One of the better health / self improvement books I’ve come across. It’s very no-bullshit and compact, well researched, and fun to read. One of those useful tactical books that can replace at least 3 or 4 less condensed ones.
Ultimately, we are building toward one single day for you to plan, in advance, to completely own. It could be next week or next month or next fiscal quarter, but as you read, feel free to employ any of the techniques you find in these pages as you go along. That will only help you troubleshoot and be fully ready for that very first fully owned day. But make no mistake about it, your goal is to prepare and own one full day, like a total boss.
You want to take control of your day from the word go. So hydrate immediately (not with coffee!), then seek light and get moving to reset your internal clock. That’s three simple things to do within twenty minutes of waking—and your day will be primed for perfection.
The hydrating water in the coffee is somewhat offset by the dehydrating nature of caffeine. Yet we still reach for coffee in the morning, in large part because these adrenal effects are so damn good at dealing with the other problem we face when we wake up: we’re still tired.
Morning Mineral Cocktail 12 ounces filtered water 3 grams sea salt 1/4 lemon, squeezed
In a perfect world, you’d be able to suckle from the teat of Mother Nature and drink spring water exclusively. Spring water has the right balance of what you want (useful minerals), with little to none of what you don’t (chlorine, heavy metals, contaminants).
For those of us not quite that lucky and who also do not have a line item for water in our grocery budgets, the next best thing is filtered water—either through a Brita pitcher you fill and stick in the refrigerator, a Pur filter you attach straight to your kitchen faucet, or whatever high-quality filter is available near you.
A small pinch of sea salt into distilled or filtered water should help reset the balance. Add a wedge of lemon juice for some additional refreshing nutrients (a lighter version of the morning mineral cocktail) and you’ve optimized your water.
First, the water should be room temperature. When you’re looking to maximize mineral absorption and aid digestion, room temperature is always best for any beverage. And second, the salt needs to dissolve or stay off the bottom of the glass when you drink it.
Upon waking, either from sleep or a nap, blast yourself with five to ten minutes of direct blue-light exposure.
A device called the HumanCharger25, made by a company named Valkee out of Helsinki, Finland, has pioneered this technology for consumer use.
The key to overcoming that resistance is understanding that what we’re talking about here is not a morning workout. This is morning movement.
pick what you like: light yoga, pushups, air squats, jumping jacks, a Richard Simmons clip on YouTube. Chase your dog around the house or pick your kid up and fly her around like an airplane.
QUICK AND DIRTY: 1–3 MINUTES Twenty-three burpees.
SLOW AND SEXY: 5–10 MINUTES This is a little yoga flow I developed for the morning. I hold each position for two full intentional breaths, allowing up to one breath for the transition.
STEP 1: THIRTY TO FIFTY POWER BREATHS Inhale through the nose or mouth into the belly with deep, powerful breaths. Exhale without additional effort, just let the chest fall. Keep a steady pace and make sure to focus on drawing the breath deep into your belly. Do this until you feel a slight light-headedness and a tingling sensation in your extremities. That is the sign that a shift is happening and your blood is hyperoxygenated. For most people that effect starts to kick in around thirty breaths, but it can take up to fifty, depending on certain factors.
STEP 2: THE HOLD (RETENTION AFTER EXHALATION) After the thirty to fifty breaths, or once you start to feel the tingling, draw the breath in one more time and fill the lungs to maximum capacity. Then calmly let the air out and hold for as long as you can at the bottom of the breath. You don’t need to set a world record, just hold your breath until you feel that gasp reflex and you really want to breathe again.
When you get sick, it is not the virus that gives you the symptoms; it is your immune system. Fatigue, mild fever, body aches, congestion—the stuff we colloquially identify as “the cold” or “the flu”—are actually manifestations of the inflammatory response.
once you’ve completed the actual hygienic part of your shower, and while the water is still hot, begin a cycle of Wim Hof breathing (thirty breaths or until you feel a tingling sensation in your extremities, whichever comes first). At that moment, turn the water as cold as it can go and let it hit every part of your body.
you should aim to be in the cold water for a minimum of three minutes.
Turn the shower to hot and wash. Do Wim Hof breathing (thirty to fifty breaths, or until you feel tingling and/or mild light-headedness). Turn the shower as cold as it can get. Continue Wim Hof breaths until breathing calms. Hold at the bottom of breath until the gasp reflex kicks in.
