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  • Writer's pictureChad Arterburn

Lifestyle Optimization

Becoming More Active and Making Better Food Choices

If you’ve been feeling off mentally, physically, and emotionally as of late, the odds are that one or more things in your lifestyle need some proper optimizing.

And well, the truth is that most people feel that way nowadays, whether it is chronic or just from time to time.

This is without a doubt because the cities we live in make life relatively easy - We tend to live sedentary lives, and while doing so, we can easily get junk food delivered to our doorstep.

It almost seems like the cities were designed to deprive us of our natural ways of moving and eating.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to share our take on this in a 2-part article series, with the goal of helping you optimize your lifestyle, which will, in turn, lead to a better quality of life overall.

So, let’s get through one of the most important aspects of lifestyle optimization - Becoming more active!

But first, let’s answer an uncommon yet important question.

Is Fitness an Achievement?

Many people nowadays consider that becoming active and having good habits is somewhat an achievement.

But with the above-said in mind, we concluded that the modern-day lifestyle has taken us away from our natural movement & eating patterns.

Therefore… If or when you start moving more, eating & sleeping well, and improving your levels of fitness… Is that an achievement, or just something you get back to?

Well, that’s certainly some food for thought, but for now, let’s have a look at the different types of training one can do to get back to the natural fitness that we’re all supposed to have and enjoy.

Types Of Training

If you know a thing or two about the human body or have heard about certain sports achievements of fellow human beings, you know for a fact that the body is capable of a LOT.

This is perhaps due to the myriad of environments the human body has been through and had to adapt and thrive in.

And well, whatever the case may be, facts are facts - We have access to an incredibly capable configuration of muscles and bones.

Now most types of training/exercise fall into two main categories - Aerobic & Anaerobic.

Both utilize different components in the body and lead to different adaptations (end results of the training stimulus).

So, let’s analyze each type of training so you can determine which one fits your goals better.

Anaerobic Training

First and foremost, we have the most common type of exercise - Anaerobic training.

The term “anaerobic” is derived from the 3 Greek words - An, aeros & bios, meaning “no,” “air,” and “life,” respectively.

In simple words, anaerobic training activities do not require oxygen to use up the energy needed to execute the movement.

Generally speaking, anaerobic training activities are of high intensity and short in duration.

Think weightlifting, sprints, HIIT training, etc.

This type of training engages the fast-twitch muscle fibers, responsible for power output, maximum strength and… Visual muscular development!

In terms of hormonal stimulus, visual changes to the body & the development of strength, explosiveness, and strength endurance, this is the type of training you’d want to opt for.

Aerobic Training

On the other hand, we have Aerobic exercise, also referred to as “cardio training.”

This is opposite to anaerobic and thus, requires oxygen for the energy to be used during activity.

Aerobic training activities are of low intensity, but as compared to anaerobic exercises, they are way longer in duration.

Think of aerobic training as any activity that isn’t strenuous but is long in duration.

Aerobic training activities include but are not limited to:

  1. Jogging

  2. Running

  3. Rope skipping

  4. Swimming

  5. Cycling

Aerobic training activities don’t really have a prominent effect on visual & strength development, but they can help you increase long-distance endurance by optimizing the work of your heart & lungs.

Which Type Should I Choose?

To further clarify what we’ve said so far, think of the two types of training as… Two types of training with different results!

Ultimately, there isn’t really a “better” type of training if it’s not put into context.

What we mean here is that both types of training have their advantages, simply because they produce different end results!

Both have health benefits.

Both help you develop certain physical properties.

Both allow you to enjoy the freedom of movement.

Ultimately, your best bet is to do both on a regular basis, with an emphasis on the one that resonates more with your goals.

Do you want to be stronger, more explosive, and improve your body visually? Go for anaerobic training and do some cardio (aerobic training) here and there.

Do you not care about looks and strength as much but want to be a beast over long distances? Go for aerobic training and do some weights here and there.

Try This!

If you’re someone who just wants to get off their butt and get a little from everything that the body is capable of, try this simple workout routine 2 to 3 times a week, with at least two days of rest between each session.

NOTE: “Close to failure” means that the set should be challenging and get you close to the point where you can’t complete another rep unassisted.

