- In today's modern age of information overload, there is no lack of debate about any topic you name, especially food. And, not dissimilar from other debates, the increase of information available has only further obscured the answers. Thankfully, the National Academic Press released for us a comprehensive manual of Dietary Reference Intakes (https://www.nap.edu/read/10490/chapter/1) to try to makes sense of all the variant beliefs out there. The contributors went out of their way to consider the best of research, even when experts disagreed greatly. Its free. It doesn't exist behind an academic paywall. But it's a tome, which I acknowledge means most people will refuse to wade through it. Thus, I'll summarize certain points and other related studies to try to help the layperson consolidate the focus into extreme concision.
- Each macronutrient (dietary fat, carbohydrates, protein and alcohol) is more than a big enough subject to tackle on its own. Whole books can be and have been written about an individual nutrient. So I am going to do my best at abbreviating the science. Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, cholesterol, and others we'll leave aside for now.
- Dietary fat:
- Every cell membrane is partially made from a fatty acid. We need fat. Your body manages all of your hormones, their production, balance, and regulation in large part from SATURATED fats. Therefore, we need some saturated fat. Though it's long been vilified, saturated fat has no good alternative in various human organ systems. From the hormone which regulates blood pressure to the hormones which make us fertile, we rely on saturated fats. Removing them from the diet raises risk of many chronic conditions.
- But how much to have?
- The DRI cautiously stood back from giving a gram per kilo recommendation for saturated fats. The authors did, however, recognize the necessity of saturated fat for all of the aforementioned and protein function and DNA transcription (p. 425). They also fessed up to the fact that low fat diets stunt growth (p. 437) and appear to increase risk of cardiovascular disease (p. 437-438) and correlate with digestive disorders (p. 438). They did a remarkable job of analyzing different specific fatty acids and dietary concentrations, concluding that many fats can be synthesized in the human body from others. Ultimately, the DRI conceded defeat, stating that dietary fat is too complex and too multifactorial to make blanket recommendations for adults. Some studies found that active adults have had beneficial outcomes at over 60% of daily caloric intake derived from fat and infants likely need at least 30 grams per day.
- A maximum intake or over-consumption level cannot be set, because it is unclear when, if ever, the dietary fat is causal in adverse outcomes (p. 481). The contributors safely stated that people can consume 20-45% of calories from dietary fat (p. 771). For someone on a 1,200 calorie program, that could be as low as 27 grams. For a large active adult on a 4,000 calorie program, that could be as high as 200 grams. It's a wide range. But it's non-controversial and well-considered.
- Dietary carbohydrates:
- The bad news for most readers is that the scientific consensus and all research can be summarized as follows: "the lower limit of carbohydrate intake compatible with life is apparently zero (p. 275)." The DRI did go on to approximate adult intake to 100 grams per day, which is a very broad and bland number when you consider the variance of activity and body mass for adults. The nonspecific nature is due to the fact that we can get all of our energy needs from fat and protein. Anything else which carbohydrates do in the body we can derive from protein.
- So, technically, if your fat and protein intake is sufficient, your carbohydrate need is zero... ALMOST.
- There is a subset of carbohydrates, fiber, which should not be zero. We don't know what it should be, since we cannot measure blood levels of something which is indigestible. Thus, the DRI again backed away from a direct recommendation other than we probably need some (p. 362).
- That said, there is quite a bit of evidence that diversity of gut flora, specifically the anaerobes bacteroidetes, play a causal role in health and weight loss (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-help-make-us-fat-and-thin/). And these beneficial bacteria feed on resistant starches and fiber to the tune of proliferation (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/1/55/4564325). Still, we only know that people experience benefit beyond 25 grams of fiber or so. We have no idea what the optimal level or maximum intake is.
- Dietary Protein:
- Protein does A LOT. It is the set of instructions for just about everything. It makes our nervous system possible. It accounts for 70% of our bone tissue. 100% of our immune system communication is protein. The list is pretty much endless. Protein is so essential to life that scientists, hoping to uncover how life began on Earth, propose that all life must've begun with either a sort of RNA-world or the primordial self-replicating PROTEIN (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/life-rsquo-s-first-molecule-was-protein-not-rna-new-model-suggests/). And then, of course, protein does all the stuff people already know, like muscles and tendons and ligaments and skin and hair and nails.
