The Breath of Life — A Summary of “Breath” by James Nestor

Frequently, I voice concerns over the scarcity of investing education, yet there exists a topic of even greater criticality, one that profoundly impacts our very existence. It’s the art of breathing — an essential function so vital, yet astonishingly, we receive little to no formal instruction on how to execute it correctly. This oversight eclipses the need for even water or food, touching on the elemental necessity of oxygen, or rather, as James Nestor enlightens us in his revelatory book, “Breath” the underestimated value of carbon dioxide. Breathing isn’t merely a biological function; it embodies the essence of life itself. Given its paramount importance, it’s only fitting that we delve deeper into the mechanics of breathing, far beyond our current understanding.

Join me as I navigate through the insights and discoveries presented in “Breath,” a book that not only captivated my interest but also transformed my perspective on what it means to truly breathe.

We humans are the worst breathers in the Animal Kingdom: “40% of today’s population suffers from chronic nasal obstruction, and around half of us are habitual mouthbreathers, with females and children suffering the most. The causes are many: from dry air to stress, inflammation to allergies, pollution to pharmaceuticals. But much of the blame, I’ll soon learn, can be placed on the ever-shrinking real estate in the front of the human skull.”

As you can see, evolution doesn’t always mean progress; it means just change. And in this case “we’re adopting and passing down traits that are detrimental to our health. This concept, called dysevolution, was made popular by Harvard biologist Daniel Lieberman, and it explains why our backs ache, feet hurt, and bones are growing more brittle. Dysevolution also helps explain why we’re breathing so poorly

Don’t breathe through your mouth, not even when exercising: “Simply training yourself to breathe through your nose, Douillard reported, could cut total exertion in half and offer huge gains in endurance. The athletes felt invigorated while nasal breathing rather than exhausted”

Aerobic Vs Anaerobic: “The ways the body makes energy from air and food. There are two options:

“Essentially, anaerobic energy is like a muscle car — it’s fast and responsive for quick trips, but polluting and impractical for long hauls. This is why aerobic respiration is so important. Remember those cells that evolved to eat oxygen 2.5 billion years ago and kicked off an explosion of life? We’ve got some 37 trillion of them in our bodies. When we run our cells aerobically with oxygen, we gain some 16 times more energy efficiency over anaerobic. The key for exercise, and for the rest of life, is to stay in that energy-efficient, clean-burning, oxygen-eating aerobic zone for the vast majority of time during exercise and AT ALL TIMES DURING REST

So what should we do?. Inhale through the nose: “It forces air against all those flabby tissues at the back of the throat, making the airways wider and breathing easier. After a while, these tissues and muscles get “toned” to stay in this opened and wide position. Nasal breathing begets more nasal breathing.”. The more you do it, the better you’re at doing it and the more you’ll do it in a virtuous cycle.

What happens when we breathe through the mouth and we get sleep apnea? (When oxygen falls)?: “Whenever oxygen falls below 90 percent, the blood can’t carry enough of it to support body tissues. If this goes on too long, it can lead to heart failure, depression, memory problems, and early death” Yes, it’s serious stuff.

So, avoid sleep apnea and snoring: “No amount of snoring is normal, and no amount of sleep apnea comes without risks of serious health effects”

And the cause is mostly not knowing how to properly breathe through the nose: “Burhenne found that mouthbreathing was both a cause of and a contributor to snoring and sleep apnea. He recommended his patients tape their mouths shut at night

Technique to reduce snoring and to learn to breathe through the nose: “A postage-stamp-size piece of tape at the center of the lips — a Charlie Chaplin mustache moved down an inch. This approach felt less claustrophobic and allowed a little space on the sides of the mouth if I needed to cough or talk. After much trial and error, I settled on 3M Nexcare Durapore “durable cloth” tape, an all-purpose surgical tape with a gentle adhesive. It was comfortable, had no chemical scent, and didn’t leave residue.”

It can even reduce the need to pee at night: “I never woke up needing to pee. I didn’t have to, because my pituitary gland was likely releasing vasopressin. I was finally sleeping soundly”

Part Two — The Lost Art and Science of Breathing

Let’s get to know our nostrils a little bit:

Right nostril: “The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you’re inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation speeds up, your body gets hotter, and cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all increase. This is because breathing through the right side of the nose activates the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight or flight” mechanism that puts the body in a more elevated state of alertness and readiness”

Left nostril: “Inhaling through the left nostril has the opposite effect: it acts as a brake to the right nostril’s accelerator. The left nostril is more deeply connected to the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-relax side that lowers blood pressure, cools the body, and reduces anxiety. Left-nostril breathing shifts blood flow to the opposite side of the prefrontal cortex, influencing creative thought and playing a role in the formation of mental abstractions and the production of negative emotions”

Technique: Surya Bheda Pranayama: “To gain focus and balance the body and mind, I followed a technique called surya bheda pranayama, which involves taking one breath into the right nostril, then exhaling through the left for several rounds”

Breathing has (at least) two parts: inhaling and exhaling “The most important aspect of breathing wasn’t just to take in air through the nose. Inhaling was the easy part. The key to breathing, lung expansion, and the long life that came with it was on the other end of respiration. It was in the transformative power of a full exhalation.”

And we must breath slowly: “The best way to prevent many chronic health problems, improve athletic performance, and extend longevity was to focus on how we breathed, specifically to balance oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body. To do this, we’d need to learn how to inhale and exhale slowly.”

And contrary to popular belief, it’s the carbon dioxide what our bodies most need: “What our bodies really want, what they require to function properly, isn’t faster or deeper breaths. It’s not more air. What we need is more carbon dioxide.”

Breathing is even weight-regulating: “For every ten pounds of fat lost in our bodies, eight and a half pounds of it comes out through the lungs; most of it is carbon dioxide mixed with a bit of water vapor. The rest is sweated or urinated out. This is a fact that most doctors, nutritionists, and other medical professionals have historically gotten wrong. The lungs are the weight-regulating system of the body.”

Technique: Resonant or Coherent Breathing: “It turned out that the most efficient breathing rhythm occurred when both the length of respirations and total breaths per minute were locked into a spooky symmetry: 5.5-second inhales followed by 5.5-second exhales, which works out almost exactly to 5.5 breaths a minute. (I explored resonant breathing techniques and an app in this blog post) This was the same pattern of the rosary.” or in other religious chants and prayers in all religions. Prayer heals, especially when it’s practiced at 5.5 breaths a minute.

And as with design, investing or … eating, most of the times, less is best: “Just as we’ve become a culture of overeaters, we’ve also become a culture of overbreathers. Most of us breathe too much, and up to a quarter of the modern population suffers from more serious chronic overbreathing. The fix is easy: breathe less. But that’s harder than it sounds. We’ve become conditioned to breathe too much, just as we’ve been conditioned to eat too much.”

“To be clear, breathing less is not the same as breathing slowly. Average adult lungs can hold about four to six liters of air. Which means that, even if we practice slow breathing at 5.5 breaths per minute, we could still be easily taking in twice the air we need. The key to optimum breathing, and all the health, endurance, and longevity benefits that come with it, is to practice fewer inhales and exhales in a smaller volume. To breathe, but to breathe less.”

