Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is a New York Physician who practices muscle centric medicine and is an expert in metabolic health. She was also a nationally ranked figure competitor and is an inspiring and resilient individual who shares some transformative motivational concepts. In this episode we discuss muscle physiology, the importance of protein and the mindset needed to rise to challenges in life.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Hi guys. So welcome to the airwaves. Body clock podcast. Its doctors Sohaib today I’m joined by Dr. Kamyar and Dr. Lyon. So our special guest today is Dr. Gabrielle Lyon who’s based in New York. She’s doing some fantastic things. The main kind of brand of hers is muscle centric medicine. And she’s a family medicine physician who’s also being trained in metabolic health nutritional science and has lots of knowledge in the space of functional and lifestyle medicine. So we’ll be talking about her journey and focusing in on her kind of speciality of muscle centric medicine. So Hi Gabrielle. Nice to have you on.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Hi. Thanks so much for making the time.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Of course. So to start off with I just like to hear about your journey as a doctor. How did you get involved in this space?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It’s really interesting. I’m actually second generation. I knew that this space in terms of integrative wellness was going to be the trajectory that I was going to embark on when I was 17. So I graduated high school early and I moved in with my godmother whose name is Liz Lipski and she was one of the original OG’s of nutritional sciences, functional medicine, and she wrote the book called digestive wellness and it talks all about the gut. So I moved to Hawaii I moved in with her and I started seeing all these patients come in that had these issues that started to be resolved with nutrition and that really inspired me. So my journey with nutrition started very early on.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So you’re kind of looking way ahead 17. I mean all movements really caught on caught fire recently. I mean when you were 17 that’s quite a while ago.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Just last year, five years ago.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Of course. Well, the way you work out I’m sure your cells are still pretty young that telomere labs haven’t lengthened so. OK. So you got involved like that said she went to medical school and then you did your residency.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I did. I did two residencies and a fellowship. So I knew that nutritional sciences were really the way to go and I was so passionate and still am so passionate about it and I was fortunate enough to be mentored and trained under Dr. Donald Lehman at the University of Illinois who still to this day mentors me. We’ve had and have a very long relationship and his focus was and is protein metabolism. One of the grandfathers of research in this area and after I finished at the University of Illinois I decided to go to medical school, went to osteopathic school when I finished I was very interested in mindset and of course the nutrition background I had, had. So I trained two years in psychiatry.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: And then of course after psychiatry after doing two years of psychiatry I decided that I really needed to learn a bit more medicine. And then I followed that up with three years of family medicine and then a postdoc at Wash U in obesity medicine and geriatrics and nutritional sciences.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s a lot of studying.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I know, terrible, I’m never learning again. Just kidding.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: And so you covered these kinds of so you kind of basically made a bespoke program where you’ve trained yourself in these kinds of interlinking disciplines of kind of wellness.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Absolutely.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: But you’ve trained yourself quite highly in kind of metabolic health and kind of mindset as well. Two years of psychiatry. So I ask on your personal journey so whilst you were doing all of this what was your you must have had kind of difficult times of the past. It’s very stressful to kind of carve your own way when the traditional route is you know quite different.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah but you never do anything great one doesn’t do anything great if they follow a road that has already been paved as opposed to embarking on their own calling.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: It’s a very profound I would agree I mean Ryan himself he’s he’s been one of the kind of shining lights for me as an inspiration with kind of did his MDA and then he did his intern year and then he kind of did an MBA and kind of helped fuel this movement of lifestyle medicine but with kind of technology and apps and this kind of vision and I found that quite inspiring.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah I actually saw that and I thought that that was very interesting and very visionary. Right. There’s a difference between a leader and then this concept of being a visionary which is changing the way something is done. And I I was inspired by that.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Thank you, thank you both. I’m humbled, blushing.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Can’t see you get this on video. OK. So Royan, have you got any questions or should I move into muscle centric medicine.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Oh no definitely I have questions. So you know Gabrielle one of the things that you know kind of informs sort of my struggle you know coming from the medical community but you know really trying to embrace you know nutrition and ultimately lifestyle as medicine has been you know the key challenge is really been embodying that. Right. I mean we’re not necessarily surrounded by mentors and peers in the medical community who are you know really ironically placing health and wellness first. Right. I mean usually, it’s a go, go, go culture. People are you know people are for the sake of sleep, for the sake of productivity.
