When I was growing up in Philly, my family never made a trip overseas.
The furthest we ventured was the hour-and-half drive from Philly to the Jersey Shore, once or twice in the summertime. And what a cultural experience that was?!
I always told myself that someday I’d make it across the pond to Italy.
I wanted to see, first-hand, the ancient ruins and renaissance art. But mostly, I wanted to eat the authentic version of my favorite childhood foods … pizza and pasta.
Well, this past weekend I returned from my dream vacation.
I cannot say enough about how wonderful a time I had traveling for two weeks with my wife, Alona.
The cities of Rome and Florence, and the towns of the Amalfi Coast, gave us amazing memories for a lifetime.
And yes, I made sure to try the pizza, pasta, and gelato in each place we visited. But for scientific taste-test reasons only. Yeah right! LOL
Those who know me well may be in shock. Because I have a reputation as the guy who wouldn’t even eat his own birthday cake.
My commitment to my health and fitness has been way too important to ruin it with a celebratory desert. That’s because I’ve been on a streak of eating right for me. And, as a result, my energy is better than it’s ever been..
For the past six years, I’ve been gluten-free and grain-free with my food sources. And, for over two years, I’ve been living a ketogenic lifestyle with time restricted feeding.
Ketogenic means that my meals have been high in healthy fats (~75%), protein (~15-20%), and carbohydrates (~5-10%).
Time restricted feeding means that I give myself a ten-hour window in which I consume my calories.
Why you may ask?
My reasons behind combining these methods are fourfold.
1. Both a ketogenic diet and time restricted feeding promote an anti-inflammatory response in the body. This is essential to keep your immune system strong so your cells can be healthy.
2. These methods helps keep your blood sugar low and increase your insulin sensitivity. This helps your body to better use fat for fuel (a.k.a. “Fat-Adapted”).
When you are fat-adapted (F.A.) your liver produces a compound called ketones that fuel your brain. Fat is also slow burning, so you have a steady energy supply.
So if you hold the belief that eating fat will make you fat, it is actually the opposite. But this only works if your meals have low carbs (~5-10% of total calories).
3. The best way to maintain the macronutrient parameters for fats, protein, and carbohydrates is to choose more, high-quality food sources. That means eliminating most processed foods and eating more nutrient-rich whole foods. This allows my body to get what it needs with a smaller quantity of food, and thus less calories.
Before I started eating this way, I was a slave to food. I would eat every 3 hours to keep my energy up. It was pre-occupying my day and taking up time that I could’ve been using to be productive in other areas of my life.
Now, I eat fewer meals (2 meals and a snack) and have more time to get things done.
4. The combination of ketogenic nutrition and intermittent fasting promotes cellular health. And thus, anti-aging. And I’m 100% committed to dying young as late in life as possible.
So your next question might be, what happened to my infamous discipline?
It hasn’t gone anywhere.
I made the conscious choice to relax and let go a little. It was easy to do for a couple reasons.
First, I knew that I had built a strong enough foundation that I could return to when I came back home to Santa Monica.
Second, I also knew that on vacation I’d be walking/hiking many miles each day to support my metabolism. Plus, I brought my TRX to help me get in my resistance training.
I bring these important points up because most people “try” to eat right for a period of time. But that falls short of having a solid foundation when it comes to both nutrition and exercise.
When they decide to eat “off plan”, their healthy habit becomes short-lived. That’s because they didn’t have a strong foundation to help them get back on track sooner.
Nutrition is not something that I write much about because it’s so individual. And there’s no cookie-cutter plan that could meet everyone’s needs.
So I’m not suggesting that you eat how I eat.
I want you to get clear on the results that matter to you, and why.
Get on a plan that will support that as a lifestyle.
Follow the 80/20 rule — in this case, 80% of the time you’re 100% with your nutrition; 20% of the time, you can choose other things. It’ll help to keep you healthy, fit, and enjoying life for the long-term, because you’ll have balance.
Know that it’s okay to let go a little. But not until your habit is rock solid, and you have a plan to reset yourself quick.
If you’re looking for a new plan to support your fitness and athletic goals, I read a great book recently, The Longevity Diet, that outlines a helpful reset solution. The author, Valter Longo, PhD, suggests a fasting-mimicking plan that has lots of science to backup its efficacy.
It consists of five consecutive days of restricting calories and particular food sources. This triggers your body to heal and repair damaged cells. And it helps to kill off those cells that are too far gone, and makes space for new healthy cells.
But before you do anything like this, make sure to learn the facts. Check with your doctor to see if your current health status is right for any program that you try.
It’s steps like this that will help to ensure that your inner-athlete is never the weak link. Instead, it’s a strong foundation to build on.
On that note, I’ll be releasing the first module of my self-care program in the next couple of weeks. It’s called Search & Rescue Mobility. And it’s designed to help keep your foundation strong so you can be an Athlete For Life.
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you’re interested. I’ll make sure you’re on the list to get my limited time introductory offer.
Until next time, stay athletic.