It’s all a virtuous cycle: “Slower, longer exhales, of course, mean higher carbon dioxide levels. With that bonus carbon dioxide, we gain a higher aerobic endurance. This measurement of highest oxygen consumption, called VO2 max, is the best gauge of cardiorespiratory fitness. Training the body to breathe less actually increases VO2 max, which can not only boost athletic stamina but also help us live longer and healthier lives.”

Again, the Resonant or Coherent Breathing: “The optimum amount of air we should take in at rest per minute is 5.5 liters. The optimum breathing rate is about 5.5 breaths per minute. That’s 5.5-second inhales and 5.5-second exhales. This is the perfect breath.”

Breathing and Chewing. “Researchers have suspected that industrialized food was shrinking our mouths and destroying our breathing for as long as we’ve been eating this way. Our ancient ancestors chewed for hours a day, every day. And because they chewed so much, their mouths, teeth, throats, and faces grew to be wide and strong and pronounced. Food in industrialized societies was so processed that it hardly required any chewing at all.”. So: chew. Dogs do it, and make them do it. Why don’t apply it to ourselves?

Part Three — Breathing+

Enter advanced breathing, starting with Inner Fire Meditation or Tummo. Originally practiced by Tibetan Buddhists for the past thousand years is now kind of “mainstream”: “Professional surfers, mixed martial arts fighters, and Navy SEALs use Tummo-style breathing to get into the zone before a competition or black ops mission. It’s also especially useful for middle-aged people who suffer from lower-grade stress, aches and pains, and slowing metabolisms”

Wim Hof, commercialized it, but at the same time insists it’s nothing special it’s just another technique: “Hof insisted he wasn’t special; neither were David-Néel or the Tibetan monks. Almost anyone could do what they all did. As Hof put it, we just had to “Breathe, motherfucker!”

Technique: Inner Fire Meditation or Tummo: “To practice Wim Hof’s breathing method:

“By teaching anxious people the art of holding their breath. As far back as the first century BCE, inhabitants of what is now India described a system of conscious apnea, which they claimed restored health and ensured long life.”

But why do we feel the need to breath?: “The nagging need to breathe is activated from a cluster of neurons called the central chemoreceptors, located at the base of the brain stem. When we’re breathing too slowly and carbon dioxide levels rise, the central chemoreceptors monitor these changes and send alarm signals to the brain, telling our lungs to breathe faster and more deeply. When we’re breathing too quickly, these chemoreceptors direct the body to breathe more slowly to increase carbon dioxide levels. This is how our bodies determine how fast and often we breathe, not by the amount of oxygen, but by the level of carbon dioxide

Again, it’s about the carbon dioxide, not about the oxygen.

“Today, chemoreceptor flexibility is part of what distinguishes good athletes from great ones. It’s why some elite mountain climbers can summit Everest without supplemental oxygen, and why some freedivers can hold their breath underwater for ten minutes. All these people have trained their chemoreceptors to withstand extreme fluctuations in carbon dioxide without panic.”. “Physical limits are only half of it. Our mental health relies on chemoreceptor flexibility as well.”

Prana, the flow, (in Sanskrit, “pra” means to fill, and “ana” signifies movement or force), together symbolizing the vital energy that fills and animates the universe. Prana is not merely the breath, though breathing is one of the most direct means of influencing its flow within us. “The more prana something has, the more alive it is. Should this flow of energy ever become blocked, the body would shut down and sickness would follow. If we lose so much prana that we can’t support basic body functions, we die.” Don’t stop the prana.

“Spicy foods contained large doses of prana, which is one of the reasons traditional Indian and Chinese diets are often hot.”. “But the most powerful technique was to inhale prana: to breathe. Breathing techniques were so fundamental to prana that ch’i and ruah and other ancient terms for energy are synonymous with respiration. When we breathe, we expand our life force.”

Technique to remove toxins through breathing: “Once a day, they were to lie down, take a brief inhale, and then exhale to a count of 6. As they progressed, they could inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to 8, with the goal of reaching a half-minute exhale after six months of practice. Upon reaching this 30 count, Rama promised his students, they “will not have any toxins and will be disease-free.”

Rusting and cancer. “When cells lose the ability to offload and absorb electrons, they begin to break down. “Taking out electrons irreversibly means killing,” wrote Szent-Györgyi. This breakdown of electron excitability is what causes metal to rust and leaves to turn brown and die. Humans “rust” as well. As the cells in our bodies lose the ability to attract oxygen, Szent-Györgyi wrote, electrons within them will slow and stop freely interchanging with other cells, resulting in unregulated and abnormal growth. Tissues will begin “rusting” in much the same way as other materials. But we don’t call this “tissue rust.” We call it cancer.”

Breathing slow, less, and through the nose balances the levels of respiratory gases in the body and sends the maximum amount of oxygen to the maximum amount of tissues so that our cells have the maximum amount of electron reactivity.”

Yoga was originally focused on prana. Breathing. “Ancient yoga, and its focus on prana, sitting, and breathing, has turned into a form of aerobic exercise. That isn’t to say modern yoga is bad in any way. It is simply a different practice from the one that first originated 5,000 years ago.”

Suming up

In a nutshell, this is what I’ve learned from the book:

April 2024

My Back Pain and the 'Back Mechanics' Book Summary

Have you ever experienced nagging back pain after a long ride? I have, especially after 3, 4, or 5-hour rides, and more so in races when I'm constantly pushing the limits. But recently, it got worse, peaking one day when I had to stop just 20 minutes into my ride. Red flags everywhere, right?

But what exactly is back pain? Stuart McGill's book offers a perfect definition: "Flawed movement patterns, repeated over and over, sensitize your back tissues and drive them to be painful even when under very low load."

Was it because of cycling? Probably. But not exclusively.

Was it due to too much seating? Likely, especially since my back acts up sooner during afternoon rides after a full workday. And let's be honest, my seating hygiene has never been pristine.

Was it Yin Yoga's fault? I switched to Yin Yoga from traditional yoga for deeper stretches and relaxation, but later discovered it was pretty bad for my back. Was it the main culprit? Maybe, but I suspect not entirely.

What about strength training? I recently ramped up my strength training routine, which is short, intense, and almost daily. But my very poor frontal dorsiflexion and hip flexion might be affecting my squat form and thus my back. Is strength training to blame? Perhaps, but I don't think it's the sole reason.

As you can see, back pain is a complex beast. Our bodies (and minds) are complex systems. I suspect my pain might come from a bulged disc, but without a good doctor, I can't be sure. More on this later…

Physio sessions did nothing for me either.

Out of desperation, I asked for advice and out of the blue, someone recommended McGill’s Big 3. Thank You, Hallux.

I browsed the link, found it legit, and dove into the world of Squat University, Stuart McGill, the Big 3, and the complex world of back pain.

Next, I devoured Stuart McGill’s "Back Mechanics" book. I stopped my yoga, cycling, and strengthening routine and started my own back hygiene and stability program. I read through the book in a few days and began practicing the drills and walking daily.

Some days I feel better, other days worse. I can pinpoint that I truly started the program on December 22nd, and my last day cycling was December 17th. Now, on January 4th, I see light at the end of the tunnel. Yesterday, I spent the whole morning without pain and managed a 1-hour bike ride in the afternoon. It was uncomfortable, but pain-free.

