Olympic Athlete Shares Strategies That Help Women Live Longer | Roma van der Walt

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

Episode 127

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Performance coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

“Don't make your postpartum journey about weight loss. It's the last of your problems. Coming back from pregnancy is really about rebuilding your foundation, rebuilding your core, rebuilding your leg strength, and creating a foundation for the things you love to do. Because when that's back, you can go back to all the sports you love to do, and you'll do them without injuring yourself.” - Roma van der Walt, Former Member of the German Olympic Team for Modern Pentathlon and Co-Founder of Vitelle

It's no secret that women face many unique challenges when it comes to their health.

Every woman has a unique hormonal picture, a specific cycle, and just so many variables to consider when trying to optimize her health. 

Fortunately, there are experts like Roma van der Walt to help women navigate through it all and debunk common myths surrounding their health. 

Roma is a former member of the German Olympic team in modern pentathlon, one of the oldest Olympic sports. She is also a women’s health expert and the co-founder and CEO of Vitelle, which provides women with science-based tools and technology to improve their health and longevity.  

Join us as we discuss and share strategies that help women live longer and some of our favorite biohacking secrets! 

As an expert in this field, Roma has many unique insights to share, so don’t miss out! 




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Show Notes 


Intro (00:00)
Roma’s background (00:54)
Roma’s peak performance practices (07:28)
The benefits of napping (12:11)
Digging deeper into heart rate and resting heart rate (16:51)
The health benefits of fasting (22:41)
Fertility and motherhood (30:13)
Recommendations for women to live longer (55:25)
Our favorite bio hacks (1:04:49)
On longevity and the future of health (1:11:21)
Outro (1:16:30)


Intro (00:00)
Roma’s background (00:12)
Roma’s peak performance practices (06:48)
The benefits of napping (11:31)
Digging deeper into heart rate and resting heart rate (16:11)
The health benefits of fasting (22:00)
Fertility and motherhood (29:33)
Recommendations for women to live longer (55:53)
Our favorite bio hacks (1:05:23)
On longevity and the future of health (1:11:58)
Outro (1:17:07)


“Don't make your postpartum journey about weight loss. It's the last of your problems. Coming back from pregnancy is really about rebuilding your foundation, rebuilding your core, rebuilding your leg strength, and creating a foundation for the things you love to do. Because when that's back, you can go back to all the sports you love to do, and you'll do them without injuring yourself.” - Roma van der Walt, Former Member of the German Olympic Team for Modern Pentathlon and Co-Founder of Vitelle

“I use resting heart rate as this holy grail of really getting to the bottom of things. It’s so beautiful because once you know your heart rate range, there's so much it can tell you. For instance, during the pandemic, people who were tracking their resting heart rate knew they had COVID long before their tests were positive. It was because their resting heart rate just spiked, often two days before they had any of the other major symptoms.” - Roma van der Walt, Former Member of the German Olympic Team for Modern Pentathlon and Co-Founder of Vitelle

“When we look at founders, now entrepreneurs, business people, highly driven people, quite often they train at an incredibly high level. They'll probably do half to three-quarters of what a professional athlete does. And they often choose long-distance and endurance sports. But they lack the recovery, the tools, and the desire to recover." - Roma van der Walt, Former Member of the German Olympic Team for Modern Pentathlon and Co-Founder of Vitelle

“I think the encouraging thing I've seen in the last few years is that women go into the fertility process, whether it's natural or supported, with their eyes wide open. They don't just say we're going to try and then get pregnant, they actually start thinking about this a year before. How do I prepare to be the best version of myself through pregnancy? So that when I get pregnant, I am this vessel for my baby.” - Roma van der Walt, Former Member of the German Olympic Team for Modern Pentathlon and Co-Founder of Vitelle

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the longevity-and-lifestyle.com/podcast URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


Claudia von Boeselager: Welcome to another episode of the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager. I'm here to uncover the groundbreaking strategies, tools, and practices from the world's pioneering experts to help you live your best and reach your fullest potential. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to always catch the latest episodes.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the longevity-and-lifestyle.com/podcast URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


Roma van der Walt 0:00  
Don't make your coming back journey about being weightless. It's the last of your problems. Coming back from pregnancy is really about we build that foundation. We build your core, build your leg strength, and create the foundation for the things you love to do.

Claudia von Boeselager 0:14  
Are you ready to boost your longevity and unlock peak performance and welcome to The Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host Claudia von Boeselager, longevity and peak performance coach. Each week we'll explore groundbreaking science, unravel longevity secrets share strategies to grow younger and stay up to date with world-class health and peak performance pioneers. Everything you need to live longer, live better, and reach your fullest potential, ready to defy aging, optimize health, and promote peak performance; visit LLinsider.com for more.

My guest today is Roma Van der Walt, a sports scientist and former member of the German national team for modern pentathlon. I had to look it up when I first heard it as well, but she will share more today. She's also a Fitness editor of Well-rounded and the founder of vitelle.co, which provides women with science back tools and technology to improve their health and longevity. Welcome to the Longevity and Lifestyle podcast. I'm so excited to have you on today.

Roma van der Walt 1:24  
Thank you, Claudia. I'm really happy to be here.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:26  
So we share a similar passion for helping others in their health and longevity to be the best versions of themselves every day. And so with you, I'd love to start Roma today with how did your journey in sports and becoming a member of the German national team for the Olympic sport, modern pentathlon, which, when you originally told me I had to look up, I was like, What is this? So you have to share? How did that bring you to your mission today in supporting women and longevity?

Roma van der Walt 1:56  
Yeah, so as you said, I was very lucky to represent Germany on a national team in an Olympic sport, just to tell people what it is. It's actually one of the oldest Olympic sports. And it was founded by the same person that founded the Olympic Games. And at the time, he envisioned the ideal athlete, and that in his mind was a man, and not surprising, around the turn of the century from the 1800s to the 1900s. And he thought every male soldier could ride a horse shoot a gun, run, swim, and fence. He would have the ideal skill set both in sports and in life. And so it was originally only a men's sport, and in the mid-1970s, women were admitted to compete at all. And then internationally and then from 2000 right now. Yes, the 2000 Olympics, when women were actually allowed to participate in the Olympic Games,

Claudia von Boeselager 2:52  
was it men and women would compete against each other? Was it separate for women?

Roma van der Walt 2:56  
It was separated. Yeah, it was separated, and it still is, and the only thing they've changed since then is that now the running and shooting are combined, which is a little bit like what we know from the biathlon. So the biathletes cross-country ski and then shoot a rifle lying down. Modern Pentathlon runs 800 meters as fast as they can, and then shoot a gun, which is now a laser gun and shoot five targets standing. And I came to the sport from Germany has a really good little athletics program, which I think the UK may have. And then also Australia has. So I that was very much community driven. So I started in track and field. I rode horses as a girl; I did a sport called it's like gymnastics on a horse. In German, it's called voltage Elam, which is where you just learn to twirl on a horse and you do headstands. And, like, if I thought of doing that now, it'd be really tough. But I think I was able to build a lot of skills that when it mattered, my coach actually saw in me. And so, at the age of nine, I discovered fencing and fell in love with the sport. And at age 11 12 is when I met my coach, and he said, You know, I already have the foundation of all these sports. Let's just put them all together. And he ended up coaching me in a way that I think at the time was quite novel like all of my training was data-driven. So my trainings were hard, but they may make sense, like, they were hard because my pulse required them to be at a certain level. We always knew what my aerobic threshold was. So we knew what intensity to do for anything from a really, really easy jog to an all-out time trial when it comes to running. We did these threshold tests two to three times a year. And at the time, we had access to a facility that now would be regarded, you know, world-renowned, which was basically a lab with a treadmill. Let's put it this way, but now we see it on social media, and it's really cool, like at Nike Headquarters, and I had access to that then set access to that, that you know, 14 15 16, all the way through to 20, where we were hooked up to both the lactate testing from your elope the oxygen mask to test your VO two, and then have the everything integrated to make then sure that we knew exactly what paces I was setting and what my body was doing. And in hindsight, that's not how people were trained at the time. It was like a train, recover, train, recover, train, recover; I would say twice a week or so. Go to your limi, And then hope you adapt. And how has that informed me now like now I think a lot of people who are not professional athletes want to know more about their bodies. And so applying this is now possible through wearables. And also because some of these tests have become a lot easier to access from a financial standpoint. So I think, you know, high-performance sport is still doing it. A lot of high-performance sport is still predominantly male-focused when it comes to big financial resources being pumped into it. And it's really time that we sort of extracted it from sport and applied it to the general public and then specifically developed data sets around women. 
Claudia von Boeselager 6:13  
Yeah, I completely agree with you. I wonder where your coach.. I mean, first of all, it was one of those incredible stories. And then, you know, to have five different sports areas all rolled into one. So I mean, honestly, hats off. Where did your coach come up with this? What do you think his inspiration was? Assuming he was a man? 

