Marks Daily Apple
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Mark's Daily Apple

16 Jan

The Tuesday 10

The Top 10 Tips for: Getting Fit

Wanna get fit? If you’re just starting out, keep in mind it’s not going to happen overnight…but you can be lookin’ pretty good by next month with these tips. The reason most get-ripped regimens fail is because we simply expect way too much, way too soon. Big changes in your body require big changes in your lifestyle. Period. It took your whole life to be the way you are now, right? It’s going to take more than two days to start making changes to that. But these 10 pointers will get you started – and you’ll notice some very pleasant effects if you stick with them. You’ll be surprised that very few of them have anything to do with lifting so much as a finger. Fitness is many factors coming together – it’s a lot more than just hitting the gym (thank goodness).

1. Cut calories the lazy way.

To shape up, you must reduce your fat so your muscles can start doing their thing. This is actually very, very easy to do: every time you go to put something in your mouth, don’t. No, no, just kidding! You have to eat.

Here’s what to do:

– in restaurants, eat half the plate and get the rest to go. Don’t eat it when you get home – let the dog or the neighbor kid with hollow legs enjoy it.

– immediately run out and get yourself some 7″ plates. Those are now your dinner plates. Preso, portion sizes reduced.

– Don’t eat anything crunchy, creamy, pale or fried. This pretty much takes care of all high-calorie, unhealthy foods. Examples: chips, ranch dressing, bread sticks, chicken nuggets. We know, veggies are crunchy. It’s not an absolute rule. Just a guide.

– Switch all snacks to cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks or broccoli florets. Depending on how much you snack, you’ll save 200 to 600 calories a day doing this.


2. Don’t drink your calories.

A little coffee or tea is one thing. But soda, shakes, iced coffee drinks, juices and energy drinks are overflowing with calories, which you don’t want, right? Don’t waste precious caloric intake on liquids that don’t fill you up.

3. Absolutely no drive-through or delivery food.

McDonald’s likes to run those “Mommy and me” ads that show slender young Mommy eating salad while her ringlet-bedecked tutu-wearing darling is busy dipping apples into some sweet sap. Please. This stuff is generally more marketing than meaningful, so read the ingredients and avoid anything sweet or fried. Best to stick to fresher fare.


4. Move it!

You don’t have to become a gym rat. You don’t have to sign up for the local 10K. But you need to move. Simply put, any movement that is more than you currently do is going to be effective. If you don’t ever work out, walking around the neighborhood for 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week is going to start having an impact after just two weeks. If you work out once in a while, step it up with a weekly weight session, a longer run, or some quality time with the treadmill. Do whatever you like – maybe you have a real problem with the layer of dust that’s accumulated on all the baseboards and you want to scrub them clean. That’s a workout. Maybe you like to dance for the mailman. That’s questionable, but it’s a workout just the same. No one’s judging – just move, Apples! Every day. Whether it’s a little or a lot, just do it.

5. Get addicted to feeling good.

Things that are healthy are going to make you feel good – it just takes a little longer. Instant gratification is just that – instant. Nachos are great until the heartburn hits, right?

You know your particular weaknesses. However, this isn’t about being perfect or beating yourself up. Everyone likes an instant payoff – we’re humans. But try the ten-minute trick (easy: just wait 10) next time a craving or a lazy mood hits – and push through those ten minutes. Think about what will make you feel good long term, not short term. Give yourself an extra moment or ten to start a new craving – health. Just wait ten minutes.


6. Drink More Water.

We don’t necessarily buy into the whole 10-glasses-a-day rule. We’re just not that militant. Hey, if you’re thirsty, drink something. If you’re not, don’t worry about it! You know that myth that goes something like: “By the time you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated”? Yeah, well, it’s a myth. Dogs and cats only drink when they are thirsty. Are they perpetually dehydrated? And as long as you replenish yourself as soon as you do start to get dehydrated, what’s the big disaster?

But the title of point 6 is Drink More Water. We digress. If you have trouble with controlling your portions, or if you tend to crave high-calorie, salty snacks, try drinking a big glass of water whenever a craving hits. This can help you shed a pound a week, easy!

7. Join a sport or group activity.

There is literally something for everyone in almost every community – whether you’re young and active or golden and gracious. And if there isn’t a physical activity to suit your tastes, why not start one in the community? Even one session a week of a sport or activity can go a long way to get you fit over the course of several months – and when you’re having fun, you’ll forget all about the workout part. One of our Worker Bees joined a hiking class and was amazed that just two weekly hikes whipped her into great shape after only three months. The social interaction is also healthy for your brain, which contributes to general fitness far more than you might realize.


