From Zero to Shredded and Cancer-Free Hero: Intermittent Fasting How-To

From Zero to Shredded and Cancer-Free Hero: Intermittent Fasting How-To

This headline is a bit ‘punny’ because the bigger takeaway is the app Zero that I’ve been using to aid in my intermittent fasting journey.  Intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, has a growing body of research validating a whole host of benefits ranging from body recomposition, human growth hormone production, to purging cancerous cells. Regardless of your health goals, I’m confident you’ll find something on the benefits menu appetizing enough to give it a shot. Let’s run through the 80/20 of what you’ll need to capitalize on this free health hack.

PICK A PROTOCOL

Anything past 12 hours of fasting yields some benefit, but the two recommended protocols are:

  1. 16-hour fast, 8-hour eating window – 7x/week (enshrined by LeanGains, the unofficial godfather of intermittent fasting for physique transformation).
  2. 24-hour fast, 1-2x/week

The former is better and more lifestyle friendly.

ASSEMBLE YOUR MOTIVATION FOR COMPLIANCE

Dr. Rhonda Patrick has as of late been touting the benefits of intermittent fasting, but prevention (i.e. thwarting off cancer) is not the best way to motivate people to action, as any marketer will tell you. The immediate benefits of HGH production and hormone optimization result in the body transformations to which many can attest. Don’t take my word for it, let’s listen to what Wolverine has to say.

STAVE OFF HUNGER

There will be an adjustment period, like anything else. Don’t let it deter you. Common hacks to pierce through that 30-minute hunger strike are coffee and/or sparkling mineral water. If you can raw dog it, more power to you, but keep the calorie-free liquids flowing.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

I’ve tried baking intermittent fasting into my routine so that I simply break my fast a noon daily, but I find that to be unrealistic if you’re serious about the 16-8 protocol. Allow yourself some flexibility of when you finish eating at night. So if you happen to finish dinner at 9 pm, for instance, you’d have to remember to break your fast the following day at 1 pm. But does “remember” sound like life optimization to you? In response, I (or Kevin Rose, rather) bring to you Zero, the 100% free and simple AF app to help you track your intermittent fasting, You can customize it to any protocol and it will even notify you when it’s time to stuff your face.

A NOTE FOR THE LOVELY FEMALES

Intermittent fasting is considered “eustress,” meaning a beneficial stressor to the body that makes you stronger thereafter, similar to physical exercise. When taken in aggregate, your body registers the additional stress, “healthy” or not, as simply more stress. Lifestyle factors such as environmental, mental/emotional, and work stress can compound rather quickly, rendering intermittent fasting less advantageous. Specifically, women can run into menstrual cycle issues when taking fasting past their body’s threshold (also common for female athletes/fitness enthusiasts who push it to the extreme). Bottomline: listen to your body and adjust accordingly, always. If you’re not in fact lovely, but female, this still applies (though exceedingly unlikely by virtue of you reading my blog).

 

Is intermittent fasting one of the most potent free health interventions? Is becoming Wolverine our now shared primary goal in life?

How to Get 10% More Health Optimization In Each Day Without Spending More Time

How to Get 10% More Health Optimization In Each Day Without Spending More Time

I would give almost anything to get 25 hours a day while everyone else is sitting at 24. As it stands, I haven’t figured out a way to bend time, so I’ve resorted to gimmicky tricks throughout the day that make a noticeable difference. The to-do lists pile up ever so easily. If you want more flexibility, you need to stretch more. Eat mindfully (A.K.A. add 20 mins to your meal). Practice gratitude and journal and pray and write thank-you letters.  It feels like a full-time job to optimize your mind, body, and health when you (most likely) quite literally already have another full-time job. Every day is a battle of how much health optimization I can squeeze in without entirely losing it (it being defined as reality, a social life, productivity, or anything else worth having on this rock we call Earth).

