Robb Wolf – Coping with COVID-19, Kevin Gilmartin PhD | Salty Talk 003


Welcome to Salty Talk. This is a special edition of Healthy Rebellion Radio. Each week on Salty Talk Robb will do a deep dive into current health and performance news, mixed with an occasional Salty conversation with movers and shakers in the world of research, performance, health, and longevity.
For the full the video presentation of this episode and to be a part of the conversation, join us in The Healthy Rebellion online community.

WARNING: These episodes may get “salty” with the occasional expletive.

This episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by Perfect Keto. Perfect Keto makes eating keto easier. Perfect Keto provides clean low-carb bars, nut butters, and supplements, and the best keto recipes and info so you can keto with confidence. Go to and use code SALTY40 for buy one get one 40% off on all Perfect Keto products. 

Today’s Salty Talk is an interview  with Dr. Kevin Gilmartin…
Dr. Gilmartin is a behavioral scientist specializing in law enforcement and public safety related issues. He is the author of the book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families. He previously spent twenty years working in law enforcement in Tucson, Arizona. During his tenure he supervised the Hostage Negotiations Team and the Behavioral Sciences Unit. He is a former recipient of the International Association of Chiefs of Police-Parade Magazine, National Police Officer Citation Award for contributions during hostage negotiations. He presently maintains a consulting relationship with public safety and law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Australia. He is a HUGE friend of ours at the Reno Risk Assessment program. 


Download a copy of the transcript here (PDF)

Nicki: Welcome to the Healthy Rebellion Radio. This is an episode of Salty Talk, a deep dive into popular and relevant health and performance news pieces mixed with the occasional salty conversation with movers and shakers in the world of research, performance, health and longevity. Healthy Rebellion Radio Salty Talk episodes are brought to you by Drink LMNT, the only electrolyte drink mix that’s salty enough to make a difference in how you look, feel and perform.

Nicki: We co-founded this company to fill a void in hydration space. We needed an electrolyte drink that actually met the sodium needs of active people, low carb keto and carnivore adherence without any of the sugar, colors and fillers found in popular commercial products. Health rebels, this is Salty Talk.

Nicki: And now the thing our attorney advices. The content of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary or fitness change. And given that this is Salty Talk, you should expect the occasional expletive.

Nicki: This is another episode of Salty Talk from The Healthy Rebellion Radio.

Robb: Thank you for jumping right in there wife.

Nicki: I just, I uh …

Robb: I appreciate that. There, there’s a little anxiety on my part every single time I get this thing going, so thank you.

Nicki: Figured I would just, you know, jump right in.

Robb: Thanks.

Nicki: It’s a nice morning today.

Robb: It is. It rained a bunch. But it’s kind of good because we’re in the pollen apocalypse.

Nicki: The oak pollen apocalypse.

Robb: – apocalypse.

Nicki: This is new for us. In Northern California I feel like all the oak trees lose their leaves in the fall, and maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I remember as a child. And then here in Texas it’s the spring.

Robb: They lose the leaves in the spring and then immediately on the heals start dumping literally just inches of greenish pollen.

Nicki: Greenish yellow pollen everywhere. So if you walk outside barefoot then you walk back in the house, you’re tracking greenish yellow pollen.

Robb: Which is a good look.

Nicki: It’s fabulous. So Salty Talk, episode three. We did want to mention one thing. As you guys know, if you’ve listened to the introduction, Salty Talk episodes are brought to you by our company Drink LMNT and the electrolyte drink mix LMNT Recharge. We’ve been doing something pretty cool with LMNT. If you followed Rob on social media or drink element on social media you’ve probably heard about this, but we figured we should let y’all know too for those of you that just tune in via audio. Right now LMNT is donating a ton of electrolytes to all of our front line workers, so anybody in the …

Robb: We wish we could do more but this is what we can do currently and we’re getting some emails and social media pings from people that are really stoked to just know that somebody is thinking about them.

