Ep. 291: Optimal Protein, Red Light Therapy and Biohacking with Vanessa Spina

Your trusted source for nutrition, wellness, and mindset for thriving health.

I am honored and delighted to have Vanessa Spina joining me on the podcast today!

Vanessa is the best-selling author of Keto Essentials and a sports nutrition specialist whose expertise on the ketogenic diet has left a lasting impact on countless lives! With a background in biomedical science and a multifaceted career as an international stockbroker, her pioneering journey in the health and wellness industry has been nothing short of remarkable!

In this episode, we dive deep into the fascinating realm of nutrition, from unraveling the mysteries of protein-recommended daily allowances and the leucine threshold to exploring the pivotal role of strength training in metabolic health. We dispel common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet, debunk the deceptive nature of the scale, and unveil the significance of DEXA scans in understanding changes in body composition. Vanessa also sheds light on the crucial importance of mitochondrial health and shares invaluable insights on various methods, including red light therapy, cold thermogenesis, micronutrients, and structured supplementation, to support our cellular powerhouses.

Join Vanessa and me as we embark on a knowledge-rich journey and uncover the keys to optimal health and well-being!

“If you do low-fat dairy, it’s an amazing tool! It’s so calcium-rich, which is great for bones- and it’s such a great source of protein.”

– Vanessa Spina


  • Common misconceptions about ketogenic diets
  • Why a traditional ketogenic diet is not for everyone
  • Why macronutrients are essential
  • Misinformation regarding the recommended daily allowance for protein
  • How to build muscle
  • The relationship between metabolic health and muscle health
  • The importance of DEXA scans for understanding body composition
  • Why resistance training is a priority
  • How to support the mitochondria
  • The benefits of red light therapy and cold therapy

Connect with Cynthia Thurlow

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Check out Cynthia’s website

Connect with Vanessa Spina

On her website (ketogenicgirl.com)

The Optimal Protein Podcast

Vanessa’s book, Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight 


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Cynthia Thurlow: Welcome to Everyday Wellness podcast. I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow. This podcast is designed to educate, empower, and inspire you to achieve your health and wellness goals. My goal and intent, is to provide you with the best content and conversations from leaders in the health and wellness industry each week and impact over a million lives.

Today, I had the honor of connecting with Vanessa Spina. She’s a sports nutrition specialist and the bestselling author of Keto Essentials. She’s also an international speaker and the host of the popular Optimal Protein podcast and the cohost of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast as well. She also has a background in biomedical science from the University of Toronto. Today, we dove into her really interesting background, going from being an international stockbroker to being interested in nutrition and biomedical sciences. We spoke at great length about protein recommended daily allowances, the leucine threshold, the role of strength training and metabolic health, common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet, why the scale is a liar, the role of DEXA scans and changes in body composition, the importance of mitochondrial health and discussions about ways to support mitochondrial health including red light therapy, cold thermogenesis, micronutrients, and structured supplementation.

I wanted to briefly express gratitude for a recent podcast review from Mark Kilborn. “Cynthia Thurlow continues to provide such important and useful information for all women. Her guests are high level experts in their fields. The content has been extremely helpful and meaningful to me. The amount of information and knowledge I’ve gained regarding women’s hormones and cycles in the last few months is more than I’ve ever gotten from doctors or school in my lifetime.” Thank you so much.

Now, let’s get back to the podcast today with Vanessa Spina. We had a really amazing conversation. I hope that you will find it as beneficial and information packed as I did.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hi, Vanessa. How are you?

Vanessa Spina: I’m well. How are you doing?

Cynthia Thurlow: Are you in Colorado right now?

Vanessa Spina: Yes. We got here last Wednesday night and just starting to get adjusted to the time zone and everything, but it’s so nice to be back. It’s been over two and a half years since we’re last here.

Cynthia Thurlow: Did you grow up in Colorado?

Vanessa Spina: No, I’m from Vancouver. I grew up overseas, mostly in Asia, but my husband’s family is all from Denver, so we’re here staying with them and visiting all of our nieces and cousins and everyone. And last time we’re here, I was 13 weeks pregnant and I’m also 13 weeks pregnant now.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, congratulations, that’s so exciting.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you, thank you. Yes, it’s so fun to share with everybody because nobody knew anything.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, that’s exciting, that’s exciting. I know people find out a way earlier now, like, I know years ago we had to wait till you were closer to 20 weeks. Do you know now what you’re– Wow.

Vanessa Spina: Yes. It’s towards 14 weeks now and it is a boy. So, I’m going to have two boys just like you.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I don’t know. Especially now that I have teenagers, I’m like, “The drama is so diminished compared to what my family members do.” I’m like, “Boys are pretty straightforward that’s consistently, it’s a little crazy.” My boys are 26 months apart. It sounds like Luca and your next little one will be close in age as well. And it’s a little crazy.

Vanessa Spina: Two and a half years.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. And then it settles in and you’re just like, boys are just wonderful. Of course, I’m totally biased, but I’ve had the best experience, but congratulations. It’s exciting.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. Yeah, this is what I was hoping for. I was really hoping for two boys. So, I’m just in heaven. I’m so excited.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, that’s exciting.

Vanessa Spina: That is such a fun season of life right now.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. And I can tell you’re going to blink and you’ll be where I am. We’re celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in September-

Vanessa Spina: Oh, congratulations.

Cynthia Thurlow: -and my oldest turns 18 in August-

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh.

Cynthia Thurlow: -and my youngest is 16, I’m like, “It’s literally gone like that.” And I’m not kidding it goes that fast.

Vanessa Spina: You do not look like you have an 18-year-old. [laughter] That is insane.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, it’s wild. Like, Jack is my oldest and we’re going to Europe together just for like, a week in late July. And jokingly my husband’s like, “I hope no one thinks he’s, like, your younger boyfriend.” [crosstalk] No, God, no, no he’s my son. I’ll just keep saying he’s my son, he’s my son.

Vanessa Spina: And you’re going to be in Europe too so. I mean, [crosstalk]

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. They’re so much less puritanical. I didn’t realize you grew up overseas. That’s so cool. No wonder why you wanted to live in Prague. I mean, we’re still talking about Prague. In fact, I was telling Jack, I was like, “I’m reconnecting with a friend who lives in Prague,” and he was like, “Oh, my God, I can’t wait to go back to Prague.” So, we had such amazing memories and what a wonderful place to raise a family.

