Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Food pyramid for life, without the food

Click to enlarge

In the food pyramid, old or new, we can see the larger areas are more important than the smaller ones.

Easy enough, right? The above image (courtesy of good old paint) is a general pyramid anyone can use.

"But how Niel?!?? Damn you! Give us answers!"

We see Roman numerals under each section, which are:
I. - Primary importance
II. - Secondary
III. - Third
IV. - Fourth
V. - Rest & relaxation
VI. - Mistakes/Unproductive
To break it down, one to six are things most important in your life to the things that aren't helping you.

I'll use myself as an example.
I. - Doing well in school
II. - Reading books, articles, and anything that makes me smarter
III. - Exercising and taking care of my health
IV. - Keeping my stuff neat and tidy, laptop running well cause I didn't renew warranty, etc.
V. - Listen to music, nap, write blog posts
VI. - Oversleeping in the morning, being late to class, browsing random sites online
The first thing is most important in my life.

Two is a big hobby of mine because I enjoy educating myself through those items.

Three is also important, but if exams are coming up, I need to buckle down and can only exercise 1-2 times a week. Sometimes I may go longer between meals than normal, it varies.

Fourth is not essential, but it does help to keep me organized and having the previous things run smoothly.

Five, burning out is a big problem when becoming overzealous. Taking a moment to gather my energy through various activities I enjoy keeps me refreshed for working hard.

Lastly, six, those trivial matters that aren't helping me the least bit in #'s 1 through 4.

It's essential to minimize that small sliver that is #6. When it becomes too large, we have no time for 5 because we're too busy trying to get everything else done.

Likewise, the same can be said for all the points, except #1. If one step grows too large, it endangers the preceding commitments.

Spend too much time on one, you overlook the other things and don't have enough time to give them your attention. If I spend too much time reading books that aren't for class, then I won't have time to read my course textbooks.

I used myself as an example, but this changes person-to-person.

A recovering cancer patient would have rest as #1 as opposed to me or a parent at risk losing their job would be trying to find another job, take care of bills, and try balancing their life at home.

I could blab on forever, but I don't want to bore everyone. So, I'll end this with something for you to take and print out.

The following is a download of a Word file. In it, you'll find the diagram and the Roman numerals with a line between each. There's a dash for you to write in one or two sentences on how you're going to stick to your goals.

Download me!

With that said, print it out, fill it out, and stick it somewhere you frequent often, like your desk.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Food Adventures: Eggcellent marketing

Oh the deceit!

Real quick, some of you may notice the change from "shopping adventures" to "food adventures," mostly cause I thought it would be better to include other areas of interest besides the grocery store.

Now, for those of you who go grocery shopping, go take a look at the eggs. Most of them are probably marked "vegetarian fed eggs" or "100% vegetarian diet."

That's cool, right? That's what I thought a while back.

After I read the nutrition chapter in Never Gymless, it occurred to me I was quite ignorant, or maybe gullible (both I suppose).

Commercial chickens are fed soy, corn, and grains, which you would assume to be normal, but that's far from the truth.

The normal diet of a chicken is insects, plants, and seeds.

So, we see the egg industry is advertising unfriendly animal practices as a good thing that is somehow beneficial to your health.

This is similar to if we made a lion follow a vegetarian diet.

He doesn't seem too happy.

Tsk tsk, shame on you people. Such trickery is not appreciated.

Even organic-labeled eggs are marked as vegetarian. The grains are organic, but quite pointless when the chickens aren't suppose to be eating them in the first place.

From the 6-10 different types of eggs available for purchase, only 2 had no vegetarian diet label on them.

Next time you're about to buy eggs, take a quick look at what's on the packaging.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Instructions to have a good day

In 10th grade, my motorcycle shop teacher said,

"I don't have to come in and act friendly, but if I act nice to you guys, then you guys act nice to me, and that makes the day go by easier."

Good words to live by.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick Fixes: Your Butt

Flat pancake booty or a huge badonkadonk, chances are, your glutes are inactive. This includes men.

Don't use something and it becomes less efficient, right? You end up a bit "rusty" when you don't do something for a while, like running. If you stopped for a few weeks, that first run after a long break isn't going to be as easy as it was before.

Driving, working, reading, on the computer, or anything else in the majority of our lives typically results with us sitting. A lot.

The work your glutes can be doing is transferred elsewhere on the body. That means, other muscles need to compensate for the lack of work being done by your ass. Literally.

Think about it like this. If you're working in a group on a new project and one person slacks off, everyone else has to pick up the slack. If you're like me, you probably don't want the extra work.

"What you gon' do with all that junk?"

So we need to counter that, y'know, get that junk in the trunk working again. Hm, what do we do?

Drumroll please.

*cricket chirps*

Yes folks, exercise! But, there are also some stretches and warm-ups in our bag o' tricks.

To keep this post short as possible, I'm going to list & hyperlink a few things.
Do the first bullet point plus one of the others, not all of them. For amount of reps and sets, check out the chart in the bottom of this article.

For actual exercises, the list is endless. You should aim to make a strong lower body using a variety of squats, deadlifts, lunges, split squats, glute-ham raises, good mornings, step ups, sprints, and kettlebell/dumbbell swings.

Notice how slow long distance running isn't mentioned? Just make sure to get complete hip extension. That means at the end of each rep, be sure to lock and pop your hips out, you should be able to squeeze your glutes hard. (see here & here to get an idea)

To get that rump in shape, you need to work it.

For any of you interested, here are the articles I used.
Hope you all enjoyed this post, feel free to leave questions and/or comments.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Keeping sane

It's a trap! An oh so delicious trap!