Roma van der Walt 6:35  
yeah, he was a man. Okay. Yeah, he was; he was a young man who was actually pursuing his Ph.D. in exercise physiology. And my hometown happens to be one of the three main sports hubs when it comes to college-level science in Germany. So there's my hometown in Bavaria called Bioroid, which is nestled away, and really small but has a really good reputation as a university. There's Munich as a big hub. Obviously, there's the Olympic Stadium. And then Kelowna is where I ended up going to study sports science, and that's in the West. It's a little closer to France. And that's the other big hub. And I feel like, because he was attached to that faculty, and because he knew he had access to those facilities, and then he ended up writing a book about training, training women as well. It just happened. I just got very lucky,

Claudia von Boeselager 7:28  
I have an expression that the harder you work, the luckier you get. So I think it's a combination that comes together as well. What are some of the peak performance practices from your sports days? And some of the routines that you learned? What are some of the ones that you continue to apply today and also help with what you are doing now and helping others and particularly women? 

Roma van der Walt 7:54  
Well, I think recovery is so undervalued; it's something that was, I would say, all it has always come easy to me. I'm a happy Napper. I really like to go to bed early. I don't have formal, you know, so sleep was never an issue for me. But I know that for the general public, that's quite often not the case. So we look at people. And sometimes, it's because people cannot, and sometimes, it's because people don't want to a degree because you have to sacrifice something else for it. And I've just had this conversation with a high-performance coach about how when we look at founders, now entrepreneurs, business people, highly driven people, quite often they train at an incredibly high level as they'll probably do half to three-quarters of what a professional athlete does. And they often choose to suffer sports like long, long distance and endurance sports. But they lack the recovery that comes with being able to recover and having the tools but also wanting to recover. You know, napping was nonnegotiable, especially in training camps. So we had to nap for 90 minutes a day quite often. And also, we often had to say if you had a long three-hour fencing session in the morning in the swim session of an hour, hour and a half, you napped for 90 minutes after lunch, because then followed up another hour to an hour and a half of running, capped off by you know, something else. So recovery is a big one. And again, we have such amazing tools now. So for me now, if I'm working from home, I will still nap, but I nap no longer than 22 minutes. And that's the 20 Minute Rule is the idea that we don't want to go into a deeper sleep state. That is, that is harder to disrupt. So it's either 20 minutes or 90 minutes. And I just like having the 22 it just seems like a lucky number. And it takes me about two minutes to fall asleep. So recovery is a big one, and then purely from a performance standpoint, I still really look at my heart rate. So I both up until, you know, several years ago before the wrist heart rate became more accessible, and then even the Oura ring, I was still wearing the band, and I was wearing it in New York, which gets very hot and humid in the summer. So I would. Yeah, I would suffer through the chafing, and I'd suffered through it not sitting quite right looked funny. But I just found that until I'd say what, five years ago, I was probably more accurate. Now we've again, we've come a long way. So during training really important, and that's a tangent, but it's what helped me get to the bottom of a disease, a chronic disease that I developed that I'm happy to touch on in a bit. And then I use resting heart rate as this holy grail of really getting to the bottom of things. And that is something I've started doing with women that I've worked with. And it's an area that we’re completely unaware of, and it's so beautiful because once you know your range of where your heart rate is right when you're waking up, there's a lot that I can tell you. And I think it got a bit of its time in the sun when the pandemic hit. And suddenly, people were noticed if they were tracking their resting heart rate; they knew they had COVID long before the test was positive. And it was because their heart resting heart rate just spiked; there was this inflection. And it was often two days before they had any of the other major symptoms. And that's true for the common cold as well. So I think anytime women have to pay attention to staying healthy, I've worked with women in preparation for IVF, for example, just about keeping the body in mind and equilibrium as they were going into the egg retrieval and then later into the embryo transfer. It's a very emotional time. It's, and you know, anxiety and stress also affect our resting heart rate. And it's a time when you don't want to mess around, get an infection, to have overly high inflammation. And those are all parameters that you can see. With your resting heart rate.

Claudia von Boeselager 12:11  
I want to dig into a few things. First of all, a curiosity nap. So I love naps, right? I have inherited it from my mother and grandfather. This is what they call Ireland 40 Winks, right, so just that shorts lying down recharging. And it's just like you're good to go again. I'd love to understand. Do you have a certain protocol? Nowadays, let's say so, not obviously training for Olympic sports, right? But in doing that, I was listening to Ben Greenfield speak at the weekend. So you know, he gets up at four 4:30 am. And then he looks to have his nap about six to eight hours after waking up, no longer than after 2 pm. Do you have a particular nap protocol? And also, what do you do to help you fall asleep? Because I know and also know clients really struggle that I have with, you know if you're so wired and you're doing so many things actually to like recenter rezone. So what are some tools that you recommend?

Roma van der Walt 13:06  
Yeah, I think again, it comes down to there's a little bit of discipline involved in it. And a little bit of regularity. I think you're training your body to do that like you're trained to do it to do other things. Some people just get so overwhelmingly tired in the afternoon that they want to nap. But then there's that risk of napping for too long. I probably get around, up around the same time as Ben Greenfield, I would say around five on average. So if I think about what time my naps are. I fast. Another topic. So I'll usually have I break my fast with a relatively big meal. And I would say my nap is probably around two, one, or two.

Claudia von Boeselager 13:50  
Okay, so late in the day. Yeah, yeah.

Roma van der Walt 13:54  
And then I really know that I'm going to that. I don't really have a slump in the afternoon. My slump is more that I'm not really an evening person. So for me, after about 7 pm, I actually took a nap before this. I took a 20-minute nap. It's 9 pm, and I

Claudia von Boeselager 14:12  
Roma is in Australia at the moment. Everyone's got different time zones going on here. So thank you for coming on.

Roma van der Walt 14:19  
Yeah. Put the kids to bed; put me to bed. And so around how to fall asleep. I find with naps. It's really for me that it's almost like mindfulness. When I'm really wired. I either repeat a mantra, which then puts me to sleep, which is probably not great. My husband meditates a lot, and he would be horrified. But it's good for me to repeat a mantra in my head over and over. 

Claudia von Boeselager 14:49  
Is this based on TM? Transcendental Meditation, because that's the typical 20-22 minutes. So is it TM meditation based?

