Drop your pills and pick up your barbells!
Can you feel that? It’s the wind of change gently wisping across your face. I’ve felt it for a little while but have you? People are starting to change their outlook on their lives and their health. Take a look around your neighbourhood. Have you seen any changes in the businesses around?
I’ve noticed it but it’s due to a confirmation bias. I see Crossfit gyms everywhere! Not just Crossfit gyms but all sorts of gyms, Econofit, Fit4Less and Buzzfit are examples of what I’m talking about here in Montreal and I’m sure it’s the same in whichever city you’re living in right now. Coincidence? Not when it comes to business, they’re capitalizing on a need in the market. That need is the overwhelming urge to not die!
We’re not doing a very good job at it either. Obesity and metabolic disorder is going to wipe out an entire generation and cripple our health care system. According to the World Obesity Federation, over a third of Canadians will be obese by 2025. Do I really need to go over the health impacts that obesity has? The big three for posterity’s sake: cancer, diabetes, heart disease all increase.
What the hell is going on?
Here’s my take.
We’ve lost contact with what it is to be a human being.
How many of us actually enjoy our day to day? Do you wake up inspired or dreading your day? I used to wake up dreading my day. It was exhausting. You know what happens when you’re exhausted and frustrated with your life? You crush carbohydrates. Big, tasty, donut shaped fat pills. It’s a hormonal response to you being fucking miserable.
Cortisol goes up and you’re in fat storage mode and there’s nothing more that your body likes to do than store fat, man. If you’re a dude, testosterone just hits the floor and your once proud lion’s roar is reduced to a kitten’s meow. So crush the carbs you do; giddily, like a schoolgirl eating a lolly pop. You’re actually kinda high on the dopamine rush since you’re probably doing the one thing that actually brings you joy, at least for a little bit. This topic lands really close to home with most men my age as we get closer to 40. I go over it in more detail in my webinar that you can find a link to at the bottom of this post.
Ok, I might be sounding a bit morose and over exaggerating a bit, but fundamentally, this is what’s going on. Therefore, I don’t believe we have a food consumption issue, I think we have a national, if not global mindset issue.
Are You Fulfilled?
Think back to a time when you felt like a rockstar. You looked good, had high energy levels and were confident you could crush any obstacle put in your way. Never been there? That’s ok, think about how you would feel if you got to a place where you’re firing on all cylinders. Good, eh?
For me this was my lead up and day to day experience in Afghanistan. I was training everyday, I ate well, I was fired up everyday and my head was super clear and focused. On deployment, I got crazy strong which I attribute to hard work and the growth hormone I think the Americans put in their food. I found my place and more importantly, how I wanted to feel when I was “working”.
This faded once I started working as a high school teacher. The non stop demands of the job burned me out mentally and then physically I wasn’t ready to hit the gym hard anymore. Testosterone levels suffered for sure and it had a serious impact on my mood. Being cranky and fat isn’t a good place to be for anyone. It only makes us crankier and fatter. But then something kicked in after my back injury flared up…I got angry.
I got angry that I couldn’t move and hadn’t taken care of myself and that I couldn’t protect my family. My fire came back a bit. I realized I was more of a house cat than a lion and that had to change. I had to access the old Dave somehow, I had to become harder to kill.
How To Become Harder to Kill
If you’re a dude and you’re reading this, there’s one thing that will instantly begin to make you feel like an ass kicking, raw meat eating, cougar slapping badass and that’s to go lift something heavy AF. I don’t want any excuses either, "oh my carpel tunnel syndrome will flare up" will result in a punch to your solar plexus if we ever meet up. Don’t know how to lift? Cool, go grab the heaviest shit you have at home and walk with it in one hand for 100m. Then switch and do the other side. Simple? Do it!
Just one day a week of lifting heavy is the minimum effective dose for a man to help increase his testosterone levels which begin falling once you’re past your mid 20s.
For women, heavy lifting has equally strong benefits for improved longevity. Increased bone density, increased calorie expenditure and increased energy levels are all consequences of pushing, pulling or carrying some heavy ass weight.
Most of us are stuck in a really nasty feedback loop. We work more, usually at our unfulfilling jobs, which leads to more late nights getting the other, life related, things done. This reduces our sleep quantity and quality which reduces our productivity which then requires us to sleep less to complete the tasks we were supposed to get done. See the problem?
Get a quick win tonight and do this one thing before you hit the sack – turn down your temperature in your room to 18 degrees celsius. The benefit here is that your body can get into deep sleep faster and that’s what we want to feel rested. The added bonus is you have to curl up nice and tight with your ‘ol lady/man. Win win!
Cut out all carbs!! Just kidding. Actually, don’t cut out anything. Just take 5 minutes per meal and write down what you ate. That’s it. A recent study showed that being aware of what you’re eating is an effective way improving what goes in your body and can subsequently lead to body fat loss.
Grab a free app and start tracking today. I use Cronometer for myself and my clients. Don’t get caught up in how much everything weighs, just eyeball it. For a more effective way to dial in your nutrition, my HRD2KILL Nutrition Plan can really produce some great results.
Take Action Now
Don’t say to yourself you’ll implement this on Monday…that’s just weakness holding you back. New habits are formed by doing, not sitting around and wishing. Your health and wellness doesn’t care that you have a big day tomorrow, it’s screaming at you to fix it now!
Even if you only do one of these things, congratulate yourself. Tell your spouse, post it on Facebook or InstaSnap. Success breeds success and before you know it, you have a great set of new habits that work for you and not against you. And guess what? You might even join one of those fancy Crossfit gyms that just popped up in your neighborhood.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more on the following topic, sign up for my free Get The Warrior Back Webinar that deals with men’s health issues and how to increase energy levels, mitigate pain and lose body fat. Sign up here.
Dave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. He’s the creator of the HRD2KILL training program that was built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Montreal Gaelic Athletics Association. You can find more mobility based exercises in his new book, "The Nimble Warrior", now available on Apple Books and Amazon or tune into his new HRD2KILL Podcast