- There's a solid consensus around an absolute floor of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (p. 589). Keep in mind this is for basic survival. Also, this is counting on an aggregate of complete protein (i.e. - all essential amino acids); thus, many plant sources don't count gram for gram. They are incomplete. And, in my experience, most people are woefully inadequate even to this standard.
- Weight loss studies, on the other hand, show strong favor for 1.2g/kg/d as a floor with benefit all the way up to 2.4g/kg/d (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/3/738/4564609). Again, this leaves us without an exact number for optimal wellness, so much as a range.
- While it is true that people with severe kidney damage have to be careful of high doses, healthy individuals have tolerated intakes as high as 2.8g/kg/d (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10722779) or more with no kidney stress or adverse reactions. For a 220lb athlete, this is 280 grams or more of protein in a single day. To help the reader quantify, that's an amount you would find in almost three pounds of chicken breast or almost four pounds of ground beef. If you follow someone like the Rock or larger competitive athletes, you'll soon discover that they eat 60 ounces or more of high protein sources daily.
- Dietary Alcohol:
- Yes, it provides energy (p. 108). Also, its effects are well-known at every single dosing (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content). Strictly speaking, it is unnecessary to human survival; and it likely inhibits optimization of health and fitness. Plus, it has a well-defined lethal dose, which makes it completely unlike any other macronutrient.
- Summary of Lower And Upper Boundaries:
- There are obvious risks for all individuals whose fat intake is less than 20% of their daily calories, and/or whose daily protein intake is less than 0.8 g/kg/d. There are obvious risks to sedentary individuals whose caloric intake exceeds 45% from fat, and/or whose macronutrient intake exceeds 100 grams per day from carbohydrates.
- Fiber content should probably be 20-60 grams per day, but maybe more if an individual can tolerate it. Other carbohydrates are unnecessary, but can be dosed according to activity and goals. I've seen very active athletes tolerate hundreds of grams of carbohydrates. But the average individual cannot. In my coaching experience, some people need night time starches or sugars between 15-25 grams to balance serotonin and improve sleep. Of course, don't forget that this can be cleaved and synthesized from 30-50 grams of protein.
- Weight loss efforts don't seem to have good efficacy under 1.2 - 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Activity, hormone balance, age and body composition drive these variables. So I understand the hesitancy to make precise recommendations. If we consider the inactive or low activity individual, we may place some lower limits with confidence.
- If you weigh 110lbs, then you should eat at least 20 grams of fiber daily, at least 65 grams of protein daily, and at least 30 grams of fat daily. Alone, this is inadequate food intake. Establishing additional intake would be contingent on factoring in activity, compliance, calculated metabolic rate and desired growth or loss. That is, for a 110lb individual aiming to maintain body mass, we would start by measuring metabolic rate, which could well be potentially around 1340 calories. Right off the bat, this individual would need an additional 810 calories from fats, carbs and proteins just to maintain. If they want to lose, the recommendation would be less. If they want to gain, the recommendation would be more. Activity and compliance have to be accounted for as well.
- If you weigh 220lbs, double the amounts above. If you weigh 330, triple them.
start your path to live. awesome.
So this is an interesting little story which came up recently; but apparently the application for kidney disease and general anti-inflammatory effect have been known for quite some time.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University discovered that simple baking soda solution reduced symptoms of autoimmune disease within days. The systemic signal sent with the addition of sodium bicarbonate to the body is profound. The application to stress management, sleep improvement, food allergy/sensitivity reset, and exercise tolerance, therefore, is intriguing.
Let's face it: New Year's resolutions fail; business plans fail; goal-setting fails; 5-year plans fail; follow-through fails. Part of the reason for the ubiquity of failure is we like goals that sound good. "Sounds good" generally means it is the opposite of our automatic behaviors and even our behaviors we are willing to consider. That's strategic self-harm right there.
Don't state goals. Evaluate what you are willing to do and unwilling to do. Then you'll discover your goals. When someone says his goal is weight-loss, I question that. Is he willing to do what it takes to lose fat? If not, his goal is weight gain, not weight loss, regardless of the statement. When someone says her business goal is growth, I question that. Is she willing to do what it takes to grow? If not, then her goal is contraction and downsizing, regardless of the statement.
Honest self-assessment is the path to discover goals. Whether it's fitness or business, the new mode of improvement is going to have to come from outside somewhere. That is, you have to accept another paradigm of lifestyle than your current one within you. Find what you will do. That is your goal. All else is fantasy. Fantasy makes for good stories - no doubt. But your story must be rewritten in reality.
