One of the standard defenses uttered by those who desperately cling to the fast food and couch-potato lifestyle is, “why should I live like a hunter-gatherer? Their average lifespan was only 35 years.” Ipso fatso, if we clearly weren’t designed to live long, why make all those diet and exercise sacrifices?” This common faulty assumption that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived “nasty, brutish and short” lives has always bugged me. Research suggests that Grok and his family were actually generally healthy (robust is the term), productive – and even so appreciative of their lives that they felt the need to express themselves through art. There are recent studies that suggest there may even have been a selective benefit within tribal units for grandparents – meaning that getting older may have actually had a selective benefit far past procreating. So, if they were so robust and if our genes truly evolved to allow us to live long lives, then why was the average lifespan relatively short? I had always assumed that it was things like deaths during childbirth, infections, accidental poisoning, even tribal warfare that brought the average lifespan down. But then I got a real-life experience of what might have affected the average more than anything else. And it’s really mundane, folks.
That makes it easy.
With all the talk of fighting, battling, combating and beating cholesterol into submission, you’d think it had a black plastic body suit and James Earl Jones’ voice. Big Pharma has, dutifully created quite an arsenal for our supposed defense, and the medical community has been a willing faction, delivering the rhetoric that would incite us all to pick up arms. Now if only we could put down the Big Macs. And the Ding Dongs, HoHos, Twinkies and…you get the point.
I love this stuff. A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine may help explain what I have been saying for quite some time here: that exercise stimulates the natural production of growth hormone (the very same HGH we just wrote about yesterday). But it’s the type of exercise that makes all the difference. And this further confirms something else we’ve been saying: that it’s short intense bursts that work the best.
I hear conflicting advice on the percentage of protein in a healthy diet. How much protein should I be getting?
The subject of protein intake is, as you’ve noticed, a contentious issue. It’s gotten a lot of attention (and scrutiny) since the Atkins and derivative diet plans became all the rage several years ago. Let me first say that, while I can tell you my perspective on protein, it’s not a stand-in for your physician’s advice. Individual health history is crucial to determining appropriate protein intake, and your doctor will be able to look at the full picture with you.
That said, I think high protein diets get a bad rap for a number of reasons. Too many people approach a high protein diet as a free pass to eat whatever meats they crave, and that too often means fatty, cured, conventional meat. They also don’t balance their diet appropriately.
Though I don’t believe that the road to health is paved with incessant high endurance exercise, it doesn’t mean that I “can” cardio entirely either. Just as humans didn’t evolve to eat frosted wheat squares for breakfast, I don’t think three hours on the treadmill (or the hill over yonder) would’ve made much sense to your forefathers and mothers of a different era.
Instead, let’s talk “caveman cardio,” those short bursts of maximum output that caught the dinner or protected the tribe. This kind of cardio—practicing brief spurts of high intensity power and speed—both uses the body the way it was meant to be used and sustains the physical potential required for these activities.
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