I’ll summarize for you (and me) "Back Mechanics" by Dr. Stuart McGill, but to be fair, if you read and understand the Squat University blog post (and read one of the linked articles about screening your back), you pretty much get the full gist of Stuart McGill's work.

Without further ado, let's dive into my notes and highlights from the book:

"Getting your spine in working order is going to take discipline and commitment. You’re going to have to break old habits and form new ones."

Part One: “Why me?” Understanding your pain

“The medical community continues to focus its efforts on surgery recommendations as a “quick-fix” solution as well as pain relief in pill form as a means of sweeping the issue under the rug, so to speak.”. Traditional medicine will bring you traditional results. And this is exactly what my doctor told me: rest and take pills. OK Rick. 

“The risks associated with surgery often do not outweigh the potential benefits when we are dealing with cases in which the original source of pain is not being addressed.”

“MRI and CT scan images are very limited in what they are able to tell us about causes of back pain. These “pictures” of your back will show changes and features that may or may not be the source of your pain. The pain source most usually stems from a functional issue. Flawed movement patterns, repeated over and over, sensitize your back tissues and drive them to be painful even when under very low load.”

“Our research has found that in most cases, tight hamstrings are a related symptom of back issues rather than a cause. Interestingly, hamstrings often decrease in tightness as back pain subsides”

Be very careful with stretching. It might feel well, but maybe you’re worsening the problem. Why?: “Physiologically, pulling your knees to your chest, or other similar stretches, triggers the “stretch reflex.” This is a neurological phenomenon that reduces pain sensitivity. This provides about 15-20 minutes of pain relief for some, making it a short-term fix. The problem is that in putting your spine in this position, you are aggravating your discs and after you’ve experienced temporary relief, the pain will return, often worse than before. Thus begins a vicious cycle with a misinformed back patient who thinks their only solution to pain is to “stretch it out,” not realizing that this in fact is contributing to their pain. The key is to stop the cycle!. Essentially, when dealing with stretches, avoid any motion that involves pulling your knees to your chest

“Back injuries are a result of putting a spine under load and then breaking healthy movement form. Maintaining proper movement patterns requires endurance. Therefore, we must always place endurance as a higher priority to strength when it comes to rehabilitating a patient with a spine condition. Only once we have increased our endurance for sustaining healthy movement patterns, and in turn our stability and mobility, should we move on to more aggressive strength training.”

Endurance > Strength

Picture this: “we need to think of it (the spine) more like a radio tower, those tall metallic structures stabilized by guy-wires that are connected to the ground. The function of these guy-wires is similar to that of the network of muscles and ligaments that surround our spinal columns: they provide strength and support. In the case of our backs, these “anchoring” muscles also facilitate mobility”. 

“Your postures and movements determine the loads, and stress, on your joints. This stress influences your pain”

Hips versus spine. (almost) completely different animals: “The hips are designed to bend (ball and socket joints) while the spine is a flexible rod that becomes painful with repeated bending”


The training of the core must be totally different from the training of the limbs, so avoid using training techniques for limbs to your back: “Remember that the core is different – it needs to be trained differently from other distal parts of the body because limb muscles create motion while torso muscles primarily stop motion”. “Therapeutic exercises for the spine and core muscles follow different rules than those for the hips and limbs. The core needs special attention because the core is different”. “Mobility is necessary at the shoulders and hips. Most back pain is best addressed by stiffening, not mobilizing the spine when performing tasks that impose spine load”.

Avoid what hurts and it will hurt less. Sounds easy, right? “Finding and repeating pain-free motions in your back will cause the remaining painful activities to hurt less. Read the previous sentence again – it really is that important”. “By discovering and engraining positive movements for your back, you will find that the pain often dissipates and then disappears entirely. This is because when we remove pain triggers and stop “picking the scab,” we give our tissues a chance to rest, heal and regenerate. Simultaneously our sensors for pain are actually being desensitized. Master this, and you have mastered your back pain

It hurts, but I think this is me: “They get annoyed when their body is not functioning perfectly. They tend to be detail oriented and have more “driven” personalities. One of their major fears is that their back trouble will cause them to lose their hard-earned fitness. They want to know the exact date they can return to challenging training. Does this sound like you? Or perhaps you fit into another category of patient who tends to be more focused specifically on the ache – they obsess over their pain. For these individuals, finding something else to focus on can be a helpful tool”. 

Yes, it’s difficult, but don’t obsess over the pain. Learn from it to adjust your behavior, but don’t obsess. Wait a minute, if I’m writing this and you’re reading this, are we obsessed about our back pain?. “When you experience pain throughout the day, instead of obsessing over it, acknowledge that you feel it and use this as a reminder to adjust your postures and movement patterns. By focusing on the solution, rather than the problem, your recovery will be much more productive.”

There’s a whole chapter about surgery. The short answer is: most probably surgery is not for you. “In many cases, had the patient subjected themselves to the rest associated with the surgery – and skipped the surgery – the results would have been just as good”. “Surgery does work for some people. But beware. It may work for only a period of time”

Part Two: Self-Assessment: Finding the cause of your pain

Don’t rush on the recovery exercises. Yes, I have a hard time adhering to it: “Too many clinicians simply provide resistance-building exercises for the patient. In bypassing the more delicate recovery phase that removes the cause of pain, they often cause further damage to the patient’s fragile tissues and actually worsen their condition”. “Your task is to detect and identify your personal triggers and eliminate them”.

I think I suffer from “flexion intolerance”: “For example, if sitting for more than 15 minutes, tying your shoes in the morning and driving a car are activities that increase pain, yet walking does not cause pain, the pain mechanism is posture, specifically a flexed spine posture. In this specific case, we refer to the pain mechanism as “flexion intolerance.”

Also me: “For those with pain from a disc bulge, slow walking, or “mall strolling,” will increase low back pain. Yet fast walking (or “powerwalking”) with your arms swinging about the shoulders will reduce pain, turning the original pain mechanism into a therapy”

Remember, by finding techniques to avoid your pain triggers, and experiencing longer periods of pain-free living, over time your pain will desensitize and you will be able to return to activities that once caused your back distress

Part Three: The Repair Job: Making activity pain-free

Print one word whenever you see it multiple times a day: bracing. “True bracing is a mild contraction of the abdominal muscles as though you are preparing to be punched in the mid-section – but contract mildly. Now “tune” the brace to the task. When I say tune, I’m asking you to gradually adjust the amount of the contraction to find the optimal stiffness, much like a dimmer switch gradually adjusts light levels in a room”.

“Hips back while descending into the squat and on pulling your hips forward while ascending into a standing position”

The Non-negotiable Big 3:

1. The modified curl-up 

2. The side bridge 

3. The birddog/quadruped

Rules for the Big 3: 

“The bird-dog exercise spares the spine from high compressive loads and ensures stable patterns of muscle activity. This exercise is also a major contributor in desensitizing back pain!”

As a warm up before the exercises you can do the cat/camel: 

“Do the cat/camel to give the spine some daily motion, but eliminate all other prescribed spine-motion exercises.Only seven to eight cycles are needed to reduce internal spine friction or resistance to motion”

And then walk. Nature’s Back Balm

“Walking is one of the most commonplace and fundamental activities inherent in our daily living. While simple to do, it is extremely and uniquely important for back health. A walking program needs to be a mandatory component of your pain elimination program, plain and simple.”