Vanessa Spina: It’s amazing, I think for having a young family. It’s like one of the best safest cities in the world. So, yeah, we miss family being there, but it’s an amazing experience for sure.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, absolutely. So, I thought we would kind of– I tend to be organic, but I have a lot of different things on my piece of paper, so because this might be the first time my listeners are hearing your story and I usually will do an intro after I’ll just kind of start it is. Tell us how you went from where you are now through this trajectory of Ketogenic Girl. Now, this protein focused, your science background. I think it’s all really interesting and relevant.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you so much. Yeah. I’m happy to go wherever you want to with it.

Cynthia Thurlow: Awesome. Well, welcome, Vanessa. It’s such a pleasure to connect with you on my podcast. I’ve had the honor of being a guest on your own and welcome back to the States to visit with family.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be here with you on your amazing podcast and yeah, so happy to be back in the US for a little bit.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. And I think I love starting the conversation just acknowledging that you and your beautiful family live in one of our favorite cities in the whole world. Prague is a gem. If listeners have not traveled there, I cannot tell you how much we loved our time in Prague. And my teenagers still talk about how much– it’s like one of their favorite cities they’ve ever been to. What a blessing to be able to raise a family there. Tell us how you got to where you are right now, because I think you have such an interesting and you were telling me before we started recording that you grew up traveling the world. And so how did you get to where you are now with this wonderful science background, living internationally with your family? How did you get from point A to point B?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It’s not the most sort of logical A to B kind of trajectory. I definitely grew up overseas, which was such an incredible gift because as you know from traveling, it’s just the most amazing way to learn about the world and learn about other cultures. And my parents were big adventurers, so I was born in Africa and then we’re posted in China for a lot of my life for about almost six and a half years. And then finally I finished high school in the Philippines. So, I was at international schools overseas and then I settled back in Canada. And I actually first started out in finance and I had my stockbroker’s license. I was working in the markets and I loved it. It was really following one of my passions, which is finance. But I never felt really fulfilled internally from what I was doing.

I felt like I was making wealthy people wealthier and it was just a lot of excitement, but it wasn’t that fulfilling. So, my electives in university were always nutrition because that was my sort of passion. And I had started this hobby account on Instagram sharing keto recipes because I had gotten into intermittent fasting and keto myself and it just absolutely took off. At the time, I think it was just like lined up perfectly with the trajectory of keto going crazy. And it got so busy, I started making meal plans and programs. This is in 2015 and I had to leave my finance job to do it full time. And part of that we moved to Prague at the same time from Vancouver. And it was just amazing because it gave me time and space to be able to create and, you know, you’ve been there it’s such a creative place.

They were so closed for so long and now there’s like this opening up and this sort of flowering of ideas and creativity and there’re all these writers and poets and people who used to go to Paris and Berlin, they’re all in Prague. So, it’s an amazing place to create. And then I wrote my first book, Keto Essentials from Prague. I was just sitting in cafes and writing there, and it was just a dream. And since then, I started to find myself more and more interested in the science of nutrition, because I had studied nutrition off and on over the years and was really self-taught. So, I went back and got my sports nutrition specialist specialization. And then I found that I was getting really frustrated by seeing all the debates online, the diet wars and people would debate endlessly about things like gluconeogenesis. And I was like, “I just want to understand for myself what all this means.” So, then I went back to school. I went to the University of Toronto and did a two-year biomedical science program. And I just studied biochem and physiology and even at the end, sort of pharmacology, which was really interesting because as you know, you learn the different pathways and the first pass metabolism and all this stuff.

So, it really just helped me to understand everything. But it also enabled me on the podcast to be able to have deeper conversations with people and ultimately go a little bit beyond the conversations I might have been having otherwise. [laughs] Kind of not the most linear path to where I am, but it’s worked out really beautifully, and I’m very happy being here and learning about the science. I realized that there’s a different approach to keto that could be more advantageous in terms of, a lot of people are coming to keto for recomposing their body. And I think if your goal is health issues or managing different conditions medical or ketogenic traditional macros are great. But if you’re coming to it for fat loss and gaining some muscle lean mass, the traditional keto macros are not really optimal. So that’s what I made it my mission to talk about on Optimal Protein podcast is how do we optimize body composition? You can do a different approach, like a modified ketogenic diet and just trying to open it up a little bit more broadly, not just the people who are in keto, but for anyone to understand what is an optimal protein intake look like and mean. So, I’m happy that I ended up in this space right here.

Cynthia Thurlow: And I love that you have this curiosity to pursue your dreams, your interest, and to be a lifelong learner, because I think that’s so important. I think so many of us get stuck. Either we’re stuck in a job or we’re stuck in these dogmatic principles that no longer serve us and people are afraid to pivot and change their minds. And so, I really love that you authentically made your way into the biomedical sciences and now you have a platform where you can help educate people, take the science and make it accessible for others, because not everyone is comfortable reading the scientific literature or trying to interpret the research. And certainly, there’s so much misinformation that’s conveyed in the media. And then you really look at the research that someone’s basing things on, and you’re like, wait a minute, this isn’t even good research. This is anecdotal research, which I mean, that’s where things can stem from. Good ideas may come from that, but being able to make sense of a lot of good information slash misinformation that’s out there. What do you think are some of the common misconceptions about ketogenic diets? Things that you feel like are higher level concepts that maybe people misunderstand or misinterpret. I know I have some biases or things where I’m like, “I think this is where people are really getting it wrong.” But in your experience clinically and on the podcast, what are some of the common misconceptions that you see?

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I love this question so much. So, we talked about how a lot of people coming to keto come to it for fat loss and approaching keto with the traditional macros, I think it can be initially helpful for making the switch. There’s this metabolic switch, as you know, that you go into where your body can preferentially burn primarily fat and not so much sugar. And I think that can really help people, especially if they want to get into intermittent fasting and become more fat fueled and not sort of stuck in that paradigm where you’re only really a glucose burner. I think it can help to lower carb intake gradually to start focusing on maybe consuming some more healthy fats instead of just depending on carbs for your energy. And I think that it can be a great way to sort of transition into that mode, because as you know, from doing intermittent fasting, it really helps and it’s in a big advantage if you are a little bit more fat fueled and able to do that, you’ll feel better going for longer between meals and kind of goes hand in hand with keto in a lot of ways. But if your goal primarily for doing keto is doing some body recomposition and by that, I mean recomposing your body to have a little bit less fat mass and to have either maintain or gain some lean mass and muscle and also have strong bones which goes together with the protein and lean mass.

