The best nutrition has over the decades made so many U turns that the ordinary man on the street isn’t sure whether to take a shit or have a haircut. One decade it’s all carb no fat, the next all fat no carb, fruitarian, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, Keto and the list goes on. So the big question remains, which one for me? As mentioned above every sport and athlete has different needs so unfortunately there is no one size fits all prescription; this page is dedicated to help you get started with the basics of what it’s going to take. From then on we can work on more specific plans that compliment your needs.
The classic movie line by Tommy Lee Jones really illustrates the continuous change in perspective and evolution of knowledge that occurs through time. “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe, five hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow”. Fortunately for us in recent times and particularly in the last two decades, many comparative studies and scientific tests have been done. The resulting data clearly show where it all went wrong. The nutritional and fitness wheel is turning and ironically it’s taking us on a trip back in time.
We don’t need to go as far back as the Paleolithic Age (read Stone Age) to find good nutritional systems in society, neither to our hunter gatherer ancestors to find an appropriate lifestyle routine. Although the way these societies lived have important lessons for us to consider and we need to incorporate some of those old ways back into our modern day lives. The Neolithic age of farming started congregating societies together, the industrial revolution furthered this trend as we tried to make life easier for ourselves. Still in those days societies in general were eating clean naturally grown whole foods and their daily activities involved some sort of physical endeavor. In my opinion looking at the timing of the rise of chronic disease, our health and fitness started deteriorating rapidly during the second agricultural revolution (1930 – 1960) also called the green revolution. Farming became mechanized and the use of chemical fertilizers and high yielding cereals were developed. Fresh produce quality dropped and with the introduction of hormones, antibiotics and processed animal feeds our healthy animal protein sources were compromised. On the social side, enough food could now be produced by much less labor which created opportunity for service orientated business, the retail sector expanding into the middle and lower classes and big corporations drive for maximum profit. This toxic mix of perceived progress, was without us realizing it, having a devastating effect on our health.
I don’t believe society should have stayed in the agricultural age simply because whole food and physical exercise was a natural way of life, our mistake was that we could not have known the toll on our health that a sedentary lifestyle was going to take. Without knowing it we became pawns in a corrupt system, sitting in cubicles all day long in front of screens, lied to by politicians, taxed by government, slaves to the banks, addicted by big pharma and bamboozled by big corporations glitzy marketing. We lost our balance man, and we need to get it back.
So how do we turn our health and fitness predicament around? How do we regain our balance and improve our actual quality of life? How do we minimize stress and disease? We start with the basics, exercise and nutrition, and we once again make it the dominant factor in our lives.
We believe that health and fitness is at the core of living a happy and balanced life. As mentioned above we don’t hold any one diet or fitness plan above all others but we do hold ourselves accountable to a certain base philosophy that most specific plans evolve from.
Below is an outline of our health and fitness philosophy.
So to start you on your journey, here is a short list of simple things you have direct control over in your life. If you currently have nothing to work from you can use these things to start creating a healthier routine for yourself and start building your GPP. Creating a healthy routine for yourself will improve your performance in everyday life and also build a base to springboard any serious training you might attempt in the future. The best time to start is now!
- Stop Bullshitting yourself that you don’t have time, you do.
Not having enough time to eat clean, train hard or implement a nutritional protocol is one of the oldest excuses in the book. If I had to analyze your day, I would be very surprised if I couldn’t find at least 2 hours a day you could be spending on the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. As a beginner you can achieve a meaningful exercise program in less than 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. So only 2.5 hours out of 168 can produce a remarkable amount of GPP. All it takes is consistency.
- Get back into your Circadian Rhythm.
The Circadian Rhythm is your internal body clock controlled by the SCN, a type of biological pacemaker in your brain. This rhythm is a 24 cycle that repeats itself and controls things like your sleep and wake cycle, body temperature, appetite, moods, hormone secretion and a variety of other biological processes. Your circadian rhythm takes external cues from your environment as to where you should be in your 24 hour biological cycle, the most important being light. So try get in sync with the environments natural light cycles so try getting up with the rising of the sun. The morning light contains a lot of blue light that kick starts certain hormonal processes in your body. Eat a good breakfast to as this will get your metabolism fired up and after sunset try to stay away from as much artificial light as possible.
- Get up early.
Getting up with the Sun not only balances your Circadian Rhythm but gives you a psychological edge as well. You will feel more productive and have given yourself more time to get organized for the day which in turn makes you more efficient and less stressed. Also you will be surprised at a lot of cool things happening in the natural environment at sun up which most people hitting the snooze button miss every day.
- Get enough sleep.
Two important things happen when you sleep. Your brain re-organizes all the neural networks that get jumbled up during the day. The constant flow of information coming and going in your brain during the day creates a dis-organized mass of cellular rubbish that needs to be organized and stored correctly while you sleep. The second process is your body repairing itself from muscle breakdown during a day of work or training. Growth hormones and testosterone are highest at night which help to rebuild the physical components of your body.
- Start every day with breakfast.
As the old saying goes, breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. A good breakfast jump starts your metabolism and sets you up for the day, miss breakfast and your all-round performance during the day will suffer.