“Slowly, and methodically, you will reach the ultimate goal, which is to walk for half an hour three times per day – before breakfast, around midday, and after dinner.”

“Once you have found success with the daily walking prescription of 30 minutes three times per day, try a longer walk. Make note of how you feel the next day, as your body will be telling you whether or not you are ready for this step. Once you have experienced several pain-free weeks that include some longer walks, you may want to try a slow, short jog. If this feels good, repeat your jog for the next three days, after which you must take five days off. You may continue your walks, but rest from the jogs. It is noteworthy at this point to state that jogging is not necessary for back health, I simply mention it for those wishing to resume this activity if it is their goal.”

And progress to uphill: “Walking up or down an incline can be your friend or foe. Progressions for walking should eventually include walking uphill, on a gradual slope to begin with. Then try walking backwards uphill, with mindful focus on extending and pushing with the knees. Try lifting your arms overhead to foster a more upright, backwards walking posture. You will experience the leg training and know that you have done some good work”

And once the pain sensitivity is lower, it’s time to: restore the hips: “I repeat, do not stretch your hamstrings or hips early in the program. Let the pain sensitivity cool down. When your back pain has settled, and you have gained some load and motion resilience, you may try to restore your hips.”. “Also, remember that achievable hip mobility is governed by your anatomy. You may or may not get as much mobility as your colleagues but that is OK” Very important. Each body has its unique architecture and limits.

The “hip airplane” is a wonderful mobilizing drill (do not treat it as a stretch). 

There you have it – a snippet of my journey and some insights from 'Back Mechanics.' Whether you're a fellow cyclist or just someone dealing with pesky back pain, I hope my story helps you navigate your own path to recovery. 

Stay strong and pain-free, everyone!

January 2024

Spicing Up Health: Ditching Salt for Flavor and Longevity

Picture this: A few years ago, I found myself facing a dilemma in my kitchen. There I was, standing with a salt shaker in one hand and an array of colorful spices in the other. Like many, I had always relied on salt to enhance the flavors of my meals. But that day, something clicked. I thought, “What if there's more to flavor than just salt?” This simple question led me down a path of culinary and health discovery that I never expected.

Today, let's talk about something I love (in fact I love it too much): food and how spicing it up can be more than just a flavor affair. It's a health booster!

Rethinking Salt: The Hidden Culprit

While salt is a staple in most kitchens, its excessive intake is a health hazard. Research shows that reducing salt intake by just 3 grams per day could significantly decrease the incidence of heart disease, stroke, and even premature death. This reduction could also save up to $24 billion in healthcare costs annually in the U.S. So, what's my trick to ditching the salt shaker like I did? Let's dive into the world of spices!

Turmeric: The Golden Spice

Turmeric, known for its vibrant color (be careful with its stains, they are almost impossible to remove), is a powerhouse of health benefits. Its active compound, curcumin, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that turmeric can help in reducing inflammation, improving memory, lessening pain, fighting free radicals, and even lowering the risk of heart disease​​​​​​​​​​. 

My personal favorite is adding a dash of turmeric to my meals - not only does it add a unique flavor and color, but it also brings a host of health benefits. And while you can take it into the form of supplements, I strongly encourage to ingest it by adding turmeric to your food. Remember supplements supplement. They're not a substitute. 

The Heat Factor: Spicy Foods for Longevity

Did you know that spicy foods might help you live longer? A study involving nearly 500,000 Chinese adults found that those who consumed spicy foods almost daily had a 14% lower risk of premature death compared to those who ate them less frequently. The capsaicin in chili peppers, which gives them their heat, can improve metabolic status, impacting lipid profiles and inflammation​​.

Herbs and Spices: A World of Benefits

The world of herbs and spices is vast and incredibly beneficial. Research shows that they possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, and anticarcinogenic properties, among others. They're not just for flavor; they're nature's way of keeping us healthy.

A Personal Touch

In my own kitchen, I've shifted away from salt and embraced these healthful alternatives. In fact I don’t use any salt to condiment foods anymore. I find the robust flavors of herbs and spices make my meals more enjoyable and nutritious. Whether it's a sprinkle of turmeric here and there or a spicy kick to my legumes, these small changes have made a significant impact on my health journey.

Closing Thoughts

Embracing a diet rich in spices and herbs can be a game changer for your health. It's not just about cutting down salt; it's about enriching your diet with nature's best. So next time you're cooking, reach out for that spice jar and remember - you're not just seasoning your food, you're boosting your health!

Stay healthy and spice up your life!

December 2023

Navigating Vision Health: A Personal Journey and Insights from the Experts

Today, I'm delving into a topic that has recently taken center stage in my life - Eye Health. I want to share with you a personal story and some fascinating insights I gleaned from a podcast by Andrew Huberman with Jeffrey Goldberg. This combination of personal experience and scientific understanding has profoundly shifted my perspective on vision care.

Just last year, I thought I was immune to eye problems, with no family history of serious issues (my father died at 97 with great vision and never used glasses) and perfect vision throughout my life. However, during a gravel race in Lleida, I started experiencing discomfort in my eyes, which I initially dismissed as fatigue. The real shock came the next day – a severe case of conjunctivitis that significantly affected my vision and daily life for over a month.

The story took a more alarming turn in March 2023. While driving, I suddenly realized I couldn't see clearly from one eye. Fearing the worst, I rushed to the emergency room and after extensive testing, I was diagnosed with a thrombosis in the central vein of my retina. This experience was a wake-up call about the fragility of our vision and the importance of proactive eye care.

Here are some key takeaways from the Huberman-Goldberg podcast that resonated with my experience:

1. Myopia and Outdoor Light: The rise in myopia isn't just linked to screen time; it's also about the amount of time we spend outdoors versus indoors. While more outdoor time won't change our prescription in our 40s or 50s, it's crucial for overall eye health. Get out there!!! It may be a good idea of, instead of limiting reading time, do it more outside. 

2. Presbyopia – Age-Related Vision Change: Most of us will experience presbyopia after age 40, a result of the lens in our eyes stiffening. Contrary to popular belief, using reading glasses doesn't increase dependence on them. So, embracing reading glasses for clear vision is not just okay, but advisable.

3. Vision Exercises: Simple near-far exercises, like 'Pencil Pushups', can be beneficial for our eyes. Or to say the least, not detrimental. These exercises are a practical way to maintain flexibility in our focusing ability.

4. Supranormal Vision: The podcast touched upon the exciting possibility of training our vision beyond normal capabilities. This idea of enhancing our vision to function above normal is a fascinating field of study.

5. UV Protection and Cataracts: Long-term UV exposure can accelerate cataract development. After my recent health scare, I've become vigilant about protecting my eyes from UV light.

6. Dry Eye Syndrome: This common condition, especially prevalent as we age, resonates with me. Hydrating the eyes with preservative-free eye drops is an effective solution for those long hours in front of screens.

7. Diet and Eye Health: The AREDS2 study underlines the role of diet and supplements in slowing the progression of macular degeneration, reinforcing the connection between nutrition and eye health.

This journey has taught me the critical importance of eye health and the need to stay informed about the latest in vision care. It's not just about correcting vision issues but also about preventative measures to maintain eye health over the long term. 