Then I would say a better approach might be to do a modified ketogenic diet. So, what that looks like is a traditional ketogenic diet is about 85% fat intake, about 10% to 15% on the protein and then 0 to 5 on the carbohydrate and some mix on that. And a modified ketogenic diet is closer to 65% fat, 35% protein and around 5% to 10% carb. And so, one of the scientists I really look up to is a scientist who did a lot of work showing that modified ketogenic diets can actually get a lot of the same benefits as traditional ketogenic diets, but they actually are much easier to sustain long term versus doing the sort of really high fat. And I was someone who never really liked that approach of just eating lots of fats. I much prefer to eat healthy proteins. So, I just think it’s a lot more sustainable for people long term. It’s a lifestyle that people can do. And I think the second biggest misconception is that your intake of when I talk about that 65% or 85% of your calories coming from fat, that all of that has to come from your food.

Because if your goal is to burn some fat, then you probably want a little bit of a mix there of some of that fat coming from your meal and some of that also coming from your stored body fat. And if you don’t create any kind of deficit there, then I think it’s going to be hard to actually get real weight loss and sustainable fat loss. So, I’m a big believer in the endocrine hormonal approaches to understanding weight loss and fat loss. But I also think that it’s important to look at the calories because there’s so much science showing if you want to lose some weight, you have to create some kind of caloric deficit. So, you can create a bit of a caloric deficit by cutting back a bit on the fat and bumping up the protein percentage and you’re going to displace some of the fat intake. And I think that if you’re in a weight loss or fat loss phase that that can really be helpful for that, whether you’re doing keto or not.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think you bring up such good points. And this for me is why, personally, I could never tolerate a traditional ketogenic diet. I am someone that just does better with leaner meat, leaner fish, less fat in my diet. I mean, that’s just personally what works really well. I get nauseous if I’m eating a lot of fats. And so, people will characteristically say, “Well, maybe there’s something wrong with your gallbladder.” I was like, “No, no my gallbladder is fine. It’s just for me personally, I can’t eat a stick of butter and eat a ribeye and feel good.” That will make me completely nauseous. However, I know that works for some people, and I find for women in particular, that we get into trouble with too much healthy fats because think about the things that are delicious and also have a lot of healthy fats in them. Like, I think about nuts and I think about dairy and cheese in particular. It’s very hard to stick to portions. And sometimes I will actually say to women, if you measure nothing else but nuts and cheese, you are probably eating two, three, four times the amount of one serving than you realize. And that may be what is contributing to the plateau, the weight loss resistance. It might very well be to your point that you are not eating in a caloric deficit, that you are actually eating in a caloric excess and that is why you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, and I fully agree on both those points. And I think one of the ways that I kind of go against the keto sort of, I guess, rhetoric is maybe controversial is I’m a big, actually, proponent of dairy, but low-fat dairy, because dairy is such an amazing food for building lean mass, especially for women. But it has to be low fat because by being low fat, it becomes high-protein dairy. And people in the keto space tend to go for all the high-fat dairy and that’s exactly what they run into, that issue that you were bringing up. And the same thing with the nuts. But if you do low-fat dairy, it’s an amazing tool. It’s so calcium rich, which is great for bones and it’s such a great source of protein. I know some women, as you know, have a hard time hitting a higher protein intake. And dairy like low-fat yogurt, some low-fat cheeses, are really helpful tools to help you reach your protein target for the day.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, and it’s interesting, yesterday I interviewed Sally Norton and Sally’s area of expertise are oxalates. And she was saying the people who are at greater risk for not getting enough calcium in and she know the people that are dairy free. And she said, and I understand why a lot of women choose to be dairy free. And then what they do is they then overload themselves on these calcium-rich oxalate-laden foods. And so, she said, “It’s all about finding balance, finding out what do you tolerate?” And so, she was actually encouraging me. Privately when we were talking, she said, “Maybe it’s time to introduce some low-fat dairy because you don’t tolerate the kale and the spinach and the celery.” And so, I promised her, I was like, “I haven’t done dairy for five years, but I will go buy some non-fat Greek yogurt that’s unflavored and I will try it and I’ll report back on how that works for me. But I agree with you that it’s finding– sometimes these nutrient deficiencies can be quite profound. I know that our mutual friend Marty Kendall, who’s absolutely wonderful, is always talking about micronutrient deficiencies and how important they are. And I think we sometimes focus so much on protein, fat, and carbs and then don’t realize that in many other ways we can be deficient in these micronutrients that can have a lot to do with cravings, how we feel, success that we’re having, etc.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, Marty is great and he’s always reminding us [laughs] those micronutrients, and I love the work that he does.

Cynthia Thurlow: So, when we’re talking about protein and we pivot a little bit and obviously I know we’re both huge proponents of the essential needs of protein. Let’s talk about the recommended daily allowance, the RDA, understanding that this is not a threshold at which we should aspire to, that we really do need to consume more protein than what is recommended by most governmental guidelines. And I can speak from on behalf of middle-aged women. We actually need more. We are in a catabolic state as we get older where our body will break down muscle in response to hormonal changes. So, when you’re helping to educate your listeners and talk to your clients about this, how do you approach the protein? We talk about protein leverage hypothesis, we talk about the protein RDA and helping people make sense of the fact that we have very likely been given poor information about this very important macronutrient for a very long time.

Vanessa Spina: I love this question and this topic because what actually stunned me was finding out that the RDA and RDI that have been set for protein were set during wartime rationing in the UK to set a minimum to avoid disease because they were trying to figure out what they could do for rationing for their population. And they haven’t been revised since despite the fact that some of the researchers I admire the most in this space who spent their whole careers studying amino acids and protein, like Dr. Stu Phillips and Dr. Don Layman, Gabrielle’s mentor and they’ve written open letters to these organizations to try to get them to revise their protein intakes, especially for our aging population. And it’s almost criminal, like, how low the protein intakes are set at. And also, there’s all this misinformation online, like if you google sources of protein, like if you’re pregnant or something, it’ll say like, “Chickpeas are [laughs] an amazing source of protein.” So, there’s a lack of information and also there’s like misinformation out there. So, there’s a lot that people need to understand.

