Celebrating National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

A Q&A with Reliv Distributor and Fit3 Champions Challenge Finalist Richard Brandl

By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

In 1983, the President’s Council on Fitness designated May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This was done in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life. The hashtag “#MoveInMay” has been trending, and it’s my hope that people will remember to keep fitness a priority all of the other months of the year as well.

Fitness as a Lifestyle

For some of us, our fitness journey was launched through participation in youth sports. Others turn to fitness later in life for the health benefits, as well as the social connections. Regardless of age or whether you are fueled by competition or more intrinsic incentives, physical activity is a celebration of what our bodies can do.

Meet Richard

Richard Brandl, a self-proclaimed “jock” was a recent runner- up in the men’s division of the Q1 2020 Reliv Champions Challenge. He has been on a journey of physical fitness for more than 40 years. Now at age 60, Richard has no intention of slowing down. A former competitive body builder, Richard is currently training for obstacle course runs and uses Reliv nutrition to give him a competitive edge over his children and the younger competition.

Richard joined the Reliv Champions Challenge to jump start his training for the 2020 race season. He achieved his personal challenge goal to reduce his body fat percentage while maintain lean muscle. He was anticipating breaking some personal records in the upcoming season before his training was derailed by quarantine restrictions.

Modifying the Program

Even though his race plans are currently on hold and he has had to modify his strength training program, Richard is lifting and running and training with the equipment he has at home. Admittedly, he is still driven to be better than the other aging jocks and there is still a smidge of vanity behind his motivation. Ultimately though, he is determined to stay healthy and avoid the chronic health conditions that are in his family’s health history.

Motivation for Decades

Having seen Richard’s pictures from his prime body-building days, I was curious (and maybe a little envious) about how his fitness journey has evolved over the last 40 years and what really keeps pushing him to maintain physical fitness so I threw a few questions his way. His responses certainly resonated with my inner athlete, while validating the principles that the Fit3 program is build upon.

Tina: Fitness has been a part of your life for a very long time. Tell us a little bit about your history and what your fitness routine looks like today?

Richard: I started weightlifting in 1979, and got into bodybuilding in 1980, while I was assigned to my first duty station in the Army. I generally worked out for every day for about two hours, depending on the specific day and routine. I was always trying to progress weight and trained primarily for muscle mass, so cardio was minimal. I was really strict with my diet all of the time to maintain a body fat percentage below 8%. I participated in bodybuilding competitions from 1982 through 1986, but maintained this routine throughout the 80s.

Today my workouts last a maximum of 45 minutes, unless I am specifically training for a rucking event. I focus on circuit type training with minimal rest to be efficient with time. I definitely use more moderate weights and I stay with basic lifts that are multi joint and functional most of the time. Of course, I still like to maintain as much muscle as I can but realize that I’m not 26 anymore. I’m not lifting super heavy weights anymore because that might do more harm than good at my age. For cardio I use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get me ready for the obstacle course events

Tina: What are your motivations to keep moving and stay active? How are your motivations different today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago?

Richard: We all have certain level of vanity and I’m no exception. I like to look the part of a fitness professional. I also use the obstacle course runs as a motivator to be more structured and consistent with workouts. I am also motivated to stay healthy and to avoid serious illness. And I still have that competitive fire to be better than the other aging jocks.

Tina: What do you do when you don’t feel motivated?

Richard: When my motivation is low I know that I probably need to take a break from lifting, without feeling guilty. Sometimes I will substitute walks or biking for an active rest or really shorten workouts just to stay in the habit. If all else fails, I try something new, like the Reliv Champions Challenge. I see myself as an ongoing experiment to maintain as much muscle as I can. It’s a game that I play with myself when I have been slacking off.

Tina: Do you every take time off from exercise? How did you get started again?

Richard: Yes, I do take time off. After 40 years, I do experience burnout and to be honest it gets boring. When that happens, I join a class just to do something different and see what the trends are.

To get motivated I look in the mirror and do a “pec check” and decide I look puny and decide to get back to it; vanity again. I start slow, maybe a week of circuits and some cardio to get ready to increase intensity. I also have to get the mind ready as well. I’m also motivated by like class reunions, wedding things that I want to look good for. It’s a mental thing I have about that.