What if the fountain of youth is just eating less?
Being big and eating a lot is associated with reduced quality of life and reduced lifespan. There are around 1,000 people on earth legitimately 110 years old or older. They all eat once or twice a day, small meals, and tend to be pretty physically capable, healthy, and cognitively sharp.
It doesn't of necessity consequently follow that all people can improve their chances of better and longer life through food restriction. However, as we learn more about the role of fat as an endocrine organ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648822/), it's becoming increasingly unscientific to think of body fat as merely some sort of inert energy storage mechanism. It plays with various hormonal cascades in a manner which raises risk factors for cancers and all cause mortality.
To boot, it's a very easily confirmed theory (i.e. - just get a glucometer) that frequent eating invokes frequent inflammation. In fact, I think it's a safe bet that all traditional cultures have a season of fasting because they figured out through trial-and-error that it has benefit. Our modern sensibilities are at odds with the idea of doing difficult behaviors; thus, the mere idea of fasting itself can be offensive. But scientific research just continues to confirm that strategic fasting improves all measurable health indices, and may even be able to reverse neurodegenerative diseases (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44660575_Short-term_fasting_induces_profound_neuronal_autophagy).
We've studied life extension definitively with other creatures, to the point where genetic alterations in worms extended their lives to an equivalent of 500 human years (https://www.medicaldaily.com/life-span-mutant-worms-increased-500-human-years-what-does-mean-aging-therapies-264887). This isn't to say that worms or even other animals make for a good scientific model to reproduce an experiment in humans. Yet, it is really intriguing that, especially in the worm research, the scientists are always targeting insulin and TOR, which BOTH are the very mechanisms we affect when we fast (and exercise).
On the drive into work this morning I heard a piece on NPR about yet another study on longevity and food restriction. This time, the scientists turned their focus acutely toward humans. The study, conducted by Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and published in Cell Metabolism just last month, indicated that calorie restriction does increase ones chances of living longer (http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_d8b02938-2dd5-11e8-a0f7-fbaa9aada9a1.html). It's not conclusive, since that's just not how scientific inquiry works. But being that it was conducted over a two year period and participant risk markers decreased, its findings are sobering.
The outcome echoes what many other teams have been finding. Just last year, Scientific American showcased a great article on this very subject (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-hunger-gains-extreme-calorie-restriction-diet-shows-anti-aging-results/). In my opinion, the research is a bit of overkill, given that it is just plain evident that abundance can be a problem inherently. It's obvious that modern Western cultural dietary practices are not improving our lives. We are confronted with the stark reality that today, for the first time in about 1,000 years, we are raising a generation of children who on average will not outlive prior generations (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr043743).
Modern life has afforded us many brilliant freedoms and breakthroughs. Still, everything comes at a cost. The human animal was meant for an environment we no longer have. In the same way that we must artificially create activity in our modern sedentary existence, we must artificially create "famine" in our modern overabundant existence. Simply put, for us to live, we may have to starve.
In this video series, I show you how to lose 24lbs in one day without doing anything dramatic. Just abiding by one simple rule of biology, I lost the weight in no time. In fact, this biological law is the same one everyone has ever used to lose weight.
Most people think about calories. Calories are as good of an explanation for biology as dollars are an explanation for economics. Both calories and currency are used in description of transactions. However, descriptions are not explanations. Someone ate more calories than she burned, and so she has excess energy stored: true. Jeff Bezos saved more dollars than he spent, and so he is the wealthiest man on earth: true. But neither of these transactional descriptions are sufficient explanations. They are true; but they fail to give us any useful information.
Last month I created the following videos to point out both the simplicity of weight loss and the absurdity of getting bent out of shape about fluctuations of 5-10lbs. People will emotionally grapple onto a single pound of weight up or down, or a little unfamiliar tightness in their clothes, and take this as some sort of longterm feedback. That is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS once you even have a modest understanding of how the body works.
In these videos I'm already a little dry. My body weight was between 240 and 245 up until the night before I took the first video. I was down to 235 when filming it, which put a little damper on things, because I was hoping to show a 10-20lb net fluctuation without anything drastic. Nonetheless, as you can see, I show you a 5lb net loss (24lb gross loss) in the matter of hours, doing no exercise and no supplements, and just eating and drinking mostly the way I normally do.