There’s almost a machismo aspect about it that the less you can sleep and the less you need to eat than the more you know successful or you know God like you are. Right. And so I actually did my medical intern year in New York were where you’re based and you know the culture there was kind of at its height for me in terms of what is seen elsewhere. And so when you know one of the things that you know I’m curious about and I’d like to discuss before we get deeper into the muscle sciences you know how, how do you go about in your daily routine you know really making making sure that you don’t succumb to maybe some of the traditional cultural pressures around you.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think that it’s very challenging. I think having a structured time to do particular tasks and anchoring the front end and the back end of your day is key. So what that means for me is I wake up at 6:00 in the morning, every morning. I get up I have my coffee, I use a red light. I’m not sure if you guys have heard of red light. I use a red four panel light and that goes on for 20 minutes and during those 20 minutes I really center myself and I visualize what the day is going to look like what I’m looking forward to even if there are negative things or challenges that I might anticipate. I really focus on making that into a positive.
It’s never I have to it’s I get to it if that makes sense so I don’t think I have to go to work. I set in my mind. I truly do think I get to have an amazing career and I get to help a tremendous amount of people which, in which I feel very fortunate. So my day you asked me how I modulate the stress and the craziness phonetic activity of New York. I think it’s very challenging so I think anchoring the front end and the back end of those days and those are protected times. So from six to seven, that’s a very protected time for me. I’m out the door by 7:00 in the evening. Yes, go ahead.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Oh no. That’s actually what I was going to say about the back and anchor so.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: The back and anchor when I get home and I learned this through trial and error. Initially, I would work all day and then come home and try to write and produce. I realized by the end of the day that I was just incredibly ineffective and inefficient. I stopped doing that. That was actually very hard for me to do. So there are three days of the week where I come home and I do very little I’ll go home maybe 8:00 at night and I will read something inspirational or I will read something interesting that’s relatively light.
Maybe it’s in my field of study. Maybe it’s about philosophy or something that I’m interested in. And it’s just very minimal, screen time is diminished and lights are down, the red light panel goes back on, I think about and write down what I did well for that day and what I could do better because we often repeat habits whether it’s mental habits or habits in terms of interaction if you’re late for something or if the train is late or it’s whatever it is. So it caused me to re-evaluate that behavioral response and then get better because now the next day I can anticipate it. So it allows me to continue to fine tune myself daily.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Very cool.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: It seems you’re very planned with what you do. You have kind of these activities planned throughout the day but you have your front anchor and back anchor which keep you kind of centered and it seems you’ve made everything into a choice rather than “a have to” or “must” which is it’s a mindset thing isn’t it.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It is.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yes. So when you have this. So when you plan for example you’ve got a lot obviously your clinics, your patients do what you use to plan. Do you use a diary? Do you have, just make mental notes?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: No I write everything down. I use calendar on my phone. You guys have a fantastic app and I will be using that sounds amazing.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: And we now integrate with calendar that’s a new integration as of a couple weeks ago.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Sounds fantastic.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yes. So the calendar you have on your phone would integrate straight into Owaves so you don’t have to do anything. Haha.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I can’t wait.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK that’s that’s really good to hear. So moving on I’d first of all want to touch upon the kind of muscle physiology. I’m sure a lot of listeners are very interested students. We’re trying to you know achieve hypertrophy or training or just want to know the health benefits of you know building muscle.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It’s it’s really interesting when you’re young you have a lot of flexibility which means you have a lot of flexibility in your physical training, your hypertrophy training, your resistance training. A lot of actually the studies are done in 20-year-old, 20-year-old healthy men. It’s interesting because it doesn’t have to be nearly as structured as one would think. However, if you do, do certain baseline things which I’ll, I’ll discuss. You do excel. So give them an example. Dietary protein is very important and you know everybody knows this dietary protein is very important for building muscle. It’s fantastic when you’re young because you have a very robust response to hypertrophy.
