Your Brain Health Episode 22

Introduction: This is Your Brain Health with noted Neuroscientists, Dr. Kristen Willeumier. Your Brain Health explores strategies to maximize your cognitive functions through life. Here’s Dr. Kristen Willeumier.

Dr. Kristen Willeumier: Welcome to Your Brain Health on Radio MD. I’m Dr. Kristen Willeumier. Today I’m honored to have my dear friend and three time Emmy award winning television journalists, Mark Steines share with us how he balances a rigorous fitness regimen with his rigorous professional career. So Mark is known as one of the entertainment industry’s most dynamic and well-respected television journalists. He has established himself as one of the most trusted and charismatic figures in entertainment news. Having interviewed thousands of a list, actors, producers, musicians, and athletes. For more than six years, Steines has hosted Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family helping the show earn three Emmy nominations. Steines has helped set the gold standard in entertainment news while working at entertainment tonight for more than 17 years. So while many of you may think of Mark as a television journalist, he has also achieved accolades in the fitness space, having been featured in People Magazines, coveted sexiest man alive issue and Men’s Fitness Magazines, 25 fittest men in America. And let me just say he was in the company of some very impressive individuals including golfing legend, Tiger Woods, Double O 7’s, Daniel Craig and heavyweight boxer Valdimir Klitchkoe. So he’s also been a spokesperson for Beachbody’s 10 minute trainer program. My goal in having Mark join us today is to share more of his fitness background and also to talk about how he balances his fitness goals with the demands of a career in television, as well as an expanded family. He’s married to the beautiful Julie Steines who’s an acclaimed children’s book author and he has two sons, Kind and Avery. And is a new dad to daughter Parker Rose, who I believe is just over a year old. And I have to share, he’s also a parent to their golden retriever, Fred and their therapy dog Norbert. So Mark, my dear friend who I think I’ve known for at least 10 years now. Welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you on today.

Mark Steines: I was so enjoying listening, hearing all about the wonderful things that I’ve done. No just kidding. No, the big title is that I’m your friend and that’s where, that’s the thing that I’m most proud of of all that, I really do. I just, relationships are so important that a company that you keep really defines, I think who you are and friends help you reach for higher goals. They hold you accountable and you’re such one that has done that. It’s always brought Natalie a light into my world, but also information that I can use and apply in my life. But anyway, I’m happy to be here and it’s just.

Host: And I have to thank you because you’ve been kind enough to have me on Home and Family several times and that was such a, such a great honor talking about, you know, football and, and your kids playing the sport and how it impacts brain function. I mean, we, you know, we’ve had opportunity to talk about lots of things on your show, so thank you. And it’s so nice to have you here.

Mark Steines: Well, good. And I’m glad we could have you on. And your information that you share is invaluable. That’s, you know, Home and Family and it’s really about family. It’s always about that.

Host: Yeah. And you’re about family. And I really wanted to have you on today. I mean, everybody who’s anyone probably has seen you on television. I mean, Entertainment Tonight, again, you’ve interviewed every celebrity under the sun, whether it’s Cher, Madonna, Sandra Bullock Tom Cruise, and you know, I remember I’d have conversations with you on the phone. You’re like, yeah, I’m on a plane going to see Anna Nicole Smith’s husband. Was it Howard Stern? And I’m just like, you live this glamorous life and people see you on television. But the part that many people don’t know is how this fitness regimen that you have and how extraordinarily fit you are, and how fitness has been an important part of your life. And so my goal in having you on today, you know, it’s 2019, we’re in January and you know, people are starting up their new fitness regimens and I just thought you would be so inspirational to have on, to share with us a little bit about your fitness background, sort of how you got into it. I mean, you compete in triathlons. I mean, you’re pretty extraordinary in the fitness space and I know people don’t know that about you. So, you know, tell us a little bit about that.