Robb: One of the interesting things is that folks wearing this personal protection equipment, it’s super hot in there. There was some reports of people suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration and so we’re really hopeful that LMNT helps in that regard, and also helps just simply knowing that someone’s trying to do something to help these folks.

Nicki: Anybody in the front line in the hospitals, nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, anybody who is helping.

Robb: Shoot, long haul truck. I mean if you’re going above and beyond reach out to us.

Nicki: If you’re scrambling and your industry is …

Robb: Keeping the wheels of our society going such that it is.

Nicki: Exactly right now. Exactly. Just email, send an email to [email protected], that’s It’s hello at, and let us know the size of your department, what you do, where you’re at and we’ll ship out some product. It’s been one of those things where in a time like this when everybody is just a super stressed and scared, but all the folks that are working to keep us healthy, we want to do our part to try to keep you all hydrated and healthy as well. So [email protected] for that.

Nicki: The next thing we kind of wanted to mention at the front of this episode, which I’m super excited about this episode, we’ll tell you about it here shortly, but masks.

Robb: Early in this Covid pandemic we were told don’t bother with masks. It’s not a big deal. And then it turns out that this was somewhat well informed, I guess, when we look at what happened with regards to toilet paper and other runs on essentials. Some public health individuals appear to have rightfully feared that there would be this huge run on masks and were already under the gun with personal protection equipment for our medical workers and front line folks, but it does look like this stuff is important. We wanted to mention this and encourage people that even if this goes down to looking in your garage for the masks that you wear when you’re doing some painting or throwing a bandana over your face when you go shopping, these things do help. And personal hygiene is a pretty big piece to all this, washing your hands and all that jive.

Nicki: It doesn’t mean go on Amazon and try to buy up the rest that are available, if there are any available.

Robb: 600 of them.

Nicki: It just means that covering your nose and your mouth does seem to help. There are a lot of people who are sewing homemade masks. A friend of mine told me that there’s an Italian tie company that’s using the materials that they normally make these very high end ties for men and making masks for medical workers, so you can sew your own. You can use a bandana. There’s been sadly lots of images going around online of people doing crazy things like putting plastic bags over their heads while grocery shopping. Please don’t do that. But simply a scarf or a bandana or some sort of cloth would do the trick.

Robb: One other I guess kind of public service announcement is that there are shortages for blood. The need for folks that are healthy to go in and donate is real. Clearly this is itself kind of a dodgy scenario because it’s bringing you in contact with other people, so reach out to the local public health authorities.

Nicki: If you’re healthy.

Robb: Clearly if you’re healthy, but reach out to your local public health authorities, ask them what their protocols are on donating blood and clearly pass on the orange juice and cookies when you’re done. This is something that is going to be really important because although interestingly accidents have decreased, like the amount of trauma admittance and whatnot to emergency rooms has thankfully decreased, things still happen. Folks still get in car accidents or is still in need for these basic blood products. If it’s in your wheel house to donate blood, this seems like a really good thing to do. But again, check with your local public health authorities to figure out what the protocol is on that.

Nicki: Great. This episode of Salty Talk is actually the very first interview of Salty Talk interview. Rob, you interviewed a gentleman by the name of Dr. Kevin Gilmartin. Why don’t you tell folks … I’m so excited for y’all to hear this. This is so needed in this time right now.

Robb: I mean we’re buried in all the facts and figures and exponential grafts and all that type of stuff, and that’s all well and good, but at the end of the day we’re kind of in a mode of needing to focus on what we can control, which in some cases isn’t a lot currently. That can be incredibly stressful for folks.

Robb: Dr. Gilmartin is a huge friend of ours. He’s been an integral part of the renal risk assessment program because not only, I don’t want to say we haven’t just focused on the metabolic health of people, we’ve focused extensively on the emotional wellbeing of police, military and firefighters that we’ve worked with because their emotional wellbeing ties into their metabolic health. It’s an inseparable web of redundant features.

Robb: I’ll read Dr. Gilmartin’s bio here real quick. He’s a behavioral scientist specializing in law enforcement and public safety related issues. He is the author of the book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, A Guide for Officers and Their Families. Just as a side, I think this thing has sold seven or nine million copies globally, many, many languages. It’s an incredibly valuable and well respected book.

