I recently visited the helpful Mutual Improvement Blog, where I came across a post on health, diet, and exercise goals. It was a good list insofar as it contained the steps most people have been taught are necessary to be “healthy”. The problem with becoming healthy is that it is made to be COMPLICATED by everyone who purports to be an expert. You can’t sell magazines month after month unless there is constantly something new and sophisticated.
Here was my response to the author’s good, but overwhelmingly long for anyone changing life-long habits, list:
I think I can help simplify this a bit. Two-second background: I help design training and nutritional programs for Olympic athletes, around 30 world records thus far. The most impressive specimens, all of which have less than 6% bodyfat, do the following three things:
1. Consume 1 gram of lean protein (chicken, fish, or micellar casein powder preferred) per lb. of lean bodyweight (subtract your fat) per day. Some split this into three meals and two shakes. I prefer four meals (9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm) and one shake after exercise. A piece of animal about the size of your palm (similar to a hamburger patty) is around 30 grams.
2. Carry a Nalgene bottle full of water with you at all times. As soon as you drink it all, fill it again. This will help your liver to oxidize fats and eliminate waste products that cause skin problems.
3. Resistance train with free weights or machines 2-4 times per week. I prefer machines for safety and ease-of-use. I only spend 30 minutes twice per week in the gym if I’m not competing. You don’t need any more than one set to failure (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down rep cadence) with the following exercises: leg press, overhead press, seated row, bench press, back extension, abdominals, calf raises. This workout will last you less than 15 minutes. Finish with 10 minutes on a stationary bike to minimize soreness the following day.
If you only do these three things for two weeks, you will lose a massive amount of bodyfat and improve cardio-muscular function, increase bone density, decrease cholesterol, and build smoother, cleaner skin. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Last recommendations, have the same professional at a gym measure your bodyfat every month, and have your physician draw blood for comprehensive blood tests every 6 months (you’ll have to pay $100-400, depending on what you want tested).
Have fun, get lean, and get simple.