Some Quick Links About Health and Fitness

by J.D. Roth

Lately, I’ve been collecting links faster than I can share them. This is a quick post about some of the fitness stuff I’ve found.

The Seven-Minute Workout

For instance, at the New York Times wellness blog, Gretchen Reynolds shared what she calls “the scientific seven-minute workout“. This series of twelve body-weight exercises — taken from a scientific article — can be done almost anywhere (all you need are a wall and a chair). Here’s the graphic from the NYT article:

Exercises for seven-minute workout

The key is to do these at high intensity (an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10) and to not rest between exercise. In other words, it should be seven minutes of suffering.

In essence, that’s the same philosophy behind Crossfit. You do a bunch of work, and you do it fast. This set of exercises is nice, though, because it covers a wide range of muscle groups without any special equipment.

One web developer created a web-based seven-minute workout timer that tells you which exercise you’re on, counts down the time, and then gives you ten seconds to move to the next one. Pretty slick.

Scrawny to Brawny

Elsewhere, Tim Ferriss shared a story about how to lose 20-30 pounds in five days — and then gain it back. It’s not really useful to anyone outside competitive fighters, I think, but it’s still interesting.

I can’t believe I’m going to admit this publicly, but the Tim Ferriss article led me to a blog called Scrawny to Brawny, which is about building muscle. I subscribed. You know what? It’s actually a damn fine blog filled with practical advice on more than just weightlifting.

For instance, I love this piece on becoming the most interesting man in the world. The author writes that interesting men (and by extension, interesting women) become interesting by doing lots of stuff. And that alters how they talk about life.

The author illustrates his argument with this clip from the film Good Will Hunting:

His point? To become interesting, you need to stop talking and start doing. He writes: “Things like love, fear, sadness, joy, struggle, triumph and loss all have to be tasted and fully experienced to be understood.” By doing more, you’ll shift your frame of reference and expand your vocabulary.

Human experience exists on a continuum. The degree to which you’ve experienced something will determine your frame of reference when you’re using that word.

The Tragedy of the Healthy Eater

Finally, Kris pointed me to a blog post about the tragedy of the healthy eater. It’s tongue-in-cheek, but it makes a great point.

Healthy eating used to be simple. Now, though, everyone has an opinion about what is and is not healthy. There internet allows fad diets to spread like wildfire. Last week, dairy was evil! This week everyone is gluten intolerant! Next week, vegetables will be the cause of all evil!

I’m exaggerating, of course, but there’s a grain of truth there. When it comes to health, people are after magic bullets — just as with money. But there aren’t any magic bullets. Except for those rare few who truly have a problem with gluten, I’ve never seen anyone markedly improve their health by removing whole grains from their diet. And paleo? Don’t get me started. There are stacks of scientific studies that demonstrate a plant-based diet is correlated with health and long life; the paleo stuff is mostly fabricated out of fantasy.

My own solution is to pay attention to the research, and to know my own body. Yes, I mostly eat paleo (despite the fact I think the arguments for it are silly), but I’m very aware that if I ate more fruits and veggies, I’d be doing myself a favor.

Updated: 29 May 2013

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