Do the Wim Hof cycle of thirty breaths while still on dry land, or in shower after completing necessary hygiene. Prepare an ice bath, or jump in water as cold as you can find. Set a timer for two minutes, or start playing a song that is two minutes long. Continue Wim Hof breathing until you can breathe calmly and normally (remember, the cold will make you want to gasp for air). Exhale fully, and hold your breath at the bottom. If you have extensive experience (or have a buddy with you in case you pass out), submerge completely. Get out of the water at the end of two minutes.
You know what is beyond that mountain? More fucking mountains. If you’re going to climb, then you better adapt.
Here is a closer look at five of my all-time favorites that I regularly reach for at my first meal of the day:
The fats and the protein are the only good parts of dairy for an adult human. The lactose is not, because lactose is just another word for milk sugar. By cutting out the fat from dairy, you are basically saying that you want to increase the percentage of sugar relative to the other macronutrients. Great plan! That’s like saying you want to increase the amount of smog relative to your fresh air.
There are a few coconut yogurt brands, including the one from New Earth Superfoods, which I mentioned above, but the coconut cream under the Coconut Cult brand name will ship nationwide in cold packs, so you can yogurt like a baller.
I like to eat half an avocado with lime, sea salt, and cayenne when I want a lush, nutrient-dense snack or a quick breakfast and I don’t have time to sit down to a proper meal.
Just be sure not to burn the bacon
It is also generally going to be better to reserve the more complex and hard-to-digest foods for later in the day, since the morning correlates to the lowest levels of digestive enzymes and gastric acid. Eggs are easier to digest than red meat, for example. This is also why I like smoothies for breakfast, as everything is already premasticated by the teeth of the blender.
we deal with more chronic stressors than our ancestors did, most of which our bodies are not designed to thwart—and it shows.
our environment is robbing us of a lot of the nutrients, minerals, and microbial defenses that used to come into our diets by default.
a disturbing percentage of the food we’re eating is so processed that even insects won’t eat it.
It is now commonly held that the immune-system challenge from commingling of intestinal (fecal) bacteria in the birth canal is an important initial hormetic stressor to build a healthy gut biome and kick-start infant immunity, and we’ve removed that first gut gauntlet for nearly half our children, to their detriment.
The key things to consider supplementing are greens, probiotics, B vitamins, krill oil, vitamin D, and additional minerals.
What Greene says, and what I agree with, is that any time can be made into alive time, because alive time is a choice, just as dead time is a choice.
Bringing this time to life is a two-step process. It requires preparing and opening your mind, then flexing and filling it. Or, as I like to call it: mindfulness and mindfillness
Mindfulness is simply being aware and conscious in the present moment. That’s it.
In classic Zen training the masters proposed four very simple practices: archery, calligraphy, pouring tea, and arranging flowers.
THE WIDE PERIPHERAL GAZE Open your eyes as wide as they go without engaging any muscles of the face. Keep your focus relaxed in the center of your vision. With your mind only, become aware of everything happening at the periphery of your vision. Up, down, left, right. Things might be a little fuzzy, that’s fine. Then, still without focusing on anything at all, become aware of everything. Each leaf moving in the wind. People walking by. A bird in the distance. Wrinkles in fabric. See everything, focus on nothing. Every moment something will be different, always changing, just like life. It is life. Breathe with your belly. Become aware of all things happening at all times. Become the observer of every detail in the environment, ignoring nothing, yet focusing on nothing. That strange feeling you have now—of a clear mind, of freshness and lightness? That is mindfulness meditation. Nothing more and nothing less.
As soon as you get in your car take six deep breaths. Expand your lungs as much as possible, and focus your breath into your belly—
Poppy tea was a mild pain-relieving folk medicine. Then it became opium. Then it became heroin. Then it became OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet.
MoMatchajito Juice of 1/2 lime 3 sprigs mint 1 teaspoon matcha 3 drops liquid stevia 8 ounces sparkling water INSTRUCTIONS In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the lime and mint. Add the matcha, stevia, and 2 ounces of sparkling water. Shake briskly and pour into a large glass. Add ice, if desired, and top with the remaining sparkling water. Stir and serve.
Adding good fat to caffeine is not a new concept. In Tibet, where the conditions are cold and harsh, the work is long, and people need fuel throughout the day, they have been putting yak butter in their tea for ages.
Robb went the other direction and started recommending adding fats like butter, cacao butter, or MCT as supplements to your morning coffee. Not only does that taste delicious but the feeling of time-released caffeine through fat’s slower absorption rate has fueled the butter coffee craze.
