When you first start this journey towards physical health, many people fall into the trap of going for the most complicated possible training schedule with the perfect stack of supplements for your specific biochemistry. What inevitably happens is it is too much; those sorts of things should be reserved for high-level athletes. For beginners it does nothing besides overcomplicate things, scare them off and provide a convenient excuse. This leads to excuses like it’s too complicated and too hard, I can’t do it; this isn’t the case. Now I am in no way saying to achieve your fitness goals it will be simple; we live in a toxin-laden environment where everything is trying to kill us from the food to the water to the air. BUT to start with and lose that first 20 pounds or heal that old injury or be able to get off the couch and go for a run without feeling like you are going to die. (I have been there, no judgment). For these things, you need the basics.
First, the most critical piece, Sleep. This is the most basic thing you must change to improve your physical health. By and large Americans (and modern humans to a lesser extent) are sleep deprived, we wear this like a badge of honor in America. Proclaiming proudly that we only sleep six hours a night and work fourteen hour days!!!! Now obviously these are less than ideal conditions, lack of sleep makes us fat, stupid, and unhappy. I go into more details Here if you’re interested. Our ancestors would sleep and wake roughly with the sunset and sunrise. Depending on the person they would sleep more or less, and you would have the equivalent of what would now be called guard duty to contend with. Can’t have any tigers eating the kids now, can we? But besides these things we adapted to, we used to sleep in an environment without screens that block melatonin production, without caffeine and alcohol to stimulate or depress our systems (Okay maybe a bit of alcohol was used, but it wasn’t gallons of tequila) without the stress of modern life, bills, traffic, environmental toxins, and so on. You get the picture; life was better for sleep back then.
So to recap we are getting less sleep of much lower quality, and it is negatively affecting our lives. Now the basic guidelines are first to catch up on your sleep debt by making sure your getting as much sleep as your body needs. This varies a bit depending on the person, try nine hours and see if that enough, too much, or too little. I also recommend taking a nap on the weekends between 12-3 for maybe an hour and a half or the full three. Sleeping in on the weekend is also an excellent way to recover sleep. I go into more details in the article I mentioned Here. Once you are caught up on sleep, you can tailor it to your body’s preferences.
The second piece in this particular equation is food our modern American diet is incredibly unhealthy, between the glyphosate (Roundup) in most of our foods and the demonization of fats and the injection of high fructose corn syrup into almost everything. Eating the standard American diet will kill you, its only a matter of time. This is one of the most significant and straight forward changes you can make to shift your physical health for the better radically. Now I could give you some massive books to read that would tell you exactly what to eat and when, but that is not the goal here. We are getting the basics down, here it is. Eat organic, veggies, meat, and some carbs in root veggies, and throw in a bit of fruit for good measure. Make it all organic and grass-fed for the meat. Eat about 50% veggies, 20-35% meat and fill in the rest with carbs and fruits. Eat three meals a day. No bullshit, no fancy diets, just healthy food three meals a day, no exceptions.
Now, later on, you will change this to fit your particular body, but for now, those are the basics. It is simple, easy, and tasty. You can make some incredibly delicious food from that list. I encourage you to do so; food is as much about fulfilling your caloric needs as it is about enjoyment. So enjoy your food, eat up!! Don’t be afraid of that steak or bacon!! Gobble it up along with some broccoli baked up in sea salt and olive oil. It’s absolutely delicious and very much approved and encouraged!! You won’t ever stick to it if you deprive yourself. So don’t, enjoy your food.
The third section is moving; no I’m not calling it working out. That invokes images of sweaty guys pumping iron, which is not what we are going for. Our ancestors never lifted weights in a set pattern over and over again to get huge pecs and neither should we. They moved through a dynamic everchanging environment and survived and thrived with the optimal human body, One that is strong and graceful and fluid. This is the end goal I’m putting in your mind. A body built around functionality over anything else. Now don’t get me wrong; you will look amazing, but it will be functional as well.
This one is the simplest of all, whatever physical activities you enjoy doing. Do
Just move, move in a way that you enjoy and that makes you happy. Put aside any feeling of self-consciousness about being bad at something or being overweight. Everyone starts somewhere, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just get out there and move. I believe in you; you can do this.
Wishing you the best of luck on your journey -Emmit