System Endurance|Five Steps to Rekindle Motivation
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Even the most successful people in the world often fall prey to self-doubt, energy drain and complete lack of motivation.

This may arise out of successive failures at attempting something, the absence of a support network, or even from words spoken by someone you care about.

When you read the biographies of some of the most successful people in the world (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Condoleezza Rice, and even Roman Emperors, Genghis Khan), you will come across countless times when they too suffered from lack of motivation and drive.

And I’m certainly no exception: even though I immerse myself every day in expanding my toolset for high performance, including energy management and mental strength, there are times when I just feel like sitting in front of the TV and zoning out.

Bottom line: it happens to everyone, and trying to talk your way out of it by sheer willpower just doesn’t work.

What you need then is “tools” you can use, steps you can take, to put your mindset back on track.

Here are the 5 steps I recommended to a very successful friend who couldn’t get out of a “slump”.

System Endurance Weekly Tips | Training in Hot Weather?
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 Love at first sight? Or is there something more to it?

I’m sure you know the feeling: you meet someone for the first time, and within seconds you’ve made up your mind whether you like that person or not. Don’t be too hard on yourself, science says that’s human nature. As you can see from this article, science demonstrates that there are at least 9 things people will decide about you from the first few seconds of an encounter. These things include whether you’re trustworthy or not, whether you’re “high status”, how smart you are, your level of promiscuity, whether you’re successful or not, and others. Yes I know it’s superficial, and judgmental, and and and… BUT, the reason I’m bringing this up is because we DO live in a certain kind of society, and if one of your goals is to achieve high performance (personal, social, professional, or otherwise), you need to know what signals you’re sending to your “audience” when you walk into a room. I often tell people that the power of “self-consciousness” is tremendous: being able to see yourself “as a spectator” will allow you to mold your language, body language, and behavior to achieve the desired effect.

System Endurance | The Health Benefits of Fasting
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My toolkit for fighting off any type of viral or bacterial infection contains a number of tools, all natural of course. It’s a strategy I developed over the past 3 years, and the result is that I’ve had only 1 bout of flu in 2.5 years and it lasted for 48hrs and 0 absenteeism.

I won’t get into the various natural herbs and supplements I use in this post. I do however want to discuss a tool I commonly use not just to fight off infections, but also as a general “detox” at least twice a week, sometimes more often: intermittent fasting.

Fasting has been shown in various scientific and epidemiological studies to have numerous health benefits, including improving fat and metabolic adaptation and fighting off inflammation. Have you heard of the “grandmother” expression: “starve a fever”?

In fact, researchers from Yale University recently discovered a compound produced by the body during calorie restriction (fasting) and which can combat inflammation, especially those linked to inflammatory disorders such as Type II Diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, etc… (source: Life Extension Magazine).

How to do intermittent fasting:

Method 1: restricted eating window. I follow this method personally: I consume calorie-containing food/drink within a short window, between 2-9pm (except for water). Caution: don’t do this for longer than 3 days in a row or when training really hard.

Method 2: once or twice a week, go for a 24h water-only fast. I normally do it “from dinner to dinner”.

As you become proficient at fasting, you will realize that you will have more energy, better mental clarity and sharpness and a healthier immune system. In fact, I will often go into “fasting state” whenever I have critical meetings where I need my brain to function at its best.

For more information, head to systemendurance.com

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Optimal nutrition and workout protocol to stay healthy, fit and function well while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

I would like to begin by wishing my Muslim friends Ramadan Kareem.

With the holy month of Ramadan taking place in the summer this year, the duration of the fast is long, ranging between 15-17 hours in many places. For my friends in Dubai and the GCC, the fast lasts for around 15 hours, which often includes a full work-day.

This presents a number of challenges relating to maintaining strong cognitive function and staying alert during the latter hours of the day, prior to the break of fast. I’m presenting below my thoughts on how to approach meals, workouts, and differences between men and women.However before I outline my advice on how best to manage your diet during the Holy month, I wanted to point out some of the significant health benefits of “fasting”.

Numerous study as well as anecdotal evidence point to the positive effects of intermittent fasting on the human body.

Such benefits include:

– Autophagy: this refers to the process of “cleaning house” that cells undertake. When cells are not busy metabolizing nutrients from food, they are free to dedicated organelles and enzymes to “clean up house”, removing toxins and unwanted molecules. This is of particular importance for the immune system, as cells responsible for our defense absorb “invaders” then destroy them within the cells. Autophagy is an integral part of that process and fasting is a big contributor to this phenomenon

– Increased fat oxidation and improved lipid profile: when the body is deprived of carbohydrates for 12-15 hours, it goes into fat-burning mode (ketosis). In other words, your body starts to burn triglycerides for fuel, thereby improving your triglycerides level, a primary risk for metabolic disease. And the more your body burns triglycerides, the more it gets used to doing so even outside of fasting

HOWEVER: fasting done wrong can certainly harm you rather than benefit you.

If the body is not “primed” to burn fat, or if steps are taken to disable the ability to burn fat: adrenal glands will become stressed, cortisol (stress hormone) will be elevated, immune system will be under pressure, hormones will be out of whack, muscles will be used as fuel causing muscle loss and lower metabolism, and finally severe carb cravings and over-feeding will result in insulin resistance, weight gain, etc…

GUIDELINES FOR FASTING IN A HEALTHY WAY

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Men: focus on high quality fats and protein, minimize carbs.