A neat little hack to circumvent this overwhelm is to stack a more important activity on top of a mindless/habit-formed activity so that you aren’t adding more time necessary, you’re simply getting more juice out of the same squeeze. I’ve had terrible ankle mobility since time immemorial (interchangeably using mobility with flexibility here, as the differences aren’t worth mentioning for the purpose of this post). I’ve also been massively lazy and never prioritized stretching since genesis.

Here’s a useful, real-world example. I’ve had terrible ankle mobility since time immemorial (interchangeably using mobility with flexibility here, as the differences aren’t worth mentioning for the purpose of this post). I’ve also been massively lazy and never prioritized stretching since genesis. I started stretching my calves while I brushing my teeth, yielding 2 mins, twice a day of ankle mobility work. Within a few months, I had respectable ankle mobility as was able to do deeper squats, with better, back-friendly posture (my primary motivator). Teeth brushing as a great one to stack or layer on another activity because it’s done entirely automatically. There’s no decision making or complexity to it as it’s a habit. When stacking (or layering for lack of a better word) properly, you aren’t in fact multi-tasking in the way that’s been recently and justly criticized. Multi-tasking becomes an issue when the two or more tasks require cognitive resources and decision making. That’s not what this is unless I’ve tremendously overestimated your teeth brushing abilities.

These minutes add up well. Find a few spots in the day where you become a mindless autopilot drone, and use that time more wisely to get the Slight Edge effect. How about when you’re stuck in traffic, a meeting, or some other colossal waste of your time? You could daydream, but why not use that time to catch up on your gratitude or deep diaphragmatic breathing? The point is not to tell you what to stack, but rather to provide the lens through which you can apply to better optimize your time and health.

Objection handling disclaimer. Being “mindful” does count for something, and that is a fair application of stacking where you would otherwise mindlessly proceed. As is our constant theme, you must prioritize what result you most value. Being 10% more flexible may beat out being 10% more zen, your call.

Tech Add-On: If you need help forming the new stacking habits, I recommend the simple app Way of Life to build daily compliance through self-reporting and tracking.

Goal Achievement Simplified: The No-Nonsense Guide to Achieving What You Want WITHOUT The Motivational White Noise

Goal Achievement Simplified: The No-Nonsense Guide to Achieving What You Want WITHOUT The Motivational White Noise

Some people have dreams, better people have goals. Facetiousness aside, we’re about being practical and action-oriented, so I will hereafter use “goals” to loosely refer to goals, ambitions, end outcomes, dreams, etc.

So what’s the problem?

“If you can dream it, you can do it!” Yay for motivational platitudes! Or how about, “It’s all about the grind, grind-grind-grind, you have to love the grind.” Again, motivational and goal achievement common speak utterly devoid of practical know-how or intelligent adjustments toward your goals.

There’s a time and place for all that stuff. In fact, if you like the rah-rah, I suggest you peruse through Instagram and land anywhere. For now, let’s review more of a checklist approach to see what you can add or eliminate to tangibly move the dial in the right direction. Your goal could be hitting X $/month in supplemental income, hitting your next fitness personal record, or quite literally anything that matters enough for you to concretely write it down and focus on.

Step 1: Decide & Commit

Painfully obvious yet frequently overlooked. What is it that you want? What lights you up inside to give you the sustained motivation you’ll need to stick with it until fruition. If it’s a nice-to-have, it’s not happening. In the wise words of Derek Sivers, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.”

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -Lewis Carroll

If you want 10 things at once, join the club, then decide which one or two are most important to you. Once you establish your end outcome, you can move on to reverse-engineering the smartest and most efficient way to get there, fueled by the requisite motivation and intention.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” -Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Step 2: Reverse-Engineer or Model

Finding the Right Mentor or Coach

Bar none, the best way to springboard yourself toward your desired outcome is finding and modeling after the right mentor, coach, or example. Nothing novel here, but what people don’t emphasize enough is the criteria to find the right model or mentor. For such an important question, the answer is remarkably simple; the best mentor or person to model after is someone is a) is currently doing what you want to learn and b) is doing it well and at a level to which you aspire. If you miss one of those, you’ll likely (not always) run into trouble. They have to be in the weeds of the business/activity NOW, to be up-to-date enough to be able to help you, versus. them spewing out antiquated information that worked for them in a prehistoric period. The other criterion is a bit more self-explanatory: if they haven’t achieved the results you want, for themselves, how could they possibly teach you or get you there? The frequency with which I’ve seen pudgy trainers training someone skinner is both disturbing and perplexing. #NoJudgements