When you do resistance training, when you train and use you have large meals of protein, so there should be, you can spread out your total distribution of protein throughout the day. So for example, if an individual is having 100 grams of protein you can spread those meals out for 50 at each meal or 30 and a couple extra grams there to equal 100. In addition, when you feed with protein after you train you get an increase muscle protein synthesis but also repair. So for college students who tend to be really high in carbs in the dorms and in the cafeteria really having high-quality protein, and I know which is available eggs things like eggs and yogurt. Yogurt can be inflammatory for people but typically when individuals are young they have a lot more flexibility metabolically as well as in terms of nutritionally.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: How would you differentiate high protein high-quality protein to lower quality?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: The amino acids are different in plant versus animal a higher quality protein would be something like a whey protein that has all the branch Gene amino acids a lower quality protein would be something like a hemp protein or a pea protein you can get the same amount of amino acids in both you just require more plant protein to do that. So that’s important especially when if individuals are on a budget and whatever is readily available to just be aware that if someone were to look at a label all protein is not created equal certainly not.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: And you mentioned college students are very metabolically flexible.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: They are.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Is it because the growth hormone is still high? I mean I know testosterone in males keeps it up.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Absolutely.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Ok. So you have that age where you know you’re building muscle so in females as well. So how does it differ to males?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I don’t think that we actually know that answer. That has never been studied I can only tell you from my clinical perspective from what I’ve seen is that men with higher testosterone and that more intense training capacity tend to have a lot of metabolic flexibility. They tend to go more towards weight training women in college tend to gear more towards cardio. You’ve been on a college campus you see the cardio equipment totally fall and the men are out there you know it’s the gun show and chest or chest day. I think that and it’s interesting because those baseline habits that begin in your 20s will carry throughout the rest of your life.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Exactly.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Dialing in those habits and being very aware that how you train and eat in your 20s or in college or early 20s must transition as you age as those hormones change is also very important and the protein becomes even more important.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So you need more recovery as you age?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Well you actually just need more protein total.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: More protein, okay.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: You’re not being, the muscle is not being driven by hormones as much.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So at the moment it’s about as recommended 1.2 grams for a normal individual but for muscle building I’ve heard is about 1.6-2.0 grams of protein. Is that correct? What would you say?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think that you could safely go up to 2.4 even I think that you look at the total protein need, the weight of an individual and calculate from there. But I think that that is an excellent number 2.0 to 2.2-2.4 would be perfectly fine.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: And so you’re saying in the college it is very important obviously do resistance training for health and this. And studies have now shown that for people as they age older individuals you know above 65 so the higher muscle peak they hit in their 20s and they’re less likely to get sarcopenia by the age the 65 and thus has a lot of benefits.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It has tremendous benefits because we know that muscle is the organs of longevity. I want to take a step back because sarcopenia we initially think of as this disease of aging it’s the loss of muscle size then you have the loss of function and strength. However if you look around at actually begins in your 30’s because people are so inactive there is a lot of excess body fat, a lot of lower muscled individual. And what happens is as you get this fat infiltration in the muscle it essentially looks like a marbled steak. While sarcopenia yes is considered a disease of aging I believe that it starts much younger. So we have to develop these strong habits early on that will carry us through life.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s a great point because I mean we are habitual beings.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: You know you mentioned that muscle is the organ of longevity. And I’m curious what you think. Are you familiar with the Blizo studies from National Geographic?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I am.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: And OK so if you’re familiar with Dan Buettner’s work right so you know kind of he speaks out about their findings quite often on wellness media you know different academic conferences.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I’m not sure who that is.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Ok just for our audience too so you know Blue Zones studies and so I think you’re aware but basically they study these centenarian villages where people are living much longer lifespans than average and they identified really five main communities across the world: Sardinia; Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya Peninsula. And I think because Costa Rica or Nicaragua, Central America and so when one of the interesting findings that you know Dan Buettner so he was the national Geographic fellow or explorer that kind of pioneered these studies with his brother and then gradually brought a lot of epidemiologists along with them and you know they studied these communities for I want to say decades now. And so one of the findings they made and he really always makes a strong point of is that you know the type of physical activity that these centenarians were doing, I mean again these communities on average have you know significantly higher lifespans than average, was low-level everyday kind of activity of daily living.
You know movements – So you know for example in Okinawa Japan you know they didn’t have chairs a lot of times in these households and so the females would you know that they study the longest living females in the world in Okinawa Japan at least the time they’re doing studies you know they would squat on the floor for long period of time as we’re sitting or they sit on the floor but repeatedly get up and down. I don’t know how many times a day. And so that’s how they’re getting their leg exercises right.
