Dr. Michael Pierce discusses health, how to establish healthy habits, and why so many people have health problems.
Joining me on the podcast this week is owner of Empower Family Chiropractic; Dr. Michael Pierce. Our health and how we feel is a very simple recipe to follow. Exercise daily, eat natural food, and practice habits that stimulate your mind and body. Doing all these isn't exactly easy though. Dr. Mike and I discuss our health, how to establish healthy habits, why so many of us have health problems to begin with.
Mike's passion is educating and empowering people to reach the highest levels of health and performance possible. Growing up as an athlete he truly values the importance of performing and functioning at the highest level. He was inspired to become a chiropractor when he watched it change and save his dad’s life. The Max living approach to health seemed to be the most congruent and logical to him: find and correct the cause of the problem instead of continuing to treat the symptom, Ultimately allowing people to reach their God given healing potential.
Our health and how we feel is a very simple recipe to follow. Exercise daily, eat natural food, and practice habits that stimulate your mind and body. Doing all these isn't exactly easy though. Dr. Michael Pierce joined me on the podcast this week to discuss our health, how to establish healthy habits, and why so many of us have health problems to begin with.
In this episode, I got a great guest on the show. We're talking about the importance of vitality and why to make vitality a priority in your life, especially as a business owner, a man or a woman that wants to reach peak performance and live out their most fulfilled lives. This is Dr. Mike Pierce, and he is from Arizona. He's a chiropractor, and he's talking about the five essentials that you must have in order to live a full life of vitality. It’s a great show for you guys, especially as we come into this New Year, 2023. He breaks it down and he doesn't hold back. He tells you how it is, but he makes it, in a simple way, the argument that you must make vitality in your health a priority in your life. You must do that.
If you want to check out our website, Iron Deep, go check that out. We're putting out some amazing events this 2023. We're putting it together. We postponed the March Men's Awakenings we're putting together now. When is that Men's Awakening going to be? We're thinking about June 2023. Make sure you can check that out on IronDeep.com. It doesn't mean you can't apply. Apply for our community. I would love to talk to you. I'm going to have a conversation with you about our Iron Deep community and see if you're a good fit for this community if you want to accept the invitation to live out your life and surrender everything that you are for his kingdom and his purposes. Make sure you check that IronDeep.com.
Also, on YouTube, we had a new video come out called Identity Crisis. Check out our Iron Deep channel on YouTube, the Identity Crisis, and what we're going through. Literally, men and women, especially men, have an identity crisis on their hands. We believe that everything that we are comes from what we do in the workplace. That's it. We are having an identity crisis. If that is yanked out from under us, who are we? We'd dive in on that particular video about who you are and who he says that you are. Make sure you check that out on YouTube. That's it, guys. I can't wait to introduce you now to Dr. Mike Pierce. What's going on, Mike?
Good morning, man. I’m super excited to have you on the show. You're looking good.
Happy to be here, buddy. Thank you.
Me too. I met Dr. Mike Pierce in Arizona. I was at an event with Scott Landis. He got up and started speaking. He was almost like a preacher. He was talking directly to me, talking directly to our Iron Deep community. I was like, “This guy's amazing. I am going to have him on the show.” We're going in a different direction. A lot of times, we go with business owners, faith in their business, and things like that. We've been focusing on vitality and how important it is to people's lives, men's lives, and business owners' lives for vitality. Dr. Mike, this is what you live, and there's probably a reason why you live it. I want to start back there. You are a chiropractor doctor. You live this in your life. You talk about this. You do workshops with vitality. Why is this so important to you? What happened in your life that made this super high priority?
Growing up, this wasn't a priority of mine as a kid. As I grew up, it was your standard American way of living. We ate a lot of processed food. Exercise wasn't a priority. Faith wasn't a priority. We weren't healthy. What happens a lot is, in our culture, when you're in a bubble, and everybody's unhealthy, then you don't realize that you're unhealthy. Growing up, we didn't know any better. Long story short, after I graduated from college, my dad dropped off a heart attack and was in a coma for four months. It was a big shock to our whole family trying to figure out what the heck happened and the road to getting him better.
