Friday, January 29, 2016

The Inverse Power of Praise-How Not To Talk to Your Kids

This is an article from 2007 that changed my perspective about parenting. I think about the concepts probably every single day.

How Not to Talk to Your Kids - the inverse power of praise

Read it and let me know what you think. It caused me - and many other parents I've sent it to - to reevaluate some of the basic assumptions of being a good parent or a good coach.

OKAY It's long so if you are too busy the essence is that even a simple comment like "I'm proud of you" can suggest to the kid he/she is performing to impress others. If you say, "you're smart, you're a great musician, you're a great athlete," its possible for the kid to attach self-esteem to these characterizations and perhaps withdraw from higher challenges to protect the characterization, or become self-image become too wrapped up in the label (e.g., I thought of myself as a triathlete, until one day I was no longer a triathlete. OOPS!)

If you tell a child, "you're smart", "'you're beautiful" its possible for the child to become socialized to overvalue their innate intelligence or physical beauty and trade on that in life instead of work hard to constantly grow and improve. The article also says that a kid already learns early on they are smart, athletic, physically attractive and it's not necessary to drum these points to boost self-esteem.

Since 2007 reading, with my kids I always try to praise the effort and minimize importance of results or external measurements and judgements. 

I say, "great effort, you have worked really hard, you should be proud of yourself". With my kids I might say things like, 'wow your hair looks great', 'that was a really thoughtful question,' 'that drawing is really interesting and realistic,' or 'you play the game the right way,' you did a good job passing the ball', 'you gave 100% the whole game', or also, 'you are a beautiful person', 'you're a great kid'

Contrast this with sentiments like 'you're so pretty', 'you're so smart', 'you're the best athlete in the whole school,', or even worse, 'you so deserved to get homecoming queen instead of her', 'you should be in the starting lineup instead of him'. Statements like these devalue effort and set up a flawed mentality of referencing one's worth externally instead of emphasizing effort and internal satisfaction. 

How To Lose That Last 10 Pounds

Here is a message I wrote to a client after we got talking about that frustrating challenging of losing the last 10 pounds of excess body fat. Often, people make great initial progress with fat reduction and then stall while still a bit above their ultimate goal.

Homeostasis: First, understand that the body likes to achieve homeostasis, so losing fat over a period of time might require a plateau period as your body's way of maintaining status quo. Do you feel better, sleep better, eat better, perform better than before? This would be great news and now you can make a plan to progress further.

The more fat-adapted you are, the easier it is for you to make some concerted efforts to Intermittent Fast and eat meals off your fat stores rather than your plate. If you are still slightly carb dependent, then fasting won't work and you'll just slow down metabolic rate. If you can have some days where you eat less food and fewer carbs than normal you can make spurts of progress.

Wakesurfing - a super high intensity workout great
for weight loss....NOT. But it's incredibly fun!
Set Point: Very importantly, when your body reaches a genetically comfortable set point, you have to shock your body with high intensity sprint efforts to achieve further fat loss. If your genetic influences have you at x% body fat right now (dang! thats higher than your neighbor who's genetic influences have her looking more like Gwyneth Paltrow than you! Unfair!) ......and you want to drop 10 more lbs, you can consider conducting a sequence of brief duration, very high intensity sprint sessions. Running/weight bearing obviously the best choice, but if you are not adapted to run sprints now, you can do bicycle sprints or uphill sprints (low or no impact options).

Intensity and Fasting: I like pairing these intense efforts with Intermittent Fasting to turbo charge fat burning in the body. So you do your sprints in the am, after ~10hrs of fasting, then fast as long as possible after the workout until you really get hungry and want to eat. Weight bearing sprints send a strong signal to body to reduce excess fat. High intensity, short duration strength workouts will also deliver results in this area. Longer duration (30, 45, 60 min) strength workouts, boot camp classes, personal trainer sessions and so forth cause prolonged stress hormones in the bloodstream and elevated hunger. You crank out that awesome morning workout, burn a ton of calories (hoping to help with weight loss) and then find yourself pounding a pint of ice cream and evening due to the depleting effect of the workout. Hard to believe but its better to get in and get out quickly with the intensity sessions. 

Natural Appetite: Finally, the other error we see often is people having this primal 'license to kill ' where they eat high quantities of food because the food is Primal approved so its 'okay' to pig out. Man you should see the group at our PrimalCon retreats!! they inhale TONS of delicious food, 5-foot tall women with plates piled high enough to make the football team proud. As the book suggests, macadamia nuts are a 'great primal snack' so are sardines and so forth. But you can also eat these snacks off your butt as Mark likes to say. 

If you have made great progress but wanna drop 10 more pounds you can do it in about 3 months time. So you will send me another email in a few months saying, 'hey Brad i did it, check out my 6 pack, photo attached', but this result will require some pretty sincere effort to really really really align your appetite with your intake. You eat only when hungry and finish when you are satified. Not 'full' but simply satisfied. Modern humans rarely behave this way. We eat for social reasons and we pig out on good food. 

Remember though, Primal aligned eating with low insulin producing dietary habits will enable you to easily maintain a desired body composition for the rest of your life. However getting down into your desired summer bathing suit zone is going to take some extra effort for 8 weeks. 

All this commentary should be taken in the context that a physician consultation is important for any eating or exercise program, especially when some foo on email tells you to sprint like crazy! Must be in optimal physical condition to enact this strategy. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Primal Endurance Book is Here

Hey readers the book Primal Endurance is out and getting some good attention in the primal community as well as the endurance community. This book represents Mark Sisson and I coming full circle and bringing the primal message to the endurance world we have so much history with.

Our message is to slow down, chill out, pursue a balanced and intuitive approach, and eliminate carb dependency in favor of becoming fat-adapted. Endurance sports are extremely popular today, but the prevailing approach is overly stressful and leads to burnout and excess body fat. This book provides an attractive solution to the problem, allowing you to go faster, lose excess body fat, have more fun, and spend less time training!