In a pinch, full-fat dairy like whole cream will do, but better than that is to whip out a blender and add a serving of grass-fed butter, coconut oil, or cacao butter to make a frothy fatty latte, and get those fat macronutrients into your life! Perhaps the best fat source for your caffeine, though, is MCT oil.
The tricky part for us, as we talk about owning this day and taking our work to the next level, is that nicotine—the active component of tobacco—while carrying its own risks, has a ton of performance benefits.
Swedish snus, a moist tobacco powder you tuck under your upper lip, appears to be one of the healthiest forms of smokeless tobacco.
For now the best analysis comes from the same highly respected London Royal College of Physicians paper, which suggests that the hazard to health arising from long-term vapor inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco. That is to say, it might be twenty times safer. And while they acknowledge that there are no medical standards for the production of vapor, largely made of glycerin (though many have begun to move away from that), they strongly encourage all cigarette smokers to make the switch.
NICOTINE GUM OR PATCH This is the cleanest way to get nicotine into your system, period. With the clinical efficiency, however, the ritual and a lot of the fun is lost, which is why these alternatives don’t work so well in helping people quit. But for the biohacker on a mission to optimize mental performance for short stretches, this is the cleanest way to do it.
It was this experience with the plant that eventually led me to place Huperzia serrata at the heart of supplementing high brain function.
I woke up and put in my HumanCharger earbuds. I did twenty-three burpees. Power shower. I had a great breakfast. I took my supplements.
If I’m writing, working late, podcasting, or playing chess in the boardroom, it is caffeine, nicotine, and Alpha Brain that I bring to the front lines.
If they are controlling your life, consider the well-established practice of harm reduction, and find ways to transition to a less harmful method or frequency to limit your downside exposure. To check myself, I’ll pause with them for a week or sometimes even a month.
I’m a firm believer that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who need to find purpose and meaning in what they do for a living, and those who find purpose and meaning elsewhere and use work as a means to those ends.
This, then, is your job. To figure out your mission so you can own not just this day, but every day after it.
So what do you want to do? What does your best self want more than anything else, want so bad that your inability to stop thinking about it will make it impossible for anyone to stop you from achieving it? Think about it, because in a few chapters we’re going to ask you to write it down.
Their research found that “54% made fewer errors when they could smell lemon, 33% fewer with jasmine and 20% fewer with lavender.” Lemon-jasmine-lavender tea for the win!
Suppose that every time you know you are going to (try to) enter a flow state, you have a certain essential oil that you smell. After a while your brain will link that flow state to the scent. Eventually, you will be able to use that scent in reverse, helping you to invoke that desired flow state,
In fact, evolutionary biologists credit laughter with exactly that purpose: diffusing what would ordinarily be tense situations. The moment you can laugh about something, the threat is over. If anyone is in an energetically challenging place, instead of indulging it, or telling them to fix it, be a good teammate and shoot for laughter.
if you start the day off with the hardest thing you need to accomplish, you are going to enjoy the whole day a hell of a lot more.
Once you figure out your mission, write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it.
The first thing I do is turn on my Zen fountain and my oil diffuser.
calories aren’t real, and humans don’t actually “burn” them.
What the body actually does is break down food in complex metabolic pathways, utilizing amino acids for muscles, shuttling nutrients into cells, and storing energy. When we work out, we don’t “burn the calories” from the last meal we ate, like a coal-powered engine. Energy in the body comes from a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that the body generates from a variety of sources, including glycogen, ketones, protein, and fat that our body had previously stored.
An 8-ounce steak is 50 grams of protein by itself, and that’s usually the smallest option on most restaurant menus. So if you are totally looking for gains, bro, try hitting that 30-gram mark, because more is likely just going to be unnecessary extra work for your organs, and your wallet.
IDEAL SOURCES: Grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, sprouted pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds
Soluble fibers mix with water and form a gel-like substance. If you’ve ever had chia seed pudding, or a chia slurry, you have a good sense of what this looks like.
IDEAL SOURCES: Chia, flax, asparagus, guar gum
Insoluble fiber plays an important role in making sure your digestive tract has enough substance to push through the system efficiently and completely.
IDEAL SOURCES: Avocado, sprouted barley, mixed greens, popcorn, psyllium
Fermentable fiber/resistant starch is often called a “prebiotic” because your friendly neighborhood gut bacteria are able to digest (ferment) it to use as food. Whereas probiotics actually contain more friendly bacteria to help populate your gut colony, prebiotics provide the food they need to thrive.