You know they didn’t have a blender. Right. So you know a lot of the physical activity movements they’re doing again on a daily basis where you know chopping up fruits and vegetables you know mashing things by hand and so you know Dan Buettner for example and the reason why I mention him is because they are doing a lot of work trying to you know now transform this research into cities and societies in the states, they have a Blue Zone project in Maui, they have a Blue Zone project in Orange County, California.
And I think they did some working in I want to say Iowa, but basically, you know he argues against going to the gym. You know he says that that type of mentality where we kind of squeeze all our physical activity into one kind of solid hours kind of at least not what they found. And really the goal should be creating communities where people can walk to work and sort of de-modernizing a lot of the ways we live. So we’re not totally reliant on electrical appliances that do everything for us. So I’m just wondering if you’re kind of familiar with that line of argument especially as it relates to longevity.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I am, I am actually. I think that that is a wonderful concept. I think that it would be really I think we have to wonder how we could implement that in our daily life now I think that, that’s nearly impossible. We just don’t live like that. So the argument would be how do you keep muscle healthy if you’re not living in a blue zone type area. They are moving a lot. They’re doing a lot of different things that we are not doing. And I think their great danger to not maintaining muscle tissue. I have seen this hundreds of times in my clinic that it is deadly to not be living in the ways that we should. So if we have to do resistance training or functional movement or find ways in which we make up for our domestication I think that’s essential.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah, I mean, sorry, Sohaib.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah I think so. You’re basing the intensity has to be so lower level intensity over a long period is the same as kind of bursts of higher intensity to make up for the sedentary time.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think that the data has really created a high-intensity interval training is excellent for insulin sensitivity, fat loss and maintaining muscle. I also, if you don’t use the system you lose it and having those systems in place are valuable.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: You know I think you know again this is just my perspective on sort of you know what we’re all trying to do here ultimately which is you know help people live longer healthier lives. You know the real, the real problem for me is just you know even if you get that one hour in the gym, the reality is, most people are sitting behind a computer for eight hours a day and that’s the crux of the problem right. And so we do live these domesticated lives and you know I’m just wondering you know what sort of we can do to really change that. I mean our most productive selves is literally this day and age is sitting behind a desk and staring at a computer.
And we know that’s not healthy for our muscles as you’re pointing out and at the same time, it’s not like we want to go back to some sort of agrarian society where all in the fields you know chopping up vegetable fruits and vegetables. So I guess you know we kind of reduced to that. Is it just the sad reality of the times, is the Blue Zones approach the right one where we actually go to these societies and try to transform them so they become walkable cities. Are we looking at new technologies like you know the next version of the treadmill desk or you know is it to be determined?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: In a perfect world, in my opinion, I think it’s shifting the paradigm for how we live our life whether it’s a treadmill desk or yeah I’ve been debating making my OR SINCE I’M MAKING having my patients come in and doing some pull-ups prior to our visit. Just shifting the paradigm of thinking. I think that there’s a large amount of unconscious behavior, for example, the escalator. So many people in New York City do the escalator as opposed to the stairs or even think that that’s a viable option.
I think changing and of course leading from the front being one’s own example for everybody else doing things that are not necessarily the norm whether it’s removing chairs from your house or doing a set of pull-ups before each patient or having the patients do it but just changing the paradigm and thinking of what and how we should do when you think about fasting I think that hunger is a good thing. I think for all experience and the body was designed to go through it. It’s not a bad thing. It’s, I think having those challenges implemented into your day both physical and mental can bring us back to some kind of balance right. But in the blue zone the really not having stress we don’t know necessarily the quality of the end of their life. I don’t know but I do know that the world that we live in now requires us to be strong and mentally sharp and capable to fight resistance.
Training helps with the mental side of things as well guys because individuals go in thinking that they can’t lift weights and they come to realize how strong they are and how strong they can become. And of course, there’s the discipline of execution and not waiting for motivation. But having you in our schedule this is the time they’re going to train whether they feel like it or not. It’s not an emotional response it is you execute based on commitment. I think that building that internal resilience makes for a better person that there then leads to other areas of their life.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: To continuously challenging yourself. I mean resilience is one of the kinds of things we’re trying to measure with Owaves. Royan, what are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah I I really do you know ways that physicians or researchers are trying to measure and quantify resilience. It seems like a popular buzz term that we’re definitely landing on.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I don’t know how one would I’m sure there are ways in which they determine resilience but I don’t know, I don’t know how that’s being done in the academic world.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Personally, How did you do so. So you had an injury so can you tell us about what happened.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yes.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You have had a very strong from your Instagram pictures. I mean it hasn’t seemed to affect you.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah, I’ve had multiple injuries and it wasn’t until the encouragement of my community to share these things. Originally when I started posting on Instagram and being vocal it was really just about medicine and science which is great but that’s only one aspect of an individual or of what they do. And even in my practice, I do a lot of medicine. However, 50 percent is getting to know my patient and leveraging who they are to allow them to be the best version of themselves. So there’s a combination of both.