Robb: He previously spent 20 years working in law enforcement in Tucson, Arizona. During his tenure he supervised the hostage negotiations team and behavioral sciences unit. He is a former recipient of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Parade magazine, National Police Officer citation award for contributions during hostage negotiations. He’s presently maintains a consulting relationship with public safety and law enforcement agencies in the US, Canada and Australia.

Robb: Dr. Gilmartin is, part of the reason why I wanted to reach out to him is it’s funny because at different points people will have all kinds, either again, kind of reflective of our political divide, people either claim to love or hate police, military and fire, but when the shit hits the fan what people do in these circles is vetted automatically. People figure out what best practices are in these scenarios very quickly.

Robb: Dr. Gilmartin has been right at the front line of so many different catastrophic events in helping people to navigate the emotional trauma associated with that and help them to survive. That was so much of what we focused on in this interview is what does survivorship look like. It really boiled down a lot to recognizing what we can and cannot control, focusing on those areas that we can control and within that control, ironically it’s just simply setting up a basic schedule, day-to-day. What time do you go to bed? What time do you get up? When do you brush your teeth? When do you go poo? When do you exercise? You can exercise in virtually any scenario.

Robb: I just read a piece of a guy in London who had been training for a ultra marathon, and that clearly got canceled. He ran a regular distance marathon in his backyard running 837 laps around his backyard, which is a testament of just fucking mental [inaudible 00:11:35]. I can’t even imagine. Physically I think I could do it. Mentally running in circles 837 times, I’m not sure I could do that. But it’s testament that if you’ve got enough space to do a burpee you can jumping jack, cardio …

Robb: Dr. Gilmartin talked about the critical importance of proper nutrition and exercise and just maintaining a schedule. He went into a lot more. He’s a brilliant, wonderful man and just so incredibly grateful that we know him and he was able to carve out some time to talk with us.

Nicki: Let’s get into the interview.

Robb: Awesome.

Nicki: Enjoy everyone.

Robb: Dr. Gilmartin, huge honor to have you on the Healthy Rebellion Radio podcast. We’ve known each other for a fair amount of time. You’ve done so much work in the first responder community. You’ve been a dear friend to our clinic in Reno and Dr. Jim Greenwald. It’s just a huge honor to have you on the show.

Kevin Gilmartin: Well it’s my honor to be able to speak with you, the work that you all have done with helping reduce the health risks of firefighters and police officers is amazing. So my honor to get to speak with you this morning.

Robb: Doc, you just got back from some international travel. How did that play out given this whole Covid pandemic? Did that effect you folks getting back to the States? Was that just before things started really ramping up?

Kevin Gilmartin: I think they were ramped up in the United States, but I was in Australia and New Zealand and it was sort of a distant issue to them there. They didn’t have the sense of urgency, particularly in New Zealand. Life went on as normal.

Kevin Gilmartin: By the time the end of the day and we arrived traveling home to Los Angeles, it was an entirely different culture. I think right now New Zealand and Australia probably would reflect a typical American city in terms of urgency and awareness of the situation. But it certainly didn’t two weeks ago.

Robb: Interesting. We were doing some travel right around that time too, but it wasn’t similarly not until we started getting back to the central hubs that you really noticed that things were on kind of a heightened alert. And with everything that’s going on, the social distancing, the disruption of work environments, school environments, folks are under a lot of stress and you are pretty famous for writing several books, but perhaps most notably Emotional Survival For Law Enforcement. What is it that folks are facing in a situation like this?

Robb: You and I got to speak briefly the other day, and you drew a really fascinating point that this situation is so different than any other situation we’ve faced, different than 911 or World War II. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Kevin Gilmartin: I think when you look at overcoming stressful events, the sense of connectedness to other people to help us get through that event is so terribly important. I can remember going to New York on September 11 and staying there for several weeks and watching the sense of community. People who didn’t know each other were helping each other.

