Sunday, June 10, 2012


Throughout my journey in the health and fitness industry, I come across many gems from professionals who've lived and breathed this stuff for many years. One of those gems I've briefly touched on: K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple Stupid.

When it comes to the latest routines, the latest exercises, the latest trends, people tend to jump at the opportunity to try something new, different, and exciting. While there's nothing wrong with that, the average person generally doesn't advance beyond beginner.

Then I came across an article by John Romaniello titled "What Would Roman Do?" You can visit the post by clicking HERE. John's article is a list of 65 rules for successful living. And one rule in particular stood out. It should be obvious that this rule completely relates to K.I.S.S.:
"Floss your teeth for better fitness. I feel that you need to have the basics down before you start in adding things intended for ‘advanced’ reasons. I have friends who don’t floss but go out of their way to use whitening strips or see a dentist for teeth bleaching. This is stupid, to me—if you just took care of your teeth on a daily basis, you’d have to worry a bit less. In the fitness context, people ignore basic nutritional needs, but try crash diets or supplements; they can’t take the time to foam roll, but want the hottest training strategy. If you can’t make a habit of flossing your teeth, you shouldn’t bother with supplements—likely, you don’t have the basics figured out."
You can't walk before you crawl and you can't run before you walk, so you shouldn't squat with a bar on your back if you can't do it with your own bodyweight. And if you've done every diet that exists for a week before moving onto the next one, you need to get your head checked.

Prove this wrong. I'd love to see your coronary calcium score, thyroid, and adrenal function afterward.

To expand on this, I'd like to offer a recent example. A friend of mine called me and wanted to share some recent health news. To keep his identity confidential, I'll refer to him as "Ryan." After having a simple physical, it was determined that his systolic blood pressure was over 140 and his diastolic was over 100. The consequence? Blood pressure meds. Because Ryan's [insert medication name] gland was low, the doctor prescribed [insert medication name]. In other words, the doctor was treating the symptom and not the cause.

After calling me and telling me his news, Ryan talked about how he hadn't been running. And exercise popped into the conversation about 6 more times. His blood pressure isn't high because he doesn't run. His blood pressure is high because of the environmental factors that influence his genetics (phenotype). And Ryan's running have never lowered his blood pressure before. He's not trying to hit the root of the problem with a solution based on the basics; he's trying to out-train a bad a diet.

Not only that, he has poor sleep quality and probably doesn't engage in any kind of stress reduction. This has always shown increased risk of thinks like hypertension, insulin resistance, and weight gain. If he was a client of mine, this would be the list of things I would recommend to help get Ryan back on track.

1. Sleep quality. Sleep in a dark room with no electronics at least an hour before bed.
2. I would recommend taking 400mg of chelated magnesium, 2-3g of fish oil, and 2,000-4,000IUs of vitamin D. Every day.
3. I would decrease his carbohydrate intake. Other than his running, he isn't very active in his job and day-to-day activities, so he only earns his carbohydrates post-run.
4. Decrease the easily oxidized and inflammatory oils: canola, soybean, corn, margarine, peanut, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, and those that are hydrogenized or partially hydrogenized.
5. Cut out sweeteners except fruit.
6. Lift weights to increase testosterone and growth hormone naturally.
7. Replace running with walking.
8. Encourage recovery in any manner possible: massages, hot baths with oils and salts, ice baths, meditation, or any other means of restoration - aromatherapy, music therapy, light therapy, laughing, screaming, singing, dancing, drawing, writing, acupuncture, stretching, vibration therapy, reflexology, yoga, Tai Chi. Those things that are necessary for stress reduction and mental clarity.

I know his wife and know they eat more mindfully, even if it's by conventional standards. It's just the little snacks, junk, and mindless purchases while running errands that gets Ryan in trouble.

But as you can see, that list is a bit more comprehensive than his. He thinks he needs to run more. I think he needs to change his sleep habits, eating habits, and practice stress reduction methods, all the while including an exercise routine that involves lifting weights. 

If his running didn't lower his blood pressure two years ago, why would it do the same today?

Stick to the basics and the basics are the majority: sleep, stress reduction, a healthy diet. By adding in responsible exercise, the full health benefits of a well-rounded lifestyle will be reaped.


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