0 comments on “Making Kids into Champions”

Making Kids into Champions

In previous posts, I have talked about getting kids out into nature and ways to help our kids become primal, remove screen time and develop into awesome humans. You can read that here, Helping kids behave better, concentrate harder and become Primal, and helping children develop a love of sport, movement and fitness. Today’s post continues the Primal Kids theme exploring the developmental benefits of physically active kids.

Children, even newborns, should be given every opportunity to move without physical restriction. Training to become an athlete starts in infancy and continues throughout life as children become involved with a variety of activities. Unfortunately this process of development most of the time does not go how nature intended. With the prevalence of screens, Ipads, phones, computer games, and on demand TV we are intentionally, or maybe unintentionally, discouraging children from becoming great athletes. This is especially detrimental when paired with the abundance of junk food available, not just the takeaway variety, but also any processed food containing sugar, grains or vegetable oils.

Instead we should be making room for play and roaming, letting children crawl, run, climb and jump to their heart’s content. (Making sure that it’s safe, of course!) According to Dr Phil Maffetone, a highly respected doctor, coach of endurance athletes and primal guru, a wide variety of physical movements are vital to the neuromuscular progress and necessities for the brain, with early physical activity ultimately making the child better at math, science, music, coordination and having better social skills.

While great health and fitness during childhood may lead to great athletic performance later in life, a key reason for a child’s fitness being so important, according to Maffetone in his 2015 book, the Endurance Handbook, is because “fitness is widely regarded as a powerful marker of current and future cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and mental health”.  What this means is, the more fitness and all round play a child engages in early in their life, the better their health, muscle and bone development, and social skills will be.

There is obviously a difference between how adults train and how children train. Children need a wide range of activities and movements. As they grow through the first decade of their life, natural development and interest will lead to participation in a variety of sports and activities. I think this is healthy for their development in fitness and as athletes. Having children try a wide variety of activities such as swimming, riding bikes, gymnastics, coordinated ball sports, running, climbing and playing on the various apparatus at playgrounds will help develop a great, functional athlete. There is always time for a child to learn and take up specific sports once they have a good grasp of co-ordination, movement through various planes and balance. All sports need these fundamentals and getting kids to stick to a specific sport or sports may be making them too one dimensional.

According to Dr. Maffetone there are two important factors when it comes to children transitioning into good adolescent athletes. These are:

  • Cross Training: From birth until about 20 years of age the body undergoes dramatic changes. Physical activity plays a huge part in this development. The more variety of movement the better the development. This he attributes to muscle and bone growth, hormone balance, immune function and brain maturation. At certain ages selected sports activities may be of more interest, such as riding bikes, swimming, running, soccer. But variety and cross training continues to be important.
  • Active Fun:  This one is pretty simple – the process of having fun whilst being active. Encouraging play, climbing, and movement. This may be the most important guideline for kids!

While I think team sports have their place for children, I don’t think we as parents need to be pushing them so hard to be great athletes at an early age. With natural love of movement, coordination and balance, kids will inevitably gravitate to sports they like. Some children develop at faster rates than others so we really can’t predict who will ultimately be a great athlete from how they are at 4, 6, 8, 10 maybe even 12 years of age. Pushing kids into training and sports may seem helpful but if the child is not on board this could be more of a hindrance and they may develop a dislike of activity.

Like Dr Maffetone says, having active fun may be the most important guideline for the development of the athletic child!

0 comments on “Live Primal and Minimalism”

Live Primal and Minimalism

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Living primally and minimalism fit well together. Once you have begun to live a more primal lifestyle you will understand that is simplifies your life, gives you focus and “declutters” your health, nutrition, exercise, movement and lifestyle.

Live Primal is about making things easier; simplifying your eating, exercise, and lifestyle to reflect the ancestral patterns of our hunter gatherer past. You can’t get much more minimalist than that.

Primal living is a simple approach to eating, training, moving and living. It is minimalism for life. It helps to cut away the excess, the unwanted and the unneeded to make things easier and add more value to your life. By reducing grains, sugars and industrial oils you are making it is an easier way to eat and adds value to your life by increasing your health, decreasing inflammation and making you feel better. Simplified eating is eating real, unprocessed, whole foods and ultimately eating nothing that comes wrapped in plastic. This in itself helps declutter with no packaging!

It is a simplified, minimalist way for exercising. There are three pillars of exercising to the Live Primal ethos:

  1. Sprint once in a while– do a hard 5-7 all out sprints workout every 7-10 days. This replicates being chased by a predator and helps shaped our evolution as it made us quick and most of all lean. Nothing cuts you up like sprinting.
  2. Lift Heavy Things- Lifting heavy things increases strength and muscle mass. Our ancestors would have moved rocks and logs around daily for shelter and protector.
  3. Perform long slow endurance- if our ancestors weren’t being chased by lions or lifting log around to build shelter they would’ve been performing long, slow endurance to hunt, catch food and to move locations during different seasons.

Getting out in nature, getting out in sunlight, enjoying play, going barefoot are all primal lifestyle approaches that are mnimalist and add value to your life.

