Sunday Summary 24 April 2022

G – Literally Just listened to your catalyst podcast – excellent!!!!  Wow, truly good – thank you for putting that out there.  I took 8 pages of notes and I have already read your writing for decades


Family Wealth

High Performance Case Studies

Workouts

1,000 Day Pacing for Big Guys Losing Weight

Growing up, I had a buddy.

James Brown, his real name!

James was a lot of fun, and very patient with my younger self.

James used to joke that his boat had two speeds: full and repair.

As a young man, much of my life was lived this way.

ON or OFF

The greatest achievement of my married life was finding another gear => SUSTAIN


EVERYONE knows what’s required to gain weight.

Where we struggle is sustaining weight.

The ability to sustain is the key that unlocks the ability to choose.

The capacity is choose is a foundational skill for success.


I’ve got two things that are going to help.

Let’s start with the most important.

What’s the trigger for eating more than 1,000 calories after 10pm?

For me, it was ALWAYS one of the following…

  1. Didn’t eat enough during the day
  2. Drinking

By the way, combine the two and I was going BIG.

So if you’re going to “go binary” on something… you get a much better bang for your buck by not getting wasted.

Slamming 700 calories, of anything, at 2pm is a winning strategy => break the habit of late-night binging. You don’t have the option of being binary with food – you gotta eat.

Anybody that tells you otherwise has already lost the weight and forgotten what’s going on.

Not eating, and thinking about eating all day… losing strategy, not sustainable.


Next tip

Do something before breakfast.

It doesn’t need to be a workout!

Do one positive thing that moves you towards where you want to take your life.

Every. Single. Day.

After you do it, you get to eat.


That’s it.

1,000 day pacing.

Keep small promises to yourself.

It works.

Getting Your Desired Body and Keeping It

Tacos del Gnar in Ridgeway, CO
On the way to Telluride, worth the stop

Last week, I was in Telluride with my buddy, Mark. He asked me a question, very much on point…

Aren’t you afraid you’ll gain weight?

Why yes, I am terrified!

The context was my current “far less than I used to” training program. Sure, I was scared, and that’s why I kept the volume rolling for so many years.

However, like so many fear-based quirks in my life, my fears proved groundless.

Further, creating a lifestyle catered to misplaced fear crowds out a lot of useful work!


Telluride

Get Off the Wheel of Sugar

AC has been crushing with a series of threads encouraging athletes to improve their stamina and fat burning. The lessons run much, much deeper. Creativity, cognition, and metabolic health – all benefit from working on the low-end of our fitness.

Many of us use training protocol as a way to justify our food choices. With the best intentions, we remove a food group, and end up replacing it with sugar.

OR

Starting to train, we shift our nutrition towards “sports nutrition.”

My buddy, Jonas Colting, calls this getting caught in Gel Hell.

Not a win.


Removing the friction towards better choices

Two tips work here:

  1. Aim to eat more veggies than my vegetarian pals.
  2. Stay below my sugar threshold.

#1 requires a bit of effort, but not too much. My main gig is salads and stir-frys.

#2 can be scary – it implies less total duration, less intensity.

Both these changes nudge us towards sustainable choices and, as we age, reduce the risk of ruin from following a Chronic Endurance lifestyle.


More Telluride

Get Strong

Back in the day, folks used to debate the utility of strength training for endurance athletes. Do y’all still do that?

I’m not into debating, I’d rather use something that works.

Strength Training Works.

There is a conscious, and unconscious, attraction to people who move powerfully – moving well, is attractive.

You want to be more attractive, trust me (see below).

Being attractive improves our self-image, which sets up a virtuous circle in our larger lives.


Door #1 was fast, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict my wife would prefer Door #3

Remove One

Trying to change everything at once leaves me feeling scattered and distracted.

It doesn’t work.

Again, here’s what works:

One person, one habit, one pattern, one choice…

Each of us has a habit, relationship or pattern that we can eliminate, for gains.

  • 2 beers before bed
  • A basket of bread with lunch and dinner
  • Cheese
  • Bread + cheese = pizza 😉
  • French fries
  • Soft drinks
  • A friend who’s a feeder

Don’t try to do everything.

Don’t think you need to change “forever”.

