Hey y'all and welcome to the everyday athlete podcast recorded live from Omaha, Nebraska and I'm your host, Katie danger U S army veteran and founder of Red H Nutrition providing everyday athletes just like you, clean, effective nutritional solutions, custom formulated to help you reach your absolute potential every single day.
Hello. Hello again athletes. How are you all doing today? Welcome to episode number 27 of the everyday athlete podcast. This week I had originally planned on talking about the different types of protein like whey casing, a big beef protein and how you can utilize different types of protein for your training, your performance and recovery. However, I've had a really, really heavy personal challenge and some events that have shaped a subject for today's podcast. So we're going to do quick turn with the content today and I want to share with you some information that really was just all circumstantial and now I just want to make sure that I can educate you and get you aware of something that I realized. So I'm always trying to share the best information. I want you guys to be able to instantly improve your training. And then reduce the likelihood that you'll make any mistakes that I've made. That's what this is all about. I want to share with you my experiences so you can be better and perhaps not have to go through the same struggles that I have had to go through in my fitness journey.
(01:20): So this episode is all about reducing the chance that you'll make a catastrophic mistake like I did. Did you know that when you exercise on average, you're going to take in 20 times more air than you would while you're at rest? That means if the air is dirty or polluted, you're going to inhale 20 times more air or 20 times more polluted air than you would if you weren't exercising. That fact leads me to today's podcast topic. It's about air quality and your fitness and how those two are related. I believe there are three major components that make up the foundation of health. It's what you eat, it's what you drink and it's the air that you breathe in. Most of these podcasts I touch a lot on what you eat. We've also talked a little bit about what you drink and limiting things like sugar, artificial sweeteners and things like that that are hidden in beverages and sodas.
(02:05): But I have not brought up air quality yet until today. So let me start at the beginning and give you the Genesis for the discussion. Since the quarantine has started, I've spent a lot of time at home. I essentially work completely from home now since we decided to close the store in April and transition to complete online operations. I also really, really love a cozy home, so I've enjoyed some days during this corn team in my sweats with the heater on. We've had some cooler weather here in Nebraska, but I really like being warmed. So if I'm home alone, if my spouse is gone, I like to turn the heat on and just get cozy. It's my own home and I figured that I can be as hot or as cold as I choose. Right. Well, I've also been really tired lately and like really off my game.
(02:48): I chopped it up to, you know, just being in quarantine. I haven't had as clean of a diet. It hasn't been like the worst thing ever. But sure, I've had more processed food in it. I thought maybe it's because I've been working from home and it's a transition. It's a new routine, you know, just like things about how life changes. But I had no idea that it was actually related to a silent killer that was in my home. Most of you know, if you happen to follow me on any social media or if you've been listening to this podcast for more than just this episode, you know that I really, really love Guinea pigs. I adore them. I run a rescue nonprofit and I take care of Guinea pigs that need rehoming or I actually just keep them as pets too. The point is I run a Guinea pig rescue and I love Guinea pigs.
(03:27): Well, a few Saturdays ago, one of our Guinea pigs got sick and this is pretty normal. I mean, when you have the number of Guinea pigs that we have, like it's things are going to happen. You gotta be prepared. Well, this one happened pretty quickly and that's actually, again, the norm with Guinea pigs. They're fine, they're eating, and then you know, the next day they're sick and within hours they pass. It's unfortunate, but they're animals of prey, so they tend to keep their sickness hidden until it's too late. Well, unfortunately with Theo, he, he passed quickly. It happens now. I didn't think much of it because like I just said, it happens, but as the days continue, there was a trend that was going to start emerging the next day. Sunday, one of our female Guinea pigs, Sophia, she started acting really lethargic and withdrawal, which is really, really not normal for her.
(04:12): She's actually one of the more lively, a lively of the bunch, and she just, she was always lively. That's all I can say about her. She was on the go, right. I made a joke once that if we kept step trackers on our Guinea pigs, Sophia would just blow everybody out of the water. She's always walking around and doing something. Well when she was acting depressed, she stopped eating and eventually on Tuesday, so this Saturday is with Theo's passing and then on Tuesday I found her in the morning and she was dead in her cage. Sophia was a young Guinea pig. She was only two years old. She had no presenting health problems. It just boggled my mind. I've had it happen before where I've had to pass in quick succession. So I was upset, but I didn't give a lot more thought to it.
(04:50): You know, these things happen. So I figured we were done. Well the next Saturday, so we're Tuesday. Sophia passed away on Saturday. I woke up in another Guinea pig of mine. Penny was dead in her cage too. She had shown some signs of lethargy and tiredness. She wasn't older. Guinea pig. She might've been closer to five, maybe even six. I don't know a lot about her early history. I know we've had her for about four years, but she passed so quickly. It was within 12 hours that I noticed her being lethargic and withdrawn, and then she passed away. So I started to get really worried. I'm like, what has going on here? Is it the food? Is it the water? Is it the hay? And then I started thinking like, Oh my God, is there something in our air? Could it be carbon monoxide? We do have an old furnace.
