"Looking like a born again, living like a heretic"
That was the phrase going through my head this weekend as I thought about this post. The heresy? For so long I've been identified with, and I suppose in some ways promoted, certain positions in terms of fitness and diet. There has been a lot of other stuff on the blog: big jumps, neuroplasticity etc, but the recurrent themes are probably diet and exercise. Diet: paleo-ish and fairly low carb. Fitness: HIT style weight training. The thing is, over the last few months, maybe longer, I've moved away from both to some extent.
Such shifts make me feel like a heretic....like I am rejecting some fundamental truths. Not only a set of principles, but the people, the tribe.
Looking like a born again
Giving up the search for the philosophers stone
There is probably more to write about why I've moved on from low carb paleo, but essentially I drifted from low carb - I realised that carbs were not the enemy but often the preferred source of fuel. Then overtime I started to question much of the dogma of paleo, particularly the quasi-religious nature of the whole paradigm, this utopia from which we fell in which we all lived these ideal lives, with optimal diets, social interaction and physical activity.
In terms of exercise I am still walking, spending time in the hills. I am doing balance work and trying the movement rests that Tim Anderson writes about in Becoming Bulletproof and Original Strength (very Feldenkrais influenced). But weights has gone on to 3 or 4 days a week, with the old bodybuilding split of chest/shoulders/triceps & legs/back/biceps. Focus on progression in weight, not going to failure. One exercise "heavy" 3 sets of 4-8, then one exercise at 2 x12-15. This is based on Brad Schoenfeld's paper on the mechanisms of hypertrophy (mechanical stress, metabolic stress and muscle damage) with the heavy move pushing the mechanical stress and the lighter set going for the metabolic stress. A bit like Lyle's bulking routine. I am not rejecting HIT, just talking a change for a while because I actually enjoy training more than once a week.
The whole alternative, gnostic, hidden knowledge is so attractive. We have something that the mainstream doesn't have. It plays on the same fears and conceit that drives nutty conspiracy theories.
The thing is that all this alternative stuff is not really needed. The mainstream often has the truth, but we do not want to listen or apply it.
The bodybuilders got it right
Increasingly I am coming back to positions that I had 15 or 20 years ago. Maybe longer. The sciencey bodybuilders. Clarence Bass, Alan Aragon, Lyle McDonald. Newer writers too like Go Kaleo.
We are searching for the truth about how to get lean, muscular and fit and the natural bodybuilders have been doing it for years. (Natural I said....drug assistance means lots more latitude). Then build muscle and get lean....often without the craziness. (There is some craziness but there is also some sensible stuff)
The internet led me astray?
I discovered the internet in about 1996 and immediately started searching for fitness stuff. I found low carb then paleo then Art Devany.....and then it was deep into the alternative realms.
The basics stay the same
I still think the basics are the same as I've been writing for a while:
Eat real food
Progressive strength training
Stand up straight
Get enough sleep.
and of course, patience and consistency.
I can't give up
I will keep reading, writing, thinking and hopefully progressing.... of course I can't give up the search to improve, to learn.