Tina: Tell us a little about your Reliv health story:  How did you find Reliv, what have been your results with the products?

Richard: I found Reliv about 7 years ago when I heard about it on a radio ad. I had always used supplements and I was curious as to the results I would get compared to the past. I have certainly seen improvements with sustained energysleep, muscle recovery and management of joint discomfort. As I get older and with my profession as a physical therapy assistant, I definitely put more emphasis on joint health and workout recovery.

Supplement technology is so much more advanced today than it was 30 years ago. We have a new understanding of nutrition through the lens of epigenetics. Health issues run in my family and I know that optimal nutrition will benefit me in many ways. I’m committed to doing everything I can to stay healthy and keep my body in top shape.

Tina: What prompted you to join the Fit3 Challenge and what kind of results did you experience?

Richard: Initially my goal was to use the 90-day challenge to jump start my training in January as preparation for obstacle course training in the spring. The first event was supposed be in June, but has been canceled because of the pandemic. I also wanted to see how much body fat I could reduce while maintaining my weight and muscle mass. I also wanted to increase the weight I was lifting without causing joint discomfort. Really, I just to see what I could do at 60 years old.

Throughout the challenge, I lost about 1.8% body fat and my weight was stable. I was lifting heavier weights, too, before the pandemic restrictions took effect. I am happy to report my shoulder and knee discomfort was all but eliminated. I never say eliminated because I just don’t think it’s possible with as much activity I do and my age.

Tina: What advice would you give to someone afraid to take that first step on their fitness journey?

Richard: I suggest finding a trustworthy and practical coach to get you started and keep you accountable. Master the fundamentals that match your goals and commitment level. Ignore all the latest trends that promise rapid results. Instead think long term overall lifestyle habits. Keep it simple and be sensible!

If you are intimidated by a long laundry list of do’s and don’ts, just work on a couple of easier ones. Give yourself a chance to experience success and build your confidence. We live once and I encourage people to enjoy those parties but maintain a level of composure and to be ready to “work” it off. You’ve got to enjoy life and find a balance that works for you.

 

Immunity and Wellness: Q & A with Dr. Alfredo Galvez

With the world focusing more than ever on wellness, many are wondering what we can do to support our immune systems and overall health. Director of Product Development Tina Van Horn recently spoke with Dr. Alfredo Galvez, Reliv’s Chief Scientific Officer and the discoverer of the lunasin peptide, to learn more about the science of immunity, what role nutrition plays and what you can do to take charge of your health. 

Tina: What are the effects of nutrition on immunity and what role does epigenetics play in the immune function?  

Dr. Galvez: Fortunately our bodies are very smart and have evolved over time to fight against infections through our innate and adaptive immunity. But, we also know there are specific foods and nutrients that have co-evolved with the human body to support a more efficient immune response to environmental threats like viruses. When you combine this knowledge with our current understanding of epigenetics, we can have an even greater impact on wellness as a whole, but the immune system is of particular interest in the field of nutritional epigenetics.

The role of epigenetics is the key science that has been proven to be one of the underlying causes of not only infections and inflammation, but also chronic disease formation. That is the reason why we need to have nutrients available for our bodies to use.

Research in the last decade has revealed the expression of genes associated with immunity response to epigenetic influences. A study that caught my attention ten to twelve years ago, from Purdue and Indiana Universities, demonstrated the ability of lunasin to turn on the genes associated with the immune response, both for innate immunity, our first line of defense against infection, as well as adaptive immunity, which is the ability for the body to produce antibodies that prevent future infections. This is important research in light of novel viruses and infections. Epigenetics provides new research opportunities to find and develop more effective treatments and vaccines, which is important to me from a research perspective. But, there is also a practical application for individuals because with the right nutrients, we can strengthen our immune systems to counter pathogens AND to respond efficiently when vaccines are introduced by teaching our bodies to produce antibodies that can attack novel viruses.

Tina: With the growing body of research surrounding epigenetics and lunasin, in particular, we have gained a solid understanding of the cellular health benefits of lunasin for our long-term health, but it is interesting to hear you talk about how lunasin benefits our short-term immunity in fighting off those viruses and pathogens that are environmentally attacking us in addition to the long-term health benefits. What about other dietary ingredients and nutrients? Do we need them along with lunasin to support immunity?

Dr. Galvez: Scientific evidence supports that metabolism and nutrient absorption are unique to each individual, so it is very important to have a combination of multiple nutrients at optimal levels to support all of our physiological processes, especially metabolism which is directly linked to immunity.

When I started working with Dr. Carl Hastings on adding lunasin to the core nutrition, one of the main objectives was to improve metabolic health. In fact, we did some experiments on the combination of lunasin and Reliv Now® with Soy. The results showed an improvement in metabolic biomarkers and risk factors associated with a number of health conditions. We understand now, more clearly than ever before, how metabolic health directly affects the immune system. So the nutritional composition of the core nutrition (macronutrients and micronutrients) in combination with lunasin, optimizes genetic expression for good health today and improves our long-term health.

Tina: You already stated that what makes Reliv products so unique is that we don’t focus on single ingredients for a specific health benefit. Yet so many people when we talk about immunity they instantly think of taking mega doses of vitamin C or zinc.  But those mega doses are not nearly as effective as putting these ingredients together in synergistic formulas. How can we combat that misunderstanding?

Dr. Galvez: The body of research on nutrition and epigenetics is expanding exponentially. At Reliv, we are not only looking at lunasin, but also we are also looking at lunasin in combination with the other ingredients we have in core nutrition and even some of the targeted solutions like FibRestore®, CardioSentials® and GlucAffect®. These formulas contain ingredients also known to have an effect on the epigenome. As I see now with so much new research on bioactive agents and dietary nutrients, we are gaining a greater understanding of how the nutrients work together metabolically not only to support physiological functions, but also epigenetically to have a real impact on health. For example, when dietary fibers are digested in the gut, chemicals are released that send signals to the epigenome.

I am hopeful that the next generation of scientists, researchers, and medical professionals will expand on what we know so far and apply this understanding to develop nutritional solutions that can have a real impact on many of the chronic health conditions that are so prevalent today. So many of our current therapies only treat the symptoms, but with epigenetics, we can more effectively target the underlying causes of these conditions. I believe the best way we can find effective treatments is to understand the epigenome and the effect of natural bioactive agents working together to turn off the bad genes that promote disease and turn on the genes that support wellness. 

There are many things that still need to be understood. There is also a learning curve for the medical establishment and consumers as far as epigenetics is concerned. With the foundational work that I have done on nutritional epigenetics, along with other researchers in the space, we are certainly moving in that direction. I anticipate that as the trend continues for patients and consumers to be more proactive with their health, the demand for effective nutritional solutions will keep driving researchers to find effective solutions.

Tina: You have a very unique perspective as a researcher on the current situation. What are some of the challenges that researches are facing that are inhibiting their efforts to finding effective therapies or developing a vaccine for COVID-19?

Dr. Galvez: That is a very good question. Actually, that was a question posed to me when I was taking my Ph.D. oral examination because it was during the height of the HIV infection. Like HIV, this new coronavirus is an RNA virus and it is more difficult to find a cure or even a vaccine because RNA viruses only have a single strand of genetic material (versus DNA viruses which have two strands). This means that it can mutate more easily than other types of viruses. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we have to reduce the infection rates, so we can reduce the chance of mutations.

It is going to be very difficult to develop vaccines. There are a lot of stages of testing that must be done. It will take anywhere from a year or a year and a half. Of course, you also have to take into consideration the mutation rate of this virus. It’s a serious problem, but it’s not something that we haven’t seen before.

I think individually we can each do things to help control this, so all the suggestions that the CDC and epidemiologists have been giving us we should accept it and practice it. This is the only way we can fight against this virus. In the meantime, it becomes vitally important to do what you can personally to keep supporting your immune system with nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Tina: What are a few recommendations that you have for our readers and what are you personally doing to protect yourself and your family?

Dr. Galvez: My family is certainly taking Reliv nutrition and focusing on the basic principles of health and wellness – plenty of vegetables and fruits along with quality protein, emphasizing plant-based protein sources. We exercise at least 30 minutes each day. There are a lot of studies done on exercise and epigenetic changes. In fact, exercising can reduce the epigenetic age to optimize your epigenome and support immunity. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night can also have an effect on delaying epigenetic aging. There is not a short-term fix that is going to protect everyone. You have to be vigilant and proactive so when you get challenged by these environmental stresses and viral infections your immune system and your body is strong enough to fight it.

