Category Archives: kettlebell

Updated workout and reasonings

I have determined that I should change my workout slightly over the summer. I am going to mix my favorite parts of Enter the Kettlebell and Power to the People together. My intentions are to create a routine that will allow continued advancement in strength, small gains in size (I do not want to be a russian bear) and approach my workouts with a same but different approach. To do this I will start by dropping my weight on the dead lift down a bit in order to continue practicing my form.

I will use a three day a week routine where I will perform the following:

1. getups for 5 minutes (great core strength builder)

2. kettlebell clean and military press (sets of 5)

3. Dead lift (sets of 5)

4. cardio 5 days a week
I will determine the length of the cardio by using 6 sided dice. Two dice rolled for swings ad snatches and three dice rolled or sprints and the steady state run. (swings/snatches/sprints/steady state upwards of 3 mile run max)

I will perform these using a heavy, light, medium style routine that would resemble the Enter the Kettlebell Russian Kettlebell Challenge routine that I have performed previously with great success. I will modify it however because of time constraints. I will not perform the ladders that are described in Enter the Kettlebell.

On all days I will perform 5 minutes of getups and variable cardio.

On the heavy days (Monday) I will perform as many sets of 5 reps of clean and military press starting with my heavy kettlebell and working down as needed. I will lift as heavy as possible but will not start a set with a kettlebell that I will not be able to finish that set with. I currently own an 62, 53 and 44 pound kettlebells. My girlfriend has a 22 pound kettlebell and a 15 pound kettlebell that I am able to supplement my kettlebells with as well. If you are performing military press with free weights then you are able to use the power to the people style of progressive loading with more precision than you are able to with kettlebells.

I will also perform 5 sets of 5 reps of dead lift. This will start with the typical Power to the People sets. 1 starting set, 1 set that is 10% less than the first. Then as many sets that are possible with good form at 10% less than the second set. Therefore if we are using 100 pounds as the initial set then it will look like this. 100, 90, 80, 80, 80…and so on.

Light days (Wednesday) will be similar but with less sets. It will be clean and military press for two sets only this time. I will also complete dead lift for two sets of 5. Similar to the heavy days first two sets, with additional weight added due to the cycling of the weights.

The medium day (Friday) will also be similar to the first day. Here I will use less sets than the heavy day, but more sets than the light day. I will perform three sets of kettlebell clean and military press. Starting heavy and working down as needed. I will also perform three sets of the dead lift in similar fashion as to the heavy day.

workout example:

All days – 5 min. getups to start. variable cardio (mix of swings, snatches, sprints and steady state upwards of 3 mile) to finish

Heavy Day:

Kettlebell clean and press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set to ?: 44 pounds (5 reps)

complete as many sets with 30-90 sec rest between sets while completing all five reps with good form

Dead lift:

1st set: 100 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 90 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set to ?: 80 pounds (5 reps)

complete as many sets with 30-90 sec rest between sets while completing all five reps with good form

Light Day:

Kettlebell Clean and Press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

Dead lift:

1st set: 102.5 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 92.5 pounds (5 reps)

Medium Day:

Kettlebell Clean and Press:

1st set: 62 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set: 53 pounds (5 reps)

Dead Lift:

1st set: 105 pounds (5 reps)

2nd set: 95 pounds (5 reps)

3rd set: 85 pounds (5 reps)

The next week you would continue to add weight to the dead lift as above. Once you reach a point where you are unable to perform 5 reps at the heaviest weight then you would drop the weight down and work your way back up to a new max. The presses are a little different in that kettlebells make large jumps in weight. As stated above you may use typical free weights to more precisely approximate the Power to the People style of progressive resistance.

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/cycling-your-workout-the-key-to-continued-improvement/

My goal is to be able to dead lift 400 pounds and to be able to strictly military press the kettlebell closest to half of my body weight by the end of 2013. I feel as though both of these goals are very attainable.

The reasoning behind the design of this workout is that I wish to gain strength while gaining a small amount of size only. I have proven that you can gain strength without gaining size by performing two heavy sets of 5. The flip side is gaining size. This is done by placing the body under a heavy load as much as possible. Typical workouts to gain size are a simple but heavy 5 sets of 5 reps. This workout will allow me to both cycle my workouts by weight, as well as cycle them by workout density. I will go from working very heavy with many sets to working only a couple of sets.

