Notes on Health & Fitness
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Last update, November 2020.
- ⏰ Fasting is the best way the lose body fat, because you’re using your body fat as your energy source. Cutting on carbs is less effective because eventually your metabolism adjusts itself and you can only go so far until you feel fatigued.
- Besides losing body fat, short-term fasting (less than 24 hours) increases growth hormone, lowers insulin and blood sugar levels, improves mental clarity, is good for disease prevention, has short-term autophagy benefits, among other things. 13 hours per day is considered the optimal amount.
- Long-term fasting (more than 48 hours), besides the short-term benefits, to put it simply, detoxes/resets the body. Beware though, if you fast too long (more than 3 days I’m guessing), you could lose some muscle. Benefits include: reduced inflammation, reduced age-related diseases, autoimmunity reset, etc. More info.
- Note that fasting is only consuming water and nothing else. You could have tea and black coffee, among other things, but then you lose some of the benefits. More info.
- Using fat as your main energy source is called being in a ketogenic state.
Insulin is a hormone responsible for creating body fat. The more you have of it, the more body fat you’ll create, and vice versa. There are different factors that determine how fast your insulin rises, and how fast it lowers. Every time you eat, your insulin rises. But, depending on what you eat, it will rise more, or less. For example, sugar will rise your insulin the most. The best way to improve your insulin sensitivity is to fast frequently, and not eat too regularly (eg. two meals and no snacks). Also, the better your insulin sensitivity, the better you can use carbs as energy (as opposed to storing it as body fat).
How to break a long fast
- Have a light high fat, low carb, meal.
- Boot up digestion with a small snack, and have the proper meal an hour later.
Also high fat, low carb.
- When fasting, muscles become insulin resistant ie. they have more trouble using carbs as fuel.
- Improve your digestion as much as possible, more on this later.
A good diet and fasting are the best ways to prevent disease.
- 🧘 Oxygen is the most important nutrient.
- 💧 Drink enough water, if you’re thirsty, it’s already too late.
- 🍛 Do not overeat, ever, you’re only going to gain body fat and decrease growth hormone. Eat until 80% full.
- Diet is more important than exercise.
- Foods should be as natural and fresh as possible. Locally sourced, organic.
- Focus on the right kinds of food, not how much. Also, eat less frequent.
- Vegetables, legumes, herbs and seeds are the most important. Eggs, meat, diary and fermented foods go second. Add at least one prebiotic food to every meal (more on this later).
- Next to stress, your immune system largely depends on your digestive health and vitamin D levels.
- Simple and white carbohydrates are the most unhealthy forms of carbs, ie. not nutritious.
All forms of sugar, white bread, white pasta, etc.
- Complex carbohydrates are the most healthy form of carbs, ie. most nutritious.
Green vegetables, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, whole grains, etc.
- Avoid grains if possible. If not, 2 or 3 per week max, whole grain only. Use spelt or sourdough, or other “ancient” grains.
- Carbohydrates are not a dietary requirement.
The human body makes carbohydrates if it needs them.
Sugar & Sweeteners 🚨
- Don’t eat too much fruit with a high fructose level (max 1-2/day).
Blueberries and kiwis are fruits with less fructose.
- Sugar (50% glucose, 50% fructose) is the main reason for obesity.
- Sweeteners aren’t great either, avoid if possible (even stevia).
Use coconut oil or fresh milk/cream instead.
Ideally you should eat the full range of healthy fats, these are: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Avoid trans fats by all means. An easy way to eat this full healthy range is to eat various nuts. Make sure nuts are not roasted, those don’t have the healthy oils anymore. Fats should ideally be eaten with veggies, and never with sugar (or any other simple carbohydrate for that matter).
- Coconut (oil)
- Grass-fed butter
- Animal fats
- Avocado (oil)
- Macadamia nuts
- Olive (oil)
Omega 3 and 6, although omega 6 shouldn’t be eaten much because it causes inflammation.
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
Oils to avoid 🚨
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Refined coconut oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- 🥕 Vitamin A is good for the eyes, a healthy immune system, and grow and repair.
