Saturday, September 5, 2015

Brad's Primal Style Anti-Aging Tips



Following are details of my personal diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits, and an overview of the principles of the Primal Blueprint and the evolutionary health movement. In 2008, I started working on The Primal Blueprint book and movement with Mark Sisson. I immediately transitioned away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) high in complex carbs to a Primal eating pattern that is comparatively very low carb and high in healthy fats. Emphasis is on natural, wholesome plant and animal foods that fueled human evolution: meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Concurrently, I ditched my lifelong emphasis on endurance training to pursue more broad and health-promoting fitness goals. 

OVERVIEW of primal lifestyle tips (details follow)
  1. Eat primally: Ditch processed carbs in favor of nutritious primal foods, especially healthy fats.
  2. Move around more: Walk places, take frequent breaks, do structured cardio workouts at a comfortable pace of ~75% of max heart rate or less. 
  3. Use it or lose it: Include brief, high-intensity strength workouts 2x/week and all-out sprints 1x per 7-10 days. Preserve muscle mass, reduce body fat, and delay aging.
  4. Sleep/relax: Align your sleep habits with your circadian rhythm. Dark, mellow evenings; natural, energetic mornings. Alert: minimize digital screen use after dark! Find times during the day&week to relax instead of go go go.

DIET
  1. Ditch grains and sugars: Pro-inflammatory, accelerate aging, promote fat storage. This will minimize insulin production, the #1 health risk of the Standard American Diet. 
  2. Ditch vegetable oils and processed boxed/packaged/frozen foods: Pro-inflammatory, causing free radical reactions, accelerated aging, and cancer.
  3. Emphasize primal foods: Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds. Very low carb (no sugars or grains) and high in healthy fats (by comparison to SAD).
  4. Flexible: When you become fat adapted instead of carb dependent, your meal habits can become more sporadic. Intermittent Fasting optimizes fat metabolism, enhances cellular repair, and delays aging. 

Primal Blueprint philosophy counters the "diet" concept of prescribed meals and regimented schedule. Caloric intake and meal choices can vary wildly each day. Meals are predominantly fat and stimulate minimal insulin response, keeping my energy, blood sugar, and appetite stable all day, even when meals are skipped/missed.

My eating routine: Morning smoothie w/ coconut milk, protein powder, avocado, fresh produce, frozen fruit - macronutrient balanced, high antioxidant. Sometimes a late breakfast of eggs and bacon or just dark chocolate macadamia nut bark busted out around midday. Afternoon or evening large salads with vegetables, meat, nuts and olive oil dressing. General effort to find grassfed or organic animals, wild caught fish, locally grown or organic produce. Total elimination of all grains (wheat, rice, pasta, corn, and all derivatives), sugars/sweets and sweetened beverages. Beverage of choice is water or Kombucha sparkling probiotic drink. Snacks of coconut or macadamia nut butter and dark chocolate.

My macronutrient profile:

~66% fat (grassfed meat/fish/fowl/eggs, coconut products, macadamia nuts&nut butter, olive oil, avocados, dark chocolate)
~20% protein (1g/lb of lean body mass is the goal. Easily accomplished when animal products are emphasized)
~14% carb (under 150 grams/600 calories per day is the critical Primal goal. Easily accomplished when all grains and sugars are eliminated. This amounts to heaping servings of vegetables and moderate intake of fruit, only when in season)

If you wonder if you are eating too many carbs, chart what you eat on a notepad for a day or two, trying to measure or estimate quantities as best you can, then visit fitday.com and input your data. It will generate a nice report with macronutrient and caloric breakdowns. 

EXERCISE
For the past 10 years, I have modified my fitness regimen away from narrow endurance focus (including the extremely health-destructive chronic cardio training regimen that I followed as an elite competitor for 15 years) to a more balanced regimen featuring comfortable aerobic workouts (i.e., jogging daily with dogs), regular brief, intense strength training sessions , and occasional all-out sprints:

My fitness routine:
1. Daily very comfortable jogging (HR 130 bpm max) of ~:30 min with dogs
2. Brief strength training sessions lasting from 5-20 minutes, 2-3 days/week. Extremely high intensity full-body exercises (Schlepmo type-stuffgo hard or go home!) in gym or outdoors.
3. Occasional all-out sprints (Schlepmo style). ~3x/month and usually just 4 x 100 meters on grass, along with 10 minutes of quite challenging technique drills.

Lifestyle
Insufficient sleep ranks right up there with crappy diet as the #1 modern lifestyle health offense. Avoid excess artificial light and digital stimulation in the evenings. Using f.lux (download at stereopsis.com if you insist on working on computer after dark), yellow lens sunglasses, and orange "bug" light bulbs (home depot or lowes). Goal is to create as dark and mellow an environment as possible in the hours leading up to bed. This will trigger Dim Light Melatonin Onset, a genetically programmed response where we become sleepy soon after dark in alignment with our circadian rhythms. 

Introducing excess artificial light and digital stimulation after dark suppresses melatonin, elevates stress hormones, increases sugar cravings, and compromises optimal cycling through all phases of sleep. This in turn compromises immune function (healthy intestinal flora flourishes at night, while you sleep; as does cell repair and recovery from stress of daily life). Lights Out - Sleep, Sugar, and Survival, a fantastic book on the subject, recommends we all sleep 9.5 hours per night in the winter, and can get away with 8 hours per night in the summer.

My goal in sharing this information is to garner awe from my fan base as well as inspire and hopefully assist you with achieving personal health and fitness goals. Please contact me if you have any questions or further interest!

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