Food is not the enemy

It’s been awhile, I know. Not the best way to grow a blog or a business, but even the best of us can get into funks and I’m far from the best. The past is the past, so let’s move on.

Food is energy and life. It is not the enemy. Sugar is good. Fat is good. Even saturated fat is good. Protein is good. Even protein from red meat is good. Eating meat is good. Not eating meat is conditionally good, but much more complicated and some people simply cannot live healthily on a vegan diet. For the moment I’m not concerned with ethics. I’m not concerned with sustainability. Those issues are beyond the scope of this piece.

Food is not the enemy…You are. You want to behave like a child and eat and drink without thinking about the consequences. You want to consume all the junk foods and dessert foods you want; that your parents wouldn’t let you have before dinner; and you want to eat as much as you want because you’re an adult now and no one can tell you what to do.

Now your fat. You have high blood pressure and diabetes and can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath or needing to rest half way up. You’ve crippled yourself. It’s your fault. Not McDonald’s fault. Not Coca Cola’s fault. Not Nabisco or Entenmann’s fault. Yours. Yes the media puts out a lot of confusing messages; this or that food or calorie source is bad or good for you, and the pharmaceutical companies are always looking for a new marketing gimmick that our medical community is ill equipped to understand or combat. Your doctor is not a medical researcher. They are told what medicines to use to treat whatever conditions, and they are even told what conditions they are supposed to treat. That’s how a woman’s monthly cycle; the most natural experience a human female can have; gets turned into a treatable medical condition. It’s why we have viagra. Old man can’t get an erection? Is it possible he’s actually just to damn old? This is fundamental biology. So’s eating and drinking. Fundamental. Biology.

Eat too much and you gain weight. Lift heavy weights and eat too much and you gain muscle weight. Eat too much and sit on the couch you gain fat weight. Eat too much and run 10-15 miles/day every day and…well…you can’t really eat too much if you’re running 10-15 miles a day every day. 

As far as weight management is concerned, a calorie is a calorie. Forget the media. Forget what passes as common knowledge. A calorie is a calorie and if you eat too many of them you will gain weight. If you eat too few you will lose weight. Eat way too few and you will also lose a lot of energy which can have a negative effect on your ability to exercise effectively. Exercise less, or less effectively, and the amount of calories you can eat without gaining unwanted weight goes down. 

Sugar is not bad. Consuming sugary snacks and drinks sitting on the couch for 4 hours is terrible. Fat, any fat, is not bad. Consuming lots of fatty foods; regardless of whether they are saturated or unsaturated or whatever other terms the media and medical establishment applies to them (linoleic, oleic blah blah) while sitting on the couch for 4 hours is bad. Animal based proteins are not bad. As a matter of fact, they are superior. But just eating lots of protein while sitting on the couch for 4 hours is terrible.

Sitting on the couch for 4 hours is not bad. Watch a good movie, cuddling with a loved one, spouse, lover, dog or cat, is wonderful and de-stressing. Just don’t shovel calories into your mouth like a black hole devouring a solar system.

Use your common sense. Accept the consequences of your own decisions. Wake the fuck up and pay attention to yourself. If you catch yourself  in the middle of an unconscious eating and drinking frenzy, stop it. The more you practice stopping, the better you’ll get at stoping until you never unconsciously start. 

This actually works in all aspects of life, not just with food and exercise. No ones perfect. And anyone who knows me personally knows I suck at it in almost every way. Except with food and exercise. And if you see me, you know it works.

Good luck.

NYTimes: In Struggle With Weight, Taft Used a Modern Diet

Such a compellingly modern story from the American past.

http://nyti.ms/1gfKJFX

William Howard Taft, the United States’ heaviest president, used a weight-loss program that researchers have found to be startlingly contemporary.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Skim Milk Is Healthier Than Whole Milk, Right? Maybe Not | TIME.com

There is so much misinformation and mythology passed along as true simply because it’s been repeated by so many for so long. But nobody checks the sources, and when someone finally does check it’s always the same result: conventional wisdom leads to moronic decisions.

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/03/skim-milk-is-healthier-than-whole-milk-right-maybe-not/

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Interval Training: More evidence that working out harder in shorter time periods is better for you than working out for longer time periods

The interesting NYT article below, about recent studies on the efficacy of intense interval training for weight loss and weight management, is well written. It clearly states that this study is preliminary, used a small sample of young males only, and so no long term conclusions for the general population should be assumed.