Once he woke up from the coma, we were what I call the medical merry-go-round. We were going around and around new drugs. It wasn't until he was on fifteen prescription drugs, still not healthy, that I sat back and realized that we don't have a healthcare system. We have a crisis care system. My dad, who was the leader for my family, an icon in my family, all of a sudden wasn't able to be a leader or an icon for my family because he didn't have his health. Quickly, I learned at a young age that when you lose your health, you lose everything. When you don't have your health, what we don't realize, and this is as men, it doesn't affect you, but it affects everybody around you.
My whole family suffered because of what he went through. This sparked my whole journey of trying to figure out what health is, how we manage health, how we keep our health, and how we make sure that we can be the best versions of us so that way we can be good stewards to God's kingdom overall. That was this headway and that led me into chiropractic. That led me to find or get health naturally, approach health naturally, and be able to avoid being on drugs, surgery if we can, and all that stuff. That was the birth of it.
That's awesome. Take us more in the story of your dad. He had a heart attack. He was on fifteen medications, living that merry-go-round, doctor after doctor, I'm sure, trying to figure out how he could reduce his symptoms and be healthier. What happened to him as you guys started to look at this in a more natural way? Did he go more naturally and end up being more natural and healthier? Did he stay in the merry-go-round?
Full transparency, we're coming from a big Italian family, so my dad was as hardheaded as they come. As we were going, I remember the moment when I sat back in the kitchen and we were looking at each other. We have 15 bottles of pills laying in front of us. I was helping him take his medication one morning and I sat there. I was like, “This is ridiculous. Look at this. This is not health. Health is not eating fifteen different pills a day and you're not any better.” My dad loved to hunt. My dad loved to fish. He loved to work on his truck. He loved to be an outdoorsy guy, and all that was stripped away.
You couldn't do any of that stuff because he was so weak and so unhealthy. We sat back and I was like, “We need to try something else. We need to figure out something else.” I said, “If you want to get back to being able to get out in a duck blind, if you want to be able to get back and do any of that stuff, we going to do something else.” He was like, “What do you have in mind?” I did some research and talked to some buddies. Long story short, somebody referred me to a chiropractor. I was like, “Let's try a chiropractor.” We went to the chiropractor and it was the first time that somebody sat us down and explained how the body worked.
We understood why his body wasn't working, and that was huge for us. No one explained anything before. They were like, “Here's your pill.” This doctor sat down and was like, “Here's how God designed your body. This is how your body functions. When you go outside of these laws, the body will not function, and this is where you're at now. If we want to create function and you want to get life back into the body, then here's what we need to do.” He is like, “Understand that God made you to be self-healing. God made our bodies to be self-healing. If you cut your hand, that cut heals. Your heart's not healthy right now. It can heal, but the environment that you put it in now and that you continue to put it in is not a healing environment, so it's not going to heal.”
For us, that was the biggest mind expansion to know that it could get better. If you don't understand what health is, how can you ever get it? We follow this guy. This leads us to this understanding of doing things that are in alignment with how God designed our body and starts to live more congruently with what that looks like. My dad did this. I'll call it a six-month program if following what he said.
In six months, my dad was able to come off seven of his medications. I remember six months to the day my dad and I were sitting out in a duck blind on our first hunt since the heart attack. If getting back to doing what you love, you are going to understand what health is and what health is not. That's what we learned in this process with this chiropractor. Watching my dad go through this was what led me to be a chiropractor like, “This is so amazing. More people need to know this.”
That's so awesome. I love the story. His passion, he gets back to that. It's so funny that you walked in there and someone sat you down. They told you some different things that this is the way your body's designed and your body's designed to heal itself. It's common sense. It's not this huge complicated thing. We've made it so complicated and hard. The word you said is that you got back into alignment. I want to start there and continue the conversation with what that looks like. I know when we were out in Arizona, you went through some different things and brought you back into alignment. This seems this is so hard for people.
We know what to do, but it's so difficult. Maybe our culture makes it extremely difficult. Our lifestyle makes it extremely difficult. You can take this in whatever direction you want to. I want to raise my hand. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves the way that God created us to be. We all want that. It starts with bringing us back into alignment with the way that God designed us. Where do we start with that? There's the canned answers like exercise and things like that. Take us into your answer.
