-Brad Pitt in 'Snatch'
Over the years your mom nagged you over and over to do a handful of things. When it comes to taking care of your physique, health and happiness, in most cases the stuff your momma was harping on was right (we’ll let that “clean your plate” stuff slide, because hey, it’s mom cut her some slack). She just needs to be given the correct context.
5 things your mom harped on that will help you meet your athletic/physique goals.
1) Eat your veggies. That’s right, eat your veggies.. and your little brother’s too if you can get your hands on them. Anti-oxidants and phytochemicals that are the difference between performance and optimum performance, not to mention volume and fiber that will keep you full far longer than anything else per calorie, are particularly abundant in our little photosynthetic friends. While these chemicals have been extracted, processed and put into pills, that never seems as effective as the whole food. There is a hierarchy of nutrition: whole natural foods are ideal, supplements +whole foods are ok, supplements on there own work in an emergency and are better than not getting the nutrition at all.. so Eat Your Vegetables!
2) Bedtime! Plentiful and regular sleep is key for athletic performance, and yet every one of us gets sucked into watching 3’s company, or reading just one more chapter of a book, or looking for pictures of Alan Alda on the web, or whatever and end up fried for the rest of the week. It happens, I may be the worst offender in the history of bedtime.. but mom was right: when it’s bedtime.. It’s time for bed. Getting enough sleep increases your body’s ability to fight CNS fatigue, promotes insulin sensitivity, and promotes the release of growth hormone. Not to mention that not sleeping makes you a cranky bastard that no one wants to hang around.
3) Go outside and play. I’m a gym rat. Those who read this blog with any regularity know it.. and you are probably gym rats too. We really should go outside more. Drag a sled, flip a tire, push a car, take your kettlebells to the park. Get some sun and fresh air. Your body will appreciate the vitamin D and different training stimulus and your mind will appreciate the change of scenery. Speaking of which after reading about it I’m a big fan of taking vitamin D supplements, but I always prefer to get nutrients old fashioned way if possible.. So go play outside from time to time, and eat your vegetables!
4) No dessert until you eat your vegetables. I know I keep harping on the vegetable thing. What can I say we’re talking about mom's nagging, right? The point here is one that John Berardi has made several times, and it’s a good one. If you’re going to eat junk from time to time (and I love me some junk) make sure it doesn’t displace nutritious food. Get the good stuff in, and you’ll have a smaller splurge, and still get the good stuff in. The same goes for your training. A lot of folks who are good at.. oh..I don’t know.. bench press, head straight to the bench first and foremost. They spend 20 minutes benching, then the rest of their time wandering around doing some rows, and curls, and all of the sudden “oh noes I can’t squat because I’m out of time.” Go in, warm-up and head straight to what you suck at, you’ll find time to bench.
5) Sit up straight. If your posture is crap, then you are not in shape. If you posture is crap you cannot apply maximal force to a barbell/opponent/boulder/whatever. If you have bad posture, you are injured, you just don’t know it yet. If you have postural issues check out the Neanderthal No more series over at T-nation, and straighten up.
That’s it, the wisdom of mom. You always kinda knew she was right you just need the right context. So follow her advice and eat your vegetables and grow big and strong.