"Mens sana in corpore sano." - Juvenal
The above quote, "a sound mind in a sound body," expresses one of the core values one should have, if one hopes to lead a successful life. Today I want to say something about the "sound body" portion of the equation. There are really three keys to getting results while trying to build a sound body, which, if you read my previous post, you can see is something I am focusing on right now. Results so far have been good, and I'm getting to the point where my opinion on the topic may have some value. Anyway - three keys:
1) Train - every day - as hard as you can
I keep detailed records of my training activity each day, and I have been able to go through those notes, and offer some suggestions based on my experience. Lift weights every day - every day - until you can't lift any more. I have dozens of different exercises to choose from each day, although the foundation of them are complex exercises that work the bigger muscles of the body, like deadlifts, farmer's carries and squats. Change it up every day - some days I go for a smaller number of reps and sets lifting as much weight as I can, and some days slightly lower weight in as many sets and reps as I can do. I never do the identical set of exercises on any given day, as giving your body a new and unexpected challenge each day seems to be the way to build useful strength and physical capability. While weight lifting is by far the most important part of building a strong, fit, useful body (and I am now lifting for no less than two hours each day) it is also useful to work cardio, stretching, and various sports and activities into the workout schedule. When your head hits the pillow at night, you should have nothing left.
2) "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." - Michael Pollan
This statement, I think, sums up a common sense eating plan. As I noted in a prior post, for about a year I followed a pure vegetarian diet. I no longer do this, as I'm not sure that it can support my nutritional needs while I am engaged in a very heavy amount of physical activity. However, vegetables are still the vast majority of what I eat, especially the green leafies, and the legumes for protein. I'll also eat eggs, and high quality meats from time to time, for the protein and the sheer enjoyment. Most important is this - no fast food, nothing processed, nothing you didn't make yourself, as Mr. Pollan, from the quote above, said - "nothing your great-grandparents wouldn't recognize as food. This is particularly important if you are training as hard as you should - because you will eat a lot more - a lot more - when lifting hard and heavy, you need to make sure that what you put in your mouth is only the highest quality fuel.
3) Get your ZZZZZZZs
There can be no doubt that getting adequate sleep allows your body to rebuild, develop, and grow, and that sleeping well is absolutely necessary to good health. For years, I took pride in the fact that I only needed four or five hours of sleep per night, thinking that it allowed me to accomplish much more with my time. The result, though, was that I was not as effective while awake, and lost a lot of time to illness and other manifestations of poor health. Now, my body needs a solid eight hours, and I make damned sure I get it. In doing so, I find that I have more than adequate energy for my work, my training, my family, and all the other things I love to spend my time on.
Train hard, eat well, rest up. A simple plan that yields significant benefits. Other than losing weight, increasing muscle mass, having more energy, normalizing my blood pressure, reducing my resting heart rate from 95 a year and an half ago to below 70 now (I am 43 years old), completely curing my acid reflux, I should also note - I haven't so much as suffered one day from even a cold or flu in months now.
Its never too late to start on the road to good health and strength.
Thank you for reading,