Carrots, cod-liver oil.
- ☀️ Vitamin D is the most important vitamin, it’s involved with a lot of functions in the body.
UV radiation, sun shine, cod-liver oil.
- 🍳 Vitamin K2 is good for the teeth and bones, improved insulin sensitivity, exercise performance, brain health, etc. You need proper amounts of magnesium, calcium and zinc for this vitamin to be efficient.
Grass-fed animals, pasture-raised chicken eggs, cheese.
- Calcium, required for many processes in the body. Body will take it from teeth and bones if you don’t have enough of it. Vitamin D is needed for good absorption. Seeds, cheese, yoghurt, beans, lentils, almonds, spinach, kale, sardines, edamame, tofu, milk.
- Magnesium, improves sleep, improves mood, fights inflammation. Banana, avocado, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, black beans, yoghurt.
- Zinc, immune system, grow and repair. Goes hand in hand with vitamin A. Beef, chicken, lamb, chick peas.
- 🍁 Eat foods that are in season.
- 😡 Never eat while angry. Or in other words, the more stress you have the worse your digestion will be.
- Chew food properly and mindfully.
- Drink enough water before/after a meal (30 minutes before/after).
Add salt and/or black pepper to boost digestion even more.
- Drink warm water with a meal (eg. with lemon).
- Eat your biggest meal between 10AM and 2PM.
- Have a bit of apple cider vinegar before your meal.
- Have a small amount of organic fermented foods with each meal Examples: fermented veggies, healthy unsweetened yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, miso soup, olives, pickles, tempeh.
- Keep at least 20 minutes between meal portions.
- Slow, deep breaths before a meal. 3 seconds in, 5 seconds out, 5 times.
- Tongue exercises, or “mewing” if you will. Simple exercise would be to push the tongue to the roof of your mouth, including the back of your tongue, for 3 minutes.
To maintain a healthy microbiome, you need a balance between prebiotics and probiotics, a lot of fiber, foods with good epigenitics and a lot of diversity. Epigenitics basically means, eat animals that had healthy food. Every plant has a different kind of fiber, and depending how you prepare it, it changes as well, so variety is key. The more different kinds of fiber you eat, the more diverse your microbiome becomes (and the more health benefits you get).
Prebiotics & fiber
- Chicory Root
- Dandelion greens
Very healthy all around
- 🐖 Liver, easy to consume in the form of paté.
Vitamins A, B & C. Iron & copper. Protein rich.
- 🍲 Ramen dishes with proper ingredients.
Broth, healthy fats, meat, eggs, veggies, mushrooms, etc.
- Almond butter > peanut butter, in most cases. If you opt for peanut butter, try finding one without hydrogen oils (they change the oils into trans fats so it can be stored longer).
- Avoid bread with oils.
- Carbs can best be eaten early in the day (you’re more insulin resistant later in the day).
- Eat raw tough foods (heavy on fiber) for a strong tongue and jaw muscles.
- First meal of the day should be heavy and protein rich (30+ gr), be it breakfast or lunch.
- Gluten-free products are sometimes worse than products with gluten: a lot of chemicals, corn syrup, etc.
- Low-fat food usually means high sucrose levels, so avoid those.
- Milk from stores is heavily processed, buy fresh milk instead.
- Pesto is a good way to add herbs to a meal.
- Repair your gut lining with bone broth.
- Supplement sodium (salt) and magnesium when feeling weak/dizzy while exercising.
- You can improve your metabolic rate by paying attention to your sleep and your zinc levels, taking cold plunges/showers, and eating one tablespoon of coconut oil per day.
- You have to train your body/microbiome to learn to digest new kinds of fibre. So if you’ve never eaten something, eat a tiny bit of it, and work your way up.
- 🧘 Breath trough the nose. More efficient oxygen usage, straighter teeth, better jaw, etc.
- 🏋️ Heavy weights & less reps are better than lighter weights & more reps. Mainly because it makes you stronger and it causes more fat loss (up to 3 days after training).
- 8 to 12 sets of 4 to 6 reps, seems to work best.