Modeling after success applies to almost anything. Marketing 101 will teach you to swipe or model after advertisements and campaigns that have already proven to be successful. You rarely, if ever, have to reinvent the wheel. Figure out what’s already working, or who’s already figured it out, and start following what got them there.

The Best Path Is the Most Efficient Path

If you can’t find or afford the right coach, keep looking, but let’s move on to the next best thing: reverse-engineering the goal. Consider all the possible activities that could inch you one step closer toward your desired outcome, and pull out the 80/20 – the 20% of the activities that will result in 80% of the total positive impact. You could do a lot of things, but only a few will make the most difference, and they tend to be the most obvious and mundane. For example, if you wanted to get a handle on your health, you could cycle through 30 different protein powders and supplements, or you could simply cut gluten and sugar, and get enough sleep. If our friend Pareto isn’t giving you a clear answer and you don’t know which are the 80/20 activities, here’s another question to consider:

“Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?” Timothy Ferriss, Tools of Titans

Now that you have identified the highest leverage tasks, it’s time to obliterate all the noise in your way to perform at your peak. Near and dear to my heart, we have…

Step 3: Eliminate Distractions

This one is so important it deserves a full and separate post (which I’ve done only in part, here). If you want the elimination Bible, I recommend you read Essentialism.

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown, Essentialism.

In a world inundated with notifications, social media, and instant messages, we’ve conditioned ourselves into a culture of expecting immediate responses and engagement on a 24/7 basis. This is fabulous for OPA (Other People’s Agenda) but detrimental for you accomplishing anything of value, beyond the facade of busyness. Clear the path so that you can execute your highest leverage activities on a daily basis with consistency and quality. What you eliminate or subtract is equally if not more important than what you add in to achieve your expressed goals. This elimination process requires perpetual revisiting and constant reassessing of what is on your schedule or in your way hindering you from executing with clarity, ease, and focus, yielding Flow. Distraction= person, place, or thing that doesn’t directly bring you materially closer toward your stated goals.

Here are a few common distractions to help you get started:

  1. Push notifications on your phone that don’t require your real-time attention.
  2. Social media and FB walls/timelines/posts.
  3. Negative, annoying people and other energy vampires.
  4. Groups, clubs, or organizations that eat up your time more than they add value.
  5. Clutter, physical and digital.
  6. Mundane decisions.
  7. Meetings.

Step 4: Execute Daily

The path has been cleared, you know what you need to do, and why you are doing it. There a few theories (pre-calendar/timeslot everything, Pomodoro Technique, etc.) of how to execute most effectively, but the bottom line is to find a way to get the activities completed by the end of the day. I recommend you make your execution process a habit or routine, so you don’t waste cognitive resources each day deciding when/where/how you will complete your tasks (adding yet another barrier to achievement).

Be honest with yourself here and figure out what it’s really going to take for you to accomplish your day with consistency. Who do you need to talk to, what do you need to see or do, to put yourself in the focused and motivated frame of mind to get it done. If watching re-runs of Rich Froning makes you feel like a sufficient POS (piece-of-shit), compelling you to step it up, then I’m not (self-)judging.

Have a written list, on paper or via digital notes/reminders, and check it off each day. If you want more help coming up with the list or inspiration, check out Andy Frisella’s “Kill It Every Day” podcast episode.

