Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How We're Meant To Move Pt #2: Moving Fast

In the last section of this 3 part series we went over how as humans we're designed to lift heavy, in this post we'll look into why it is that we respond so well to moving fast. But what exactly do I mean by moving fast and how does it play into natural fitness and getting to your health/fitness goals faster and more efficiently? Lets first take a look at how moving fast would have come into play as early cavemen.

As we know 2 million years ago there were no grocery stores to go and buy your food! Each day would have been a hunt to survive for another week or two. As you can imagine, hunting with crude tools and weapons would have been no easy task, you would have to act fast and on instinct to get your meal. Cavemen would have had to sprint, not a casual jog, but full out sprint with everything they had to catch up, chase down and kill their meal. Also, it was a time where man was not always on the top of the food chain, we were also prey. There would have been plenty of danger from large game trying to eat us, and I don't know about you but if I had a large angry/hungry wild cat trying to eat me you had better believe I would run with everything I had! Not to mention rival clans/tribes that could pose a threat and we would once again be forced to run at top speed away from danger. With this being said it's simple to see why a caveman would never have run 5k each day as it would be a great wast of his time and energy and put him in danger of starving or being eaten/killed.

Moving fast (such as sprints) is a natural act that is embedded into your genes. Watch children run as soon as the figure it out, watch dogs in the park, or even think about how good it felt when you were younger to just move fast! It's hard to deny that truth, but survival aside and the rush of moving fast put on the back burner, how can moving fast get you leaner and push you to new levels of health and vitality in this modern world?

Studies prove that moving very fast for short periods works much better for dropping your body fat than slow steady cardio training. This can be shown by simply looking at an Olympic sprinter vs a marathon runner. When you move very fast you burn much more calories than you would just jogging. 8-10 sprints of 50-100 meters will burn more calories (including burn more calories from fat) than a 45-60 min jog ever will. It's simple, when you burn more over all calories you'll burn more from fat as well! Also, when you move fast, you boost your metabolism increasing your bodies ability to get lean and stay that way.

With long steady state cardio we have another story. You train your body to want more carbs (sugar), you'll be training it to hold onto body fat to use as energy as well, and it's tough on your joins in activities such as running. Just look at almost anyone you see jogging down the road and ask yourself if that's what you want to look like? You'll find the vast majority look like they never workout or worse look out of shape and even a little chubby.

Need some more proof? Look at any sport that requires you to move fast for short bursts such as soccer, hockey, sprinting, gymnastics, basketball etc. All of the athletes in each of those sports have stellar physiques and low body fat percentages

Now moving fast doesn't have to be just sprinting, it can come in the form of interval training, for example on the bike (indoor or outdoor) peddle 30 secs - 1min as hard as you can and 30 secs of peddling and repeat that 10 -20 times. You could do high intensity circuit training using body weight, kettlebells, gym rings, and med balls or a combo of all. Just pick some full body exercises and do each for 30 secs - 1 min and go all out and rest for 1 min between circuits. You could always jump rope for 100-200 skips as fast as possible then rest for 30 secs and repeat 10-15 times. If you're confused or feel lost then hire a professional to work with (http://www.jungle-fit.com/).

The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are vast! If you want to get lean, start moving fast and I MEAN FAST! Even if you're alone or have your trainer standing over you, push yourself hard, be out of breath, feel like you have been beaten down and it will give you results. And remember if you need to, it never hurt to just imagine your a caveman trying not to be eaten!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How We're Meant To Move Pt #1: Lifting Heavy

We should all be lifting heavy things to promote optimal health and longevity. It's just that simple! I don't care what your fitness plan is or what style of training you enjoy the most, if resistance training is not a part of your life then make it part of your fitness program today! Our caveman ancestors would have had an excellent body weight to strength ratio, and for good cause. Living in the wilderness, hunting your own food (usually big game), fending off danger (animals or others looking to hurt you/loved ones), and building shelter would have all required a great degree of strength and would have kept us hard and resilient. Cavemen would have needed to be able to pull their own body weight with little to no effort as well as have a high degree of strength to move external weight just to survive each day. In today's society we may not be faced with the same (if any) challenges our caveman ancestors dealt with on a daily basis, but we are genetically the same as those cavemen we came from. So how can being strong and lifting heavy help provide us with the best quality of life in our modern society.

1. Lifting heavy promotes functional strength: Lifting in patters of motion that we use on a daily basis are best for promotion of functional strength. This means total body movements such as the squat, dead lift (getting up off the couch, picking up kids or laundry), chin up, push up, over head pressing (putting away groceries), lunges (any athletic activity), rowing/pulling etc. These are all movements that we use all the time in sports and day to day activities making us stronger in our everyday lives.

