Supplementing for Enhanced Health

Supplementing for Enhanced Health


Recently I’ve been getting more and more people asking me about dietary supplements. I used to co-own a company that sold high-quality supplements online, so I do know a thing or two about them.

My top tip for supplements – Know what you are supplementing for and buy accordingly. For recovery from sports training? For protection from illness? To make up for some deficiency? To lose weight? To enhance performance? There’s a different answer for each one.

1. Now, having said that, the closest thing to a does-it-all, magic bullet is a high-quality multivitamin & mineral supp. Because we eat nutrient-poor processed food, live in a polluted world, drink water that contains metal from the pipes it runs through, consume alcohol, stress, exercise, make love, etc. it’s pretty much impossible to get all the vitamins & minerals that we really need from the food that we can get, so a good multivitamin & mineral supp can cover the gaps well. Here’s the one I take. Note that it’s iron free because too much iron can have negative consequences for men :
He’s the womens version, which contains the iron that they need :

2. Next up is Vitamin C. I take tons of it because it can’t be stored in the body and gets passed out quickly. We need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of our bodies. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, pulling nasty free radicals out of our bodies, and is also needed for healing wounds and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth. But the main thing for me is that it makes me smarter! In the 80s I read an interview with the Nobel prize winner for chemistry at the time who said flatly that the secret of his success was the cognitive ability and clarity of thought that high doses of vitamin C gave him. I’ve taken a vitamin C supplement ever since. Here’s the one I use :

3. Last up (out of the MANY that I could talk about here) is fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce inflammation in the body, which has been called the silent killer. Inflammation in the body results from an acidic condition due to toxins in our food, water & air, and has been said to be at least partly responsible for most of the major diseases that modern humans suffer – cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s and a bunch of others, as well as general fatigue and lack of energy. Here’s the one I use. It’s krill oil, as these little shrimp are at the bottom of the food chain and so don’t contain the mercury and other contaminants that the big fish often have :

And finally, water! Yes, water! We are 90% water, and constantly getting proper quantities of fresh water is absolutely essential, as is a proper reverse-osmosis water purifier to deliver it in it’s cleanest state. Japanese people say that the water supply in this country is safe to drink, and it is at it’s source. But delivery through pipes which are up to 100 years old brings heavy metals and other contaminants which can seriously damage us overtime. Here’s the purifier that I use in Japan, which also slightly alkalises the water it delivers to further protect me from inflammation :

So there you have it – One supplement for building and thinking, one for cleaning and protecting, one to cover any gaps in what we need to be fit & healthy, and pure water to wash it all down. ūüôā

I use the supplement manufacturer Swanson for my supps because before I launched my supplement reseller business years ago, my business partner and I did extensive research (because there’s some really low-quality junk out there) and Swanson outshone just about all the rest.

The Mt. Fuji Hill Climb Really Tested Me

The Mt. Fuji Hill Climb Really Tested Me

Mt. Fuji Hill Climb

Last Sunday I participated in the Mt. Fuji Hill Climb¬†cycling race, which I completely underestimated. I do a 40 km or so ride with my cycling club, Tokyo Cranks, every weekend but this didn’t prepare me nearly enough for the pain of riding a¬†25 km race, which was entirely uphill!

Our houseOn Friday I, along with a bunch of cycling friends of various nationalities and levels of cycling prowess, rented a big house in the woods for the weekend so that we could prepare for the race in comfort, without distraction and with plenty of time. It was a lovely new place, complete with all sorts of special eco-friendly technology.

After a hearty barbecue in the woods near the house on Saturday night, and after getting slightly lost on the way from the house to the starting line on Sunday morning, my team and I began the race at 8 am in the crisp mountain air, along with over 8,000 other cyclists (Yes! Over 8,000!)

Well, at the 5 km mark I realised that it was going to be considerably¬†tougher than I thought. My heart rate was already up to 145 beats per minute, and I was sweating quite freely in spite of the cool air. Fortunately, at the 10 km mark my heart rate settled to an average of 124 bpm, and I was breathing deeply but comfortably. This was good, because I wasn’t aiming to win the race or anything. I just wanted to finish it without getting off my bike¬†and¬†in a respectable time. As i mentioned earlier¬†I do a 40 km or so ride every weekend, plus I lift weights about 3 times a week (including heavy deadlifts which are great for the legs and lower back) and I train in kung fu once a week. So I was I was in reasonably good shape for this race.

However, my hamstrings soon began burning like someone had put flame to them! I used my mindfulness skills to try to simply observe the pain without creating aversion to it, but it was relentless. I kept having to stand up off my saddle to stretch my hams out and get some minor relief, but this of course meant not pedaling, slowing down, and then having to pedal harder to maintain speed again. This went on for more than 2 hours…

At the 17 km mark, I actually started to think that maybe I wasn’t going to finish the race. I was passing many younger, fitter guys and girls than me who’d given up and were walking¬†their bikes up the hill or sitting in the grass beside the road. But I really didn’t want to join them, so I pushed on.