PLAY:

Aim to get out and just “play”, no structured workouts, gadgets and unwind from your daily grind. What ever this may be, enjoy yourself, live in the moment and have fun. It may be spontaneous decision to go kayaking or paddle boarding or a trip to the beach.  For us adults the idea of play has been forgotten, we are told you are too old for that, or you need to buckle down and focus on work. However, in this day and age unwinding from the stress of the day is vital to our health.

Play necessitates mental modeling, critical thinking, and creative innovation. It helps decrease stress and contribute to overall physical and mental health.

Rediscover Nature: spend time in nature and you will find our involuntary awareness takes over, senses are highlighted, sounds quieter, eyesight is more expansive and sense of smell more acute. Being in nature reverses the effect of “Direct Attention Fatigue (DAF)” or always being on the go! Attention Restorative Theory is the counter to DAF and it is believed that regular frequent exposure to tranquil, natural settings help to increase the amount of Natural Killer Cells or NK cells. These are lymphocytes that fight off infection.

Negative Ions, tiny highly reactive molecules that energize the body, are found in nature where the water, wind and sun split molecules in the air. These molecules are vital for reducing pollution and helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Nature, especially where there is water, have copious amounts of negative ions, where as our homes, cities and workplaces have large numbers of positive ions and almost no negative ions.

So get out in nature, hike, kayak, go play to get the enormous benefits of stress relief, decreased inflammation and increase in feel good hormones.

Earthing: is the belief that the Schumann Resonance or the earth’s natural vibration holds many health benefits. Earthing entails making direct contact with the earth, not pavement but natural earth like grass, dirt, soil and sand. It is believed that the natural vibrations help with moderating the circadian rhythm (so a better nights sleep) and moderating the stress hormone cortisol. So this week try going barefoot as much as possible and get out into nature with direct skin contact with the earth! See next weeks post about the earthing qualities of “Glacial Water”.

These easy simple overarching ways to exercise are simple, you don’t need a gym or any fancy equipment and they add value to your health, adds years to your life and you can enjoy it more as you feel better, move well without injury and are more resilient.

Living primal is a simple approach to nutrition, exercise and movement that declutters the excess and adds value to your life-the definition of minimalism.

 

4 comments on “Minimalism”

Minimalism

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Lately I have really found the concept of minimalism intriguing. By lately I mean throughout the last year or so. So throughout the last year my wife and I have made a real focus toward reducing our material things, only purchasing things that will really hold value to us, getting rid of clutter round the house and keeping only possessions that we will use to help make our lives better. We are becoming minimalists!

Minimalism is term used to describe someone who has an interest or likes to keep things simple. This holds a lot of value for us to keep things simple, easy and stress free. We found having less stuff helped enormously with that!

Early last year, on the recommendation of one of my friends, I listened to a great podcast series and then watched a documentary by the same fellows-two best friends, Ryan Nicademas and Joshua Fields Milburn called Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things. These two mates where high flying corporate types working hard for the man and getting paid a 6 figure salary. They lived large, buying things they didn’t need, getting further and further into debt. At one point Joshua thought, there got to be a better way, a bit like I did with my diet and Primal Living. So he started to “declutter”. He started to remove the things in his life that held no value. He said he felt lighter. He started to reduce his debt and cleared all the things in his life that no longer made his life more stressful. People started to notice he was happier, friendlier and looked healthier. He told his best mate Ryan about it, he liked the idea and eventually they packed in their corporate jobs to follow their passions. Such a good concept. I know not everyone can throw in their job and become a writer, in fact some people (like myself) love their jobs. But for them the job held no value, it was making their life worse.

For the Minimalists the definition or “elevator pitch” as they call it for minimalism… is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

Minimalism is the tool that helped us simplify our life and strip away the excess so we could focus on what is truely important.”

How good is that quote! Simplifying your life to focus on what is really important. We don’t need the latest iPhone or the best or trendiest clothes, in fact the fashion and retail industry is completely wasteful forcing the changing of trends almost weekly to continue to sell product. Focusing on what really matters and keeping things that hold value in your life. I want to focus on that quote in further blog posts, ones linking the primal way of life and minimalism.

Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves“.

Another beautiful quote from The Minimalists. We are putting too much emphasis on things and stuff that doesn’t really matter! Focusing on our health, our family, things we love to do and contributing to society are all things that should be our focus not owning material possessions.

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

Minimalism has helped us…

  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Pursue our passions
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives

Consumption is not the problem, we all need things, but its the getting value from the things we have. Thats the real trick, all the things we own should have a purpose and enrich your life. As a minimalist, everything you own serves a purpose or brings joy—everything else is out of the way, which allows you to focus on what’s truly important: health, relationships, passions, growth, and contribution.

If you too are interested in living a minimalist life, feel free to flick me an email. I would be more than happy to chat to you about it as well as anything health or fitness related. I beleive that if we have a clutter free mind we are able to focus on the important things like fitness and health and removing the junk for the house helps to declutter the house and the mind!

Also check out the Minimalist 21 Day journey to becoming minimalist, its very similar to my theory of 21 days to break a habit and the 21 day transition to Primal Living.

Next week I’ll be talking about health and minimalism…

0 comments on “How I Saved the Life of My (now) Primal Dog”

How I Saved the Life of My (now) Primal Dog

I wanted to relay a story about how I saved the life of my dog…

I have an Australian Shepherd who is now 3 years old. He was/is an active dog, he comes for long trails runs with me, gets a fair bit of love and attention and all the “healthy” dog biscuits he needed. But he was a absolute pain in the backside! I tried my best to wear him out by taking him for long runs and walks. But he wouldn’t tire. We tried all sorts of things, dog parks, beach, throwing the ball, and training. I thought it was just him being a puppy but at two years old, I thought to myself, something is a miss here. If we had a child who behaved like this the first thing I would look at changing was their diet. After all, it worked for me as a human to eat how ancestors eat, it would makes sense for a dog to eat like their wolf ancestors. It was a bit of a light bulb moment because it seemed like he had ADD. He would constantly steal kids toys, or socks or under pants and if there was any food about on tables or bench tops, Harvey would steal it. He would poop 3 or 4 times a day, which I thought was a lot, as it seemed like what ever he ate he pooped out. He was constantly itching and had extremely smelly and frequent flatulence. This forced me to look at what dogs should be eating. I thought, why am I not looking at this from an ancestral point of view, I have done it with my diet, why not my dogs? Dogs in the wild don’t eat biscuits from a plastic bag bought from a store. They are scavengers, they eat raw meat, bones, maybe some fruit or vegetables that they had found.

I was convinced I was on the right track after reading the Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall and the blog post by Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple The Primal Diet For Dogs. I worked out the dog biscuits were full of fillers and things that where not helping my dog be happy and healthy. In fact, it seemed from research that they were doing the very thing that was making my dog hard to live with itchy skin, flatulence, behaviour issues, excess poop, barking and being overly excited.

So straight up, cold turkey I made the switch and changed his diet. And for him it was the best move I ever made. Overnight he became a new dog. His gas stopped, he pooed less than once a day and they where small. He was obedient, affectionate and loving, like I had freed him from a world of hurt. He listened and obeyed orders and came back when we where at the park , it seemed like the training had paid off. He stills barks and likes to steal food but a change in diet has completely changed my dog. He now is a complete Primal Dog eating how his scavenger ancestors would’ve eaten, eating meat, bones (we give him chicken wings, which help strengthen his jaw and give a huge nutritional boost), vegetables, occasional seasonal fruit- definitely not processed biscuits filled with fillers, grains and lamb meal- (WTF is that you ask???? -lamb bones that have been rendered until they have zero nutritional value). Just like us, dogs need to eat like there ancestors and none of this processed, industrial trash filled with sugars, grains and hydrogenated oils!

If you have been thinking about changing your dogs diet I would highly recommend it. Please free free to contact me for any tips, tricks or questions.

1 comment on “5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain”

5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

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What can we do to avoid gaining holiday weight? Heed these 5 tips…

  1. Don’t over indulge– makes a lot of sense, right? Studies have shown that overeating on several days throughout the holiday season is unlikely to makes us fat, however, overeating and over indulging more than a couple of days throughout the season and continuing to eat that way well after the holidays might help us put on some pounds!
  2. Avoid Alcohol… tough to do but, as stated in my previous blog post about gaining weight over the holidays, the body sees alcohol as a toxin and acts swiftly to remove it from the body, which preferentilizes the burning of alcohol as energy of carbs, fats and protein. If you are going to drink, at let’s face it most of us are, try eating a protein source first as it has an appetite suppressing effect or avoid drinking alcohol when eating food. The old “eating is cheating” adage is right!
  3. Go for a walk straight after a meal: this study found that “There is a belief that walking just after a meal causes fatigue, stomach ache, and other types of discomfort. However, the author and one volunteer participant had no such negative reactions, and found that walking just after a meal was more effective for weight loss than waiting one hour after eating before walking. For people who do not experience abdominal pain, fatigue, or other discomfort when walking just after a meal, walking at a brisk speed for 30 minutes as soon as possible just after lunch and dinner leads to more weight loss than does walking for 30 minutes beginning one hour after a meal has been consumed.”
  4. Walking whilst fasting helps to improve biomarkers for cardio vascular disease. Try going for a walk in a fasted state. For several days during the holidays try skipping breakfast and try walking in the morning instead of eating breakfast. This will help to increase the effect of adaptive hormones and increase the rate of fat burning. It will also reduce the total caloric intake for the day, which helps to counter act the over eating from days previous (possibly a good one to do following Christmas or Boxing Day).
  5. Fill your plate with Protein (meat) rather than carbohydrates- excess carbohydrates are easily sent to storage. Protein can support fat loss, notably by suppressing appetite and boosting thermogenesis.

Getting out and being festive is what the Christmas season is all about. Seeing family and enjoying the company of others makes for a great time of year. It can, for some people, be a time of over eating and over indulging on alcohol. However, if you follow the advice of everything in moderation, then you should be fine. Top that off with avoiding combining eating and drinking alcohol at the same time, going for a walk after a meal, filling up with protein and fasting you should avoid gaining excess pounds.