 

Epigenetics: All in the Family

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Nature and Nurture

Everyone has genetic predispositions, those things that “run in the family.” For many, this is a list of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Sound familiar? Epigenetics brings a positive perspective to the fear and uncertainty that comes from checking all those boxes on a health history form. We now know that healthy lifestyle choices have the power to influence and even override our faulty genetic codes.

Families pass on both DNA and lifestyle habits that serve as epigenetic signals to that DNA. Nutritional choices, exercise, stress management and environmental exposures all influence whether genes get turned on or remain silent. While epigenetic marks are reversible (e.g. activated genes can be deactivated), healthy habits that start early in life can prevent negative genes from ever being activated in the first place.

The Earlier, the Better

Child development experts and medical professionals agree that healthy lifestyle habits are learned behaviors most strongly influenced by the family. Researchers also concur that nutritional habits established in infancy and childhood set the stage for a lifetime of dietary patterns.

A recent CDC report, for example, highlights the importance of eating practices in the first year of life. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first 12 months, this doubles the odds they will drink those beverages at age six. And limited fruit and vegetable consumption in the first year leads to limited fruits and vegetables at age six.

Nature and Nurture

Dietary preferences aren’t the only behaviors from home that carry over into adulthood with lingering epigenetic effects. Stress management, sleep patterns, and exercise are all influenced by family culture.

Work, social activities, media, and electronics compete for time that could be spent planning and preparing meals, engaging in physical activity or getting sufficient rest. Parents today work an average of three hours more per week than they did in the 1960s. That can mean the difference between home-cooked meals and visits to the drive-thru.

The American Academy of Pediatrics report, titled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media,” states: “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

Top 10 Family Health Tips

Raising healthy kids today can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. But it can be done! It all starts when you embrace health as a family.

1) Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect, but if kids see you trying to eat right and exercise, they will take notice.

2) Get the family moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and time together.

3) Limit TV, video games and computer time. These habits encourage a sedentary lifestyle and contribute to excessive snacking.

4) Encourage physical activities that they enjoy. Let your child experience different activities. Be creative and incorporate exercise into everyday situations.

5) Pick truly rewarding rewards. Resist the urge to reward kids with TV, video games, candy or snacks.

6) Make dinnertime a family time. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. No TV or portable media devices during dinner (that includes YOUR phone).

7) Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will become more conscious of what they eat — a habit that can change behavior for a lifetime.

8) Make healthy food choices easy. Save countertops, front-of-fridge and lower shelves for fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Provide a variety of choices. You might be surprised at what they like!

9) Limit sugary beverages. Beware of sugar-laden drinks marketed as juice beverages. Check the ingredient labels and serving sizes.

10) Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school and other social settings.

Healthy families don’t happen overnight, so set realistic goals when adopting new behaviors. Pick one strategy and allow time for kids to adjust. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time and in the health of your kids over their lifetime!

Give Your Kids a Healthy Head Start

Optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth, cognitive development and strong immunity during childhood — and reduces the risk of health problems later in life. Reliv Now® for Kids is specially formulated to provide the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients growing bodies need to thrive, plus advanced ingredients for added benefits:

LunaRich®: Reliv’s exclusive epigenetic superfood proven to support innate immunity and overall cellular health.

DHA: omega-3 fatty acid critical for development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system.

PS and PC: (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) natural compounds that support healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning, and cognitive function.

Grape Seed Extract: a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell-destroying free radicals.

Reliv August 2016 Prodcast: An Interview with Lunasin Discoverer Dr. Alfredo Galvez

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In this exclusive interview from Reliv’s 2016 International Conference, Product Marketing Specialist Tina Van Horn sits down with Dr. Alfredo Galvez who is a Reliv scientist and the discoverer of the lunasin peptide. Dr. Galvez explains how the field of epigenetics is exploding and what you can do today to take charge of your health with Reliv products.

Listen to the Prodcast online.

