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129: Why ‘Evidence-Based’ Information Provides the Best Health Tips – with John Fawkes

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Are you getting your health and fitness information from trusted sources?

Our host, Wade Lightheart, talks with one of the fittest globetrotters you will ever meet in this episode – John Fawkes – who lives the “digital nomad” lifestyle. John travels the world while serving as the editor-in-chief of the health and fitness website The Unwinder.com – a place where health-conscious people can find reviews and articles on health and fitness products, services and trends. 

What separates The Unwinder from most other fitness websites is how all their reviews, tips, and advice is “evidence-based.” John and other contributing writers use published studies to back their claims – or to back off. The website is not all about selling you something. The Unwinder publishes negative reviews when they deem necessary. They will also tell you why you shouldn’t do that latest health trend everyone is talking about.

John says, “I’m good at writing health and fitness topics in a research-informed manner and citing all my sources. The goal of The Unwinder is to give people honest advice about supplements and some other topics like exercise equipment. We also strive to be leaders with cutting edge topics that are in niche circles and bring those topics to the mainstream.” 

John started out working at an ad agency and didn’t enjoy his job, so he started a fitness blog. Writing became a way for him to escape the drudgery. Once he began researching other blogs for guest post opportunities, John noticed how the sites that used evidence-based research and cited the sources in their content had the information you could trust. “I was like, why doesn’t everyone do this? I was an instant convert. I think it’s the most honest and informative way to talk about health.” 

John is someone you want to listen to as he uses scientific studies in his work. But he’s also quite experienced in health and fitness in his own right. 

John is an NSCA certified personal trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 nutrition coach, and managing editor at The Unwinder. 

In this podcast, we cover: 

  • How to determine actual research from bogus research
  • How to take scientific evidence and apply it to your fitness program
  • John’s analysis of the ketogenic diet
  • Daily things John does for optimal health and longevity
  • Discoveries in maintaining cognitive function as we age
  • John’s nutritional findings
  • John’s experiments with caffeine for optimal energy
  • How John uses EEG headsets and music for better focus

So How Does John Sift Through the Fake Research, Find Legit Research, and Then Apply It to His Life?

John says, “A lot of studies are legit and still lead to the wrong conclusion. The first thing I do is look at the sum total of research, not just a single study. I think a lot of people have this misconception that new research replaces old research. New research adds to old research. It’s another piece of data.”

“Another thing I do is look at sample sizes. Smaller sample sizes make a study more likely to find no significant correlation or no significant difference between groups. By the way, the reverse is not true.”

“Many people think that if a study does find something that it finds a significant correlation. Well, a small sample size makes that less valid. That’s wrong. Small sample size means the effect size had to be bigger to overcome that to be significant. So, if there is a positive result, the effects of a small sample size have already been accounted for by a small sample size, which makes a study more likely to find nothing.”

“Whereas a big sample size means a result can be significant statistically, but not be that important. So make sure you keep those things straight.”

John’s Sleep Tips for Better Health

John emphasizes the importance of sleep. He says the best studies indicate 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to be optimal for overall health, particularly brain health and avoiding dementia. 

His evening routine is consistent. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated. John begins to “wind-down” two hours before bedtime. He stops playing video games two hours before bedtime. The last hour is when John likes to read a physical book. He does not look at computer screens the last hour before bed–including his phone.

John has been a night owl since childhood. These days, he generally gets to bed at midnight and sleeps till 8 am. 

Wade and John talk a little bit about chronotypes and which chronotype fits their personality.

This conversation has much more to offer! 

There is a lot of “noise” out there passing off as legitimate health research. Lots of fitness and health content does not even use scientific research to back their claims. Instead, they use the “experience” of the person providing the information, which makes it harder to know if the information is legit or fake. 

John Fawkes knows how to separate truth from fiction in the health industry. Listen in as he shares his secrets to sifting through health information and finding the gold nuggets of truth. 

Check out this episode – “evidence-based” fitness coaching can be life-changing!

Episode Resources: 

The-unwinder.com 
John Fawkes on Instagram
The Unwinder on Instagram
Daylio.com
Brain.fm 

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