Reader Rory Hodgson passed along this beautifully done Parkour video this morning. There's a ton of skill, here, but done also with tremendous grace and agility.
Archives for April 2009
So what happens when you go to the gym for your workout and bi-weekly weigh in, and you discover you've gained 4-5 pounds in just a few days?
First, you forget that the scale means everything. It means something, of course, but it's merely one of many numbers. There are other important numbers:
- waist circumference
- chest circumference
- chest, arm, and leg circumference
- how much fat you can pinch in various places
- how much weight you are lifting, pushing, or pulling in various exercises
- how do your pants fit?
Shall I go on?
As you may have gathered, this was my experience today. Yep, it's hard not to feel some measure of discouragement, but be careful: you may actually be chastising yourself over…PROGRESS.
See, in the mundane world of carb faces, added weight means that 75-90% of it is fat (piling on fat also stimulates some new lean growth to carry around the extra tonnage). And even in the realm of advanced paleo diet and fitness, fat stores fluctuate. But so does water retention and just plain old metabolic dynamics.
This is a good time to check your premises, by which I mean to assess the principles you're operating from. The true and fundamental appeal of the paleo approach is that we are attempting to operate pre-neolithic, i.e., in a manner our bodies and minds evolved to optimize, which is the role of natural selection. Keep in mind that prior to the advent of the neolithic 10,000 years ago, that man had evolved to the epitome of fitness within his environment, which of course can vary depending upon your genetic lineage (dark, yellow, red, white, and the general corresponding latitudinal regions, et cetera).
Let me make it more simple: we're allowing our inner animal to flourish.
So, that raises two questions:
1. do animals in nature have weight fluctuations up & down?
2. If yes, is that odd only when it's an increase, or is it necessarily odd at all?
The point I'm getting at is that if you are pretty paleo in diet, are hitting the gym for brief and intense exercise 1-3 times per week, and are episodically skipping 1-3 meals in a row 1-3 times per week, then you're living the life of the animal and you CAN NOT FAIL.
Listen: it's going to take just about 100% of people about 100 times longer to get the washboard abs than they would prefer. They say that Rome wasn't built in a day. Well, what if it took 20 years to destroy Rome? Should we be too fretful that it takes 2-3 years to rebuild it?
My own downward slide began in 1992. It peaked in 2006, 14 years later at 230 pounds. I'm now in the 180s and within real reach of my goal of 10% BF, which I shall achieve. But that too is a number. I have already achieved everything necessary; so, it's just icing on the cake.
So, what happened in my case? I suspect two things, and it's probably some of both. Since that allergy attack of the weekend, I have been constantly thirsty. That ended this morning, but the last couple of days I have consumed at least a gallon of water each day. I just could not drink enough. It was weird, but I just listened to my body. So, there may be some water retention issues with that much going in.
Second, my workouts have changed dramatically. As an example, I did only three exercises today: incline bench press, dumb bell bent-over rows, and back squats (not on the Smith). I used to do a dozen exercises, most isolation movements, and at three sets of ten repetitions each. Now, reps are rarely more than 5, and I don't even count sets. I just keep piling on weight. It's far less structured, and I love it.
On the bench, I worked up to and managed a couple of reps at 185, then a couple negatives over 200. I hadn't tried the incline in a long while, as I always had trouble with stability, even at 135. It's comforting to go back and smack off 8 reps at 135, wondering what the hell your stability issues was about, before.
The rows were interesting, too. I haven't done them for years, and I recall only getting up to 40 pounds. Today, warmup was at 50, and then I did multiple sets at 80, and 80 is one damn big dumb bell.
Oh how I love back squats. This, along with dead lifts and bar bell bent-over rows, is truly the king of exercise. When I had asked my trainer about doing them quite some months ago, we went over to the Smith machine, which turned out to be a mistake. My lower back just didn't feel comfortable, which I now know was improper foot position. But if you do them just free, you don't have to worry about that, and I have yet to have the slightest back problem.
For the last 2-3 sessions, we worked mainly on technique, as it's a curiously graceful exercise in terms of what you've got to do with balance. So, after a couple of sessions, I was up to about 115 pounds. Well, today, he let me lose and I did multiple sets of 5 reps at 215. I was blown away. I have no idea of what a practical goal would be.
Maybe I'll email Keith on that.