- Make sure to get enough rest, train every muscle group once per week. It can take 3 to 7 days to fully recover from a heavy-weight workout.
- Do a lot of different exercises, there should be variety, otherwise your body gets too efficient at that specific exercise and you’re not progressing anymore.
- You can train your abs/core and calves multiple times per week, as they take less time to recover (smaller muscles).
- Train your grip and core for better overall strength.
- Cardio isn’t necessary, but it can help you build and retain more muscle. Especially if you do cardio one day and then strength training the next.
- When you do cardio, prefer HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) over other methods. Although, when fasting, you might opt for steady-state cardio if your goal is fat loss.
- Before meals, you can do some light exercises (like wall-pushes and squats) to ensure that those muscles get fed (also an hour and a half after the meal).
- Relating to rest between sets, rest until your breath has somewhat returned to normal. Not too long though. Roughly, 3-4 minutes for large muscle groups (eg. legs) and 1 minute for smaller muscle groups (eg. biceps).
- When you are moving, your brain suppresses the pain signals. That’s why sometimes you feel more pain after waking up the next morning. Your body received the full load, because you stopped moving for that long.
- HIIT cardio: going to your MAX all the way, then resting for as long as you need until you’re fully recovered, and then do the next round (max again). 15-20 seconds of exercise, if you’re able to do longer, you’re not pushing hard enough.
- 🛌 Sleep is crucial.
- 🌅 Stick to your circadian rhythm, wake up when the sun rises and sleep when the sun goes down.
- 7 hours of sleep is the minimum.
- You cannot sleep one day just a few hours and the next day sleep a few hours longer, it doesn’t work that way.
- Your muscles grow when you sleep (and sleep deficiency leads to faster muscle loss).
- Kickstart your circadian rhythm by getting sunlight in the morning. Just a few seconds is enough, but ideally a few minutes.
- No screens or bright lights a half hour, or ideally a bit more, before bed (blue light).
- Poor sleep is often a sign of stress (lack of energy, not excess).
- To reset your biorhythm to the optimal hours, get some sunlight early in the morning.
- The ideal sleeping temperature is 17°C.
- Your bedroom should be as dark as possible and a bit cool.
- Try fasting the day after not sleeping well. Because your cortisol levels are higher after sleeping less, cortisol + insulin = more body fat. Cortisol without insulin = lose body fat.
- Not enough sleep causes a testosterone deficiency.
- More info.
Stress & Lifestyle
- Mental stress ⟺ physical stress (it’s all related)
- Stress isn’t always a bad thing.
It’s a signal that you’re body is preparing for something.
- How you think about stress and how you act in general, determines the amount and nature of its physical effects.
- Enjoy the now, don’t think too much about where you’re going.
- Don’t think about tomorrow, nothing bad is going to happen.
- ❄️ Wim Hof method: breathing is required to resist the cold, when trying to resist the cold you burn brown fat, which in turn keeps your temperature up and produces huge amounts of energy. Breathing effectively is important for your focus, metabolism, stress, etc.
- 🧘 Meditating 20 minutes a day can bring enormous benefits, eg. reduce bad stress. Focus on breathing/air flow.
- 🖼 Visualizing yourself doing a task can improve your actual ability to do it. More info.
- Very slow breaths in and out. 7 seconds in, 7 seconds out.
Wim Hof Method
- Breathe in more oxygen than you need.
- Breathe out without fully letting go.
- ↺ Repeat step one and two, 30-50 times.
- Try holding breath for as long as possible.
- Breath in as much oxygen as possible.
- Hold breath again, for 30 seconds or so.
- ↺ Repeat
- Exercise, ie. physical activity, speeds up blood flow and this allows allergens to be moved quickly through the body and eliminated via the kidneys and skin.
- Or in other words, a lack of exercise results in a sluggish blood flow. Stagnant allergens gather in a fixed position, which begins to destroy the tissues around them. Constant movement of the allergens through the blood stream prevents these delicate tissues from becoming inflamed.
- People whose natural defense system is weakened due to an infection or other physical stressor are at increased risk of developing an allergy.