So I injured myself about two and a half years ago. I was training for a 50-hour event and my training volume was very heavy. Prior to training for that 50-hour event, I had been in fellowship which is as you mentioned earlier waking up at 4:00 in the morning going to the lab to do fat biopsies by 5:00, muscle biopsies by 5:00, then seeing patients all day, then rounding in the hospital. It was very, very long days what I would do is I would then go and I decided that I was going to start powerlifting or lifting really heavy. Not the best choice considering I come from a background figure in fitness which those are phenomenal athletes within themselves but is not necessarily functional movement.
I had no business doing that, although I did have a background in dance and gymnastics, I wasn’t primed my body hadn’t earned the ability to lift these heavy weights but I was going to do it anyway. Initially, for two years I had set up those injuries. Chronic sciatica, shoulder pain, then I decided I was going to train for a 50-hour event. I spent about nine months training and towards the end of that training. The volume was so high I was doing 10 by 10 dead hang pull ups a day. My volume was between two and a half plus hours and I was doing a sprint interval and I wouldn’t listen to anyone. It’s not as if it’s not as if my programming was inappropriate. I have one of my best friends and someone who’s coached me. Her name is Kara Killian actually she’s on Titan Games coming out in January. Her name is Lara Lazauskas.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: A warrior tribe.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: She had really been on my case about this poor programming that I was executing. I refused to listen. I really- if it didn’t hurt it didn’t matter I snapped, I snapped my right hamstring and significantly tore my left and really tore my right shoulder. Yeah, it was the 80 percent avulsion that dropped me to my knees and I couldn’t train. There was that, that process of healing and I’m still in the rehab. I just started work on the shoulder it’s been about two and a half years.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: While you’ve seemed to have maintained your muscle mass and you’ve kept very fit. So how have you got around that I mean mentally as well I must kind of must have really been quite shocking to you know someone who’s training so much.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah it’s very hard. Luckily I focus on the action steps that I can take and I also am very aware of my thinking and I can identify what is common thinking and when I identify these common thinking patterns, a way in which individuals would think, I complete and change that. I don’t want to do anything in a common way. The only way to do to be excellent is to have uncommon thinking. That works are really hard to cultivate that I also have a great community. My significant other is an active duty Navy SEAL, my tribe is very mentally fit and physically fit and spiritually fit. You surround yourself with people and iron sharpens iron and you get better and you’re just constantly growing.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I would agree I mean Owaves is trying to kind of fundamentally form these communities as kind of health and performance and kind of addressing that. And you’re right. That’s kept you strong from a mental perspective and also to keep going because you’ve seen people around also kind of you know training hard and getting through their own issues. So. So you’re still in the rehab phase which is hard.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yes. It’s hard mentally. You really have to. There was a time where I was a pretty good athlete and there was a time I was very strong and yeah I’m not I’m not that way now but I will, I will get back I will and I will be relentless and that’s I show up every day. Doesn’t matter I show up every day.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s a great approach.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It hurts. It’s not that it’s easy and sometimes the weights are really light and my form is wrong and I have no room for error anymore. I have had such significant injuries and such a stubbornness that I don’t have room to continue to make the same errors. So it would be interesting if your app, I don’t know if your app yet, programs training but if it would, that is amazing that they can implement their training plan and schedule into Owaves that would be amazing.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: You know this is actually what we’re trying to do and we’re working with some coaches to do that for our college students right now. And you know we’ve been getting a lot of interesting questions that I’m sure you’ll have a lot of insight on and I think it’s especially interesting that you have this strong you know fitness background combined with a psychiatry training. So how do you advise your clients, you know, when you know that mental barrier of just physically getting to the gym. Right. What are your top sort of pieces of advice for you know really just getting them off the couch and into the gym when it’s you know maybe the holidays or it’s just really hard to do that.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Totally reframe that thinking there is going to come to a point in time first of all by the time my patients get to me they’re ready to do their work. That is a very. They are very committed and they are very motivated. What I would say to an individual that wasn’t is I would say this: the pain of regret is much worse than not being disciplined. Having that pain of not reaching your goal and having it 10 years down the line or five months down the line that these were your goals and you never executed that pain is way worse than getting up and going to the gym.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Nice, That needs to be on a quote graphic that was strong.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: The other thing that I would say is there is going to come to a point in time where you can not go to the gym and that’s going to be sad. There is going to come to a point where you have now, there’s only so much time that we have on earth and it’s very finite and it can change in a second. I think by keeping that in the front of your mind it allows individuals to make good decisions. And continue to move toward whatever it is that they want for themselves.