Roma van der Walt 14:55  
So I don't listen to anything; I just say it in my mind. I sort of repeat until, For me, one mantra that I really like is a ganesh mantra; my husband studied sort of a Buddhist type of spirituality for 15 years, very devout. And so when we met, he had spent 15 years solo, meditating, and completely immersing himself on that path. And we met about two years after that finished, so he meditates about 90 minutes a day, but it's sitting eyes open, sometimes, mantra chanting. And for me, he's given me this mantra because he was like, this is you can learn this in Sanskrit. And I do that anyway. But it's sometimes it's easy for me to repeat that in my head. And I almost feel like I reap the benefits from it because I'm doing it more than the other times. So that's one. And the other thing is I will often actively tell myself to sink. It's a really strange thing, but I keep repeating myself to sink into the pillow. So it's almost like a somatic experience, where you, your body, and your mind, again, have to work together to achieve the desired outcome. And I find even when I'm really wired, I can really feel myself getting heavy. And if I wanted to make that more like less abstract for people, progressive muscle relaxation, I'm sure you've heard about it, I'm sure you've tried it as a really effective tool that you can do for a few minutes, where you briefly engage in and disengage the big muscle groups in your body. And it's incredible what that release is. So you work your way up from your feet all the way to your forehead, and you just briefly engage with an inhale and exhale. And it's very calming. So I've done I've led people through progressive muscle relaxation. And sometimes I'll do that for myself,

Claudia von Boeselager 16:51  
that's really good. And also for those who maybe have or haven't tried hypnosis before, which is also really good. You either can like visualize walking downstairs, and you're getting heavier and heavier and heavier. So that really helps to like slow you down. And obviously, like long, slow, deep breaths, right, you're calming the nervous system. With that, I want to dig into heart rate. So we touched on heart rate variability as one of the factors. So that's also a good measure of stress, and then the resting heart rate. Can you explain to my audience a little bit more why these two parameters are so important, and they're really getting more and more rent Renaissance as an important indicator nowadays,

Roma van der Walt 17:32  
I always get tripped up with heart rate variability. To be honest, I also am not sure if we can super accurately measure it through the wearables that we have. Right now, resting heart rate is how many times your heart beats within a minute. And the heart rate variability is the lag between heartbeats. And so I don't work with the heart rate variability that much because not many wearables are accurately giving you those numbers. And I found this is, again, just an observation of working with women; too much data is often overwhelming. As women have said to me, we want solutions; we don't actually want suggestions. So give us systems, and tell us what to do with that data. With resting heart rate, there's a range that you have. And so now, the beauty is that when I was training, we had to take it manually. So I had to you had to wake up, you had to make sure you were in a relatively calm state when you put, you know, two fingers to, to your pulse to your neck. And then you would count how many of you have any beats; you count in a minute. But if you woke up and you were really anxious, so the wired, you know, probably doesn't work as well. Now we have the beauty of either just wearing an Apple watch or wearing a garment, or wearing the oura ring; we talked about how setting the oura ring to airplane mode is helpful if you don't want to have it on overnight. And so it takes that lowest value just as you're rising. And what that shows you is, usually, you sit in a range of a few beats. So I'm because I've been an endurance athlete my entire life. I sit anywhere between 39 and 43. That's my normal range. When your mind goes.

Claudia von Boeselager 19:22  
Yeah, but it's pretty sweet. Yeah.

Roma van der Walt 19:25  
Yeah. And it's, it's actually really, it's something that this is something I geek out on. I go, I know, don't want to go over 45. If I go over 44, I know something's wrong. And so then I can go through this mental checklist, and I can go, what could be wrong? Did I have an excessive amount of stress yesterday? Did I consume more sugar over a certain period of time? So has this contributed to inflammation? Was it alcohol? So all of these things contribute to the resting heart rate. And in working with women, I have really interesting points related to the menstrual cycle as well. So, for example, we've seen elevated resting heart rates during PMS. And I don't know why that surprised me. But it's because it makes sense. During that time, when we have less resilience to stress because of our hormones, we often have pain, which contributes to inflammation. And our bodies are really working hard to get into the menstruation stage. And we crave sugar. So I'm sure there's some combination that relates to that. But we've seen women, you know, go up by a few beats per minute, and then the day that they start menstruating, it immediately falls off again. And I think they're still end correlated with symptoms of perimenopause. So we saw women with hot flashes in the UK and Australia and hot flashes in America that only occurred in that three-night period, like night sweats.

Claudia von Boeselager 21:02  
Yeah, I wonder if progesterone actually interestingly plays a role in it. I've just got the new book from Dr. Julian Brighton, who I'm sure you know, as well as beyond the Pill, I'm speaking with her later this year. And I want to dig into that as well because she was saying, Actually, PMS, like you shouldn't have PMS symptoms, there's some sort of dysfunction going on there. But I haven't gotten to the bottom of that. And just to point out Heart Rate Variability I had on the podcast, and Dr. Jay Wiles, who's a specialist in this and he's developed Hannu Health. And so when you optimize your heart rate variability, which is the ability to cope with different mechanisms, right, so you want to be able to, for your heart rate to be low when your children relaxed, but , do you know, bounce back, if you will, when you need it, right and not to be at this constant, high level, or constant low level, which would cause a low heart rate variability. So So, for people listening, mine is naturally high. So I'm kind of lucky because I'm over like 110, I was talking to some biohackers at a conference at the weekends, and some of them are Heart Rate Variability down around 30 or 40. But one was saying that through meditation, so you were asking him talking about tools as well, that she found that hers could sometimes jump 20 to 30 points up. And so you want to have that resiliency to be able to bounce around. And that's what you want to get to as well, ideally. So, yeah, not everyone wants to wear that and have the ordering track sent. The question is always the accuracy as well. But I think as an interesting measure, also to keep a look at heart rate variability and what you can do to improve it. And there are cool tools as well. So that's really fun. Um, let's jump into fasting. And I asked specifically about this because I've gone through different phases of my all outs like this is the solution of longevity in growing your telomeres etc, to actually for women, and for hormones, to long periods of intermittent fasting can be detrimental as well. So I'd love to hear your view, and how you find it and obviously appreciate everybody's a little bit different. So it's always like knowing yourself, but what protocol do you follow? And how do you find that impact?

Roma van der Walt 23:15  
Fasting is an interesting one because I think the biggest thing I've observed in women, again grossly exaggerating, was that the breaking of the fast became something that required more discipline than the actual fasting. So I found that women got to 16 hours and then said, oh, you know, I can do this, I'll do 17, I'll do 18. In an extreme case, someone told me that she was very easily doing 20, but in the remaining four hours, she wasn't replenishing what she needed. And that's then you sort of also losing, then you just go into a state of scarcity. So I think that's a really tricky thing because then we're activating other things in our body physiologically that suggest stress, and we don't want we don't, that's not what we want. I personally think intermittent fasting is to be intermittent within that 24-hour period but also over a longer period of time, as you said, so I will fast during the workweek but then not fast on the weekends. And by doing that, I suggest to my body, we're great. We're fine. You know, during the week, we're more discipline on the weekend. We do what we want. So my buddy goes, doesn't go, Oh, what are we doing? Why? Because our bodies adapt, they become lazy, and they become super efficient. And I'm at an age now where my weight has suddenly also crept up. And I, like you, like fasting as the solution for everything, but it looked different, even two years ago, than it does now. So I do intermittent fasting 16 Eight during the week. And then, on the weekend, I do low fasting. A few, like once or twice a month, I will do a 24 hour fast. And I've just read about how we should do that early in our cycle. I almost want to do it early and late in my cycle now to see what happens. Yeah, I love testing these things on myself. I want to see how I react from just the standpoint of feeling hungry. Is it easier at the beginning of the month? Do I really have, you know, especially the last week before menstruation? Will I just not be able to do it as well or crave things more? I feel really stressed by it. I don't drink coffee. So I don't know if that makes it easier for me in a way. I know people often really want that coffee. And if they're not black coffee drinkers, that's a really difficult thing. So that's my experience with fasting. The other thing that I find interesting is between men and women; I see a lot of male bodies just react to fasting so well, right? Like if my husband decides to do it for a week, my father-in-law just recently started doing 24-hour fasts once a week; it just way just falls off them. You know, I definitely feel more clear and able when I do it, but it's it doesn't seem to have the exact same effect. But what I'll say, and again, this might be anecdotal. I'm half African, and I have more fast-twitch muscle fibers. And I would suspect that I have a higher level of testosterone because there have been studies looking at that, you know, about how you build muscle and adapt, like, I definitely build muscle faster. So in some ways, I sometimes wonder if my body functions more like a male body, like just a little bit. And so, whether then fasting is easier for me,

