We love carbs. Not so much because it’s really what we like, but because food processing makes them easily available at all times. It’s not so easy to carry a chicken wing around in your pocket. Not unless food poisoning is on your schedule.
Carbohydrates aren’t all bad; they’re a prime source of food during high-intensity exercise and our brain is fueled primarily by sugar. While the body is capable, over a period of time, of becoming more efficient at using fat in high-intensity work, most studies show carbs work better when athletes are asked to work at levels higher than 70% of their VO2 max for extended periods.
But there’s a dark side to the carbohydrate. If not burned up, they can lead to fat gain and in the long run, to what is known as Metabolic Syndrome, a systemic breakdown of several vital body mechanisms stemming from insulin resistance. Picture insulin like any drug you may take. The first time you take it, it has an immediate and powerful effect. But over time, your body adapts to the drug’s presence and it requires more of the substance to get the results you want. It’s the same with insulin. Keep cramming processed, high glycemic carbs down your gullet and your body becomes “numb” to insulin in your blood. The insulin doesn’t work as effectively at removing the sugar from your blood and so it keeps pumping out more of it; the body doesn’t like insulin in the blood for too long and wants to store it in fat or muscles. The long-term effects of elevated blood insulin are devastating: Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive decline, cancer.
Get it? It’s bad.
So years and years of soda, chips, ice cream, cookies, and white bread add up. Your gut expands, your blood pressure increases and you age quickly.
The news gets worse when you avoid exercise, which increases insulin sensitivity. In other words, your body needs less insulin to remove sugar, when you exercise regularly. Strength training is especially effective at increasing insulin sensitivity as is High Intensity Interval Training.
There’s good news though, and I’m going to give you a simple road map to new health, improved athletic performance, greater sense of well-being and weight loss. I’ll keep it simple; you don’t have to be hard-core top make it work. Stick with it and I think you ‘ll be impressed and when the results start coming through–you’ll never want to give it up. It’s simply too good to throw away.
Step 1) Intermittent fasting. Twice per week, I want you to skip one meal. The results are in–fasting is good for you. Live longer, look younger, increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the rate of cognitive decline. I’m intentionally taking it easy on you. I don’t want to scare you away with the way I do things. Sometimes I don’t eat for a whole day or I skip two meals on one day and one the next and continue to alternate fora week at a time. But you can get results by only skipping two meals– I’ve seen it in myself.
Step 2) Natural Food. Eat food throughout the week that is found in nature. Salads, fruit, vegetables, meat, nuts. I’ll even let you eat chocolate–as long as it’s dark chocolate. One day per week eat whatever you want–yes even cake. Don’t worry about how much you eat at each meal as long as you skip your two meals per week.
Step 3) High Intensity Weight Training. One day per week, hit the gym. Do 1 set of 6-8 reps per upper body part. The last rep should be an all-out effort to the point that you can’t do another rep. Adjust the weight accordingly. For lower body part, do 15-20 reps. This is a full body workout. So you can do bench, curls, leg press, leg curl, arm curls. That in and of itself will be enough–if you go all-out with max effort. If you can’t make it to the gym, do max pushups, max bodyweight squats and max situps. Literally gas yourself.
Step 4) One day of intervals or distance running. Sprint for 20 seconds for six repetitions with 30 seconds rest between intervals. It’s gonna hurt but it’s 2 minutes of work. Suck it up Soldier! OR run for at least 20 minutes at a moderate pace.
What you say, that’s it? Don’t I need more exercise? No, you don’t.Can you do more exercise? Of course. This schedule leaves you plenty of space to add what you want. Maybe you play a sport or love running. Good, this will help with weight management, but as far as strength is concerned, one set to failure once per week is shown to be as effective as multiple sets three times per week! And you’ll save your joints.
Try my recommendations and let me know how things work out. I’ve given you a starting point, if not the guide to athletic supremecy. With it you’ll be able to live your life without having to constantly think about the gym or what you’re eating. And life’s about living, right? If you want advice, I’ll be happy to give it. I can at least tell you what’s worked for me-I’m very happy with my results.