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Very cool and relatedly I’m curious you know some of the kids we’re working with you know their first year in college and you know maybe they didn’t really have some sort of you know they weren’t on a sports team in high school and so they’re you know being in a gym is not really part of their milieu or their way of being but they get that it’s good for them and they sort of want to but they’re maybe generally intimidated by what goes on in there. What is your advice for you know let’s say a young first-year college student lets just assume female you know for now shows up to the gym for the first time. How would you go about orienting someone like that?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I would tell you that we’ve all had a first time. Everybody has a first time showing up and it’s about shifting to that growth mindset and being excited about a challenge that you’ve never done before. Of course, being intimidated that’s limiting in the mind. It’s not the right framework for thinking. That’s how I would think about it in terms of training. I would have them you know probably start with a group class or a trainer. That’s much less intimidating. They do have a two-person session or three-person session or they even think even in college they had weight training classes where you would go to class in the gym. I mean so there are ways if you want something bad enough and you’re motivated to get it you’ll find a way.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You seem to also have quite a few patients you deal with patients who are obese as well. Do you have a similar approach with them? Do you have like is it incremental changes, increase their training load over time. What kind of time frames do you use?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Well in terms of my patients that are overweight I always work with someone who is a trainer and that’s what they do. I think that’s much more valuable, I don’t program out there training. I can tell you if they’re going to recover or if they’re recovering based on their blood rate they’re blood work, but I don’t I don’t specifically program I can tell when they need to scale things back, what they probably should add in, how their body composition is doing but that that really should be left to the professionals that do that.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: What biomarkers do you track?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I always look at hormones, I always look at thyroid, I look at reverse T-3, I look at CERP. I look at sedrate, I look at ferritin, iron studies. I mean the list goes on.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So quite a wide panel. And you believe in tracking and kind of being quite data centric with this.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: You have to, otherwise you don’t know what to change, tracking is necessary which is why I think Owaves is great because you can, what you track you can change the more data you have and anyone who’s good at sports or the military or athlete or successful in weight loss it’s very clear. One of the things that they do is they track. Individuals that track their weight are more successful at weight loss.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: For human performance, tracking is a big aspect of actually one of our co-hosts and Regan, she works as a flight surgeon in the military. And we had a talk about you know how those individuals how she’s kind of monitoring them and tracking them and yet tracking gives you that data and that insight to change in terms of kind of athletes et cetera. And even these different types of muscle fibers genetically obviously determined type one type 2 fibers a and b or would you say so do you believe that some people are more kind of likely to be better at certain things than others obviously the science to show that?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah of course there’s a predisposition.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah so if I find out, for example, I’m an endurance, for example, I have type 1 fibers or more endurance favorable. Would that mean that would that individual carry on work harder resistance training or just give up.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I have no idea that probably has to do with the fortitude and the internal grit of that person but we definitely know that individuals gravitate to what is easy for them.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yes.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: For me, you will never find me running long distance. I’m tiny. I need for speed pick up heavy things. That’s great.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s good.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Other people that are like you said endurance or even mixed.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah. And in terms of cognitive health as well so recently there’s been a lot of literature on there’s actually a study done in an elderly women who they kind of started on a six month, twice weekly resistance training program and what they found was that they had better attention, they had less attention deficit their memory had improved, their brain functional capacity and the neuroplasticity had also improved. And this was the six months and reduce their chances of developing dementia. Have you come across anything similar?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I did my fellowship in geriatrics at Wash U. That was part of my fellowship training and they’re doing studies like that all the time. It is very true. It’s part of the prescription for all the cognitive clinics to add in exercise both resistance and aerobic and they all think that Tai Chi is excellent as well as mindfulness training.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You have so you’re having both physical and mental side and because there’s even a study which said that in squats. So like building quote strength was associated with less chance of developing respiratory disease which was very interesting as well. So it seems there’s a lot of new research being done in a kind of advantage of having more muscle.