(05:28): We live in a townhome, you know, I mean we just got suspicious. So I called our a townhome, our landlord, and they got the gas utility company over and they checked our furnace and we found that we did have carbon monoxide levels in our home. So it turns out we had a serious issue with our air quality and these dangerous levels of carbon monoxide were building up in our home within minutes of using our furnace, like when they came over and tested it, as soon as they turn it on, we were talking 30 plus parts per million, which I'll get into a little bit more of what these mean, but it's high and it's dangerous. And especially for small animals. So we literally were blowing carbon monoxide poison throughout our entire home. When we had the heater on and I just told you I love to have the heater on and especially during quarantine, I've kept my heater on.
(06:10): So the collateral damage so far has just been to our animals. But unfortunately the story doesn't end with just three, just a few days ago, just before recording this podcast, we've lost another Guinea pig. So that's four Guinea pigs in 10 days. And unfortunately this is a really, really hard and terrible lesson to have to learn about pollution and air quality, especially in your home. We did have, we do, we have a carbon monoxide monitor in our bedroom. It's upstairs. Well, there are some issues with home detectors and this is what I really want to share with you is a lot about air quality, but making sure that you not only have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, but you understand how it measures and that this should be zero tolerance. So most home detectors don't test carbon dioxide presence at a certain level.
(06:55): So it's got to get up to a certain level. A carbon monoxide alarm is a time weighted alarm. So, depending on what the timeframe is, the time we did alarm works by measuring a buildup of the carbon monoxide in the house over time. So for a person to feel the effects of acute carbon monoxide poisoning, which is like lightheadedness, lethargic, maybe dizziness, maybe nausea, they would need to be exposed to carbon monoxide levels of 50 parts per million for eight hours. So for eight hours you're going to be sitting in carbon monoxide before your alarm even goes off. And then that alarm response time will vary depending on the level of carbon monoxide in the air. So as the parts per million parts per million is the measurement tool. When we're talking about carbon monoxide. So for example, alarm will sound after three and a half hours of continuous exposure at 50 parts per million, but at eight minutes of continuous exposure at levels of 400 that's when the alarm goes off.
(07:45): So as the level of toxicity of the air, as the parts of your lane increase, then level of time it needs to set the alarm off decreases. So it's an inverse relationship. More carbon monoxide, the less it takes for that alarm to go off. But here's the deal, you guys at low levels, even over time your carbon monoxide detector isn't going to go off if you've got zero to five, which is zero to five is considered normal, unacceptable ranges in the home because for people who have gas appliances, water heaters, furnace ranges, maybe even have a fireplace in the home. If you're using those appliances, you're going to have some carbon monoxide. But I think it's a zero tolerance here, especially after what I have gone through and what I've experienced. These low levels, you're still exposing yourself to chronic long term levels of carbon monoxide and this can lead to nerve brain and heart damage over time.
(08:35): The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can linger even after the threat is gone. So even if you get rid of all of the carbon monoxide in the home, you stop using the appliances that are the threat. There are still effects that can linger and with our animals, I'm just worried that we're not in the clear yet that perhaps there is still some residual damage that we have to wait and see it through. I've done a lot of research and of course Googling and one of the best pieces of advice, at least for managing and mitigating any future damages is on the ASPA website and it talks about animals and most of the time animals, when they're exposed to carbon monoxide, it's from house fires, you know, they get stuck. So what they do is the guideline is even if they survive, you've removed the threat, you know, they're out of the brain home and they've had fresh air and oxygen.
(09:16): You still have to monitor for days and maybe even weeks to check if there's any of those lingering neurological effects that can present themselves later on. And that's not only scary for your animals, but it's scary for us too. So as I've been searching for less than all of this, because if you suffer, if you're going through suffering, which I have gone through a lot of suffering in the past few days, there has to be a lesson in it. It can't just be in vain. So my gift in all of this is to share with you and drive home how important it is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and not just standard stock carbon monoxide detector that the ones we talked about where they only start measuring it like 30 or 40 parts per million. To me this is a zero tolerance.
(09:55): It's a zero tolerance. You should get one that is real time and measures continuously so you can look at all the time and see from zero to whatever the max is. If you've got any carbon monoxide present in your home, why would you want any level of carbon monoxide in your home? You don't want to have to sit there in that toxic environment for four hours for your alarm to go off and then alert you because damage could already be done. So to me, after all of this, it's a zero tolerance zone. If you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home already, make sure you get one that's taking real time measurements and you know the levels at all times. If you don't have a carbon monoxide monitor, please, please, please get one. Please get one for every level of your home. Put one in your bedroom, put one where you mingle at the most, where your pets are.
