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    • The book begins at night—during an ultra-marathon—with the author ordering a pizza from his cellphone.  “I should be at mile marker 48 in thirty minutes. Meet me there.”

      Is running an ultramarathon while carrying a pizza box and eating the contents a fitness hack?  Maybe @VilTri would agree.

      But for those of us lesser mortals working on our New Year’s resolutions

      or just trying to improve our overall fitness,

      What are some fitness hacks that you’ve found useful in staying on track, avoiding temptation and getting in better shape?

    • I have that book in my reading list and my New Year's resolution is to actually finish it. There are a few great books I would recommend to read to get inspired to make a change. One of the books that litterally changed my life and inspired me to take care of my health and fitness is Finding Ultra by Rich Roll.

      At the time when read this book, I was in the middle of transforming myself and my lifestyle, specifically by eating heathly and becoming inspired by the physical and mental challenges of triathlon.

      New Year's resolutions are a good way to jump start something that we never get around to. However, the goal isn't to start but to keep on going year after year. The goal shouldn't be how can one get ripped in 30 days, but how can one build a lifestyle that would let them have a nice body and feeling healthy overall. Getting ripped or running a marathon is a tough but achievable goal, but staying ripped and running marathons on a consistent basis is extremely difficult.

    • I haven't found any one hack that has worked for me, more like a culmination of many small things done consistently that become habits and together can make a fit person. I think there are two big mistakes people often make with resolutions like those at new years:

      1. They pick something that's too difficult - It's really easy to set a huge goal, like going low carb, running a marathon something else without really understanding the lifestyle changes that need to come along with that. It's better to do small things and make them habit.

      2. They set outcome goals instead of process goals - People want to have an outcome like "I want to look sexy like that person" or "I want to lose 100 lbs". It's much better to set process goals. Like "I want to make it a habit every day to get 5000 steps on my fitness tracker instead of the 2000 I have been getting".

      That being said, here are the things I could think of that are pretty easy to do but collectively will lead to a better lifestyle and healthier habits. Don't try to do all of these at once. Pick one and focus on it for a while until some progress is made, then pick another one.

      Weight loss

      Walk more - Get a fitness tracker and keep track of how much you are walking. Getting frustrated with something at work? Take a walk. Feeling sluggish? Take a walk instead of having a snack / coffee (ok who am I kidding, have the coffee anyway). Walking is great because it is activity that is almost all fat burn and doesn't activate hormones that tell your body to eat like intense exercise.

      Workout for lunch (or dinner) - Feel like taking a break and sitting down to a big meal? Go workout while you are doing it. I'll often go ride my bike at lunch time and eat some sport snacks on the ride, and forgo a big lunch. But make sure to still eat something!

      Track calories (but not all the time) - Just for a couple weeks track how many calories you are eating, and the macronutrient composition (fat, protein, carbs). It's pretty surprising the trends you will notice and adjustments you can make.

      Eat less sugar - This one is kind of obvious. You don't have to cut it out entirely, but once you start paying attention it is amazing the kinds of things that have sugar added to them. Bread, cereal, yogurt, drinks etc. Reducing blood sugar fluctuation makes self control a lot better, and makes all of these things easier.

      Drink less alcohol - I love alcohol, but it's basically pure carbs with no nutrients or fiber. Plus it decreases your body's ability to heal itself. Just cut out a few drinks when you can.

      Eat more fiber - More fiber means more satiation. So your meal will go a much longer way. It also means that food is slower to digest, so there is less of a spike in blood sugar. It doesn't have to be salads all day long. In my experience comparing a product like bread, sugar added and fiber content are inversely proportional; So it's kind of a win win.

      Weigh yourself every day - And don't take it personally. Just see the number, and realize if it is going up or down and make adjustments. Also, remember that water weight can fluctuate your weight up and down by several pounds in either direction in a given day. This is affected by eating salty foods, eating more carbs than you need, and dehydration.

      Fitness

      Workout many times a week - instead of going to the gym a couple times a week for an hour or two. It's more effective if you want to get fitter faster.

      Tie your workouts to your shower - I can't last longer than a day without showering before I start feeling gross and need to shower, always before bothers other people (I hope 🤞). The thought process becomes "I need to workout so I can shower". It's surprisingly effective at preventing workout skips. Please don't do this if you are fine being grungy, be kind.

      Don't go hard all the time - This is a really easy way to burn out. Just have a couple of hard workouts a week and then the rest can be easy. Typically referred to as the 80/20 rule, where you go hard 20% of the time and easy 80% of the time.

      Have a plan - Either a coach or a training plan of some sort, with a specific goal in mind. If you are training for a competition, a marathon, a triathlon, a cross fit competition, having a goal helps keep things on track.

    • The goal shouldn't be how can one get ripped in 30 days, but how can one build a lifestyle that would let them have a nice body and feeling healthy overall. 

      I completely agree with that incremental or iterative approach to lifelong betterment. It’s funny but yesterday there was

      C H E E S E C A K E

      in the break room at work.

      As I’ve shared with @Victoria and others here, that delicious dessert is a favorite.

      However, I realized that cheesecake has the same food addiction profile for me as ice cream (high fat + megadoses of sugar). So I passed on the

      C H E E S E C A K E

      and ate a tasty bowlful of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries instead.

      I did read some of the reviews for the book Finding Ultra and there were some angry/disappointed book reviewers:

      The bad: he never really tells you. Always opting for generalities, he tells you about the "power" of plants, loaded with "nutrients". He claims to have read all the scientific literature on the topic, but all he can muster is a stray footnote to an article on CNN or Bloombergnews.

      The ugly: the book comes across as a vehicle for product placement. Buy a Vitamix blender! My specialized Transition S bike is so good! My proprietary blend of wacky vegan foods will make you as healthy as me... for the low, low price of (unknown, never bothered to check any of the websites he pimps in his book)! 

      @VilTri Was the book mainly helpful in transforming your mindset, or were there practical suggestions as well that helped in getting from where you were to where you wanted to be?

    • The book Finding Ultra isn’t a step-by-step tutorial on how to turn around your life nor how to eat healthy. Instead, it is a memoir of Rich Roll’s life and how he went through the depths of depression and deteriorating health in his 40s. From being a world class swimmer with a full scholarship to Stanford, to becoming an overweight and depressed lawyer with a long history of alcoholism.

      It is a story of reaching a fulcrum point in life and making a dramatic decision to completely upend all of his habits, beliefs and values. But he didn’t just stop there he kept going and achieved something that had never been done before by anyone. He completed 5 Ironman distance events on 5 different Hawaiian islands in under a week.

      His struggles in life and how he turned it around is what truly inspired me to do something with my life. There aren’t many books that inspired me to make difficult changes, but this book did.

    • apm, you might be interested in this book by the former FDA commissioner under Bush 1 and Clinton, then dean of Yale's Medical school. He was famous as the commissioner who cracked big tobacco. He has both law and medical degrees and taught in both Columbia Law school and the Eistein School of Medicine.

      What's significant about the book is that Kessler studied food engineering, what food companies do so you can't eat just one. It's very eye-opening.

    You've been invited!