Week 3 Spark Insight: Morning Rituals

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Critical Concept: Wake-Up Earlier
Now that you’re getting to bed earlier, it’s going to be much easier to wake-up earlier.

The alarm goes off; you drag yourself out of bed, jump in the shower, skip breakfast and rush out of the house into traffic – barely making it to work on time. If this is sounds like your routine, you are not alone. This stress filled morning fills our body with an early dose of Cortisol, Catecholamines and other stress hormones that push your entire physiology into the Sympathetic State of Fight or Flight – where you are likely to spend the rest of your day. Eventually, you make it back to the cave and crash, psychologically exhausted from another day.

Get out of your rut. If your morning routine looks more like survival of the fittest and a race against the clock, it is time to take back your morning. Get into a groove. It is time to get up earlier and create your morning ritual. Create a compelling reason to get out of bed. Read, stretch, workout, surf, meditate, or journal. Start your day with some time for yourself. Keep it relaxed, inspiring and fulfilling. Enjoy something that you’ve been missing because you “don’t have the time”. Create the time. Do something that connects you with your bigger purpose.

Routines are the things that you have to do; rituals are the things that you get to do.

“Before you master your life, you must first master your day. Before you master your day, you must first master your morning. Before you master your morning, you must first master yourself. In order to make time for morning rituals, you must get up earlier.
- Dr. CJ Mertz

A best practice for ensuring an enriching start to your day is to allow 20 – 30 minutes for yourself. Determine how long it takes for you to shower, dress and eat a nutritious breakfast and add this additional time for morning rituals.

Utilize the 21 Day Rule to click back the alarm clock for an earlier morning wake-up. A new vital behavior involves the same 15 minute increment – set your alarm for a 15 minute earlier wake-up for 21 days in a row. Repeat this until you have achieved your target time.

Every day you get to decide if you will start rushed, anxious and stressed or relaxed, connected and inspired. Earlier mornings start the night before with earlier bed times. Get your 7 hours, maximize your sleep cycles and design a morning that gets you up and at it before the alarm clock ever rings.

Week 3 Air Insight: Functional Fitness

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Functional Fitness

Critical Concept:  Do What Moves You
Exercise is a supplement.  Our modern mechanized world has removed most of the obligate activities of our everyday.  This has left us largely movement-deficient.  Our cells expect and require relatively high levels of regular energy expenditure, including occasional bouts of real exertion.  For thousands of generations, we would walk an average of 10 to 20 miles per day – every day!

This lack of constant activity must be supplemented if we expect extraordinary health – which, by the way, is normal.  We should expect optimal cell function and health.  It is the natural consequence of living in alignment with your design.  Unfortunately, it is not the norm.

We are (literally) being crushed under the weight of the health issues created by a sedentary culture.  You were designed to move – and you sit.  The result of this is we are now faced with an over-weight, under-muscled population – the twin engines of chronic illness.

For most people, there are many excuses for not working out regularly:  no time, no energy, no money, or all of the above.  The Bonfire Program will address all of these.  The good news:  exercise is free.  The more energy you invest, the more you get in return.  And the research shows that short interval, higher intensity exercise gives you better results than long, drawn-out journeys on the treadmill or punishing runs on the pavement.

You are going to start playing again.

Functional Training is the most effective, efficient and flexible form of training ever known to man.  In fact, it has been the only type of exercise or activity any human had ever done prior to just 4 or 5 generations ago.  Believe it or not, cavemen did not do calf-raises.

We have designed the Workouts of the Day so you can work functional fitness into your daily rituals.  These workouts are designed just for you.  If you have questions about why we have created the workouts we prescribed, or questions about how to perform a specific workout, you can always reference the Glossary Of Bonfire Health Terms by clicking here.

To paraphrase the brilliant Coach Greg Glassman of Crossfit:  Functional Training is defined as universal motor recruitment patterns - compound, multi-joint movements that are effective and efficient locomotors of body and external objects.  In other words, we move ourselves and objects in natural ways over distance as quickly as possible.  There is an emphasis on training movements, not muscles.  Moving humans, not machines.