There is no magic.
In the period of time these videos cover, I added about 16lbs of water and over 3lbs of food to my body, but ended up 5lbs lighter. I forgot to mention that I threw back piles of sea salt as well. How exactly, then, did I have a gross total weight loss of 24lbs in 24 hours?
How is this possible?
What is the key?
Suppress insulin. It is, by definition, pro-inflammatory. It grows you. If you're an adult who doesn't train intensely 2-6 hours per day every single day, which tissue do you think is going to grow? People who fail to manage stress have rampant insulin production. People who fail to reduce food adequately have rampant insulin production. People who eat too many carbs for their body mass, activity level, and intensity have rampant insulin production. Insulin grows fat. And having excess body fat increases insulin. It's a vicious cycle. Insulin retains sodium. Volatile insulin prevents fat loss. Volatile insulin prevents weight loss. It makes you hungry. It makes you grow. It makes you consume more energy than you burn. It's a trap which prevents deficit. It prevents loss.
Learn more about how this works here:
You want to be sharper in business, feel younger, or stop the deterioration? Whether it's simply overwhelm, an aging brain, an afflicted trauma victim, or someone with Parkinson's or dementia and Alzheimer's, there's an answer. All neurodegenerative disorders are fueled by wanton inflammation (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814458/). So they all have a simple cure.
Though the exact pathology is different from one individual to the next, the centerpiece never changes: the immune system has been activated unhealthily for far too long. Why? Partly the person spends no time in autophagy. Partly this is constant insulin elevation. Partly this is long periods of environmental stressors (toxins, metals, mold, etc.). But they all drive down into the same fire burning from within the patient: inflammation. The individual once or currently continuously signals the body to have elevated glucose and/or insulin and/or white blood cell count and/or no recovery (the natural turnover of old cells for new ones).
This can be due to living a stressful emotional life. It can be due to constantly eating refined foods or high carbohydrate intake. It can be due to never going significant periods of fasting. It can be due to lack of physical activity. It can be insufficient sleep. It can heavy be metal toxicity. It can be long periods of drug therapies (even the allegedly "safe" ones). It can be excess bodyfat. It's often all of the above.
Therefore, the cure is simple but not easy. It's a matter of reducing or removing all the factors which create a perpetual state of stress and inflammation. Some variables are easier to control than others. But all of them can be influenced.
The data is in, and fasting glucose above 85 is indicative of growing brain damage and other organ destruction (the leading cause of blindness is uncontrolled blood sugar). Simply adding medium chain fats to the diet can reduce the damage. Dr. Mary Newport showed that her husband with advanced Alzheimer's reversed his condition with the addition of coconut oil (which contains these medium chain fats). Her husband's initial incredible improvements are shown below.
Coconut oil contains within it medium chain fatty acids which can be easily converted into a fuel (ketones) which works independent of insulin and glucose. Thus, the addition of medium chain fats decrease systemic stress load and body inflammation is lessened. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the work to be done (i.e. - we still have to remove all of the items which are producing the inflammation; we can't just offer the non-inflammatory fuel source of ketones). As such, though profound, Dr. Newport's work was unable to continue dramatically improving her husband's inevitable decline. But it did stave off the worst of the affliction for a good amount of time. Additional insights can still be found at her website: https://coconutketones.com/
This isn't quackery. It's in the literature. We have been able to improve the situation for people with MS, ALS, severe brain trauma, dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and general cognitive decline. Nutritional ketosis gets it done: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3219306/. And the addition of ketones can restore brain function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367001/.
Dr. Terry Wahls was able to reverse her own advanced MS more or less completely: https://terrywahls.com/about/about-terry-wahls/. She took a more holistic approach than Dr. Newport by looking not just at the addition of medium chain fats in order to bypass the inflammation which occurs in the brain due to carbohydrate intake. She went further into the micronutrient needs, such as those provided by cruciferous vegetables. How much additional intake? Try 9-12 cups.
These clinicians took an approach of addition. However, sufficient impact only comes from subtraction. There is mounting scientific evidence that total starvation may be the only hope for certain individuals. Some cell clearance systems in the body, especially those which clear out plaques in the brain associated with cognitive decline, are absent until someone is in a fasted-enough state. In studies, symptoms of Alzheimer's stop when the subjects fast: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946160/.
