Jason is a physician that specializes in helping people live a healthier lifestyle. With healthier decisions comes a better overall mood and mindset, leading to making better business and investing decisions. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“If you typically have dinner around six or seven and want to get to bed around 9 or 10, that’s pretty good” – Jason Valadao
Jason Valadao Real Estate Background:
- Active duty in the Navy, a family and sports medicine physician
- Has a passion for leadership and personal growth and is a coach with the John Maxwell team
- Author of the personal development book Exceptional Every Day: An Empowering Process to Unlock Your Why and Transform Your Life
- Based in Waco, TX
- Say hi to him at https://jasonvaladao.com/
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
First off, I hope you’re having a best ever weekend. Because today is Sunday we’ve got a special segment for you called Skillset Sunday. The purpose of this episode is to help you hone a skill, so that you can become a more effective real estate investor… And that skill is making healthy decisions with your body and mind that leads to investing decisions without regrets… And really, we’re gonna focus on daily nutrition, exercise and sleep. With us to do that, Jason Valadao. How are you doing, Jason?
Jason Valadao: I’m doing well, Joe. Thanks for bringing me on, and I’m excited to help out today. You’ve got the best listeners ever on this Best Ever Podcast, and I’m just excited to try and share some of that knowledge with everybody to help them out.
Joe Fairless: That’s right, we do, and you’re gonna take us to another level. A little bit about Jason – Jason is active duty in the Navy; first off, sir, thank you for what you do for our country, you and your colleagues. He’s also a family and sports medicine physician; he has a passion for leadership and personal growth, and is a coach with the John Maxwell team.
He also wrote a book called “Exceptional Every Day: An Empowering Process to Unlock Your Why And Transform Your Life.” With that being said, Jason, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background? Then we’ll segue right into nutrition, exercise and sleep.
Jason Valadao: Sure, Joe. I’ve been in the Navy for almost 20 years, and for the first half of that I was flying airplanes and also teaching at a major university, doing some coaching, and also personal training, working with clients on nutrition and health changes, before I ever became a physician. I realized right away that trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle was going to be really important to any type of work that you do, whether you’re a real estate investor, or a physician like myself, a pilot in the navy, or anything out there. That your nutritional, your exercise and sleep decisions really can make or break how your day is gonna go.
About nine years ago I transitioned into becoming a physician. I also looked into getting more certified in things like nutrition and health, because those things aren’t really always covered in medical school per se, and a lot of doctors lack that kind of information… So I wanted to become more well-rounded, so I could help more people. So I’ve made this big investment in myself, so that I could help a lot of other people from every walk of life just make better, healthy nutrition choices, and that way set them up for their career, whatever it might be… And I think coming on this show today was so important to me because of this chance of people that are investing in real estate really using their best mindset, so they can make the best decisions.
Joe Fairless: Yes, and it’s all connected. As you said, how we approach nutrition, exercise and sleep makes or breaks how the day goes. Should we talk about each of these separately, or should we group them together, and do you have some thoughts on just the grouping of those three?
Jason Valadao: Yeah, we could take a few minutes and go through each one. That way, it might be just easier for all of us to take something from it. I think sometimes when you just put it all as one, it’s a lot harder to break down, so…
Joe Fairless: Good point.
Jason Valadao: I’ll break down a little bit about proper food, meals, and then throw in some exercise and also the value of sleep, and those kind of habits… It would be great.
Joe Fairless: Let’s talk about proper food and meals, nutrition. What do we need to know?
Jason Valadao: I think especially with the listeners that you have, which are amazing, because these people are all out there, trying to make really good real estate decisions for now and for long-term, is finding a way to balance what they’re eating. It’s so hard to go through the minutiae of “This diet is best for you.” You watch one thing on TV, go to social media and you see something else… There’s things about ketogenic diet, paleo diet, Mediterranean diet, and it’s so confusing. And when people are trying to invest their time in other things like real estate, they don’t have time to decide for this. They want a quick answer.
I think one of the things to make it so easy for everyone is to start thinking about things with food that are really easy to understand. For instance, if something is from the ground, from the Earth, whole, without being processed, it’s probably gonna be a lot healthier for us.
