BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION
No matter what weapons you carry or what secret ninja skills you learned at the Shaolin temple, your foundation is physical fitness. Physical fitness will lead to mental fitness...proven. It will also provide for a total quality of life that the overfed, undisciplined sloths will never experience.
How is this developed? That friends is the purpose of this post.
Number One is establishing a good body composition. Being lean and muscular is best. Being fat and muscular is next best, but that fat will not help you with anything other than surviving starvation. Being fat and weak is the worst condition of man, truly the most common condition of man, and leads to the worst quality of life. And the same for combative efficiency. So the goal is lean and muscular.
Here is how we get there. If you need to lose that layer of survival food storage you will need to alter your diet. Yes, it will take focus and discipline. Those things, in addition to fitness and common sense, are sorely lacking in America. How much do you want it?
The diet that I use and suggest is a Modified Paleo Diet. Modified means that it is a choice of food and not a religion. What it consists of is found in the second adjective - "paleo". It refers to natural foods easily sourced by our ancestors. In short, anything that runs, flies, swims or walks is a source of protein and edible. And things that grow on trees, plants, or "naturally" comes out of the ground is edible. The exception would be excessive fruit...that should be avoided due to the sugar content.
What is not on the list are processed foods. Anything in a box, or package, or frozen, must be studied for contents. No bread, no chips, no gluten or dairy for most of us. No soy, or foods with added sugar. Again...if you'd rather suck start a 12 ga than give up your nightly pizza and beer...sorry...I can't help you.
There is the notion that diet is a negative thing. It is not. Here is a run down of what I ate yesterday
Breakfast - 4 eggs scrambled with spanish chorizo, bowl of overnight oats with Keto syrup, 12 oz of organic espresso with coconut cream.
Lunch - 1/2 pound grass fed beef patty and sweet potato, with iced tea.
Dinner - Shredded pork with cumin rice and a tumbler with Tito's and Soda.
I drink two 32 oz Nalgene bottles of water per day. My goal is a gallon of H2O, but that is not easy even in the desert. If I am hungry, I will snack on jerky or nuts...no candy, chips, or anything sugary...cookies, candy, etc. Hardly the image most have in their heads, right?
If you make a sumo wrestler look like a Swedish Bikini model, a Keto diet would be better in the short term. We can discuss that another time. Regardless of which diet you use a great ally in the body comp area is light cardio. This is different than high intensity sprints, and the idea of this is that steady state low intensity cardio tends to rely on body fat for fuel. Low intensity means that you are breathing slightly labored but you can have a conversation while doing it. Think a walk, a hike, casual rowing, low pressure jujitsu, kata, etc. This may not replace your high intensity work if you are already doing that...but I suspect those doing the high intensity stuff won't need to lose 20 pounds either.
Me? I vary my cardio work between bag work, hikes, kata, or rowing.
Muscle burns fat. The bro science says this and it is true. In conjunction with diet and adequate cardio, you need to build muscle. I recall one guy telling me he wanted to be strong but not bulky. I laughed...if you are strong, it will show. More to the point...everyone wants to be strong, and secretly (or openly), they want the first impression they make on people to be made by their pecs, delts and waist. Moreover, as you age, the more muscle mass you start with, the better your quality of life will be. More muscle = more better.
The more muscle you add, the easier it will be for you to slim down the body fat you carry. The methods of adding muscle are quite well known now. Its not about strength, its about hypertrophy. That means that you should avoid focusing on powerlifting minimal reps stuff and specialize in multiple sets of 10-15 reps...or more. At the end of a session, your muscles worked should feel swollen...hence the term, the pump.
Eat well, do some cardio, build muscle. Easy. All it costs is a gym membership and discipline.
Other things - Forget the parochial mentality of American fair play. The mentality that reviles Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and Lance Armstrong. If there were substances that would turn you from a fat diabetic blob of manhood into a muscular 35 year old version of yourself, but it was looked down upon by society, what would you do? Go with the crowd or tell the crowd to kiss your ass? I am betting on door number two for all of you.
I recall a Joe Rogan podcast I listened to. It was dealing with steroids and testosterone (two different animals often lumped together). Rogan was asked if one should use these substances in his fifties. Rogan responded that that was the perfect time. That at 50 you had at most likely another 30 years or so. He then noted how a generation ago a man in his fifties was nearing death. Today you can reach your seventies looking like Sylvester Stallone. What I am referring to is the use of exogenous hormones. We have an entire section discussing this but in short, here is what you do.
If you are in your early 40s, you should find a progressive medicine doctor whose goal is optimization, nor "graceful aging". Most of these will be cash doctors that do not use insurance. That gives them the freedom to advise you based on you and not limited by what Lab Corp's values are or what Blue Cross demands they do to get paid. Educate yourself on these things so the doc will not be able to talk down to you. be as informed as they are on these matters if possible. You will be surprised at how little most doctors know about nutrition, exercise, or hormones.
Get a blood test done and check thyroid and androgens...along with the usual blood panels. Based on my discussions with students and clients, I would think almost all men 50 or older should be on testosterone supplements. And truly, many in their late thirties would benefit from this as well. If you have low testosterone (based on you and how you feel, not on what LabCorp says), no amount of training or dieting will allow you to reach your goals.
There are other points, but these are the major ones. Diet + Cardio + Muscle Building. And all supported with modern progressive supplementation.
I am considering an online physical consulting business where I take the individual and build a program for them to achieve these points at any age. Suarez Fitness maybe.
My creds? See the pics attached.
By the way...I am just shy of 62 years old.