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Introductory Books to Health

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Hi 

 

I am trying to figure out how much time and energy it is proper for me use on staying healthy. Unfortunately, I do not have very much knowledge about this topic. Considering this, it would benefit me tremendiosly to read some introductory books about health (both related to excersise and diet), and the positive effects staying healthy can have (cost and benefit, you know). Can any of you recommend something to read?

Kristen 

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After years of reading contradictory claim after claim, my own health strategy is to do something (related to food consumption and/or particular exercise regimens) and see its immediate effects on how I feel daily or weekly.

For why you should be wary of longstanding dietary assumptions, such as those made about red meat and heart health, fat/saturated fat, salt, etc., read a book called "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, where he thoroughly researches the full data history behind these claims and shows them to mostly be the result of government public health agendas, ie. lies.

For what *general* diet and exercises you might consider following, look at the results of its practitioners and judge them for yourself. For example, *in general* I think vegans look like walking zombies, Cross Fit people look like doughy lumps, and runners/marathoners look like they're about to topple over in exhaustion and pain even at rest; whereas "paleo" lifestyle people tend to look happy, fit, and comfortable. But, human health seems to have endless caveats, and none of these diets seem to work for everyone universally (though I think there are some major trends). Take me, for example: I exercise hardly ever and eat basically whatever I want, but I need sleep or else I am completely dysfunctional. That's me "optimized," but I know people who eat corn food products and buckle over in pain. Your particulars will probably be different from anyone you know, and you'll find out by trying something and then paying attention to how you feel afterward. If you're interested, you might look at some "science," but even that won't apply to everyone, and you may discover that fish oil (or whatever) seems to be totally wasted on you personally and has no affect whatever.

The goal is to feel good (and maybe look good), and to live long -- not to fit into some diet guru's agenda. I'd question everything, and start with paleo stuff that is backed up by a lot of research or a LOT of anecdotal results from many different individuals. But even within the paleo crowd, be wary of their claims; "I never eat eggs and you shouldn't either," or whatever, needs to be tried and proven by you personally. Maybe eggs (or whatever) don't seem to affect you much either way. Likewise, maybe you really like to run and it doesn't seem to stress your joints too much at your present age. But some guy is telling you that running will kill you -- I'd ignore that guy and instead get outside doing something you like.

Edited by JASKN
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JASKN has made some very good points. After many years, I have come to the conclusion that almost every health claim, scientific report, or fad that I have encountered since the 1970's is just so much hokum. Both nutrition science and medical science leave a lot to be desired. That said, there is an old book titled "Aerobics" by Dr. Cooper that is balanced and scientific. However, I would suggest that weight trainers these days are quite knowleable. (You might be surprised how much can be gained from some of their sites online.) In the end, you will have to do what is right for your body and mind.

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I will add to James' recommendation of Taubes' work about kinds of calories the book Fat Chance by Dr. Lustig.

He argues that what both the China study by Dr. Campbell and Atkins share in common, is that they both avoid fructose. Both are highly unconventional and you will have a lot of argumentation on both sides of the calorie continuum to wade through. Lustig has a video on YouTube called Sugar The Bitter Truth along with others.

Fair warning, Lustig does try to use this idea for paternalistic legislation....

As a long time personal trainer, the easiest thing I would tell you to do is to never consume sugar without fiber and cut out 80-90 percent of refined carbohydrates. Just doing that will effect most peoples body composition enough to get them motivated to continue their efforts.

Edited by Plasmatic
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  • 1 month later...

Exercise is the field I'm most passionate about. What I consider to be the correct philosophy of exercise was developed by Arthur Jones, a real-life Randian genius who was accomplished in several fields, but is best known as the inventor of Nautilus machines.

 

The Jonesian philosohy boils down to these principles:

  • the essential form of exercise is resistance training, i.e. weight lifting
  • train hard—exercise should be intense enough to impose demands on the body that challenge its current capabilities
  • train briefly—any session high enough in intensity to stimulate improvement must be proportionately short in duration
  • train infrequently—recovering from high-intensity exercise requires several days of rest between sessions

Over the decades, Jones' disciples have refined the methods used with this approach. They've found that an ideal program of structured exercise consists of about one or two workouts per week of hard weight training sessions lasting no more than about 15 minutes each, or a maximum of about 20-30 minutes of total exercise per week. While it's fine to do extraneous activity in addition to this (sports, hiking, cycling, etc.), it should be considered recreation, not exercise.

 

Here's a two-part video exemplifying a typical workout (note that the use of sophisticated equipment is not required). The person in the video is Dr. Doug  McGuff, MD, an Objectivist phyisican:

 

 

The book "Body by Science" by McGuff is an excellent primer on how to exercise rationally:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Body-Science-Research-Strength-Training/dp/0071597174

Edited by happiness
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For what *general* diet and exercises you might consider following, look at the results of its practitioners and judge them for yourself. For example, *in general* I think vegans look like walking zombies, Cross Fit people look like doughy lumps, and runners/marathoners look like they're about to topple over in exhaustion and pain even at rest; whereas "paleo" lifestyle people tend to look happy, fit, and comfortable. But, human health seems to have endless caveats, and none of these diets seem to work for everyone universally (though I think there are some major trends).

 

In fairness, what you look like has more to do with genetics than what exercise program you follow. Today, the people with the best physiques are typically the most ignorant about exericse. Your basic physical attributes are biologically fixed; exercise will only make you look like an improved version of yourself.

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In fairness, what you look like has more to do with genetics than what exercise program you follow. Today, the people with the best physiques are typically the most ignorant about exericse. Your basic physical attributes are biologically fixed; exercise will only make you look like an improved version of yourself.

"Best" is measured in lots of ways when you're talking about human bodies. Best looking? Best likelihood of aging well (and by well, does that mean longevity, looking attractive, feeling good, without major illness such as skin cancer...?), best as compared to his closest ethnic group, best in a bodybuilding competition, best for lowest threshold for personal health upkeep per life duration? Etc.

But, that was my point. People are so different physically as compared to present knowledge on human health. What works for one often doesn't work for another. My observations were about what effect different types of exercise seems to have within the context of diverse genetics. But presently, "seems" is about as good as it gets.

That said, I've personally had the best results using the exercise regime in your other post. It seems counterintuitive, but if I try to do more than a couple workouts a week, my joints get torn up and I can't recover soon enough for more exercise later in the week.

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Happiness said:

In fairness, what you look like has more to do with genetics than what exercise program you follow. Today, the people with the best physiques are typically the most ignorant about exericse. Your basic physical attributes are biologically fixed; exercise will only make you look like an improved version of yourself.

As a long time personal trainer and wrestling coach I would caution you here. Its certainly true that one cannot transcend their genetics (without technology) but I have helped people become unrecognizable from their initial physique. The method one uses has an immense influence on outcome.

Edit: Jones' method is very similar to Mentzner's and I utilized M's stuff most of my life. However, I can tell you it is TERRIBLE for sports specific training. Try to lift High Intensity training (mentzner) and be a good wrestler and you will find out what I mean.

Edited by Plasmatic
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