 

Make Good Health Run in Your Family

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Join host Tina Van Horn, Director of Research and Business Development at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv Company, to learn what you can do to promote optimal health for everyone in your home. The webinar is open to all and takes place LIVE at noon CT this Thursday, May 21. Invite friends and bring your questions for the live Q&A immediately following the 15-minute presentation. Click here a few minutes before noon CT on Thursday to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Lifetime wellness begins with healthy habits early in life. Learn how you can use the power of Reliv nutrition and epigenetics to turn on your family’s good genes!

Xplosive Growth. Xciting Possibilities.

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When you tour Reliv HQ this summer at International Conference, you’ll get to see our latest home improvement: a state-of-the-art LunaRich X encapsulation line! View the video.

LunaRich X™ debuted in January 2013. Since then, 12+ million LunaRich X capsules have shipped around the world. The new line will help meet increasing demand and further elevate Reliv’s renowned quality control.

Reliv can now manufacture 48,000+ capsules per hour to support the growing businesses of Distributors around the world. The new line will also keep costs low and pave the way for future encapsulated product offerings.

Continue reading “Xplosive Growth. Xciting Possibilities.”

Life-changing Nutrition: Weight Lost, Youth Regained

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Robin Shelby, Cedarville, Ohio

A friend introduced me to Reliv three years ago. After four months on the products, I went to a routine doctor appointment, and for the first time in 20 years he told me my cholesterol was back within the normal range. That really got me excited! He said to keep doing what I was doing because the results were proof that my health was improving.

I’ve had the same doctor since I was nine years old, and he has seen four generations of my family. My heart-related problems are genetic and I had four stress tests and a heart catheterization by age 35. But that was before Reliv and LunaRich®.

Over the next 18 months on Reliv, my health improved so much that we were both shocked. While I once had trouble walking up a flight of stairs, I’m now out walking six miles without difficulty. High blood pressure, fainting spells and breathing problems are no longer issues — nothing is holding me back! I’ve lost more than 30 pounds by using Reliv Now® and LunaRich X™ in the Super Pack. I’m healthier at 46 than I was at 26 and couldn’t have done it without my Reliv.

Epigenetics 101: Back to Basics

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The scientific buzz surrounding nutritional epigenetics is ramping up, but not everyone can be a research scientist. For people seeking simple ways to understand and explain this exciting field of study, the Reliv blog offers many articles to read and share. Use the posts below as your one-stop shop for information on epigenetics and lunasin, the epigenetic superfood.

Lunasin: Epigenetic Revolution in Health & Nurition

Q&A with Dr. Carl Hastings and Dr. Alfredo Galvez

Your Epigenetic Life

Q&A with Dr. Alfredo Galvez

Nutrition for the 21st Century

Infographic: Lunasin and Epigenetics

You Are What You Eat: Nutritional Epigenetics

Beyond the Genome: How Lunasin Works to Promote Optimal Health

Making Sense of Immunity with Tina Van Horn

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Cold & flu season is coming fast. Find out how epigenetic nutrition can boost immunity for you and your family. In this webinar, “Making Sense of Immunity” host Tina Van Horn, Research and Business Development Coordinator at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv Company, outlines how the nutrients in Reliv products can strengthen your body’s defenses to help fight off short-term illness and provide long-term wellness. She also shares recently published research on lunasin’s ability to improve innate immunity.

LIVE Nutrition Webinar Today

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The special live webinar, “Making Sense of Immunity,” hosted by Tina Van Horn, Research and Business Development Coordinator at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv Company, will be today, Tuesday, October 28, at noon CT. Make plans now to join us. 

Here’s what to expect:
Cold & flu season is coming fast. Find out how epigenetic nutrition can boost immunity for you and your family. Tina will outline how the nutrients in Reliv products can strengthen your body’s defenses to help fight off short-term illness and provide long-term wellness. She will also share recently published research on lunasin’s ability to improve innate immunity. You don’t want to miss it!

For a preview of what to expect, dial into a recording of this month’s Product Call on immunity featuring Tina at 866.330.4922. 

Webinar Details:
What: 15-minute live presentation + 15-minute live Q&A
When: Tuesday, October 28, 12:00 pm Central
Where: meet.fm/reliv – You will be able to log in starting at 11:45am that day. You can also dial in to an audio-only presentation at 650.281.0004, passcode 568944.
Why: To learn how an immunity-boosting lifestyle including Reliv’s LunaRich® products can help you and your family stay healthy.
Who: You and everyone you invite to join.