What is our health? Well, our health can be defined as the absence of sickness, i.e. where our vital signs are considered normal, no cholesterol problems, blood pressure issues, etc. However a more important and broader definition of our condition would be considered to be our wellness with health being only one aspect.
So let’s look at our state like this with wellness being the overall goal. One aspect of our wellness is our health and fitness being the other. Each one leading to the ultimate goal of our wellness.
There are many factors that can affect your overall wellness, like blood pressure, heart rate, bone density, cholesterol, etc., too many to list here. Each one of these factors though can be measured and placed somewhere on one of your lines.
Keep in mind though that this type of scenario is made just for you…
Optimally you want to “live” somewhere in the "well" area in order to have an optimal quality of life. However we know that some of us have conditions that prevent us from obtaining optimal wellness, whether it is a physical issue such as a muscle or joint injury or deformity, or a health related issue, like an organ related disease, etc. So what does that mean? Simply put, this measurement tool is made just for you. Once you obtain your vital signs and fitness level, you can begin to move toward being well. It is important to remember that you will be the best that you can be based on your body type, health and fitness levels, and the many other factors that make up your total wellness picture. You can’t compare yourself to others as they may have a totally different body type than you.
Suggestion: You should know from where you are starting, so the recommendation is to get as good a physical as you are able to or can afford, and put the measurements on your own measurement tool, whether it's a line or another of your own choosing. I will provide you with a measurement tool to get you started, it's what I use myself to keep track of my wellness. This gives you a good starting point and will allow you to move closer to the wellness goal.
One of the major hurdles to keeping your health from sliding away from your goal is to maintain your current state or making it better. This is an area we as people have difficulty with, if we try to compare ourselves to someone else. We try to make our normal look like someone elses. Be your best!
In my book Intelligent Body, I outline in more detail how to reach your goals and maintain them after. You see folks, our goals never change, we do. We might fall off for a day, a week, or even a month, but the goal never changes. Forgive yourself, recognize you slipped, and get back in action. Just don't quit. Ever!
The calorie chart below (PDF) gives a good starting point to determine your required calorie content per day. This is general information only.
Nutrition Straight Talk:
You can use this calorie counter to be more specific.
Click for PDF Calorie Chart
Click for Daily Calculator
Let’s talk about calories. Since millions or maybe billions are spent each year trying to manage them, I think it warrants a deeper look into what they are.
First off let’s dispel a long time rumor about good and bad calories.
There is really no such thing as good or bad calories. There are however many and varied opinions on the subject, but for the most part calories are calories. Where calories do get a bum rap is when it comes to weight control and energy.
So what are these things?
Simply put, calories are found in the foods you eat in and are little units of energy your body needs to function every day. For example if you are a male average age, not including any exercise you would require somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 calories a day, just to move around, breathe, have a heartbeat, etc.
For all intents and purposes your meals or at least most of them should contain some combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. So therefore it is a good idea to stay away from what are referred to as empty calories, i.e. sugary foods, chips, etc.
I know I said that calories are calories. The only problem with what is called empty calories is that they have no redeeming value as far as nutrients go in order to get your through your day, again not including any exercise.
Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats provide the calories with one important ingredient that sugary foods don’t have, and that is nutrients to give you energy. These empty calories give you only calories, but most often your body can’t convert that type of food into energy for you to live.
So what happens to those type of calories?
They are stored in the form of adipose tissue, yes friends that means fat.
Have you ever seen the commercials for weight loss products, or programs? They all have either a celebrity or fashion model that looks amazing, and pitch their product to you, so you to can look amazing like them. Guess what? Anyone can lose the weight and look amazing – but if you don’t solve the real issue, most people, as do some of the celebs that pitch the products, end up larger than before.
Let’s get back to the subject of nutrition. A combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats are necessary to maintain health and achieve weight loss.
I cover this subject in much greater detail in my book and take some of the mystique and fear out of looking at and managing calories as well as showing you how simple good nutrition is.
Without getting a copy of the book though, I will share this nugget just to get you started. It stands to reason that if you eat less you will lose weight right? Of course. It only makes sense. One issue with that mindset though. If you eat too little you will begin to lose muscle mass or what we call lean muscle. Your body’s metabolism begins to slow down, because hey, our bodies are smarter than we are, and they will begin to shut down some systems in order to preserve nutrition for vital organs. When your metabolism slows down it begins to slow the growth of lean muscle tissue, and that my good friends is what burns fat.
So don’t starve yourself.
Protein Consumpltion - the "Anabolic Window Myth"
For years us gym-heads had the idea that protein or other supplements should be consumed with 30-45 minutes following a workout in order to gain muscle. There was no scientific evidence of that, however the common understand was that when you lift weights, you damage small amounts of muscle tissue and that immediate intake of protein will help rebuild the muscle tissues. This was the understanding - especially for me for years.
Science has found that in reality the metabolic window is up to 24 hours following a workout. This goes against the grain of long-term tradition of carrying around a shaker of protein to be consumed immediately after a workout. The truth was a bit hard for me to take being that I was a believer in immediate intake of supplements.
Let's get to the truth rather than popular opinion.
If you’re chasing muscle gains, you should make it your focus to consume at least 1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight daily as a priority. (see fig.1 below)
Immediate protein consumption will certainly help, however you will get more results from proper protein consumption throughout the day than you will from one well-timed protein shake after your workout.
The anabolic (muscle bulding) effects of a meal last for five or six hours, not just a few minutes after a workout as was previously thought. So as long as you’re replenishing protein stores regularly throughout the day in evenly-spaced protein doses and of course, lifting weights you will be good to go for muscle gain. This does not always mean protein supplements but rather protein in whatever source is used.
The total protein consumption you should be considering, according to a 2019 analysis of over 20 controlled trials, showed that resistance-trained individuals should get between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. (Divide your weight by 2.2, then multiply by 1.6 and 2.2 to get your own range, or see fig. 1 below) This should not be consummed all at once as previously thought but rather evenly-spaced throughout the day.
During the 2019 trials, two groups were studied. Both consumed proteins immediately after a workout. One group also consumed regular intervals of protiens throughout the day while the other group did not. The evidence was clear that evenly-spaced protein consumption throughout the day led to larger muscle gains.
So the small anabolic window now becomes a large door that is always open.