Kevin Gilmartin: With this pandemic there’s a real social isolation, social distancing. People, they walk near somebody step away. You look at your fellow human in many ways as a potential source of contagion and that actually is extremely disruptive to getting through any stressful event where we rely on our comrades and our family. I think that’s what makes it unique in one regard.

Kevin Gilmartin: In the other regard, it’s the average American has to play a role in this simply by doing nothing, and that’s kind of unique. We just have to stay home and not potentially carry the contagion to people who are more vulnerable.

Kevin Gilmartin: A stressful event is anything that has very, very high demands on us, followed by low control. As people are going through this worry and this pandemic and this fear response, one of the issues that’s hit them hardest is their absolute loss of control, things that we wake up to each day. We have a routine. We get up, we go to work, we travel, we socialize, we come home, we do our exercise or we go out and socialize. That’s been disrupted.

Kevin Gilmartin: In order to get some sense of predictability in our lives we have to start injecting control back in our lives. The first thing we have to control is just time. We have to have wake up with a schedule of what to do. Many people right now are finding themselves sitting at home and really, well, I don’t know what I have to do today. Just kind of lay on the couch and watch television. That would be one of the most stressful events combining that with all the negative information that seems to be coming out about this pandemic and the potential risks we’re facing as a country. Having some predictability in our lives is very important right now.

Robb: Doctor, how would you go about doing that? What is a pretty ironclad way that folks can craft some predictability? I’m thinking about maybe a couple of different groups here. We know a few people, part of our Healthy Rebellion community, they live alone, they oftentimes where they work. Now, if they’re fortunate, they’re working from home, and I mean these folks are really isolated now, depending on where they are. Some place you can still at least go outside. Other places you can’t.

Robb: We have some good friends that had just recently moved to Spain and they’re in full lockdown but they’re actually in a family unit, which is an entirely different stress, two or three kids, two adults. The adults have developed their whole life potentially working out of the home and now everybody’s at home. They’re getting fast tracked into homeschooling.

Robb: Maybe looking at this in an individual being isolated and then a family in this situation, how can they build a schedule that makes sense for them that gives them some sense of agency in this?

Kevin Gilmartin: I think each person’s story is going to be somewhat unique with the dynamics they are personally facing. But I think having building predictability and control is important. For a lot of average people in the middle of their working years, this is almost like what’s finished by a hard working person who’s recently retired. They wake up and I really don’t have a reason to get out of bed today. For 40 years I’ve worked really hard but now I’m retired and, gosh, what do I do?

Kevin Gilmartin: That’s the reality for many when the predict of factors in their lives are taken away. I really think that each person needs to spend a little bit of time and focus in on time management, setting an alarm clock for specific time to wake up, setting a list of concrete specific things that are going to be done that day, putting the priorities down, looking at good nutrition, looking at exercise, looking at having a number of social contacts to make.

Kevin Gilmartin: We’re at a unique time with the technology that we have right now at this stage in human history. Unlike any other time, you can instantly speak to your friend that you mentioned in Spain. You can get on Skype with them. You can exchange emails with them. And, and so staying connected and exchanging those electrons back and forth where people know they’re still in a sense of community, even though it’s a virtual community and this crisis will pass, what they’re facing will pass and we can again press the flesh with them. But at this point doing everything in our power to not be isolated.

Kevin Gilmartin: I know I personally every day wake up and give myself the task of contacting five people that I normally wouldn’t contact in my just busy holiday, waking up and doing all the actions that we do every day in our normal life, just stopping and looking at who I haven’t spoken to in a while and giving them a call, sending them an email just to check in on them. I think as each person does that we really build that sense of community.

Kevin Gilmartin: Social media, in many ways, has provided some of the good parts of the strengths of what we can do to get through this pandemic in staying connected to folks.

Kevin Gilmartin: I’m mainly concerned about nutrition, activity, socialization and sleep, and factoring in each of those our day pretty much will fill.

Robb: So building some schedule around trying to address each one of those kind of pillars?