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The Natural Advantages Suggested Reading List

I wanted to present a reading list of books that have been educational to me. In no particular order. I hope that you enjoy it.

Nutrition and Food

In Defense of Food – Michael Pollen

Why We Get Fat – Gary Taubes

The Warrior Diet – Ori Hofmekler

What to Eat – Marion Nestle

Pottenger’s Prophecy – Deborah Keston, Gary Graham and Larry Scherwitz

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods – Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A., L.M.T.

Fitness

Power to the People – Pavel Tsatsouline

The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher

Enter the Kettlebell – Pavel Tsatsouline

Return of the Kettlebell – Pavel Tsatsouline

Textbook of Weightlifting – Arthur Saxon

The Development of Physical Power – Arthur Saxon

The Naked Warrior – Pavel Tsatsouline

Super Joints – Pavel Tsatsouline

Cooking

The Art of Simple Food – Alice Waters

The Flavor Bible – Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

The Paleo Diet Cookbook – Loren Cordain Ph. D.

Agriculture, gardening and sustainable living

The New Organic Farmer – Elliot Coleman

The Permaculture Way – Graham Bell

Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening – Maria Rodale

Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient living – Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living – Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew

For Your Pet

Work Wonders: Feed your Dog Raw Meaty Bones – Tom Lonsdale

Suggested books that I have not read yet

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – Weston A Price

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D.

10 Steps to Health and Wellness

10 Steps to Health and Wellness

1. Focus

2. Eat only what you can kill and grow

3. Eat one primary meal a day

4. Use purposeful movements as the basis of your workout

5. Lift heavy, with muscular tension and cycle your workouts

6. Never lift to failure

7. Practice an active stretching technique such as yoga

8. Cardio should be high intensity interval training primarily

9. Rest

10. Do not take yourself to seriously

1. Focus

Focus is the key to a successful workout. You must maintain a strong focus in order to implement everything that is required to move heavy objects. It is important to remember why you are performing these exercises as well as to remember how to perform them. Focus will help you to lift heavier (visualizing the movement before the exercise has shown to increase strength) as well as it will keep you safe by keeping you aware of what your body is telling you.

2. Eat only what you can kill and grow

Essentially this reminds you to eat only real food. Real food comes from the ground. Real food comes naturally to us. Real food is your fruits and vegetables and your meats. Meats must be raised properly (organic and grass fed for beef). It is critical to the body to eat real food. While grains are real food it is important to remember that mechanization has allowed us the ability to eat a significantly larger portion of grains than we would normally eat. It is clear that if you eat real food, with a small amount of grains at the most, then you will be healthy. I do not believe it is necessary to focus on nutrition from a western standpoint where food is broken down to its individual parts. Real food promotes real health.

For more information go to:

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/31/

3. Eat one primary meal a day

This is key for two reasons. One is insulin regulation and the other is detoxification. By eating one meal a day you force your body to use the energy that it has more effectively. Will you be hungry? Yes, to some extent, but you will be surprised at how easy this is to implement. You should also remember that predators are geared to work at their best while they are hungry. This is shown throughout the animal kingdom as the predator hunts its prey. Only when the predator is hungry does it hunt and this is when the predator must be at its fittest. It’s very survival is dependent on this.

The second reason for this is detoxification of the body. By allowing the body an opportunity to have a controlled fast throughout the day you are giving it a break and allowing it to detoxify itself. In this world of extensive toxicity from our our environments we must allow ourselves the opportunity to detoxify.

For more information go to:

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/timing-of-meals-part-1/

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-timing-of-meals-part-2/

4. Use purposeful movements as the basis of your workout

This is important because you should train your body in a way that is helpful to your daily life. What is the point in training your body to lift your lower leg up while you are lying down in order to build a stronger hamstring? What is the use in that? Outside of being a bodybuilder and performing in shows there is no use for an isolated exercise such as this. If you want stronger legs then you should perform exercises that build stronger legs such as the squat or pistol or dead lift. Therefore I have chosen exercises that allow me to perform a strong press and a strong pull. Both of which are full body exercises that mimic daily activities (bent press and dead lift).