Mark Steines: Well, I think the one thing you need to have if you want to be fit is a job on national television because you everybody goes, well, did he gain weight? All of a sudden America is worried about your health. Actually I put that aside to tell you one of the things that I really learned and I used to be a gym rat back in the day. I’d go to Gold’s Gym and you know, in Venice, and, but I was always, I played football in college. So working out has always been, or you know, fitness and taking care of myself on different extremes. Sometimes it was just about bulking up. Other times I ran marathon so I wasn’t lifting weights at all. It was more about the endurance component. It, you know, challenging the mind, the body, the spirit, all of that comes into play when I try to work out and do things, I mean, I look at it. Are you exercising? Are you working out? I look at it differently. Like when I take my daughter for a stroller, you know, push, it’s a little exercise. It’s not a workout. With workout there’s real intent involved for me. My routine now where I am in my life is I’ve moved into the cycling phase. I’ve done that before on the road, but I’ve moved into stationary bike stuff and I like to do a lot of my workout stuff at home for a couple of reasons. One I have a Peloton, which I’ve been on now for almost three years now.

Host: I’ve seen your Peloton statistics on either Instagram or Facebook. I’m like, there he goes again, Marks on the Peloton. It’s fantastic. It’s actually phenomenal workout. I love cycling.

Mark Steines: Oh, I love that. I love it. In fact, I started a ritual because you know, I hosted the Rose Parade and I get up at one 30 every new year’s day morning and I will go down, I’ll have my cup of coffee or tea or whatever and buy two something. I’m on that bike. I’ve got a Van Halen playlist. I use the same workout every time. And I compare myself from year to year to try to top myself cause the score is still there. But I use that to sort of like shake the cobwebs out. So it does. And I would, I will always, I subscribe to this theory as well. Traveling or not. When I’m working, I like to wake up from my slumber and think like, okay, my bank is full, my energy bank, my reserves, it’s all there. I want to take the top of that and reinvest it into me. So I don’t want to do it at the end of the day when I’m tired and I’ve given everything to the man, I want to take the best of me and, it’s the same thing. It’s like when you get paid, you should take a little bit of that money and give it right back to yourself in a savings account. I do that. So I always work out. I get up early in the morning, I was up the other morning, I want to do a ride at 5:00 AM and so I got up at about 10 to four and just kind of woke up and did my thing. It’s just my, I’ve always been that person and it really, it’s what I get out of it, you know, it’s the endorphin rush and it’s that hit of adrenaline that you get and then you get to go like, I’m done for the day.

Host: So you always do your workouts in the morning and are you every day, seven days a week?

Mark Steines: I will do. That’s a great question. It’ll do, like I took today off, cause I could tell my legs were a little bit tired. I may do that. Go back down and do some resistance training. And I say go back down. I’ve got a little studio, I have a garage that I’ve converted into a DIY. My boys use it for a sound studio. They record staff. I use it for working out and my photography stuff. So it’s all a multipurpose area, but it’s my space. It’s my man, you know, cave.

Host: Yeah, I was just going to say, it sounds like a man cave. It’s got weights. It’s got the Peloton. Now I have to ask, cause you and I have talked about this, so you were the spokesperson for Beachbody. And you know, many of us know Tony Horton. You know, we see the commercials and you lost weight on their program or tell me a little bit about that.

Mark Steines: Yeah, so Tony is an amazing he’s an amazing guy. I worked with Beachbody. There was one particular trainer that I worked with specifically. His name is Michael Carpinco. He’s all over Instagram. He’s one of the top trainers at Beachbody as well. Cause Tony does a lot of the traveling and goes to military bases. And what he does is amazing. But you know, when they approached me to do this, I’m like, okay, really 10 minutes a day, come on. I know this isn’t the case, but the idea is behind that is like, look, if I can give you, if you can give me 10 minutes, I bet if I can get you to get addressed for 10 minutes, maybe then get 12 minutes out of you, maybe at another couple of days I may get 15 out of you. And then to make guess what that may go to 30, and pretty soon you start going, you know what? And they ease you into it. It’s really designed for people who are just getting fit. Well I got into it right away and I was able to, you know, get on the wagon. And I’d also tell me a lot about nutrition. Eating regularly, cutting out, you know, a lot of the breads and stuff that I would eat. I dropped 30 pounds in 90 days.

Host: Oh my God. So did you do this? They had asked you to be the spokesperson and then you jumped in and started doing the videos. Is that how?

Mark Steines: Yeah, we did. Yeah, we did before pictures and after and you know, they’re probably online. They’re, you know, we just, and it wasn’t like I was, you know, really obese or anything. I was typical, you know, I’ve been, and I know it’s difficult, but when I cannot tell you how that change has reverberated through and this, but this was years ago is still, sustainability has been there.

Host: When did you do the Beachbody?