So last night, I head through the kitchen to get my stretch on at the pull-up bar. Passing by the kitchen table, I see a bowl of chips (as if someone were trying to set me up!), and oddly enough, I instinctively reached for it.

"What am I doing?"

That's what I was thinking as my hand paused midair. I wasn't hungry or the least bit interested in how they tasted, but I reached for them.

I know I harp on junk food a lot and it's probably annoying at times, but I'm not saying never eat any of it. Go for it sometimes, it won't kill you once in a while.

But, here's the trick.

It's about when you decide to eat it.

My view? Cut loose a little for special occasions or when having a meal with other people.

One to two times a week is fine for most of us. It doesn't mean you go nuts and eat as if it were your last meal. You really don't need to guzzle down a bunch of soda, about 3 entrees worth of food, and a dessert. Use a little discretion and besides, it's not like it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Hardly. There are plenty of other times you can eat what you want in the future.

If you're eating by yourself, keep your gut in check. Why eat unhealthy when you're alone? You know you can do that any time you want. With friends or family, it's nice to relax and enjoy the foods they're eating.

After all, the best food of all, is the food of friendship. (lame, I know)

I'm in college, so most of the time I'm either eating by myself or with a few other people. I still eat healthy, but when something like a person's birthday rolls around, hey I'm all for eating a little of this, a little of that.

After all, it's only once in a while. A couple of days in a year, big deal. The other 300 and something, I'm doing pretty good.

Take for example, this past weekend. It was my friend's birthday and I didn't mind eating some pizza and chips. It was fine, I didn't eat any other junk the entire week or two before that night.

I'm sure you get the idea.

Eat clean for the most part, but don't be afraid kick back a little for the special moments in life.

It'll keep you sane.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Down the Road

Today, finally, I'll be discussing the Solomon-Corbit model I learned from my Conditioning & Learning class. More specifically, I'll talk about how it relates to the foods you eat and exercising. This will be lengthy and sound confusing at first, but keep reading and you won't have any trouble at all when you're through with this post.

First, let's take a look at the two graphs we'll be using, define what everything means, and go over the areas of relevance. Click both to enlarge them and give a quick glance.

What's all this mean?
  1. US stands for unconditioned stimulus, meaning item you're interacting with
  2. Zero/0 is neutral feeling, basically, no interaction
  3. Plus/+ is the first set of feelings felt with from the US
  4. Minus/- is the after effects of plus/+
  5. A is the magnitude of feelings elicited by interaction with the US
  6. B is the magnitude of feelings elicited by the interaction with the US after it's done
Yes, I know, sounds like "blah blah blah." Just keep #'s 1, 5, & 6 in mind.

Now, what's the importance of each graph? Well, as you can see, the first one says "first experience" and the second graph is labeled "hundredth experience." We also can see that,

A1 area > A100 area

and the opposite is true for B.

B100 area > B1 area

Good so far? If not, take another look at the graphs and read what I said about the areas again.

What is the significance of all this? It makes no sense whatsoever, but that's why we give examples.

You try soda for the first time (the
first experience), and boy is it tasty. That first sip is good. You drink the entire glass, which of course, takes several sips. Notice in the first graph, your initial taste correlates with A1. It goes upward, but only to a certain extent. Also, every subsequent sip doesn't cause you to enjoy it as much as the first. The pleasure derived trickles downward, and eventually ends, meaning the soda has been finished.

B1 indicates wanting more soda, but unfortunately, you don't and it isn't a big deal. Some times passes, you forget all about the soda after a while and you could care less if you had more.

Say, in the next 2 months or so, you have had another 98 glasses of soda, making a grand total of 99. What does the graph look like when you're drinking that 100th glass of soda.

Examine the second graph again, the hundredth experience. A100 is noticeably smaller, while B100 has grown.

Drinking that glass of soda isn't nearly as satisfying as that initial sip. Gratification & pleasure is much lower, while the after effects are high. The craving for soda is intense now, and you want more. It bothers you that you don't have any to drink despite going through the same amount you had the first time. The desire for it lasts longer and is strong.

Clearer now? No? Another example? Sure buddy!

You get a new job and decide to eat fast food for lunch since it's close & cheap. You get a sandwich, a mighty tasty sandwich you note. Loaded with mayo and fried, but who cares, you're still new at work and trying to learn.

Fast forward to your 100th sandwich. Despite knowing about other options nearby, you still eat that sandwich, but it's not as great. You don't even know why you eat it, ack! You head back to work, but all you can think about is eating that sandwich again. But why? It doesn't even taste too great anymore. You have created an addiction, oh no!

But, this doesn't graph always mean doom and gloom. "Hm" you say? Yep, another example, 2 of them to be precise.

Enter weight lifting. Everyone who's performed any type of strength training knows how much effort that first session takes (A1). But, you somewhat enjoyed (B1) being active .

100th time in the gym. You get through the workout much easier (A100) than your very first time in the gym. Heck, now you actually look forward to your next exercising session (B100).

What about changing your diet? No fried foods, plenty of vegetables, fruits, water, and just wholesome foods that will do your body good. That first day is difficult (A1), but you get through. On the bright side, didn't daydream about (B1) junk food as much as you thought.

100 days of this new eating style. You get through the day easily (A100) and you don't even think about junk food (B100). Congratulations you sexy beast!

All clear now? Was it worth the read? I hope so.

So, all in all, I just wanted to share something I thought was neat from class which could be applied to anyone's diet and training.

When you make a new choice, think about whether or not there will be a 100th experience and how it will really affect you. Is it going to be good? bad?

Think down the road, is it worth it?

And feel free to ask questions if there's something you're curious about or still don't understand.
Creative Commons License
Niel Patel's Blog by Niel K. Patel is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.