People live longer with fasting. They suffer less cognitive decline. The brain improves actually. Again, this is not a big surprise, since the fast obligates the body to not only make its own ketones, but also use them (something which doesn't occur for some people until they've been fasting for days). Sometimes you have to go without in order to work better with what you already have.
An ideal protocol could look something like 3-10 days of fasting with the addition of only water and minerals, followed by another 3-10 days with only the addition of ketone salts and/or coconut oil or other short and medium chain fats. Obviously physical activity cannot be overlooked (brain derived neutrophic factor, the key to growing new neurons, won't be around in spades until you exercise). Thereafter, the lifestyle should really be focused on moving, strengthening, and eating whole food which is nutrient dense, whether this be greens, healthy fats and/or high quality protein sources. Get off medications. Manage stress. Stop eating grains, fruits, sugars, starches.
Reverse Cognitive Decline.
Crossfit's Most Authoritative Expert Demoted to Bro Science Peddler?
I like Kelly Starrett. He was able to spread the word on mobility to a lot of newbies over the past few years. Also thanks to Starrett, Crossfit enjoyed so much more sophistication of technique in its last 5 years. However, his initial insights have given way to hyperbolic overstatements which are being eviscerated by movement experts of all kinds.
For those of us who've used different banded variations, corrective strategies and fascia work for 15 years (or more), we've seen his fame rise in kind with laypeople becoming more acquainted with the same concepts. Different body workers have done this stuff for 150 years. But when I first did self-myofascial release in the 90s, I couldn't find anybody who understood what I was doing. Now, it's the opposite: you have a hard time finding people who haven't heard of a foam roller. And we have to thank famous advocates like Starrett for getting the education out there.
With all popular trends, there is some good and some bad. It's great that a lot more people are thinking about how their bodies should move, what optimal technique is, and what a movement practice should be. Unfortunately, the downsides are innumerable.
Many people having this "enlightenment moment" about mobility are doing far more harm than good. Some don't have sufficient strength or muscle mass, but they are obsessed with breaking down tissue with a lacrosse ball or roller. They get trapped in a nonstop pain cycle which didn't exist prior to knowing the word "fascia". Others, not understanding active control, spend excessive time on passively jamming tissue into positions it isn't prepared to handle. When they experience pain from tissue damage, their "remedy" is to traumatize the tissue more with various stretches and direct pressures. No healing ensues.
None of this is singularly the fault of Starrett or the Crossfit organization. Crossfit was one of many attempts to make variable training modalities more popular. As it succeeded in spades, more people than ever began teaching and being taught workouts without sufficient understanding of human movement. Starrett worked to create sanity within that. He worked to reduce the firestorm of orthopedic injuries. He wrote the book (literally) on how to move for various exercises in April of 2013. He did good.
The oddity with Starrett's book is that it is devoid of any references for the statements he makes about human movement. Somehow this glaring omission didn't stand out upon my first reading of the book. Largely because I was viewing it as a perspective of recommendation, I found little fault. But there's another perspective which holds it up as the final word on directives or even a reference textbook, which creates a lot of problems off the bat. However, this shouldn't have been a surprise, because Crossfit founder Glassman has had a similar track record of making claims about human movement which find no substantiation in rigorous scientific literature.
I don’t need to go into detail here, because Dr. Quinn Henoch (GREAT article with notes here: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2013/11/15/supple-leopard-vs-world/) and a whole litany of others have done blow-by-blow analyses of Starrett’s claims. The simple fact remains that Starrett did not ever provide a dataset for his “torque” claims, force production testing results, references, or EMG tables to substantiate anything; and his panacea claims (which amount to little more than hand-waving blasé anecdote) are even more specious. Again, it’s not to say he’s some evildoer. I like a lot of what he tried to do. And I've found that many clients needed to learn the skill of knee-pry (which, by the by, was being recommended by Pavel and Dan John before Starrett was born). But as Henoch illustrates, there are ZERO world record holders who practice excessive or exclusive knee pry á la Starret and his ilk. And, frankly, watch the slow motion of every top ranked Olympic Weight Lifter in the world. I'm not talking about the top Crossfitters. I'm talking about the people who weigh 50lbs less than the top Crossfitters and lift 100-200 more pounds than them. You won't see ANY excessive knee-pry. None. I was actually shocked to find that just about every rock bottom snatch or clean catch/rock-bottom squat of Olympic competitors has the knees substantially INSIDE the feet. Go ahead. Do a quick search.