Claudia von Boeselager 26:46  
that's really interesting because so I have fast twitch muscles as well. So I did this recently in my newsletter; also, I thought it was really interesting because I know somebody else who's an ultra-endurance athlete but couldn't gain weight, and the muscle would come off straight away. And so, I took a bit of a deep dive into that, but for me, I think it's to do with my methylation process, etc. My testosterone levels are low. So I am actually doing a clinical trial with HRT, supplementing with the transdermal body, identical testosterone. So I don't know if there's a direct correlation with muscles; obviously, the more muscle training we do, the better our testosterone levels. But that's actually really interesting. I'd love it if some researchers listened to this, please,

Roma van der Walt 27:31  
yeah, research this. If we're talking about data sets and talking between female and male bodies, we could really crack wide open some of the differences in different genetic backgrounds or backgrounds in race because, you know, we do see the dominance of certain countries in certain sports and, and then if some of these athletes break into sports that haven't been their usual sport, they certainly dominated I'm thinking of various sports, like, if you look at, there's more and more former French colony islands, athletes who are of Caribbean descent, now competing in fencing, my sport, which is was dominated by Europe, and predominantly Caucasian athletes, and they come in with exclusivity and athleticism within the sport. That is different. There was a fantastic movie about cricket, very different. But the West Indies in the 1960s and 70s, when they came into the sport, not being under the rule of England anymore, oh, great, Great Britain, and develop these athletes. There was this again, this athleticism, the speed of which they threw, and there's a fantastic film called Fire in Babylon, especially about how that suddenly clashed with the former colonial power. So I've done a lot of thinking about anthropology from that standpoint, and how, you know, in the US, for example, we should really look at data sets from African American backgrounds, Hispanic backgrounds, and so on, because we'd probably be surprised. And Tarahumara. Have you read them? Scott, your next book? I have not any terrible. Yeah. That tribe in Mexico that runs, especially at foot running?

Claudia von Boeselager 29:26  
Yeah, no, I'm watching this. My kids at the moment are limitless with Chris Hemsworth. And actually, they were just showing the Tarahumara. And these were, I don't know, was it just for the documentary? Were they wearing this beautiful clothing, or do they always run on this beautiful clothing? But I mean, they're quite often. Yeah. And they were saying that the HRV of the grandparent is the same as the grandchild and the child. Yeah, they're just into this. So that was like a real like, wow, takeaway. So that was a term. That's why it rings a bell. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it's so fascinating. Obviously, you know, they're doing this every day and from birth. So somebody who's been like having an office job decides to become a Tarahumara tribe and run all the time; it will obviously take a while. But I think that's the beauty of it; that there's so much that we can do. Roma I'd love to switch over to fertility and motherhood. And in a previous conversation, we had offline a couple of weeks ago, we were discussing the gap and care for women sort of the late 30s into their 40s around fertility and postpartum. And really, you know, helping them and as we live longer, right, so when these goals of living well, for longer, women also are making choices to pursue a career first and have children than later. So let's talk about this gap. And what, in your view, are some of the biggest challenges, like what's happening there? Can you share this with my audience? 

Roma van der Walt 30:55  
Well, I've very much enjoyed your recent interview with Jennifer Garrison, who we both know, works on reproductive aging and ovarian health. And so I think what I've observed and what I've discussed with her, as well as I came from a maternal health background, and I worked with women. And it was mostly around changing some of the paradigms of how women exercised in pregnancy because, again, 10 years ago, that was not something that was looked at; I think some professional athletes did it. You know, we, Paula Radcliffe ran when she was pregnant, Kara, gotcha, ran when she was pregnant, they also returned back to marathoning very quickly, but it was sort of reserved for these super athletes, for whom that should be okay. But, you know, it's not necessary to tell a woman to stop running when she's pregnant. And now there's more and more; there are more studies out that actually talk about the incredible benefits for the child when you change the environment in which they are growing up. I think the encouraging thing I've seen in the last few years is that women go into the fertility process, whether it's natural or supported, with their eyes wide open. They don't just say we're going to try and then get pregnant, they actually start thinking about this the year before, from how they can show up. How do I prepare to be the best version of myself through pregnancy? So that when I get pregnant, I am this vessel for my baby. That is really great. I think we're not talking enough about what inherently brutal event delivery is; I still physically, you know, we, we spend a lot of time talking about the wonder of it. And it is a wonder in whichever way you develop, it's incredible that we can do this. But your body and mind are basically ripped to shreds after you spent 10 months incubating this wonderful being, and then you walk out. And if you don't go into this event strong, I feel like it come out a shell of yourself, because it's even hard when you go in strong. So a lot of my work was really focused on getting women to this marathon, especially with the first delivery; often, it's like hours and hours and hours. For me, it was 25. And coming out of that and actually having a foundation to build on again then. What I'm missing and not seeing enough is that now, a lot of women who are having children over 35 are classified as geriatric mothers. I hate that horrible in my obstetrician giggle every single time I walked through the door, you know, geriatric while I was running, I was running four days a week, and I was lifting and doing not crazy resistance training, but I was fit. And so these mothers are now sort of told off quite often just not to do too much. There's still the old adage that women to this day have been told, which is to not raise their heart rate over 140 When exercising. That to me is, well, it's been long debunked; women should actually work off of a perceived exertion rate. But also it's I wouldn't be able to do that. When I exercise. I don't stay under 140 all the time as I can, but I also have asthma, and I feel like my heart rate went up when I was pregnant. So you know, in pregnancy, quick question.

Claudia von Boeselager 34:38  
Just a quick question. Just to clarify. So above 140 while pregnant or in general, are you saying

Roma van der Walt 34:44  
while pregnant while pregnant? Okay, yeah, yeah. So you know, many doctors also there's a liability issue they will defer just to keep it easy eat for to know the favorite, and just kick your legs up and don't do much And the older you are, the more there's a risk associated with you as the person. What I'm missing is that now when women emerge at 35, we're also saying that perimenopause symptoms can start as early as 35. So we're going from this one storm into the next storm. And postpartum is not six weeks that you know the whole focus after a child is born switches to the baby. And women get one checkup at six weeks. In many European countries, they get more hands-on support at home and midwifery support. But still, pretty often, after six weeks is when people go. You're good. You know, you're good, your C-section scars healed, you're you have no other issues. And then, anything that happens after that, you have to fix yourself. That could be pelvic health; it could be diastasis recti, where your abdomen, the muscles in your center line, have to split to allow for the baby to grow; they have to come back together. Women don't know that they need help with that. And there's, again, an emotional, mental component to. Now if you're 40. And 18 months later, you're 41, and you're starting to experience perimenopause symptoms; you're just not prepared. And you don't know what if that is still postpartum, whatever that is this new phase. And the person I worked with, who was the oldest at delivery, was over 50. So you know, our uterus is still working. And if you get pregnant, it's great. But we, you know, we all, if not Jennifer fixing, and people should listen to this, fixing this whole thing for us that all of it gets pushed back so that we can actually have babies healthy. And without all that anxiety in our 40s and 50s. Then we at least are women more education, more resources to take care of themselves when that happens. 