- Exercise every day.
For people who don’t train it’s even more important to get a certain amount of exercise every day. As little as a 15 minute brisk walk at some point during the day will have major benefits for your health. If you are training a few times a week, rest days don’t mean you do nothing, you should be doing a recovery session at low intensity even if it’s walking the dogs on the beach or throwing Frisbee in the park.
- Take The Stairs.
Try to be as active as you can in everyday life. Being mobile and setting your body in motion as often as you can is going to keep you energized and burning calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike to work if it’s a reasonable distance, jog up the subway stairs instead of walking. Waiting in line at the gas pump, do 50 jumping jacks. Waiting for a plane, throw down a set of burpees. Look for ways to increase dynamic movement in everyday life, who cares if people think you are crazy.
- Get Outside.
Take a ten minute break for every 1 hour spent in front of your screen. Fresh air and sunlight have amazing rejuvenating effects on the body and mind. Go outside and do some jumping jacks or burpees to get your circulation going and focus your eyes on something distant to give them a break.
- Learn how to cook.
Cooking, like everything, takes practice but you can get the basics down in no time at all. An hour or two with Gordon on YouTube will equip you with enough knowledge to get started. Food that you prepare yourself is always far healthier than any store bought pre-packed option, even if it says Low GI, Healthy Option or No Preservatives; trust me there is something in there that you shouldn’t be eating. Cooking your own food naturally increases your consumption of quality whole foods.
- Learn how to grocery shop
The less ingredients on the label the better it will be for you. Learn to read the labels and know that manufacturers love to use big complicated names for some of the most common culprits. Also don’t use the Nutritional Table to judge if it’s healthy, manufacturers cut the serving size down to legally be able to omit certain ingredients. Always look at the ingredients label. If the product says “fortified”, it means it was so useless they had to add vitamins and minerals because it didn’t contain them naturally. Beware of ingredients like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat, fructose, dextrose, sucrose, saccharin, colorants, artificial flavoring, preservatives, MSG and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it.
- Eat quality whole foods.
The foundation of which everything else in our nutritional philosophy originates from. If you are preparing your own food from fresh wholefood ingredients you are already ahead of the game. If you aren’t now is the time to start. Learn a few culinary tricks like how to make your own simple sauces, marinades and dressings as it defies the point of using whole ingredients and then adding sauces or condiments that are loaded with sugar and preservatives.
- Don’t eat fast food.
Craving that quarter ponder with cheese, Steers burger or KFC bucket? Just don’t do it!
- Stay away from simple sugars.
By all means you don’t have to punish yourself. If you like a bit of sugar in your coffee or the occasional chocolate, go ahead it won’t kill you. But drastically limit your intake of commercial sodas and confectionary items that all too easily become habit forming. Many condiments like ketchup, chutneys and sandwich spreads have massive amounts of sugar in them. Meat marinades, sauces and salad dressings are also packed with sugar. Limit simple sugars in starchy foods such as mashed potato and French fries. Although 100% fruit juices are better than sodas you still need to limit your intake, they are still high in simple sugars and are missing the fiber that comes with it in there whole state.
- Drink enough water every day.
Drinking when you are thirsty is a pretty good guide to water consumption but before heavy training days or race days try to drink about 2 liters a day for 3 days leading up to the event.
- You don’t need supplements.
If you have a proper eating regime that consists of a balance of whole foods including grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, vegetables, dairy and meats then there is absolutely no reason for you to supplement. Of course there are special cases but a balanced whole food diet will provide everything your body needs to perform its job.
- Stay away from carbs at night.
Eat most of your carbs before 3pm so that you have time to work them off. If you are training like a beast then it doesn’t really matter although complex slow releasing carbs will keep your glucose levels more stable during the night. Combine your carbs with protein or good fats to bring the GI level down. The fat or protein will slow down the absorption of carbs in your digestive system.
- No screens 2 hours before bed.
The blue light emitted from Cell Phone screens and Laptops can create disrupt your natural sleep patterns so try not to use these items at all in the evenings.
- Don’t drink coffee after 3pm.
Caffeine stays in your system for six hours, rather drink a suitable tea or plain old H2O after 3pm.
- Stop smoking.
This one’s a no brainer. Less smoke = More oxygen
- Drink moderately.
Drinking a glass of good red wine with dinner is actually good for you. Just not the bottle.
- Have a plan.
In the evenings plan your shit out for the next day, it helps to get things organized in your head and helps you to be efficient the next day. Always have a pad and paper next to your bed to write down those genius ideas that won’t let you sleep.
- Be in bed by 10pm.
You need that deep sleep between 12 and 4am to physically and mentally regenerate properly. Every hour before midnight is worth two after.
- BE FIERCELY CONSISTANT
Implementing some or all of the above ideas into your daily routine will benefit your overall physical and mental condition in only a few weeks. For more specific nutritional or fitness routines that will take you to the next level and help you achieve your riding goals feel free to get in touch with us. Finally, the most important concept you need to understand is consistency. Without consistency any attempt at positive change or improvement is useless, without consistency all else fails.