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah, we know that the more muscle you have and while people are in college the more muscle you have the better. We can talk about the Blue Zone but we don’t live there. They have no stress and they’re woken up by the chickens. That’s not happening. We are woken up by our iPhone alarm.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Alexa for me.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Or all these other things and I think that there is a stigma against building muscle, being a meathead, which there’s nothing wrong with that by the way, and then women will put on too much mass and get bulky none of that’s true. And the more – (inaudible) – it is responsible largely for your resting metabolic rate. So it’s not just the locomotion. It’s not just the architecture but it’s the infrastructure of your machine. It’s your currency the more muscle you have the more carbohydrates you burn the more fatty acids you burn. If you get into an accident and you need to metabolize amino acids, your muscle is your reservoir. If you get cancer if you get really sick. Any anything serious. The muscles what’s healthy in the muscle. The healthier you’re going to be.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s really motivated, I think it would motivate a lot of listeners to kind of focus on that side. I mean you’re pretty incredible in terms of how you’ve been training so were your weight training and resistance training regularly at a high level whilst you were doing your fellowship as well.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I was.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK that’s tough. That’s very draining in terms of even cognitive load and kind of managing you know plans of exercise, meal planning.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: It was very hard. It becomes a way of life. The fellowship is very taxing and definitely has hormonal effects when you’re training and recovering in you’re up.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Cortisol is through the roof I’m guessing?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Through the roof. It was unbelievable. Yes very challenging but everything is temporary including whatever situation fellowship was not easy for me whatsoever to Wash U is a tremendous place. The academic expectation is incredible. The acceptance rate is 2 percent. The amount of stress that has the potential be there is great because you want to be able to perform and anything that is new for your college people listening newness is stressful but it also means that it’s a life worth living and that when you’re stressed you should go towards that because it means something, as opposed to moving away.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That’s quite incredible. I mean, so you’re very sparked by challenging yourself continuously in many different domains. I didn’t come across many people who do that and it’s kind of such such different fields as well. Definitely, someone who’s an innovator as well. Talking about innovation, something I’d read so you’re interested in anti-aging as well. And one of one of the kind of someone I follow is someone who inspires me is Ray Kurzweil from Google who is a futurist and a computer scientist and he gives talks about exponential medicine and he believes in the singularity about technology 2045 how the rate of technological change will be so great that machines will basically kind of be doing work at such a high level that A.I. will be so advanced that a lot of automation will occur at that point. He takes a supplement. I think it’s called reservatrol. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know much about that actually so there’s something I came across it recently and I was gonna ask you about.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think reservatrol works on AMPK. I think it is excellent. It’s one of it’s found in grapes and it is been shown to help with memory and it’s supposed to be excellent. I use it. I think that there potential for it. Absolutely. So it works on this. This AMPK pathway which is you think of fasting it up-regulates these essentially fasting pathways.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: OK. So it so has it been. The studies have been done or is it kind of very tentative at the moment. Can it improve your health or does it prolong life?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I would have to go back and look at their data. I haven’t been reading about it lately so I can’t give you a word answer.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Okay.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: The last time that I looked at that data was a few years ago and we were actually doing some of it at Wash U one of the postdocs was doing some data on research on risk fair trial and it looked very promising.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: I think the longevity, longevity outcomes were mostly proven in animal studies.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: They were, yes.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: The concentrations were kind of too high to reproduce in humans. From what I remember they were at really high concentrations, the doses.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think between 2 and 400 trans resveratrol is what they were using in humans. I think there is some data about that but again I’m the wrong person ask because I haven’t looked at the research again.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: And so going back to what you’ve been doing so you’ve got your clinic where you do kind of most centric medicine you see patients help them to optimize their health. You seem someone who’s quite planned and seems to kind of be doing the human version of Owaves and you’re quite big on the mindset side of things it seems you have quite a few motivational quotes and kind of goal posts and objectives that drive you from day to day. So did you refresh these objectives you, you said you read quite widely to give yourself inspiration? I know as a young person growing up, for me personally, I’m seeing kind of entrepreneurs and you know it’s a big challenge that motivates me as well and always seeing things from different angles and different perspectives. It’s something which kind of give you the extra energy to kind of push through and it seems that you’ve been doing that for quite a while. So did you feel after a while you need change as a person to keep you motivated? As a young person when you’re studying did you need a different kind of role models, looking at influencers or people who’ve been there done that. What’s your perspective on that?