I think one of the core concepts I love talking about, so you mentioned that as we age, we have higher rates of muscle protein breakdown, which is occurring every day. And in order to combat against that, we need to make sure to have high rates of muscle protein synthesis every day. And in order to do that, we have to eat meals that contain enough protein at each meal that it will raise the amount of leucine, which is a branched-chain amino acid in the blood to trigger this leucine threshold. And what’s so key about this is that when you are, say, in your early 20s, like you can just look at protein and build muscle, but when you’re getting older, the leucine threshold is the most affected by age. So, if you’re sort of like between 20 and if you’re in your 30s and 40s, you probably need around 2 to 3 g of leucine at a meal, which is about 30 g of protein. But when you start getting into your 50s and 60s, 70s, it’s possible that you may actually need double that amount of leucine. And who do we know out there? Who’s in their 70s and 80s who’s eating that much protein? Like, barely anyone is.

There’re lots of different strategies and things and sort of workarounds that we can do. Because I know that people tend to eat less as they get older and they don’t want to eat like, huge plates of chicken breasts and steak. But there are certain things that you can do, like combining protein meal with some BCAAs, for example, can enhance and raise the level of leucine at that meal to make sure that you trigger muscle protein synthesis. So, you want to be doing that at least two to three times a day to make sure that you just maintain the muscle that you have, let alone being able to maybe put some more muscle on as well. And really it’s not just for bodybuilders or physique competitors. We are all bodybuilders. We’re building our bodies every day or they’re being taken down with the muscle protein breakdown.

And so, if we don’t keep up with that, then those rates of muscle protein breakdown are going to exceed the muscle protein synthesis. And it’s such a key concept, is understanding that you need to get a certain amount of leucine at each meal. For most people, that looks like around 30 g. And Dr. Don Layman is the scientist who spent his whole career studying this. Like, how much leucine do we actually need to trigger muscle protein synthesis and to make sure you’re getting an adequate amount. And then there’s ways of supplementing with whey protein shakes, adding BCAAs, and if you can, also making sure to do some kind of resistance training. It’s all going to be triggers that signals to the body that we need that muscle, we need to hold on to it. It’s precious and we’re using it and we need it.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think and I always give Gabrielle credit. We spoke at an event together in 2020 and the first thing she said to me, other than being incredibly polite and coming up to me and introducing herself, was, “I bet you’re not eating enough protein.” [Vanessa laughs] And I was like, “What?” And I always like to give her credit because it really shifted my whole perspective. I mean, I immediately shifted to more protein, like more protein, larger quantities of meat, even getting more during the pandemic because very few people could shop. We started ordering some exotic meat. So, we had wild boar, we had elk, [crosstalk] we had bison. Yeah, which it makes me laugh because I thought that was so exotic. And people are listening and probably thinking that’s not so exotic. But for us it was different and just really experimenting with how do I feel when I have 40 g of protein? How do I feel when I have 50 g of protein? How do I feel when I have 60 g of protein, which is where I kind of hover with most meals, because I’m really getting two large boluses of food within my feeding window. And now it has allowed me to help women understand that more than likely, they’re not eating enough protein.

They are very likely over consuming the wrong types of carbohydrates. And I don’t want to villainize carbs, but the stuff that is less processed is always going to be healthier for you. And helping people understand that seed oils are problematic in a way, and to a degree, especially here in the United States, that I think most people don’t even understand how proliferative they are in our processed foods. Like, the number one consumed fat in the United States, according to Ben Bikman, is soybean oil, which is horrific when you think about it, but it just shows you that it’s just proliferative in our foods. And so, let’s talk a little bit about the impact of sarcopenia. So, this muscle loss with aging, it’s not a question of if, but when really accelerates after the age of 40, when you’re in the literature, what are the recommended frequency at which we need to be doing strength training? And it’s more than just body weight. If that’s a starting point, that’s fine, but we actually have to, from what I understand, like time under tension. But it also has to be challenging to the point where not that you can’t move the next day, but you want to have some degree of fatigue in your muscle when you’re lifting, so that it’s not just easy. Like you can get through 20 reps and you’re not sweating, your heart rate’s not up. How do we determine what the right threshold is?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That’s such a great question. And I think people tend to forget that our bones are also protein. They’re mineralized protein. And this is another concept we always think of like our bones, they are full of calcium. Well, they’re full of calcium, but they’re also full of protein and they’re full of minerals. And our bodies store those minerals in the bones. So, if we are deficient in some of those minerals, we can access them from our bones. But part of making sure to get enough protein and doing resistance training, as you were saying, is not just for our muscle tissue. It’s also for maintaining really strong bones, which I think is one of the key concepts when it comes to maintaining health as we get older. Because, as you know, there are many people, like I’ve had in my family as well, who suffer a fall and break a hip and that’s the end.

At the end of your life, because you could sometimes just have a bad fall and not have strong bones. And sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity, I think, are a huge, huge issue that we don’t talk about enough, and we need to be talking about it more. And also, physicians hopefully talking about it more with their patients in different ways. Yes, eating more calcium is great [laughs] for your bones, but you also need to eat protein and also get some resistance training in. And I tend to focus on whatever you’re doing now, if you’re not doing any exercise at all, doing even one workout a week or two workouts a week with some strength training, with any kind of resistance, anytime you’re resisting gravity, you are assisting your body in preserving lean mass and signaling to the body that you want to hold on to your muscle tissue and build more of it.

So, you don’t need to suddenly join a gym and be in there four or five times a day. Even just doing two workouts a week as a first goal at home with your body weight is more than enough. And you can do on YouTube ever since the pandemic. Now there’re just so many free videos that people can watch and just using their body weight at home, doing squats and pushups, and even without free weights, you can do so much to really enhance your physique and your muscle. And in terms of the specifics, for me it’s just more so are you making consistent progress, so are you able to, over time, lift heavier and heavier things? I think that’s one of the key measures in terms of are you going to be successfully building muscle and if you’re not making any progress then there may be some kind of issue with the number of repetitions or the way that it’s being approached. There may be something that needs to be tweaked, but over time you should be able to progress in terms of your level of strength and the amount of weight that you can successfully lift.

Cynthia Thurlow: It’s certainly important and one thing that’s a big takeaway, falls are obviously a huge issue and falling and breaking a hip is a prognostic indicator of morbidity and mortality. And so, I always remind my family members in particular that hip fractures are not benign and in many instances, if you really look at the statistics, a lot of patients, when they fall and break a hip, many of them will die within a year. And so, it’s just understanding that that degree of frailty is something that we want to really work against and we want to help prevent. I remember years ago when I was still rounding in the hospitals and I would see some of my patients that were in their 50s that could not get off a bedside commode, which is the bedside toilet, because they had such atrophy of muscles in their legs because they weren’t using them.

