This week’s content includes lesser known fitness things you should do and things you should avoid and how you can boost your immune system by hacking your nervous system.
#1: Uncommon fitness things you should do and avoid
One of the most understated values of consistent proper activity and exercise has nothing to do with the physical changes. It has everything to do with the emotional and mental effects.– Sal Di Stefano
Ben Greenfield talks with fellow fitness podcaster Sal Di Stefano about all things fitness, with a focus on what works, what doesn’t and what should be avoided at all costs:
- Focus on high intensity exercises. Physical adaptations from highly intense compound movements like olympic weightlifting (snatch and clean & jerk) are considerable.
- “Grease the groove” to improve movement patterns. If you want to get better at specific exercises and build strength endurance, perform the movement using low intensity but high volume and never to failure.
- Focus on enjoyment. Find a sport, activity or exercise routine that you enjoy doing. Working out just to look good may work temporarily but is not sustainable.
- Use the sauna. The benefits are indisputable.
- Optimize your performance using non-traditional treatments. For elite athletes (those in the top 3%) look into electro stimulus, red light and stem cells therapy. Studies show an increase in health and performance of using these treatments. But, if you are just an average Joe looking to get in better shape, focus on lifting heavy weight.
- If injured, try BFR training method. For those with injuries that prevent them from lifting heavy try Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training. BFR has been shown to simulate heavy load training.
- Avoid waist cinchers. Do not use “squeems” or waist cinchers to make your waist look thinner. These devices atrophy muscles in the area on purpose to make you look “slim”. It’s dumb and antithetical to being healthy.
- For positive and sustainable long term outcomes, the root that drives people to start their fitness journey should be self care and love both mentally and physically. If the driver is punishment or to “look sexy”, long term results are difficult to achieve.
- For those new to resistance training, men can gain 8-10 pounds of muscle while women can gain 4-6 pounds. These gains make a big different in how you look and health outcomes. Both men and women will achieve a more sculpted look.
- It takes about 1/9th of the volume of work to maintain muscles versus building muscles in the first place. based on studies. That means, building muscle is 1one of the more permanent ways to positively change your body.
- Building muscles with proper resistance training will improve insulin sensitivity, organize hormones in more youthful ways, boost testosterone. Having more muscles is protective to your metabolic system and will improve metabolism.
References, sources and more:
- Muscle Building Myths Busted with Sal Di Stefano
- The Great Benefits of Saunas
- Squeems: The Unhealthiest Fitness Fad?
- Grease the Groove — The Russian Military Secret to Strength Endurance
- Why You (Yes, You) Should Be Doing Olympic Weightlifting
#2: Boost your immune system by using your nervous system
“20 years ago if somebody said that the mind could control the immune system they’d probably get laughed out of most academic conferences. But nowadays there are dozens, if not hundreds of quality peer-reviewed studies on how the mind and the nervous system can control activation of the immune system.”– Andrew Huberman
On Huberman Lab Podcast #44, neuroscientist Andrew Huberman discusses how you can “hack” your nervous system to give your immune system a boost in fighting off infections and diseases:
- Get the basics right first. Get adequate sleep, good nutrition, and plenty of sunshine.
- Breathe through your nose. Wherever possible breathe through your nose (unless exercising, speaking, or eating). Your nasal passages are a better filter for bacteria and viruses compared to breathing through your mouth.
- Avoid touching your eyes. Don’t touch your eyes especially after touching other people and surfaces. The eyes are a primary entry point for bacteria and viruses
- Eat fermented foods. Improve your gut microbiome by eating 2-4 servings of low sugar fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, natto, etc…) daily.
- Elevate your feet when sick. Elevate your feet above your head while sleeping. This can improve the clearance of inflammatory compounds in your body.
- Immerse yourself in hot temperatures. Do a 15 minute sauna session or a very hot shower or bath. Being in hot temperatures showed an increased white blood cell production. NOTE: Not recommended if you have a fever
- Use cyclic hyperventilating with breath retention. This is to be used at the first sign of illness. Take 25-30 quick in and out breaths so you are hyperventilating. After the last exhale hold your breath for as long as you can or when you have a strong desire to breathe. Repeat this for 3 rounds. NOTE: There is a possibility to black out when doing breath holding so do not do this while driving, in the water, or anywhere you could hurt yourself by passing out.
- The theory on why cycle hyperventilating with breath hold works to improve immune function is that it increases the amount of adrenaline in the body
- When using cycle hyperventilating technique in order to be effective you must hyperventilate and also do the breath hold/retention
- The reason why we get fevers is to help kill viruses and bacteria
- It’s unknown what the optimal temperature and duration of sauna is best for maximizing immune benefit. The studies have started to show the benefits of having a “cool off” period where you cycle through multiple sessions. 15 minutes sauna followed by 5 minutes cooling and then back to the sauna
- Just like gut microbiome your nasal cavities also have its own unique microbiome
References, sources and more: