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.
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…
Pop Quiz: What do excess body fat, heart burn, constipation, eczema, insomnia, and depression have in common?
Answer: They are all “common” health woes today that were anything but “normal” through most of our evolutionary history. And they are all caused―or at least worsened―by poor food and lifestyle choices.
We’ve all heard the staggering statistics: more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, with more than one-third considered to be clinically obese. But how did we get here? Ironically, the sharp increase in obesity rates can be tied to efforts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ostensibly make Americans healthier. Their 1980 report Dietary Guidelines for Americans urged Americans to: Eat less fat. Eat more grains. And this is precisely what most Americans have done over the past 35 years, helped by food companies offering a slew of new low-fat and fat-free products. But since food tastes terrible without fat, they had to replace it with something palatable. The answer? Sugar.
Everybody knows that all you have to do to lose weight is eat less and exercise more. Just one problem: everybody is wrong. You’ve probably heard this sentence uttered so many times that you assumed it must be true. I am a big fan of minimalism, but it turns out that the mainstream dogma of “calories in, calories out” is oversimplified to point of inaccuracy. Contrary to the promises of every diet program and gym membership, the body is not a simple machine that can be outsmarted into losing body fat by intentionally consuming fewer calories and burning more through exercise.