Claudia von Boeselager 36:55  
Yeah, it's super important. I mean, I just know from my own journey, first of all, I was like, the over induced first time around, so I was told, you know, take another 12 hours and all this, and it was just everything happens super, super fast. And it was almost a joke. And the midwife was saying, you know, just don't push, don't do this. Because the if the obstetrician is not in the room, he doesn't get paid. So I have had the privilege of doing this privately. But if he's not in the room, he doesn't get it. I'm like, Are you kidding me? I was like, Do you think I can control what's going on here right now? And from start to finish, it was two hours and 15 minutes. So it sounds like a lot. But it's super fast.

Roma van der Walt 37:37  
Labor and that's really, that can cause me a lot of problems. Yeah, and

Claudia von Boeselager 37:44  
also emotionally and things as well. And so, of course, the midwife is like, oh, isn't that great? And next time, we'll be faster. And this is I'm like, I don't really feel like that was great. It's like, don't try and like sell this off to me, like, this is a great thing. And then what I think is, I had my startup at the time, and you know, we'd venture capital funds, and I was working on these long hours. So I didn't stupidly, honestly, frankly, at the time of myself take it to do a proper time and like reconnecting things. So I was just not in the best place going into the whole thing. And then that shift in hormones, so it's like I also tell, some pregnant friends that are, you know, the first time around. It's like having major surgery but not having time to recover. Because, as you said, the shift goes to the baby, and it's like, oh, okay, are you okay? And like, I lost a lot of blood personally, and I'm anyway, like, the tendency to be anemic and things like that as well. I don't sleep well, at the best of times, in terms of, you know, if I'm walking in the night and things like that falling asleep, and if you have a newborn baby, so it was just this morass and like a spiral of events, like the first three months and I went from being a super-efficient person to not managing to cut the flowers for like, three days, I'm like, How did I get so inefficient and just beating yourself up? It's such as when there's such a mental game around it coupled with lack of sleep and uncertainty, you go from being super confident, certain, and you know, what you're doing to actually being like, am I is the baby's still gonna be okay? Is it fair enough? I don't know what I'm doing. So it is so overwhelming. And some people are able to have more support or, you know, they say it takes a village to raise a child. And if you have the possibility to have a village, go for it, because you can't get enough support. But I think there's there needs to be much more compassion for the actual mother and that realization, and it's not about the self-sacrifice because I love to share with my clients, male and female, you know, you have to put the oxygen mask on first, as they say on the plane, if you are completely depleted, which I had been, you know, how are you showing up for your child for yourself, etc. And it just gets worse and worse and worse. And so, you know, I've gone through a few postpartum holes and dark holes in the process as well without knowing and realizing the Because of my wiring of thinking like, oh, as long as everyone else is okay. Clearly, they weren't; Neither was I. But then, then, it's okay. So I've really learned the hard way. And that's something if someone takes even one thing away today. It's just that self-care piece. Give from your overflow and not from an empty cup. Right? Put that oxygen mask on.

Roma van der Walt 40:20  
Yeah. And because you said that earlier also, there are a lot of things that you just don't know. I'm just trying to remember what you said; see, this is brain fog with an almost two year old, so maybe still postpartum ,there's the compassion and peace. Oh, I think paying still paying attention to certain parameters can help to buy it. So we're seeing more celebrities now embracing wearable technology postpartum I think there's going to be really interesting data once we embrace that and get more from that and see what's happening to women. Because what you discover describes the mental and emotional pieces so huge, and for me, everything was taking on nicely postpartum. And then five months after, I suddenly fell into a hole, and there was like, I was on the verge of depression, definitely really high anxiety. And for me, that was physical, and I kept beating myself up because I thought I wasn't being strong enough or resilient enough, or so yeah. It's a tough phase. And yeah, I don't know that we'll ever figure this out entirely. The only thing I'll say is I've finally now, with the second child at almost two years postpartum, stopped hearing phantom crying. Well, that's Oh my god.

Claudia von Boeselager 41:48  
I don't think I can't remember. Maybe I did. It's pretty

Roma van der Walt 41:53  
but you know, I would step into the shower, and the wash of the water would convince me that I heard him or her cry and then or that you would, I would wake up at night convinced that I heard them cry and that for me it was normally a good sleeper was very disruptive to man there's a lot to unpack just there.

Claudia von Boeselager 42:17  
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Roma van der Walt 43:47  
Yeah, I think if you're going, if you're not somebody that has exercised regularly, starting to exercise before you're pregnant, it sets you up in a really good way to exercise when you're pregnant. Because even with the best intentions, most doctors will discourage you, and it's even hard for a coach to take you on when you're already pregnant. And then say now we're going to start at zero. So if you can start with anything that you enjoy, that is walking endurance, you can be walking; I often tell people if they don't like to run, they want to walk to add ankle weights or weights to risks because it just increases the resistance. Swim if you have access to it, and definitely do resistance training, especially if you're an older mom because it's something that when your center of gravity shifts during the pregnancy and we're all prone more to that curve in our lower back, which just puts a lot of pressure on our lower back and causes a lot of the back pain

Claudia von Boeselager 44:46  
does that as well just for people regarding that woman. You have to imagine that, afterward, you are carrying a baby or some sort of bag around for such a long period of time. And that if you don't have a strong back going into it, it's, it's horrendous. So also just really, really try to do some strength training for my shoulders, arms, and back. It's the number one issue that physiotherapists see from mothers coming in, and like totally distorted because, of course, they've been carrying the baby and burping for hours at a time each day. So yeah, just to make a point about that. And I think no, pillates are great.

Roma van der Walt 45:27  
Yeah, your back is part of your core, I like to say, so if you're working your core doesn't just mean working your front. And they're really gentle exercises you can do for your back at home, which include things like bird dogs, where you're on all fours, extend one arm and the opposite leg. You'd be surprised how many people struggle with that who are not currently pregnant or haven't been and add some weights to it or add movement, bringing the elbow to knee to it. And people find it really hard. But that's like one exercise that I would say Birddog you can do before pregnancy, during, and postpartum. And it's safe even if your abs have slid. So I'd say start an exercise program. Get your blood checked, you know, it's a simple thing. But as women, we don't necessarily run to the doctor when we don't have to. And then you have to suddenly you have to go quite often. But it's probably good to just have an overview of what's missing before. And that then includes your prenatal. I sadly worked with someone, who didn't know about folic acid or folate, and that caused huge problems for her child. So get on whatever regimen of supplements or prescription you need to be healthy. Mindfulness is a big one for me, but I can't say that I was as good at it five or six years ago as I am now. It's definitely something with people who are more aware of something to incorporate before. And I think in the US, there's a company called Expectable that did a lot of free meditations for moms in particular. And some people have high anxiety around, you know, pregnancy, so it might be a birth, and then start building a village. You know, it's, we lived in New York with no family present. And one of the reasons why I started working with moms there was to connect them to each other. Because there wasn't something like mums groups that you have here and that you have in Germany, where you're sort of forced by your counsel to meet other mums. But you because you're not necessarily going to be pregnant with your best friends at the same time. So you want to create a little bit of that company, you can have that, then we'll understand why you're up at 2 am and texting people, and maybe someone you can actually also text value breastfeeding at night. So building that, I'm trying to think of what people are asking me right now who are currently pregnant. As you said, if somebody can have a night nurse, I just wish we could have one; it's not so much because you don't want to get up at night, but it's about recovering from the birth. It's about having a helping set of hands there that can just explain in the beginning, when everything is heightened, and the stress of doing it all wrong. And so if it's even if it's week in the beginning, just to have someone there who can help just