Henoch also made several valid observations about well-accepted and known realities with some of the oddities and nuances of hip rotator muscles (some internal rotators above 90 degrees become externally rotating below 90 and vice versa). These important pointers are essentially devoid in any of Starrett’s numerous posts, videos, interviews, or the book. We have the additional and more significant problem that certain skeletal differences in the layperson would put a Starrett student in potentially, severely threatening risk.
Thus, despite the ostensible thoroughness of Starrett, and despite just how likable he seems, his techniques are certainly not universally true. His penchant for hyperbole has landed him closer to the bro science than science camp. And this has some fairly obvious implications, given that, at least in my opinion, he was one of the more sensible and knowledgeable guys toeing the Crossfit line. Add to that his relative lack of experience (i.e. - most of my colleagues have logged thousands more hours of coaching time), and I’m really just disappointed to see that he’s avoided seriously answering these growing criticisms from well-meaning clinicians, strength coaches, trainers and experts around the globe.
Some average blokes doing the exact opposite of Starrett's sermon pictured below:
Starrett demonstrating his knee pry belief:
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal (also billionaire board member for Facebook, venture capitalist and hedge fund creator), confronts allegedly busy people. He asks two questions:
1.) Are you actually working and being effective?
2.) Or are you just creating the impression that you are working hard, merely signaling to others that you are a busy person?
He sees the busy professional, business owner, tech startup, executive, or investor as ostentatious but unproductive. It’s a sentiment which Warren Buffett has echoed, and Richard Branson has harped on. Readers may notice this topic is included in nearly every Forbes and Wall Street Journal interview, every book on world class performance, and basically the quotation anthology of any historic figure whose name we recognize. They call it outright laziness. Some call it lazy-busy.
Steven Pressfield in the War of Art encouraged the reader to overcome resistance. He talked about the writer’s journey as an illustration for breaking out of inaction and committing to action. Successful and high-achieving people understand this. They have created a certain level of mastery around defeating the resistance of idleness, sloth, and torpor. It’s a great win, since the tendency in life is inaction. However, as in all things in life, there is a spectrum. Just as there is too little action on one end, there is too much on the other. Ambivalence toward effectiveness, let alone efficiency, is found in both. Sadly, people can and do execute action without purpose, without heart, without intention. Uninspiring busyness can be confusedly equated with productivity. Business meetings and even work can be conflated with motivational impact.
Tim Ferriss, the bestselling author and now-prolific interviewer of the most important entrepreneurs and businesspeople of our time, is even less forgiving in his assessment. He calls being busy “a perverse badge of honor" (https://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/25/tim-ferriss-being-perpetually-busy-is-a-kind-of-laziness.html). His argument is simple. If you are perpetually incapable of making time, then you are ineffective, unskilled at time management, and unwilling to develop one of the most fundamental characteristics of leadership: prioritization.
Prioritization carries an internal tug-of-war between perception of forthcoming work and your actual capacity to perform that work. Be careful. You are generally telling people that you are too busy swinging a blunt axe to spend the time to get a sharp one. Tasks are going to pile up regardless; so you might as well sharpen the axe which is doing the chopping. Prioritize what creates in you the ability to handle tasks. Remember what enables you to do work in the first place: fitness. I don’t mean in the physical sense of simply being able to do some push-ups. I mean in the universal sense of sound mind, sound body. I mean in regards to the definition, “the capacity to do.”
Fitness is blade sharpness. Being so busy that you say you can’t make time for fitness makes for a legitimate-sounding excuse. The only problem is there is no evidence that productivity or effectiveness rises with subtraction of fitness. Fitness (and health), by definition, is the capacity to perform more work in less time, endure more stress with less consequence, and continue to do both with greater sustainability. It is the most important part of the sharp axe. The avoidance, therefore, of investing in ones health and fitness is perhaps more than the underlying lazy-busyness. Perhaps it’s a symbol of that individual’s unwillingness to work hard or smart. There are statistics on this: the Journal of Labor published results showing that workers who exercise earn 9% more than their sedentary counterparts (http://business.time.com/2012/06/08/one-more-reason-to-hit-the-gym-youll-make-more-money/).