I’ve observed a war between the “work smarter not harder” and the “grind until Gary V is proud of you” crowds, so if you implement Step 2 and Step 4 here, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Step 5: Adapt & Readjust

Ready. Fire. Aim. Like any plan, you must reassess and make minor or even major modifications along the way. Again, as is evidently the answer for everything, the answer is balance; you can’t give up before you ever had a chance to succeed/improve, but you also can’t work yourself to death ignoring the signs along the way that you’re doing something dead-wrong. Can you find a better mentor/coach? Can you automate something with software that you had previously delegated or were doing yourself? What other variables can you manipulate or test to prove out a more efficacious path?

“You’ve learned the Ultimate Success Formula: Know your outcome, develop the sensory acuity to know what you’re getting, develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you find out what works—and you will reach your outcome.” – Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power.

I interpret the, “develop the sensory acuity to know what you’re getting,” part to be Tony’s nice way of saying don’t be a complete imbecile by disregarding the writing-on-the-wall information if something either worked or didn’t.

Test, re-test, persist. Along the way, you can pad your ego from others by telling them you’ve “pivoted” or “changed strategies” to mask your failed experiments. Repeat this entire process, moving up the food chain on to bigger, more impactful, and more challenging projects until you no longer want to grow or until you D.I.E., whichever comes first.

 

Sleep Simplified: 4 Habits To Skyrocket Your Sleep Quality

Sleep Simplified: 4 Habits To Skyrocket Your Sleep Quality

Sleep is the 80/20 when it comes to health, so we’re going to pull at and identify the 80/20 of all the sleep tricks and tips out there to improve your night’s sleep, i.e. health, i.e. capacity to obliterate the day. This will not be the last time I articulate or allude to the following statement: there are a million and one gadgets and tidbits NOT included in below with good reason. Drowning you in a million links and add-ons that you’ll either forget or fail to include in your nightly routine will not help you. As I’ve said before, information without action is typically worthless. Get the few big wins right, and call it a day.

Total Darkness

Step 1 is to ensure you turn off or block all lights. This includes seemingly insignificant and small lights. If you can see something emitting light, do something about it. Tape or aluminum foil works well – quality light blockers you can afford. Set up blackout curtains as well if any light is coming through windows. As close to pitch-dark is optimal.

Night Routine

People go to war over the latest and greatest routines and daily rituals. Morning routines seem to get a disproportionate amount of attention, but what you do right before you go to bed truly makes a difference. The good news is you don’t need some crazy nightly routine, just having a routine itself is enough to prompt your body it’s time for rest. I will wind down by avoiding work or other overly stimulating activities (e.g. watching the Walking Dead right before bed may not be ideal, but test for yourself). Secondly, I will throw on my sexy Blueblockers and read my Amazon Kindle. That one-two combo knocks me out, but try a few things for yourself and test how simple you can make it to still be effective. You can get more fruity with it and start doing aromatherapy with essential oils, but most of that stuff is a bonus.

Dim Lights Before Bed

At least an hour before you hit the sack, it’s worth dimming down or turning off the lights in your room. This jives well with your night routine. We’re not going to get too deep with the science of it (this blog is an overrotation towards the answers, not the explanations, to expedite you receiving the life upgrades and benefits) but you are keeping your circadian rhythm and biological sleep schedule on track. In addition to the lights, I highly recommend you download (free) F.lux to turn down the blue light on your computer before bed. This is an infinitely more realistic solution than telling you to avoid using your computer 1-2 hours before bed. Again, a good plan that meshes will with your life is better than the perfect and overcomplicated one that one.

 

Magnesium Lotion

This is one of the few, few supplements I’ve taken where I can definitely notice a difference. I tend to remember my dreams more with I apply this topical lotion before bed. A large number of people are deficient in magnesium and it’s one of those minerals that affects a vast number of metabolic pathways. Feel free to Google around and I promise you’ll find plenty of “10 ten benefits/uses for magnesium” articles. This may be a bit rudimentary, but I do consider it one of the 80/20 supplements/minerals when it comes to improving your health. If you give this a shot, get the lotion version as oppossed to the spray – less itchy.

 

Not too much, not too little. Enough effort so we are nearly optimizing the most important 8 hours you spend a day, but without all the bloated bells and whistles. What have you found to be most helpful? Post in the comments below.