Simply take a break for 30 days and pay attention.


With all this stuff, letting go of my fears seems daunting.

No way, I’ll be able to pull that off.

You don’t have to.

Try it out for 30 days and pay attention.

Iterate towards better.


Where do you go that makes you feel at peace?
For me, it’s the mountains.

The Eternal Return of Childhood Nutrition


Many struggle to see how the Eternal Return impacts our relationship with risk (last week’s post).

It is easy, however, easier to see repetition with our food choices.

With my kids’ nutrition, I have three behaviors I model.



#1. Remove friction for good decisions.

Much of our learning happens by repeating what’s presented.

The path of least resistance is a useful tool when used with purpose.

COVID Fridge!

Dad always knocked the icing off. Such a fun guy… 😉

#2. Do not make binges fun.

I know ALL about this!

As an ultra endurance athlete, I had a lot of fun with binge training. For my brief period of being really, really fast… removing the binges was a key part of my coach’s strategy for me. Fatigue is a geometric process!

Most societies, and families, have a tradition of feasting. In an environment of abundance, training myself to overeat does not work. Most especially, when coupled with positive emotional feedback.

In the language of finance… my meal choices are not independent from each other => habit energy runs strong in my wise/unwise selections.

With the kids… never give positive emotional feedback, and in-the-moment attention, to overeating.

Later… I get a chance to listen to them… then add… “try to learn from what you just told me”.

To help our family members with “appetite”, we always start with nutrient dense foods.



I am binary in many areas of my life – not having to decide gives me energy to apply elsewhere.

With food, binary isn’t an option => we gotta eat every day and the better our choices, the better our outcome.

So…

The final area where we offer guidance, and make an effort ourselves, is with portion control of energy dense choices (bread, noodles, sugars, starches, desserts).

We’re OK with the kids eating anything – we’re gluten friendly, could care less if they eat meat, take good care of our vegan pals, have a choice of dairy/non-dairy milks… in Boulder, we can handle any kid.

There is no choice to make on household dogma.

You simply need to be willing to eat real food.

Fill up on the good stuff, first.

Then have some of whatever else you’d like.



  • Remove friction
  • Don’t celebrate binges
  • Good stuff first

No dogma.

Attention Is Expensive

2019-10-18 07.31.22Let’s start with a story.

When I was younger, I never let a lack of knowledge prevent me from confidently sharing my theories about anything (this remains a weakness, BTW).

One day, I was holding forth and my buddy Jeff (board-certified orthopedic surgeon) chuckled and said, “I would call what you just said G-medicine.”

Later on, he took me aside and said, “Buddy, you know there’s a reason we go to med-school.”

He left it at that, which was a wise way to deal with an over-confident guy, who’s outside his field of competence.


I had some follow up questions about fasting and optimizing for one-rep max.

To address tactics, I need to step back and explain strategy.


Body, mind and spirit => What are you trying to achieve?

You need to know because attention, effort, willpower and thought are expensive.

So fasting, one-rep max, wherever you are focusing…

What is your payoff from your protocol?

Effort is expensive. Spend it wisely.


2019-11-02 06.03.09-1My philosophy is:

  1. Know your goal
  2. Keep the protocol simple
  3. Access believable people to tell you what’s required
  4. Use simple benchmarks
  5. Use habit energy to make life flow on autopilot

My protocol…

  1. No Zeros => remove days where I don’t train
  2. Get Outside the box and into nature => even if the box is a Gulfstream, or a boardroom, it remains a cubicle
  3. Seek Mastery => surfing, moguls, powder, swimming, sailing => moments of flow await!

Be honest with yourself. Is your physical life where you want it to be?

  • Work before work rate => Develop work-capacity before you do work-rate training. One-rep max is a “work-rate” benchmark that is certain to decline over time.
  • Don’t fool yourself => nobody fasts for health & longevity => we are either looking for an easy way to lose weight, or creating caloric “space” for binges.

Simple metrics let you create the habits that enable larger projects. Looking backwards over the last year:

  • < 10 zeros (days without exercise)
  • 15th year of stable body weight
  • 200+ days on trails or snow
  • 350+ days awake before 5am

I know I could be more, too much time is wasted on my smartphone.