(10:37): And you know you guys, I'm devastated by the loss of my pets. I love them. I love them like children. And I think though that they might have saved my life, we didn't know that we had a problem. So this whole experience, it's led me to drive home the importance of air quality and health. And this isn't just about performance, right? But it's also about longevity. And carbon monoxide is toxic, incredibly toxic, especially at high levels and for very, very quickly. And right now, I don't know if I have any long term damage from it. I might not ever know, but I can tell you confidently that I would have been way better off if I'd never been exposed to any of this at all if this had never happened. And like with all pollutants, both of the ones that you can see and the ones you don't see, you really do need to take care of the air quality environment in which you work out that you work in, that you live in.
(11:21): Air pollution has long been a problem with athletes, elite athletes in their training, especially during the Olympics because a lot of these large cities that athletes participate in like Beijing and Rio de Janeiro just a few years ago, there is lots of heavy air pollutants and Rio. In fact, the site of the 2016 summer Olympics, it's known as one of the most heavily polluted cities in the world and a lot of athletes had a concern for their wellbeing then and their ability to perform at their best during the Olympics. I mean this is the Olympics. You have got to be peaking upon, peaking upon peaking, right. There's no room for any air. We're talking like 0.01% of things. So here's something that was interesting. One study of air pollution and marathon performance found that every increase of 10 milligrams per cubic meter of air pollution, they use this term, PM 10:00 PM 10 is particulate matter that is 10 micrometres or less in diameter.
(12:15): And just to give you an idea, a strand of hair is about 40 micrometres. So it takes a lot of these little pollutants to fit on even a strand of hair in diameter. But the point is when this starts to accumulate, what they found is even with every increase, they're starting to see a decrease in marathon performance by 1.4% now we just talked about the Olympics, or like the peaking on the pun peaking and you've gotta be on your game, right? Like not just on your game, like on it over and over again. So when you have things that are measured in milliseconds and millimeters, air pollution can and will ultimately determine the winds of the losses and your performance. So as athletes, we do need to be adaptable. It is really important that we train in all kinds of environments. It is you want to train at elevation, you want to train, you know in humidity it builds character, but you know it also helps you train for those potential adverse conditions that you might meet during your event because not everything is rainbows and glitters.
(13:10): Not everything is that perfect training environment as we want it to be. So it is a necessity to get a little uncomfortable in your environment, but it is not. It is absolutely not necessary to subject yourself to unsafe air quality conditions while you train. If you live in a heavily polluted area or just simply concerned about your environments, air quality. There's a few recommendations I have for you. Work out in the early am if you must train in an urban area, try to choose the areas with the least amount of vehicle traffic and like factories, car fumes, exhaust. So try to get out into nature. If you can't get onto the trails, get in the country, get some back roads. The scientists recommend of all the research I did on this, the science says that you need to stay at least 100 yards away from any gas, burning diesel vehicles or any sort of factory fumes.
(13:53): And then also eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables because those are so high in oxygenating phytonutrients and antioxidants to help fight free radical damage. Of all the podcasts I've recorded so far and shared with you, this one means the most because this is very personal to my soul. It has affected me very, very deeply in my pets and my safety, their safety. It just means so much to me. So right now my emotions, they're ranging from anger to sadness, to confusion, to fear. And even as I record this, I'm in my own home and I've felt betrayed by my own home, the home that you know I'm supposed to be comfortable in. I've sat in my own home and I was being poisoned and unfortunately animals were too. So even now the threat is gone. We've got a new furnace. I'm still very uncomfortable, my surroundings, but I know that time is going to ease this discomfort.
(14:40): So this podcast has also been very cathartic. Sharing this with you has helped me a lot and I urge you to take some action on things. Okay? Get a carbon monoxide monitor for every level of your home. Get one for your bedroom. Get ones that measure in real time and measure at every single level of parts per million, whether it's zero one or 1000 this is zero tolerance exercise and the freshest air you can find, preferably outdoors in a way from urban life and eat your fruits and veggies, improve your oxygenation and fight those free radical damages with those really healthy antioxidants present. If you guys got any questions on my experience or anything else you want to know, just reach out to me. My best emails, Katie at coach Katie, danger.com I feel like this was a serious episode. Usually I have some lightheartedness to the things we talk about, but I really wanted to drive home the importance of the air you breathe and how it affects your fitness. And maybe, maybe I, hopefully this doesn't. I don't want this to ever affect the lives of you, your family, your pets or yourself. Be smart. Take care of yourself. You want to be here for the long run and athletes. With that I'm signing off. There's no promotions today, nothing else I want to talk about. No recommended supplements. I just want you to take care of yourself. Take the information that I gave you today. Check yourself. Be safe now next week for episode number 28 I'm very, very excited. We're going to get back on track
(15:58): regularly scheduled programming and I have another guest on the show. I'm going to be welcoming my friend, mentor, she's a public speaker, just overall awesome chick, Leah Baez. She's going to be on the podcast with us and we're going to be talking a lot about inspiration and really things you can do to be your best self, like putting talk to the talk, walk to the walk. So tune in next week, episode number 20 and I'm bringing Leah on. I'm really excited for you guys to meet her and get to know her more and with that athletes. This is Katie D. I'm over and out and we will chat again next week.
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