In these days when most of us spend a lot of time in front of screens (close vision into a bright source) it’s recommended to follow the 20-20-20 protocol:

I hope sharing my story and these insights helps us all to be more conscious of our eye health. Remember, our eyes are not just windows to the world; they're integral to the quality of our lives. So let's take good care of them.

I started needing reading glasses: 1.25  which isn't a problem ... until you forget them the first day. Since that I bought a set a 4 glasses to spread at my different locations. Game changer. 

November 2023

The Maze Within Us: Unraveling the Complexity of Our Bodies

Navigating the labyrinth of human health often leads to a profound realization: the complexity within us is vast and intricate. While we often seek straightforward answers from medical professionals, the truth is that our bodies operate more like interconnected networks than simple machines. We are complicated. This realization dawned on me while reading Manuel Sola Arjona's insightful article, "Training and Complexity: A Revolutionary Approach to Performance." It's an eye-opener to how every part of our body works in unison, shaping our overall health and well-being.

Rethinking Super-Optimization: Lessons from Sivers and Ferriss

In the realm of personal development and health, the allure of super-optimization is hard to resist. However, pursuing perfection can lead to unsustainable practices. This is something I’ve learned from thought leaders like Derek Sivers and Tim Ferriss. In fact, they are two of my favorite persons on the internet and I consider them my coaches. In their candid talks (which I highly recommend watching here and here), they make a compelling case against over-optimization. It's about striking a balance between effort and well-being, and understanding that sometimes, good enough is just that – good enough.

Our Bodies: The Ultimate Adapters

David Goggins' perspective on habit formation and adaptability resonates deeply with me. Our bodies have this remarkable ability to get accustomed to new routines, turning them into our new 'normal.' There is a moment where our body (and mind) comprehend and get used the habit. It says: “OK, cool. Now I get it. This is our new home. Let’s make it our home”. 

My journey with intermittent fasting exemplifies this adaptability. Initially, the idea of skipping breakfast seemed like an insurmountable challenge. I was used to 40+ years of daily breakfasts and trying to skip them was an almost impossible accomplishment. Yet, after altering my routine during a family vacation in California where I was having eggs and bacon each day for breakfast, I surprisingly found myself comfortably fasting well into the afternoon. My body suddenly learned that this was his new home. Since then I never have breakfast if it’s not to socialize or to compete or train. This personal transformation is a testament to the incredible adaptability of our bodies and minds.

Understanding the Bigger Picture in Health and Longevity

In addition to these insights, it's crucial to view our health through a wider lens. Our body's ability to adapt and evolve is not limited to physical changes alone; it encompasses our emotional and mental states as well. By understanding and respecting the complex nature of our bodies, we can approach our health holistically. This means considering not just physical symptoms but our mental state, lifestyle, and environment as integral parts of our health journey.


Our bodies are much more than the sum of their parts. They are intricate systems capable of remarkable adaptation and change. In our journey towards better health and longevity, appreciating this complexity and adaptability is key. It reminds us to be patient with ourselves, to embrace change, and to find harmony in the balance of life’s many facets.

November 2023

The Power of Superfoods: Optimal Health and Longevity Through Your Shopping List

Greetings, health-conscious readers!. Today, I'm bringing you a special piece on the foods that have a permanent place on my shopping list — and should probably have one on yours too. Superfoods (my superfoods, which may be different from yours. More on this below) are not just a trend; they are nutrient powerhouses that can dramatically impact your health. Let’s dive into my go-to list and discover why these foods are truly 'super.'

Superfoods: Always on My Shopping List

1. Olive Oil

Rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, olive oil is a staple in any longevity-focused diet. It’s my only cooking oil and also doubles as a delicious salad dressing.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and especially broccoli are must-haves. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are excellent for gut health and cancer prevention. Yet at the same time, very difficult to eat at home because they are no very compatible with the rest of my family's gut. 

3. Nuts

Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are not just snacks; they're tiny health boosters. Rich in healthy fats and protein, they're a go-to for quick energy and satisfying hunger pangs.

4. Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, and goji berries are rich in antioxidants and can help fight inflammation. Fresh or frozen, they’re excellent alone or as dressings. 

5. Green Tea

Both classic and matcha green teas are full of antioxidants known as catechins, which have various health benefits, including boosting metabolism and mental alertness.

My Top 10 Personalized Superfoods

Based on a comprehensive DNA analysis that considered various health domains, I've identified these 10 superfoods that are staples in my diet:

1. Broccoli

Rich in antioxidants, good for combating free radicals, help with satiation and good carrier of vitamins B (cardiovascular health) E (skin health) and C (immune system and skin), this cruciferous vegetable is a versatile addition to any meal.

2. Tuna

An omega-3 fatty acid powerhouse, tuna is excellent for heart health and also provides selenium (antioxidant), vitamin D (calcium absorption), Q10 for the skin and magnesium (great for sport activity).

3. Spinach

Rich in iron and Vitamin B9, spinach is an excellent option for those looking to boost cardiovascular health. Also a good satiator, rich in vitamin E (skin health) and carotenoids (skin and vision). 

4. Eggs

A complete protein source, eggs also provide essential nutrients like Vitamin D, vitamin B (cardiovascular health), zinc (brain activity) and are good satiators. 

5. Avocado

Filled with healthy fats, avocados are excellent for heart health and are also rich in fiber, magnesium (great for sport activity) omega-3 and vitamin E (skin health).

6. Sunflower Seeds

These seeds are nutrient-rich, providing essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals (magnesium and selenium).

7. Sardines

Another rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are also high in protein as well as in vitamins B and D. 

8. Salmon

Salmon is another excellent source of omega-3s and is rich in high-quality protein and vitamins B and D. 

9. Asparagus

Rich in antioxidants, asparagus is excellent for detoxification and is also good for gut health. Also rich in vitamins B and E. That pee smell tough ;-(

10. Almonds

Almonds are not just snacks; they’re nutrient-dense powerhouses excellent for bone health and general wellbeing.


And there you have it! These are the superfoods that I try to eat week after week. It’s not just about eating healthily; it's about making informed choices that align with your health goals. So, the next time you're in the grocery store, you know what to add to your basket for that extra health kick. 

Until next time, keep thriving and eat well!

October 2023

The Guide to Optimizing Vitamin D for Health and Longevity

Vitamin D—more than just a vitamin, it's practically a lifeline in a capsule. As someone committed to health, longevity, and high performance, I can't emphasize enough how crucial it is to get your levels right. So let's dive deep into the world of this "sunshine vitamin" and explore why you might still be deficient despite all your outdoor activities.

Why Vitamin D is Non-Negotiable

At its core, Vitamin D isn't just for bone health. It's essentially a hormone, acting as a regulatory agent for a plethora of bodily functions:

Recent studies are increasingly indicating a role for Vitamin D in preventing dementia. This is a subject that hits close to home for me as my father suffered from dementia in the latter part of his life. As you can imagine, it's a concern for me as well.

In addition, maintaining optimal levels of Vitamin D has been shown to alleviate both physical and mental fatigue—symptoms like forgetfulness, difficulty in articulating thoughts, or simply not recalling a name.

The Paradox of the Outdoors

You exercise, you're outside soaking up the rays, and yet, a blood test shows you're low in Vitamin D. How could that happen?

This by no means that you don't need to be careful with soon exposure. As always: The venom is in the dose.