I must remember that life is empty without connection. So be open to change based on painful feedback from my closest relationships => my wife and kids are brutally honest with me!


Higher Order Effects

I have empty space in my life so I can reflect on where my actions are likely to take me.

  • I have an addictive personality in a family tree with mental illness, addicts and eating disorders. Kinda indicates caution with self-starvation! Respect your history.
  • Be cautious with putting pressure on your spinal column, heavy lifts and explosive movements. Powerlifting injures can be for life. Respect reality.

Where are you likely to go with your protocol? You OK with that?

What’s the worst that can happen? You OK with that?


Fragilities

What is going to derail you?

My depression triggers are: poor nutrition, irregular sleep, alcohol, missed endorphins and excessive fatigue.

My entire life is a positive-feedback loop designed to keep me rolling.

Much of my “not do” advice is related to the risk of ruin. My depression triggers are defined as fun by my peers.

I need to be OK with saying “no” because… Depression isn’t fun.


Nature Has Useful Information, even if unpleasant

As you age it will be tempting to access Big Pharma to fool yourself, particularly if your self image is wrapped up in physical performance.

Before you act, consider…

What’s your competitive advantage? I think better, and choose slower, at 50 than 28. Taking myself to 11 with testosterone would GREATLY increase my error rate, across all domains. Not worth it.

My competitive advantage is taking the best ideas and integrating them via new habit creation. I can do this until I die.

Fatigue is information that guides me away from physical ruin => my mojo feels like it’s a tenth of where I was at 40, but my life is better because I am a better person.

Once again, overriding nature greatly increases my risk of injury. Injury can be the first step on a downward spiral towards depression/ruin. Not worth it.

Surprisingly, getting physically worse isn’t worse.


Anyhow, lots here.

When it comes to positive change: set a low bar, and do it daily.

I live near a cemetery, which helps me remember my expected value is negative infinity.

Death is an outstanding reason to be true to yourself.

Fasting and Chronic Weight Loss

2019-07-23 14.47.50Let’s consider the second order effects of fasting.

Inside every one of us is an anorexic and a glutton. Be wary of strengthening these aspects of your personality. If you know what I mean, then you know what I mean.

What’s your goal? Similar to knocking out a major food group, fasting can be cover for a deeper desire for chronic weight loss. Chronic weight loss is not a viable life strategy. 

Health. I don’t buy the discussion on health benefits. It reminds me of counting calories => a technique, used by many, to self-rationalize poor choices.

Not smoking, reducing sugar, daily movement, wearing a seat belt… those make sense to me. Getting really, really hungry (so I can stuff myself later)… I’m not so sure.

Health is characterized by stability. Stability in body weight, sleep patterns, emotional wellbeing and cravings.

If you experience extremes in your emotional life then avoid them in your nutritional life (and everywhere else).

Own, then address, your extreme choices.

Damage Limitation Strategies – Nutrition

2016-12-09-16-30-38My mind has the tendency to ascribe meaning, and narrative, to my daily choices/actions/words.

Properly managed, this desire to “make sense” is a powerful tool for positive change.

2016-12-08-08-27-44Nutrition has NOTHING to do with nutrition.

What we end up eating has a lot to do with appetite, habit and availability.

I’ve watched nutritional science change so often, and so dramatically, that it has lost its credibility with me.

Here’s what I’ve noticed…

  • Exercise is the best medicine I can give myself
  • Excessive stress results in poor choices
  • Prior food choices, sleep and exercise impact my neurochemistry

The above can work together in a positive, or a negative, feedback loop.

Regardless, they are always working.

2016-12-07-11-23-01Why does “Eat Huge Salads” work?

  • Buying healthy food makes you a healthy person
  • Preparing healthy food makes you a healthy person
  • Unlike ice cream, cold cereal or beef chili with rice… I have to chew a salad – chewing slows me down (habit creation) and increases my satisfaction beyond the next meal (appetite moderation)
  • A mixing bowl of salad makes subsequent poor choices physically painful (adverse consequences)
  • Large amounts of fiber keep me regular and there is a emotional release from good elimination
  • Salad is the food choice with the lowest number of calories per bowl
  • It works because it works – while my explanations might be back fit-BS, the results are real

Whatever you eat for the next three years, you will come to believe that your choices are delicious. Don’t believe me? Listen to people who think differently. We are hardwired to believe in the merits of our prior choices.