I love it, and so the weight gain, whether water, the big weights I'm hitting, or a little of both, there's no discouragement here.
Thanks to all who have taken the survey I posted last Friday afternoon. The response and willingness to help by providing your input has been remarkable. In only the first few hours, we surpassed the number of responses gathered over an entire week from when we ran it last September. At the end of this post, I'll provide the survey link again for any of you who have yet to take it, or, for any who would like to modify their existing answers in any way.
This first installment of the plan for World paleo Domination, a description I came up with on the fly the other day, is to provide you with both an introduction to myself, why I'm so interested in doing this, and the whole scope of what I have in mind. I'll tell you up front: it's ambitious, more so than I've ever previously undertaken.
Why me, and where's the benefit to others?
I would never have imagined it. I've been successful at a number of things in my life, from graduating from college, fulfilling a dream to be a US Navy officer and doing well at it, getting to live and travel all over the world, and even to become fluent in a foreign language.
When that chapter of my life closed, I entered the world of business. And it didn't take long to reach a level of success there too. I eventually built a financial services company occupying three physical locations employing 30 employees, as well as a network of sales representatives nationwide.
And in spite of it all, I seemed to feel worse and worse physically and mentally. It showed on the scale. It showed in my approach to dealing with others and it showed in my former political blogging. I was enraged, virtually all the time. And now, I was an enraged fat guy, 70 pounds overweight, with high blood pressure.
Now how many people does that generally sound like? Here's the formula: work hard, obtain some success, trash your body and live your success feeling miserable physically, feeling miserable about yourself, and feeling miserable about your appearance.
So, I guess I have a story to tell. Most of you know how the story has come to pass to the current day so I'll save the whole thing for the book. But the journey will never end, as it's an ongoing journey; but it's a fun, rewarding, easy journey.
I believe that when I tell this story to the many thousands of others who feel at similar dead ends, as I was, it will surely resonate. I know this because people have told me this over and over.
What's the foundation that makes this different?
The fist part of it is to have some guiding principles. First, and let's make no mistake: I plan to enrich myself in doing this. But since I already have a number of ways to make money, this has to be special money. What I mean is that unless I can come away knowing that this is the best quality of money I've ever made, there's simply no use in me doing it.
If you pay attention to comments and if you saw the replies to emails I don't publish on the blog, you'll know I'm fond of responding to the many compliments and thanks I receive by saying that they are "better than money."
While that is absolutely true — so long as I have enough money to live already — the compliments and thanks don't pay the bills, they don't bring the satisfaction of a well-earned profit, and most importantly: they don't bring the explosive expansion we'll need to reach others and turn the tide.
So, it's got to be profitable and it's got to be special. We can't afford to cut any corners. It's got to be excellent, valid, easy, fun, and in complete harmony with a natural human life. There can never be any gimmicks, c'mons, cons or frauds, or even the scammy appearance of them.
What are the specifics?
While I could probably keep blogging as-is forever and ever, I get an increasing number of requests for a simple roadmap. Now, suddenly, thanks to readers themselves, the blog has taken on a life of its own: more content being provided by commenters than by me the blogger, more introductions to others to go check it out than I could possibly generate, and a dozen suggestions for post topics for every one I come up with myself. You folks are amazing and to the extent I continue, I'm going to feel a deeper and deeper urgency to create an integrated easy roadmap. No matter how often this simple easy roadmap is revised and updated, it will always be the flagship product because it will always enjoy the widest appeal.
Of course there will be follow-on, or back-end products, and those are highly profitable because they are sold to existing customers whose cost of acquisition has already been paid. But these are of critical importance, because you can't expand unless you have them. The high margins allow for the reaching of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions of new people…
The type of "successful" people like me, whom I described above in the first few paragraphs. Yes, this is to some degree about profit, but we can only do it by reaching the masses. I really want to end up with bags and bags full of testimonies of success, notes of thanks, and reports of life-saving. The paleo life actually works and I want to tell the world about it.
So, what are we looking at, beyond the book, the simple roadmap appropriate for anyone? Seminars; Webinars; Cable TV Show; Cookbooks; TV appearances; Major publishers for follow-on books; Web streaming; Workout guides, and a few other things, but you get the idea. We intend to make the Paleo lifestyle an enterprise.
