I’m just about at a year with my new lifestyle. Whole organic foods with healthy, satisfying fats, no grains, no legumes, lots of vegetables and just enough fruit (most of the time – sometimes way too much fruit). I feel great!
As far as food goes, I’ve got that down. I’m not 100% perfect, I’m probably at 85% and on some days I am close to 100%. I have no desire to be 100% perfect. On days that I get close, great but whatever.
The other pieces of this lifestyle puzzle that I don’t think I have nailed are adequate sleep, and exercise. The sleep thing I have to work on. It’s not that I can’t sleep or don’t go to bed early enough it’s that I get up through out the night. My dogs are very spoiled. It’s my own fault. It’s like living with a couple of infants. Owner error – enough said.
The exercise piece is interesting. I have always been big on exercise. I started lifting weights when I was in college. I also started running while I was in college. I have always been active. It really wasn’t about making sure my body was healthy, it was all vanity. Exercise to look good (or at least try to look good). At some point along the way I did realize that the exercise and especially weight-bearing exercise was good from my bones. So, I have continued to exercise knowing “it does a body good”.
Great, so exercise is good. Got it. Then I read the book, The Primal Blue Print by Mark Sisson. In the book Mark mentions that too much exercise is bad. Hmmmmm. That also makes sense. He talks about injury and fatigue and how your body needs to rest from exercise in order to heal and become stronger. His big thing is limited success (or no success) and injury from what he calls “chronic” cardio: distance running, 45 minute or hour-long slogs on the elliptical machine or other cardio gym equipment. Mark Sisson believes you should do your body a favor and drop the chronic cardio and do some kind of short duration all out sprinting exercise every 7-10 days. I really liked the sound of that. Greater gains, less time. Perfect.
To be clear, I haven’t been a “chronic” cardio person for years. I dropped that a long time ago. Too boring. To this day, the only time I really set a pace and stick with it is when I go for a “distance” (3 – 5 miles) run other than that I always vary my pace, especially on cardio machines. Even with a varied pace, the one mistake I was making was time. Way too much time, usually a minimum of 45 minutes. Can you say BURN OUT! Ugh. I’m sure you can see why I really liked Mark Sisson’s take on exercise: intense, focused and fast.
I embraced the whole primal exercise plan: sprint once every 7 – 10 days, lift heavy things 2 – 3 times a week for 10 to 20 minutes max. It was great. It was also easy to lose sight of. Sprinting every 7 -10 days became sprinting once in a while. Lifting heavy things 2-3 times a week became once a week. Did I mention that I have a big LAZY bone. Yup, I’d rather do my nutritional reading for class than actually exercise. I remember in college, my roommates and I would watch a Jane Fonda exercise video while we ate lunch or had a snack. We always felt great at the end, just like we actually did the work out. That’s kind of what my nutritional reading is like. I read all this stuff about food and exercise and how it keeps you healthy and I feel healthy, as if I’m actively doing what I’m read. Yipes!
We’ve had some beautiful weather in Illinois. A really nice preview of summer. Pulling out the summer clothes and being outside doing summer things gave me the opportunity to do a little summer body inventory. My final evaluation – Loose in the Caboose! That’s right, sitting down and reading about nutrition and health does not in fact translate into a lean, tight physique.
The good news, diet really is a giant step in the right direction. My body “size” (I don’t weigh myself) doesn’t seem to fluctuate. I’m hoping that adding consistent exercise back into my life will help tighten up the ol’ caboose.
The Plan: P90x. For those of you who may not have heard of P90x, it’s a DVD exercise program that you can purchase from BeachBody.com. It’s the best workout I have ever done and that includes working with a personal trainer. It’s tough, really tough but the results are amazing.
I am a P90x graduate. I did the program about a year and half ago. I was never able to restart, I’m pretty sure that was due to burn out. After reading The Primal Blue Print and understanding Mark Sisson’s take on exercise it’s clear that P90x is too much. It’s the perfect prescription for injury and burn out (both of which I developed during my first round). O.k., so now you’re wondering why I’m going to do it again since I just said it was bad and will cause injury and burn out. P90x is totally customizable.
The hour-long weight routines in P90x are actually only about 20 – 25 minutes. The workouts repeat. By just doing the first half of the workout I’m staying within the parameters of “lift heavy things” outline that Mark Sisson discusses in The Primal Blue Print. The cardio days of P90x are actually sprint workouts, 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off. Everyday is still too much so I’ll probably only do one cardio workout a week (that’s my sprint once every 7 days) and I will do at least 2 weight workouts a week, maybe three, it will depend on how quickly my muscle recover.
I’m pretty excited. P90x is such a great workout. I’m happy I am able to modify it to fit my new vision for exercise: short duration, focused and intense.
If you are looking for a workout to do at home you might want to check out BeachBody. They have a bunch of different workouts. I actually own several and they are all good.
Eat Well, Feel Good, Have Fun!
Amy White MS HNC
I am a holistic nutrition counselor and believe real food is the true path to wellness. If you are interested in learning more about me and how I can help you, please see my story.
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