For more information go to:

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/real-strength-for-real-people/

5. Lift heavy and cycle your workouts

If it is your goal to become stronger then you must lift heavy and you must cycle your workouts. Lifting heavy allows you the opportunity to develop more muscle fibers and to increase the tension in your muscles. This is very important for building strength. Cycling your workouts is key in order to allow for continued progression throughout a lifetime. If you were able to continuously add weight to your bench press every week then you would be able to perform a 1040 pound bench press after four years of training while starting with 0 pounds your first week. However we know that the max unassisted bench is 715 pounds. This was set by Scott Mendleson in 2005 with only belt and wrist straps. Therefore continuos progressions without cycling is simply impossible.

For more information go to:

https://thenaturaladvantage.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/cycling-your-workout-the-key-to-continued-improvement/

6. Never lift to failure

Plain and simply you should train for success not failure. Failing at that last rep only promotes failure in the mind. You will not gain any extra benefit from attempting that rep so you should just leave it alone and move on with your day. Do not train for failure, train for success and leave your workout feeling accomplished instead of defeated. You’ll get that rep soon enough.

7. Practice an active stretching technique such as yoga.

Active stretching allows the body to remain flexible and to maintain tension while allowing the muscles the full use of their range of motion. This is critical for the development of the body ensuring the muscle has it’s maximal capability. Without stretching you allow the muscle to tighten up and shorten itself. This can decrease your mobility dramatically.

8. Cardio should be high intensity interval training primarily.

High intensity interval training allows for an extremely effective cardio workout in a short amount of time. It is an extremely good fat burner and it will push your metabolism to a very high rate. When you are performing steady state cardio primarily such as jogging you are training your body to store fat in order to use it on the runs. High intensity interval training does not do this and the differences can be seen easily in the bodies of marathon runners and sprints.

9. Rest

Rest is absolutely critical. If you over exert yourself and continue to push yourself more than you are capable without ample rest then you will decrease the effectiveness of your immune system and you will crash. There is no use in training hard for two months just to get sick. This would set you back to where you started and you will never progress to a high level of fitness.

10. Do not take yourself to seriously

Remember that everyone is on their own path of health and wellness. As long as you are progressing forward and trying your best you are doing well. There is no need to compare yourself to anyone or to fret about missed goals. Reevaluate and continue on. I can assure you that you are progressing just fine if you are able to implement everything above. Furthermore, remember that in a year you will be in a completely different place. Keep your focus on progression instead of perceived stagnation.

Relax and enjoy. Practice getting stronger and keep up the good work. If you fail so be it. Try again.

Real Strength for Real People

Bent press, dead lifts, getups, kettlebell swings/snatches and sprints. That is my workout. Two sets of 5. High intensity cardio. 45 minutes 3 days a week will create real strength for real people while staying lean. Bent press and deadlift for strength and power. Getups, swings and snatches are great for building tension and muscular endurance. With these exercises you will develop lean, wiry and solid muscular development without excessive muscle mass. Lets break it down.

Why do I only perform 2 sets of 5 reps of the bent press and dead lift?

I do this in order to build strength without causing an excessive amount of muscle growth. By performing only two sets of 5, at a heavy weight, you will train for strength. When you lift heavy you create more strength in your muscle fibers in order to assist with the lifting of heavy things. This is important for your daily activities. While you do this you will learn how to build tension in your muscles and how to contract your muscles more effectively. You will also learn irradiation. Irradiation is the phenomenon of the body acting synergistically. If you contract all of your muscles including those that are not directly involved in the lifting action of the the object you will actually increase your overall strength. Therefore if you are performing a side press on the right side and you squeeze all of your muscles including your hand on your left side you will actually lift that item easier.

If you perform more sets at a lighter weight you will experience muscle growth, however you will not have the same strength to go along with it. High sets increase the fluid in the cells of the muscle instead of actually increasing the amount of strength that you have. Therefore if your goal is to build strength and tone without an excessive amount of size then lifting heavy is the answer for you. It is a great formula for both men and women who want a strong toned body. You will not get bulky with this program. Lifting heavy is great for fat loss as well.

If you would like to build size then you should lift as heavy as possible and a lot. The more time under pressure the more benefit you will reap. Pavel Tsatsouline (Power to the People) suggests starting at 80% of your 5 rep max and keep doing sets of 5 with short breaks (30-90 sec) in between. Keep doing these until you have exhausted yourself and you are unable to continue on with good form. Each individual will be different, it might take anywhere from 5-20 sets. Just keep going until you are unable to complete the 5 reps in good form. This also requires eating a lot as well. In a stressful environment for a long period of time the body will shed much of the excess muscle. Therefore I choose to train for strength instead of bulk. It is also healthier to maintain the body at a strong lean weight instead of a bulky mass. You can actually lift heavy with two sets of 5 for a few months and then lift for bulk for a few months as well in order to help cycle the workouts further. However it is up to you to choose.