Taiko drumsCheer leadersIt wasn’t all bad, though. People lined the road cheering us on here and there, and at one point there were even cheer leaders waving pom poms and calling out to us to “fight!” Then there were the taiko drummers. When¬†I heard the loud booming which typical of Japanese drums, I got a surge of adrenaline! Surely they were saving the big drums for the finish line, right? Wrong… It was just a way point around the 18 km mark…

So on I pushed… And suddenly the road fattened and I passed a “1 km remaining” sign. Praise god, I’d done it! Not quite. The road was indeed flat for a short while, and my hamstrings stopped torturing me somewhat.

A tired thumbs upThe pain trainBut then, with the finish line in sight, the road through one last 500 meter long hill at us. Having dropped¬†their guard on the flat part of the road, the final hill proved too much mentally for some who just got off their bikes and walked them up the hill. True to my promise to myself, I didn’t get off my bike and rolled over the finish line in 2 hours and 28 minutes while my faster mates cheered me on from the side of the road.

After zooming back down the mountain to the start line at about speeds of up to 58 kmph, I ate free udon noodles from one of the many outdoor stands, and contemplated the events of the day.

Finished!Tokyo CranksThis was an interesting and humbling experience for me. As a health coach and long term martial arts instructor it’s my job to get people properly prepared for whatever it is they are aiming for – weight loss, general fitness, fight¬†preparation, etc. But my own preparation for this race fell short of what was required. Admittedly, cycling is my tertiary type¬†of training, with kung fu being my primary type, and weight lifting being my secondary type, and I just turned 51 a couple of weeks ago. But that’s no excuse! I knew what was coming and I was not fully prepared for it. So I will practice what I preach, address that correctly with a different training strategy, and crack the 2 hour mark in 2017.

See you next year, Fuji-san.

Free udon


Climb Japan

I joined The Healthy Virtual Community

I joined The Healthy Virtual Community

Healthful Robert Millar

So, I joined The Healthy Virtual Community recently!

What is that, you ask? It’s a small, closed group of VAs (Virtual Assistants) and freelancers whose admirable mission is “to support health and wellness businesses to grow and thrive” by hiring out their various skillsets – graphic¬†design, web development, bookkeeping, business advice, etc.

You can see the public facing site (with my face on it!) at the link here. The private, paying-members-only site is inaccessible to the public, but holds a really nice toolbox of templates, resources and advice on the essential requirements for a freelancing business. Membership also gives access to a private Facebook Group, and members get featured in an online VA directory.

So why am I interested in this group? For two reasons :
1) Since April this year I’ve been billing on an hourly basis as a business consultant, mostly in the web services area, and it’s been great fun so far! I get to share my skills and experience with small businesses and entrepreneurs, and get paid for it. Super happy with that. And,
2) As a Healthy Virtual Community member I get access to health practitioners in need of business assistance, which is a niche area that I’ve already excelled in.

Joanna Mitchell, who founded The Healthy VA to “provide the health & wellness industry with the virtual support they need to efficiently manage their business and elevate their success”,¬†really intrigues me. She graduated from¬†the Health Coaching course at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition that I’m currently enrolled in, but instead of simply becoming a Health Coach after her graduation, she positioned herself as a support leader for Health Coaches, and for anyone else in the health & wellness industry – chiropractors, physiotherapists, nutritionists, naturopaths, etc. I really respect Joanna’s decision to support busy health practitioners, which is no small feat as I sure as hell know, but also her efforts to become the leader in her niche. I can’t begin to imagine that hard work and dedication it must have taken her to arrive where she is now, leading a team of Healthy VAs which it’s my great pleasure to now be a part of, in such a short time.

So, somewhat to my surprise, this is where my passion now lies.

While I’ll continue to support any small business or entrepreneur who wishes to leverage my skills and experience in order to better and faster achieve¬†their goals, I’m most excited about the health practitioners who need help and who Joanna posts job requests for in The Healthy Virtual Community. I’m already in dialogue with several of these referrals, and look forward to taking on their most challenging web and social media projects¬†so that they can do what they really want¬†to do, which is to help more people to be well. Right now I can’t imagine¬†anything more worthwhile than this.

I’ll still be working out of Ginza Hub¬†in Tokyo, making great coffee and¬†coaching my wonderful members and visitors in all aspects of entrepreneurship, as they may need it. But I feel new motivation now, and new focus, as¬†an experienced business consultant, with a proven track record of building successful businesses, who is well on the way to Health Coach certification and who has been intimately involved in¬†health & wellness for decades. ūüôā