Perhaps you can’t decide which diet to follow, or maybe you thought you were eating right, but your waistline just won’t seem to budge.
Maybe you don’t have an exercise routine you can stick with or you have physical obstacles to overcome, or maybe everyone in your family is heavy and you feel like you’re serving a life sentence in gene pool prison. It’s complicated, right?
If any of this sounds familiar, I want to let you in on a little secret (one that most of my clients find very hard to believe when they first come to me for help.) Getting fit is not as hard or as complicated as you’ve been led to believe. The truth is, I’ve spent the last 12 years proving that it’s actually pretty simple. So simple, in fact, a caveman could do it…
So, what does a caveman know about fitness?
Graze Don’t Gorge – Despite any evolutionary changes that have taken place in the past 6 millennium or so, the human body still runs best on small, incremental meals that are delivered in intervals of between 90 and 120 minutes. This is the approximate time it takes for a fist size portion of food to digest and become fuel for the body. The caveman is always on the go, foraging for food, looking for shelter, and building huts and stuff. There’s really no time (or resources) to be spending long, leisurely hours languishing over heavy, complicated meals. Grazing is the most efficient and effective means of feeding the body. In caveman land, a meal is a meal is a meal. One isn’t bigger or smaller than another, and ideally, they are consumed about every 2 hours or so.
Gorge On Occasion – Every so often, the caveman makes a lucky shot and spears a really slow rhino or a wooly mammoth. Party time! These are rare opportunities, every 2 weeks or so, when Mr. Caveman gets to let loose and “pig out.” Doing this not only helps to replenish vitamins and nutrients that are often missing from the whole grazing routine, it also reassures the body that starvation is no longer imminent. On those occasional big feast days (something we refer to in the 21st century as “cheat day” or “free day”), the benefits of consuming more calories than usual are significant, both from a psychological and physiological standpoint.
Sprint Don’t Run – Have you ever known a distance runner who, despite running hours on end, has the propensity of holding onto pockets of fat that seem in stark contrast to the amount of work being done? What’s up with that? Well, one explanation might be that all that running somehow alerts the body into believing that there’s something wrong. The caveman typically chooses to run long distances only when lost or being chased by a big cat. This biological response to stress and/or danger is referred to as “fight-or-flight.” Now, among other things, it is believed that this response may trigger the body to lay down an extra reserve of fat, by way of a stress hormone known as Cortisol. This often resistant layer of fat is there to provide the body with some insurance against starvation and death, in case it happens to get really lost or finds itself stuck up a tree for an extended period of time.
The caveman just naturally chooses shorter bursts of speed or intensity, followed by periods of rest (what we modern-day folks call interval training.) This kind of activity may prove to be more affective in keeping the body in prime shape and is much more in keeping with the caveman’s usual activity, especially as it relates to hunting. The skilled hunter sneaks up on his prey and waits quietly until just the right time to burst out of the bushes and attempt the kill. In other words, it’s not likely that a caveman would consider running after its food for more than a few minutes. So, distance means trouble and trouble means fat in caveman land.
With all this in mind, I hope if you have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about all your contemporary choices, you will consider the caveman way.
Caveman Way #1 – Everyday, do a little work that is interval in nature – think walk, run, walk run. 20 minutes or so is all it takes.
Caveman Way #2 - Eat meals that are just slightly smaller than your two clinched fists held together, and eat often – about every 3 hours.
Caveman Way #3 – Give yourself a break every 7 to 14 days by taking one day to have anything and everything your little stone age heart desires.
Simple or not, the most important thing to remember when it comes to reshaping the body is that getting fit takes patience, persistence and, above all, time – evolution can’t be rushed.
About the Author:
Dianne Orwig is a success coach, motivational speaker, personal trainer, and founder of LivingFit Online™, a program that has helped thousands of men and women completely transform their bodies, and live happier, healthier, more purpose-driven lives though her pioneering, real-world approach to fitness. Visit www.lovelivingfit.com for more details
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