A good friend of mine calls this Diet which is probably very accurate, but it also has lots and lots of stigmas. So, I'll stick with Lifestyle. I almost titled this Health, but that's too wrapped up in what you do with your body and what you put into it. But, for me, it's also what you do between your workout and dinner. It's how well you sleep, walk, sit (or don't), breathe (or don't), recover, play, love, LIVE. From morning rituals to consciousness engineering, lifestyle is the blueprint for your life. You can still change and do whatever you want, but you've got something to fall back on.Let's get started.
Mark Sisson.. the godfather of the Primal movement, author of the Primal Blueprint, and creator of Mark's Daily Apple. You will probably never absorb everything he's produced. Consolidation helps doesn't it? By far my favorite guide to all the things we do between eating and working out.
Here's his most recent guide to primal living.
Sitting is the new smoking, and we're all doing it too much.
Go play! It's such a deprived area of all of our lives (not to mention modern children). Most societies still play on a daily basis. Here's an article on what it means to play and why it's so crucial for our health and happiness.
Emotional intelligence is defined as how well we handle our own emotions and react to the emotions of others. Remember that friend in high school who would ruin group conversations by being unnecessarily emotional, whether it be angry (tough guy/bitch), whiney, or scared? It's not their fault, we aren't taught these things in school. Having a high emotional IQ is as important for your social life as it is your emotional and family life. Check out lifehacker's article on the matter here.
Walk guys, just walk. Instead of plopping down on the sofa after lunch, take a walk. It allows your food to digest more efficiently, it keeps you from getting a case of the afternoon sleepies, burns some calories, and has been linked to less cases of dementia and heart disease. It also gets you outside in the sun, something most of us do not get near enough of (that one week acting like a beach whale in July doesn't really count, sorry), and it's the perfect time to reflect on your life, whether it be goals, relationships, health, work, family, whatever! Just try it. 10 minutes after your meals isn't too much to ask. Spend the time for yourself now, or have it taken away from you towards the end of your life. :O
The lights we encounter on a daily basis have a massive impact on our day to day lives. Most of us aren't outside for eight hours during the day, most of us are inside for about 22. There's a great write up here about the effects.
For anyone who wants to nerd out on the subject, check out this recent podcast Dave does. You really get to see the extent to which Dave Asprey actually is a fantastic nerd.
There are a lot of workout plans out there. A LOT.
Briefly, here's what I know:
Sprints suck and are really good for you. As much as I dread them, I like to do them every week or two. Unlike chronic cardio.
Just look at the difference in physique of a sprinter and marathon runner.
Lifting heavy is critical not only for physique and strength but longevity and quality of life. It's generally going to be few reps and heavier weight that leads us to grow stronger muscles. If our nervous systems notices we keep trying to lift this particularly heavy thing and keep failing it will program stronger and consequently larger muscle tissues.
I followed the Stronglifts 5x5 program along with many bio hacks to gain 30 pounds of (mostly) muscle in about six months. I've since gauged things back and only lift heavy about once every 10 days.
2/3 of my workouts are HIIT. Besides the current science showing the health benefits are stronger and the negatives fewer with HIIT, I've learned that I feel very good when doing it. Sometimes it's a crossfit workout, sometimes a prison workout, sometimes just whatever I come across. I know when I'm pushing it and when I'm slacking. If I've got gas left in the tank, I do another round.
Less is, often, more. In fact, Dr. Doug McGuff believes less than 13 minutes per week is more, and has the research and results to prove it. I successfully used this workout for about six months gaining strength and size.
Mark has laid out a really versatile and simple workout plan here, one that I roughly follow with learned advantageous tweaks.
Matters of the Heart:
Want to be happy? Find something to be grateful for.
How good are you at forgiving?
Compassion connects us. To everything.
If you want to feel "in the zone" start here.
The original FLOW state master, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (spell check couldn't handle that one). Invaluable insight and study on performing like a pro-surfer or Navy Seal. Watch his short Ted Talk to get an idea of what it's about:
Steven Kotler wrote a profound book, Rise of Superman, that goes much more into detail about the current state of affairs in regards to FLOW state research and results. Here's his talk at the 2014 Bulletproof Conference, one of my favorites:
A beautiful talk on how our relationships are the key factor to living a long and healthy life.
I don't know that there's many things very far above sleep in regards to importance for health and quality of life. There are thousands of studies linking quality sleep with quality of life. There are even studies linking lifespan with quality of sleep. I'm talking to you fellow first-responders!
Many people seem to think they're fine with four hours of fitful sleep per night. It can be done, but it has to be the exception to your rule.
Get quality sleep!
Here's Dave Asprey's blog post covering the basics, techniques, and hacks of sleeping well.
Mark Sisson wrote a definitive guide to sleep with links to research about problematic sleep and it's counterpart effective sleep. What a word.. sleep.
Any psychonauts or spiritual explorers out there? You've undoubtedly heard of lucid dreaming. Here's a very informative video that will help you "choose whatever you like" in your next dream. Carlos Castenada has recorded some ancient wisdom from Don Juan on the matter as well. I read a chapter from that book right before bed my freshman year of college and was flying around above the walmart parking lot an hour later.
"Don't worry about it."
Funny thing, most of us do not wish to worry or stress. It seems to happen involuntarily, like our tummy rumbling or blinking when reading a book. We aren't taught how to calm our nervous systems as children and so are never given to the one tool that can beat stress. Imagine if we'd never been told how to use toilet paper. I don't think people would put up with those effects like they do with the stench of an extremely stress person who is operating from a fight-or-flight modality.
Heart rate variability training is the fastest and easiest way to take the air right out of the stress balloon. Take a look at this PDF sweetwaterHRV has made available to the public.
The Heartmath Institute is IT when it comes to research and proactive work related to HRV. Check out their article that proves the importance of HRV in relation to health.
I use their EmWave2 device everyday, in the morning to set me up for a calm and fluid day, and at night to relax my heart and mind into a pace for restful sleep.
You knew it'd come to FOOD before long.
There are lots of successful diets these days. What's most important is finding one that you'll enjoy and stick to. Sometimes that means starting with the low hanging fruit and working your way up the tree. So, I've listed what I believe are easier diets and, speculatively, less optimal but still drastically better than the standard american diet (SAD). Please drop me a line if you've got ideas about something I'm missing.
Note: I'm fully aware that there are more diets than the one's I've listed. I've listed these because I support what they are advocating: consumption of mostly whole foods, appropriate Macro Nutrient profiles (according to research), eliminating kryptonite foods, pleasurable, and sustainable. As with all things, sustainability is incredibly important. If your steak tastes like heaven but depletes the Earth's resource two or ten times as fast as a thinner, more nutrient dense piece of grass-fed, grass-finished ribeye, it's not really creating heaven on Earth, is it?