Health Regimen of Champions

Here was my morning exercise routine today, typical of what I do on the weekend during the warmer time of the year. After a good night sleep, I naturally woke up without any alarm. I felt rested and was out of bed fairly early just as the sun was about to rise.

After a glass of water to rehydrate, I had a bulletproof coffee made with good quality beans combined with some coconut powder for MCTs and pasture-raised goat butter for fat-soluble vitamins. I skipped breakfast for purposes of fasting and, having done a full workout yesterday, I started my day with some initial light exercises of pull-ups and push-ups.

Then once the sun was fully up, I went for a walk with my mother. Close relationships such as family are important to health. As we chatted, we had a nice relaxing stroll along some nearby creek, woods, and park. This gave us fresh air and forest bathing, maybe with some healthy microbes in the air and negative ions from the flowing water.

Also, especially as I went shirtless and in shorts, the sun exposure gave me a bit of vitamin D3, but of course the cholesterol from the butter is needed to make that vitamin D3. I was barefoot as well and so that was some additional earthing in being grounded for flow of electrons.

My mother walked home and I continued on by myself. The next thing I did was some wind sprints which expands the lungs and gives your heart some strenuous activity. It’s great for heart rate variability to prevent heart attacks, as you shouldn’t always move at the same speed as it causes your heart to lose flexibility and adaptability.

I followed that up with a relaxing and meditative jog at the edge of town. I passed along farm fields and ran along some open grassy areas. The grass around here is super soft for jogging barefoot. There is something particularly relaxing about being barefoot without any added weight or anything enclosing the foot. The sun felt great too, as it hadn’t yet warmed up too much.

I decided to turn down one street where a friend lives. I wanted to see if he was out this morning. By the way, my friend is named Freddy and he is a cat. Luck of luck, he too was enjoying the outdoors and so we spent some time bonding. There was lots of friendly rolling around and head rubbing. That put me in an even better mood. I also took the time to do some leg stretches.

Having got my cat fix, off I went for more jogging, more sunshine, and more soft grass. A few miles further on, I passed by another house where two Labrador retrievers live. They happened to be out as well and they ran over to the fence to greet me. The really friendly one is named Louie and he gave me a few licks as I gave him a good head scratching, a fair exchange. As I left, he raced me with great joy on the other side of the fence.

After that was the last stretch of my run. I was feeling both energetic and relaxed. Getting close to home, I finished off my exercise period by walking the last few blocks to slow down. All in all, it took about an hour or so. My mind felt clear, my mood was boosted, and I was ready for the rest of my day. Now that is the health regimen of champions. If I could do that everyday, I’d be the happiest person alive.

Fasting and Feasting.

Someone shared with me a paper on fasting, Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health (with 11 authors and so I won’t list them). It’s the first time I’ve seen the research discussed in detail. It’s worth a perusal. Here is the conclusion:

“This overview suggests that intermittent fasting regimens may be a promising approach to lose weight and improve metabolic health for people who can tolerate intervals of not eating, or eating very little, for certain hours of the day or days of the week. If proven to be efficacious, these eating regimens may offer promising nonpharmacologic approaches to improving health at the population level with multiple public health benefits.”

I’ve done fasting off and on over the years. I used to do it on a semi-regular basis, just pick a random day and not eat. But I stopped fasting for a number of years, no particular reason. I decided to start fasting again. I’ve been not eating at all in the first part of my day and usually only later have a single meal (or rather an eating period). Besides that, I’ve also been entirely fasting one day a week.

I don’t find fasting all that difficult. It’s been good, actually. I feel better when I’m not constantly eating. And there is no doubt that calorie restriction limits weight gain and can help you lose weight, along with potentially having a healthy influence other aspects of biological functioning (from circadian rhythm to microbiota). I’ve lost some weight and have done so while not starving myself. The one meal I eat a day is still often a relatively larger meal, even if I stretch it out over an hour or so. Slow eating seems to be a useful method, rather than stuffing oneself quickly as most Americans do. Fasting followed by slow eating is a good combination.

Fasting helps me feel less hungry. I’m more likely to eat a lot, if I start eating early and snack all day. Avoiding breakfast, in particular, keeps my hunger down even later on when I do finally eat. This is particularly true if I exercise in the morning. Exercising on an empty stomach gets my metabolism going and oddly makes me less hungry for the rest of the day. That is true for any kind of physical activity, but I find aerobic exercise is most optimal.

Plus, aerobic exercise improves my mood, which is important for reasons of depression. And I know from experience that depression is closely connected to overeating, especially junk food. The whole sugar-serotonin cycle is addictive. I’m sure my blood sugar levels are stay more even throughout the day when I’m following a healthier regimen. When blood sugar levels drop, the immediate experience is craving food. That is what goes away with regular fasting, the cravings that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Constantly shifting blood sugar levels and serotonin levels causes fluctuating moods and energy levels. It’s rather problematic.

It’s a matter of finding balance. I still eat foods that I enjoy. I’m just more careful about the specifics. I like the taste of sweetness. So, I use a lot of stevia to sweeten drinks. And the sugar I consume tends to come in the form of daily intake of cultured foods (usually kefir or yogurt), but some fruit as well, mostly apples — rather than from soda pop and candy. That was an important change for me, as I used to be a junk food junky. Fasting is a helpful part of this process, especially in resetting one’s metabolism and habits.

It’s taken me years of experimentation to get to this point. I’ve come to the conclusion that fasting is a key part of what works for me.