Another key to successfully training for a lifetime is the use of cycling. Cycling your workout is when you start with a weight that you could easily perform 10 times and you work your way up consistently with that weight performing sets of 5. The first set of 5 is at that weight, the second set would be a weight that is approx. 10 percent less than your first set. You increase the weight of your workout regularly until you are unable to perform 2 sets of 5. With my dead lift I add 2.5 pounds to each side of the bar every workout, with my bent press I add 2.5 pounds to each side every week. When you find your max you will often times you will only do 4 for the first set then maybe on your next workout you can only do two. This is ok. Remember to never lift to failure, if you don’t feel as though you an complete the rep then don’t try it, and then on your next workout choose a weight that is lighter and easier to perform and work your way back up again. Start out low and end high. Every-time you cycle through your weight will get heavier and heavier. As an example we will take the dead lift. My first workout was at 200 pounds, I added 2.5 pounds per side every workout until I got up to 245 pounds. This was my max at that time. After that I dropped the weight down to 215. I cycled through this workout until I hit 270, which was my new max. I then dropped the weight down 245 as my starting point. I am currently in this cycle as of now. As you can see, my new low weight is my old max weight so there has been a steady increase in my overall strength. Even when you are lifting the lighter weights it is imperative that you always lift it as though it was the heaviest one that you could. This allows you to practice your form and also to increase the tension in your muscles.

I perform the getup for 5 reps/side one time. This usually takes several minutes to do and allows me the opportunity to place myself under the weight for a good amount of time.

Why do I perform mostly high intensity cardio as the basis of my cardiovascular workout?

High intensity cardio is the most efficient form of cardiovascular training you can perform. In terms of fat loss it works substantially better than steady state moderate intensity cardio such as jogging. Not only do you lose more fat in a quicker amount of time you also maintain a higher metabolism longer due to the intense workout. When you perform distance style steady state running your body actually stores fat in order to utilize it as energy throughout the run or other endurance event. When you perform high intensity cardio your body is working beyond the aerobic capacity of the body and therefore expends the energy that it has including the fat of your body. One simple way to note this is by looking at olympic athletes. The long distance runners are always skinny but with minimal muscular development and the sprinters are always thin with very good muscular development. This is because long distance running is counterproductive to muscular development. So, the question is, would you rather look like a marathon runner or a sprinter?

How did I choose the exercises?

The exercises that I have chosen are essentially a combination of Pavel Tsoutline Power to the People as well as his kettlebell training philosophy from Enter the Kettlebell. I chose them in order to function as a big push and a big pull. The bent press uses the entire body to push a weight up to the sky. Not only does this work every muscle in the body, primarily the pushing ones, it also trains the body to work together. The same can be said for the dead lift which allows the entire anterior chain to be used primarily in a big pull. Furthermore, the heavier the weight you are using the more tension you will generally produce in your muscles, the dead lift allows for very heavy weights, therefore it also assists in developing strength through training the body to tense your muscles. The getup is a big push as well and the swing is a great cardio exercise that works the posterior chain very well.

I also chose these exercises for their usefulness in every day life. Everyone must lift things to place them on shelves (bent press) and everyone must pick things up off of the ground (dead lift). The getup trains getting up off of the ground or out of bed (a daily function) and the swing and snatch assists with incredible cardio and great hip flexion. These exercises are designed to give you the most bang for your buck for sure. Does that mean that these are the only exercises that you need to perform? No, not necessarily. You are welcome to perform the side press, or maybe work towards a one arm push up or one arm pull-up. Maybe you want to do one leg squats (pistols) or the bench press. They are all great exercises, just ensure you are using tension.

I don’t believe in isolating muscles. The world doesn’t isolate muscles so why would I train that way. Isolating muscles is only good if your goal is to build a body builders beach body. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to build purposeful strength and it is my opinion that someone who is purposefully strong looks good.