One easy way to put that is — I try to tell people “Hey, think mostly about eating plants.” That could be everything from spinach, broccoli, tomatoes… There’s so many things out there. And then fruits and vegetables, putting them as a whole… Because once you go to that grocery store and every one is in a box, you already know that something’s been done to it to bring down its nutritional value.
If you look at everybody out there that’s putting information, it’s really like “Let’s look at the simple ways.” I try to teach my patients and clients to start to think about those simple things that you know are beautiful to look at. You walk around outside and you’re like “Well, that’s a green plant…”, maybe that’s something healthy to eat; start putting that in your mindset. That’s one way to really look at nutrition from a big worldview.
Joe Fairless: And thinking along those lines, I imagine what nutritional value does this have that I’m consuming right now, because if it has no nutritional value, then you’re not benefitting other than perhaps just short-term, psychologically.
Jason Valadao: And I think one thing I would offer that I think really helps everybody is when you first wake up in the morning — these are the tangible things that I really want your listeners to leave with… I put out a glass of water at night before I go to bed, anywhere from 8 to 16 oz. I actually put it in my bathroom, because I usually go there first thing in the morning; I wake up, go brush my teeth, get ready for the day, but I chug that first glass of water.
I’ve done a lot of research, I’ve talked to a lot of other physicians and people out there that do nutrition… That first glass of water can really make or break your day. None of us is allergic to water. Our bodies are made of 70% water. All of our cells, our bones, our skin… So getting that first glass in can really start a day off well for almost any person out there.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, that’s a great tip. That’s something I’ve done for at least five years, with a liter of water with a scoop of wheatgrass. It’s the first thing I have, I’ve done that for at least five years.
When you are thinking about sweets… I have had a battle with my sweet tooth for as long as I can remember, but recently I did something that fixed it, or at least made me think about it differently. But in terms of sweet stuff, or even salty stuff; maybe someone has a salty palate… What are some tips for overcoming the sweet tooth or wanting a bunch of salty carbs stuff?
Jason Valadao: For sure. I think that is one of the greatest challenges that we run into, because most of the foods that are at our disposal, that are quick to eat, something to give us quick energy – it has a lot of salt or sugar laying within, and we don’t think about the ramifications… Hey, that might give me some quick energy, but then 20 minutes later I’m tanking. So I try to tell people.. There’s always a caveat to everything, because there’s people with all kinds of allergies; especially these days we’re recognizing allergies more often, but… If you don’t have an aversion with fruits, and you don’t have aversions to any kind of nuts, like almonds, walnuts, even peanuts, cashews, pistachios – all kinds of different nuts out there – they’re really satiating. If you get them in their raw form and they haven’t been overly processed…
You can have nuts around, you can have different fruits around, you can have different vegetables, like peppers, and things like jicama, things that people don’t think about, that are crunchy, that can almost give you that substance of eating a candy bar, or something that is gonna just fill you up. Having those around, whether it’s at the workplace, at home in small containers that you would reach for first… I tell a lot of my patients – hey, how about a small bag of almonds in the car with you; keep an apple, or an orange, or a little bit of watermelon, a grape… Even things that are higher in sugar content per se, with some of the fruits that you might wanna be careful with sometimes, it’s okay to have them in small proportions. I think when you can get in the habit of having those other foods with you, it’s even better.
I was talking to a patient yesterday about — they asked me the difference between a sweet potato and a regular potato… Because there’s almost a lot of bad information out there that all potatoes are bad. Well, the reason we’ve gotten in that mindset with a white potato, for instance, is that most of it is processed. Because we usually get a bag of chips [unintelligible 00:08:55.10] having a nice, fresh, big potato, putting some chives on it, or anything that you want. Maybe a slice of avocado; things that you wouldn’t think about. You can really make those things healthy.
I try to talk to people about all kinds of different foods, and they’re like “I’ve never even heard of that food before.” Like when I brought up jicama. So you wanna find these things that are gonna be satiating, so that you’re not actually reaching for more.