Kevin Gilmartin: Yes, not waiting until you feel like exercising. I know that it’s 10:00 I exercise and at 11:00 I make some phone calls. I’m not staying up watching, binging on this television program. At 10:30 it’s bedtime for me. I’m factoring in eight hours of sleep each day. It’s habit formation. These times are going to require I think very aggressive self-structuring because the external control has been removed for most people, it’s been removed what time you have to show up at work and what time you get off work, what time you pick up the kids. All of those have been done away with for this short period of time.

Kevin Gilmartin: Looking at the need specifically of each person in our family unit, if we’re living in a family unit, because there’s going to be times that the kids need to sit down and you’re at school right now and mom and dad need some private time over here, and having boundaries and having a sense of control of those boundaries.

Kevin Gilmartin: When we were speaking the other day I mentioned to you about surviving difficult situations. I look back on my years of working with first responders who have been through some horrendous situations that I’m always amazed at how they actually psychologically survive those traumas.

Kevin Gilmartin: I remember speaking with one police officer who was severely wounded in a gun fight. His wounds were potentially life threatening, but he stayed in the gun fight and he killed the assailant and actually saved his life and the life of some other people. I remember asking him, “How did you do that?” I said, “With the severity of your being wounded.” And his response was pretty straightforward. He just said, “Well I had some training. I had some inoculation training about stress,” and had spoken to some other officers who had been also through stressful situations as part of his training.

Kevin Gilmartin: He said, “I knew I could do nothing about my wounds, but I knew I had to do something about returning fire so I only focused in on staying in the fight and returning fire.” He lived because of his capacity to focus in on what he could control and not to focus on what he couldn’t control.

Kevin Gilmartin: That simple concept, when you see it throughout the course of people who have handled terrible situations, I’m thinking of Viktor Frankl’s discussion of surviving the Holocaust when he reported that what kept him sane throughout insane situation of tremendous brutality and death of the camps, was that when he was fed a slice of bread starvation food, he would take his bread and break it in half and give half to the person next to him. That gave him a search for meaning because it was the one thing that he could control all day long. He could not control the brutality of the guards. He could not control the insanity of the Holocaust. But he could control that little slice of bread and he gave it to the person next to him.

Kevin Gilmartin: When I look at what Americans are going through right now I think our burden is so small but we have a sense of just expectation that these tremendous events are not going to touch us. And now that it’s finally touching us and most of us have lost this sense of denial that this will never happen to us, and we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic where all of a sudden what we have to do is control our environment and realize that there are people going out into the front lines and we have to stay home to not create more potentially infected people and endanger more doctors and more paramedics. But our sense of control is focusing in our domain and our homes and taking care of ourselves. I think the principles are very similar.

Robb: Absolutely. That’s so powerful. It is ironic in a way that our best course of action is doing comparatively little, like if it was a deal where we had to go build a levy or build an encampment around a city to prevent an invasion or something, it seems like it would almost be easier in a way because there’s the physical activity and the proximity but we’re working towards a common goal by isolating ourselves.

Kevin Gilmartin: That’s so hard. I’ve been in many situations over the course of my career where there is a need for the community to come together, to build a levy because of the flood and people are standing shoulder-to-shoulder passing sand bags to each other, or there’s been a tornado or a mass casualty event and people respond and they serve meals. As terrible as those situations are, they bring people together and they celebrate it and they mourn together.

Kevin Gilmartin: A friend of mine lost his son a few days ago, tragic loss, very sad for the man. But they can’t hold a memorial service to grieve. I was speaking the other day to an ICU doctor who’s been a friend for many years and she was saying what’s so terribly hard is to watch patients die away from their families, to die in isolation. Their families are not able to come into the ICU because of the issue. It’s that isolation and the sense of not being able to be with your fellow human that I think is so terribly difficult. We’re a social animal and now we’re kind of forced to stay away from our greatest source of support.

Robb: Wow. It’s little wonder that it’s impacting people the way that it is. We’re hearing reports of increased rates of domestic violence and child abuse and all manner of things going on which isn’t surprising but it’s also part of what we’re trying to do to get out in front of this and provide some tools for folks to better cope.

