Coaching Men to Their Optimal Health with Dr. Myles Spar

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There aren’t a lot of people focusing on men’s health beyond general fitness. The number of messages out in the wild can be very confusing for the average guy.

[3:15] Doctors are trained to focus specifically on one chief complaint of their patient, and that’s the recipe that Dr. Myle’s followed for the majority of his career. That changed after working with one of his chronically unhealthy patients that was always resistant to changing her problem behaviors.

[7:35] “It’s about what matters to you, not what’s the matter with ”

[7:45] If you connect the dots to what matters to people, that creates powerful changes in their behavior.

[8:50] By changing the focus from abstract numbers that mean nothing to the patient, Dr. Myles was able to help his patients understand the impact of their actions and how they can get healthier, but also why they should try.

[10:30] We have been going about health all wrong. People aren’t going to get healthier for reasons that their doctor came up with. They don’t care and don’t have the training to know why those reasons are important.

[11:00] Dr. Myles initially went into med school to work with people in an intimate way. He was actually an Economics major, but after a quick internship realized that he wanted something else. Problem solving with people about their problems was what he was looking for, and that was where he became disillusioned by the training.

[13:20] Eventually, this led Dr. Myles to work with Doctors Without Borders. He tried to change his approach so that it would be more about what matters to the patient instead of what’s the matter with them, but he kept getting pushback from the administration. He went to get a Masters of Public Health in order to improve the system and better align it.

[16:25] Dr. Myles realized that if the system wasn’t going to change and he was trained to deal with seriously sick people, then he should go to a place where there were seriously sick people. This led him to work in a conflict zone in the former Soviet Union helping people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

[18:30] Noticing the difference between patients in New Jersey and the Caucuses led Dr. Myles to his second moment of realization. The lifestyle and the faith of the people in the conflict zone allowed them to be much healthier, relatively speaking, than the North American patients.

[21:00] Health is more than just medicine, it’s about everything that contributes to your health including exercise, diet, and a support system.

[21:50] Dr. Myles is now focused on an optimal health program where it’s more like being a coach. He helps people achieve what they want out of life and mitigate the health risks that may get in the way of those goals.

[23:40] He started out exploring the world of integrated medicine by training himself and going to conferences, but he also did a fellowship at the University of Arizona.

[24:45] Dr. Myles’ average patient is between 30 and 65. He helps his patients identify what their goals are and the six impact points that affect those goals. Sex and sleep are major issues that many of his male clients need help with.

[29:40] A lot of the issues with sleep hygiene revolve around screen time and not being in front of screens before you go to bed. The data shows that over 85% of people need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. When you’re sleep deprived, it affects your body’s hormones and nearly every area of your life.

[31:20] Integrated medicine is fundamentally about getting your health foundation right. Dr. Myles’ new project is essentially about helping men figure out what to work on next and avoiding overwhelm.

[33:25] Having a clear sense of purpose adds seven years to your life expectancy.

[34:25] Dr. Myles’ next project is an online workshop where guys can come on and explore diet, sleep, and exercise. He also has a new book that will be coming out in January 2020 called Optimal Men’s Health.

[35:15] It’s hard to be a man in 2019. Dr. Myles relates a story of a Brene Brown book signing and how different it is for men in dealing with shame and emotions. The question is how do we behave as men and be powerful and respected, while also respectful?

[39:20] There are parts of masculinity that cause men problems. For example, men enduring health problems silently and dying needlessly.

[40:10] Most women still want men to make the first move and be assertive, but that’s become a gray area as to what’s acceptable. This is affecting men physically and causing a fair bit of stress and anxiety. There currently is no Brene Brown for men.

[42:10] Dr. Myles’ motivation is to make a difference in a unique way. He wants to be able to help people understand how important their health is in accomplishing their goals. Helping people feels great, but it’s always a challenge because there are always more people out there who need help.

[47:50] Dr. Myles’ father had his first heart attack at the age of 39, so heart disease and helping people avoid it is a big part of his program. That was also a big influence on him early on because both his parents changed their lifestyle and that is one of the major reasons why his father is still around at the age of 87.

[49:40] Diet is confusing and largely individualized. It depends on your goals and your risks. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or prevent neurological disease you should be on keto. If your goal is to prevent heart disease, you should be on a plant-based diet. Intermittent fasting is a solid option for some people.

[51:50] Losing weight and building muscle at the same time is the holy grail of lifestyle. If your hormones are off, you won’t be able to do either. For guys, one thing that will make a big difference is to avoid eating after dinner.

[53:00] If Dr. Myles were to take his own quiz, he’s sure that sleep would be his issue. He typically gets between 6 and 7 hours of sleep, but he’s working on it. Tracking sleep is a good way to understand what the problem is, like keeping a sleep log. His second major vice would be sugar because, in his words, he could “eat birthday cake every day.”

Complete Dr. Spar’s Men’s Health Quiz or text the word quiz to 323-310-5223
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