There are two final aspects I wish to address for this first installment. The first is that there are a lot of other great voices for the paleo, Primal, Evolutionary Fitness, High Intensity Training, Fasting lifestyle. Let me put it simply: Through these endeavors, I want to help them all. I intend to help them all. If you look at that list of things to do, above, those all can and will incorporate other great voices.
Secondly, there will be an investment opportunity for those qualified to do so. I will detail that in the final installment.
Lest we forget, a Paleo diet doesn't make one invincible. While away camping over the weekend around the Sacramento river delta with absolutely fabulous weather, great food, friends, fun, liquid cheer, there was also something in the air — some sort of pollen effecting just about all of us.
There's a history, here, and to make it short, I suffered debilitating springtime allergies since I was a teenager. I've had the scratch tests (allergic to grasses above all — you know, those things grain seeds come from), took injections for years, and was on prescriptions for decades. Then, in January of '08, I stopped the medications and have never looked back. Last year, I either had one episode requiring a Claritin, or none, 'cause I can't remember. This weekend, I went on Saturday and got some Claritin, took one, and it did the trick. I began feeling symptoms again Sunday before departure late afternoon and took another. I though that would be it, until I woke this morning after an 8 hour sleep to an awful attack. Then I recalled something from the past whenever that would happen. First, ditch all the clothes you had while there, toss 'em in the washer, and then take a long shower and soap and scrub. In this case, I used Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint. If you've never tried it, it's quite an experience.
I also took another Claritin. I'm fine, now, but pretty beat and so the kick off for revealing the plan for World paleo Domination is on hold until tomorrow.
On a couple of notes, take a look at Nikki's Paleo Cookbooks (or click on the image in the right-had sidebar). This is exactly the sort of thing that I want to promote here without compromising either the integrity of the blog or the manner in which information is presented. How many times have commenters asked for recipes and cookbooks? This integrates perfectly with the message and I'm proud to have it over there. And that will be the standard for all products and services that make it over to the right side: I'll be proud to have them there, or they won't be there at all.
Second: yes, Free the Animal receives a portion of each sale that comes as a result of a referral from this site. So, this is a way to help launch the marketing effort and spread the message, as well as secure a great value for yourself. Later: I forgot that Nikki also has a Paleo blog.
Third: If you have not already, I would appreciate if you take a moment to take the survey.
A small percentage of current readers will remember this survey I initiated early last September. I say small percentage, because as you can see from yesterday's March '09 review, I was getting 8,000 visits per month with 10,000 page views, and now we stand at 40k and 70k, respectively. That is many magnitudes of growth, and from the comments and emails I receive, I see nothing but up up up, from here.
That survey convinced me of the market potential of this endeavor, as well as a top-notch marketing professional with whom I've had a personal and business relationship with for 15 years. However, it was not enough, at the time, to bank on or to risk other people's money on. So, we decided to see if I could build traffic while we worked on a comprehensive business plan behind the scenes. Well, the time has come to move forward.
Could I beg of you to take this brief, 10-question survey? If you took it the first time last September, please take it again. It is somewhat modified.
I will leave this up for all weekend while I head out of town. I will also leave it up next week, because I'm going to actually lay out my entire business plan for you, one post per day, Monday through Friday (as well as the normal postings).
Please take the survey now, but feel free to go back and modify your answers over the next week as the business plan is revealed to you day by day. For those who have cookies enabled, the survey site will recognize you and allow you to change your existing answers.
As a final note, the survey is completely anonymous. Neither I, nor anyone else will know the identity of anyone taking the survey, so feel free to be as frank and direct as you can. I value your very honest assessment.
I continue in amazement at my readers' ability to increase the scope and influence of this blog. I had no idea, back in August, that in switching from years of go-nowhere political blogging to something I was more passionate about would be such a positive move. See for yourself. I. Am. Delighted.
Yet another record breaker, with nearly 40k visits and just shy of 70k page views. There's no doubt in my mind that even though I work pretty hard at this, I'm only one guy, and growth comes from you introducing Free the Animal to friends, family and acquaintances.
I am in your debt, but I'll also beg of you to continue the introductions, if you like what you read here.
I'm going to forego the top posts and top referrers for this one month to give you a bit of a preview as to what's coming.
I think it was back in August or September when I floated the proposition of making a business proposition out of this whole thing. Relax. The blog will never change: free and open, and that's my sincere promise to you.