8. Focus your activities around activities and games, not just food or drinking.

A lot of social gatherings revolve around food, beer, and hanging out. That’s great, and it’s an important part of being emotionally healthy, but try to mix it up a little. Maintain a variety of relationships so some activities are physical, some are food-based (edible sounds a little…strange…), and so on. This is really healthy for your emotional well-being and your body. And that produces a nice little synergistic effect: when you are less stressed out and enjoying variety, guess what? Your body chemistry hits a better balance, cortisol drops, and your system stops clinging to fat for dear life. So bust that stress, Apples!

9. Find a Way to Unhook.

This might mean literally taking the phone off the hook. A lot of us are on-the-go from the time we get up until we hit the pillow at night. This is stressful, unhealthy and a great way to be fat and unhappy (it’s true!). Be a little bit selfish and find some time to pray, meditate, take a hike, or soak in the tub. Find a little time every day to unwind – just 20 minutes will make a huge difference in your health over the long-term. Just stop. Breathe. Relax. Feel how strong your body is? A relaxed body is a happy, strong body. You’ll get more out of your workout now (because we know you are moving it as instructed in step 4).


10. Report Back!

Tell us what your goals are. We will help you! We’ll check in on you. We’ll even nag you. So keep us in the loop (just click on Ask Anything up there to the right of Mark’s big blond head).

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16 Jan


Take that, quackery!

16 Jan

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Uncrustables


The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with Uncrustables.

But, Fuming Fuji, you ask, what’s wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich already made and ready to go? And no crust? Kids will love it!

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Now you can buy pre-made frozen PB&J sandwiches with the crusts already cut off! Just think what you can do with those extra three seconds!

The catch: Now you can buy pre-made frozen PB&J sandwiches with this inside:

The comeback:
Well, I can’t pronounce most of those ingredients, but isn’t a crust-less sandwich a great way to get kids to eat something besides candy?

The conclusion: The Fuming Fuji does not have time for such questions. The Fuming Fuji is drowning in a pile of leftover crusts. If you think hydrogenated oil (trans fat) and bleached flour (sugar) with a lot of strange chemicals is great for your child, the Fuji cannot be of help.

The catchphrase:
Uncrustables: We’ve removed the nutrition so you don’t have to!
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

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15 Jan

Get Your Buzz On

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

1) Why aren’t there teenage carrots?

Oh yeah, because they’d be unwashed, spoiled rotten and absolutely refuse to participate in any recipe.


2) Um, gross.

Thanks again, FDA. You guys continue to inspire. Who needs strict slaughterhouse standards when you can just spray your meat clean?


3) Skinny Fat

It’s what we’ve been saying all along. Skinny can still be fat. This study reveals that being thin but having a high percentage of body fat causes inflammation and all the problems that go with it. It’s actually better to be a little bigger, but really fit, than it is to be stick-thin but as strong as a noodle. There’s an actual medical term for it: “normal-weight obese”. Check out the article for all the details, and check out tomorrow’s Tuesday 10 for ways to get super-fit in no time.

4) Med McNugget?

We’re bothered, disturbed, and just generally in a big hot fuss over the ethical and health implications of using chickens to manufacture drugs. Doesn’t anyone stop and ask: wait, are we supposed to be doing this? Why don’t we just prevent health problems before they start and let the chickens stick to their own egg-laying pursuits? When you’re living in a world where people are so unhealthy even the chickens have to get involved, it’s time to change. Besides, the whole “Which Came First?” chicken-or-the-egg riddle was so fun. Chicken-or-the-pill, on the other hand, is just stupid.

15 Jan

I Can’t Eat Anything!

Junior Apple Mike F. writes:

“Mark, what can I eat? I hear dairy is bad, fat is bad, then fat is good, but some fat is bad, carbs are bad, but fiber is good. There is nothing left. I can’t even have milk in my tea now – not that I would be caught sipping tea. But if I wanted to is the point. What’s a guy supposed to eat?”

Good question, Mike. The answer: just about everything.