Genetic Analysis: The X-Factor

If you’ve done a genetic test and found that you have specific variants impacting Vitamin D synthesis, don't fret. You're now armed with information that can be a game-changer for your health strategy.

In 2021, I took a comprehensive genetic and blood test that revealed my Vitamin D levels to be 33.8 ng/mL—considered to be within the optimal range. But maintaining these levels is an ongoing process.

Supplementing: No One-Size-Fits-All

A word of caution: blind supplementation can do more harm than good. Here's a roadmap:

I plan to periodically monitor my Vitamin D levels and supplement as needed. Initially, I'll be trying a daily dose of 4000 IU, following multiple expert recommendations. For this, I've chosen Vitamin D3 4000 IU by Nutravita, available here: Nutravita Vitamin D3 4000 IU

Conclusion: Elevate Your Standards

In a world where 'good enough' is often the motto, let's not forget that when it comes to our health, the minimum is simply not enough. With proper education, consultation, and a bit of sunshine, let's elevate our Vitamin D levels not just to survive but to thrive.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not medical advice. Always consult with healthcare providers before initiating any new health-related activities.

October 2023

My (current) Personal Supplement Stack:

Supplements don't solve anything. From the little I know genetics (20/30%) and your llifestyle (60/70%) make more than 80%. For that extra 10/20% you can rely on supplements, but first things first. Improve your lifestyle

Here's a curated list of the supplements that are part of my routine. I've done the research and consulted healthcare professionals to find what works for me. Remember, everyone's needs are different, and you should always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.


The information above is a reflection of my own personal experience and research. It is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any new health-related activities or supplements.

Updated April 2024

VO2 Max Essentials: Why it matters for more than performance. A book by Brady Holmer

A very short book (think of it as a very long blog post instead of a book). Which is kinda cool as most books are unnecessarily too long. In this case I’d like it to be longer and to include more detail 

VO2 Max, often used as the “gold standard” for assessing endurance performance potential, is also a good predictor of how long you’ll live, recent research showed. And this is new for me. Brady Holmer insights really make you think differently about athletic performance and longevity. I often associated a short long span to elite athletes, as their bodies are punished by constant and hard exercise. Maybe this is the case, but this book shows that improving VO2 Max would not only positively affect my cycling performance but my longevity. And being 48, longevity is starting to get prime display time in my daily thoughts. 

So let’s start by the beginning. What is exactly VO2 Max? 

It’s your maximal aerobic capacity and measures your cardiovascular fitness. In other words “is the highest rate at which your body can turn oxygen into energy”


You can think of VO2 Max as the ceiling of aerobic performance. However, most endurance events occur at an intensity well below VO2 Max. While having a high ceiling is a prerequisite for elite - level performance, it’s hardly the determining factor in who will win a race. More of it at the end. 

Contrary to popular belief VO2 Max is an assessment of whole-body function. Your maximal aerobic capacity is an integration of multiple physiological systems, not just the heart and lungs: 

To measure VO2 we need the Fick equation: 

VO2 = Cardiac output x a–v O2 difference


Cardiac output is the amount of blood pumped by your heart each minute and is the product of heart rate (beats per minute) and stroke volume (liters of blood pumped per heartbeat).

a – v O2 difference determines how much oxygen your muscles are taking up — it measures the difference between the oxygen content of blood going to the muscles (arterial oxygen) and the content of the blood returning from the muscles (venous oxygen).

OK, we learned VO2 Max is very important and surprisingly (at least for me) it is not only important for endurance performance, but for longevity. Great. We also learned that it’s the result not only of a strong heart, but a strong body and mitochondrial function. Cool. My Apple Watch measures it while I walk for more than 20 minutes. Done.  But wait a moment here: “I don’t think you should put much stock into what your Garmin/WHOOP (or Watch) says about your VO2 Max. Sorry. However, you can get a very rough estimate of your aerobic fitness, and whether it’s trending upward or downward”.

The Apple Watch is great at looking for patterns and trends, (which is really the most important thing for 95% of us), but not the exact measure. 

How can we measure VO2 Max then?. Let’s hear Brady Holmer: “The best way to determine your VO2 Max is to visit a laboratory or university near you that offers the service. Compared to your smartwatch or fitness tracker, values obtained through these field tests may be slightly more accurate, but of course, each of them will have some degree of error associated with them.”

To be frank, I’ll continue focusing on improving my overall health and cycling performance and checking what my Apple Watch says about my VO2 Max from time to time. If I consider it significant I’ll do a lab test, but I’m pretty sure I prefer the convenience and trends from the Apple Watch to the complex and also uncertain results from a lab test where there are also many variables that can make it difficult to get a precise result. 

Trends > Spot Results

There are also several tests you can perform to estimate your VO2 Max. Both for running and cycling. You have all of them in the book (and can Google them) and won’t summarize them here. 

As with most things health related, aging is a b*tch, our main enemy, and around age 30 to 40, we begin to see a somewhat linear decline in our aerobic capacity. Even highly trained individuals decline. The good thing is that the higher you decline from, the higher your end VO2 Max will be. 

The heart becomes weaker as a pump with age. In fact, our maximal heart rate declines about 1 beat per year. Maximal HR is 220–age in years. At 48, mine is 172 bpm. This, in turn, influences how hard we can exercise and the maximal capacity of our heart to distribute blood to our working muscles. 

But age does not only affect our heart. There’s more bad news: when blood goes to muscles, oxygen diffuses out of tiny blood vessels called capillaries and eventually makes its way to the mitochondria, where it’s used to produce our cellular energy currency — ATP. With age, mitochondrial number and quality decline, capillaries become less dense, and we lose some of the capacity to deliver and utilize oxygen at the cellular level.

“Until then, hopping on the treadmill, steaming in the sauna, and eating a healthy diet are proven strategies to reduce your risk of aging too fast and dying too soon.” Brady says. 

VO2 Max has … a max. The VO2 plateau: “It is universally accepted that there is a physiological upper limit to the body's ability to consume oxygen. Research has illustrated this concept by indicating a point during exercise whereby an increase in work rate no longer produces an increase in oxygen consumption — the VO2 plateau”. And the limit is not defined by a failure to take in enough oxygen from the atmosphere, but by how strong is the heart delivering more blood with each beat. 

Is VO2 trainable? Improvable?. Trainability refers to an individual's ability to improve their VO2 Max. It’s crucial to differentiate between training and physical activity. Exercise training is a structured program aimed at improving physical capacity. Physical activity is more incidental, though adaptive responses can also occur through leisure time or occupational physical activity. 

“For example, when intense cycle training is performed 4 or 5 days a week, all subjects show an increase in VO2 Max. On the other hand, subjects who train only 1, 2, or 3 days a week exhibit limited trainability, but when additional training sessions are added, they become trainable”. Brady Holmer makes it clear that with the right training, VO2 Max is absolutely improvable.

In short. If you’re not responding to training, you just might not be training with enough volume, intensity, or both. 

No results? You’re not pushing hard enough or long enough

OK. VO2 Max is trainable and you can increase it. Let’s see how.

First of all, as with most things in life as with good cooking, we need a base: Accumulating a lot of volume is essential to develop your endurance and strength as an athlete.”

From the base, we start building, and while both moderate-intensity and high-intensity training can elicit improvements in VO2 Max, high-intensity training is more effective. Which sounds painful (it is) but has a great selling point: “the main selling point of high-intensity training: similar (or greater) improvements to traditional endurance training in a fraction of the time.”

