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Middle Class Caveman

NEW YEAR, NEW ME

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New Year, New Me

 

I promised you all I would make this post, it’s going to be a long one so grab a coffee and get comfortable.

 

Around this time of year we see a lot of ‘new year, new me’ stuff on social media etc. I personally think its great, the more people who want to live healthy lifestyles the better. However, there is also a lot of misconception around what a ‘healthy lifestyle’ actually is.

 

In this post I am going to:

 

  1. Address the difference between health and fitness
  2. Give simple basic recommendations that everyone can follow to improve their health
  3. Give a basic guide to implementing a healthy eating and exercise plan into your life

 

What is the difference between Health and Fitness?

 

Simply put health is tied to your well being and your bodies ability to carry out the functions of life in the most efficient way. Fitness is your ability to carryout a particular task.

 

Example? Getting 8 hours of solid sleep is healthy as REM sleep is required for your body to carry out functions that are important to LIFE. Being able to deadlift 200kg is part of the fitness I require as a novice strongman. If you can deadlift 200kg does that make you healthy? No. In fact deadlifting can be very detrimental to your health if you hurt yourself doing it. However, it makes me ‘fit’ for competition. Hopefully that makes sense.

 

Why is this important? Well, a lot of information on the internet can be very confusing because what people tell you that you need to do in order to be ‘fit’ isn’t healthy.

 

So, for example, in the post that Aaron and I made about nutrition for gamers we shared our respective diets.

 

Is a high protein diet based around red meat healthy? No.

 

Is it what I needed to be fit for strongman? Yes.

 

Is a high calorie shake at the end of a day healthy? No.

 

Is it what Aaron needs to make sure he is ‘fit’ for MMA? Yes.

 

See where we are going with this? Try not to believe in what you read on insta and facebook and all that because different people have different ‘fitness’.

 

How to improve your health?

 

I gave some recommendations in a previous post about how to improve your overall health, I am going to post them below and expand on them a little bit:

 

  1. Drink at least 1/2 litre of water for every 'foot' you are tall. So if you're 6 foot tall you would drink 3 litres of water throughout the day. A really simple way to do this is to buy a water bottle and have a set amount of times you will fill it. I have a 500ml metal bottle in my work bag and I make sure I fill it between every lesson. That gets me 1.5ltrs between 9 and 4, the other 1 litre I need I get before school and after school.
  2. Eat 2 different colour vegetables of fruits with every meal. This one is really easy to accomplish and we will expand on it in the last section of this post.
  3. Be in bed ready to sleep at least 8 hours before your alarm is set to go off. Make sure you set the right environment for sleep. Lights down low, no screen time before bed, alarm set. Use white noise to help you drop off - I recommend an app called Rain Rain, its free and has loads of different sounds.
  4. Add extra rock, sea or pink Himalayan to at least 1 meal throughout the day. This will ensure that the water you are drinking isn’t washing away all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  5. Limit caffeine to the best of your ability, preferably finishing it before midday. Caffeine helps stimulate the brain and  all that good stuff but it also counters the bodies ability to hold on to water and absorb key minerals, try limiting yourself to 1 or 2 cups a day if possible.
  6. Take a Vitamin B, D and Omega 3 supplement. Generally speaking most people lack these three things in their diet and they are key to making sure your body carries out the key functions for life. (more on this later)

 

You may ‘feel’ better if you try these recommendations  - however it really does depend on the rest of your lifestyle. You can follow all 6 recommendations above and then get smashed on a Friday night and put yourself in a hormonal nightmare for 2 - 3 days and feel like shit/normal. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do these things. The recommendations above should be things you plan to do for the rest of your life, which should hopefully be long and fruitful if you start looking after your ‘health’. These aren’t going to make you suddenly drop 7lbs or any of that rubbish, what they will do is help your body to perform what it needs to do in the most efficient way.

 

How do I improve my fitness?

 

This section is going to be very generic and is based around the general goal of ‘losing weight’ or ‘getting toned’ etc etc.

 

Here are some generic recommendations about food to help you lose weight:

 

Breakfast:

Start your day with something high protein, whole grain, fruits, vegetables and water. Your body has been in starvation for 8 hours+ so needs fuelling. Example:

2 Whole eggs scrambled with whole milk, half a bell pepper chopped with some cheese on top. Served with a wholemeal english muffin and a tall glass of water with a lemon slice in.