IDEAL SOURCES: Garbanzo beans (hummus), dandelion greens, chicory root, onions
your goal when it comes to carb consumption is to slow them down as much as possible.
The best way to eat carbs, then, is to eat things that already have the fiber in them—things like yams, sweet potatoes, quinoa, sprouted or fermented grains, and some fruits.
So if fiber and fat slow down the absorption of sugar, what do you suppose produces the fastest absorption? Well, something that has neither fiber nor fat. The liquid greased lightning of sugar: soda.
IDEAL SOURCES: Yams, sweet potatoes, sprouted or fermented grains, certain fruits
There are studies showing that even in the elderly, high cholesterol can be protective. In these older populations, the higher the cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart disease. Not to mention that cholesterol levels that are too low are actually associated with increased risk of death... from other causes, like cancer and suicide.
IDEAL SOURCES: Coconut oil, animal fats, avocado, grass-fed butter, egg yolk, olive oil, MCT oil, cacao butter
You aren’t just what you eat, you’re also what what you eat ate.
Prebiotic foods are those that feed the bacteria already present in the gut. Fueling those little dudes, which outnumber the rest of the body’s cells ten to one, is pretty important and why foods rich in fermentable fiber and resistant starch are so key.
When you heat and cool potatoes (or rice), you turn some of the digestible starches into resistant starch via a process called retrogradation. In addition to feeding your friendlies, the retrograded starch will have a diminished effect on elevating blood sugar levels, which will help you ward off the afternoon drowsies.
IDEAL SOURCES: Jerusalem artichokes, blueberries, almonds and pistachios, and especially high quantities in chicory root, dandelion greens, and onions
Probiotic foods add more friendly bacteria into your system, the ones that not only break down food in the stomach but also start breaking down food outside the stomach as well.
IDEAL SOURCES: Miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, dark chocolate, Greek yogurt
There are a lot of different protective foods, to the extent that any nutrient-dense food you eat is probably doing something to benefit or bolster one of the systems in your body, but two classes of food stand above the others for their essential protective nature: omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids because the body can’t produce them and needs to source them from food.
IDEAL SOURCES: Chia, flax, and sacha inchi seeds; wild-caught fish like sockeye salmon, sardines, and mackerel; grass-fed beef (as long as it isn’t grain-finished)
Antioxidants have been touted, at one time or another, as a cure for everything from cancer to the common cold. While the hype for antoxidants as a panacea was definitely overblown, what is absolutely true is that they reduce oxidative stress in the body by eliminating free radicals, hungry molecules on the hunt for electrons to quench their unending molecular thirst.
Polyphenols help reduce something called C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. The best sources for polyphenols are chocolate, red wine, and green tea.
Anthocyanins are immune boosters present in dark fruits like blackberries, blueberries, açaí, black currant, and cherries, as well as black rice and eggplant. Like Tupac and Kendrick always say, the blacker the berry, the stronger the anthocyanins.
Curcuminoids have earned a lot of buzz for their ability to reduce inflammation. Found primarily in turmeric—whose yellow root gives curry powder its color—not only do they reduce oxidative stress, they are specifically valuable for the brain and may help reduce the burden of age-related brain conditions.
Garlic is one of these mysterious foods that has been used therapeutically for millennia. It contains multiple antioxidant compounds that, among other things, subdue the common cold like a Brazilian jujitsu black belt.
Sulforaphane is an antioxidant compound produced when raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are chopped or chewed. Evidence suggests that sulforaphane may help inactivate and eliminate carcinogens as well as help decrease DNA damage by reducing inflammation, the underlying cause of many diseases.
IDEAL SOURCES: Dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, berries, black rice, turmeric and black pepper, garlic, broccoli sprouts
Here’s the deal: pretty much every vegetable or well-sourced protein contains good vitamins and minerals. But if you’re going to get all the trace micronutrients you need to really get your body and your brain humming on a regular basis, you need to vary your dietary intake and pull from the WTF-is-that? part of the salad bar. Here are a couple of winners:
Cauliflower is so hot right now.
Seaweed/sea veggies contain high levels of ocean minerals, including iodine, magnesium, manganese, iron, and other trace minerals.
Organ meat (liver, heart, kidneys) sourced from pasture-raised animals is one of the world’s most nutrient-dense superfoods.
When it comes to diet and health, antinutrients are the one step back, and they are just as important to avoid as the two steps forward we need to make with macro- and micronutrients.
