What is the purpose of our existence? What have we been put on this earth to do? And where does fitness fit in the picture?
Summer is just around the corner and you want to get lean and look sexy in your bikini/ shorts. You’re thinking about starting a new fitness and diet regimen and maybe buying a couple fat-burning pills and weight-loss shakes to “speed-up” the process. You’re somewhat excited to start this journey, but at the same time you quiver at the thought of restricting your food intake and not being able to just eat whatever whenever.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know it can take a serious toll on your energy levels, your mood and your perceived quality of life. Everybody’s annoying (ok, no change here), every extra step is a struggle and the only pleasure you feel is when “cheat day” comes around and you can destroy your week’s progress in one sitting.
Why is losing weight so hard?
It’s not because you had to cut out the triple bacon cheeseburger with fries you always enjoyed for lunch or because you started going to the gym again after a 5 month (year?) lay-off. It’s because it goes against nature. That’s not to say that eating less and being active is unhealthy or dangerous, but it contradicts our instincts.
The human body was designed to fulfill one objective: Reproduction.
From a biological perspective, that is what you have been put on this earth to do. But in order to reproduce, you have to live long enough to get comfy with someone. Everything else is secondary.
We were also designed to crave high energy foods and to choose comfort over physical hardship. But in the past that was never an issue since survival required us to be active and to go for periods with little to no food (peanut butter cups were hard to come by back then). Today, however, our biological make-up is confronted with a new environment.
So what does this tell us? What implications does this have for our lives? Should we all stop dieting and have sex all day while prepping for the zombie apocalypse?
Close… but no.
In order to understand why we get fat and sick and what makes us thrive, we need to look at life through the lens of evolution. Everything you do, everything you eat, everything you say to the cute blonde at the bar is geared towards survival and reproduction. But there’s a problem…
We are losing our ability to procreate
The modern male is losing his fertility. Testosterone rates are declining massively every generation and the world’s population is facing an unprecedented health crisis. Cancer of the reproductive organs (breast and prostate) is at an all time high. As a species, we are losing our ability to procreate. “If the decrease in sperm counts were to continue at the rate that it is then in a few years we will witness widespread male infertility.” (Dindyal, 2003)
Are we displaying the first signs of extinction?
“…knowing your body’s evolutionary history helps to evaluate why your body looks and works as it does, hence why you get sick.” (Lieberman, 2013)
There are two main reasons for this modern phenomenon (nightmare):
- consumption of too much energy (calories)
- too little activity
Most men get the jab-punch combination (to their balls), by being mostly sedentary and eating too much food, thus inviting cardiovascular disease and infertility into their lives. The higher your level of body-fat, the higher your chances of suffering from low testosterone and metabolic syndrome (diabetes & co).
What’s the solution? How do you survive in a society that is getting increasingly sick and dysfunctional?
Live the life you were programmed to live
- Lose the excess weight
- Trigger your inherent survival mechanism by exercising intensely and
- abstaining from food intermittently (eating less often)
The human machine has been designed to thrive under acute physical and nutritional stress. The health benefits of fasting (aka prolonged periods without feeding), calorie restriction and exercise have been widely documented. These strategies correlate strongly with reductions in all cause mortality.
There are certain compounds that mimic the effects of fasting and calorie restriction found in wild berries, herbs and other plant foods. While very helpful, they will never be as effective as the real deal. Just goes to show that everything you need in order to thrive is abundantly present in nature. If you move too far away from this pre-determined path, you will suffer the consequences.
Nature is ruthless but she’s not unfair. You’ve been equipped with everything you need to fulfill your potential.
The above recommendations don’t look much different from the stuff you’ll read in a fitness protocol (albeit a good one of course). But we’re not talking six-pack abs here. We’re talking biological fitness. We’re talking survival. If you can stick to these basic principles, you will unquestionably improve all relevant markers of fitness, health and longevity. But we’re not done yet. I have only given you a glimpse at the possibilities. It’s time you start living the good life.
Stay tuned. And as always…
Thank you for reading
Dindyal, S. (2003). The sperm count has been decreasing steadily for many years in Western industrialized countries: Is there an endocrine basis for this decrease? The Internet Journal of Urology. 2003 Volume 2 Number 1.
Ghiyath S./ Bhattacharya, A./ Bhattacharya, S. (2009). Review: Male Obesity and Reproductive Potential. British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease 9, no. 1 2009: 7–12.
Hursting, S.D./ Lavigne, J.A./ Berrigan, D./ Perkins, S.N./ Barrett, J.C. (2003). Calorie restriction, aging and cancer prevention: mechanisms of action and applicability to humans. Annu Rev Med 2003; 54:131-52
Ingram, D.K./ Zhu, M./ Mamczarz, J./ Zou, S./ Lane, M.A./ Roth, G.S./ deCabo, R. (2006). Calorie restriction mimetics: an emerging research field. Aging Cell. 5:97–108.
Laaksonen, D. E./ Niskanen, L./ Punnonen, K./ Nyyssönen, K./ Tuomainen, /.P./ Valkonen, V.P./ Salonen, R./ Salonen, J.T. (2009). Testosterone and Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin Predict the Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes in Middle-Aged Men. Diabetes Care 27, no. 5 2004: 1036–41
Lieberman, D. (2013). The Story of the Human Body. London: Penguin
Nytröm, T. (2004). Growth versus maintenance: a trade-off dictated by RNA polymerase availability and sigma factor competition? Mol Microbiol. 2004 Nov;54(4):855-62.
Salah, A.M. (2014). Role of Intermittent Fasting on Improving Health and Reducing Diseases. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2014 Jul; 8(3): V–VI.
Travison, T.G./A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men