I follow and respect Laird Hamilton, not only because he is a stand-up paddling pioneer, but also because he’s a guy around my age who looks great, is at the top of his game, and clearly puts his family first.
I like his recent post about nutrition – it’s less than one page long, summarizes the key points of change that will make the biggest difference for most people, and, importantly, is realistic in terms of “less” and “more", rather than being absolutist and hiding behind pseudo-science, as so many nutrition experts do in the CrossFit world.
I came across this blog post recently on the IF Life blog. First of all, I am not an intermittent faster by any means. But I would probably classify myself as a boring eater for many of my mid-week meals, especially for lunch. The Trader Joe’s 5-minute shopping approach described in this post perfectly describes my shopping approach. I am the guy microwaving canned salmon over frozen broccoli in the office lunch lounge. My favorite lunch when working from home is to simply grill a piece of fish with sea salt and pepper and have it with a sweet potato. It is not boring to me, it is perfect. Interestingly, Tim Ferriss gives some of the same advice in The Four Hour Body…one of the secrets to staying lean and strong is to eat the same meals often as long as they involve protein and vegetables and you never get sick of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. But when time is limited I fall back on the old Kelly Johnson adage, “Keep it Simple, Stupid!”
Some of my favorite simple lunches:
- Trader Joe’s grilled chicken strips over organic frozen broccoli florets, with a few cooked tomatoes and tabasco sauce.
- Simple grilled fish (coconut oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper) with a sweet potato.
- Two hard-boiled eggs with a grapefruit.
- Canned sardines or mackerels with a bag of pre-washed cauliflower florets or carrots.
- Ground turkey hash with chopped onions and kale or collards (prep in advance for the week).
- Turkey meatballs with pretty much any vegetable and some hot pepper flakes – sometimes I throw in some pre-cooked wild rice if I’m doing heavy interval training.
All of these are cheap, easy, and healthy, and some might even be paleo
Trader Joe’s is the mecca for all of these, and I can usually stock up for the week for under 50 bucks.
I don’t know about you, but I’m cooked after the first real week of “winter” training here on the Beast Coast where the docks are out and the ergs are in. During the fall, I spent a lot of time deliberately building left/right imbalances in order to compete in sweep boats. Now that it’s winter, I feel like we rowers spend all week compressing our spines and ribcages: squats, jumps, running, and especially indoor rowing where you compress your lower back at the finish much more than you do on the water.
What’s one of the best ways to loosen up your thorax and let those imbalances click back into line? Jump in the pool! Why?
- Let’s not forget that we do participate in a water sport and we need to be strong swimmers “just in case.” There were some tragic events in Connecticut this week that should remind us that even the best of us have 1/16 inch of carbon between us and Davy Jones’ Locker, so we need to feel confident in the water should it ever come to that.
- It’s a really hard workout. When you can’t breathe freely, the heart rate shoots up shockingly fast. Try 200m intervals with 3 min rest to simulate 1Ks on the erg and 400m intervals to simulate 2K.
- Rowers have massive shoulder girdle strength and elasticity in one plane of motion – horizontal pulling. We tend to be much weaker at pushups, and the elasticity tends to make us really awful at overhead work. Swimming trains the full range of motion in the shoulder girdle, and this is really important for injury prevention during the racing season later on.
- Swimming twists and extends the spine and ribcage, which is like having a nice massage after a week of spine compression. Every time I get out of the pool my lower back feels awesome and all the little tweaks on my right or left side magically disappear.
- It’s fun. It’s something different. You get to listen to the old dudes singing Sinatra instead of Slayer. It’s a new challenge to master. Let’s face it, winter training is boring. Mix it up by jumping in the pool once a week. Your body and mind will thank you.
Been years since you swam? Order the Total Immersion DVDs from Netflix. They are awesome, as detailed in The Four Hour Body.
So I started reading The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, largely because I was interested in Brian MacKenzie’s participation in it.
The verdict is still out – he is an iconoclast for sure, he may be a complete nutter, or he may be on to something (or a combination of the three). I’m keeping an open mind and trying to synthesize the salient points that have relevance for my life and training goals. Interested in others’ opinions.