I am pretty disciplined (according to my kids, I’m a drill sergeant). I don’t really “do” carbs, I definitely avoid any junk or processed food, and I try to eat organic. But even being so careful about what goes on my plate, I’d say honestly I get a lot more flavor and variety than some people I know who insist on a steady diet of burgers, beers and pizzas. The truth is, “fun” foods like nachos, pizza and tacos all taste the same: the texture is usually a mix of creamy or crunchy, there’s a lot of salt, some meat-type seasoning, and sugar. Eat that stuff and you’re starving the next hour.
You can eat salad and be a man about it. Seriously. I’m fitter, have more muscle mass and I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been at 5’10”, 165 lbs. and 8% body fat. I do it with a heavy supply of vegetables, of all things. I never worry too much about fat because I eat a lot of “good” fats, which really aren’t too hard to identify. More on that in a moment. But honestly, I never am deprived, hungry or suffer from any cravings. Actually, I refuse to eat something that isn’t delicious, period. To me, the relentlessly boring, salty, familiar flavor of most processed foods is not delicious. The fact that they’re also totally unhealthy is almost a side issue.

This morning, for example, I had my cup of joe with a little organic H&H. I don’t always eat breakfast (there I go breaking all the holy grails of health). This morning I had some scrambled Omega-enhanced eggs, and sometimes I’ll have a piece of fruit or a protein smoothie. I confess I don’t eat a lot of fruit (my wife jokes that men like the idea of fruit but don’t always know what to do with it). I like to get my fiber from vegetables since they’re lower in sugar and have more nutrients than fruit.


For a snack I’ll grab a piece of fruit, cherry tomatoes or some almonds. I completely avoid processed snacks like chips and candy. Fresh stuff just tastes better – but it will take your body some time to readjust its tastes if you’ve been a junk food kind of guy.


For lunch (speaking of lunch…): I always eat a huge salad. I’ve done so for 20 years. But no regular salad – I add in seafood or turkey, mountains of colorful chopped up veggies, and drizzle some balsamic vinegar on it. I do different greens on different days, but I never really put much planning into it. I just grab my favorite big bowl, toss in whatever veggies and greens we have on hand that day, and chow. This keeps me full and the flavor is unbeatable.


In the afternoon, if I didn’t have a morning protein boost, I’ll do a shake, sometimes adding in a banana or other fruit.


For dinner, we always have a meal focusing on fresh steamed, stir-fried or baked vegetables of some sort. The flavor and spice combinations are endless. Some broiled fish or occasional organic chicken is plenty – I don’t like a big dinner. Sometimes I enjoy a glass or wine or a beer, but in general I keep the evenings light on calories.


In my early competition days, I could consume – indeed, I had to consume – two or three times what most people need to eat in a day. No six-pack of beer or carton of ice cream stood a chance around me. It’s hard to understand the incredible calorie vacuum that goes on unless you’ve competed as a marathoner or other pro athlete. Some days you literally can’t get enough fuel. When I retired from sports, obviously that had to change. I won’t say it was a piece of cake (and did I ever eat plenty of those) – but with time my body began to crave smaller portions and healthy foods that have enabled me to look fitter and be stronger than a lot of guys in their 20s.

You can eat flavor and variety. I say I eat salads every day, but they’re always different. There are hundreds of different types of fish, vegetables, fruits and herbs from all over the world that are far more exciting and interesting to eat than your average mashed potato-peas-pork chop combo. You don’t have to be a great cook, either. The great thing about eating fresh and clean is that these things don’t take much time or creativity to taste great – they’re sort of fool-proof (the ideal guy food).

I’d encourage you not to worry too much about what you can or can’t eat. It can seem like everything is bad if you listen to some of the more negative health news. But eating healthy is actually pretty simple. We do learn new things about what foods to eat and what to avoid, but in general, the rules don’t change too much.

So trans fat and too much saturated fat is bad? Sugar and starches are harmful to health? Processed, hormone-injected, and chemically-altered foods are dangerous?

Well, yeah. But if you focus on the positive: eat fresh, eat whole, eat clean, you’ll tend to automatically avoid all the latest food scares and any of the really bad stuff.

Make fresh (yes, organic) vegetables, lean seafood or meat, and some flavorful seasonings and fats the basis of your diet, and you’ll be 99% there.

By the way, “good” fats are just about anything that isn’t highly processed.

Highly processed fats: cheese, fat in snacks and packaged foods, refined oils, fried meats or fried snacks

Minimally processed fats: nuts, eggs, lean grass-fed or free-range meats, seafood, cottage cheese, avocados, certain cold-pressed oils (avocado oil, olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil)

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