Sugar, of course, is the biggest antinutrient of them all.
So here’s the move: anytime you can’t believe it’s not butter, or you see something with trans fats, throw that shit in the trash. Even if it says “0 g trans fats” on the packaging, double-check that the ingredients don’t include anything listed as “partially hydrogenated _____ oil,” because that shit is trans fat.
When you’re cooking for your health, even if you’re indulging in some delicious pan-fried foods, you want to make sure you don’t heat your fats—olive oil, butter, coconut oil—to what is called their “smoke point.” This is where healthy fats start to turn unhealthy, because once they burn, they start to produce toxic compounds called aldehydes, which, interestingly, are also in the class of compounds that accumulate when we drink too much alcohol, making us feel hungover.
Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of all cooking oils. With a nice mild flavor, it’s great for any kind of sauté or stir-fry. And with a smoke point upward of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll be hard-pressed to scorch it unless you crank the burner to 11 and then forget about it.
Does all this mean you need to go run screaming from the conventional produce section at your local supermarket? No, just understand that pesticides are not good for you and that eating organic as much as possible will be the surest way to avoid the antinutrients conventional produce contains.
Tartrazine, also known as FD&C Yellow #5, found in many of those tasty mac-and-cheese boxes and Kraft singles marketed to kids, is particularly ugly, having been correlated with behavioral changes including irritability, restlessness, depression, and difficulty sleeping.
A huge study looking at 1,873 children showed that food dye in conjunction with sodium benzoate, a common preservative, also increased hyperactivity. Is it any wonder we are handing out ADD medication to our kids like candy?
Packed with vitamins and minerals, cilantro (or coriander leaves, if you’re not from North America) in moderation has been shown in several studies to have the unique ability to help the body chelate (a fancy word for “eliminate”) heavy metal accumulation
In other words, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to flush urine, having regular bowel movements, and sweating to release the toxins. Sauna and hot yoga are great ways to ensure you are moving enough sweat.
Sprouting or fermentation disable and degrade phytic acid in plant seeds so that the grain can burst through, increasing vitamins like folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E, and nutrients like lysine, a crucial amino acid for immune health, in the process. The tastiest version of this process is probably sourdough bread. The fermentation of the dough promotes phytate breakdown to a much greater degree than typical yeast fermentation in normal bread, resulting in a delicious delivery mechanism for a slab of REAL butter and mineral-rich sea salt.
The best way to handle the oxalate in your leafy greens is simply to boil or cook them, which significantly reduces the amount of oxalate, in some cases by up to 90 percent. Adding calcium to your dietary regimen can compensate for the calcium lost to the oxalates, as well.
I dare you. I double dare you to go buy an old-school, retro lunchbox—one of the metal ones with the thermos that can keep soup hot for a week and a half—and bring that clanker to work or to school with you, filled with the best lunch you’ve ever made in your life.
In Austin we have a restaurant called Thai Fresh, which serves all grass-fed, pasture-raised meat with seasonal veggies from local farms. You get all those weird and awesome Asian spices and fatty coconut milk and fish broth, combined with great nutrients. I eat there for lunch twice a week. What’s your Thai Fresh? Find it, make friends with it, and feast.
The platinum baller-on-the-go alternative to making your lunch or ordering out is to subscribe to a meal delivery service.
Sometimes I suspect that if most people snuck out after lunch and stopped working, it would have no visible impact on national productivity, because for so many people nothing gets done after lunch anyway
high doses of caffeine for cognitive tasks and even motor performance. They’ve been shown to improve logical reasoning, reaction time, and immune function.
My favorite study, though, is a 2008 British experiment in which they compared a nap, a cup of coffee, and more nighttime sleep, to see what would happen to people’s afternoon energy levels and concentration. The nap—yes, the nap!—won.
Data aside, of all the biohacks in the world, if I had to personally choose to keep only one, it would be my binaural beats.
You can find binaural beats tracks for sale online or on YouTube, but to get you started I have hosted two of mine for free at aubreymarcus.com/beats.
Pick a time in the early afternoon. Lock and load your theta waves binaural beats track. Find a cool, quiet place—under a tree outside, Isaac Newton–style, under your office desk, Costanza-style, in your car with the A/C on, cabbie-style, it doesn’t matter too much. Set your alarm for thirty minutes. Hit play on the binaural beats track and close your eyes.
Unconventional training covers the use of the kettlebell, steel mace, sandbag, battle ropes, steel club, barbell (you can breathe a sigh of relief now, my meathead friends), and the most old-school of them all: body weight.
While it is possible to divide up a workout in myriad different ways over the course of a week, month, or twelve-week fight camp, for the purpose of this book, we want to create an ideal, option-filled, unconventional fifty-minute workout that trains multiple kinetic systems, targeting a series of functional health priorities, that you can repeat with slight variations three or four times every week.
DURABILITY (MOBILITY + FLEXIBILITY)—15 MINUTES
The goal of mobility and flexibility practices is to live pain-free, and continue functioning for a long time to come. If you do nothing else, just getting up, moving around, putting your joints through a full range of motion, and massaging out your muscles will increase your durability and lead to a longer, vibrant life.
Our focus with ten minutes of steady-state cardio in your workout is to get the heart rate up, so when you begin to tax your muscles in the rest of the workout, you are putting enough hormetic stress on them to produce greater endurance, without increasing the risk that you will never come back to the gym again.
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE—8 MINUTES
To train muscular endurance, unconventional tools work great. Their impact on controlled range of motion, rotation (which we do in all movement), and multidirectional/multiangular movement is immense, while also offering a generally lighter resistance load, rather than a maximum heavy lift, for higher repetitions in a more sustained period of work.
Power is the final tier, the tippy top of the pyramid. If strength is when force acts against resistance to create movement, then power is the rate (or speed) at which that force is enacted to create the movement.
You simply need to develop enough power to draw on when you need to sprint to the bus, jump out of the way of a bicycle, or defend yourself if necessary. Sprinting, plyometrics, and unconventional tools like battle ropes are all great easy, low-skill ways to train full-body power development.
BODY WEIGHT—BASIC TO INTERMEDIATE
CARDIO—STEADY STATE (10 MINUTES) Run, bike, dance, row, swim, jump rope, shadow box—pick any one or any combination and go with it.
MOBILITY (10 MINUTES) The following drills should be performed in a circuit fashion for as many rounds as possible in the allotted time.
Alternating Split Jump for max height, 10 seconds, followed by 20 seconds rest; 6 sets
Frog Pushups, 5 seconds down and 5 seconds up, 5 sets of 3
Alternate between the following two exercises, 4 sets Plank, 40 seconds, then 20 seconds rest Sit-Through, 40 seconds, then 20 seconds rest
STRETCHING, RELEASE (5 MINUTES) Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
KETTLEBELL—INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED
To really take your training to the next level, you’ll need additional resources beyond this book. Check out www.OnnitAcademy.com for some ideas on where to get started.
It actually matters a lot less what you do and much more that you simply do something social. Whatever it is, be around people and be present while doing so.
Choosing to intoxicate after training is potentiated by the fact that you’re likely going to be mildly dehydrated, meaning that you are going to have less blood volume. This means that the same amount of active ingredient in your blood will have a proportionally higher concentration. With alcohol, you are going to have nothing in your stomach to slow down the absorption rate, so you won’t need as much to drink to get the buzz you want. And with liver glycogen levels so much lower after a workout, the sugars in the alcohol will metabolize easier, which means that a glass of wine is not that bad for you at all—maximum bang, minimum bucks—but two or three can send you down a less-than-conscious path.
Since it’s the perfect time to enjoy a glass of wine or take a few puffs of cannabis, occasionally I’ll go there too. Or drink a cup of kava, the relaxing herb they drink in Fiji, or even light up a cigar. This is a signal that for right now, I’m clocked out and off duty. If you don’t like any form of intoxicant, then maybe grab a stevia soda (Zevia cream soda is the best) and just enjoy the moment. The key is to create the conduit to connection. Find yours, and not only will you tune your body to the key of yourself, but you will open up in ways that make reconnecting with your tribe feel like second nature, and make loneliness feel light-years away.
1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. This sentiment came from every single male patient she cared for. Every single one.
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Our connections bring the dance to our life, and yet we find ourselves with too little time to enjoy these moments.
3. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This one breaks my heart.
The best timing for bread is dinner, after your glycogen stores have been depleted by exercise, and you’re about to head into the winter of your day... sleep. So if bread and butter is your thing, do it the right way, with grass-fed butter on sprouted or sourdough. Go for it!
Fortunately, the world is waking up to this problem and acquiring a taste for chocolate as it was meant to be. Using natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit, brands like Lily’s and Lakanto are offering dark chocolate without any added sugar and minimal dairy. Chocolate is a heart-healthy food, and we should treat it as such.
