In our last installment, I said "I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway." (Quoting oneself--first sign of being a douche?)
This got me thinking. I do however have a few firm beliefs about diet/exercise/the human body that I have stuck with for at least a few years and from which I cannot be swayed, evidence or not to the contrary. Want to know what they are?
1.) Stretching your fascia is much more important than stretching your muscles. Think about it. Your muscles are shrink-wrapped in fascia. You can stretch them all you like, but if the fascia around them is restricted, they ain't going anywhere. This is why I am such a big proponent of stuff like myofascial massage, yin yoga, and foam rolling. Happy fascia means a more pain-free body.
2.) As topical anti-inflammatories go, arnica is the shiz.
3.) NEAT--or rather lack thereof--is why Americans are fat. I have a friend, a powerlifter, who has a physical job that requires a great deal of walking. She usually records over 20,000 steps a day on her bodymedia fit and has hit 30,000. (The average American takes around 5000 a day.) She also requires well over 3000 calories a day to maintain her weight. Her always-dieting friends drool with jealousy when she posts up pictures of the, like, entire pizzas she eats, but the fact is, if we were all taking 20,000+ steps a day, we could be eating a lot more calories without weight gain or health consequences. Unfortunately, a lot of people by necessity or choice or a combination of both live lives where they drive to work, sit at their desks for 8 or 10 hours, drive home, then collapse in exhaustion in front of the tv or computer, lives where they don't have the opportunity to walk for transportation, or would never think of it. Meanwhile, they live in an environment where there is delicious, high-calorie food everywhere. So they are either miserably dieting all the time or they are putting on weight. A lot of public health campaigning seems to hinge on eliminating or resisting the delicious high calorie food. Fuck that. Delicious food (and beer) is delicious. We'd all be better off, physically and mentally, if we were burning enough calories a day that we could eat delicious food unscathed. It's not food that's the enemy, it's the sedentary lifestyles we are either forced into or choose.
4.) However, since most Americans are sedentary, the easiest way to lose weight is to cut the hell out of your carbs. Carbs are not the devil. When you work out a lot, carbs are actually really necessary and helpful. But if you don't need them to fuel your workouts, you can cut out all/most of the grain-type carbs and lose weight pretty painlessly. Hell, if you actually go keto, you won't even be hungry. And if you're sedentary, fat, and insulin-resistant, it'll even be good for you.
5.) Whatever you do for exercise/fitness is better than doing nothing. You will never see me sneering at "cardio bunnies." I have mad respect for the 70-something aqua aerobics ladies and the little old guys at the Y who sit on the exercise bikes occasionally pedalling but mostly talking. I don't mock crossfitters and their kipping. Run, jog, walk, hike, bike, swim, play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, do Jillian Michaels vids, go to Pilates, go to vinyasa yoga, do Bikram, do MMA...whether or not it's anything I do or would ever do, if you are a physically active person, I respect your efforts to take care of your body in ways that give *you* pleasure. Anyone who thinks their way is the only way needs to bite me.
And thus spake Bitty Bro.