Joe Fairless: Did you say jicama?
Jason Valadao: Oh, it’s amazing, Joe. You’ve gotta try it.
Joe Fairless: I’ve never heard of that either. [laughter] What is jicama?
Jason Valadao: It’s jicama.
Joe Fairless: I’m glad I didn’t try to google it. I wouldn’t have gotten that right.
Jason Valadao: Yeah… I think you and your listeners are gonna be like “Wow!” This is an incredible root vegetable. My wife and I the other day actually chopped it up and we made it look like french fries. A little bit of coconut oil in the oven and we fried it like they were fries. But I actually cut them up and eat them raw… It’s amazing. It’s got a crunch to it, and it’s kind of a different little flavor that you’re like “Wow, this is actually pretty good.” It’s just a white root vegetable. I think you’d be surprised, and everybody would really enjoy it.
Joe Fairless: It’s otherwise known as a Mexican turnip.
Jason Valadao: You’ve got it.
Joe Fairless: Yup, I see that. Okay, cool. Alright, so that’s nutrition… Basically, the takeaway is eat as much plants stuff as you can; and I’m not trivializing what you said, by the way. I’m just summarizing it in my own mind. I’m a simple-minded person.
Jason Valadao: Oh, please.
Joe Fairless: Alright, and now exercise. That can take up a lot of time of your day, right? Or are there ways to shortcut that if you are running low on time?
Jason Valadao: I definitely think so. I think we get so caught up in what other people are doing, and we look at the crazes that are out there, like cross-fit, and high-intensity interval training – it’s all awesome stuff and I love it, but that’s not what the average person is able to do all the time… Especially in this new era, people aren’t working just 8 hours a day. Most people are working 10-12 hours, they’ve got their kids in 20 different extra-curricular activities… Perhaps in this realm of your listeners, they’re all going out to look at multiple properties they’re considering investing in, so they’re driving from one part of town to the other, or they’re flying somewhere for a few days… So how do I fit this in?
What I try to talk to people about is if you can make it a part of your day – and that’s even if it’s 20 minutes; maybe it’s 15 minutes one day – if you can build that in… One easy way – again, like I brought up the water in the morning; sometimes it’s challenging for people to get up early; they go on to sleep in, hit that snooze button… But I think if you can start to think about it a different way, where “Hey, I take a shower every day. I brush my teeth. I eat a couple meals a day. I do this…” – make that just another thing that’s a priority.
For instance, I tell a lot of people when they’re first starting out, “Why don’t you just find five minutes to exercise?” They’re like “Five minutes? How is that gonna change my body? I’m not gonna lose any weight, it’s not gonna get my heart rate doing better…” I say “No, literally, five minutes.” And I talk to them about basic calisthenics that we all learned back in high school or before. Things like push-ups, jumping jacks, squats with no weight, lunges across your living room floor. Little things like that, for 5-10 minutes if you can fit it in before you start your day. Or perhaps you get off work and you do that right away, before you have dinner or do anything else at home.
Then I get to the point of “Can you go for a 30-minute walk at lunch? Do you have to sit at your desk, do you have to go out to eat every single day?” I get it when there’s business meetings and those things, but if you can simply step out of your office for 20-30 minutes and go for a nice, moderate intensity walk, you’re gonna be making huge differences and it really counts as exercise. And one thing I emphasize with a lot of people is that — well, everybody’s got different ailments; they may not be able to run, or they may not be able to swim or jump, but most of us can walk. And even if we can’t walk, maybe we’re someone who is wheelchair-bound, but we’ve got a lot of motivation and we wanna be active. There’s lots of other activities that are out there. I just tell people “Start slow. 5-10 minutes here, start building it up”, and keep at just making it part of your daily routine.
There’s a documentary on Netflix (I think Netflix or Amazon) called The Brain That Changes Itself…
Jason Valadao: Yeah…
Joe Fairless: Have you seen it?
Jason Valadao: I have. One of my patients told me about it.
Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah. The physician is who they’re doing the documentary on… As you know, he works with people who might have lost a limb, or just have some traumatic brain injuries. Maybe a stroke, or something else. And he says “Don’t try to get the person to do the perfect movement when they’re doing rehab. Just get them to improve a little bit.” Same concept here – don’t try to get the 30-minute perfect exercise, just get a 5-minute exercise routine in, and then the moment will take you the rest of the way.
Jason Valadao: Right. And I think one of the things to add to what you’re saying, just to build on that, is this idea of look at a way to keep moving in some way. I think in this day and age we’re seeing a lot of people with stand-up desks. I’ve been using one now for a while, I find that it’s great that you can sit down for a little while, maybe stand up, shake your legs out… A lot of us are sitting at computers all day, staring at a screen, and one thing is maybe every 20-30 minutes get up and do a quick 1-2 minute walk, or do a couple calisthenics. Do some flexibility exercises, and then all of that adds up.
There’s been a great amount of research out there that’s shown that you don’t need to do 30, 40, 50 minutes in a row of exercise. You can break that up into 5-10 minute segments. And I think for a lot of your listeners it’s great, because if they know they can do 5 or 10 minutes in the morning, maybe another 5 or 10 minutes in the afternoon and then another 5-10 minutes at night, if you add that all together you’re looking at 15-30 minutes just right there, whereas maybe before you didn’t think of it that way.
Joe Fairless: And now let’s talk about sleep. Sleep is really hard for me [unintelligible 00:14:36.29] amount of sleep consistently, every night. Please educate me and perhaps some other listeners who are sleep-challenged.
Jason Valadao: Yes, so I am one of those, and that’s why I care so much about it, because I think it goes along with the title of my book; it’s trying to become exceptional at sleep, and get better at it. I think it does really affect so many people, and I would say that being a physician these last so many years I have seen so many people tell me about issues with insomnia… And those could be related to anxiety, or they just aren’t getting comfortable, the temperature in their house is just way too hot for them… Lots of things. It’s not the right bed… So I started thinking, how do we really start getting people to improve? And there are so many little tips out there; some work for some and some work for others, and I’ve tried so many, and a lot of them have failed at me. That’s why I care so much.
I’ll give you a few of the insights. We’ve done a lot of research, we’ve looked around at what really gets people to sleep well, and one thing that we’ve found constantly is that a colder type environment really helps. You really wanna keep the temperature of your bedroom (at least) 68 degrees or less. I know that can sound pretty cold to some people, but you start looking at temperature changes in the human body, and anything over 68 degrees in the ambient environment around you can really affect you being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. And it’s really those temperature shifts that do that.
Throughout the night, if your house is getting heated up and you don’t have a ceiling fan or an air conditioner, it can start to get that core temperature within you much higher. So I talked to patients and everyone I know about trying to get their room about 68 degrees or less.
Another thing is – and this is what’s killing most of us – being on a computer, cell phone, tablet, anything that really has what we call blue light; those rays that are emitted. TV screens… All of those things. So one of the things I talk to patients about is do you really need to have a TV in your bedroom? I think that’s one of the first things that I would recommend to people; if you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep, don’t have a TV in your bedroom, and try not to be in front of a TV, computer screen, cell phone (all those things I’ve mentioned) about an hour before you wanna actually go to sleep.
I bring this up, Joe, it’s really important, and it’s the scientific realm, but also just a little thing that all of us can learn from – melatonin is that hormone within our brains that helps us fall asleep, and blue light actually shuts off our body’s ability to make melatonin… So if we’re not making melatonin, our body has a harder time going to sleep. It’s kind of the same thing if you have coffee or other things with caffeine late at night; they can keep you awake for a while.
So looking at things like the temperature of the house, TV screens, computers, those things, turning things off… I also wanted to bring up maybe not having a really heavy meal within about two hours of bedtime. If you typically have dinner around 6 or 7, if you’re on that kind of schedule, and your aim is to go to bed between 9 and 10, that’s pretty good. But having a heavy meal around 8, 8-30 and you wanna fall asleep 30 minutes later could be pretty challenging. The stomach is trying to digest all those nutrients, and it’s difficult.
