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Bart Zandbergen, CFP in Dana Point, CA

[This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Nobleman Magazine.]

There is no time like the present to take inventory of what works, what doesn’t and what can be improved upon. My top three areas I choose to invest in help me stay focused, driven and inspired to persevere as a father, husband, and entrepreneur.

FITNESS

Throughout my childhood and into my teens, all I did was surf. By the time I got my first job out of college, I was only able to surf on weekends. Meaning, if there was no waves, I would have no exercise. I quickly realized that like life, waves can be inconsistent, so I started to explore gym workouts.

I was hooked instantly, and have now been working out 6 days per week for 34 years! Over time, I have discovered what works best for me and my body. My workouts start with 20-30 minutes of cardio exercise followed by 60-75 minutes of weight resistance training, followed by 5-10 minutes of abdominal work and stretching. Keep in mind, everyone’s body and goals are different, but this program works for me.

NUTRITION

With working out so focused in the gym, I quickly realized the importance of proper nutrition to recover, build muscle and maintain what I was working so hard for. Everyone needs a different recipe for their individual daily nutrition intake, however for me, that is a caloric intake of 2500- 3000 calories per day, 6 meals per day, and with a macro nutrient breakdown of approximately 50% protein, 25% Carbohydrates and 25% good fats.

Proper nutrition also encompasses the necessity of quality of food. First, it’s best to consume minimal to no processed food. Second, whenever possible, Organic, GMO Free, Grass Fed and Free Range and the best options. My wife constantly tells me we can pay more now for the more expensive food or pay much more later with poor health.

WINE

I like to invest in good wine. Now, that does not necessarily mean expensive wine. It means wine that I enjoy. I enjoy Champagne…a lot! However, if I don’t feel like spending a lot, I might grab a bottle of Cava (from Spain) or Cremant (from France, made in the traditional style of Champagne, but produced outside of the Champagne region).

I also like to invest in refined wine stemware (don’t laugh). Riedell is famous for creating wine glasses specific to the varietal. I was not a believer at first. But after several blind tastings it really does matter. In short, life is too short to drink bad wine.

Medicinal Herbs and Adaptogens

Adaptogens are having a moment in mainstream media publications. They’ve been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and more recently have been the focus of many Western science studies.

In many areas of the non-Western world, adaptogens are used extensively in high-risk and strenuous occupations, from athletes to miners to deep sea divers.

 

So what are they?

Adaptogens are herbs that are said to protect the body from the toxic effects of stress. To qualify as an adaptogen, an herb must be completely safe and non-toxic, it must support overall health by helping the body achieve homeostasis (a state of balance) and it must specifically reduce stress, both mental and physical.

A few of the more well-known adaptogens include:

  • Ashwagandha: due to its outstanding ability to lower cortisol, it helps provide relief from anxiety, insomnia and stress-related depression. Also increases vitality, energy, endurance and stamina.
  • Asian ginseng: has been studied extensively for its ability to help the body withstand stress and research indicates that it promotes a sense of well-being.
  • Eleuthero: enhances immunity and overall vitality
  • Maca: said to increase strength, energy, stamina, libido and sexual function.
  • Rhodiola rosea: helps increase physical stamina and wards off fatigue and exhaustion due to stress.
  • Siberian ginseng: widely used in Russia and is favored by athletes due to its ability to increase physical performance.

 

How do they work?

Adaptogens work by normalizing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and help support fatigued adrenal glands. Studies have shown that too much cortisol on an ongoing basis can be dangerous to your health, can cause premature aging, and is one of the culprits behind anxiety, mood swings, forgetfulness, brain fog, concentration problems, insomnia, and weight gain.

One of the amazing things about adaptogens is that they are effective regardless of the root cause of the stress, and whether the stress is physical in origin or mental.

In addition to lowering cortisol and supporting adrenal glands, adaptogens have also been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Support the immune system
  • Give you more energy
  • Improve digestion
  • Aid in weight loss

A good analogy that I ran across was to think of adaptogens as a thermostat. Just like a thermostat can keep the temperature in your home from getting too high or too low, adaptogens help regulate your body’s stress response when your stress level goes high.

 

How do you take them?

Adaptogens are available in many forms, most commonly you can find them in a powder that can be mixed into water to drink like a tea or added to a smoothie or a pill form. One form is not necessarily better than the other, it’s mainly just a matter of personal preference.

A lot of people who take adaptogens take them every day, or a multiple times per day, depending on their needs (you should always check with a professional for guidance about what’s right for you).

Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs and be aware of the side effects and contraindications that some of these herbs have for people with some conditions.

If you’ve used adaptogens, I’d love to hear about your experience with them!

 

Can Supplement Replace Exercise

Most of you know that I’m a passionate pursuer of healthy living and exercise is a big part of that.I do also believe that supplements can be helpful in some situations, but can never replace exercise.

Recently, scientists at Nestlé claim to have found a compound that activates a master metabolic control switch, which inhibits fat production and increases your body’s ability to burn sugar. A product using this technology is aimed squarely at the elderly, those with disabilities that prevent physical activity, and basically anyone that doesn’t want to exercise.

As reported by Huffington Post:

“Yes, scientists at Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, published their work in the journal Chemistry and Biology on Nov. 24. Kei Sakamoto’s research team in Switzerland demonstrated how a compound (C13) could activate a master metabolic control switch, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

AMPK activation inhibits fat production in the liver and increases the body’s capacity to burn sugar.

This is good news for the elderly and those with disabilities that preclude the possibility of physical activity. Of course the much larger potential market of simply sedentary people represents the sweet spot for such a product.”

As attractive as it might be to be able to take a supplement to replace exercise, that is simply never going to happen. There’s simply no way any pill or supplement could ever reproduce the synergistic benefits that exercise has, both on your body and mind.

For example, research published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise time is short, it produces an immediate change in their DNA.

This fascinating study shows that the underlying genetic code in the muscle remains the same,but exercise causes important structural and chemical changes to the DNA molecules within the muscles. And this contraction-induced gene activation seems to lead to the genetic reprogramming of muscle for strength.

Additional studies have identified and measured a wide variety of biochemical changes that occur during exercise. Over 20 different metabolites are affected, including compounds that assist in burning calories and fat, and compounds that help stabilize your blood sugar.

One of the great things about exercising is that you really don’t need to spend multiple hours in the gym each week. Research shows that short bursts of intense exercise can be most effective if you’re doing it right, and you can reap many benefits from exercising as little as 40-60 minutes per week. This type of exercising is known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT – read more about it here).

In summary, the age old advice of exercising and eating right for good health is far better than taking any type of “magic elixir” or pill. In fact, removing processed foods and beverages and doing high intensity interval training will provide you far more benefits, and it won’t be costly or time-consuming!

(Source: Mercola.com)

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Bart A Zandbergen, CFP® is a Registered Investment Advisor with Optivest, Inc and a Registered Representative with Gramercy Securities, Inc. Investment advisory services are offered by Optivest, Inc. under SEC Registration and securities are offered through Gramercy Securities, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC, 3949 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI, 02813, 800-333-7450.

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Securities offered through Gramercy Securities, Inc., 3949 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, 1-800-333-7450

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