To do it right, pop it yourself and add your own grass-fed butter and sea salt. Most store-bought popcorn contains the high omega-6 vegetable oils we warned about in chapter 8
If we tell our body something is poison, it becomes more poisonous. If we convince ourselves that it is healthy, it becomes more healthy. This is not to say that the reality of a food or situation doesn’t matter. Molecular biology still exists—it’s a real thing—but the mind isn’t a passive bystander. It matters, too. It can be part of the celebration that dinner is about to become, or it can become the ultimate party pooper that makes dinner a shitshow.
Remember, all food eventually has to break down into super-small particles if it’s to be absorbed through the walls of your intestines and nourish your body. If you don’t start in your mouth, your stomach and guts are going to have to work overtime, costing you vital energy and efficiency and wasting some perfectly good food in the process.
One of the ways to give you more time to chew your food—and therefore eat slower and eat less—is to take smaller bites, using less efficient tools. Have you ever seen an eating competition that used chopsticks or cocktail forks? Of course not. That would only slow these animals down. That’s why I force myself to eat with the most inefficient tools possible, to let my mouth start the process of making my digestion as efficient as possible. So buy yourself some extra chopsticks, and then try to eat your damn Cheerios.
One of the most common digestive mistakes people make is consuming cold beverages while they eat. Any beverage dilutes the HCL in your stomach, making the overall acid concentration acting on your food weaker, while the cold slows down your digestion like a snake in a snowstorm. Leave the cold drinks for well before and well after your meals.
The best way to ensure good digestive enzyme activity is by adding digestive enzymes, or adding foods that contain natural enzymes like papaya or pineapple.
Ginger has the ability to speed up the time it takes your stomach to pass food to your digestive tract by up to 50 percent. Add ginger to your meal, and you can say so long to that full feeling in your gut and hello to that full feeling in your pants sooner. Ginger tea works, pickled ginger is great, or just a half thumb of peeled ginger boiled into a tea, or even raw, will do the trick.
The key to eliminating this kind of gas is simple: limit fermentable fibers like those found in legumes, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. Focus on insoluble fiber instead, the kind found in salads and grains like popcorn.
For overall health and optimal mood and physical performance, you need to pair any sugar you consume with something that slows its absorption into the body—and the two things that do that are fat and fiber. That’s why having sugar after a high-fat, high-fiber meal is great.
If you have followed the nutritional guidelines thus far, and kept sugar and carbs to a minimum, then crushed a good workout, your liver likely has dipped into its glycogen reserve to keep you fueled, just as mine did after my ride down to the pier, and you’re free to eat sugar and carbs, pretty much of any type.
But the good news is that there are natural alternatives that not only taste better but have virtually no negative impact on the body. Stevia and monk fruit are foremost among them.
Add cinnamon, another blood sugar reducer, and you have a great way to combat blood sugar spikes as well.
To make it, just mix one ounce of ACV and half a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon into three ounces of room-temperature water and send it down the hatch.
Go for a walk. A recent study found that people who got up and went for a walk had lower blood sugar levels and less of a peak in blood sugar than people who didn’t get up after eating. One study shows that 15 minutes of low-intensity walking is enough to significantly drop blood sugar levels.
THE ULTIMATE HANGOVER CURE
Step 1: Rehydrate,
Drink a liter of natural spring water with the addition of a total of 5 grams of Himalayan salt within the first two hours of waking up. Keep drinking water heavily until you pee at least twice.
Step 2: Reduce the Toxic Burden of Acetaldehyde
If we have been drinking, we are likely depleting our stores of molybdenum rapidly, increasing our acetaldehyde sensitivity. It’s one of the reasons we feel hungover in the morning, and why our bodies then begin to crave molybdenum-rich foods like legumes.
But rather than gorge on nachos, the best idea would be to supplement with some molybdenum (300 mcg) prior to bed, and again in the morning. Studies have shown it to reduce regular aches and pains, which if nothing else will make tomorrow’s walk of shame a little easier to endure!
Step 3: Balance Your Neurotransmitters
balance out the glutamate. L-theanine, which occurs naturally in green tea, is great at mimicking the effects of GABA. Matcha, as we described in chapter 6, is the best source.
Glutathione is not only the preferred defense against acetaldehyde but, as an added benefit, will support the rest of your body in dealing with oxidative stress. The problem is that the stomach neuters glutathione like a brothelkeeper from antiquity, so the only way to get it into your body effectively is to absorb a liposomal form through the tissue, or inject it into the veins. The latter is undoubtedly the most effective. IV vitamin therapy clinics are gaining in popularity all over the United States.