One thing I tell everybody is that health is simple, but it's not easy. As a culture, we have a hard time with consistency. If you were to pull 100 people, most people know what to do to some degree. We know what to do. We know that we should eat the apple, not the donut. We know that we should get off the couch and move our bodies. We know the simplistic stuff. We can make it pretty specific and dial it in. Generally speaking, we know we should not binge-watch Netflix. We should probably open up our Bible. We know these things. The question is, why don't we do them? In our office, there are five health essentials that we teach and we talk about.
Overall, life and health are about progress, not perfection. If we can look at five things and we can be moving in the forward progress of these five things, then we're going to be in a good place. The number one thing is mindset. If you don't believe that your body can heal, don't understand that concept of healing, have a toxic mindset, under that category of mindset, aren't regulating your stress, not prioritizing sleep, someone who is constantly in this state of comparison, the thief of joy, if you're in this mindset like that where that is such a toxic mindset, that health cannot happen.
We have to start with mindset. It's a funny thing I'll say in the office, but I said, “To help you get healthy, I have to get your mind before your spine.” Your mind has to be solid. You have to understand and believe that you can get well and believe that this can happen. I did a couple-hour seminar that Scott was at with me. We rented my church out. My pastor and I did this whole mindset seminar. We sat back and helped people understand like, “Do you believe that you deserve to be healthy?” Some people are so caught in the labels that doctors have given them, and they're so stuck in that space that they can't see anything past their migraines.
They can't see anything past their disc and their lower back is blown out. They'll never be able to overcome that. Mindset has to be a huge piece of this first step of the process. From there, we look at nutrition. A lot of us know that nutrition is important. To simplify it down, as a man, it is simple. How do I simplify this? I tell people, “If you start with this, if you ate more food made by God and less food made by man, 90% of the people would be much better off if you did that.” Stop eating food that came out of a box and came out of a drive-through and eat more food that came from the earth, or that walked on the earth. If you started there, you would be much better off. We then can get into details of grass-fed meats and all that stuff. All that makes a big difference. Eliminating processed food and eliminating processed sugar is a massive start for people.
We can complicate it. We got all the diets, everything that we went down the road a lot.
You and I can sit here and do a whole segment on each of these essentials. If you're looking at, “Where do I begin?” this is where you start. Another essential is exercise or movement. God called us to move. You look back hundreds or thousands of years ago. We were designed to move. We were out in the field working. We were out hunting for food and gathering. Our bodies were created to move. Nowadays, the typical CEO man, when we talk about entrepreneurs, we think about a guy sitting behind a desk on a computer or his iPhone. Our bodies were not made to be sitting and stagnant in here.
We need to get out and move. I'm not saying that you need to be out hunting 24/7, but just moving your body. The way that I tell my patients is there are lots of ways to move your body. Start with something that's going to elevate your heart rate and make you sweat once a day. Do that. If you can elevate your heart rate and sweat once a day, you're going to be better off than literally 90% of the culture in the country. Doing that, then we can dial it in and we can go down the roads of strength training versus CrossFit versus high-intensity interval workouts versus plyometric. There are so many things we can dive into depending on what you're looking for.
If you get your heart rate up and move, you'll be better off. Toxicity is another one. Toxicity is something that gets missed. A lot of times, as guys, I can tell you that we don't think about the toxicity part because we're not concerned about what is in our detergent. We're not concerned about what's in the shampoo and the soaps and all that stuff. We should be because if that's going in our body or on our body, that's going to affect our body. We don't realize the number one toxicity in our culture now is medication. The average American in our culture takes thirteen prescription drugs. All of those drugs are going to have a host of side effects. They're going to be toxic to your liver and your kidneys.
That right there is a massive thing. How many guys are sucking down ibuprofen left and right because of aches and pains that they had? That was me, playing football my whole life growing up. I played football with a Costco-sized bottle of ibuprofen because that's what I thought needed to happen. Many men, whether it's sleeping pills or pain pills of some kind, there are so many things we're doing that are toxic to the body that we going to be mindful about and say like, “My body will function better when I'm not partaking in a lot of that stuff. How can I get away from a lot of that?” Toxicity is another big one. We have mindset right there.