 

Take your vitamins. It is recommended that you need to consume as much as 4000IU of vitamin D per day and 500mg of Omega 3, Vitamin B doesn’t have an upper limit as you excrete it through urine. So here are the three tablets I can recommend that will give you a full spectrum of vitamin B, enough vitamin D and omega 3:

 

Vitamin B Complex (one of these a day)

 

Vitamin D (one of these a day)

 

Omega 3 (I would take 2 a day as most peoples fish consumption will be low)

 

 

Snacks:

Keep your snacks really simple. Seasonal fruit thats easy to carry like apples, pears, oranges, kiwis etc. Pair them with nuts that you like that are unsalted. Try different types of nuts too as they all have slightly different omega profiles. Want to make this a sweet treat? Add the fruit and nuts to a nice yoghurt. I’m a fan of greek yoghurt myself (FAGE brand) as it is the easiest on my stomach but anything low calorie will do, not a muller corner or something silly like that please.

 

Lunch:

This meal shouldn’t be a second thought, plan it ahead. Make it on Sunday and put it in the fridge or freezer to make sure you have meals ready. Try making sure you have a good piece of protein like chicken (thighs or breast), the reason i suggest chicken is its the least offensive meat when reheated etc and is fairly cheap. Add to this some whole foods. Potatoes, rice, lentils, quinoa, barley, beans, vegetables. A sandwich should be a last resort. Don’t have somewhere to reheat? Buy a thermos. I have one of these and I simply heat my lunch in the morning, pop it in and take it with me, at lunchtime its still pipping hot.

 

 

 

Dinner:

This is where a lot of people tend to fall down as they get lazy. Try to have a plan for your dinner at the start of the week. know what days you might be home later or days that are gonna be harder than others etc. For me, its Wednesdays. I have a full day of teaching, a meeting after school and then work at the clinic from 6 - 9pm. That means I have a 45 minute window to eat my dinner, obviously I’m not getting the BBQ going for a ribeye that night!

Keep dinner in the same vein as lunch. Something meaty like salmon, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc with something wholesome like potatoes, rice, quinoa etc and some vegetables.

 

This has been a very generic run down but I can say with certainty that I bet your current eating habits don’t look like this. You also don’t need to eat like a body builder to lose weight. Chicken, rice and broccoli 4 times a day isn’t going to make you feel good as it lacks nutrients and variety. People fail when they try that approach. My advice will always be: Eat the rainbow, snout to hoof. Your plate should be colourful and you should eat the whole animal if you can. That means things like heart, liver, kidneys etc (the older amongst us will know all about this) are also great options for food, plus they are dirt cheap! Remember, body builders needs to have lots of protein and low carbs to look how they look. You wont ever look like that unless you train and eat that way….so don’t copy their habits as they are trying to achieve something you aren’t. What you are trying to do (I assume) is drop the belly and feel a bit better when you run to catch the bus, that doesn’t mean you have to restrict what you eat for the rest of your life.

 

If you would like some recipes and stuff comment below.

 

Here are my generic exercise recommendations:

 

Going to the gym can actually be really daunting and scary, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. My advice out the gate is to find a local trainer who is well respected amongst the fitness community in the area and pay for some sessions so that you can learn to move correctly. However, in today’s fitness world that is easier said than done because most PT’s don’t know fuck all. Bare with me as I think of a remedy for this.

 

Here is what I would suggest most people should do if they want to hit the gym a few times a week. Each sessions could follow this template:

 

  1. Cardio warm up (10 mins gentle on the spin bike or cross trainer, GENTLE)
  2. Dynamic stretching (google this, don’t do static stretches at the start of a session)
  3. Compound movement (Squat, bench, deadlift or overhead) working on technique if you’re new to the gym
  4. Assistance exercises (Back, shoulders, arms, glutes, legs, calves) try 4 sets of 10 -12 for different movements
  5. Core work (planks, paloff press, hanging knee/leg raises, dead bugs, broken tables - DO NOT CRUNCH OR SIT UP)
  6. Cardio Finisher - try a tabata or EMOM workout and push yourself for 10-15 minutes

 

There is a lot of information there but if you google the words you don’t know, you will find what you need.

 

Here is an example workout:

 

  1. 10 minutes on the spin bike, slowly making the resistance more difficult each minute
  2. 5 minutes of my dynamic mobility warm up
  3. Squats - 4 sets of 5 reps at a heavy weight (75% 1RM)
  4. Leg Press 4 sets of 12, Hamstring curl 4 sets of 12
  5. 3 sets of 15 hanging knee raises
  6. 15 minutes steady on the cross trainer keeping my heart rate above 120bpm

 

It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that, you’ve worked your strength, you’ve done some volume to elicit muscle growth, you worked your core because you sit on your arse all day and you got your heart rate up. This template is repeatable for the rest of your life and will keep you strong and healthy.