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I think that there is a lot to learn from the people that have come before us and I think that mentorship is essential and I have mentors in my life. I’ve always had mentors and different kinds of mentors. I think that that is amazing for growth. For example Mark Devine he’s a former commander Navy SEAL.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: He’s local, Encinitas.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah, actually I will be in Encinitas in December in about a 2 weeks.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You guys should meet up.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: That would be great.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yes.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: So I mark has mentored me for quite a few years. I’ve had different mentors throughout my life in various ways. Dr. Donald Lehman, Liz Lipski, and then of course the people that you surround yourself. They always have, they always do things that are better. Right? We all do, we all have our strengths and you can learn from the people within your tribe, your community that is doing things amazing that in that way you mentor each other.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s kind of infectious. You get this- you get it’s kind of coupled and becomes greater. So do you feel if you see your friend is working out so Owaves we’re trying to we’re trying a few things. Do you feel that piece of information knowing what someone else is kind of living a healthy lifestyle or someone in your circle does that motivate you to carry on doing what you’re doing or going?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: No, we always have competition are you kidding.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: To motivate.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Healthy goals.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Right. You have to crush each other. Probably how I got injured anyway.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: You went too far.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Yeah, it’s a positive. It’s definitely positive reinforcement.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah, Royan, Any other questions? I mean I think we’ve discussed such a wide range of things and I think this podcast compared to all the previous ones. I mean it’s a real source of I mean you’ve spoken from you know your heart and it’s I think it would really motivate a lot of young people. You have this kind of do it attitude and you kind of don’t let any obstacles get in the way and you keep trying and I think that’s that’s of the big reasons for your great success and so many things and it’s quite inspiring. This podcast has been quite inspiring actually. Royan, anything else?
Dr. Royan Kamyar: No, just to answer your question. I think this has been a great episode and you know as it relates to the college students that are listening know I think you know we learned a lot and hopefully this drives home the importance of you know respecting the muscle as an organ system that we need to pay more attention to for a variety of reasons. We heard some of the science behind it but usually, you know we hear a lot about heart health, brain health, but you know the paying attention to our muscle. I think that’s novel. And so I think you know this has been very informative and I hope you know that people listening really take it to heart and know that you know time in the gym is it’s not just time to look good or to compete or you know just to be able to say you went to the gym but it’s actually you know a healthy substantive activity that you really need to be resilient, to live a long healthy life, to fight disease. The whole nine yards. So I think it is.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah. Dr. Lyon seems to be implementing circadian biology. She wakes up, you said she was at 4 a.m. for your fellowship and 6 a.m. normally.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: I don’t recommend anyone waking up that early if you don’t have to?
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So have you always had quite a good circadian rhythm. Do you do you ever have difference. I mean I’m guessing you travel.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: All the time. I feel that that’s probably my Achilles heel is I still have a tendency to push myself very hard. And I think that we all have weaknesses that we have to address and I certainly I wake up early but sometimes if I’m on a deadline I’ll stay up too late. and that definitely has repercussions.
Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s something that obviously we all have weaknesses and we all work on the parts that we struggle with but it seems you’re doing a pretty good job with kind of managing your clinic, staying incredibly, fit managing your injuries, having this kind of tribe and mentorship doing a lot of speaking engagements. And you know inspiring a lot of people. I’ve learned a lot in this podcast. And truly inspiring I mean I’m glad we got you on. And definitely, when you’re in San Diego I think Royan and you should connect and I think specifically college students, the audience, has a lot to take away from this. I think a lot of people who might have been feeling like you know it gets colder in the winter, don’t want to get up and go to the gym, I think there’ll be a lot of people lifting weights once this podcast goes out. So you’re not going to do right now. So thanks a lot for being on our podcast and look forward to it being out. Thank you.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Thank you.
Dr. Royan Kamyar: Thanks so much.
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