Mark Steines: Oh gosh, I’d have to go back and look at and see, but I want to say it’s been maybe 10 years ago.

Host: So it was right around the time when you were one of 25 fittest men in America, which is extraordinary. I mean, people do not understand and hopefully we can put the picture of you up in the triathlon. I was like, Oh my God, the muscles, it’s crazy. Nobody would know. Cause we see you on television, right on Entertainment Tonight. Hallmark Channel, Rose Parade, hosting Miss America. We don’t even know sort of what’s behind that. And that’s why it’s, I love having you come on today. And you know you talk about Beachbody. So again, part of why I wanted to have you on, and I just had a meditation teacher, Bob Roth on the show before you and we were talking about just doing 10 to 20 minutes of meditation a day. So the goal is what kind of new habits can we start this year and do them consistently to really change our brain and body, and help us to age successfully and live longer and be more emotionally resilient and happier. And again, you’re giving people this tool, whether it’s Beachbody or whether you want to get a Peloton, you know, it can just start with 10 minutes.

Mark Steines: Yeah, I think a lot of people look at the cost of an investment. Like I look, I had an, I just sold, I had a treadmill, thought I would use it. Never did. Bought a rowing machine, used it for awhile.

Host: I love the rowing machine. Do you still have it? I’ll buy it off you.

Mark Steines: No. I actually just sold it. I did.

Host: No you didn’t. It’s one of my favorite machines. I went to school in Boston. So rowing is really big. You know, they have had a good.

Mark Steines: It’s a great workout.

Host: Rowing is an extraordinary workout and I feel like a lot of people don’t understand and appreciate how incredible adding rowing to a cycling regimen to a running regimen, put in some Pilates, and now you’ve got and some resistance training and I think you have a really.

Mark Steines: Yeah, there’s so much technique to rowing, I was just like, you just pulled this right and it’s like, no, there’s so much core just in the range of motion when you’re going, where you start and where you’re pulling from in the center of your course, same as cycling. Like there are people just think, you know, cycling is, you know, peddling your feet. But there is all different muscle groups that you focus on. And sometimes you unclip one foot and just use one leg to pedal. It’s a real challenge.

Host: And you know what, I’ll tell you when you change up your workouts and even do that, you’re working different regions of the brain. So it’s, you know, cycling. I’ve taught people, for people who have Parkinson’s disease, sitting on a recumbent bike and doing the cycling can actually help support their brain function. And maybe on another show, I’m going to get into this, but this is why I like people to continue to move. You know, part of why I wanted to do the show is every day we need to move, whether it’s walking your dog, doing Beachbody, getting on the Peloton, getting a rowing machine. I mean, we just, we need to start and it’s got so many benefits to keeping us healthy. You know, it’s more than just staying lean. There’s so much more to it.

Mark Steines: I refer to that what you’re calling is stirring the tanks. And I got that saying from I don’t know why, but the amazing movie Apollo 13 with Ron Howard, that Ron Howard did and it’s, when did they flip the switch to serve the tanks, and that’s when things started going wrong, but for whatever reason, it’s just I feel like I have this tank and then you just stir it and I need to get it going. And if I don’t, by the end of the day, I just am not the same. I have to have that. I don’t know that just it becomes something that is a way of life for you. It just, it’s just like brushing your teeth and flossing and getting a workout and it’s just part of my daily routine. Some days I can put in a long workouts and days I can’t, it’s okay, you know? But as least, at least I’m doing something, years ago, I can’t even tell you, I must’ve been probably my early twenties. I adopted the philosophy that every birthday, no matter what day it is or how I’m feeling, on my birthday, I will do something for my health. So I may go, at the time when I was training, I would go for like a long 20 mile run or something. When I was doing marathon stuff or I would just do a good workout in the gym. Sometimes it would just be a, you know, a bike ride and a massage. But I always did something to celebrate my health because you know that when the health goes, your whole vision on the world can become tainted and you’re just not yourself and your mood shifts and then your light dims and you’re not, you’re not the best version of yourself. And that’s what I think is so important, like we want to put out there, especially now, as you know, I’ve got a little one, I’ve got an 18 month old, so I want to be around a long time for that little girl. I have to be able to sit in the rocking chair with the shotgun on the front porch.