I think we have this increasingly sedentary society and this is why I think our voices are so important to encourage people to, even if you’re just doing body weight exercises, as you mentioned, getting on YouTube and looking at resources there, talking to your healthcare practitioner, if they have specific referrals, physical therapy. Many people need to start with physical therapy as a starting point, but how important it is to understand that interrelationship between metabolic health and muscle health. And there was this one study that. I was looking at, it was saying a 10% increase in skeletal muscle equals 11% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% drop in risk of prediabetes more muscle mass results in higher energy expenditure due to protein turnover, which helps reduce risk of obesity.

So, understanding that a 10% increase in skeletal muscle, I mean, that sounds like a lot, but helping you understand that it’s this glucose reservoir, it’s this ability to allow us to remain insulin sensitive. And again, as much as I hate to harp on the fact that middle age is when these things really start to accelerate, how important it is to adjust what you’re doing, I find a lot of women, as they’re getting into their 30s and 40s, they’re still doing like long chronic cardio. And I just remind them, like that hour you’re spending running, you could literally just spend 30 minutes lifting weights. And the potentiality of what would come from that physical activity yields so much more in terms of gains for your health than just doing long chronic cardio does.

Vanessa Spina: You’re so right. And people think that the way to lose fat is to do cardio. And I’ve compared the post-exercise calorie burn on doing weights and cardio and sometimes mine is higher just from doing weights. And at the same time, you’re building muscle, which is metabolically active tissue so you can burn more calories. So, in the end, I always try to prioritize for myself the weight training first, and then if there’s time, the cardio, or even just going for walks and that kind of thing. But the resistance training has to be the priority.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. And where do you think we get so off base focusing in on the scale? I know that, I had a conversation on an earlier podcast today saying that I think in many ways, it’s just one metric, but many people, especially women, sorry women, I don’t need to be picking on anyone. But it’s just been my experience that people get so fixated on that number and it can govern the entire perspective on their day, how they feel about themselves, their self-confidence levels. What does the scale not take into account when someone steps on it? Unless it’s one of those scales that is measuring body fat versus muscle mass. And there are scales that are out there that are very sophisticated, but I’m talking about the average scale in someone’s bathroom or kitchen.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. This is such a great question and one of the things I love talking about, so in a lot of the science labs where they study the effects of say, protein on body composition or just like nutrition on fitness, nobody talks about body weight. People only talk about their body composition, so what their body fat percentage is and how much lean mass they have. And I honestly think in the future we’ll probably have accurate body composition scanners at home. But because all we have is a scale, I always tell people not to throw them out, but not to rely on them for progress. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients personally who were following my approach with a higher protein intake. And I always recommend getting a DEXA body scan once or twice a year. I wish more than anything that physicians were recommending this annually or every couple of years, not just looking at bone density, but also what else is your body composed of?

Because it’s such a better metric for truly understanding obesity, especially if you focus on muscle. Your BMI is going to be higher if you have more muscle, and you could be perfectly healthy at a higher weight because you have more muscle. So, I’ve had a lot of situations where I’ve had clients go in for an, like, say they’ve been following up my program for a while, go back in for a body scan, and they’ll step on the scale right before, because sometimes they’ll have scales there as well. Or the scanner will measure their body weight, and they’ll say, “Oh, my gosh, I’ve put on 5 pounds” And when they have the scan done, turns out they’ve gained 3, 4 pounds of muscle and they’re down 4% body fat, which is absolutely massive. To do something like that in like eight to twelve weeks is so huge because your body composition really equates to your metabolic health.

And if those people had not had a body scan done, they would have stepped on the scale, seen that they were 5 pounds heavier, and been like, “None of this is working. I’m gaining weight, I’m just going to go back to whatever I was doing before.” So really like a scale to me is like this barbaric tool that can give you maybe a sense of how much you’re resisting gravity. But in terms of what your body is actually composed of, it really gives you such little clue as to how healthy you are metabolically. So, one of the things that I’ve seen is the cost has been coming down on body scanning. And as I recommend that DEXA body scan, there’re other forms as well. There’s like air displacement, which is called the BOD POD. There’re other forms of measuring your body composition. There are some bioimpedance scales that people have at home that can at least give people a sense or like a ballpark sort of a picture or a trend.

But I definitely recommend that at the very least, you get a scan once a year or before and after any kind of program because that’s where you’re really going to be able to assess your actual metabolic health, whether you are obese or not, based on your body fat and your lean mass, and then also how much protein to eat. Because it’s a great way to, if you’re, say, going by some of the recommendations, like, Dr Stu Phillips, of doing somewhere around 1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass or ideal body weight, then you can also figure out how much protein to be targeting every day. So, it provides so much useful information.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I love that you brought up the DEXA because this is low radiation, inexpensive, covered by insurance. I think for many women, they probably get a DEXA if they’re lucky, in their 30s and 40s, and they definitely probably might get one in their 50s. And for me, we’ve been tracking mine because osteoporosis runs in my family. I’m a thin Caucasian woman. I definitely have this family history component. You better believe I lift heavy weights, because to me, preserving bone mass is so important, and I’m supposed to have one next month to kind of look at that progress. But it really does give you a breakdown. It’ll give you information about your body fat percentage. It gives information about the health of your bones, or at least an approximation. I always say it’s not always the best test for bones, but it gives you an approximation.

And as you mentioned, the BOD POD is a great option if you have that available to you. And amazingly, in my area, we have BOD PODS, and I’ve actually done that before. It’s like you get into a little egg in a bathing suit and it takes all the air out. And then it actually gives you really interesting information about your body fat, body composition, which I think is so helpful. And I love that you reaffirm the fact that the scale is just one teeny tiny metric. And if you were to compare the data that you get from that scale versus what you’re getting from a DEXA, you could get yourself completely, like, ruin your entire week [Vanessa laughs] versus you do the DEXA scan and you realize you’re actually in a position where you’ve gained lean muscle and lost body fat, but that’s not reflected properly on that regular scale and why it’s so important to dig a little bit deeper.

