May 21st has come and gone and we're still here. Time to start apologizing...until 12.20.2012 that is!
Since I thought the end of the world was coming for sure, I decided to live like there was no tomorrow and attend the Wine festival in Nantucket, Mass (which was unofficially the "whitest place" on earth). Imagine my chagrin when the clock struck midnight and the music kept playing and the drinks kept flowing, oh well, may the end of the earth is on pacific time?
Needless to say it didn't happen and I have successfully spent the week end eating like I was going to the electric chair. No mind, sometimes you need to kick back, blow off a little steam and have some fun with friends. But instead of doing it like there's no tomorrow, I have learned to do it in a GUILT FREE by paying it forward and paying it back.
I'm not a monk. I like to eat and occasionally, I like to drink. Give me a good bourbon, Cabernet or even a beer and I'm all set. I'm a firm believer in "everything in moderation", but what exactly is moderation? Is it one, two, five drinks? Is it the same for me as it is the other guy? Does moderation start when I have a smile on my face and end when I start proposing to the furniture? For everyone it's different, but there is an easy way to figure it out your "moderation".
First of all, you CAN'T have it all. Having it all is bullshit. If you could have it all, anytime you wanted it you would get bored. We are designed to have certain things at certain times. While you think you want to be able to eat and drink with impunity, you can't, so just get the notion out of your head. However, you can have everything you want, you just need to account for it.
Being in shape to me is extremely important. From a self defense perspective, the better in shape you are, the more punishment you can withstand. The stronger and faster you are the harder and faster you can deliver punishment. The quicker you can recover (the shorter the amount of time your heart can return to 120 beats per minute), the longer you will endure.
Beyond the tactical aspect of good fitness, being in shape enables me to enjoy life. I tell my kids "Use your mind to get the things you want, but you're going to need your body to enjoy them." Too many times I have seen extremely wealthy men and women so overweight that it takes them an effort to climb a flight of stairs or get in and out of a car. You may have all the toys but if you're trapped in your own body you're not going to be able to enjoy them. Your body can either liberate you or enslave you, the choice is yours. Every rich man I know who is not in shape, wishes he was.
Finally, I like the way I look. Call it what you will, but when you have a six pack and broad shoulders you will look in the mirror and smile. I'm not going to lie. I have been both overweight (at my porkiest about 220!!!) and shredded where I am now at 180 and I have to tell you, I will take shredded over porky all of the time.
That being said, I do enjoy to "live like the world is going to end" every once in a while. But to do that I use a combination of "pay it forward" and "pay it back".
We all have a caloric tab. That is the number of calories you need to sustain your weight. My tab is 2270 calories per day. How do I know this? I saw a nutritionist and she hooked me up to a Meta check machine to determine my Basal Resting Metabolic Rate. This machine measures the carbon monoxide exhaled over a 10 minute period. It gave me a rate of 11.5 which is a little low (normal for my age is 12, for women it's 11). So I multiplied that by the my weight, or my ideal weight (11.5 X 180 = 2070). This is the amount of calories I need to maintain my weight if I were to do nothing all day except lie in bed and watch Oprah. So we added 200 calories to account for walking around, moving and at least looking awake. I know there are a lot of "calculators" on line where you plug in some numbers and they give you your Basal Metabolic Rate. But those calculations are based on a normal metabolic rate. I always felt my rate was slower and I was correct. If you want to use an online calculators, use them and adjust down 10%. After a week you'll be able to determine if you need to adjust up or down depending on how you feel and your weight loss (or gain).
Now before I continue I just want to add a note on "ideal weight". Your ideal weight should be what you want to be. The BMI (Body Mass Index) which the government uses to determine obesity is crap. It gives you a blanket height and weight analysis is bullshit if you have any amount of muscle. According to that index, all of the running backs in the NFL are obese. The real calculator is body fat percentage. Ideal body fat % depends on your age and sex and you can find a lot of info on this on line. To me it's based on how I want to look and what I want to do. I'm at about 10% now which is just over half of what is recommended for my age or considered healthy. Yes, I could carry a few extra pounds and still be healthy but like I said, I like the way I look. At the end of the day, you and your doctor determine your weight, not me and not the BMI. Add to that, BMI is what the government uses to call everybody obese, this number is controversial and has changed over the years. It is also used as a tool for certain quasi government agencies to get funding to battle the "obesity epidemic" which is also a load of crap. I don't care what your politics are, this number has been twisted and used by both parties to get what they want. The bottom line, get to weight that you and your doctor can live with.
So like I said, the world was about to end, and I was going to go off my nutrition schedule and go out with a bang. But since I wasn't 100% convinced the world was ending, I wanted to make sure I could do it without gaining several pounds in the process. In order to do that, I needed to track my eating and exercising. since exercising burns extra calories, it allows me to "bank" some calories for my end of the world binge. I planned to be eating and extra 5,000 over a two day period (4,770) per day! To do that I had run a deficit of 4,770 calories prior to d-day.
To track my caloric intake and exercise I used an app for my phone I picked up at Fat Secret. It gets a little generous on the calories burned during exercise. You need to adjust your total calories burned about 5% down. This will keep you honest, and allow you to track and bank your calories. I knew I was going away so the week before I watched what I ate and banked about -3500 calories. When I got home I still owed 1500 and in 3 days I was back on track. Now with Memorial Day coming I know there will be a party or two. I'm not going to party like it's the end of the world, but I will relax a little. To do that, I'll bank more calories this week.