2. Lifting heavy helps burn fat: When we lift heavy in total body movements like the ones listed above we burn a lot of calories and promote lean muscle gain. This revs up our metabolism and keeps us burning calories even at rest (our body burns a lot of calories to grow/maintain muscle). Total body movements use a lot of muscle groups, the more muscle we use the more fuel they burn to keep moving (calories). The more lean muscle we have, the more calories we can burn, the more calories we can burn the lower body fat we will have.

3. Lifting heavy helps build lean muscle: Lean muscle is a good thing! It helps give our body a sleek/athletic shape making us fill out our clothes a little better or look great on the beach. It's not very hard to get men to strength train, women on the other hand can some times be a challenge. To all the women reading right now, strength training will not make you look like a bulky man! Take a look at all those fitness models out there, they don't look like men and they lift weights and strength train. To lose body fat and get that lean look (man or woman) you must lift heavy and often! Lean muscle also gives our bones a little extra padding and helps protect us from injury during sports or accidents that can happen in our daily lives. Look better, perform better, and help protect yourself from injury.

4. Lifting heavy has many faces: Lifting heavy is all relative, what's heavy for one person may not be for another and not all training forms work for each person. We have different injuries or availability of equipment. You don't have to run into the gym and start squatting, benching, and dead lifting to gain lean muscle or get very, very strong. Body weight training has progressions from beginner to elite athlete and can be very challenging/rewarding. Just look at Olympic gymnasts who never lift anything other than their own body weight! They have excellent physiques and tons of strength without owning a home gym. If body weight training isn't your thing then maybe power lifts or Olympic lifting could be for you! Find a qualified coach/trainer and learn the technique. The point is, make your strength training challenging and heavy with great form for best results no matter what style you choose.

... In the next 2 chapters of the Jungle Fit Blog we'll touch on more of how we're meant to move to look our best and move our best. If you're looking to change your life and don't know where to start a Jungle Fit - Boot Camp is a great way to get back into shape or change up your fitness program. Learn how to move your body and control your body weight, lose body fat, and gain lean muscle.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Talk About Food!

For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog you know that there have been more than a few posts on food. I follow a caveman/paleo/primal diet based around eating foods that we have been designed to eat and avoiding foods that we are not designed to eat. This is what I practice and this is what I preach to every one who trains with me. So for those of you who may want to know more about a caveman diet or are just hearing about this for the first time, this post is for you! I've posted a bunch of links to help you dig a little deeper into the paleo/caveman diet and to help you get a good idea of why you need to jump on this train!

What is a "Caveman" diet. Some call it a Paleo diet, others may refer to it as a primal diet. No matter the name they all have things in common. You eat only real meats, lots of veggies, some fruits, nuts/seeds, berries and healthy fats. We avoid/don't eat grains, processed foods, sugars, and junk foods/drinks. Pretty much if you can't pick it from a tree, pull if from the ground, or kill and cook it ... don't put it in your mouth!

You'll eat lots and lots of fresh raw veggies, mix them up try new ones. It's the best way to get a ton of different vitamins and minerals. You'll eat fruit just not too much as it is high in natural sugars (I like to save them for snacks or in the morning after a workout). You'll eat lots of fresh real meat, any type you enjoy such as turkey, fish, chicken, shrimp, steak, eggs etc. You don't have to be afraid of healthy fats like olive oil (use olive oil based salad dressings!), coconut, coconut milk, avocado, almonds and other nuts, almond butter and other nut butters etc. There is a world of new foods waiting for you to try and a ton of new dishes to make for all meals of the day. Heck, I make pancakes using no grains what so ever (click this link to see!), there are endless possibilities!

On a caveman diet you'll change your body to a fat burning machine! As soon as you stop feeding your body sugars (grains, processed foods, ice cream, cakes, cookies etc.) your body will naturally use fat (body fat and dietary fat) as a source of fuel. You'll feel fuller longer after meals, you'll lose body fat, your energy levels will be much higher (due to the intake of lots of fresh veggies and fruit!), and you'll have an iron clad immune system! You're taking all the poisonous things out of your diet and bringing in only the good foods your body wants and needs!

So remember, only eat lean meats, lots of veggies, some fruits, nuts/seeds, and healthy fats! It's that simple.

For more info follow these links!

- A great guide to caveman eating (marksdailyapple.com)

- Why you should avoid grains (marsdailyapple.com)

- You don't have to eat like a rabbit (jungle-fit.blogspot.com)

- You are What you Eat (jungle-fit.blogspot.com)

.. photo credit to marksdailyapple.com