Vanessa Spina: Yes. And as a personal anecdote on the other side, it can also help you to figure out if you are someone who is thin on the outside, fat on the inside, which is what I was for years. And I would go see my doctor, and he’s like, “Your BMI is fine. You’re not overweight, stop focusing on this.” And I just knew I didn’t feel body confident, I didn’t feel fit, I didn’t feel energized. And I finally had my first body composition scan, and the scan tech thought that there was a mistake because I had 38% body fat. And he’s like, “There’s no way looking at you that you have 38%.” But I carried it really well. And because I’m tall, my BMI showed up in the normal range. But 38% body fat is, especially when you’re in your 20s, is not a good place to be, knowing that number, if I hadn’t had made some big changes, would have probably continued to progress. I could have ended up morbidly obese if I had continued with the lifestyle I was doing at the time, which I thought was healthy.

I was doing like a high-carb vegan diet. And as long as it was vegan, I thought it was healthy. And that included so many processed foods. And I was just doing lots of cardio and I just wasn’t healthy and I didn’t feel good. And then when I started understanding the body composition and doing this sort of optimal protein-prioritized approach where I’ll eat anywhere from 35% to 40% protein, I got my body fat down to 21%. And that was while I was in school doing the biomedical science program. And I wasn’t even working out very much because I was just studying so much. So, protein can have a huge impact. And I’ve had so many guests on my podcast who have said even just eating more protein and increasing the protein percentage, even if you’re not working out, can make a huge difference.

And I saw it for myself just in changing up my macros, I wasn’t really eating that many different calories, but I changed my macros up. I really increased the protein percentage, which led to so much satiety. I felt full for the first time in my life, thanks to the amazing protein leverage concept by Raubenheimer and Simpson, who came up with this concept that we basically overeat on energy calories of carbohydrate and fat until we get enough protein. And I finally felt full for the first time in my life. And now I feel like I can just maintain this effortlessly lean body composition. And the key really has been changing up the protein, but also understanding body composition and not just looking at the scale. Because I never would have been able to make those changes if I just went by BMI and the scale.

Cynthia Thurlow: Isn’t it amazing? Because I know a lot of my work is really focused on women in perimenopause and menopause and helping them understand that if you’re not eating enough food. So, I think that it’s really important. If people choose to fast that they get enough protein in that feeding window. And so, helping people understand that if you’re eating one meal a day, I don’t know how you’re ever going to hit that protein threshold that you need to hit. And this explains why women will say to me, “I’m not hungry because my body thinks I’m starving.” So, it’s going to just take what it can and it’s going to assimilate what it receives. But that explains why they’re having all these cravings. They’re like once my feeding window opens, I feel like I could eat everything and anything. And it goes along with that principle of your body is seeking. If it’s not going to get the protein it’s looking for, it is going to seek it through means of probably highly processed, hyper-palatable foods to get to that caloric intake that it’s ideally looking for.

I think on every level, what I love about your work is that you really are very, very clear about how attainable that protein piece is and why that really leads to improvement in metabolic health markers, not just the body composition, but all these more important metrics that we’re talking about. So, when we’re talking about metabolic health, we’re really talking about mitochondrial health. And so, what are some of your favorite ways to help support the mitochondria? And I want to make sure that we are inclusive of my new favorite device that I’ve been playing around with for the last six to eight weeks, talking about red light therapy. So, making sure that we tie that into the conversation. Because I think mitochondrial health is really at the basis for whether we are metabolically healthy or unhealthy. Helping us understand that these powerhouses of our cells are really at the basis for whether or not we are insulin sensitive, whether we are able to be able to use different types of substrates for energy, etc.

Vanessa Spina: You might have to reel me in a little bit here because [laughter] I am so passionate about this topic. I’ve been studying it and really making it a focus on the podcast for the last year. And it’s really been absolutely mind blowing to understand more about the mitochondria and how they work and how we can support them. Because I think especially when we’re talking about health span and longevity, it’s one of the major, major keys. So, one of the main ways really is exercise. And we were just talking about different forms of exercise. But what’s really fascinating about the mitochondria, many people know them as the powerhouse of the cell. They’re making energy for us in the form of ATP. And how they do that is by moving electrons along this electron transport chain. We have about anywhere from 500 to 1000 mitochondria in every cell and we’ve got over 30 trillion cells.

So, I mean, just it’s an incredible number of mitochondria that we have. And then inside of all those mitochondria, there’re so many electron transport chains making ATP. And there’re a couple of really fascinating things that I’ve been learning about them. But one of the really interesting things is that if someone is in a situation where they’re not doing a lot of movement and they tend to be more sedentary and they’re also consuming more food, they also find themselves often to be tired. And it doesn’t really make sense. It’s like, “Well, I’ve got all this energy stored on my body, why am I tired?” And what’s really fascinating about the mitochondria is, if there is an excess of energy consumed and not enough movement, then electrons start to build up in the electron transport chain and the whole system kind of shuts down. And so, it is the main reason why people who don’t move a lot also don’t feel very energetic, and you have to move your body in order to keep those electrons flowing and keep your mitochondria making energy for you. And this is like one of those mind-blowing moments [chuckles] that I had in learning about them.

Another key concept which is really interesting is that if you eat a diet that’s really high in processed and refined carbohydrates versus eating more whole foods, not only does it lower your metabolic rate, and that’s been proven in some studies, but also one of the things that causes a lot of cellular damage is free radicals. And what happens at the level of the electron transport chain is as electrons are being passed down the chain from protein complex to protein complex, they can get lost. And it’s actually at the first step on the electron transport chain where the most electrons are lost. And that’s when electrons are coming in from the glucose pathway from carbohydrates. And when those electrons are lost, they become known as free radicals or unpaired electrons. And that can cause damage to the cell, but also to the mitochondria, because mitochondria have their own DNA, and their DNA is right in the cytosol. It’s not protected in the nucleus like our DNA is.

So, when there’re a lot of free radicals, our mitochondria get damaged from that. There’s also a lot of just other sort of free radicals that can occur along the electron transfer chain. But if you are eating a diet that is lowering carb, a lot of your electrons are going to come into the second step. So, you’re going to lose less electrons. You’re going to cause less free radical damage and that’s going to help preserve the integrity of the mitochondria and keep them healthy. A lot of research has shown that doing fasted exercise really boosts mitochondrial biogenesis or the genesis of new mitochondria. And what’s really interesting as well is that if you are doing a lower carb diet that is not necessarily keto, but a lower carb diet that is higher in protein, you can still get up to two-thirds of the benefits of mitochondrial biogenesis, even if you do your workout after eating food.

