Bryce Wylde is a Toronto-based alternative health expert who takes pride in challenging himself through fitness and doing it for a great cause. Last summer he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for mental health, this month he took part in Trailwalker, a 100-km race (to be completed in 48 hours) to help raise money for Oxfam and next summer he plans to bike across Canada (no biggie!).
As a regular on the Dr. Oz show Bryce’s expertise runs the gamut from health and fitness to increasing energy and all-natural remedies. I caught up with the enthusiastic specialist and author before his 100-km race, here’s what he taught me about staying healthy and fit:
1. Let a good cause motivate you. Bryce climbs mountains and hikes many miles to help raise awareness and money for various causes. But they also help him stick to his fitness goals. “Fitness challenges for charities and organizations not only help me stay active and fit, they also work for the greater good. What more could you ask for?” he asks. “I find that when you set a goal like this it’s easier to stick to and you end up getting much more dedicated to the individual cause.” It’s a win-win!
2. Dive into summer with a cool amino acid. Now is your chance to enjoy activities you can’t do year-round, and Bryce is wild about swimming. “I think it’s one of the best activities of all,” he says. “It’s non-impact, extremely cardiovascular in terms of intensity, every part of the body is moved and you’re burning a lot of calories.” After a dip in a chlorinated pool, Bryce recommends taking an amino acid called taurine that helps better expel the chemical.
3. Make your own electrolyte mocktail. It’s important to stay hydrated during warm weather – especially during a workout. When we sweat, our bodies release electrolytes our body needs. You can replenish them with certain foods (like bananas and watermelon) and drinks. Bryce recommends coconut water instead of artificially flavoured sports drinks. You can make your own mocktail with this delicious recipe: Combine 1 litre of water with 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, add ¼ teaspoon of salt, a half squeezed lemon and a little bit of honey. Yum!
4. Know your numbers. Ask your doctors for tests that measure fat-tissue percentage, cholesterol or inflammation to monitor how your health’s changes – especially when you’re making an effort to lose weight. “It helps to know what’s really going on inside your body and it all starts in the mind,” says Bryce. “Seeing your stats change over time, as you become more active and eat healthier, helps you stay motivated. Self-auditing like this keeps you on track.”
5. Map your DNA. Speaking of tests, a new phenomenon in the world of testing puts your DNA under the microscope to determine what you should be eating more or less of. These tests tease out mutations called SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphism) that indicate what your body requires, explains Bryce, allowing a physician to advise you personally on your diet and lifestyle.
6. Reconsider the multi. Although you do need more of some vitamins and nutrients to improve your health, multivitamins are not tailor-made for you and might not provide you with everything you need he warns, “There’s never enough in a multi that’s going to ever have a therapeutic effect in your body.” Bryce suggests eating a balanced diet as a better option.
7. Go natural. Think outside the box to aid your health woes. “Rather than supplementation out of a bottle, start to learn how to incorporate spices into your diet,” says Bryce. Raid your cupboard for items like capsaicin (from red chili peppers) which has heart-healthy qualities and positive effects on the digestive system and metabolism. If you’re looking into natural supplements, make sure it has a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the bottle to ensure its reputation.
8. Find your Zen. With long, lazy summer days, we have more time to discover what works best to calm the mind, so we can more easily manage stress as it cools down. Try out a few different things like taking a deep breath, counting backwards or taking a few minutes to pet your dog or cat. “Stress can provoke all kinds of things so learning how to mitigate it is one of the most important things you can do,” says Bryce.
9. Show your breathing muscles some TLC. We often forget to stretch our diaphragm, the muscle that controls breathing and can cause a cramp if not properly stretched before a workout Bryce cautions. To stretch it, take a deep breath for a count of five seconds to fill your belly, hold for seven seconds and blow the air out through pursed lips for eight seconds.
10. Call in the pros. It’s important to see your family doctor on a regular basis to maintain your health, but what about extending your health care team to include other members? Consider professionals like a fitness trainer, nutritionist, naturopath or homeopath to see who best suits your needs to boost your success rate and help you reach your goals, whether they’re climbing Kilimanjaro or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How do you stay fit in the warm summer months?