Host: Here I’m like, Oh, you have to walk her down the aisle and you’re like, no, I’ve got a protect her. Yes. You know, you’re so sweet. Oh my God. Well I just Mark, I adore you. I respect what you’ve done. And before I close, I just have to ask. So you have competed in triathlons or marathons or both?

Mark Steines: I’ve done marathons early in my career, but I have no ACL from a football injury in my left knee. So it’s increasingly difficult for me to run the long distances now. So now what I typically do is when I get involved like the Malibu triathlon, I do it for charity and I do the relay version of it. So it’s nice to be able to still go out and compete. That’s why you know you have to, as we get older there’s things you’ll start going, Oh, this doesn’t work the way it used to. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop working out.

Host: You just adapt. You can swim, you can get a Peloton, you know, every athlete knows this. I mean, physical injury comes with athletics. So we sometimes have to just shift, and we weren’t meant to have the same level of athleticism as we get into our sixties, seventies and eighties. It’s like the body changes. So I’m a runner, but I know I should be cognizant of my knees and protecting my knees. And as we age, more people get knee surgeries and hip surgery. So I’ve shifted my workout regimen to include Pilates two days a week and more.

Mark Steines: And I don’t know to what the running, jump on that real quick. Some people now are running on the balls of their feet, you know, like sprinters. I was a sprinter versus the heel-toe strike. I don’t know that, like I haven’t tried that, but that is probably a new frontier that if I ever were going to get back into running, I would look into that because it seems to be less impact on the knees. But but still there’s always options out there to get around and to work with.

Host: There are. And again this is why it’s like here you have a new, you’ve got, you know, two older sons who are in their teens, but now you have a little baby and it’s important for you to stay healthy. And that’s why just I wanted you to come on and just sort of be that inspiration. Like people can do this. And Mark, I just love having you as a guest on my show today on Your Brain Health. Your commitment to your fitness regimen is so admirable and I just appreciate you coming on and sharing your wisdom and you’re just such a kind, compassionate person. And your motivation to stay fit is an inspiration to me, as well as I’m sure to your kids, and I’m sure your wife loves it too, right? It makes you a happier Mark at home.

Mark Steines: Oh yeah. It makes me happier by the way. I love salmon. I don’t know. I’m on a salmon kick. Is that good for my brain? Is salmon good for the brain?

Host: Oh my God. It’s loaded with Omega three fatty acids and because the brain is comprised of approximately 60% fat, we want to make sure you’re having those Omega three fatty acids daily, whether it’s through supplementation or yes, the fish like salmon. Of course we can get a new discussion. Oh, well you’re a chef. I know you love to cook.

Mark Steines: Well, I love to cook. I’m far from a chef, but the way I frame that up in my boy’s minds is I become a chef by making them wait longer to eat, cause the hungrier they are the greater the food tastes.

Host: And the more they are going to love your cooking.

Mark Steines: They’re like, Oh my God, dad, this is amazing. And I’m like, yeah, it’s a pot pie put on the freezer and stuck in the oven. But they’re like, I’m starving.

Host: As we wrap up, please share where people can connect with you.

Mark Steines: Yes. I, you know, I’m an Instagram guy. Just the Mark Steines. Otherwise on my public Facebook page is a good time or a good place to, that’s mostly where you’ll find me treading around. I do have a Twitter account. I don’t jump on it that much anymore. I’m very visual site as a very passionate photographer. I like to post a lot of pictures of yes, my daughter. So you might get sick of looking at those, but I do some stuff along the way as well, but that’s where you can keep keep up with me. I also have a website too.

Host: Beautiful. Well I encourage everyone to follow Mark. He’s always on TV doing fun, new things. So Mark, thank you so much for coming on today and inspiring us to embrace a daily fitness regimen and to transform our lives as a way to balance of health and wellness. So you’re amazing. You’re such an inspiration and of course I’m going to ask you to come back on.

Mark Steines:

I’ll be there whenever you want me.

Host: All right, my friend. Have a wonderful day.

Mark Steines: Okay, thanks. You too.

Dr. Kristen Will: Bye. I’m Dr. Kristin Willeumier and Radio MD with Your Brain Health. We hope you join us again next time.

Conclusion: You’ve been listening to your brain health with Dr. Kristen Willeumier. For more information or to contact Dr. Willeumier, visit That’s D, R W, I, L, L, E, U, M, I E