My Favorite Reads of 2018

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. Robert Sapolsky, a brilliant neurobiologist and primatologist, reverse engineers human behavior—from our immediate physiological responses, to our upbringing and anthropological foundations, through our genetic and evolutionary roots—and weaves together a captivating explanation of why we, human beings, do the things we do. (Hint: the answers aren’t as simple or clear-cut as many of us think they are.) This book will enlighten you on the inner-workings of our minds and bodies and, hopefully, humble you as an individual—it certainly did so for me.

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit. Chris Matthews paints an effulgent portrait of one of the most inspiring yet tragically unfulfilled lives of the twentieth century. From his tenure as attorney general in his brother’s administration, up until his heart-rending run for president, Robert Kennedy lived a life of constant growth and service to his fellow man. Idealistic yet pragmatic, he galvanized Americans from all walks of life to set their differences aside and unite toward a common hope in perhaps one of the most tumultuous periods in our country’s history—there is a great deal we can learn by studying his example. (Even if you don’t read the book, at least take a look at this speech he gave to a black audience in Detroit just moments after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.—it’s an incredibly powerful display of the kind of empathic leadership our country desperately needs, now more than ever.)

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Equilibrium

I’ve been through quite the dietary journey in the last 17 or so years.

I can remember like it was yesterday, jumping on the low-fat-bandwagon in high school, because that’s what all the experts at the time touted as the recipe for a long, healthy life.

Then, in my late teens and early twenties, carbohydrates became the new scapegoat for all of our health problems as a society, and the conventional wisdom was that if you wanted to live a longer, healthier life—and sport a six-pack while at it—you should ditch the excess glucose and instead load up on tons of satiating protein and healthy fats.

A few years down the road from that, the Paleo(lithic) movement, piggybacking on the popularity of Crossfit and other extreme work-out trends, grabbed a hold of the zeitgeist, and now carbs were OK—just as long as you stayed away from grains and other post-agricultural foodstuffs.

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The Six Foundational Movement Patterns

Strength training programs can vary depending on a wide range of factors.

For instance:

Is the goal strength, size, or a combination of the two?

Is athletic performance the main objective?

Bulking up, or slimming down?

Male, or female?

How many days per week can you train?

How much experience do you have lifting?

And so on and so forth….

Regardless of the specific goal, however, the one thing that should remain constant in any training regimen is the incorporation of The 6 Foundational Movements.

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Fake News

One of my favorite quotes comes from the late, great Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Something that I feel has become endemic in our society is our interminable need to fill our dialogue with events and people.

While the blame ultimately lies on each and every one of us individually, it doesn’t help that we are taking in information in a manner completely distinct from the entirety of human history.

The 24 hour news-cycle that we have grown accustomed to, especially in the last decade, is predicated less on the foundation of truth and the dissemination of broad view-points than it is on flooding us with click-bate, talking-points, and sound-bites that can be easily digested, propagated, and thus converted into ad revenue for the top media corporations.

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The 4 Pillars Of A Healthy Diet

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Yesterday morning, shortly after waking up, I had breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs; a bowl of organic oats mixed with raw honey, cinnamon, and a half a cup of berries; and a big cup of organic, black coffee.

Mid-morning I had a handful of mixed, raw nuts; and an apple.

For lunch I had a half a cup of black beans on a bed of Jasmine rice; steamed broccoli; half an avocado; and 1 cup of bone broth.

My dinner consisted of 6 ounces of wild-caught salmon; a sweet potato; and kale (sautéed in ghee).

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10 Books You Should Read In 2018

2682293197_3b1514b5c7_bWe’re about to wrap up another year and, for me, that means the culmination of yet another successful stretch of reading, learning, and growing as a human being.

It’s safe to say that we are living in a truly extraordinary time.

While we have access to more information than at any other period in human history, the advent of the internet, social media, and a vastly growing 24 hour news cycle has also made it easier than ever before for us to remain in our own bubbles of like-minded people, ideas, and world views.

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Sleep Strategies For Success

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According to National Geographic’s 2014 documentary, Sleepless In America, the average American sleeps just 6.5 hours each night, with 40% of all U.S. adults sleeping less than 6 hours per night, and many more getting less than 5 hours throughout the week—this despite The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation of at least 7-9 hours per night for adults.

What does this data imply for our overall health and well-being as a society?

Well, being chronically sleep deprived can lead to a whole host of problems for us—cognitively, behaviorally, and metabolically.

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Muscle Soreness Vs. Muscle Fatigue

It was the summer of 1996.

Jay-Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt, had just been released, Michael Jordan had just won his fourth NBA championship, and Bill Clinton still knew the definition of the word “is.”

Image result for Eden Roc MiamiI was ten years old and my family headed to Miami Beach’s Eden Roc resort for one of my father’s biennial conferences for the Cuban American Medical Association.

For him this meant 3 days of lectures, meetings and glitzy dinners; for my sister and I this meant 3 days of unadulterated “fun in the sun.”

We’d get up early and hit the buffet around 8 or 9 am, then spend the rest of the day at the beach and the pool,  playing games and horsing around with the many friends we had made with the other doctors’ kids.

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The Best Exercises For Each Body Part

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I recently discussed The Law of Diminishing Returns in regard to training in an Instagram post about a week ago.

Basically, this economic principle refers to the point in which the benefit gained from something ceases to outweigh the investment (time, energy, money, etc.) required to accrue that benefit.

If you are new to training, it doesn’t take much to get results: just lift 2-3 days per week and focus on 3-4 exercises per session, consisting of full body, compound movements.

A simple workout of 2-3 sets of squats, dumbbell press, and rows can elicit some pretty impressive results if executed correctly and fused with proper eating habits.

Now, once you are passed that beginner – intermediate level and focused on taking your training and muscle-building to the next level, you’re going to have to get a little more intricate with how you design your workouts.

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The Perfect Workout

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Most people have absolutely no clue whatsoever about how they should go about designing their training sessions.

They walk into the gym and immediately head over to the free-weights or machines— without warming up—and dive in, head first, into an incredibly inefficient training session; and, in most cases I observe, a workout that usually does more harm to their bodies than good.

This is because not only are they performing exercises incorrectly, with bad form and/or in the wrong sequences, but they are also just focusing on one aspect of a training session: lifting.

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