Claudia von Boeselager 48:28  
just anecdotally on that. So I didn't have that the first time around because I thought, of course, I can do this, and like, I got this out, of course, right? Like I've literally with a newborn baby and didn't know I was crying still and still hungry. And all the rest of it went to the doctor that I couldn't meet it's colic. And it wasn't. I mean, I wasn't producing, she was hungry, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah anyway. So that was an interesting time for three months. But the second time around, I was like, You know what, just intermittently, I'm going to have this beautiful saint of a person to come. This became my best friend for the time; she would arrive at nine o'clock at night. And I was like. Finally, someone understands me, and I'm like, What am I doing this and then the other end, so just for new mothers thinking that they can do everything themselves, just even book five nights doesn't even need to be in a row of just having this person come obviously meet them in advance know like and trust them, check references do all you need to do but know that they have seen hundreds if not 1000s of newborn babies and they will also be there in the interest of you and making sure that you're okay and pointing things out that you might not even realize yourself. Sleep deprivation is real postpartum is real. I mean, again, think of it like having major surgery but without having anyone checking in on you. And especially if you've lost blood or you're off balance anyway, your hormones start going all over the place also, so do you invest in this is really investing in your health and especially your mental health, which in essence, you're also investing in your child. So I just really want to make a point about that.

Roma van der Walt 49:58  
Absolutely. Yeah. And as you said, it doesn't have to be consecutive days, it's nice even just to get a break, I think, yeah, every, you know, four days, every week, we were lucky that we had a meal train set up by friends. So, you know, for the first two weeks or so, we didn't have to worry about meals, about cooking meals, but also eating like a really nice meal. So there were all people in the community who ended up each making a meal that we could just pop in the freezer or have in the fridge. I think, you know, we underestimate that people do that out of the goodness of their hearts; sometimes they actually prefer doing that than giving you money or so. And that's a big one because the last thing you want to do is cook, and you end up so hungry. And you end up eating crap. If you don't, you know, if you don't have that. Pron juice. Lots of prune juice.

Claudia von Boeselager 50:50  
for digestion 

Roma van der Walt 50:51  
During and after the pregnancy. I don't think, yeah, that was a different level. But hydration, again, there are these very simple things that we again, forget in our day-to-day life to show up as our best selves, and it becomes extra important when we're postpartum. And that includes things like hydration, I love electrolytes. So I often tell people to get something like noon; I'm throwing around brand names, but the brand names because

Claudia von Boeselager 51:18  
I love specific. So which ones do you like,

Roma van der Walt 51:22  
noon, and then you Nuun and okay, and they have no sugar in them. They're a US-based company. And they are just they also just a lovely company from a marketing standpoint. And you know, when you give them a shout-out, and I think for moms, that's like having that little bit of extra oomph and not just playing what is really important. I know people right now are obsessed with element elmt. That's more salt. But I think again, I'm probably drawn more towards magnesium; I do salt, but it's because I also train a lot. I don't know if everybody needs that extra salt. But magnesium is a big supplement where I feel, you know, you can't really go wrong and falls within that electrolyte group. This is a controversial one for first-time parents, but we had to do it out of necessity because my partner didn't get paternity leave or not a lot. If you can let them sleep at night, you know, let them do maybe a shift, as you said, from 9 pm until 12 one and then let them sleep. Because then they can show up for you during the day. There's nobody's gaining anything if you're both getting up, so the mum breastfeeds, and the partner is there for moral support. By the way, I found that it's a bit lonelier, but the way you can then during the day cash in on that, you know, if they're working from home, or if on the weekends, and they're not completely sleep deprived as well, it just means it's not an entire household of zombies. So the second time around, we definitely made a few mistakes, we made fewer mistakes, and my husband would wake up, and he'd be like, Okay, do you need anything? But then I would make him sit up so that he could watch me breastfeed. He will go back to sleep, and I would be jealous. But then, you know, he would get up extra early and help me out if that was possible, then I could sleep in quote unquote. Yeah, I think those are the first things I can think of. And don't make your coming back journey about weightloss, don't. It's, it's the last of your problems. It's, it's not everyone; that woman loses weight when she breastfeeds, I didn't. I lost weight because my thyroid started overacting, which people thought was so cool. It was the exact opposite. It almost turned me into like a crazy person. But coming back from pregnancy is really about again; we build that foundation, rebuild your core, rebuild your leg strength, and we create the foundation for the things you love to do. Because when that's back, then you go back to all the sports you love to do, and you'll do it without injuring yourself, without relapsing without, you know, getting a stress fracture because you're undernourished, and then you're in a boot for six weeks and really frustrated. So yeah, just I'm not saying take it easy and slow because there are certain little exercises you can do, even at six weeks, that are going to create a really strong core. But just don't jump back into SoulCycle classes are back into your peloton for like an hour a day because you think you need to be back in that specific size of clothing.

Claudia von Boeselager 54:39  
And one other point I would just add to that. So I love that list is to plan from like pre-birth. So when your mind is still able to focus even just twice a week where you have three hours for yourself, where you know the baby's taking care of, be it a relative or whoever, ideally during the day Because by evening time you're exhausted. So during the day, to go for a walk in the park, meet a friend for tea or whatever you're drinking, I don't even have a massage, you know, do some sort of thing that's just for you. Where are you going to put yourself first when you have a baby there? It's you, just like this complete motherhood thing takes over, and you forget about yourself. And so if you have those in the calendar that every Tuesday and Thursday from, I don't know, 11 to whatever time it is, right? Maybe it's even a time when the baby's sleeping anyway, so you feel less guilty of not being there. This whole guilt thing is also a big thing. I don't know how it was new, like, constantly, anyway, but just to plan that time in advance in the calendar and just be really strict with yourself, no guilt, it's for you. And this is part of the oxygen strategy. It's super important just to have it in the calendar and fixings. I think,

Roma van der Walt 55:54  
as a practice, I would say I would highly recommend acupuncture both before, during, and after because it just covers all of it; the preparation I was induced by my acupuncturist, which was wonderful; it was very, very gentle. And then the recovery, like just finding that pocket of napping that is so restorative. And was my self-care. Once a week, I would go to acupuncture and just drift off for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, the different nap; this one is allowed to be longer. And come out and know that, you know, my lower back didn't hurt, and I felt more centered and had slept. So that was really good.

Claudia von Boeselager 56:34  
Beautiful. So what are some key factors switching gears here that you recommend for women, for longevity,

Roma van der Walt 56:43  
the way I talk about it a lot is getting ahead of what could cause us trouble. You know, longevity, the way we see it portrayed a lot right now. And I'm that's one of the reasons why I wanted to speak to you is we still have too few women talking about this topic. And we see this incredible Hulk, a big group of men who come from a fantastic background, and they are so smart. And I love all of their content. Honestly, I just eat it up. I think some of it applies more or less to us, sometimes a little less. And so, sometimes, women just don't necessarily gravitate to somebody that is not in their body to give them that advice. So it feels more like longevity has become about these buzzwords. Its biohacking longevity itself is a word that some people feel a bit icky about. When we say healthy aging, suddenly, it sounds really old, though. But there's, there's so much wisdom, obviously, in this content. And so the first is to know that none of this has to take a lot of time. So every little thing that you can change in your daily habits will pay huge dividends. So if I look at concrete examples of what people struggle with, there are people who don't drink water. And it's not something that I can relate to. But that's an easy fix. And it's, it's about reminding them. Yep. Whether it's water or tea, you know, not necessarily coffee, and maybe not energy drinks. Although there was a study recently about energy drinks and something about longevity. I need to remember who talked about it, but the sugar content way outweighed some of the positives, such as you

Claudia von Boeselager 58:37  
sugar. Yeah, we know that's highly inflammatory. So yeah, yeah.