You're probably right. That's the one that I probably skip over. I'm like, “I am going to exercise. I am going to eat good, get a rest, and get to my mindset.” I don't think about what am I putting with my hair like, “What am I using?”
We don't have to go too deep, but when you look at deodorants or stuff like that, there's a chemical called propylene glycol that's in a lot of deodorants, shampoos, and soaps. Propylene glycol is a byproduct of antifreeze. You would never put antifreeze on your body. We don't know what some of these chemicals are. In our office, we do a whole toxicity seminar and go through and help people know what the main top chemicals are. In our kids, we're feeding our kids Gatorade. They're playing sports.
Those things are different like yellow and red 40. They have all these colors in them that are neurotoxins to the brain. You wonder why these kids are suffering with ADHD and all these other things. We're feeding them chemicals. We start to think like, “How do we get away from a lot of these chemicals and make sure that we're being more direct with what we're putting on our body or in our body toxicity-wise?” It's a big thing there.
With the kids, that's something that is everywhere. We can go down that rabbit trail too. Even with the church, my wife and I talk about the sugar. They’re giving away the candy, the treats, and it's surrounded during events and gatherings. There are sugars and the bad food. Our kids are sucking it all in. Look at the kids' aisles at the grocery store, the aisles that are known as the kids' aisle.
I don't know if you saw this. This came out. Our healthcare system released a new food pyramid guideline. I don’t know if you saw this. The old food pyramid from the ‘50s was horrible because it was super unhealthy and terrible. They were saying that eleven servings of processed grains a day was the priority of your diet. We can go down there. They released a new food pyramid, and this new food pyramid is even worse than the old one.
This new food pyramid ranks Lucky Charms higher than a piece of chicken or a piece of steak. You can google this and look this up. It puts eggs, meat, and dairy at the very bottom and says that you are better off eating a bowl of Lucky Charms than you are on eggs for breakfast. You wonder why we have one of the sickest cultures now for our kids and people, one of the greatest epidemics of obesity and chronic disease. We're following the wrong guidelines. We're following the wrong people.
We get into that conversation, and my wife and I talk about that. The goal of these food companies is to addict us. Honestly, the bottom line is they don't care about us.
That's where the money is. The money is on health. You put them up on all these sugary cereals, and then now you can also pay for the medication they're going to need to make up for it. It’s pretty silly.
We went through the four things. We have the mindset, movement, nutrition, and toxicity.
Chiropractic, it’s what I do. I always say this for last because this is what a lot of us don't understand, and I never did before. It is a thing that bridges all of those together. What we don't realize is, this is what I learned with my dad early on, the way our bodies heal and function is the communication from the brain to the body. The way we can do anything is through the brain to the body. If I eat a rib eye now, the way my body knows how to break down that rib eye and use it as nutrients for my body is a message from my brain communicating down my spine out through nerves to my gut to tell it what to do.
That's how it works. If that's the case, that pathway from my spine all the way down, that alignment is crucial for that signal to get to where it needs to go uninterfered with so my body can function, adapt, and work as it's supposed to. Think about it. If that spine is a highway and there are all kinds of kinks all the way through it, that signal's not going to get there. Most of us have this lifestyle like I was saying. We're sitting at a computer all day, hunched over doing this all day, and our back is completely messed up. Think about whether it's been posture from working, you got a bunch of sports injuries that you grew up with, or whatever it may be.
Our bodies have been through a lot. Our spine, most times that I see people coming in, will shoot an X-ray, and their spine is so messed up or so compressed, but I'm like, “No wonder your body's not getting what it needs. That signal can't even get to where it belongs.” I tell people that it doesn't matter how much grass-fed beef or how much organic vegetables you're eating if your body doesn't know how to absorb and utilize it. It doesn't matter what supplement you're taking, like the best protein powder in the world if your body can't absorb it and utilize it. This is where, in my opinion, if you look at the physiology of how your body works, you will get more out of your exercise and you will get more out of your nutrition if you have the right alignment, and your nervous system can effectively utilize and work with all of that stuff over there. It all starts with being in alignment.
