What I’m Up To Now, November 2014

Batman Zap

Nutrition

I am eating a Paleo-based diet. I do not like talking about what I eat like it falls in a category, but it will help for explanation. The bottom line is I eat a diet based around meat and vegetables, nuts, full-fat dairy, some starch (potatoes & sweet potatoes), little fruit, no grains, no gluten – ALL REAL FOOD. I am not against eating legumes or dairy as some pure Paleo followers are. I have found for myself, limiting carbohydrates until the end of the day is very effective. Specifically, I eat almost none until my dinner meal. My days typically look the same:

0700: Black coffee, one to two cups. Occasionally Bulletproof coffee (coffee + MCT oil + grass-fed butter). Sounds crazy, but it’s legit.

1200: Meal 1 – 6-8 ounces of meat (mixture of grass-fed beef, chicken, or pork) and/or some nuts (almonds or pistacios) and/or vegetables.

1700: Meal 2 – 10-20 of meat (grass-fed beef, chicken, pork or fish), starch and/or vegetable and/or salad.

Snacks on occasion based on hunger.

Notes:

  • I do not count calories, weigh and measure food, or concern myself with specific amounts of macronutrients (fat, carbs, protein). I was too concerned for too long about unnecessary details of what I ate and I hate living like that. I eat as much as I care to eat at dinner, sometimes it’s a lot, sometimes it’s not. I almost always only eat one large meal per day.
  • I have found the intermittent fasting to be very important for me to maintain my body fat levels.
  • I was hesitant initially to not eat post-workout (I usually train in the morning) because I have this fear from bodybuilding magazines in the 90s (Flex, Muscle & Fitness, MM2000) that my body will eat itself if you don’t. This is completely unfounded. I notice no adjustment to post-workout recovery and no impact to performance at all.
  • I was also hesitant to eat late in the day (again, 1990s muscle mags & conventional wisdom). Eating carbs later has proven better for maintaining/reducing body fat and for sleep quality. This is based on my slight adjustment of Carb Backloading by Kiefer. Robb Wolf got into a lot of this in his podcasts as well. It was sort of revolutionary to put the bulk of carbs into the latter half of the day. We have been told for decades this will make you fat and you need to eat them early to “burn them off”.
  • I do a fun/cheat meal every week, which is usually dinner out on a Friday night with dessert. No rules on what or amounts.
  • I usually avoid gluten even when I eat a cheat meal. I sometimes have a sandwich on a Friday, but that’s it. There are enough things I want to eat that taste great that have no gluten (french fries, ice cream, etc.).

Supplements

I take fermented cod liver oil, magnesium, and a probiotic every day.  Specifically these brands:

Why do I take these?  I believe everyone should take these three supplements as the baseline. Even with good nutrition, some things are needed. I think those are Omega 3s, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Probiotics. The cod liver oil brand specifically is recommended by Chris Kresser (circle of trust member) for its quality. The magnesium is a reputable brand and is chelated. There are other variations like mag citrate, but this was the one that was the most absorable/usable from what I found. Finally, gut health will become increasingly important to us over time as we figure out it is the center of our health universe. Probiotics and prebiotics are huge for overall systemic health. Prescript-Assist is soil-based and very effective. I personally notice its impacts on my digestion. It is hard to notice a probiotic – it isn’t like taking caffeine or ephedrine where you feel it. I do notice how I “digest” food is improved with this one product though. I have tried other probiotics (lacto- and bifido-based mostly) and the soil-based are better and this is the best of those.

Further reading:

Sleep

7-8 hours per night avoiding electronics before bed in a cool room religiously. I protect my sleep much more than I used to. Had to get a good sleep mask to assist with some room light. Well worth the money. There isn’t much to say about this except I prioritize it now – more than exercise even – which is a major step for me.

Stress

Using a lot of techniques to minimize stress. Major ones like trying to keep good social relationships are always in effect, but specifically I have tried meditation. I have not yet cracked the code on making it part of my daily battle rhythm, but I know it is something to work on that has value. I am about 28 sessions into the introductory sessions on HeadSpace. I heard a lot of people on a ton of podcasts and in articles talking about meditation. Most do it first thing in the morning. I do that now a few days a week, but not every day. I tried to do it at lunch, but the habit didn’t stick. I am working on and it is a known area to improve upon. I chose to use HeadSpace after reading a number of reviews about ways to start meditating. I paid the money for the annual subscription and am integrating it into my life.

