SS 268 – Our Top Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Stress Tips & Apps for 2020

Episode 268 Show Notes


The U.S. News & World Report recently released its results for Best Diets for 2020. But there’s nothing like the “2019 Best Of” list, the Strength & Scotch way. The list is based on their pillars of health – Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep, Stress Reduction, and Relationship/Human Connection. They’re also giving out some great tips in each category for 2020!

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[03:00] What is the Best Diet for 2020?

The U.S. News & World Report puts out the best and worst diets every year. To be top-rated, it has to be easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss, as well as protective against diabetes and heart disease.

35 diets were ranked and voted on by a panel of doctors and nutritionists. Each one was ranked separately and points are assigned. 

The #1 Best Diet is the Mediterranean Diet. 

[05:05] What is a “Best” Diet?

To call something the best diet is incomprehensible. 

Grant would personally define a “best” diet as something that’s easy to follow. It has to be nutritious, but still easy to follow. But what does “nutritious” even mean? The report stipulated that it should be best for weight loss or weight management. 

Moreso, Heavey doesn’t even understand what could be the best diet for weight loss. He just couldn’t relate to this; unless they clarified that the objective of the diet is for weight loss. You have to have a goal in mind relative to what best is. 

The report actually has different categories as to the best diet for weight loss, easiest diets to follow, and a few other categories.

[07:45] How Paleo and Keto Diets Ranked

The issue that Heavey finds with the Paleo diet is that it sounded like people used it as an excuse to eat bacon and pepperoni. Second, it’s not suitable for the environment. The Yale researcher said something about needing more surface area than the planet has in order to raise enough animals to eat paleo. 

In the list of 35, the Paleo Diet ranks 29th. The only ones worse than Paleo are the raw food diet, the Atkins diet, Whole30 diet, Keto diet, and the Dukan diet. 

The Dukan diet is like Atkins on steroids. There’s an induction phase where you eat nothing but meat, no vegetables, for 3-5 days depending on your goals. Then, you transition into another phase lasting for months and can add some leafy vegetables. There’s another phase where you can add some fruits in the end. But it’s mostly just lean protein and no fat or carbs.

[12:20] The Strength & Scotch Best Nutrition App, Gadget, or Device

The best thing you can do for nutrition is to be in the kitchen cooking food more often. Make whole foods for yourself and your loved ones. The whole point is to do one thing that would make your cooking experience more pleasant. 

For Grant, he chooses a good quality kitchen knife. Heavey’s top choice is a smart scale, a bodyweight scale for nutrition. What Heavey does is jot down his weight everyday without really even looking at it. Then by the end of the week, he gets a report saying that his weight was down a pound for this week or up two pounds. 

The scale fucks with so many people’s heads. If you’re sitting there every morning, you’re looking at a fluctuate. Because it’s going to fluctuate based upon water weight and other factors. The average is built into the smart scale and emailed to you. 

Most times, people pursue nutrition for weight loss purposes. With a smart scale, it gives you an incredible insight into the effect of what you’re using for your nutrition to be able to get automatic average measurements emailed to you. 

[16:50] Nutrition Tips for 2020

Be aware of consistency in your diet wherever possible. It’s very difficult to find progress in your diet if you are varying the food you’re eating all the time. You won’t know how many calories you’re eating if it’s changing all the time. The more consistent you are in your diet, the more you’re able to figure out how effective it is. 

For instance, Heavey has a 3 pm snack everyday. But when he’s traveling a lot and put on extra weight, snack time is the first thing he eliminates because it’s just extra calories in the day he doesn’t necessarily need. It’s an easy way for him to start working back towards his baseline.

[18:10] S&S Best Movement/Exercise App, Gadget, or Device

Heavey’s top pick is the Strong app on his Apple watch. You can set up your workouts. Create routines and repeat them. This way, you’re able to organize routines. Heavey keeps a folder for when he works out at his gym at home or when he’s traveling. He can easily access them and implement their rotation. The premium feature offers advanced metrics.

One of the biggest impediments people have in the gym is scrolling through Instagram or getting distracted based upon their phone use while they’re in the gym. What Heavey has decided to do is to set up his workouts on his phone via Strong app and work his way through them using the Apple watch version of the app. It helps keep him on task and keeps his phone away.

