Thursday, 17 July 2008

Plug Out,Baby

I have been in correspondence with a colleague. He has also adopted a paleo lifestyle. We seem to have had a similar background in terms of following a 'body-nazi' training program - the 'more is more' kind of approach so beloved of modern fitness coaches in trendy gyms.

With the adoption of a paleo philosophy has come the focus on variety and intensity. The desire to push training to the maximal level is still there, but is now supplemented by an appreciation of the value of lighter training sessions. The frequency, duration and exercise composition of each workout, is routinely changed. There is an irony - the routine of change!

Thus, my colleague and I discuss new exercises and foodstuffs/recipes, the benefits of this variety, the implications of the regular changes we make to our lives regarding nutrition, training principles and health in general.

These exchanges often form the basis of posts. (I have several such posts that are written up - but need a bit of editing before they are published. I like the fact that I can capture a lot of my thoughts and save them this way).

Recently we had a short exchange that reflected something I had wanted to blog about for ages. Time.

Somewhere In Time

People make excuses as to why they cannot do something - be it a chore or exercise. One continuing excuse is that of a 'lack of time'. Many of us consider ourselves to be time poor. But, here is a little experiment to gauge how much spare time you REALLY have in life:

1) Go home tonight,
2) Head for the kitchen and get the sharpest knife you own.
3) Locate each TV in your house,
4) Unplug the TV.
5) Cut the plug off the cable.
6) You might have to repeat steps 3 to 5 for the computer in your house, but stick with the TV for now.


Within a week you should find that there are times in the day when you are bored as you have nothing to do. this form of boredom is free times' way of saying "let's do something new/novel/interesting/unusual". Respond to this urge.

A secondary result is that, after time - perhaps a week, maybe more, maybe less, on reflection, you should find that you have packed that little bit more in to your week. You may well have been more productive. You may find that you have been able to complete some odd jobs around the house AND keep up with the world's affairs by the medium of radio rather than the geostationary format of the TV.

You might have found the quality of things like family life improve as you communicate and interact with your children/wife without the distraction of that unruly cathode-ray/plasma/LCD child in the corner of your room (it is often said that a TV in the bedroom is like a third person in the relationship).

There will be those that say, "I am too tired to try this experiment - I need my TV in the evenings as this is how I relax". A fair point, but also a bag of crap! The TV does not allow you to relax. Relaxation comes from simple contemplation. A state unobtainable whilst watching TV.


This phrase 'body-nazi' is one of my father's. He used to see me running long and hard several times a week. He would witness my time in the gym and my dedication to iron-work in general.

Those early days spent at the gym were among a lot of other 'heavy-lifters' and bodybuilders. I admired their dedication and boy, could they lift some serious weight. One complimentary phrase that used to be applied quite often was that 'so and so trains like an animal' or 'so and so trains like a beast'.

In retrospect, this is actually quite ironic. I mean lifting weights three out of four days, usually indoors, cycling through training phases - and all whilst lifting 'as much as you can' - is far from anything an animal would do. Animal activity is far from steady-state. It is movement based, in activities engaging chains of muscles. Maximal output is periodic and occasional. Variety of movement is key. I train more like an animal now than at any time in the past, but only a few would recognise this.

Conversely, in social circles being a 'bit of an animal' means you are wild. Party animals are invariably high-carbers - hardly a model of an animal. The movement patterns one assumes has the characteristic of a wild animal - so in that respect, I suppose they are more like an animal than those in the gym.

Someone once described me as being like 'an animal' for tearing in to a chicken carcass at the dinner table using my fingers (in a Henry VIII 'stylee') . I took it as a compliment!

Cut that plug. Harvest that time. Follow your (animal) instinct.

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