So when I write lists like the one below or the 23 Random Things About Me post, that’s the defence I use. ?It could be that my simple mind can only think of 23 things.
Whatever it is, below you’ll find 23 Health Rules that I live by and that I think may be beneficial for you. ?By no means am I saying that you should follow any or all of these rules. ?These are just merely observations of experiments that I’ve done on myself and that have worked for me. ?You are your own beast, so proceed with caution if you are going to apply any of these tips (how’s that for a disclaimer?)….
1. Bodyweight Training – There is no better way to get in shape if you’re on a budget. Chin-ups, pistols, push-ups, handstand push-ups, front levers, flag poles, muscle-ups. Some of the strongest, leanest and fittest people in the world only use bodyweight training. ?There’s something to be said about someone who can do a 1-arm chin-up. ?Most people are after a long, lean, athletic look. ?Bodyweight training will get you there.
2. Drink Water 1st thing in the morning. ?This is something that I’ve been doing for 10 years now. ?Wake up, go to the bathroom, head down stairs, down 3 glasses of water. ?Immediately, you feel clean, refreshed and ready to go…and you don’t feel like you need to eat a big plate of waffles, butter & syrup for breakfast.
3. Don’t eat breakfast if you’re not hungry. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but if you’re not hungry 1st thing in the morning, then why force it? ?Check out my buddy, Brad Pilon’s “Breakfast Diet Hack” -?http://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/breakfast-diet-hack/
4. Meditation. ?Life’s only stressful if you can’t handle what it dishes you. ?Stuff happens, you have to deal with it. ?Meditating will help you deal with what life throws you. ?Sometimes just 5 minutes closing your eyes and focusing on your breathe can give you worlds of perspective and help calm an elevated heart rate due to stress. ?Try it.
5. Go for walks. ?I’ve been doing this and have actually gotten leaner (and smarter – although that’s debatable) since I started. ?Each morning at 7am, the can headphones go on, I put on an audioprogram (right now it’s all writing workshops) and I walk to the espresso shop and back. ?I get home in time to say good morning to the kids, make breakfast and have family time. ?It’s awesome.
6. Sell your 2nd car and ride a bike. ?I sold our VW Rabbit last January. ?I invested most of the money and used a portion of it to buy a Batavus Breukelen – a bike constructed in Copenhagen meant to withstand harsh winters. ?Best decision I’ve made for both my bank balance and my health. ?As much as I loved my VW, I love riding past frustrated motorists stuck in traffic more. ?Check out the Toronto Bike Scene HERE => http://416CycleStyle.com
7. Opt for espresso instead of drip. Drip coffee is acidic. With drip coffee, all of the antioxidants are extracted after the first cup. ?After that, the dark fluid that gets drained is only acid and caffeine. ?With an espresso – or any espresso-based drink like an “Americano” – you get all the great properties of coffee without any of the acid and LESS the caffeine. ?Plus, espresso – when it’s “pulled” the right way – is just plain delicious.
8. Sleep 8 hours per night. ?I once read in a health report that the majority of disease could be prevented if we just drank enough water and slept enough at night. ?Sleep is your body’s natural medicine. ?A way for your body to allow it’s cells to recreate themselves.
9. Train in the afternoon. ?Obviously it’s better to train in the morning than not going to the gym at all, but if your schedule allows, I strongly suggest hitting the weights in the afternoon. ?Again, just based on personal experience, I’m much better able lift heavier and go the distance after I’ve been awake for a few hours and I have some calories in me.
10. STOP doing weighted side bends. ?I saw someone doing this at the gym yesterday, EXCEPT, he was holding a dumbbell in each hand, both of the same weight. ?What’s the point of that? ?Dr. Stuart McGill, based on his low back research, has stated that 3 direct ways to get a low back injury is lumbar spinal flexion, lumbar spinal rotation, and lumbar spinal lateral flexion (which is a side bend). ?Do any of these under load (with a weight in hand) and you INCREASE your chances of a low back injury even more. ? Want to work the same set of muscles but do it in the way they were meant to be worked? ?Try a 1-sided farmers walk (also called a “suitcase” walk). Grab a 36kg kettlebell with one hand and walk 20 yards without bending over or favouring the weighted side by bracing your abs HARD. ?Put the KB down and walk back while holding it in the other hand.
11. Get a foam roller and/or a lacrosse ball. ?Probably something that has saved me many a trip to the chiropractor. ?I use a foam roller prior to EVERY training session and roll out my hamstrings, IT bands, quads & groin and then I use the lacrosse ball on my piriformis and glutes. ?Then, after all my muscles have been “kneaded” out, I stretch them to try to gain some flexibility.
12. O.D. on Vitamin C. A few weeks ago my family and I watched the documentary “Food Matters”. ?A naturopathic doctor was interviewed and showed how he saw amazing results with his patients by mega-dosing on Vitamin C. ?Based on what I’ve read, there are no adverse effects and tremendous upside to taking large amounts of vitamin C on a regular basis – especially if you feel a cold coming on. ?My hair hasn’t started falling out yet. ?I’ll keep you posted.