I’ve worked with many founders, CXOs, advanced professionals, salespeople, and business owners who get stuck. They hit a freeze point wherein they simply aren’t growing as a person anymore. The axe is blunted entirely. Every single one of them, when confronted with this accusation, doubles down on their busyness narrative by invoking “prioritization.” They genuinely believe that they are prioritizing when they’re just being lazy. They believe that swinging a rounded mallet at a sequoia is the responsible thing to do. Sometimes, in this state of defensive bewilderment, they’ve “re-prioritized” such that they’re with family less, contributing to the community less, ultimately spending less time on creativity and restoration. In almost every case, their own health and fitness isn’t even bookended; it’s forgotten. At this point, the busy person has grown to consider the act of sharpening some irresponsible luxury.
And those aren’t coincidences. The lack of priority to health and fitness is the cause of stagnancy. It’s not to say people can’t achieve quite a bit during a long period of extremely unhealthy behaviors. Some people thrive in dysfunction for a while, in fact. After all, they are gaining strength to use a chipped-up axe blade while the edge gets duller. Eventually, however, the plateau comes. Bluntness outweighs force.
Long-term flourishing growth can only happen when people prioritize a cultivation of foundation. It can only come when there is a regular maintenance of axe blade. Every list of billionaire habits includes exercise and meditative or reading time. Clearly, total development as a person cannot be relegated to a title, a business brag, or a paycheck. It is found in the ongoing development of the total person, both mind and body.
We’ve all known someone who carries the threadbare wooden handle leftover from a once-ominous hatchet. We’ve all run into at least a few examples of people who used to “have it.” They used to get things done. They used to be an inspiration. They used to have drive. They used to make a difference. They used to swing a sharpened axe. They used to sharpen it daily, first, before they did anything else. Now, with an inflated title, it’s hard to even explain what exactly they do. They themselves even have a hard time with it at dinner parties. Someone asks them what they do; and they proceed to describe their title, their industry, their background, their rise to their current rank. But when they’re prodded on with what exactly they fill their over-busied week, there’s a lot of “um”s, “reports,” “meetings,” and not much else. They have grown to swing a really blunt handle that once was a portentous, calamitous slicing machine. It’s a sad remnant of a bygone era; and it’s embarrassing.
We’ve all fallen into the busyness trap before, since it’s such a fixture in our culture. We think wearing down the blade is accolade-worthy. We invert the Lincoln quote, telling people we need eight hours to perform what should be a two-hour endeavor because we supposedly haven’t the “extra” time it takes to sharpen our tools in the first place. It’s not just a form of laziness. It is laziness. We refuse to put the work in to analyze precisely, prioritize correctly, and execute efficiently. Even though it’s busyness, it is so very obviously more parts lazy than busy.
People sense they need to sharpen the axe. We read a Lincoln quote, and we’re indicted and convicted. But where to begin? We can acknowledge the truth of our lazy-busyness and still be uncertain how to change. The whole ordeal seems overwhelming. But nobody said we need to return to a PERFECT sharpness. We must merely assuage the dysfunction little by little.
Return to fundamentals: eliminate exhaustion; sleep; move; manage stress; restore yourself; build strength; develop endurance. Then, swing the axe. When the blade dulls, repeat. Next time, before the blade dulls, repeat. Next time, long before any sign of dulling, repeat.
A return to fundamentals is not too time-consuming. We know by virtue of the Pareto principle that a small increase in the appropriate input will reap incredible improvement in the effective output. More specifically, very tiny investments of time can yield shockingly beneficial sharpness. Research confirms it: http://www.elev8wellness.com/wellblog_best_nutrition_training_coaching_experts/spend-less-time-on-fitness-in-order-to-improve-fitness-and-everything-else
We must confront lazy-busyness in search of effective, productive efficiency. It may cost twenty minutes on the front end of a day. But it’ll save hours on the back end of the same day. It may cost days on the front end of a month. But it’ll save months on the back end of a year. It’s easy to get right to chopping. But it’s a mature step to sharpen. It sounds good to show off your busyness. But all that matters is to showcase your handiwork. It’s popular to claim diligent effort. But it’s rare to demonstrate finished products. When you return to regular sharpening, the Peter Thiels of the world will ask, “where are the hewn trees?” And you will stand over felled groves, with pristine blades at the ready for more.