On the other hand, I have a number of things calling my attention. My primary business. A startup, along with the many recent meetings with venture capitalists in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and, of course, on Sand Hill Rd. — VC capital of the world. I also have a small real estate development in which I'm the principal investor and the managing partner. That has been delayed for obvious R/E market reasons, but ground breaking is anticipated within months.
The bottom line is that I'm most passionate about this, in the long term.
In the next few days I will be outlining my plan for World paleo Domination with you.
I have a stack of stuff to get out and you’re going to be surprised over the next day and beyond, much of which concerns the enormous growth of this blog, what I have planned, how you can take part, and how we can make a large contribution to aiding the general public on two fronts: the obesity epidemic, and, the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases that don’t need to be.
This report concerns early life nutrition, predominantly fetal and infant nutrition, providing useful reference information and ‘key messages’ for healthcare professionals. It discusses the evidence-base and draws conclusions about the ways in which the patterns of early life nutrition can be improved, and the likely consequences of such improvements. This is now of critical importance in addressing the rapid increase in the incidence of so-called lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, which are linked to overweight and obesity. In addition there is now compelling evidence for a role of early life nutrition in setting the risk of other conditions including osteoporosis, asthma, lung disease and some forms of cancer. Evidence is growing that early life nutrition can play a role in behavioural and cognitive problems in children and adolescents, and possibly even in cognitive decline and other aspects of ageing.
Then, from pages 5 and 6 of the full report (PDF).
“Humans evolved to consume a diet very different from that consumed by many people today. This makes our physiology potentially mismatched to our contemporary lifestyles, increasing the risks of ill health.”
Nutritional transitions and patterns of chronic disease
Human diets have changed substantially during the course of our evolution and history. Compared with current diets, the pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer diets of our Palaeolithic ancestors were based on wild animal and plant foods and were much higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate.
The introduction of agriculture 10,000 years ago permanently changed the nature of our food supply, as plants and animals were domesticated for the first time. Further dietary change followed the Industrial Revolution, which created opportunities to process foods such as grains and cereals; and the onset of global trading introduced new foods into the UK diet. Our dietary patterns have continued to evolve to the present day – as new food products have become available and we are influenced by dietary trends occurring in other parts of the world.
Although it is argued that this rate of change in diet from Palaeolithic times has been too fast to allow the human genome to adapt, and is linked to the rising incidence of chronic diseases, many of the improvements in nutrition in the UK over the last century have had an enormous beneficial impact on mortality and public health. Diseases such as goitre or rickets, which were historically associated with social deprivation and malnutrition, are now rarely seen. Improved nutrition has therefore played a role in the dramatic increase in life expectancy. Some recent trends, however, are a cause for concern, such as the increase in the sugar and salt content of the diet. These recent dietary changes have also been accompanied by reductions in physical activity, and there is considerable concern about the consequences of the combined effects of these changes on the incidence and patterns of obesity and associated diseases.”
Here’s a chart provided that’s not perfect (did Cordain consult?), but considering the mainstream source, this is progress.
So, there you have it folks, and this signals that it’s only a matter of time until the truth prevails.
I’m doing what I’m doing because I have never had a shadow of a doubt in two respects: a paleo-like diet is optimal and produces lean, healthy bodies, and, it’s a truth that can’t be hidden by any authority. This is not like politics where people go out of their way to lie to themselves. This is ultimately about well being and it cannot long be suppressed.
We shall prevail.
Assuming a person is in ketosis, eating clean, exercising, sleeping enough, and otherwise taking good care of herself, is there a limit to how fast it's safe to lose fat?
I'm interested in a general answer, but it might help to know a little about me. I'm a 32-year-old female who is about 70 pounds overweight. I've noticed that when I eat very clean (all real food, less than 50g carbs a day, 90-95% on plan), the scale drops .5 or 1 pound a day. For me, this has amounted to about 4 pounds a week. (The scale always holds steady after a cheat meal.) I eat whenever I get hungry and am not doing IF at this point.
Granted, I've only been doing this a few weeks. But my weight loss appears to be speeding up as my habits get better. My sense from reading Good Calories, Bad Calories is that my body will self-regulate, using up fatty acids as freely as they're available. I just wonder if there's a point where I would want to purposely slow down my rate of fat loss for some reason.
