m trying to help people be healthier. We have had twenty minutes here but the fact is it’s going to take effort. If you want to change your lifestyle, work fitness in and nutrition, be willing to put in that effort. Give it 90 days as I mentioned. Why not go through that five why process? Figure out what it is for you and give it 90 days to try something new.
Thank you so much, Dave.
There you have it. You have a challenge in front of you. Do it for 90 days. If you are not willing to commit just yet to 90 days, do it for seven days, and then add another seven days and ease your way into it if that’s going to work better for you. You are going to see a difference. Remember what Dave said, “It might get a little harder before it gets easier.” That’s part of anything as we are working through it and getting used to a new way of doing things. That’s your challenge.
I would love to hear from you after you have started this challenge, how you are feeling and what you are taking away. Go over to Dave’s website and check out the resources that are there. I’m sure they are incredible. Thank you all for being here and thank you for your dedication to the show. Make sure that you subscribe and share this show with your friends and colleagues because we cover lots of different topics, whether it be health and wellness or specifically business-related, time management, mindset and resilience, all of those things that come into helping you to work smarter and live smarter. Thanks for being here. We will see you in the next episode.
- Dave Sherwin
- Dirobi Health Show
- Resources – Page on Dirobi website
- The Virtuous Cycle
- The Dirobi Un-Diet
About Dave Sherwin
Dave Sherwin is a certified fitness nutrition coach, entrepreneur and practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. His passion is helping grown-ups navigate real-world business and life challenges to achieve their best health and wellness at any age.
He is also the creator and host of The Dirobi Health Show which covers everything to do with health and wellness, including the latest in nutrition, exercise, supplements, and clinical studies.
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