Kettlebell Swings/Snatches and Sprinting

I chose swings and snatches because it is a fantastic cardio workout while working your entire body. I am not interested in training for long distance endurance sports. The heart already beats all day everyday. I am interested in training the heart to be able to function superbly under extreme duress that is unexpected. The swings and snatches do this quite well. They are not the only thing though and If you do not have a kettlebell then you are welcome to perform a set of sprints. Go out and run as hard as you can (look into barefoot running techniques) for 20 seconds and then take the rest of the minute or so off. Do this ten times and you just had yourself a great cardio workout. You’ll be surprised how effective it is.

I am generally opposed to running because it is simply not an effective fat burner compared to other cardio activities as most people perform it as an exercise. There is a great discrepancy between what people believe to be running. When I think of running I think of my time in the Marine Corps where you ran 3 miles as fast as you could and you moved on with your day. There was no lolly gagging along at a slow pace. I was taught how to run by a Marine Corps scout-sniper who believed several things. One was that group runs only trained the slowest person, therefore he made it his goal to drop everyone off of the run and then go back and pick them back up. This kept the Marines motivated and ensured that everyone got a good cardio workout. As we waited for the other to catch up we were performing exercises, usually a fantastically funny sounding a looking exercise called Monkey Fuckers. It’s brutal on the thighs and your lungs as you try not to laugh at what you were doing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22PMO2SvLZk We really did have a damn good time. He also believed that singing cadence was a waste of time. Essentially he believed that if you were able to sing cadence then you were not running fast enough. This is a much different pace of running that what most people do. Most people tend to go out and jog at a slow pace and this is completely ineffective no matter what your local personal trainer tells you is the “fat burning zone.”

I do however believe that there is a primal instinct in us as far as running goes, and I believe that we should exercise that instinct through sprinting. Therefore it is my intention to structure my cardio training as follows. Monday will be a sprint day. I will sprint for 12 minutes total, 6-8 sprints or so of approximately 20-30 seconds. I will then rest and jog back to the start point. This will allow me to actively rest for a minute or so. I will increase the time of the sprints as needed or decrease the rest time. On wednesday I am performing 6 minutes of snatches. All out as hard as I can. Snatches are a beautiful training monster that will send your heart rate flying through the roof. Then on Friday I will perform 9 minutes of swings. They will be done at a high intensity but will generally be a easier than the snatches. This will allow three different forms of cardio throughout the week, as well as some variety in the training. The variety will be both in the type of activity as well as the intensity of it. I will increase the training time and intensity on a regular basis. If you are unable to perform swings/snatches or sprints that is ok. The key is to choose an activity that increases your heart rate and gets you working hard. This may be as simple as walking fast, walking up stairs or jumping rope.

So that has become my answer for for real people that want real strength in a condensed amount of time. Work hard, work effectively, work quickly and move on with your day. If you lift heavy, cycle your workout and perform high intensity cardio you will improve your overall health dramatically and improve your life. In just 45 minutes or less 3 times a week you can quickly transform yourself. Your body will respond to the work that is placed upon it. You will also be able to improve your strength and health without feeling sore or fatigued. There is no need to walk around all day with dead legs because you just squatted 40 times with a moderately heavy weight. There is no use in working out to improve your strength just to become so tired that you can’t do anything else that week. I’m interested in being strong and having a life. Not being strong and sleeping all week.

This method of training allows you to steadily improve your fitness while being able to achieve specific goals. It is important to note that there are many training methods that are effective to a certain point. There are group fitness adventures that will wear you out completely. Nearly all training will provide a base level of fitness at first. However, the question becomes are you able to continue on for a lifetime of improvement? This is where many group fitness plans fail. They fail because their training goal is to make their client tired. This is not an effective training goal. Becoming tired is simply a function of repetition. The question should not be how tired am I, but rather: Have I improved my strength? Have I improved my cardiovascular fitness? The next question is how do you determine this?

With this program you can track your strength easily, you will watch yourself progress through heavier and heavier weights. You can also track your cardiovascular fitness by the amount and intensity of swings/sprints or snatches. You may also purchase a heart rate monitor to track it further as well as taking your resting heart rate. I hope that this information finds you well.

I will have more to come in another post, but until then enjoy your training and enjoy getting fitter.