 

I hope this guide has helped and I hope at least some of you take away some of the advice that’s in it, it took me over an hour to write!

 

I just want to stifle something here before people start commenting. Please don’t ask me questions about ‘fad’ or ‘gimmick’ things like veganism, intermittent fasting, meal replacements, bootcamp etc. I’m not a fan of any of those things because they don’t fit a normal everyday persons lifestyle. This guide is designed for us gamers, people with jobs and a habit that involves sitting down and being sedentary for long periods of time. Lets try and keep it focused on those ideals rather than the latest fitness fad.

 

Enjoy!

 

Edited by GazzaGarratt
Formatting issues

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Admin

That's a great read Elliott. Really good to know what things to look at and work on.

 

Do you think sit ups aren't efficient btw? Just trying to think of a workout to follow that type of template that works for me.

 

Also, foodwise what type of potatoes do you recommend? I eat chicken lost days but usually with mash potato, sometimes with new potatoes and roast potatoes but mash has always been the winner for me. Oh and jacket potatoes.

 

I appreciate you taking an age to write that too ❤

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Is anyone else unable to read Elliotts post on an iPad running Safari? I can see the line numbers and a couple of hyperlinks but everything else is white....I’ll fire up the PC later

 

EDIT by GazzaGarratt: Formatting issues in Light mode. All fixed now.

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That’s a good read Elliott...I’m interested in the food areas particularly as, cooking for one now, I tend to go for easy stuff that I know isn’t very good for me but I like eg macci cheese, shepherds pie (batch cook and freeze). I know that I need more veggies in my diet but I need to find simple stuff that’s tasty, I do stir fry but that’s about it at the moment that’s vaguely healthy. Have you, or anyone else, got any websites or recipe books that you could recommend?

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Author of the topic Posted
1 hour ago, GazzaGarratt said:

That's a great read Elliott. Really good to know what things to look at and work on.

 

Do you think sit ups aren't efficient btw? Just trying to think of a workout to follow that type of template that works for me.

 

Also, foodwise what type of potatoes do you recommend? I eat chicken lost days but usually with mash potato, sometimes with new potatoes and roast potatoes but mash has always been the winner for me. Oh and jacket potatoes.

 

I appreciate you taking an age to write that too ❤

Let's address the sit up situation. 

 

The 'core' or 'abs' as you might know them are a set of muscles that surround your vital organs and spine. Their job is to keep you up right and protect the spine. Why would you train them by bending over? Sit ups get a burn thats for sure but you aren't making the core stronger at what you want it to do.

 

Try using Plank and plank variations like broken tables and bird dogs. Literally just google or youtube these.

 

As for potatoes, get some variety in - it's the spice of life. You like mash? Cool! Try Normal mash, sweet potato mash, butternut squash mash.....eat the rainbow!

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Author of the topic Posted
45 minutes ago, Plumbers Crack said:

That’s a good read Elliott...I’m interested in the food areas particularly as, cooking for one now, I tend to go for easy stuff that I know isn’t very good for me but I like eg macci cheese, shepherds pie (batch cook and freeze). I know that I need more veggies in my diet but I need to find simple stuff that’s tasty, I do stir fry but that’s about it at the moment that’s vaguely healthy. Have you, or anyone else, got any websites or recipe books that you could recommend?

I haven't got any books or anything to recommend but here is a suggestion. Go to the supermarket and buy some different colour veg that is in season (it will be cheaper!). Then make yourself either a stew (easy to make in the slow cooker), an oven sauté (throw the veg on a pan, drizzle in oil and salt and cook until soft and brown) or as a side dish to your main meal.

 

So for example:

 

Chicken or beef stew with potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, mange tout, baby corn, swede, brussels. Literally any combination thrown in the slow cooker with a little flavour packet....sorted!

 

or

 

Potatoes, carrots, parsnips and brussels thrown on a sheet pan with oil and honey cooked for 30 minutes at about 180 

 

or

 

Shepherds pie made with carrots, peas, sweet potato or butternut squash or carrots with a serving of green beans an broccoli on the side

 

Want to get some leafy greens in? 

 

Eggs, milk, salt and pep in a bowl.

 

Heat your pan with some oil and sauté spinach and bell peppers until it starts to wilt and then throw the eggs over the top, whack some cheese on top, broil under the girl for the tastiest omelette you will ever have

 

 

Hope that helps Dave!

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