Robb: In addition to getting a solid schedule, a schedule in which you have some really concrete, achievable goals trying to focus on nutrition and sleep and exercise, communication with the folks around us, whether immediately in our space, like I am with my wife and two daughters, or maybe people adjacent to us becomes really important. But two groups that I think are really important to communicate with and I’ve heard a lot of people have anxiety around, is talking about this situation both with kids and with fairly elderly parents. Do you have any thoughts around those two groups and how to approach that?

Kevin Gilmartin: Considering that personally I’m probably closer to the elderly than I am to the kids, I think as people go through life experiences we have enough history in our own repertoire that the finality of life is something I think older people are more willing to accept. I think it’s one of the reasons that when we look at events where younger people have been violating the social distancing requirements or requests, going to spring break and still having parties, I think is that sense still of invincibility and denial in the younger population that makes it a little more difficult for them to grasp, not just intellectually grasp the concept, but emotionally grasp it.

Kevin Gilmartin: With parents, I think with school aged children and younger children, I think those children are going to look for security and predictability. It again goes back to that scheduling. If everything is different, if all of a sudden we’re not eating meals at the table or eating in front of the television set constantly and everything has changed, the kids pick up that anxiety because so much of their life has changed. They’re not going to school. They’re not seeing their friends. I don’t know if it’s so much what we say to them as to what we do.

Kevin Gilmartin: You can draw some analogies to things like sporting events and getting through anxiety. If you watched a field goal kicker or if you watch an NBA player shoot a free throw, they don’t just walk up there and shoot the free throw. They go through a very specific ritual before they shoot the free throw. That provides them a sense of control and blocks out everything that goes around. They might spin the ball three times, tap it twice, then take their shot.

Kevin Gilmartin: But I’m always amazed when I look at people who perform in highly stressful situations, how ritualistic they become before they do the specific act. In some ways that separates the professional performer from the really good amateur performer who has to attend all of these social anxieties that are distracting them. The pro just goes in and gets it done.

Kevin Gilmartin: I think we’re having to learn a unique skillset right now, and that’s to self determine our schedule, not have it determined and controlled by these external events such as employment and obligation socially that had been ripped away. So I would think providing that structure for children is terribly important.

Robb: That’s amazing. That’s phenomenal. Now we’re going to take a quick break to hear from today’s episode sponsor.

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Robb: I maybe hid my box of cookies somewhere in the house so that the …

Nicki: Here’s the thing. Robb rarely eats any kind of cookie thing. He’s a salty, crunchy kind of guy. Occasionally we’ll do some Quest cookies or some other things. The girls will eat them, especially if we’re traveling or something like that. But these Perfect Keto cookies are pretty damn good.

Robb: When we received them, I cracked it open and I just tried one really nonchalantly and just tried to keep a total poker face and then everybody kind of disappeared doing their thing and I picked up the box and went and hid it somewhere in our closet.

Nicki: He got pissed at me when I opened one. I’m like, “Oh, these are good.” He’s like, “Don’t eat those. Those are the only ones that I can eat.” So anyway.

Robb: I wouldn’t say pissed.

Nicki: They’re good.

Robb: I was just establishing boundaries in a time when there are no boundaries.

Nicki: You were trying to get some control over the cookies.

Robb: Yeah, I was trying to have some social distancing around my cookies.

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Nicki: Now back to the interview with Dr. Gilmartin.

Robb: Doc, you clearly have done a lot of work within the first responder community. I wanted to maybe the first part of the show make this more general for all of the rest of us, but for the first responders, police, military, fire, medical professionals, gosh, I would put just a host of other people in this, like long haul truck drivers. There are people doing amazing work right now that are largely going to be unsung in their sacrifices and commitment to keeping the wheels of our civilization moving. But what do these folks need to be doing above and beyond their normal process to be ready to deal with what’s ahead of them?

Kevin Gilmartin: First I’d like to comment on that unsung heroes comment that you made. I think maybe people now are starting to see how dependent they are on just every day members of our community that do the little things that make our life work, the grocery store clerk who didn’t have to come to work today but did to stock the shelves so people can have something to eat, the truck driver who has enough sick leave they could stay home but is still taking his rig or her rig across the country to provide what’s necessary to help their fellow human.