That was a huge mind shift for me with a lot of people. We go to a chiropractor. It's about the alignment and it helps the rest of your body. If you could do one thing to help the rest of your body, a chiropractor would be that thing. A lot of people's mindsets are that, “Chiropractors are for pain management. My back doesn't hurt. Why would I see a chiropractor? My neck is fine. I don't have any pain. I don't need to see the chiropractor.” What's your take on that real quick?
Neck pain and back pain are probably 10% of what I do. Most of my patients come in where they're either coming in because they want to be able to work, be optimally functioning, and be healthy at their best. What we noticed is that if you're going to be there, then you're going to be working at your best all the time, either working best performance, physical performance, whether it's in sports or stuff like that. The other thing that's important is babies. People don't think about babies and kids, but babies and kids are super important. When a baby comes out, you're going to start their life off with ear infections, antibiotics, being sick, and all that stuff, or never needing the medical system and never needing to get sick.
This is a big tr trajectory shift. My wife and I, in our practice, see a lot of pregnant women and a lot of babies. The goal is to not wait until we get sick but to be proactive so that we don't have to wait for the problem to happen. We approach it head-on beforehand. Our thing is being proactive. Why would you wait? You get oil changes in your car or your truck so that you don't have a problem with your engine. You don't wait till the engine blows up and then say, “I’m going to get an oil change now.”
You don't brush your teeth because you have cavities. You brush your teeth to not get cavities. In getting adjusted, the whole premise is to keep your spine healthy. Don't wait for your spine to fall apart and then try to put it back together. My kids have been adjusted since they were 30 minutes old, and they've been adjusted ever since. My kids have honestly never had a medication their whole life. They never had a drug ever, and they are the most vibrant kids you can ever imagine.
That's awesome. We went through these five things. This is what you talk about. They are very simple, but even before the show, why don't people focus on this? It's a simple thing. “I need to move my body. I need to put God's made food into my body. I don't want to put toxins in my body.” That's pretty simple. That's common sense. “I don't want to put antifreeze under my armpits, and I want to be aligned, but it's so hard.” The health industry is billions and billions of dollars, but we are still probably struggling more nowadays than we have more knowledge than we've ever had. We have more knowledge than we did many years ago, but we struggle more. Why is that?
It's not a priority. Here's the thing. Notice this, and this is what I tell a lot of people. Your health is not a priority until you lose it. All of a sudden, it becomes all you focus on. A sad reality is that a lot of guys don't put their health as a priority. We don't think about it. You feel fine right now. You're not going to do a lot of healthy things for yourself because you feel fine. If you feel fine, then you think everything is good. If let's, heaven forbid, say that tomorrow your back went out, and you couldn't stand, 100% of your focus would go towards everything you can do to fix your back so that you can get better. You would do whatever they told you to do.
You would be 100% laser-focused to do everything you could to get back on your feet again. It becomes a priority. What we don't realize is that we don't make it a priority until we lose it then we have to make it a priority. It's a whole lot easier to make it a priority in day-to-day life and then you don't have to worry about losing it later. For people like me, when I watched my dad lose it, when I watched someone in my family go through that, I told myself that I would never want that to be me. I would never want to have that happen where my kids have to see that. For me, what I realized is that when I have my health, I can be the best dad. I can be the best husband. I can be the best leader. I can be the best business owner. I can be the best doctor.
I can be 100% committed to whatever God calls me to be when I have my health. If I lose my health and I don't make it a priority, then I can't do any of those things. I'm no good to my kids, my wife, my nobody if I don't have my health. A lot of people don't make it a focus and, unfortunately, until something bad happens, we have to make it a focus. If you look at the people, it's the people that you see on social media who have these amazing life transformations. Why does that happen? It's because they were 200 pounds overweight.
The doctor was like, “Yes, I'm going to put you on medication.” They were tired of being so bad that, all of a sudden, they made a switch or something had to happen to give you the switch. My thought process for a lot of people, men, or whoever is, why do you have to wait for that life-altering thing to make the switch? If you're in that like, “I'm fine,” zone now but you know could be better, why don't you commit now and make it better? Don't wait for the big thing.