Grant’s top choice is FightCamp. It’s a combination of a tracker, wrist wrap, boxing gloves and a punching bag. The app records your punches by communicating with sensors in the tracker. You could see how many punches you’re throwing, how hard you’re throwing them, and how fast your fists are moving. It’s like Peloton for boxing. 

[21:00] Movement/Exercise Tips for 2020

Grant: Find a way to make exercise fun. It’s not about what you can do for one day or one week. But find something you can do for a long time. If you’re getting burned out, change it up and find something else. If you’re struggling to work out at all, first, try to find something where you can be active and enjoy it!

Heavey: Set a minimum threshold for exercise. For him, it’s lifting three days a week. Sometimes, he lifts more than three days a week and more than 45 minutes a session. But he has a baseline that he will not let himself skip. You don’t have to do the exact same thing. Instead, set something as easy as doing ten pushups per day or go for a ten-minute walk. Just find out that one minimum that you will set and live by. 

[22:33] S&S Best Sleep App, Gadget, or Device

Grant’s top pick is Withings Sleep. It’s a product that helps monitor your sleep without having to wear it or charge it. It can tell your heart rate and your movement, as well as how much you’re snoring or whether you have sleep disturbances. 

You simply have to place the device on your mattress under your sheet and you just plug it in the wall. This year, they might be coming up with a device that can diagnose sleep apnea. They have a way to make you move just enough so that you start breathing. 

Heavey is quite dubious on the quality of data that comes out of these sleep trackers. He has seen data from a lot of clients using a bunch of different trackers. 

Heavey feels that we’re still in a phase where we’re guessing energy expenditure with those devices. With that said, it’s going to continue to get better and better. However, people have a tendency to track things and don’t pay attention or use it in any way.

Heavey’s number one pick is Kindle. Reading before bed is decompressing for a lot of people. It helps them wind down. Take time to read at least 30 mins when you’re in bed. This will help dramatically improve your ability to fall asleep as well as your sleep quality. It keeps you off other devices like your phone, iPad, or TV which all have a great deal of blue light that interferes with your melatonin response affecting your ability to sleep well. 

[27:00] Sleep Tips for 2020

Set a wind-down timer. It’s the same concept as setting up an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. For example, you want to go to bed at 11pm. At 10pm, have an alarm go off on your phone to remind you to perhaps turn the lights down in your house or stop watching TV or using your phone. Then, you can use Kindle for the last 30 minutes of that time. There’s also an app for Apple watch called Pillow. It lets you know when it’s time to wind down.

Grant’s tip for sleep is to not drink too much. He switched to dry January and he noticed he was sleeping much better when he’s not drinking a lot. Nothing affects your sleep more than drinking. 

[28:20] S&S Best Stress Management App, Gadget, or Device & Tips!

Heavey’s favorite is a meditation app that he has always used and it has really helped him over the years. Grant’s top choice is The Five Minute Journal. It’s a gratitude journal with five questions on each sheet. There are three questions when you first wake up and two questions before you go to bed.

Heavey has been doing the gratitude journal for a few years now. Over the past year, he has been taking it a step further where at the end of the day, he would write down he felt for the day or how the day went. At the end of the month, he goes back and re-reads his notes. Just going back and reading through helped him see trends he can’t see while he was in stressful situations. It gives him clarity and a 10,000-ft. view of his life. It helps him sort through stress in a big way.

Grant’s de-stressor tip is to take baths. Heat up the tub, pour over some lavender oil, and chillax. That will rejuvenate your soul.

[31:13] S&S Best Human Connection App, Gadget, or Device & Tip!

Grant’s number one on his list is to have meals with people. It’s the best way to bond.

Heavey’s tip: Do something that brings you around people that you care about and have conversations with.

Grant’s tip: Do not use your phone in the bedroom.

[33:30] The Best Whiskey Experience in 2019

Heavey’s top personal favorite is Ardbeg’s Uigeadail. When they’ve been doing features of specific scotches from a region, he also found the Glenmorangie is another great option. It’s wasn’t peaty and it wasn’t expensive. Grant’s most memorable drink of the year was the Kilchoman sherry casks.


U.S. News & World Report on Best Diets for 2020



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