Why minimize carbs? Because carbs will cause a rise in insulin, which in turn will cause a drop in “lipase”, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat for fuel. In other words, carbs will “switch off your ability to burn fat for fuel”.

Then what happens is that a few hours later, the carbs you’ve eaten have been burned off, your ability to burn fat has been switched off, and you “crash”.

A sample meal could be: eggs, avocado, butter, spinach, chia seeds, unprocessed sea salt.

– Keep the meal small and easy to digest so you can sleep afterwards
– Add some amino acids if you’re likely to be very active during the day
– The higher fat content will give you the fuel you need to continue to burn fat and function well throughout the day and will trigger the utilization of your own fat
– Avoiding carbs will make sure you stay in fat burning mode
– It is advisable to take some digestive enzymes if you plan to go back to sleep after your meal
– Hydrate well
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Women: similar to men but add some low insulin index carbohydrates such as a little bit of sweet potato or some oats (if you can tolerate it).

– the reason for the added carbs for women is because women require a higher carb intake than men to maintain proper adrenal function and hormonal balance. Skipping the carbs increases the risk of stressing your hormones, lowering your metabolism, and causing you to be in a state of “inflammation”

IFTAR

Your main carb intake should come during Iftar. You should balance it out with protein and healthy fats.

HOWEVER: you still want to avoid big insulin spikes which cause the carb eaten to be converted into triglycerides.

Dates are a question mark. It’s ok to have one date to break the fast, but only one. Dates cause a BIG insulin spike, something you want to avoid (unless you’ve worked out immediately before Iftar, see below).

You want to stick to low Glycemic Load carbs, so also stay away from all the sugary drinks (juices), bread, etc. Rather focus on rice, quinoa, sweet or even regular potatoes, carrots, etc (all within reason).

Sample meal: 1 date, soup, rice with lamb and salad

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No differences between men and women for Iftar.

If you want to read more about the carb metabolism, see http://ow.ly/3mogOO

SNACK

If you’re an active person or have trouble sleeping through the night, a small piece of fruit or 1 tbsp of raw honey (even better) just before bed would be ideal to make sure your blood sugar doesn’t crash and wake you up during the night.
(continued)

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Why do fat-adapted people have a much easier time dropping weight?
While I often talk about the benefits of fat adaptation for athletic performance, the main reasons I encourage it are health-related: your body’s ability to rely primarily on fat as fuel means you will maintain optimal body composition, maintain healthy levels of blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides), maintain lower inflammation and accelerate recovery, keep diabetes at bay, and more. This study recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reveals that “fat-burning athletes” not only burn more fat during an exercise session, but continue to do so for the 24 hours following exercise, and more importantly, maintain higher insulin sensitivity (a good thing!) when compared with “carb-burning athletes”. Oh and while endurance magazines are beginning to catch-on to the trend and beginning to advocate “fasted training” as a path to fat adaptation, know this: fat adaptation is 20% what you do/eat during training and 80% what you do/eat during the REST of the day! Fasted long rides at low heart rates will NOT give you long-term sustainable fat adaptation.

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New study as further proof of link between gluten and inflammation in people without Celiac:
This is another attempt on my part to silence those who believe that gluten sensitivity is “bogus” or psychosomatic: a new study by the University of Toronto looked at the impact of gluten consumption on inflammatory biomarkers in young adults NOT diagnosed with Celiac disease. The results indicate that consumption of gluten is linked to an increase in inflammatory markers.

Consumption of high fructose corn syrup (soft drinks) directly linked to rise in heart disease factors:
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock: yet another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition established a direct link between consumption of high fructose corn syrup (commonly found in soft drinks and other beverages) with a dramatic rise in markers linked with cardiovascular disease (such as triglycerides, LDL Cholesterol, apo-B and Uric Acid). Of further interest is the fact that this was a “dose-response” study, where: the higher the dose of high fructose corn syrup the bigger the rise in Trig, LDL, apo-B, and uric acid.

A 20-year study reveals a link between consumption of certain vegetables and reduction in breast cancer risk:
In a 20-year follow-up study by the school of medicine at Harvard, scientists were able to determine that higher levels of carotenoids were associated with a significantly lower risk of breast cancer in women, particularly for more aggressive and ultimately fatal conditions. As a reminder, carotenoids are powerful antioxidants which can be found in high concentrations in certain fruits and vegetables, notably carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Furthermore, studies have shown that the addition of a fat source along with such fruits and veg (e.g. Avocado, olive oil) would help increase carotenoid absorption from these foods.

Another study showing that while saturated fat may increase LDL Cholesterol, this has no impact on atherosclerosis:
I don’t know how many studies need to be released showing the lack of evidence supporting the “eat low fat to avoid heart disease” hypothesis before the populace wakes up. Anyway: here’s a study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Conclusion: Although there was a clear association between consumption of saturated fat and LDL cholesterol, the rise in LDL cholesterol was NOT associated with mortality from atherosclerosis (formation of plaque in arteries).

For more information about system endurance and health studies visit systemendurance.com