High intensity training increases maximal stroke volume which is the amount of blood that the heart can eject with each beat. A larger stroke means a more powerful left ventricle. 

So it’s time to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The protocol improving VO2 max: Recent studies suggest all HIIT protocols seem to improve VO2 max. Even work intervals less than 30 seconds in duration, a session volume of less than 5 minutes, and a training period of less than 4 weeks can elicit significant improvements in VO2 max.

However, longer intervals (more than 2 minutes), higher volume training (more than 15 minutes total per session), and longer training periods (4 to 12 weeks) seem to be more effective for improving VO2 Max when compared to non-training control interventions and moderate-intensity training.

“The primary driver of improvements in VO2 Max with any of the training protocols seems to be session volume. In other words, you can perform very short sprint intervals of 30 seconds or less, but you need to do a lot of them. On the other hand, you can opt for longer-duration intervals of 2–4 minutes and perform less total intervals. The time spent at a high percentage of heart rate/VO2 Max is what’s important, and many roads lead to Rome.”

Where to perform HIIT training. I do it on my gravel bike on an open trail, but it’s not ideal. It’s better implemented on your preferred torture device: a treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, or even a stair climber.

Stop reading, start planning your HIIT training and go for it. Let me know how you’re doing. 

But before you leave and as promised at the beginning of the article: VO2 Max alone doesn’t determine endurance performance, which is determined by: 

Happy VO2 Max training!!!

September 2023

Back to Basics: The Fundamental Principles Guiding Health, Longevity, and Financial Independence

How is achieving financial independence similar to attaining health and longevity? More than you might think. Let's dive into the world where finance meets health.

Parallels Between Health & Investing

Health, longevity, and investing may seem like separate universes, often seen as complex and intimidating fields reserved for experts. However, beneath this surface complexity, these areas are governed by surprisingly straightforward principles.

The Simplicity of Health and Longevity

Health and longevity, while deeply scientific, have fundamental cornerstones that anyone can understand and follow:

1. Quality Sleep: Ensuring you get enough quality sleep is one of the simplest yet most effective steps to good health and longevity. 

2. Regular Exercise: Keeping active daily, irrespective of the intensity or type of activity, directly contributes to a healthier, longer life.

3. Balanced Diet: Nutrition can't be overlooked. Eating a balanced diet nourishes the body and supports all its functions.

4. Stress Management: Chronic stress takes a toll on our well-being. Therefore, regular stress management practices are a must for maintaining health.

These simple yet powerful practices are the bedrock of health and longevity, regardless of the changing trends and advanced scientific studies.

The Fundamentals of Investing

Similarly, value investing and achieving financial independence, despite the myriad of financial theories and models, boil down to a few key principles:

1. Save and Invest: The cornerstone of wealth building lies in saving (spending less than you earn) a portion of your earnings and investing it wisely (making it work for you).

2. Quality Selection: Just as nutrition matters for health, selecting high-quality investments is vital for financial health. 

3. Fair Valuation: An investment's worth isn't just its potential; it's also about ensuring you're not overpaying for it. It's like having a margin of safety.

4. Patience and Inaction: Often the hardest part - once your investments are made, allowing them to grow over time often requires doing nothing. The best investors are the most passive. Give me the name of a rich trader, for each one, I'll give you the name of 100 rich "passive" investor. 

These investing fundamentals remain the same, regardless of market swings or changing economic climates.

The Essence of Mastery: Simple Fundamentals

The crux here is that the keys to both health and financial independence aren't hidden in complexities, but lie in the mastery of basic principles. These principles, or fundamentals, aren't merely starting points but are frameworks that guide us throughout our journey.

Whether it's maintaining a healthy lifestyle, striving for longevity, or pursuing financial independence through investing, we need to look beyond the complexity and focus on understanding and applying these fundamentals. It's not about mastering all the details, but about consistently applying the simple rules and frameworks.

In conclusion, the path to health, longevity, and financial independence is less about complexity and more about understanding and practicing the fundamentals. Both fields, though appearing complex, offer a simplicity that anyone can grasp and apply. After all, it's the simple things, consistently done, that often yield the most profound results. So, embrace these fundamentals and start your journey towards health and wealth.

When the noise gets too much, always remember to go back to basics. The path to health, longevity, and financial independence may seem intricate, but the power of simplicity is undeniable.

July 2023

The Power of Exercise while Fasting: Unlocking Autophagy and Metabolic Health Benefits

Based on a twitter thread by P.D. Mangan

Have you ever thought about going for a morning jog or hitting the gym without having breakfast first? For most, the immediate reaction might be, "wouldn't that drain me out? I need energy from food for exercising, don't I?" While this logic is not entirely incorrect, there's an exceptional facet of health science that we'll explore today - Exercise while fasting

This potent combination is a health intervention most people are unaware of and can harness far-reaching metabolic health benefits. 

I fast almost everyday and keep doing it during weekends where I do my long cycling rides of 3 or 4 hours on the saddle. Sometimes when it's super-hard or super long I have to eat something mid-ride and if it's a race I have breakfast to start the race with my energy deposits at full capacity. Other than that, never had a problem exercising while fasting and it turns out it's a great benefit. 

Breaking Down the Myth: You Don't Always Need to Eat Before Exercising 

Contrary to popular belief, having a meal before exercise can be counterproductive. When you work out in a fasted state, your body turns to its fat stores for energy. In contrast, if you eat before hitting the gym, the body will use that recent meal as its energy source instead. 

Autophagy: The Cellular Cleaning Process

Let's delve into a process called autophagy. In simple terms, autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. 

Exercise is one of the activities that induce autophagy, not only in muscles but in the brain too. This means that exercise can significantly improve brain health, which may be a foundation for improved mental health with exercise. Research shows that exercising while fasted can boost this self-cleaning process.

Moreover, the intensity of exercise is correlated to autophagy activation. The more intense your workout, the higher the activation, making fasted exercise more effective at increasing muscular oxidative capacity.

Fasting, Exercise, and Metabolic Health Benefits 

Fasting enhances exercise-induced lipid breakdown. Interestingly, it can also prevent the drop of blood glucose concentration during exercise. The notion of fasted exercise for greater metabolic benefits is also supported by research

Pre-exercise eating has been observed to blunt signals in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, components involved in regulating metabolism, including mitochondrial adaptation and substrate utilization. Simply put, fasted exercise can grant you a higher metabolic benefit.

Resistance Training and Fasted Exercise 

While fasted resistance training is doable, for optimal muscle growth, it is advisable not to continue fasting after your workout. With lighter exercises, such as walking, you can comfortably continue fasting without any adverse effects.

High-intensity exercise while fasting can mimic leptin signaling, which plays a significant role in reducing abdominal fat. However, feeding before exercise can abolish this effect. 

Wrap Up 

Exercise while fasting is a little-known yet powerful intervention that can enhance your metabolic health. Not only does it trigger autophagy - your cells' self-cleaning process - but it also improves your body's ability to manage glucose and lipids. So, the next time you plan your exercise, give fasting a try and explore the benefits for yourself.

I'll add though to learn to listen to your body. Sometimes you will need breakfast before or during exercise: don't worry, do it. Avoid over complications and over optimization. I sometimes start lucid dreaming about bacon during my solo rides. It's a clear sign my body is asking for fat, and this is what I do: eat a nice breakfast and continue the ride. 