Activity

My basic activity levels are pretty good and far better than ever in my life. It took me a few decades to figure this out, but I believe that general activity (non-exercise) is more important than exercising. In fact being generally active without exercise is superior to exercising while being sedentary the rest of the day. I wear a pedometer to give me an idea how much I am moving. Goal is always 10,000 steps. I walked my dog every single day, some days 45-60 minutes, until the weather got so bad I couldn’t take it (maybe I will get more resilient with time). I still walk him a few times a week. I do all the basic stuff like park far from my destination when I drive, never use an elevator, look for opportunities to get steps shopping with the family, and play with my kids outside as much as possible.

I am at 100% standing desk at home and work. I only sit when I take meetings essentially. I have a Varidesk Pro Plus at work and a rig I set up for myself at home using a existing things to raise up my keyboard and monitor. I made a concerted effort to stop sitting so much in 2013 when I heard just an onslaught of information as to how sitting is killing us. I would take breaks deliberately from sitting, but my desk wasn’t a standing desk. Once I got to my new job, I did it cold turkey. This is something everyone should do. Read more here and here.

I have been training on a CrossFit-esque program that I devised myself for the past few years that combines conditioning workouts with separate strength workouts. I work out in my garage gym. I have found a system that is very effective and enjoyable for me. I am currently executing a new cycle based on my normal programming methodology which is basically to ensure varied movements, lengths, types, and structure of conditioning workouts with a specific period of strength work built in. They are all varied yet follow a common theme. This is a fairly advanced program template as it just sets the foundation for each workout. It still requires some programming on the day of execution, i.e. choosing which movements and how many repetitions. I enjoy this freedom myself. This template forces me not to favor modalities/exercise/areas of the body, etc. over others. I do these workouts in the order on the template but not necessarily every day. It ends up being based on feel and my schedule. I typically do 4 workouts per week. Sometimes 3 days in a row, sometimes day on day off. All based on how I feel and what else is going on in my life. You can read all about it in excruciating detail here.

Tech

My phone is a rooted LG Nexus 5 running Android 5.0. I am using the stock ROM right now with a custom kernel, Elemental X. By far the  best custom kernel I have tried. Makes a noticeable difference in the speed of the phone. Currently resisting the temptation to get a Nexus 6 due to its size. We will see in the next update if I am still able to resist.

I use a Nexus 7 tablet as well. Rooted with stock Android 5.0 also with Elemental X kernel. I like the feel of the smaller tablet vs a larger 9 or 10″ one. All pure Android for me as you can see; no iProducts.

My computer is one I built myself. For those nerds out there who care, it is an Intel Core i5 with Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard with 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 MHx RAM inside an Antec Twleve Hundred case running Windows 8.1 on a solid state hard drive. No overclocking anymore as it is unnecessary these days.

I am using a Nixeus 27-inch monitor. Traded in my two 25-inch monitors for a new 27-inch this summer. Well worth the upgrade. Hard to notice how much better the monitor was until I put them side my side. My old monitors suddenly didn’t look so hot. In full disclosure, I had some issues with the monitor and am in the process of getting a refurb. This monitor was a top option down from the best one at TheWirecutter.com (Circle of Trust member) when I got it.

I am wearing a Magellan Echo Fit every day as my watch and pedometer. I really wanted to combine devices so I opted for this one. Has a lot of great qualities out there, but not perfect. I will do a review and fitness tracker article (update: I wrote it) to get into more detail. I own a FitBit One too and really like it, but I got tired of having to remember to wear it. Very good for someone who doesn’t want to replace a watch or wear a wrist-based tracker.

That’s it for this first round of what I am up to. Hope you enjoyed the look inside what is going in my neck of the woods.

 

QUESTION: What are YOU up to? Anything you’d like to share? Post thoughts to comments.