It also pointed out that these intense intervals (which many people erroneously conclude last 4 minutes or 7 minutes only) actually last 30 minutes alternating between short bursts of 100% intensity with longer intervals of low intensity activity in-between.

These conclusions are not new or earth shaking. Any track and field athlete or coach engaged in sprinting events could have told you most of what this study says. Read on.

http://nyti.ms/1ap1ZlW

NYTimes: How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less

Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise may have unique benefits.

Reuters.com – For ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer, diet trumps exercise in weight loss

Yes to the paramount importance of diet (proper nutrition). Must disagree with his adherence to CrossFit training methods (anyone so out of shape as to need to lose significant weight almost certainly lacks the skills to do such a workout safely under any circumstance, regardless of “proper supervision”.

A good piece, overall, though.

Results oriented training part 2: In The Beginning

The most important things you can do to ensure your children grow up with the best chances for future physical fitness are:

1. Let your infants crawl as much as possible. Crawling is one of the most necessary elements to develop neuromuscular coordination and proprioception. Do not try to force your child to walk sooner than necessary. They will get up when they’re good and ready.  Remember, the vast majority of their future life will be spent sitting down, so let them develop those muscles and coordination skills early and innately.

2. Encourage any natural inclinations for athletic activity, matching your level of encouragement to their personal inclination; do not try to enforce your higher enthusiasm or desire beyond their own. This will lead to resentment, rebellion, and eventual refusal to participate.

  • Most children will enjoy sports if given the chance and proper encouragement; minus the unrealistic expectations of adults.  But some will absolutely abhor them, simply because they are so dis-inclined of those natural gifts that make anything we do joyful.  I never liked math, and avoided studying something that seemed so alien to me, while literature and history was engulfed by my mind.  Why is this concept easy to understand while the physical equivalent is somehow so difficult?  I was always a good enough athlete that I enjoyed overcompensating for whatever physical gifts I lacked.  But most children never will like participating.  It will be emotionally painful and physically uncomfortable.  That’s reality, as is occasionally failing at things and not doing well at more things.  Understand that creating the right environment using yourself as an early role model is no different that a child growing up watching their parents read a lot.  Those children are far more likely to become readers themselves, though they are unlikely to ever become Ernest Hemingway.

3. Be as fit as possible, yourself, and be seen enjoying fitness related activities as your children grow up. You want to maximize your chances of having an overweight child who develops adult onset diabetes at 11 years? Be unfit and disdainful of physical activities yourself.

4. You will never be able to eliminate junk food completely, so be wise. “Junk” foods are treats, and should not be allowed in uncontrolled portions. Don’t leave them around in easy access. A treat isn’t a treat if it’s normally accessible.

The next post will take us into the ages most commonly found in gyms and health clubs.

Results Oriented (Purposeful) Training

Over the years I’ve been asked to train people for almost every conceivable reason, but in general, most seem to fall into the following categories.  I plan on spending the next few weeks writing a post/week about each of the following topics with sample routines, that can be followed by those of you without access to me.  In the near future, I hope to be able to offer enhanced services, including personal, customized training routines for a nominal fee to individuals who are geographically, or otherwise incapable, of meeting with me in person.  Until then, the sample routines that will be posted in the next few weeks can be used and adapted as you all see fit.  Keep in mind, that you need to make sure you know how to perform each exercise movement properly.  The site ExRx is an excellent resource and has free to view video of most common exercises being performed properly.

The general main categories, and sub categories, as I see it:

1) General health and fitness for the sedentary  person: novice

  1. Youth

  2. Young adult

  3. Middle age

  4. Senior

2) Total Body Conditioning: intermediate to advanced

  1. Cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness

3) Body shaping: beginner to the advanced

  1. Weight loss

  2. Toning and Body Sculpting

  3. Body building

4) Power and strength training: advanced

5) Athletic performance: advanced, sports specific and functional training

  1. endurance

  2. Strength

  3. Speed

  4. Agility

Feel free to comment on the categories, and let me know if you feel I’ve left any out, or why you might not fit into any of the above.  If I agree, I’ll update my categories, or explain why I disagree.  Keep reading!