Well, I'd first have to say that there's a lot of people who wish they had your "problem."
Actually, it's not a problem at all and is quite normal for someone in the first couple of weeks that's got 70 pounds to lose. Assuming your normal weight is 130, then 70 pounds is quite a huge percentage of your total (I'm just guessing, of course).
The other thing is that if you've only been at this a few weeks (8-12 pounds lost?) then probably only about a half of that is fat, if that. The rest is water, assuming you're eating plenty of protein so as to preserve lean mass. Once you reduce the carbs so that your body has to begin depleting stored glycogen, water comes along with it. Off the top of my head, for every gram of stored glycogen in your system 1.5 – 2 grams of water is required to keep it there. When you use it, the water comes off too, and this is why low-carb dieters always get an initial burst of loss.
And now you say that it may be accelerating. I'd bet that's just temporary and is probably a function of your changing appetite. As you lose weight, you require less energy and as you become a fat burner, you're more in tune with hunger, so are probably eating less energy without even realizing it. So, you'll end up with a push & pull, manifest in periods of slower loss and then faster loss as your body adjusts.
The bottom line is that as you come closer and closer to your goal, your fat loss will almost certainly slow. This will be an excellent time to incorporate intermittent fasting into your way of living. You'll hit plateaus that may take weeks to break through but with IF can get you through in a few days. On the other hand, you're young, so this may end up being quite quick and easy for you.
In the end, don't worry. Congratulate yourself on finally finding a sustainable life. And, enjoy the rapid fat loss for as long as you can. Finally, think of this: how rapidly to hibernating bears lose fat, and does anyone think that's a problem?
What if I told you that it was known worldwide in 1924 that common dental carries (cavities) could easily be cured without drilling, filling, or worse: extraction? But how could that be? Dentists make billions of dollars per year, worldwide, drilling, filling, extracting, rooting and all manner of other such things.
Oh, I know. It's one of those "natural remedy" things; probably something written up in the Farmer's Almanac of the time or tales passed along by Old Wives. That's gotta be it, eh?
Uh…no. Try the British Medical Journal (free registration) in 1924 as well as the British Dental Journal (archives only go back to 1970).
Now, Stephan did a great write-up on this, including a layman's explanation of just how a cavity in a tooth remineralizes. So, I'm not going to steal his thunder. Here's just a preview.
Drs. Mellanby set out to see if they could use their dietary principles to cure tooth decay that was already established. They divided 62 children with cavities into three different diet groups for 6 months. Group 1 ate their normal diet plus oatmeal (rich in phytic acid). Group 2 ate their normal diet plus vitamin D. Group 3 ate a grain-free diet and took vitamin D.
In group 1, oatmeal prevented healing and encouraged new cavities, presumably due to its ability to prevent mineral absorption. In group 2, simply adding vitamin D to the diet caused most cavities to heal and fewer to form. The most striking effect was in group 3, the group eating a grain-free diet plus vitamin D, in which nearly all cavities healed and very few new cavities developed. Grains are the main source of phytic acid in the modern diet, although we can't rule out the possibility that grains were promoting tooth decay through another mechanism as well.
Go read the whole interesting story, including others who were curing cavities in the 1920s.
On a personal note, for those who haven't heard this from me before: I had gum disease. I had two surgeries seven years ago, then regular cleanings, but was getting marginally worse again. Getting off grains not only stopped the progression almost immediately, but completely reversed my declining gums within months. However, I still had major plaque buildup problems. Supplementation with vitamin D and K2 (MK-4) has now completely solved that to the point where I really don't need to brush, anymore. A toothpick suffices and I only brush now and then for the cool minty feeling. I wake up every morning with smooth pearls in my mouth.
I am amazed daily at how ignorant we have allowed outselves to become, and I only don't mean in terms of a cure. How about dammed preventing them in the first place?
A friend of mine might call this an example of what he's dubbed: The Endarkenment. The more and more of this sort of thing I see — and I see it more and more — the more I see what he means.
Cousin Adam went bird hunting. Chukar and Pheasant.
And then on the table, same day. Says he: "Paprika, salt, pepper, cayanne; red and green bell peppers; onion; white wine, and chicken stock. Brown the bird, sauté the veggies, add stock, wine and simmer uncovered to reduce. Killed and eaten on the same day!"