So, it’s basically, in the absence of really a high carbohydrate intake that your body will make new mitochondria for you. Also, intermittent fasting and doing keto can help because ketones, which are produced during times of fasting, they do have signaling effects on the mitochondria. They can signal the mitochondria to uncouple and then they’re uncoupling heat production from energy production. And it helps you basically have more horsepower in your cells. So those mitochondria individually become less burdened by making all of this energy. Now one of the things that you mentioned is red light therapy and this is one of the things I’ve become so passionate about in the last year because one of the most effective tools for supporting the mitochondria is doing some kind of red light therapy. So red light wavelengths are found in nature, they come from the sun and we naturally get it when we are outside all the time, but because we live these modern lifestyles where we’re constantly indoors a lot of us have become deficient in this what I like to think of it as a light nutrient. It is a nutrient.

And on the electron transport chain in our mitochondria, the fourth protein complex, which is cytochrome c oxidase, it is a chromophore and absorbs red light wavelengths. So, it helps activate and stimulate the mitochondria. So, if you’re not getting any red light or you’re sitting in an office or in your home behind glass constantly, you’re not going to be fully optimized in terms of the red light that you would get if you were living hundreds of years ago and you were outside all the time and outside during sunrise and sunset when red light is sort of the most prevalent. So, one of the ways that you can make up for that deficiency is by investing in red light therapy panels and being so passionate about this, I decided to create my own line, which is a Tone LUX line in the past year. And they have some of the most powerful irradiance on the market really low flicker, really low EMFs, and they’re just really powerful devices and it can benefit and support your mitochondria. The latest research now is showing that what it also does is stimulate epigenetic factors and growth factors.

So, if you shine it on your face, you will stimulate growth factors for collagen and elastin, which is why it improves the appearance of the skin. It makes it more youthful looking and softer. If you shine it on your muscle after a workout, it will help stimulate IGF-1 and you’ll have more muscle growth. If you put it on an area where you’ve had hair loss, it can stimulate hair growth in that area. And that’s actually how it was first discovered as these Russian scientists were testing the safety of lasers on mice and they were getting all these skin improvements and regrowing hair. So that’s how they kind of stumbled upon it. So red light therapy is a great way– having red light therapy panels is a great way of supporting them.

One of the next ways I love is doing cold therapy, ice baths or cryotherapy in some cases, I tend to prefer ice baths because they have more research backed benefits. But when you do cold therapy on a regular basis through, for example, an ice bath, you activate brown fat, which is very prevalent in the body when you’re young. But we have less and less of it as we get older, we tend to just have a little bit around the neck area. When you expose your body to cold on a consistent basis, your body starts making more brown fat and brown adipose tissue is white adipose that has more mitochondria in it. So, you can turn tissue that is storing energy for you into metabolically active tissue, which is just amazing. And there’s even one study where these people had an overactive tumor that was making them release adrenaline or epinephrine and norepinephrine constantly, just like what happens when you do ice baths and these people developed brown fat all over their body. So, it’s not just in the neck area. You can basically have more of it on your entire body. And cold therapy is a really great way to do that.

Finally, it’s really important to prioritize rest and recovery and also nutrient dense foods. We were talking about the micronutrients because when you do, for example, fasted exercise, you will stimulate the process to have more mitochondria. But it’s in the rest and recovery, like getting really quality sleep, that all of those changes take place. So, if you’re not resting properly, you’re not getting enough sleep, especially at night. We have all this melatonin, and melatonin, it turns out is this mitochondrial antioxidant. So, the sleep is a huge factor in having really healthy mitochondria. And the last thing is, there’re some foods and supplements. Goat milk and goat cheese, which contains medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs because those stimulate ketones, supporting the mitochondria through signaling the mitochondria to uncouple. Turmeric, dark chocolate, vitamin C and then there’s this new thing you’ve probably heard, methylene blue, which a lot of people are talking about, supports the mitochondria. So, there’re different supplements as well. But those are some of the main ways that I’ve sort of come across in the research that really support the mitochondria.

Cynthia Thurlow: Full disclosure, I’d had like red light therapy on my radar. I was literally getting ready to purchase something and I’ve been using your devices for the past six weeks. And the things that I have noticed, occasionally I’ll do these crazy solid core classes with my husband. He’s still pretty active and so he gets sore from doing jujitsu and I get sore from doing solid core. And there’s definitely an improvement in sore muscles. I’m definitely seeing changes in my skin and I’m a middle-aged woman, so I always say something that’s noninvasive, that’s effective, I’m all for it.

In terms of frequency of red light therapy or even cold therapy, do you have a starting point that you generally recommend? Like, do it two days a week, three days a week? What works best? The other piece of the cold therapy that I want to ask about is I know that there are some epigenetics that make some people not need as much cold exposure just due to genetics and the reason why I’m saying this. I can do cryotherapy, I can do a cold shower. If you stuck me in a plunge pool, I’m convinced. It would not even be hormetic stress. [Vanessa laughs] It would be like a massive overwhelm. Maybe I’m trying to talk myself out of doing it, but I’m just curious. Do you find that some people, it’s the dose of the hormesis that can be effective or is it really something that can be genetically mediated?

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I love this because there’re so many things here. So, with the cold therapy, there was a really interesting scientist who was recently on Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Susanna Soberg, and she’s done some amazing research on cold therapy. And she actually determined sort of the minimum effective dose, which was 11 minutes per week, over, say, two to three sessions. So that’s like doing three sessions of between 3 to 4 minutes. So, it’s really not a long period of time. But another thing that I discovered after I first started doing cold plunging is, there’s this thing called the turnover effect. And if you get in the cold bath and you don’t go up to your neck, you don’t actually activate the brown fat. And so sometimes I was doing it and I would just go to my shoulders, or here, or even like half body, and I would be freezing the entire time. But when I would go into my chin, it would activate the brown fat, and then within 30 seconds to a minute, I would be warm. So, it’s like just the psychological part of getting in definitely physically feels cold. But once you have that turnover, your body feels warm. You start radiating heat. Your mitochondria are going crazy, making all this heat for you. So, you actually feel fine until it’s time to get out again.