Functional Training is fully scalable.  It is not uncommon to see a young, fit teenager training alongside his or her grandmother.  The workouts are typically shorter than traditional gym workouts – and the intensity is progressive.

Well people move every day.  A best practice is to join a functional training center like Crossfit.  The coaching, community and expertise is unmatched.  Follow a program that promotes natural, functional movements.  Avoid relying on “specialized training” that develops one or two facets of fitness, but ignores the other critical elements that make up true fitness.  Join a team, get back to a sport that you loved, or learn a new one.  Play with your kids and grandkids – they functional train naturally.

The big idea is to simply do more than you did yesterday.  The ultimate fitness metric is increased work capacity.  All of the benefits of exercise are simply derivatives of this one factor.  Cardio-protective benefits, improved insulin sensitivity, body composition, blood lipids/cholesterol, abdominal measurements – all of the good stuff is found here.  The research is clear and compelling: the potentially enormous return of investing in exercise for the prevention of disease on the primary level cannot be overstated.

It’s time to face the facts:  exercise is optional.  Your choices are:  significantly increase your chances of having a long, healthy life, or ensure yourself a long and painful battle against chronic disease.

Ask your doctor if getting off of your butt is right for you.

Week 3 Fuel Insight: Getting the Right Protein

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ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Getting the Right Protein

Critical Concept:  Essential Amino Acids
An over-riding narrative in Bonfire is the promotion of a genetically congruent diet-style in the context of an overall lifestyle.  It is not accurate to have a stand-alone discussion of diet as a singular entity.  The essence of a holistic approach to health is in the understanding of the interdependence of all three of our lifestyle domains:  how we eat, how we move, and how we think.

Your genes dictate your needs.  If these needs are met, you have the greatest chance of experiencing optimal health.  If these needs are not met, you will express sickness.  Your ancestors enjoyed an incredibly active lifestyle that included a diet rich in fresh plant foods and wild game and fish.  Anthropologists are now able to decipher remains found in ancient villages like a modern CSI crime scene unit.  Geneticists decode our genome and read it like an owner’s manual.  Science can now tell us exactly what our cells require to express health.  If you want to improve your future, know your past.

There is no evidence of our ancestors ever experiencing chronic disease.

If you want to live like the healthiest humans to ever walk the earth, look to your hunter and gatherer ancestors.  You have inherited a gene that specifically requires and expects a diet rich in wild plants, game and fish.  There was no industrialized farming, no feed lots and no anti-biotic and hormone-laden, corn-fed beef available.  The game was wild, grass-fed, and all natural.  A diet-style that includes high quality protein and nutritionally dense calories not only supports an active life, but also provides great satiety as well as a thermostatic effect for those interested in “becoming lighter.”  Protein also plays a critical role in the hormonal balance of your metabolism – a major lynchpin in our current obesity and chronic disease epidemic.

Beyond the obvious dangers associated with chemically-raised beef, poultry and farmed fish is the distortion in fat content and Omega 3: Omega 6 fatty acid balance.  Grain-fed cattle are extraordinarily higher in fat than the range-fed animals that our ancestors ate.  Compounding this threat is the unnaturally high concentration on Omega 6 fatty acids.  This creates imbalance in the body and leads to the silent inflammation that is at the root of atherosclerosis (heart disease).

A best practice in the Bonfire Ideal Dietstyle is to secure a reliable source of high quality, lean cuts of grass-fed or wild meat and fish. Talk to your local grocer or butcher, join a local CSA (Community-Sponsored Agriculture) or maybe just start hunting!  All of the Bonfire Ideal Dietstyle recommendations are made within the context of an Ideal Lifestyle.  All factors interact.  This is the true essence of Holistic Living.  We do not live in a vacuum.  We must look at the totality of the lifestyles of our ancestors for guidance, and not reduce their behaviors into separate categories for our reference.  If you want to eat like a hunter and gatherer, you must live like one too.  Eat like one – lots of wild plants and animals, nuts, seeds and berries.  Move like one – move, sweat and pant – every day.  Think like one – reduce your chronic stress burden, build a bonfire and dance just to celebrate surviving another fantastic day.