by: Yuri Elkaim

What’s up, guys? Today’s edition of #AskYuri is the last one coming to you from my old kitchen. As I mentioned previously, we’re moving to a new home. We’re all very excited, but I must admit that I’m going to miss this kitchen. We’ve come up with so many great recipes and ideas in this room that I figured I should make use of it one last time. Let’s dive in to this week’s questions. I promise I won’t get too emotional.

What’s the best non-fluoridated toothpaste?

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My first question this week comes from Francese, who wants to know what non-fluoridated toothpaste products I use.

As you might guess, I’m not a fan of most of the toothpastes you get at your local pharmacy or supermarket, so you won’t find any mass market brands like Crest or Colgate in my house — I’m not buying them.

That may seem a bit harsh, but my rule of thumb is this: avoid any food or skin product you see advertised on TV. This definitely applies to toothpaste. The television commercials may try to woo and wow you with fancy graphics detailing just how well these products clean your teeth, but it’s all BS, one marketing ploy after another.

non-fluoridated toothpaste

Instead of these useless brands, I use a toothpaste called Desert Essence. It’s a natural tea tree oil toothpaste, and it contains baking soda along with the essential oil of fennel. It’s also fluoride-free and SLS-free. I love the taste and aroma and have been using the brand for years. I also trust how powerful it is as tea tree oil is an amazing antiseptic and antibacterial.

In addition to using quality toothpaste, I also try to oil pull as much as possible. This ancient practice involves swirling around coconut oil in your mouth in order to draw out any impurities that may be hanging around in there. Coconut oil is an incredible antibacterial, much like tea tree oil, so swishing it around and spitting it out is like a dental appointment without all the drilling. As an added benefit, coconut oil also whitens your teeth.

I must admit I don’t oil pull as much as I would like to, but I find it tremendously helpful when I do. My preferred brand of Coconut Oil is Nutiva and it’s quite amazing; you can eat this stuff by the spoonful.

I can’t overstate how important oral health is. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, an unhealthy mouth can lead to heart disease, just ask your dentist! Unhealthy bacteria in your mouth can seep into your bloodstream, potentially leading to arterial plaque development, atherosclerosis, and eventually heart disease. It’s shocking, but it’s just one more reason to make sure you’re on point with your dental hygiene.

What’s the most effective workout plan for someone looking to lose 50-plus pounds?

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Our next question is from Latisha and it pertains to exercise. She asks:

“Hi, Yuri, I spent the morning watching a lot of your videos, learning a lot of great information that I plan on incorporating into my lifestyle, but I do have a question about your workout regime. In multiple videos you say to limit your cardio to 10 to 20 minutes for a maximum of two times a week, and weight resistance should be no longer than 20 to 30 minutes a day for a maximum of three to four days a week. Is this type of regimen sufficient for someone wanting to lose fifty-plus pounds, and if so, how? Thank you for all of your amazing videos. I look forward to more.”

I’m thrilled that Latisha is finding my videos so engrossing and helpful! As to whether or not these workouts will be effective for someone who has more than fifty pounds to lose: absolutely.

Everything I put together is geared towards losing weight. I’m not the guy who’s going to show you how to pack on muscle; I’m the guy who’s going to boost your nutritional IQ and show you how to burn fat, get amazingly fit and have more energy.

When it comes to exercise, there isn’t one single right way to do it. All exercise routines really fall somewhere along a spectrum from what’s more effective to what’s less effective. There are popular programs—I’m not going to name any names—advertised on TV that require you to exercise six or seven days a week for an hour and a half to two hours at a time, and while they’ll certainly produce results, they’ll also wear your body down in the process!

Consider this:

Exercising this intensely is usually reserved for professional athletes, and while it’s easy to become envious of their chiseled bodies, we tend to forget that most of them are retired by the age of 35. Why? It’s because their bodies cannot maintain this volume of exercise and physical stress.

For example, I started playing soccer at age eight, and by my teens I was playing probably every single day. I definitely put in my 10,000 hours—if not more—and by my mid-20s my professional soccer career was over. Had I played beyond that, I would have been slowly killing myself. You simply cannot maintain that volume of physical exertion without breaking down. This is why you can’t allow modern fitness culture and advertising to make you feel inadequate by comparing yourself to famous athletes. You can certainly take cues from their training routines, but the key is to distill it to a level that’s not going to overwork your body.

If you’re going to do cardio, you should take the interval approach — rather than full-on sprinting, alternate minute-long rounds of sprinting with a few minutes of jogging. Repeat this pattern for the length of your workout, as this allows for both recovery and maximum fat burning. You can apply this to any form of cardio, be it skipping rope or using the elliptical machine.

Although the treadmill is likely what most of us think of when the word ‘exercise’ is mentioned, it’s far from the ideal form of exercise. Actually, it’s terrible. It doesn’t require any lateral or multidirectional movements, which means it creates imbalance.

Furthermore, that duration of exertion has a negative impact on your hormones. Your thyroid activity goes down, while your cortisol goes up; your growth hormone goes down and so does your testosterone. You don’t want to be experiencing any of this. Limit your cardio to higher intensity and lower duration.

Better yet, aim for full-body workouts. Doubling as both cardio and resistance training, these workouts are great for weight loss as they get a lot of muscle involved, thus requiring your body to use more oxygen. This leaves you huffing and puffing and sweating, which is a good sign that your heart rate is up. This also means you’re burning the fat you want to get rid of. You only need to do these exercises for 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a week. That’s it.

If you’re aiming to lose 50-plus pounds, there’s one thing I want you to remember: it’s not going to happen overnight. You could certainly aim for a more intense exercise schedule that would produce faster results, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that you’re far less likely to stick to it. Leave that to the people who are getting paid to do it. For you, consistency is the key to building the body you want for life. Another ingredient you can’t ignore is diet; all and any of this working out is practically meaningless if eating right.

I hope this is helpful to Latisha and anyone else out there who’s considering a new workout routine.