Simple, yes. Easy, yes. Pain in the ass recording all that you eat...you bet, but it can be done and everything I suggested is FREE.
Why do you have to do this now and you didn't when you were a kid?
Sure our metabolism slows when we get older, but how much do you think? 10-15%? On a 2000 calorie diet that's only 200 to 250 calories which translates to about 2 cookies. The problem isn't your metabolism, it's your lifestyle. Two things change as we get older, we eat more and do less. This is what must change if you're going to become the ideal "you" or hell, even a little better you. Think about it, when you were young, you played outside, did sports and ran around a lot. You were also GROWING!!!
After your teens you stop growing and as you got older you stop playing outside and doing physical activities less while you continued to eat the same amount or even more. I didn't drink beer as a kid, but when I got older I sure did.
Think about all you did when you were young. Pick up baseball and basketball games. Playing outside until the street lights came on. Sledding, snowball fights, fishing, you name it, you were out and about. You also didn't drive. Bike, board or feet, that's how we rolled.
When I was a kid, I lived 1/2 mile from school. I would walk to and from school (1 mile) and sometimes come home for lunch (1 mile). That means some days I was walking 2 miles on top of what ever else I was doing. There is no doubt that your life was way more active when you were young. In order to compensate for that you need to eat less or do more.
You're body doesn't make fat, carbohydrates, starches and sugars do. There are a lot of diets on the market, which ever you choose, pick one that is high in protein and low in refined sugars and carbs. The rule is you need carbs for fuel and fat and protein to build. Eat your carbs early in the day and before training sessions and get your protein later.
I try to limit my carb intake to 100grams per day. I'll add more if I feel I'm sluggish during training. The only secret to nutrition is knowing what you need and knowing what you're putting into your body. Once you know you're baseline, it's no longer a mystery. Eat too much, either exercise more or eat less but don't guess. Be honest and you won't have any problems.
While technology in the field of nutrition is changing there are things we know for sure:
1. If you take more calories in than you burn off you will gain weight
2. Carbohydrates and starches triggers insulin which builds fat
3. Higher protein diets encourage muscle growth and do not promote fat growth
4. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn
5. A good base line of vitamins, fish oil and probiotics go a long way to achieve overall health.
No one says you have to give up anything, you just have to account for it and pay the rent. I want you to live a safer, healthier and happier life. Nutrition is just like your Self Defense Training, is a part of that complete package. And like your self defense training, there's a right way and a wrong way and above all, an honest way.
You need to be honest with yourself.
My battle of the bulge.
After I blew out my knee my senior year in high school I ballooned up to about 220. All I did was sit on my ass for 2 months, eat everything and lift weights. Sure I could bench 385, but I was the size of a house, I couldn't believe it.
I managed to get down to 205 for football camp. Over the next 4 years I went from 175 to 215 and back again. And that was my life. I would get ready for a season or a competition, stay on weight (178) for a few months and then go back up to 195. Half the year I felt great, the other half I couldn't stand looking at myself.
Sure I knew how to train and make weight, but I didn't know how to live. When I had a goal I could flip the switch and get into fighting shape but I didn't know how to just live a life. I knew how to starve and gorge. That pattern continued until I was in my late 30's.
Imagine that, 38 years on the earth and I only knew two ways to eat, all or nothing. There came a point where I finally said enough was enough and did the research. I was determined to discover the truth about nutrition because it wasn't just me anymore, I have my wife and children to educate because I was never taught how to manage my nutrition. I come from a typical Italian family where it's "eat this, it will make you feel better." My Dad died at age 66 because he was obese (5'8 288 pounds), my sister was bulimic and my mom and my brother were naturally thin. Needless to say, I had my issues with food.
I approached my nutrition research like everything else in my life, don't bullshit me, just give it to me straight, I can take it. The problem with health and nutrition is the same in martial arts and self defense, everyone wants the magic bullet, the secret move, the mystical potion. When in reality that doesn't exist like you THINK it does. What works requires commonsense and some effort. What doesn't work is complicated and convoluted. I spent a lot of time with nutritionists, doctors and books. Then I experimented on myself. Well it's 5 years later and I am still kicking ass and taking names. I have never looked or felt better in my life...EVEN IN MY YOUNG COMPETITIVE DAYS!!! Plus I train half as much as I did back then. I just needed to understand my own "numbers".
When I first started training in what is now The Self Defense Training System, I was ready to learn the truth. I abandoned all my beliefs on self defense and let my common sense and real life experience guide me. The same held true for my journy into nutrition. I started to manage my nutrition and fitness when I was ready to drop all the bullshit I have been told about weight loss from infomercials and accept the facts. Remember to lose 1 pound of fat you need to run a caloric deficit of 3500 calories. Keep in mind that doesn't happen instantly, your body may react to that deficit in the next 2 or 3 days before you see it on the scale. That's why you should only weigh your self once a week and track your weight loss month to month. This way, it all evens out since your body will fluctuate day to day.
Everyone shares the same problems, some people can just handle them better.
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.
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