Kevin Gilmartin: These people are becoming into the light for the first time and they’ve been there a lot more important than the Hollywood celebrity who makes revulse comments about the pandemic. Maybe the person who’s actually doing something is more important.

Kevin Gilmartin: As you mentioned, we just came back from international travel and on the way back we stopped at the grocery store to get our groceries. We gloved up and did the things we needed to do. But there was a young 16 or 17 year old girl in front of the grocery store taking sanitizing wipes and wiping down every grocery cart and handing it to the people that came in and saying that cart has been cleaned and pushing the cart to the people. I’m thinking, “That’s amazing to watch that young girl do that.”

Kevin Gilmartin: She’s probably a high school student, but she’s putting herself in the situation to assist her fellow human. And all of a sudden in another time I would’ve wanted to go up and hug her and say thank you. I said, “Thank you very much for what you’re doing.” It’s very similar to watching the police officer, the fire fighter, the paramedic, who clearly is putting themselves into harm’s way.

Kevin Gilmartin: My daughter’s a physician and I know that when she goes to work she goes with tremendous compassion for her patients. But she also has to come home and be concerned about how it’s effecting her husband and my grandchildren. You multiply this by a million with all the nurses and the paramedics and the police officers that are very giving of themselves to go out and serve their communities and I’m thinking that maybe people are starting to appreciate that, that maybe they’re more important than the professional athlete who makes grandiose statements, that maybe we look at who actually we need in our life to give us a sense of community.

Robb: That’s super powerful. That’s really powerful. Doc, I want to be respectful of your time. Do you have any other thoughts or resources you might direct us towards and also let people know where they can track you down on the internet and followup on your work?

Kevin Gilmartin: Well I’m under One of the things, and I’m going look back to you because your expertise is directly in this area, although when you developed your expertise over the years you probably never envisioned it as a pandemic, but when you look at the role of physiology and exercise physiology and nutrition, we know that 20 minutes of solid cardio treats depression preventatively and treatment wise as effectively as antidepressant medication. Walking on a treadmill, doing cardio, terribly important for the reduction of anxiety and depression, which are the immediate symptoms people are going to be feeling right now.

Kevin Gilmartin: If we’re in a situation where we can do brisk walks or whatever there are physical limits are to be able to factor that in every day, again, as I mentioned, a structured and the nutrition, the sleep and the exercise, and the socialization, terribly important.

Robb: Awesome. Well Dr. Gilmartin, again, thank you so much for being such a good friend to the programs I’ve been working on and taking the time to share your expertise with us. It’s been really interesting to have this. We created the Healthy Rebellion as a place that our lofty goal was to, and still is, to liberate one million people from the sick care system and have some kind of plan around that. We’ve been growing it in modest clip.

Robb: But what’s interesting is as this Covid pandemic has really cycled up a lot of people who were maybe window shopping a little bit, kind of kicking the tires on the concept of being involved with the Healthy Rebellion signed up and are kind of blown away by the quality, the community and the support. It’s just been heartwarming for me to see this process. Although the community is still virtual, we just wrapped up a group chat not too long ago and we’re in the phase right now of dark humor. The dark humor that came out of this group chat was absolutely amazing and people said I haven’t laughed that hard in memory. It was great for people and it was both hilarious and cathartic for me so I feel like I’m probably getting more out of this than what anybody else in the group is. It’s been fascinating to see folks come together in the way that we’re allowed to do so currently.

Kevin Gilmartin: I think Robb, also, when you look at your writings and you look at your knowledge base pre-pandemic, that the things that you’ve been talking about and writing about for years and years are actually the resiliency factors physiologically that will increase people’s survival chances.

Kevin Gilmartin: When we were speaking the other day I joked about the fact that I’m standing in the kitchen speaking on the phone and my wife has your book on the counter. If I come up with something that’s not paleo it’s going to be … But those are the factors. As I mentioned with nutrition, we have to start looking also at what’s our post pandemic life going to look like. This is going to pass clearly and tragically there’ll be casualties, fatalities as there already have been.