Again, staying well-hydrated… I’ve seen that exercise really helps people sleep better, but not right before bedtime. If you get a really vigorous workout a few minutes before you try to go to sleep, that’s probably gonna keep you awake, now those endorphins and hormones are all running.
So I give those bits of advice because you’re gonna hear things now, especially coming out more and more, that we all need 8, maybe 9 hours of sleep per night, whereas I’m one of those people to get 5 or 6, and I’m really working on trying to get 6 to 7. I don’t know about you, Joe, but that’s where I suffer right now.
Joe Fairless: With no heavy meals and staying hydrated… What about a glass of red wine or a beer within that hour or two-hour window?
Jason Valadao: Great question, because that’s something that’s getting a lot of attention. It has been shown that alcohol can actually help you – especially in moderation – get ready to go to bed. But the issue is it typically helps a lot of people go to sleep, but it can actually wake them up earlier. So it might get you that midnight arousal, where you wake up — say you go to bed at 9 or 10 at night, or even 11; you might wake up at 1, 2, 3 in the morning, and it just has to do with the way that it shifts cortisol in our body, and the way that it affects all the other hormones.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that when we have high stress, or it gets us going in the morning when we wake up, and it can break our bodies down. So being very careful… But as I tell a lot of people, it’s all about moderation. A glass of wine, one or two beers maybe a couple of nights a week if that’s your thing… It may help you fall asleep, but it’s one of those things where you really don’t wanna become dependent on it, because your body will use it against you.
Joe Fairless: Anything else as it relates to nutrition, exercise and sleep that we haven’t talked about, that we wanna briefly touch on before we wrap up?
Jason Valadao: No, I think it’s really just trying to find those simple balances. Looking at foods that are easy to get to, trying to fit in some daily exercise, whether it’s a few minutes here or there, and then really looking at your sleep patterns. I think one thing that I would say that I didn’t bring up earlier – start with a simple journal. Just go buy a journal for a dollar at a little dollar store somewhere and start keeping track. At least do that for a few weeks to start building those habits. Write down what time you wake up, maybe write down how many glasses of water you’re having a day, write down all of your exercise. “Hey, I did 5 minutes at 8 o’clock in the morning, I did another 5 at 12 o’clock…” and start to see those patterns build. From that, you can really learn a lot. It’s almost like watching the real estate market and deciding “Hey, is this a good time to invest or not?” I think that writing things down makes them happen. So that’d be the other advice I have.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. I just use a Word document.
Jason Valadao: There you go, yeah.
Joe Fairless: I just password-protect a Word document and put the day’s date, then bullet points underneath, and that’s it. It’s so fulfilling and rewarding, and eye-opening… And not necessarily all of those at the same time, depending on what I’m reading, for what I have or haven’t accomplished, or what I was or wasn’t thinking in prior years… So it’s definitely a great tool for personal development.
Well, thank you so much for sharing this very practical and actionable advice, Jason, from nutrition, exercise and sleep. A lot of things that the Best Ever listeners can immediately implement today, should they choose to do so… And I’m grateful for that.
Thank you for being on the show. I really appreciate it. How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’re doing?
Jason Valadao: Yeah, definitely. I’ve got a ton of free resources on my website, that I keep updating. That’s at jasonvaladao.com. And really, I’m not there to sell my book. I started building this website a couple weeks ago when I was doing a once-a-week blog, something that can really help people just make little changes in their priorities to get better, because I think that’s how we’re gonna make the world better – we start to work on ourselves. In the end, that’s what happens, and when I came up with my idea for the book, and little things that I share within the book to help people do that… But really, I’m putting a lot of free resources out there, and I want people to come grab them. There’s free nutrition things that people can print off, PDFs, little Word pictures, things they can post on their refrigerator… I have all kinds of things on exercise, food, sleep habits, physical therapy-type documents if you get injured… They’re all free, all you do is simply download. You don’t have to sign up for anything, my newsletter or anything whatsoever. Everything’s just there for everyone to take.
Joe Fairless: Awesome. Jason, thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Jason Valadao: Thanks a lot, Joe. I appreciate you bringing me on.