13. FOCUS on getting strong. ?Strength is a lost practice. ?Too many exercisers and gym-goers are so concerned with getting that “burning” feeling so that they feel like they worked out. ?Nobody wants to lift heavy any more. ?Last week I read this quote by ?Mark Rippetoe that sums this point up –
“Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not. As humanity has developed throughout history, physical strength has become less critical to our daily existence, but no less important to our lives. Our strength, more than any other thing we possess, still determinesthe quality and the quantity of our time here in these bodies. Whereas previously our physical strength determined how much food we ate and how warm and dry we stayed, it now merely determines how well we function in these new surroundings we have crafted for ourselves as our culture has accumulated. But we are still animals – our physical existence is, in the final analysis, the only one that actually matters. A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up.”
– Mark Rippetoe
14. Take a nap. ?I’m not talking about a 4 hour siesta from after lunch to 5pm with your tie in your mouth to soak up the drool. ?You can feel refreshed and rejuvinated without any of the grogginess by just closing your eyes and “napping” for just 20 minutes.
15. Don’t neglect your fat intake. ?After a few years of self-experimentation, I’ve found that if I increase my dietary fat intake, I actually get leaner. ?When I’m in a phase where I want my abs to be more visible, I will train heavy (and try to get stronger) and just focus on eating lots of healthy fats and protein. ?I recently interviewed my friend, Master RKC Geoff Neupert, and he gave me the recipe for a GREAT ANABOLIC SHAKE –
Master RKC Geoff Neupert’s Anabolic Shake
1/2 Can Coconut Milk
2 Scoops Protein Powder (I use SunWarrior)
Superfoods to taste (I usually add in some cocoa nibs, maca powder and/or chia seeds)
Wash down 6 fish oil caps and your body will be primed to burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
Check out Geoff’s blog at http://ChasingStrength.com
16. Don’t carry your cellphone in your pocket. ?Men’s Health Magazine (August 2011) cited a Japanese study that found lower hip bone mass in men that carried a cell phone clipped to their belt. If you don’t think that your phone is doing a number on your boys, then think again. ?I’m not that important that I need to walk around and be notified every time someone wants to get a hold of me. ?The phone stays in the bag.
17. Jump rope. ?I miss playing sports and the days when I used to practice in the early AM, go to class and then come back in the afternoon to practice again (yes, I was actually one of those weirdos who actually enjoyed practice). These days my athletic endeavours are limited to snatching a kettlebell, pushing a Prowler, running up a hill or JUMPING ROPE. ?Jumping rope allows you to maintain some type of coordination, is a great foundational exercise to help establish footwork and will keep your cardiovascular system healthy without the pounding on your joints that running or step class creates (do they still do “Step Class”?)
18. Wake up at the same time everyday – no matter what. ?A great tip that I learned from my business coach and mentor, Craig Ballantyne, getting up at the same time everyday is great for your energy levels and keeps you productive. ?So whether I get to bed at 9pm or 2am, I try to get up at 5am every morning. ?This does 2 things: 1) it keeps me on track with my schedule and 2) it forces me to rethink my decisions when I do decide to get to bed too late.
19. Cut cable. ?After we sold the car last year, we immediately cut cable as well. After that, our expenses plummeted like the stock market in 2008. We found that we had more time for each other and that we didn’t miss the world passing us by like we thought we would. ?Now, instead of sitting in front of the TV for family time, we have a weekly “card” night where we play a family game of Crazy 8’s. ?Or we just go to bed at 9pm!!!
20. Check email ONLY twice per day. ?This is a Tim Ferriss hack that I learned in the 4-Hour Work Week. ?After being reactive every time my old Blackberry would go off, I now just check email twice per day. ?The main reason is the stress factor. ?When you run an online “personality-based” business, there will always be individuals out there who don’t jive with your personality and what you say and will not hesitate to let you know about it. ?We fondly know these people as “haters”. ?As much as we try to ignore the haters, they do get in our heads, and so checking email infrequently allows us to limit the access that haters have to us.
21. Disconnect for a day every week. ?I don’t touch the internet on Saturday. ?I don’t look at my iPhone, I don’t check email and I definitely don’t do any business related tasks on Saturday. ?Saturday, for me, is sacred family time that nobody can touch. ?Disconnecting allows me to have uninterrupted family time where I can focus on my wife and kids ONLY and nobody else.
22. Fast. ?Want to get leaner, increase your production of growth hormone, learn a little about yourself and how many decisions throughout the day you make because of food? ?Try fasting for a 24 hour period. ?Do this periodically (I suggest once or twice per week) and you’ll feel great. ?You have to overcome the “I’m going to feel groggy”, low blood sugar, “I have to eat 6 times per day in order to stay lean” syndrome and you’ll thank me for it. ?For more information, click HERE => http://tinyurl.com/FitAndBusyDIET
23. Train with Kettlebells. ?So you know I was going to throw this in here somewhere, but outside of bodyweight training, I can’t?think of anything more effective or economical for your body and your wallet than training with kettlebells. ?With just 10 basic and foundational exercises you can gain muscle, lose fat and move better (and therefore be healthier) just by using a kettlebell. ?My wife, for example, used just 1 kettlebell and bodyweight training to lose 40lbs of “baby” fat in 4 months.
Checkout my Kettlebell Workouts HERE => The TT Kettlebell Revolution