That’s the hard part as well. But it’s great in the summer, especially on a hot day. It’s a great way to cool off and it’s so invigorating and you then really feel energized because you create this infrared from your core, radiates out, and then you have so many beneficial effects on your cells and your mitochondria. I’m not sure about cold tolerance and genetics. I wouldn’t know enough about that. But I know it’s something that gets way easier and also very addictive. [laughs] I had to stop myself sometimes from doing it too much because that is a stressor. So, there’s sort of a sweet spot. But I love that this scientist, Dr. Soberg, actually figured out the exact amount because I was doing way more than that. I was like, “Oh, I only need to do 11 minutes a week, which is amazing.”

Cynthia Thurlow: A 11 seems a lot more tolerable. I hate being cold. I’m one of those people, I loathe being cold. So, for me, I was hoping you were going to say, “Cynthia, there’s actually a study that suggests there’re these genetically mediated factors, that there are people who don’t need as much hormetic cold stress as others do.” That was just my, selfish, kind of– I was like, [Vanessa laughs] I wonder if there’s any research out there that suggests that. Because I know cold for me is it’s like I have to mentally be really ready for it. And we live in a very hot, humid part of the east coast. And so, for me, summertime, no problems doing cryotherapy, no problems doing cold showers. Middle of winter when I probably need it more. Like, I would say when you’re hesitant to do something because you don’t really love, it generally means you need to do more of it. You need to lean into that discomfort. I love that knowing that it’s 11 minutes that makes it not seem quite so overwhelming.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, and in the winter is when it is the most helpful, as you’re saying, because that’s a lot of European cultures, northern European cultures, they practice cold plunging and sauna as a way to replace the infrared heat from the sun that you get in the summer. So, if you’re outside a lot in the summer, you’re getting tons of infrared, which is great for your cellular batteries, but in the winter it’s a great way to substitute for that. And it does make you more cold adapted. So, you become less and less cold and you start being that person who goes out in shorts in the winter [laughter] that everyone’s staring at.

Cynthia Thurlow: Like my teenagers. That’s what you have to look forward to, Vanessa. In like 10 years, 15 years, you’ll be calling me and saying, “Yes, I now understand.” Now, are there benefits to doing– is it more beneficial to do the cold? Like if you’re doing back-to-back, like, let’s say you’re going to do red light therapy and you’re going to do cryotherapy or cold immersion, is there benefits from getting cold first or second?

Vanessa Spina: So, with the cold one really important point to note is that if you are also focusing on growing your muscle and lean mass, you should always do your cold plunging before a resistance training workout. Because if you do it right after, you actually halt the process of muscle recovery and repair. So, there’re some studies recently showing that athletes were not getting as much muscle growth and strength from doing cold plunging right after. But if you do it before or you do it at least 4 hours after a workout, it’s fine with the red light. So, in terms of a framework for red light, you don’t want to do more than 20 minutes a day. It depends on the device you have and how powerful it is because there’s really this bell-shaped curve when it comes to the benefits. So, if you get too little, you won’t see benefits, but if you get too much, you’ll trigger the biphasic dose response and you also won’t see results.

But there are some things that you don’t actually need that much time for like, for example, your face. You only need like 4 minutes, because there’s nothing between your face and the light. And that really helps me on days that are super busy and I don’t have a lot of time. When I used to think I have to do 20 minutes, no, just 4 minutes, I can work that into any day. And then if you’re doing deeper tissue repair with the infrared or using the red light, then you would need to do it probably longer and a little bit closer to the skin depending on the device, but not more than 20 minutes a day. So, I’ll alternate different body parts on different days. I like to do red light. I should mention as well that there’s a commonly held belief that you cannot spot reduce on the body. And yet it turns out that with red light you actually can because you improve blood flow and circulation to those areas. So, if you are wanting to reduce body fat while you’re doing a fat loss phase, you can shine the red light panels on parts of your body that you would like to lose fat on and you will increase the blood flow to that region, which means that it’ll help fat be released from those tissues when you are working out after.

So, if you do a red light therapy session on those areas, you precondition those body parts to get more blood flow. You can also do a warm shower on sort of heat up those parts of the body, which will also increase the blood flow. But you can also do the red light after a workout to help stimulate the muscle growth and repair, which were talking about before. I like to do red light therapy after a cold plunge because it’s a nice way to warm up and I shine it in the bathroom. It gets all warm and cozy in there. I think it’s a nice way to help your body just warm up a little bit. And it all depends on what you like. But a lot of people say the best time to do it is early in the morning at sunrise and sunset because that’s when we have that higher concentration of red light naturally. But I usually do it in the morning. That’s usually when it just fits into my routine.

Cynthia Thurlow: I tend to be a morning exercise person in general. So, for me, it definitely makes it a whole lot easier when I’m like, “Okay, I have a PMF mat and it’s one of my favorite things I do just to decompress.” And so, it’s part of I’ve gotten into this habit of where am I sore if I’ve done a harder workout the day before and where do I want to be targeted? And I love that it isn’t time intensive because I think for many people, we’re like, “Where do we fit all the things in,” but knowing that it’s not a huge time commitment definitely helps.

Well, I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this conversation. Definitely touching on some topics that we have not spoken about on the podcast. Please let my listeners know how to connect with you to get your book, to connect with you about your amazing podcast, your products, the Tone device, which I’m really loving, and I love that it’s pretty. [Vanessa laughs] It’s not just effective, but it’s pretty. I feel like a lot of the biohacking devices are, I mean, let’s just be honest, they’re like aesthetics. They’re not particularly exciting. But this, to me, it’s like it’s colorful and it’s nicely designed. So, bravo.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you so much. That’s one thing I’ve really focused on with my Tone Device, the Breath Ketone Analyzer. I also wanted to make it more feminine and pretty, and the same with the Tone LUX red light therapy panels, because I think so much of the biohacking tech is very masculine and it’s like created for men by men. So, I wanted to create some pretty aesthetically pleasing things. So, you can find the Tone Device and the Tone LUX red light therapy panels at ketogenicgirl.com, and feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about them. My book is Keto Essentials. It’s on Amazon, and the podcast is the Optimal Protein podcast, and you can find that on all podcast platforms. And I now have taken over the torch from you. [chuckles] I’m cohosting The Intermittent Fasting Podcast with Melanie Avalon as well, so you can also find me hosting that every week.

Cynthia Thurlow: Wonderful. Well, it’s been such a pleasure connecting.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Thank you so much, Cynthia.

Cynthia Thurlow: If you love this podcast episode, please leave a rating and review, subscribe, and tell a friend.