Two great resources that you should own are “Power to the People” by Pavel Tsatsouline and “The Purposeful Primitive” by Marty Gallagher. They can both be found on Dragondoor.com

Introductory Guide to Great Health and Longevity Part 3 (Training Philosophy)

Training Phiosophy

My goal now is to be fitter next year than I am now, and to do that without injury, feeling worn down or getting bored. It should be yours as well. I want to increase my strength and conditioning in a patterned, structured way. I want to train effectively and intelligently and I want to enjoy it. Also, I want to be able to enjoy my time between workouts without pain or complete exhaustion.

In order to do this I have switched almost completely over to kettlebell training. I follow the advice of a trainer named Pavel Tsoutline. His method is that of low rep ladders for slow strength and high rep ballistic movements for cardio and endurance training. This allows you to do as much work as possible while being as fresh as possible. The intention with kettlebells is to build strength and endurance without building an unreasonable amount of size. They will allow you to become stronger while maintaining functionality.

If you would like to use barbells he has a plan for you as well. Two sets of 5. As heavy as you can go while leaving one or two in the hole (i.e.…never going to failure). You must also use some form of cycling. Cycling is when you start out at at weight you can perform fairly easily and increase that weight. You continue to increase this weight until you are unable to perform 2 sets of 5 with a given weight. At this point, instead of getting stuck on a plateau, you drop the weight down to a lighter weight (but heavier than the original starting point). Then you work your way up once again, this time surpassing your previous plateau and continue training. This will allow you to build strength without injuring yourself or overtraining.

I am more interested in training for lifetime fitness and functional strength instead of looks. Here is a great part of an interview with Pavel Tsoutline.

How do you train soldiers differently than civilians? For example, how would the training of a soldier compare to the training of an athlete?

Pavel: Let us use strength as an example. An athlete can afford to be strong due to large muscles but a soldier or a Marine cannot. In wartime and even during exercises muscle rapidly melts away, thanks to malnutrition, sleep deprivation, and stress. A military man must gain strength by retraining his nervous system to contract his, even shrunken, muscles harder.

The above style of neural strength training is ideally done when the trainee is totally fresh. But a soldier must exert himself when he is exhausted. Therefore at least some of the strength practice must be conducted in a state of fatigue, sometimes extreme fatigue. In the Spetsnaz it is an SOP to initiate a new guy by putting him through all sorts of hell and then have him fight a few fresh and experienced guys hand to hand. Applied to neural strength training, you could hump ninety pounds of gear on uneven terrain or go for an ocean swim, and then do your pullups and kettlebell snatches.

To sum with an analogy, an athlete is like a racecar that performs like a clock on a perfect track, with top grade fuel and oil, etc. Pull it out of its ideal environment and you have got a problem. A soldier is a Hummer that will perform under most adverse conditions.

The above is from Girevik Magazine. http://www.powerathletesmag.com/archives/Girevik/First/interview.html

I would much prefer to be the Hummer with a social life than a racecar without one. In fact I just recently ran all over Enchanted Rock (Texas) with a light pack on with my girlfriend and dog at the tail end of a bout of illness without much difficulty. I am very pleased with the efficiency of my workouts. Ill continue to train with kettlebells and will probably add in free weights when I get a chance down the line.

Introductory Guide to Great Health and Longevity Part 2 (food)

The food portion of great health and longevity can be seen as quite simple. With a few basic rules you will be well on your way.

Three things to Remember

All you really need to do in order to eat healthy is to keep these three things in mind:

1. Whole Foods

2. Fresh Foods (mostly fresh, preferably organic or natural)

3. Eat more vegetables (especially leafy greens), high quality meats (grass fed and/or naturally raised organic meat) and less carbohydrates (especially simple ones such as sugar and refined flours)

This is the basis of a healthy diet.

You should not fear your food. Enjoy it, embrace it and love it. Eat real food and stop worrying so much about it. Food is a social event. Eat it, enjoy it, savor it and live.

Whole Foods

Whole foods are the entire edible portion of the food. Typical whole foods are your fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meats. Typical refined foods are white breads, instant oatmeal, cookies, frozen dinners and anything boxed. I once heard two pieces of advice when choosing foods at he grocery store. One was to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store (vegetables, fruits and meats are found on the perimeter while refined foods are on the inside aisles) and the other was to purchase foods that do not have a label telling you that they are healthy. Fruits and vegetables do not require a label telling you that it is good for you. The added vitamins and minerals on the packaged food is a marketing ploy to get you to buy them.

Fresh Foods

Soon after your food is harvested the nutrient level begins to decrease. Typical grocery store foods travel incredible distances to reach your pantry. This food is often picked before it is ripe and chemically ripened. Consuming local natural/organic produce supports both your health and the health of you local economy and farmers. Frozen fruits and vegetables maintain a very high level of nutrients as well.

Eat more Vegetables/Quality Meats and less Carbohydrates

The standard american plate is centered around meat. Increasing the amounts of vegetables that you eat will make a large difference in your health, especially leafy greens. High quality meats are naturally/organically raised, such as grass fed beef. I believe our bodies are geared to work properly on the fats and proteins of these meats. As you fill your plate with these meats and vegetables you will thankfully crowd out the simple carbohydrates such as white breads, sugars and sodas. Eating fat does not cause weight gain.

The Timing of Meals

Humans are predators. Predators are geared to be most effective when they are on the hunt, and they hunt when they are hungry. Therefore we are naturally at our peak performance when we are hungry. We should only be eating for 4 hours in the evening, with small recovery meals after a workout or to stave off the worst of the hunger pangs. No more scavenging food at all hours like a vulture. These are the main reasons why.

Insulin Regulation

Insulin regulation is achieved through proper food choices and intermittent fasting.

“When you fast, insulin drops and the hormone glucagon increases, to ensure a steady supply of energy to the body. When glucagon dominates, most of the body’s energy is derived from glycogen reserves and fat stores. Also, the drop in insulin allows the growth hormone to peak. Elevation of GF increases the body’s capacity to rejuvenate, repair tissues, and burn fat.”

“The Warrior Diet” by Ori Hofmekler

Detoxification

Natural detoxification allows the body to remove toxins that you have in your body. When you eat breakfast you are literally (break)ing your (fast). This allows a daily fast (controlled fast/under eating phase) as well as an opportunity to “indulge” in the evening. In the evening you eat as much food as it takes to make you full and then during the day you fast.

“It’s east and undeniable whence experienced. – The body’s natural purification in the am, and the dissipation of hunger throughout the day…and the permitted and “healthy” bit of hedonism at sunset. Every time I hear the 6 small meals a day, all I think of is self slavery.” Todd BandiagaRa

I believe the food portion is the most important portion of being healthy. All of this is found throughout this blog. Search through for further details on the above. Blog posts to look for in particular are the earlier ones on the specifics of food and The Timing of Meals parts 1 and 2.

Introductory Guide to Great Health and Longevity Part 1 (soil)

The Natural Advantages focus is on health and wellness through natural foods and physical fitness. I am a Marine, paramedic, natural chef (health and wellness), lifelong fitness enthusiast and student. I am interested in empowering others with the ability to care for themselves and subsequently set themselves free in order to attain their highest ideals. This is what I have learned.

Health From the Ground Up

It is my belief that health starts in properly cared for soil. In this natural state we grow the perfect foods for our bodies. Once we eat these foods we unlock the health benefits of these foods through our genes. This is seen through a new study of epigenetics. Eating locally, naturally and sustainably allows for us to enjoy the variety of seasons. By growing our own food we are able to take control of our health. We are able to empower ourselves in our lives.

Why the Soil is so Important

Growing your own plants is one of the most important things that you can do in order to maximize your health. Not only do you get exercise, you also produce fantastic tasting and healthy food. You will save money in the long run and you will save time as well because you don’t have to go to the grocery store to purchase all of your ingredients.

Increasing the health of your soil will make an impact on the health of your edibles. This then transitions into an immediate impact on you and your health. Through a healthy soil you increase the disease resistance of your plants, you also maintain a high level of nutrient density in your plants and you will also gain exercise while working with mother nature. It is often seen as a meditative process as well which allows you to reduce your stress and contemplate those things which must be contemplated.

Cuba was a fantastic living example of the power of food on it’s community. During the cuban special period Cuba had to go through a complete reformation of their agricultural practices. This is because they lost the support of the soviet union. Cuba had to change their agriculture from a predominitely conventional based agriculture program (much like the US uses) to a mostly organicly grown agricultural program. This has had a terrific effect on the health of the individual as well as the soil. The transition was not easy, however, the community that exists now is very strong and has a great understanding of food.

This is the process that I am learning now. I currently do not garden, nor do I work with any farmers at this time. I however am planning on spending the next several years focusing on sustainable agriculture. As I learn I will pass on any information that I come across.