Everyone knows that eating right and getting enough exercise are important for vitality and longevity, but what we eat and how much we move our bodies also affects our ability to code and recall memories, increases or decreases our confidence levels (a highly under-appreciated component of language learning), and fosters or extinguishes motivation to do the things we know we should but don’t always feel like.
The more I read, learn, experience, and experiment, the more I realize that most people are wrong about most things. I am not saying that people are stupid. On the contrary, I believe most human beings are capable of amazing feats of intellect and creative problem solving if they have the guts to question what they’re told and stand alone when necessary. The problem is not a lack of brains but balls. You don’t have to look that far back into history to find numerous commonly held beliefs that we (or at least most of us) now know to be nonsensical, ignorant, bigoted, or verifiably untrue. But hindsight’s 20/20. On the flip side, many ancient truths have now been replaced by modern myths. A brief reflection upon the American political, financial, educational, and health systems, for example, quickly reveals myriad fallacies, mistruths, and blatant lies that serve corporate profits and political power at the expense of our well being.
One of the best changes I made in 2016 was adopting a more minimalist lifestyle. When my wife and I decided to move down to California last July, we pared down a 2,200 square foot house into only what would fit in our Scion xB. We only had a week, so we had to make lots of rapid-fire decisions about what to take, what to sell, and what to give away. In hindsight, the short timeframe was actually a blessing as it didn’t afford us the time to overthink. It worked. By the end of the week, we had only a small percentage of belongings left, all of which were either items we use almost everyday (e.g. our Vitamix and pressure cooker) or items that bring us great joy (mostly books). Lots of things that we thought were “needs” were actually just “wants” or “likes”. But the minimalism didn’t end with physical belongings. Since then, I’ve continued to simplify my life, minimizing finances, work processes, routines, and even exercise. Instead of spending extra money and time going to the gym, I now do my workouts at home with the following minimalist exercises. They take less time, require little or no equipment, are free (with the exception of building a “T-handle” kettle bell), and provide a full-body workout that builds muscle, boosts testosterone, and increases insulin sensitivity.
As the late great Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.” And that is certainly true when it comes to transforming your body from fat to lean and weak to strong. But what you measure is extremely important, and the sad truth is that most people measure the wrong things.
If you spend any time outside of a cave, you will be bombarded with sleazy marketing messages about workouts, machines, and supplements promising to help you “shed pesky belly fat” and “build rock-hard abs”. These gimmicks really piss me off because they rely on two misconceptions that are as common as they are wrong: 1) The belief that exercise is an effective way to lose body fat. (It isn’t.) 2) The belief that you can lose fat from just one specific part of your body. (You can’t.) There ARE effective ways to get rid of excess body fat, but you first must forget most of what you’ve been led to believe about fat loss, nutrition, and exercise…