I had a great workout this morning with Nate Miyake. The actual workout was fine, but what launched it into great was the conversation we had about “five key points.” If you could simplify and summarize whatever it is you’re doing into five (or less) key things you’d want to get across to the world, what would they be?
When it comes to health and fitness – by which I mean general health and fitness, not sports-specific performance, my key points would be:
- Good health is 90% diet. You can maintain a good weight and good overall health nearly through diet alone. Unless you’re insanely active, you can’t work off a bad diet. It won’t make you stronger or faster, but it’ll keep you thin. Eat right and you’re 90% there.
- The only good plan is a sustainable plan. There are a zillion different plans and programs – for both diet and activity – out there for losing weight and getting fit. The only good ones are the ones that you can keep up over the long haul. If it’s just short-term plan, it’s just a short-term solution (and probably bad for you).
- Focus on whole, unrefined food. Some people say that it’s all about the calories, and not about the type of calories. Others say that it’s overall calories that matter, not the type. And there are studies that support both. But regardless, a larger advantage of whole, unrefined food is that it tends to take up more room in your stomach and make you feel fuller. A cookie’s going to have a lot of calories and won’t be all that big (and the sugar will cause an insulin spike and make you hungry pretty soon). A salad with the same number of calories is going to be a lot bigger, will take more time to eat and digest, and won’t give you the same insulin spike.
- Counter the effects of sitting all day. If you’re like me, you sit most of the day. This is bad. You don’t need to be super active, just walk around and stretch. If you can do anything to avoid sitting, do it. Walk where you need to go instead of driving. Do stretches everyday.
- Cardio for weight loss and health is stupid and pointless. The only reason to do cardio is to improve your cardio-dependent performance, or if you just really enjoy it (by cardio, I’m not talking about walking everywhere). I enjoy riding my bike – great reason to do cardio. I want to improve my high-altitude performance – great reason to do cardio. I want to lose weight – bad reason to do cardio. Running is especially bad. You’ll get a much larger benefit in a shorter period of time from lifting weights or just doing bodyweight exercises (and you do get heart benefits from those as well!), and you’ll miss out on all the long-term knee and foot injuries.