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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Physical Activity

When you strengthen your body, you strengthen your mind, your heart, and your character.

Take a moment, and think back to the Paleolithic period.  Cavemen had to walk for miles just to find food; they also had to RUN for miles so they wouldn’t BECOME food. 

They built shelter with there bare hands, by lifting heavy objects, and were much more physical then your average sedentary North American today.

What does all this mean?

We’ve become an unhappy, unhealthy society, fostered by a lack of physical exertion. 
When you aren't moving, and just sitting idle, their are certain required brain functions that aren't being put to use.  Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins; these are chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy.  Exercise can help some people sleep better.  It can also help some people who have mild depression and low self-esteem (myself included). Plus, exercise can give people a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal, be it weight loss, or improving performance for your favourite sport.

When people hear the work ‘exercise’ they usually think of:

  • Running like a rat on a wheel (This can get boring REAL quickly)
  • Lifting weights (I’m talking the traditional barbell/dumbbell stuff)
  • Taking an aerobics class (If you’re lacking coordination, these can be a REAL test in humility)
 Exercise science, training ideas, and workout programs have come a LONG way since the dark ages of leg warmers and headbands.  I say out with the old, and in with the new! 

Below, you will find a list of some of my favorite things to do.  Try some of these ideas to get your daily work out in!

  • Martial Arts/Boxing/MMA.  If you want an activity that will kick your butt, and leave you feeling drained, then training martial arts is for you.  I’ve been performing Muay Thai for the last year, and let me tell you, I thought I was in shape.  My instructor Kru Jeff showed me I wasn’t.
  • Hybrid functional training.  There are a multitude of workout programs that employ bands, sandbags, boxes, risers, fancy set/rep schemes, and even your own body weight that will keep you interested.  They are not only easy to follow, but can be a LOT of fun too!  I suggest clicking here to check out a few.
  • Join a recreational sport.  Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, Squash, and Racquetball are all excellent choices for the competitive enthusiast looking for a challenge.  There are usually community centers in the area that offer these types of activities.  Your local YMCA should also have many resources with regards to team sports.  Check them out!
Here are a few less demanding options that you might want to look into as well:
  • Yoga.  This is a great way to quiet your mind and relax your body. There are different ways to practice yoga - some vigorous and others relaxing. Try this style of movement for maximum relaxation.
  • Pilates.  While more vigorous than some types of Yoga, Pilates forces you to concentrate on what your body is doing while helping you work on core strength, stability and flexibility.
  • Massage. Although not really a ‘workout’ per say I think we should all try and schedule in some massage time so you have something to look forward to. If that isn't an option, indulge at home with a hot bath or lounging around and reading your favourite book or magazine.

Nutrition

Pizza, bread, donuts, cake, and the 7-11 didn't exist back in the caveman times either, so it should come as no surprise that these things should not make up the majority of your diet.  

On a hormonal level, what we eat also affects brain function, endorphin release, and mood control.  We all want to be peaceful, and happy correct?  So eating properly is key.   

The following is an example list of foods that I recommend eating, as well as a few examples of foods that I would NOT recommend eating.  I feel that both lists are important, as there are MANY foods out there that you think are ‘OK’ when in fact, they’re not.

Acceptable Protein sources:

  • Lean Beef
  • Fish/seafood
  • Lean Poultry
  • Eggs (Whole and whites)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Lean Pork
  • Skim or Soy Milk
Un acceptable Protein Sources:

  • Deli Meat
  • Fatty meats like Duck and Ham
  • Processed Meats (Hot dogs, cold cuts etc...)
  • Hard Cheeses (ok in moderation)
  • Whole Milk (ok in moderation)
 Acceptable Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Rice (Preferably Brown)
  • Potatoes (Preferably Sweet)
  • Beans
  • Whole Oats
  • Fruit (in moderation)
  • Green leafy Vegetables
Unacceptable Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Maltodextrin (ok Post workout though)
  • Junk Food
  • Sweets
  • Potato Chips
  • Candies
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Alcohol
  • Breads and pasta (ok in moderation)
 Recommended Fat sources:

  • Avocados
  • Raw Nuts (cooked in moderation)
  • Cold Pressed oils:
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Borage oil
    • Safflower oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • Flax seed oil
    • Cod liver oil
    • Udo's Choice 3-6-9 oil
 Unacceptable fat sources:

  • Butter (ok in moderation)
  • Margarine (the kind that have trans fats)
  • Heated Oils

A typical meal plan should comprise 3 meals, and two snacks a day.  Here is an example diet to get you started.  Feel free to make any substitutions for the lists above.
  
Breakfast:

Choice 1

  • 1 egg with 4 egg whites omelet
  • You can throw in some veggies ½ cup
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
 Choice 2

  • ½ cup yogurt with
  • ½ cup granola
  • 1 banana
  • 1 whole egg

Lunch:

Choice 1: Salad

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • 2 cups baby spinach with 1 cup veggies
  • 1 piece of bread (Preferably brown)

Choice 2: Wrap

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Cheese 1 or 2 slices
  • Veggies 1 cup
  • Tortilla 1
  • Lettuce/mustard
 Choice 3: Hot Lunch

  • Lean protein any kind (chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Veggies
  • Small sweet potato or
  • ½ cup of rice
 Dinner:

Choices can be the same as lunch or also

Choice 1

  • Spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • Spaghetti sauce ¼ cup
 Choice 2

  • Lean protein any kind (Chicken, beef, fish, canned salmon, tuna whatever)
  • Veggies 1 1/2cups
  • Salsa
  • ½ cup rice
 Snacks: 3/day

Choice 1

  • Some Nuts… any kind… almonds are good
  • Banana or some other fruit

Choice 2

  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ berries

Choice 3: Pick one cheat
(One night only)

  • 1 cup frozen yogurt
  • 2 rice cakes with peanut butter
  • 3 cups popcorn
Drink as much coffee and tea as you like, but TRY and drink at LEAST 1/2 gallon of water (2 litres/8 cups) a day.




Woah!  That was a doozy!  I never meant to write so much, but I do feel passionate about this topic, and felt it necessary to discuss in detail.

Constant use, and the right type of fuel is important for any machine to run smoothly.  

Until next time,


Matt

2 comments:

Danielle said...

Deli meats, really?? are there some types of deli meat that can be ok, depending on how it was made??

I'll have to start following this a few times a week. It might get old but maybe it will make a difference when I work out.

Matt Davis said...

Well generally Deli meat/cold cuts are processed, and have a lot of fat and salt. Better off to just cook up some chicken, slice that... and eat it instead.