Saturday, 15 November 2008

Learn From My Paleo Mistakes!

I was trying to think about the biggest obstacles to my paleo lifeplan - excepting viability of walking around in a loincloth and hunting my own food with a spear.........I ended up with the following guidelines.

1) Sleep More
Here is wisdom "an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after!" You should be trying to get a minimum of around 9 hours sleep a day. Try it for a few weeks and you will see what I mean.

2) Sun More
Regular readers (there are a few!) of this blog will know I have a fondness for working out outdoors even in winter. You should expose your arms and face (and in fact as much flesh as is legally/socially permissible), to the sun every day you can during winter. During summer, if you get outdoors enough, then appropriate sun-time will follow!

3) Meat (Your Maker)
Do not limit yourself simply to the 'prime' cuts of meat. As a minimum you should be eating liver twice a week - and do not avoid the fat that comes with the cut.

4) Flow More
Stress is a bastard. It has its place in your life - and should be episodic. If it is chronic and severe then some form of life-change is required!

5) Seasonal Fruit and Veg
Bananas in winter and regular supplies of carrots - fantastic. But from a paleo point of view this is not so good. At the very least, try to accentuate seasonal foods in your diet. This is something I struggle with...although the 'pull' of winter vegetable soup is particularly appealing when the weather gets cold. At this time of year (and for the next six months) you should be eating MINIMAL fruit.

6) Exercise Modality
Change your routine - and particularly the exercise modality. If you have been sprinting one session, try jumping on to a platform the next. The next session try pistols, or a deadlift, or static wall sits (the Chair). Go plyometric. If you 'cycle' through such modalities you will ALWAYS progress.

7) Less is More
Are you formally exercising in a gym for more that about 30 minutes at a time up to three times a week? Too much already.

8) Fasting
If you cannot go one day a week eating only one meal without significant cravings or hunger pants then there is something wrong with your metabolic flexibility.

9) Playing
Playing counts towards your physical health. It should be fun and heavily skill based.

10) Exercise Choice
Sprint! Jump. Lift your body off the ground using only your upper body strength. Throw something. Wrestle with someone or something (a large punch bag). Go upside down (handstand). Pick a weight up from the ground until it is above your head.


Chris said...

Good points.

I am terrible at getting enough sleep but it is so important.

Methuselah said...

A minimum of 9 hours sleep a day - are you kidding? I haven't slept for 9 hours since I was at University! I would dearly love to get more sleep but I am not sure I can make it happen. Right now I get to bed for 10pm every night and set my alarm for 6, but am invariably awake by 5 or 5.30, often with a couple of hours of broken sleep preceeding that. I have a very active mind and there is definately a correlation between amount of sleep and amount of problem solving in my life. I don't mean necessarily mean stressful problems - it can simply be an intellectual challenge I am involved in.

At times when I do get more sleep than usual (for me this means around 8 hours) I find my performance in the gym improves markedly. This has led me to believe that my being a relatively hard gainer is primarily a function of sleep rather than another other genetic factors....

In terms of mitigating the sleep problem, you name it, I do it or have tried it. One interesting thing though - as I commented on Dr Briffa's blog recently, a poor lifestyle seems to improve my ability to sleep. How ironic!

Asclepius said...

Methuselah, I too used to go to bed around 2200hrs (invariably 2230hrs by the time my head actually hit the pillow) and I am up at 0700hrs. My sleep is similarly heavily disturbed - sometimes by the kids, sometimes I just CANNOT sleep.

Recently, I figured our ancestors would have slept more often in winter and would have probably gone to bed earlier in winter.

Armed with this hunch - for the past two weeks I have employed two things:

1) Aimed for bed around 2100hrs - which means I achieve 'pillow status' by 2130hrs. This is successful several nights a week. Nights where I fail, I still usually get to 'pillow status' by 2200hrs!

2) I use a red bike light to go and attend to my kids at night rather than turning on the lights of the house (a tip I found on a forum - I will try to find the link). I am finding this less disruptive to my personal sleep.

Two weeks in to this plan and I am definitely sleeping longer, deeper and generally feeling more refreshed in the day.

I was perusing a book of quotes and came across the proverb "an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after!"

Providence? As they say, when the pupil is ready, the teacher arrives.

Asclepius said...

Chris - I think it is the modern condition to fail to get enough sleep! Hence my little experiment.

I am starting to think it is one of the most important parts of paleo. I need to do a bit more research...

Having found the benefits of going to bed early, it still carries with it a level of 'inconvenience'.

Asclepius said...

Chris - I should have known you would have done much of the leg work for me:

I will ensure I check your tags before labouring under my own steam in future. ;)