According to recent research funded by the NIH itself, Lyme disease is never necessarily cured by any duration of antibiotic treatment: http://news.tulane.edu/pr/study-finds-lyme-bacteria-can-survive-after-antibiotic-treatment-months-after-infection
This is an incredible admission, because the scholarly consensus has been (and is still) that chronic Lyme or persistent infection is pseudoscience or quackery. Search any voice of authority in American medicine or disease research, and you'll only find the term "no evidence" with regard to persistent infection. The overwhelmingly popular response from medical doctors (including infectious disease specialists) and disease researchers is that chronic Lyme is not a real thing. According to them, it's a fiction made up by delusional people and reinforced by questionable outlier practitioners and quacks. In a little head-fake, these same authorities created a moniker to weasel their way out of reality: Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. Basically, it's their way of saying, "yes, everyone still suffers the same or worse symptoms of Lyme after antibiotics; but that is no indication that infection persists, because infection cannot persist, because we said so."
This contemporary news story is of particular interest, because it is up against an entrenched belief system and paradigm. We'll have to see how this unfolds, because the various authoritative research bodies have been the ones who've long gotten this wrong and are still championing what amounts to pseudoscience themselves. It may be an odd turn of events for some readers; but the skeptics of chronic Lyme are actually the toe-the-line Luddites.
Previous research has already confirmed for us many times that the bacteria of Lyme disease is a very different creature than all other known bacteria and it persists:
- In mice after antibiotics:
- In humans after antibiotics:
- In mice following antibiotic treatment:
- Borrelia persists in cystic and atypical forms in response to hostile environments:
- Borrelia converts to spheroplast in spinal fluid:
- Borrelia spirochetes convert to cystic form within 1 minute in uninhabitable environment:
- Borrelia persists in macaques after antibiotic treatment:
- Biofilm formation of borrelia is understood:
- Antibiotics ineffective at eliminating round body and biofilm formations of borrelia:
In the recent Tulane research funded by the NIH, every single claim of chronic Lyme sufferers (which has categorically been dismissed in the past) was substantiated:
- 90% of infected individuals DID NOT showcase the bullseye rash - many clinicians still use the presence of the rash as a positive-for-infection diagnostic tool.
- Some subjects who were confirmed as infected with Lyme tested negative on typical antibody titer tests your doctor would administer. Most clinicians regard a negative titer test as definitive that the patient has no infection.
- Months after a 28 day (far less than most clinicians are willing to prescribe for) administration of the caustic doxycycline, the drill-shaped bacteria were still viable and burrowed into the bladder, heart, brain and skeletal muscle.
The general problem with the chronic Lyme debate has been that the medical world long ago embraced Lyme disease tests which by their very nature cannot work for Lyme. These faulty tests (which are genuinely considered the gold standard despite no evidence we can reliable trust them) measure the presence of the patient's antibodies against the borrelia bacterium. However, the Lyme is immunosuppressive. Therefore, this test could only work in the rare case that the patient were taking antibiotics before the test long enough to counter the suppressive effects of the disease. But even then, it has severe limits with accuracy.
Consequently, other researchers, suspecting that the vast majority of the scientists and medical experts are dead wrong, utilized microscopy to just scan for the presence of the bacterium specifically: http://www.apollon.uio.no/english/articles/2013/2_borrelia.html. Though their results were a deafening, definitive, and resounding "YES!," the antiquated official position continues to be parroted.
The old paradigm has proven difficult to kill despite overwhelming evidence against the scholarly consensus. Some scientific consensus has little to do with science and more to do with holding the popular view of peers. The debate over chronic Lyme is yet another example of this. But just maybe, now that the NIH itself was involved in this research AND that it is recent, the scholars can finally join the "quacks" who were right all along.
A locking knee is a painful experience. Typical search queries will only return results for meniscus tears and their surgical interventions. Many clinicians' input will result in the same. However, my experience is that most "clunking" and painful knee locking is specific tibia-fibular instability which can be retrained.
I show here one version of the affliction which Lyme Disease and antibiotics fomented. However, I also show how you can immediately correct it. The longterm cure is a process whereby you continue improving the skill of moving the joint through its entire range of motion (and with lateral and dynamic pressures eventually in the future) without any snapping or painful locking. Some clients with whom I've worked have a similar condition, but with the fibula. Palpating and experimenting with internal rotating and sliding pressures can resolve this as well.
The ultimate goal is to recreate deep squats and sideward movements under load without the snapping, and folded crossed-leg positioning without lock, which most people would consider fully healed. One can anchor bands or some other tether behind the body and around the front top aspect of the shin while performing squats, deadlifts, messier squats, hip thrusts, until this can be achieved with less and less assistance.