Roma van der Walt 58:42  
So hydration was a big one. Another big topic I talked to women about, and I've heard about, became more relevant, and women started grappling with this alcohol, alcohol management. Nobody's asking you to get sober. But I think we get to a certain age where we have to reevaluate our relationship to it and what it represents for us. And that means the old adage of mum clubs and book clubs being all about just, you know, swingging wine. And that was the reward from, you know, making it through the day with your children. I think we've evolved from that. And it's necessary because it's not good for us. And I'm not saying I'm not sober. But I think just knowing your limits and knowing what triggers I had a new; I spoke to a neuropsychologist about this. And she said, You know, it's about unlocking for each person why it's become a habit and then undoing that habit and replacing it with something nice. So alcohol is a big one. We now know that exercise is the single most important key to longevity. And it's again, it's so simple, but I think when it's simple, it's boring because we want to biohack, you know, We want it to be complicated. We want to use gadgets, and we want to use protocols, and we want to take a lot of supplements. But, you know, the one hour and 50 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, women, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer among women, which is something that we're not talking about enough. We're not looking at enough women only wake up to that when it's too late. When, you know, exercise almost takes that step back again because we're doing so much for other people. And that can really powerfully contribute to a good mindset; it can contribute to us being healthier overall. There are more emerging risk factors for us now that people are looking at, which are tied to pregnancy, chronic diseases, and menopause. So we don't want to get to the point where it's irreversible. Mindfulness. When I surveyed women, 70% said they had no mindfulness practice. And we have it at our fingertips. And sometimes, when I get really lazy, I just listen to a track. And it's better than nothing. But when I'm being really good, I will set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier, 20 minutes earlier, and I'll wake up, and I won't look at emails, and I won’t look at social media, I light a candle, and I take that first moment just to set my day. And that's, wow, those days are different. And I can do that. And I could still exercise sometimes, you know, you feel like you have to make a trade-off. But you know, you could start with exercise, you can start the day with exercise, you are excited with mindfulness, and sometimes I end the day with mindfulness. So that's a big one. And then I would really wish women would. And I think it's happening like that we get more excited about data, you know, like to look at that, to have more access to data that goes beyond the fertility data. That's the other thing right now. Like we're finally seeing partnerships like natural cycles, and let's look beyond that. Let's look at what happens in women's bodies that is not related to them getting pregnant, like; we are way more than that. Oh, and mushrooms. Apparently, mushrooms are the future. I really take cordeceps; I used to take lion's mane. It's incredible. And when I was pregnant, I took Reishi like twice a week and twice a week. Because in China, apparently, it's believed that you will have a Reishi baby if you take Reishi during your pregnancy, which means there will be a little relaxed baby. And my child is nothing. I had this really beautiful Reishi cacao that I would make at night and sip as my little dessert. And my daughter came out, and she's wild. So that didn't work. That, you know, happy pregnant lady, but I think mushrooms are really powerful. And we're just starting to realize what they can do. And that, for me, is just regular mushrooms. Like, I'm not even talking about anything beyond that. But there's a lot of exciting stuff happening. But like, like I said, the basics are really easy nutrition, mindfulness, exercise, and sleep. And then, make sure that you can tailor those for each day in a way that their composition works for you.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:03:27  
Yep, I agree as well. And I've recently been adding Lion's Mane and Reishi to my morning smoothie as well. Yeah, I was struggling a bit with the Reishi taste. And my hack for anyone interested in it who struggles also is to add avocado to the smoothie. And it just neutralizes the reishi taste, but it makes it really creamy. So

Roma van der Walt 1:03:53  
gonna give that to your kids,

Claudia von Boeselager 1:03:55  
my seven-year-old will have pretty much everything I have. My nine-year-old is like, I've like no, so I knew I clearly I need to do more with her. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, I still need to find ways to do them. But I think the new thing that I'm gonna try with them is doing ice cream. So coconut milk fruits and then throwing a few things in there and then freezing it and then as a special treat, having some ice cream. That's like totally biohack probiotics and all the rest of it. And

Roma van der Walt 1:04:30  
there's a really good brand if you want something that tastes like nothing called lifecycle lifecykel. Okay, cycle spelled si y que el, that's an Australian company, and they actually droppers, so the tinctures as high potency, but they're you can taste them like you don't taste them in coffee smoothies. So those are awesome. I use them during pregnancy as well.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:04:53  
Perfect. We'll check those out. I know what we can do to help our kids, but I have got my kids doing the BrainTap, which is so good because they have. I was talking to the founder over the weekend. He's going to be coming on the podcast as well, Patrick Porter, but it's that's all around. Are you familiar with BrainTap? Do you Do you know,

Roma van der Walt 1:05:09  
I'm just familiar with tapping

Claudia von Boeselager 1:05:11  
so braintap is the device. It's a neurofeedback, neural rewiring device if you will. And I just thought it was for adults; I never spent time going through all the details. And it's phenomenal the work they're doing huge fan, and also has a little visor that comes down because our eyes are the extension of our brain on the outside, right? And so there's this little light and also on the ear as well because the ears go directly into the brain. And they have programs for kids, and it's just 10 minutes, and it's more like a story that they listen to. And while they won't take the mushroom and do different things that I'm trying to get them to do, in certain things, my, again, my seven-year-olds, good. Both of them are like completely, we do the braintap, please, please. Like, sure. Cool. So yeah, and also for focus for energy. My young one was having some struggles at school with some of her friends. She listened to one about like making friends before positive, she's like, Well, I'm gonna go, and I'm gonna smile at everybody and say hi, and I'm going to be really positive. So this was all from the thing, so I highly recommend that too. Oh, that's great. Any other favorite biohacks that you have Roma to share with my audience? Before we finish up with today?

Roma van der Walt 1:06:22  
I'm still a very loyal lemon water drinker. I know it may or may not do anything. I actually find it does get my digestion going if nothing else. But it's also just warming and beautiful in the morning. Sometimes I add a bit of apple cider vinegar. I'm not too sure about the whole blood glucose thing. I want to believe it. I think it works for me to have apple cider vinegar before having a starchy breakfast. Yeah, because I will not give up my oats. I really love my oat. 

Claudia von Boeselager 1:06:54  
If they work for you. Go for it. have you ever tried a glucose monitor?

Roma van der Walt 1:06:56  
No. So actually, this is something that I wouldn't mind just talking about, like not hearing your opinion on; I would be worried that this monitor would give me disordered eating. I'm serious. I talked to a few women who had issues in their past. And they said that that level of just focusing on their nutrition would make them spiral. And for me, I also had issues as an adolescent, say, Farmer related. And for me, I think it's a very, very slippery slope. So as long as I don't, I don't have sugar crashes because I think my consumption of sugar is either responsible or not. And then ideally, with the consequences, but it's rare. So, for now, I'm not too worried about that side. I think it's other data that I'm more interested in.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:07:53  
So for me, I thought it was interesting just to see, right? But yeah, I also had eating disorders is as a teenager, and no, and a lot of people I know, and women have, particularly, I should say, and it can be a very slippery slope, just obsessing with food. And so I took it from the standpoint of, I'm testing this out, I want to try different foods that I think are healthy, right? So it came from a healthy food mindset. And as a disclaimer, I'm an investor in levels health, right? So crowdfunding investors are very small, but I really love their interface, and I've had them on the podcast as well. Because of the insights, you just take a photo, you just give a quick comment. And you can just understand what's happening. And so my big aha, with that was sweet potatoes. And I was used to making these sweet potato soups with lots of vegetables, and I thought it was really great. And I was just watching this, like, glucose level going into the red and darker red, and I was just like, Okay, this is just for me. And this is the beauty of personalized medicine. For me, it just doesn't work. I can eat it, so I never eat it, but I'm just much more aware, and I would make sure that it's a smaller quantity and I have other vegetables with it as well. Funnily enough, the person from levels of health that I had on Maz was saying that he used to eat oats all the time. As his extended family would always joke, he was like a horse. He was always eating oats, and he thought it was so healthy, then he put it on the level self-monitor and watched his blood glucose spiking. He's like, okay, maybe I need to cut that down. So totally get that, and everyone or anyone who suffers from former's sort of eating disorders and struggles, you know, do be aware of that, maybe, you know, set it as a pilot as a test if you want to try it out, just to be more familiar how your own body's reacting to something that maybe you perceive as healthy. So that's just sharing a little bit of my experience with it as well, but percent don't keep it on all the time. And that if I did, I think that would drive me to become too obsessed and to focus on that. So Oh, yeah, I definitely understand where that comes from. 