We talk a lot about being the best person of yourself. It's not about not being bad, not being sick, or not having a heart attack. It's also about, in order for your body that's designed to operate at its peak performance, we have to. Especially the older I get, I'm like, “I have to take care of myself. I have to make this a priority if I want to operate and be the best father to my four kids, or the best husband to my wife. I have a couple of businesses.” Even on this show, I have to take care of myself. I'll be honest, guys. Sometimes I'm focused on it, but then something will happen and trip you up.
What happens with that, Dr. Mike? I'm sure you have life things happen. Your business isn't going as well as you thought it would be. Maybe something happens in your life, and you get tripped up. That's what happens to a lot of people. We start and we're saying, “I'm going to focus on my health. I'm going to get healthier,” and somewhere along the way, they get tripped up. Talk to us about that.
This is common now. Beginning of the year, everybody's setting health goals and resolutions. In our office, we do a big seminar where I rent out my church and we put 100 people in there. We talk about how we not let that happen. One month into the year, we start off the year gung-ho and we're going to, “This is going to be my year.” We set all these goals and all these things, then the sad reality honestly is by February 1st, 85% of people will have already given up or stopped focusing on it. When we start to think about it, life happens. I set goals and I set these things that I'm going to do every single day. Stuff happens, and I don't get to do it.
The difference is you have two choices. You either choose to give yourself grace for what happened and that you didn't do it perfectly, but I give myself grace for what happened, and I'm going to focus on being better tomorrow and get back on. I see it and I make it a priority for tomorrow, or I call myself a failure. I go back into my old story of telling myself, “Mike, this is what you always do. You always set goals. You always do this, and then you always quit. Why do you even set goals? Don't even do it anymore. Here we go again.” I let the devil creep back into my mind and break me down versus saying, “No, God called me to be here. I know that this is what I am.”
Here's the thing. Yes, I didn't go to plan. That happens, but guess what? It's okay because I have grace, and I focus on being better tomorrow. If you look and focus on it day by day, it's a whole lot easier than to say, “Here's my 30-day challenge of getting my fitness back. I missed one day, so I'm going to quit the whole thing.” That's what a lot of us do, versus saying, “Stuff happens.” I have kids. I have a teething baby and I have a baby who wants to run in my bed in the middle of the night. I don't get a lot of sleep. That doesn't mean I'm saying, “I didn't sleep last night, so the whole day is going to be thrown off.”
That's great. I love what you said. It’s living in those day-tight compartments. I read a book one time. It's about how to worry less or have less anxiety. It was like, “If you can live in those day-tight compartments, own the day and own your life.” Dr. Mike, I thank you so much for being on the show. Any last word of advice to our readers?
Here's what I would tell you, guys. At the end of the day, I always ask myself one question, “If I were to sit in front of God at the end of the day, would I be proud to show him what I did? Would I be proud of the decisions I made, the thoughts I thought about, and the actions I had?” It's one thing to think about something, but your actions are what matters. Would I be proud of the way I acted today? When I look at this, ultimately, the decisions that we make now are going to make us stronger for God's kingdom, or it's going to make us weaker for his kingdom.
It's going to make us be able to serve more or serve less. “I'm going to be more committed and more connected to my wife or less. I'm going to be a better intentional father or less.” If you make it black and white and you say, “I choose to do this because this is going to make me a better human being, a better father, it's going to make me a better-connected person, it's going to help me be better overall, this is why I choose these things,” it's a big picture. At the end of the day, salvation is what we're after. If I can say that at the end of the day, my health is going to help me be a better person and a better servant for God's kingdom, if that's what we care about as Christians, that means that my health has to be a priority so I can serve God's kingdom to the best of my ability.
I love it. That's awesome. That's a wrap. Thank you so much. This is amazing. I encourage you to focus on this. What's that one simple thing that you can do today to get you that little bit closer to the man or the woman that God designed you to be to reach your vitality? Thank you so much, Dr. Mike. I appreciate you, buddy.