Eat fat. To synthesize hormones like testosterone, the body requires adequate production of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Get sleep. Sleep is the time when the testosterone factory is open for business. The restorative sleep cycles are when the body can prioritize things like necessary hormone production.
Lift heavy. When training under anaerobic conditions such as lifting heavy weights or sprinting, you are signaling to the body that you are the type of animal that needs to produce testosterone to flourish.
What he soon found was that over the course of a typical day, Sexually Curious George would spend sixteen hours straight pressing the orgasm button and eight hours sleeping.
Here is something simple that puts it all together: have sex every day for a week, each day trying something new. You are going to fast from all other forms of pornography, and just focus on your partner. If you run out of ideas, read a good book on sex, or listen to a sex podcast. See what happens, and tell your friends.
stress is definitely an issue—it’s that I can only ever do three things well at a time. This fundamentally violates one of my core principles: do it well, or not at all.
I started a practice of limiting myself to listing three objectives for the following day, laid out right below my mission at the top of the journal page.
The bottom line is this: if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on or in your body.
You gotta check out and turn off your phone and email so you can check in with yourself and the ones you love. You gotta open up your journal and get your mind off the hamster wheel that creates the mental static and anxiety that prevent so many of us from owning our days. You gotta enjoy the cuddle huddle: playing, watching, reading. You gotta brush your damn teeth and soak your damn bones.
I’ll brew up a tea (Ron Teeguarden Longevity Tea, Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea, or Republic of Tea Milk Thistle).
One of the most effective ways to deal with stress is to pick up a pen or open a Google doc and start journaling. First you want to make sure you set your mission and objective for the following day. Then you want to purge anything you no longer want to carry, and memorialize those things you don’t want to forget but also don’t want to burden your psyche with.
After REM, it is common to wake up, though you may not remember it before you enter your next cycle. They key is, if you do wake up, not to stress. Instead, take a page from the books of other cultures, both historically and currently, who have no problem sleeping multiple times a day (something called polyphasic sleep).
In other tribal communities, our ancestors would sleep after dusk for three hours, wake for a few hours, perhaps smoke some tobacco or drink some tea, maybe have sex, and sleep again for a few hours before dawn.
You shouldn’t, for example, count how many hours of sleep you get in a night, but rather how many ninety-minute sleep cycles you get in a week (thirty-five cycles should be your target).
In Littlehales’s model, sleep is even more fluid. A thirty-minute nap like the one we talked about in chapter 9, which is only one-third of a full cycle, still counts as one point toward your sleep-cycle goal. It’s not extra or a bonus, it’s part of your sleep regimen. So if you sleep six hours at night, you get four points. If you take a thirty-minute power nap that day, you get an additional point, bringing you to five. Do that every day of the week and you have met your thirty-five-point goal.
If you get 7.5 hours of sleep one night, that’s five points right there. You can put one in the bank for later with another nap, or just power through the day. Make sense?
Still to this day, we sleep best when it is a bit colder than usual at night.
Instead of taxing your willpower, you’re leaning on a simple message that reminds you: This is just what I’m going to do.
Visualization is a prime example of that intentional placebo at work, one we’ve already seen in this book with those study participants who visualized themselves lifting heavy weights and getting stronger as a result. The same principle applies with owning the day. Visualizing yourself doing it will have a positive impact.
Psychologists agree that there are four keys to compelling positive action: (1) know what to do and how to do it; (2) believe it will work; (3) see the value; and (4) get support from your community/tribe/family.
“I love you.” Love is the appropriate bond that can unify all aspects of yourself. To express this love sets the foundation for all the communication to follow. “I’m sorry.” This is to clear you of any guilt you may carry for the times you’ve done yourself wrong—from negative self-talk to forcing your body to cope with way too much cheap tequila. “Forgive me.” The humble act of asking for forgiveness, when sincere, is not often opposed. Grant yourself the forgiveness you seek. “Thank you.” This is an expression of gratitude to your body and your mind, not only for the forgiveness but for everything it has given you. It’s gotten you this far, after all, right? Say it to yourself: I love you, I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you. Now imagine all the things you judge yourself for. Think about everything you beat yourself up about. Keep saying it for each one of those things.
I want you to imagine yourself a year from now.
From the time he started working for a regional magazine, he would tell himself the same thing every day: “I’m not fucking around.”
Find your own mantra, and use it daily, you will not regret it
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