Kevin Gilmartin: But then we’re going to have to rethink our priorities. The basic things that we do right now we won’t be doing hopefully a year from right now. I hope one of those things is nutrition and health that we redefine, not just the delivery system of healthcare, but actually wellness is what we’ll be looking at very aggressively with some degree of intensity.

Robb: It’s interesting because I think the first talk that I gave mentioning that the congressional budget office was predicting that the United States would be bankrupt from diabesity related issues. The first time I talked about this was 2013. I’d been beating this and I’m not the only one, but it’s one of these things where it’s a long ways off, you can kind of kick the can on it.

Robb: I feel what this SARS-CoV-2 virus has done is it’s exposed, without a doubt, ages is a risk factor in this story, although there was 103 year old woman in Wuhan, China who recovered, so it’s not universally a death sentence just age correlating poor outcomes, but what is crystal clear is that these chronic degenerative diseases related to metabolic syndrome are major, major risk factors. And so this virus has basically taken what was going to happen on the time course of decades and compressed it to days or weeks.

Robb: And so yes, it is triggered by a virus but the severity of the situation appears to, at least in this scenario, it’s not always the case. The 1918 flu pandemic was somewhat indiscriminate whether you were old or young, healthy or not, it killed a lot of people. But in this particular situation metabolic health appears to be a really important factor in what the outcomes are.

Robb: I am hopeful that this will light a fire under public health and make fundamental real health the goal and not reactionary medical care.

Kevin Gilmartin: We’re talking about a viral pandemic, but at the same time hopefully when this is passed we can start talking about behavioral pandemics. Nobody catches type 2 diabetes because somebody has sneezed on them. They catch that reflective of their, develop that because of their lifestyle.

Kevin Gilmartin: But ours is such a large segment of our society that doesn’t know that. I think taking responsibility as a society for preventing diseases that cause premature death and aggressively. I hope this word pandemic comes into our lexicon and we start using it in the years to come to prevent tragic events from occurring.

Robb: Absolutely. Again, Dr. Gilmartin, thank you so much for being on the show. I hope you and your family are healthy and safe and look forward to seeing you in real life when we get a chance to make that happen.

Kevin Gilmartin: Thank you very much. Good luck and stay healthy.

Robb: Thanks Doc. Take care.

Kevin Gilmartin: Bye bye.

Nicki: What a great, great interview.

Robb: I’m a little bit glad that that one was audio only because I honestly teared up a couple of times, so that was a goodie.

Nicki: Folks, I know we ask you to share episodes at the end of almost all of our episodes, but this one in particular please share. I know a lot of you are on the front lines. You’re nurses, police, doctors. Share this with your friends and colleagues. If you’re not on the front lines, share this with the people in your life that are.

Nicki: Again, remember that they can email [email protected] for some electrolytes as well. You can tap the share icon in your podcast app and just simply text this episode to your friends and family, so please, please make sure you share that. Remember to check out our show’s sponsor. Go to and use code salty 40 to buy one and get one 40% off on all Perfect Keto products.

Nicki: Anything else hubs?

Robb: I don’t think so. Again, this episode could be really valuable for anybody. We are all impacted by this social distances phenomena. And as Dr. Gilmartin made the case in the interview, this is different than virtually any other experience that we’ve had in the past. In World War II people came together during the blitz and after 911 folks came together during the hurricanes and fires, folks were able to come together.

Robb: We have to separate ourselves now, and that introduces another layer of stress because we are really social animals. Share this with friends and family, definitely share this with our front line folks too, if for no other reason that people are thinking about them. There’s only so much that we can do to support them. The biggest thing we can do to support them right now is to stay home, keep ourselves healthy so we don’t overwhelm the system.

Nicki: Stay home, stay healthy.

Robb: And take some of the pressure off of that whole process. Everybody take care and please, please stay safe and healthy.

Nicki: Stay healthy.



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