I was inspired to make this blog post after finishing a hospital on call shift as part of my Chilliwack ICC Clerkship program at UBC Medical School. I talked about this briefly in my video above, but I wanted to expand on one salient point I discussed. We as humans, like any other animal, are hardwired to decrease suffering. Yes it would be nice if we just ate rabbit food for the majority of the day to stay lean and fit. However, since we have recourse to enjoy pizza, and hamburgers ( I have never met someone who didn't enjoy these foods), we will not needlessly suffer. I can't even count the multitude of times I have sworn I was never going to eat pizza or another burger again only to find it on the plate for my next meal!
Willpower is excellent and it is an absolutely essential ingredient in the early stages of promoting positive behaviour change. But if we rely on will power for long term sustainable change we will falter. We need to emphasize skill power over will power.
What is skill power you may ask? It is the use of appropriate planning and organization to make change easy and automatic and therefore sustainable. Focus on the word appropriate. This doesn't mean you control every aspect of your meal prep and know exactly what you are going to eat. However, what I find extremely helpful is having 1-2 flex meals that you can always lean on when you are really hungry, tired, rushed for time, or a combination of all the above.
This blog post was inspired by another great Original Strength video. One of my friends recommended his videos to me and ever since I have been hooked. If you want short and practical tips you can apply right now to improve your athletic performance make sure to head on over to YouTube and watch some of Original Strength's videos.
However, this blog post may seem to go against everything I have said in my previous blog posts and videos. Am I a complete hypocrite? It may seem so given my particular video Why I stand in Class? , but I am not. Yes being sedentary and spending long uninterrupted periods of times slouched in a chair is bad for your body. Yet that does not mean that ANY form of sitting is bad for your body.
In the video above on my YouTube Channel I discuss why you should eat saturated fatty acids, or cooking oils that are solid at room temperature such as butter and coconut oil. If you want to learn the science behind why these are the optimal choices make sure to watch the video above. However, in this blog post I am going to elaborate on why this seemingly innocuous decision can have such deleterious effects on your health and well-being.
The negative effects of cooking with sub-optimal cooking oil, such as unsaturated fatty acids or cooking oils that are liquid at room temperature such as canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil etc. once may be quite minimal. However, since cooking is something you either do yourself or pay a restaurant to do every day, these small hits on your health add up.
Staying trim and maintaining a healthy weight seems to be increasingly difficult as food quality continues to deteriorate and access to nourishing food vs. life sucking processed foods seems to decline by the minute. However, it may be what you are drinking that could be significantly contributing towards weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes.
We all know that coca-cola and pepsi are horrible for you, but what about the "healthy" line of beverages these company peddle to help support your health and well being. These companies are only good at one thing, and that is making their shareholders extremely wealthy, and they will go to whatever unscrupulous means needed to satisfy their shareholders. It has recently come out that Coca-Cola has been paying off prominent scientist to lie about the etiology of obesity. Coca-cola has promoted that the current obesity crisis is due to physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle vs. a poor diet and overconsumption of sugar. Whereas in reality obesity is primarily driven by poor diet as Dr.Fung has clearly detailed in his excellent book The Obesity Code.
However, what is more pernicious than drinks such as coca cola or pepsi, which are clearly poison for the human body, are the new wave of "healthy" drinks that are loaded with sugar, but which is ignored due to the deceptive marketing about these products. For example Coca Cola's Vitamin Water is the biggest scam there is. It is just as bad as having a can of coca cola!
Adipose tissue (the fancy word for fat) and skeletal muscle used to be thought solely as a storage repository of energy, and tissue that allows the human body to move. However, that paradigm is changing. Pioneering work in the 1980s demonstrated that adipose tissues are not inert storage compartments but instead secrete proteins that have wide range of effects (1). But during the past decade, skeletal muscle has been identified as a secretory organ.
I have talked about this in a previous blog post (Read More: How do you make improvements in athletics?), but the message is so vital. The old adage that less is more is so true, especially for training for your fitness or athletic goals. Your body has a limited ability to adapt and recover from stress, and after you have reached the minimum effective dosage to induce the desired adaptation in your body (ex. increased muscle mass, decreased fat stores etc.) doing anymore provides minimal benefit, and can sometimes be harmful since your body has a limited ability to bounce back and recover from stress. Therefore you are improving your body functions not during a workout (which is a stressor to your body) but instead during your recovery periods.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring adequate recovery so you can continue training hard, and make improvements is sleep. And the simplest but most profound hacks to improve your sleep is to tape your mouth (see the video below for more explanation, don't write me off as a charlatan just yet ?) . I was inspired to share this tip in this series because of my excellent interview I had with Patrick McKeown the creator of the Oxygen Advantage. (Make sure you to subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don't miss out when I make my interview with Patrick live.)
I am a medical student who is obsessed with the Be Activated Muscle Activation Technique, mastering movement and understanding what makes humans thrive.