Roma van der Walt 1:10:02  
And the other thing is I'm a big goal setter; I think that's another thing I find that setting yourself a goal is not always the same goal, just sort of forever, but like setting yourself a sporting Goal Setting yourself and mindfulness goal. I did a 40-day meditation goal for myself, which was a specific mantra a specific number of times, and it was non-negotiable. I ran a 50-kilometer kilometer race six months postpartum, which was partly, also to see how my body would react. But it was this, like, can I get back to being able to physically withstand that, At that point? This is extreme. I don't recommend anybody do that. But I find that even in small quantities, like that's why people do dry January. That's why people do the whole 30. I think goal setting is really important. And that, again, is just a really simple biohack. You and I talked about cold showers. I personally love them. I don't do them all the time. I claim. Have you read the study that the testosterone levels going up was related to the temperature of the scrotum? 

Claudia von Boeselager 1:11:07  
Yeah, so if it's too hot, electricity in the car. And interesting with the weekend, I heard, you know, the seat heaters in the car are for males and females and like EMF radiation that comes off of that as a potential, apparently horrendous. So

Roma van der Walt 1:11:21  
I'm sort of if it's squadron related, but how does it apply to women?

Claudia von Boeselager 1:11:27  
But EMF heaters,

Roma van der Walt 1:11:29  
yeah, yeah. Yeah. But so with cold showers. I think they are great because they build resilience. And I do think that they do wondrous things to our bodies. When I have to wash my hair, I don't do it. It takes too long. I don't have that ability to be resilient. But when it's a quick shower, many days of the week, I'll do that. So that's my biohacking.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:11:52  
Yeah. And just for some listening as well, the dopamine response. So you can have up to research shows up to 500% prolonged dopamine response, which is beautiful. So having that brain function and awareness and things. Plus, in the morning, it will wake you up like fog horn, so it's a good thing.

Roma van der Walt 1:12:12  
It will. So yeah, I think those are my simple biohacking ways. I joke that I biohack my sleep when my children started sleeping through the night.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:12:25  
Like it was kids for all by sleeping while listening, looking into also is senolytics. And so neurohacker collective qualia, they have the supplements and look at how to support and remove senescent cells so that they don't become the zombie cells in the body. And I was trying them, and like it's all-natural supplementation, right, but just the focus and the like it turns out I was talking to, to one of the founders, but it turns out that I wasn't even doing the right doses, I wasn't doing it high enough. But alone, just taking two of the tablets each day, I noticed this beautiful focus and concentration. So this is what I love about it, there are so many things we can do in a natural way to support our bodies so we can show up as the best versions of ourselves. Roma, if you could live to 150 years old, with excellent health, how would you spend that time,

Roma van der Walt 1:13:27  
I think I would probably reinvent myself in my career another two or three times; I feel like I've gotten fairly well so far in a shorter period of time because my background was so many sports-related; I would probably find one other big sporting goal. Like, I don't know if it would be an ultra event in something that would go beyond the marathon or ultra-marathon distance. But that would require really spending not just a few months preparing for but like a year, a few years. That will be really exciting. I still want to do a Ph.D. My dad was a Ph.D., and my grandfather was a Ph.D. So that's something that I can hopefully achieve long before 150. And probably in this field, you know, I really think I'm just now breaking into research with a university that sort of just very early budding partnership where we're going to be doing some research and perimenopause. And I'll tell you about it when we know more. But it's again; it goes back to data that goes back to data science. It goes back to correlating information that we can really only derive from the female body and how that affects us as we age. So that's a field that I would love to look into research and really like apply myself. I wouldn't have more children. I'm happy. I'm really happy with this. So there's almost this feeling of switching back to focusing more on myself again, after focusing my body predominantly on bringing them earthside and then caring for them very, very deeply. And now, just letting them sort of find their way. I would travel more, and I hope we'll have a planet where that's possible. Yeah, I think that's that covers it pretty well. We'll see if we can fly supersonic speed from Tokyo to LA in the next few years, some startups are tackling that, and that would make travel really exciting.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:15:35  
Yeah, so much easier as well; I could do a long weekend. Here, what excites you most about the future of health, well-being, and longevity over the coming years and beyond?

Roma van der Walt 1:15:47  
The thing that excites me most that I'm seeing emerge now is collaboration, I really think that we're seeing people in the private sector, we're seeing researchers, we're seeing foundations, we're seeing people really finally, put they're thinking hats on together. Like, you know, the last few years have taught us that being on Zoom with someone in a different time zone is not a big deal. Like we always thought, that had to happen in person. I think seeing hybrid events in virtual events, being able to absorb all of that information, I have days where I just go, oh, man, there's not enough brain space for me to take that all in. Like I want to identify, I just want to take it in; I actually want to apply it then. So then I record audio messages for people that I get really excited to tell that. So what excites me the most is really seeing how that happens. And for me, then, how we can apply that collaborative knowledge to personalized medicine. As he said, I think we really need to move away from just a one size fits all. And I think we're starting to see the beginning of that. Yeah,

Claudia von Boeselager 1:16:52  
very cool. Where can people learn more about what you're up to? And what would you like to share with people? We can link everything in the show notes as well.

Roma van der Walt 1:17:00  
Right now, I'm very active on LinkedIn. And I really love meeting people there. Because, again, it's that community of like-minded people. So I'm on LinkedIn; it's just my first and last name. I have created a company called Vitel. And we're at www.vitel.co. And that's where we specifically now look at helping women both in their daily life and with a lens for the long term to understand the data of their body better and act on that, and less with a focus on hormones, but more with a focus on metabolic health. So people can find us there and in our newsletter. Yeah, I think those are the two best channels. Perfect.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:17:40  
Do you have a final ask recommendation or any parting thoughts or message for my audience today,

Roma van der Walt 1:17:47  
if anybody in the audience is organizing talks around what we discussed, that one's female voice, sometimes, multicultural voice to contribute to that, I love to speak about this topic. And I've, you know, I've spoken on panels, both more sports science related and then more women's health-related. But that's definitely an area now where I'm always curious to see what's out there and know otherwise, I'm just like, please keep interviewing fantastic people as you do. Like, I really love it. And I hope that we'll make we do hope that we'll meet in real life at some point. 

Claudia von Boeselager 1:18:26  
Yes, exactly.You guys are leaving stateside. Right. Yeah. So

Roma van der Walt 1:18:29  
we'll be in California in about, well, I don't know when this is coming out. But by the end of August or early September.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:18:37  
Okay. So pretty soon as well. Very exciting. Oh, such a pleasure to have you on today. Thank you so much for your time and running through it, and I love what you're doing. We share so many similar passions and empowering women. I totally agree. Women need to support each other in this space and help with understanding that it's not just this male community of biohackers, but biohackers can be female, and we can do really cool things and be big fans of longevity too. So thank you so much for your time.

Roma van der Walt 1:19:06  
Thank you so much for having me and chatting through motherhood and biohacking, and longevity with me. 

I’m Claudia von Boeselager

Longevity Coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

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