Sugar is not your enemy - added sugar is
In setting your long-term health and fitness objectives, it is a good idea to avoid extremes.
Extremes are not only almost impossible to keep up in the long-term, but they may also harm rather than help you.
Dietary extremes include keto diets (of course) packed with second rate fats and protein, no water diets, and "eat whatever carbs you want as long as you burn it off" diets.
Fitness extremes include cross-fit, which is not going to be your answer to living longer better, and gym machines, which dumb your brain and body down to just looking good in a t-shirt.
One way I think about exercise and food plans is to think ahead - 10 or 15 years ahead. I ask myself, will I be able to apply these same food and exercise principles then, and will they benefit me then?
You Need To Do More Pull Exercises. Here's How To Condition Your Pull Posture To Make Them More Comfortable.
I hated doing them also, until now
For me, and others I see at the gym, doing "pull" exercises is not common. Not as common as "push" exercises.
The "pull" that I don't look forward to is bent-over rows - in whatever form. They pull at my hamstrings.
A simple "natural movement" has helped me be more willing to do more bent-over rows. That's important because we all need more balance between push and pull.
Here's what I learned, and now do daily.
No machines, no mirrors, no worries, not just running
I go to gym 3 times a week, but I also like training outdoors. Running 5km twice a week adds more than just fitness; it also gets me out into the weather and nature.
A little little bit of rain; a hot, sweaty day; wind pushing into your face; a new sandtrap on the trail; a family with a dog that you have to navigate safely past - all make you feel as if you are alive.
But it is not running that will give your fitness a big boost.
Most people outdoors are walking or jogging. There are a few runners, and also, rarely, someone adding in a bit extra - perhaps running up a ramp.
With a little bit of imagination, you can add in some training that will significantly boost your fitness.
It is free pure no-equipment exercise available to everyone.
Newsletter: Thinking of a low-calorie diet - add in exercise to accelerate fat loss and avoid muscle loss
Plus, understanding why you hit an early diet plateau will help you keep going
[Copy of my Weekly Newsletter] Here are my hand-picked 4 Most Valuable pieces of content that I found this week, to help you live longer better.
These four topics stood out to me (click the links below):
Is the 3500-calories rule even true?
If you follow conventional weight-loss wisdom, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
The "3500 calories per pound of fat" rule is applied to mean that if you maintain a deficient of 500 calories each day that you will lose one pound of fat each week.
This doesn't work for long-term weight loss.
Modifying your expectations will keep you motivated to keep going. The reality isn't as exciting, but it sets you up for success.
You'll be doing 20 and feeling strong
We've all seen it. The instructor announces "20 push-ups everyone", and a groan rolls through the class.
"If you can't do 20 then start properly and then go to your knees!", she yells in vain—Eighty-percent of the class to straight to their knees.
Frustrated, the instructor yells "if you always start in the easiest position you'll never get to the hard position". Everyone pretends that they didn't hear.
That's the point. If you always start in the easiest position, you WILL never get to the hard position. And you'll never get the full benefits of the exercise.
I'll show you how to get from knees to full push-ups, and it will be worth your while.
Adjust your expectations and get back on track
The most common reason that you are not losing weight is down to the way we think about our effort and the expected results.
At the gym, the average level of energy in cardio classes is modest, but the expectations are high.
When the outcomes fall short of the expectations, then we are likely to give up. That applies to all of our endeavours - writing on Medium, learning a language, exercising, or losing weight.
We'd be better off to do a reality check on our expectations before quitting. If we can reconcile a less ambitious set of expectations, and then keep putting in the effort, success is much more likely.
The truth about calorie counters
It's human nature that when we are focused on a goal, such as losing weight, that we underestimate the effort and overestimate the potential outcomes.
Case in point - calories. We have ready access to calorie counters - on our personal devices and on the machinery at gym.
But are they telling you the truth?
Unfortunately, the answer is "mostly not".
These devices are most likely to be overestimating your calorie burn. After all, who wants to sell a gadget that delivers bad news?
Even worse, they make no allowance for your body's ability to exercise more efficiently as you train. That's really bad news, as you could be burning far fewer calories than you imagined.
Here's a better way to estimate your calories, based on what you know but what your devices do not know - your exercise exertion.
Boost your power and muscular endurance
Passive recovery - where you do nothing between bursts of activity - is the most common phenomenon at the gym.
Research shows that you'll be able to generate more power from your intervals, or more endurance, by using an active recovery protocol.
As I move about my local gym, I'm always surprised at the number of people doing very little. A lot are hooked on the myth of needing "3 minutes between sets". A lot are just idle sitting on machines.
The reason this catches my attention is that I follow the principle of getting the best Return On Exercise (ROE). I don't really want to be at the gym, and when I'm there, I want the most bang for my buck in terms of my objective of living longer better.
Karate is a sport, but it's still martial arts
I was recently browsing Youtube watching World Championship Karate sparring championship fights - Kumite (Japanese: 組手, literally "grappling hands") - as my daughter is competing in this sport.
On one match there were a bunch of bro-comments dissing the karate fighters. The consensus was that karate fighters wouldn't stand a chance in a real street fight as it was all theatre.
There's a grain of truth in those comments. Martial arts were about defending yourself and disabling your attackers.
If there were multiple attackers, then your survival demanded that you inflict as much damage as possible on them to bring the odds back to your favour.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter