A number of you have written me about how to approach the days when you are not working out, when you are not following a meal plan and when you are not scheduled to participate in a physical fitness event of some kind. We tend to call these “off days” or “rest days,” some people even have an “off-season” and I tend to think these names are pretty appropriate. I think the major idea or concept we who engage in and live the fitness lifestyle must have is that there is never a time when our body is doing nothing anabolic pharma. The only time your body will even come close to doing nothing is when you are dead and then it is still doing something; it’s called decaying. But on a serious note, we have to get it in our minds that living fit is more than a gym workout or a series of well planned meals, it truly is a lifestyle. Media and marketing do a great job of selling products but they have also given many people an unrealistic idea of what being fit is, what it looks like and how to live fit.
So often I talk to people who engage in body building and physique competitions. These are sports that I personally love and respect. These sports are characterized by a huge number of amazing athletes and they have always had a firm place in my heart as some of my favorite personalities and friends. However, most people (but rarely the athletes) tend to place the wrong label on these people and incorrectly think of these people as the ultimate symbol of the fitness lifestyle. In the majority of cases (there are exceptions) I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I lived that lifestyle for the majority of my life so I know what I’m talking about.
In my experience the majority of these people only engage in fitness lifestyle endeavors around the clock when it’s time to get ready for a competition. The rest of the year many of them won’t train for weeks at a time, they eat anything they please and engage in binging, literally gorging themselves with food then turn around and initiate extreme dieting practices in order to prepare for their show. In addition to this, most of the people I’ve known in these sports (including myself at one time) only exercise and eat “clean” at various times throughout the year during the years that they are competing.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked to tell someone the key to getting fit I’d be living on some island being fed grapes (organic of course) by any number of very attentive and exceptionally formed females. This however is not my reality. Therefore, I will do my best to answer the question for you.
whether you are running, riding a bike, jump roping or scaling a very tall tree, do it with maximal intensity. Of course this cuts down on the time you put into the activity, but the overall physiology of the activity will benefit you more as well. Having said this, I should probably explain that last statement. If you are wanting to run a marathon or swim to Tahiti, my previous statement is an outright lie. However if you desire to be strong, powerful, energetic, lean and muscular then my statement is right on the money (give me my nickel – another grape please). People who sprint as a fundamental part of their training are muscular, lean and powerful. If you don’t believe me, just type “track sprinter” into Google images and see what kinds of physiques you find. On the other hand, people who do long distance, lower intensity exercise (long distance running, biking etc.) tend to be thin, less muscular and have an overall less well-rounded physique. You can type “endurance athlete” into Google images if you like. While I tend to appreciate both types of fitness activity and both types of physique I admit, that sprinter’s physiques look more like what my idea of a fit body image is. So if you desire a body that is functional, strong, powerful, lean and vibrant, get to sprinting!
luckily this tip is starting to take root and become more accepted in the fitness world. Bottom line; our bodies were not designed to ingest grain products nor dairy from non-human animals. Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, any milk other than human milk was designed for the babies of that species, not for you and I. While human milk was designed for us to drink, even it was only meant to be ingested during infancy. Once we can eat, chew and handle our own food we are meant to eat the phenomenally nourishing things the earth provides us naturally. Grains exist in great amounts because our starving ancestors way back in the day figured out that growing some wheat, rye or oats and carrying it around in a sack was a lot easier than chasing down a rabbit or rooting around for walnuts during a snow storm. Luckily we aren’t so hard-up for nourishment these days. If you are a starving mess, then by all means, load up on the milk and bread. Heck, if you’re truly starving, eat anything you can find! But if fitness is your goal and not simply surviving, then cut back on the grains and dairy. They are hard on the body, they are not easily digested, many are addictive, they tend to create inflammation and our body reacts to them by becoming bloated, sluggish and fatty. There is even evidence to show that grains (primarily wheat) may lead to verifiable brain damage and contribute to disorders like ADD, ADHD and depression. Try to stick with lean meats, fibrous vegetables, nuts, berries and melons. Things like this are what our bodies were designed to feed on, so give it a try.