Remember, before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle, consult with a health professional or a certified trainer to ensure that you're making safe choices for your individual health circumstances. 

Embrace the fasted way. Boost your metabolic health. Unleash the power of autophagy

#Fasting #ExerciseFasted #MetabolicHealthBenefits #Autophagy

June 2023

Harnessing Your Inner Potential: The Power of HRV Training and The Art of Learning 

In today's increasingly demanding world, the ability to manage stress, maintain focus, and optimize learning is more valuable than ever before. A pathway to this heightened state of performance lies within us, a nexus of mind and body: Heart Rate Variability (HRV) training. 

Drawing upon insights from experts like Josh Waitzkin, author of "The Art of Learning" and Dr. Leah Lagos, an HRV specialist, let's delve deeper into the remarkable realm of HRV training.

HRV Training: A Primer 

HRV training involves biofeedback techniques that help you manipulate your heart rate variability, an essential physiological phenomenon linked to your overall health and stress levels. By learning to control your HRV, you can tap into a reservoir of mental clarity, stress resilience, and enhanced performance.

Resonating with Your Inner Rhythm 

Every individual has a unique resonant frequency – a specific rhythm of breath that optimizes their heart rate variability. Breathing in alignment with this rhythm amplifies alpha wave production, coaxing your body into a relaxed state and steering it away from stress-induced physiological responses. Over time, mastery of this technique allows you to induce relaxation with just one well-timed, well-paced breath.

Biofeedback: The Bridge to Somatic Awareness 

Biofeedback forms the foundation of HRV training. Here, technology becomes a powerful ally, providing data on your physiological parameters. By correlating this data with your subjective feelings, you can develop a finely-tuned sense of somatic awareness—an intuitive understanding of your body's responses that transcends the need for external technology.

Josh Waitzkin discusses this concept highlighting the importance of not becoming overly dependent on technology. Instead, he emphasizes using it as a tool to refine our innate ability to sense and respond to our physiological states.

"The idea is to train your intuition, your somatic introspection"

The Confluence of HRV Training, Meditation, and Learning 

HRV training isn't solely a pathway to physical well-being; it's a mental and spiritual journey too. It intersects beautifully with meditation and the process of learning, enhancing both experiences.

Meditation, especially when guided by HRV training, helps you achieve a deep state of relaxation and awareness, giving you clarity about your personal "water"—an analogy drawn from David Foster Wallace's influential speech. Your "water" represents the often overlooked environment in which you're constantly immersed. HRV training gives you the tools to recognize and understand this environment, enhancing your introspective abilities.

On the other hand, learning becomes significantly more effective when we're in a relaxed, alpha-wave dominant state—a state achievable through HRV training. By leveraging this technique, we can enhance our ability to learn, think creatively, and solve problems.

HRV Training and The Art of Learning

In his book "The Art of Learning" Josh Waitzkin, a former chess prodigy and tai chi world champion, explores the pathway to achieving optimal performance. He emphasizes the importance of investing in loss, valuing the process over the result, and developing a robust, resilient mental state. 

Waitzkin's principles align beautifully with HRV training. Training your HRV teaches you to be comfortable in discomfort, helping you build resilience in the face of stress. It promotes a state of deep concentration, a cornerstone of effective learning. Moreover, HRV training embodies the concept of 'slowing down time'—a state of heightened focus where you're fully immersed in the task at hand, a phenomenon Waitzkin extensively discusses in his book.

The Expert's Take: Dr. Leah Lagos on HRV Training 

Dr. Leah Lagos, a renowned HRV specialist, has witnessed firsthand the transformative effects of HRV training on her patients. By helping individuals find their unique resonant frequency and guiding them through targeted breathing exercises, she's seen remarkable improvements in their ability to manage stress, focus, and perform at their peak.

According to Dr. Lagos, consistency is key when it comes to HRV training. Regular practice—she recommends 20 minutes twice a day—enables you to build and maintain the bridge between your physiological and mental states, allowing for the seamless transition from stress to relaxation.


HRV training, coupled with the principles laid out in "The Art of Learning" provides a roadmap to heightened performance, stress resilience, and effective learning. It's more than a scientific technique—it's a philosophy that encourages introspection, resilience, and a deeper understanding of your unique physiological rhythm. As Waitzkin asserts, "The art of introspection, psychologically, somatically is one of the most important that we can take on."

So why not give HRV training a try? You might just discover the key to unlocking your full potential.


1. What is Heart Rate Variability (HRV)?

HRV refers to the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats. A higher HRV often signifies better health and resilience to stress.

2. How does HRV training help in stress management?

HRV training involves biofeedback techniques that teach you to control your HRV. As you learn to manipulate your heart rate variability, you can induce states of relaxation and resilience to stress.

3. How does HRV training relate to meditation and learning?

By facilitating a relaxed, alpha-wave dominant state, HRV training enhances the effectiveness of meditation and the process of learning. It promotes mental clarity, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

My Experience

In order to find my resonant frequency and after some googling I ended up with the Yudemon App developed Max Frenzel. So far I've done 5 sessions with a Polar heart rate monitor. 3 sessions were part of the Journey, that are sessions designed to vary the breathing frequency according to your heart rate variability until you reach your optimal or resonant breathing frequency. To continue I have to pay and being a cheap guy I'm not sure and I'm doing standard sessions at different breathing frequencies. 

My results so far show a Resonant Breathing Frequency of about 5.83 bpm.

June 2023

Embarking on a Journey: My Pursuit of Health & Longevity

Hello there,

My name is Carles Carrera, and if you've been following my website, you'd know me for my insights on investing, personal growth, and my love for good books. However, today, I am excited to share a new facet of my journey — a deepening interest in health, beauty, and longevity. 

Why health and longevity?

Over the years, as I've navigated various personal and professional experiences, one thing has become abundantly clear: our health is our most valuable asset. A vibrant life brimming with vitality is, to me, the most significant wealth we can have. Hence, I've decided to delve deeper into understanding the nuances of health, beauty, and longevity.

I've always been curious about human potential - how far we can push our boundaries, how we can sharpen our minds, how we can cultivate a sense of wellbeing. Now, I am channeling this curiosity towards exploring the domain of health and longevity.

What's the plan?

The motivation for this new venture is twofold. Firstly, I want to learn. The fields of health, beauty, and longevity are vast, with myriad facets to explore. There are nutrition, fitness, mental health, anti-aging research, and various aspects of beauty to consider. Secondly, I want to share. Learning in isolation holds limited value, and I want to document my discoveries as I navigate through this intriguing labyrinth.

I've decided to dedicate a new section of my website to this journey. Here, I'll chronicle my learnings, share fascinating research, and review health and longevity-related products that I come across.

Aging with grace

This new endeavor isn't merely about extending our lifespan; it's about enhancing our 'healthspan'. It's about aging with grace, maintaining our vitality, and living a fulfilled, healthy life. 

I welcome you to join me on this journey. I hope that as I learn and grow, I inspire you to pay more attention to your health, adopt a holistic lifestyle, and commit to long-term wellbeing. 

Thank you for your continued support, and here's to our shared journey towards health and longevity!

To Health & Longevity,


June 2023