Stu: When asked about my line of work I’m always prepared for the questions that typically follow. Much like the personal trainer who’s routinely interrogated on the magic formula to achieve the illusive six pack, questions directed at me are usually focused around food and more specifically what to eat (or avoid) to achieve first-rate health.
If you didn’t already know, I have the fortune of discussing these topics with some of the brightest brains on the planet each week through our podcast series. Want to know why we get fat? no problem… let me ask a metabolic scientist, a geneticist, longevity specialist or how about a best selling author, the list goes on.
So back to my original point, what do I say to those interested in becoming the best versions of themselves? I’ve outlined a short list of tips and ticks below that have taken me in the right direction to better health. Some of them may be a bit left field but surely you didn’t think that I was going to tell you to eat less takeaway and lace up your running shoes each morning?
The 5 Unusual Things I do Everyday to Improve My Health:
- 1) Eat Dinner For Breakfast
I’m a big fan of the ‘cook once – eat twice’ principal so I always prepare a little more food in the evening. This works in my favour at breakfast time as I can feast on a meal loaded with nutrients in under 5 minutes (even less if eaten cold – yes, I do this sometimes). Typical breakfast options resemble party foods with sugary juices, processed breads and cereals not to mention the vast array of muffins, pastries and assorted dairy delights. Think you’re on the right track with your tropical low-fat yogurt drizzled over honey-roasted granola? If this sounds like you then perhaps you’re on the sugar train. Try this tip to overcome your sugar cravings and embrace dinner for breakfast – cold pizza excluded!
- 2) Reduce My Exercise Plan to 6 Minutes
I love exercise but used to get fixated on working all major body parts in the gym before finishing with a rigorous cardio blast. This didn’t give me the results I was expecting, it increased my cortisol levels (stress hormones) and ruined my sleep. I’m now an advocate of quality over quantity and have seen great benefits in radically reducing my exercise into super short, high intensity workouts. One of my favourites includes 1 minute of overhead kettlebell swings followed immediately by 1 minute of burpees x 3 rounds, 6 minutes in total. Still think that you don’t have time to exercise? This plan doesn’t replace incidental exercise, like walking to the supermarket or admiring my newly buffed body in the shop windows but does give me more time to focus on the other unusual things that I do each day, like…
- 3) Hack My Carbohydrates
I’m super-lean, have a fast metabolism and find it impossible to gain weight. Lucky perhaps, but recent genetic testing revealed that I carry an increased risk for diabetes if not addressed by diet and lifestyle. The big-brains in the medical world have now demonstrated that carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels and eating them alone can send blood sugars rising, so it makes sense to minimise this. I’ll work towards this every time I eat by adding fat and protein to my carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes (a personal favourite) will always be mashed with avocado and/or coconut oil, starchy vegetables drizzled with olive oil or butter and my favourite chocolate smoothie is upgraded with avocado, coconut cream and cinnamon – yes cinnamon is a BIG hitter in lowering blood sugar. I’ve recently put this strategy to the test by using a personal blood glucose monitor (full blog post coming soon) and the results speak for themselves with dramatically lower blood sugar readings. Still can’t get over toast in the morning? Upgrade it with nut butter and cinnamon or mashed avocado and smoked salmon 🙂
- 4) Carry My iPhone in a Sock
I live by the mantra ‘Prevention is the Cure’ and I carry this rule over to my beloved iPhone. I’ve always questioned whether we’ll look back in twenty years at the pursuits we’re enjoying right now in bemusement (wasn’t smoking initially advocated by doctors?). After spending time with an Electro Magnetic expert I decided to take a few precautions with my mobile usage given the fact that it follows me everywhere. These two strategies give me peace of mind as I’m not going to revert back my mobile-less days or wrap tin foil around my head for added protection:
- Always – did I say always – use my earphones when talking on the phone
- Place the phone in a Bloc Sock to shield the absorption of Electro Magnetic Radiation into my soft body (which actually isn’t that soft any more given my 6 minute exercise plan)
Call me alarmist, perhaps, but I won’t be able to hear you anyway as I’ve got my earplugs in listening to a podcast!
- 5) Wear Builders Glasses Before Bed
No I don’t like dressing up as the construction worker from the Village People in the evening but I do favour quality sleep. I’ve written about this in a sleep post recently and the glasses in mention are orange (blue blocking) which filter out the blue light from the vast array of electrical devices that most of use before bed. We really don’t want to inhibit the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone which the blue light from our TV’s, computers and phone actually does. I’ll happily trade in my pride if it means a better night’s sleep and always put the glasses on at around 7:30 before I listen to my favourite YMCA album on iTunes. If you want to learn more about blue light then I think you’ll get a lot out of my conversation with James Swanwick.
So that’s it, an unconventional list of tips and tricks that really work for me. Would love to hear some of your strategies below in the comments box below – Cheers.