Pay attention to your mantras – what you say after you eat, what you say about food, what you say about yourself.

Choose wisely – our minds are always watching, listening, rationalizing.

+++

Apples!!!

Two to three apples is a quick way to get a similar effect to a salad.

Displacing a poor choice is easier than resisting one.

Appetite

2016-07-29-10-30-41

Before nutrition, consider appetite.

Appetite is an interesting variable — it starts as a source of pleasure. However, its ability to give satisfaction is reduced as I feed it. Eventually, it becomes a source of pain.

During the holidays, we often reinforce:

  • Competitive binges (turkey!)
  • Manufactured scarcity (gravy!)

Well channelled appetite can be a source of tremendous energy. I’ve used my energy to win triathlons, achieve financial independence and, more generally, get stuff done.

But, I have also experienced varying degrees of ill-effects — functional alcoholism, obesity, metabolic syndrome, work-life imbalance, promiscuity.

 

2016-08-14-19-41-30My appetite touches all aspects of my life.

  • Binging (exercise, alcohol, food, sex, fatigue)
  • Scarcity (fear of missing out, fear of loss, envy)

In order for my nutrition strategy to be effective, I need to manage appetite across all areas of my life.

2016-08-15-16-34-57I seek to model what I teach my children:

  • You’ll get everything you need…
  • Unlimited fruits and veggies…
  • Never praise binges – no eating contests, no comments when we stuff ourselves, no keeping score via food…

While my teaching is designed to break the chain, my nutritional approach is a damage limitation strategy rooted in my personal reality!

2016-07-13-20-42-19The first two of our family mantras are designed to moderate appetite.

  • We’ve already won
  • We have more than we need
  • It’s OK to say “no”

By way of illustration, a father rarely needs to encourage a teenage son’s sex drive.

It’s a lot like that with my appetite.

Living The Plantpower Way

2015-05-03 18.22.19Rich Roll and Julie Piatt have a new book, The Plantpower Way.

I loved it.

The book reflects a way of life Rich & Julie are seeking to bring to their marriage and family.

At it’s heart, “The Way” is similar to what I’m seeking to offer my own family.

However, my home life doesn’t involve tranquil meals after a serene afternoon shopping at the local farmer’s market…

So, I caught myself muttering there’s no way their life’s like that

Then I started laughing.

I was laughing because their reality doesn’t matter and, like Rich, my reality is far removed from the craziness of years past.

The book is filled with proven advice:

  • Plants are a foundation of nutritional health
  • Weight management is linked to veggie consumption
  • To get your family to eat better, involve your spouse/kids in menu selection and food preparation
  • Be the (nutritional) change you want to see in the world (and your home)

If you’re already preparing meals then this is a must-have resource. The recipes are simple, quick to prepare and taste great.

If you’re not preparing meals then start by creating a habit of eating real food. After 20 years of better choices, I arrived at three basic meals. Nutritional liberation doesn’t require complexity.

If, like me, you find yourself intimidated by the thought of 100% compliance then remember weak implementation of plant-based nutrition offers strong results. 

Rich did an AMA that lays out the basics of his philosophy. His humility, tolerance and lack of dogma shine through. It’s a refreshing read.

Practicalities:

  • Double all the recipes – Whenever I fire up the stove, I want to get four to five days worth of whatever I’m cooking. Actually, my wife’s been doing the cooking. You’ll need someone to take the lead in your home.
  • It is not about the goji berries – health benefits flow from replacing sugar/starch with veggies. You can be plantpower’d via CostCo.
  • What’s your goal? What are you seeking to achieve in your life?
    • Weight management? Focus on cranking up the veggies
    • Emotional stability? Be the good in the world
    • Fame? Focus on goodness under your own roof
    • Serenity? Focus on relentless simplification

Understand why you are motivated to make-the-change.

If you can transcend your (food) choices then you will have a roadmap to apply throughout your life. Letting go (of animal products) may be similar to releasing ourselves from other habits.

It takes courage to live an open life.

Respect to Rich & Julie.