Exercise - Rope skipping

Sets - 1

Reps/duration - 4 to 5 mins

Exercise - Squats (Either bodyweight, barbell or machine)

Sets - 5

Reps/duration - 6+ close to failure

Rest time between sets - 2.5 to 3 minutes

Exercise - Horizontal or incline bench press (either with barbell or dumbbells)

Sets - 5

Reps/duration - 6+ close to failure

Rest time between sets - 2.5 to 3 minutes

Exercise - Deadlift (Either with a barbell or dumbbells)

Sets - 5

Reps/duration - 5, close to failure

Rest time between sets - 3 minutes

Exercise - Rope skipping/other cardio activity

Sets - 1

Reps/duration - 20 mins

This full-body circuit will give you the best of both worlds - Plenty of stimulus for strength, explosiveness, and visual development, but also a great deal of cardio endurance!

Sooner or later, you’ll be addicted to seeing improvements in how you look, perform, and feel!

And trust me - When this happens, you’ll be HOOKED and will look for ways to further improve this.

And until then, remember that movement is just one part of lifestyle optimization.

The other, even more important part is to make the right food choices.

Which I will cover that now. So read on.

Making The Right Food Choices

We’ve learned that our modern-day ways of living had robbed us of movement, thus bringing the global fitness levels to an all-time low.

Well, luckily, more and more people are becoming aware of this, and with the help of fitness training, the trend is slowly beginning to change.

Besides the deprivation of movement, however, we’ve also seen a drastic shift in our eating habits.

Both combined have led to abnormal changes in body composition across all ages and demographics.

Now, I’ll shed some light on food choices and how you can make the best such for the goal of optimizing your overall quality of life.

Ready to learn? Let’s dive!

Food Habits, Currently

If you have an objective look at how modern-day eating habits go, you’ll see a pattern - We’re constantly being bombarded with highly processed, delicious, well-marketed foods.

Even more so, the convenience of our world has allowed us to get these exact food products delivered to us, without the need to do something more than stand up from the chair to greet the delivery guy and take the order.

This junk food bonanza has totally shifted the human species from the natural ways of feeding & nourishing the body nutritionally.

Now, granted, we won’t preach any “diets” here - All we’re vouching for is for everyone to pay attention to what we like to refer to as “nutritional culture.”

Think of “culture” as all the ways of life of a population that are passed down from generation to generation, including the most crucial one - Eating!

Evolutionary-Appropriate Eating

Besides the proper nutritional culture that states “eating is a form of self-care that needs a reasonable, balanced approach,” there is another thing we like to refer to as “evolutionary-appropriate eating.”

This term may sound fancy but think about it - Given the complexity of the human body, we can say that this exact organism has gone through a LOT during its evolution.

And one of the things that shaped it as it is, is namely the way of eating.

And trust me when I tell you this - The body has existed for perhaps hundreds and thousands of years, and it’s only been exposed to such an abundance of unnaturally processed foods for a couple of decades!

So, you see, there is certainly a correlation (and perhaps causation) between the recent rise of packaged & processed foods and the epidemic of diseases.

Now you may be wondering - What is it that one can do to counter this?

And the answer is… Eat evolutionary-appropriate foods!

Consume the WHOLE foods that our ancestors hunted for and grew.

Choose local rather than mass production.

If a food product is mass-produced and has a marketing department behind it, avoid it because it is likely to heavy a ton of additives that you don’t really want in your body!

Choose These Foods!

Alright, let us be a bit more specific here and give you our list of food products to place at the core of your nutritional habits.

  1. Grass-fed & Grass-finished Beef (meat/organs)

  2. Pastured pork/chicken

  3. Eggs from pastured chicken/poultry

  4. Dairy from grass-fed cows

  5. Root crops (potatoes/sweet potatoes/beetroots/carrots)

  6. Fruits & veggies (avoid mass-production, focus on local!)

  7. Olive oil (avoid using for cooking)

  8. Bee honey

  9. Wild-caught fish

  10. Wild-caught seafood

Combining all these foods and bringing balance across your macronutrient profile will provide you with all the energy for your daily physical activities, as well as everything needed to maintain the healthy functioning of all your bodily systems.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should totally exclude your favorite ice cream or junk food - Just bring the balance in favor of the nutrient-dense, high-quality food products!

Final Thoughts

The key to understanding evolutionary appropriate nutrition is recognizing the importance of consuming foods that are natural, healthy, and nutrient-dense.

With a little bit of knowledge about how unnatural modern-day mass-produced nutrition is, you'll be able to find your own path towards making better food choices that can positively impact your physical and mental well-being.

So, here’s for a wrap on this blog - Move as your ancestors did. Run, jump, climb, crawl, dive, and swim. Lift some weights even!

And focus on whole, minimally processed grown foods!

Optimize your lifestyle. Stay healthy.

All the best,

Coach Chad

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