1. You shall maximize your sleep hours
Sleep should never be neglected and that is why it is at the top of the list. It’s no secret that optimal sleep will help you be healthier but unfortunately it seems that it is getting harder and harder to achieve great and restful sleep. Sleep is non negotiable when one wants to lose weight. More than 30 publications have findings in both cross-sectional and cohort studies of children suggested short sleep duration is constantly and strongly associated with present and future obesity[i]. Research has also shown that women who sleep an average of 5 hours are heavier than those who sleep 7 hours[ii].
Simply put, less sleep reduces a Leptin level that in turn, increases your cravings that are the main culprit of our little food binges. Prolonged sleep disturbance is a great way to gain fat, insulin resistance and a higher risk of cardio vascular disease.
2. You shall keep your emotions under control
Anger and mental stress are the most detrimental elements of our realities. What you think, you become. Think about it and let it sink in.
3. You shall train intelligently
Plan your training year ahead of time. No one can or should train with full intensity year round. Incorporate high intensity phases followed by hypertrophy to rest your joints and to help reset your nervous system before bringing back another round of greater intensity with improved strength capacity.
4. You will measure your progress
You should know if you are making progress or not. Wouldn’t you like to know if what you are doing is working?
5. You shall avoid overexposure
One of the first principals of Yojokun[i], is to shy away from elements or circumstances that would damage the body. There are two categories, inner desires and external influences. Inner desires include food, drink, sex, sleep and excessive talking as well as the seven emotions, joy, anger, anxiety, yearning, sorrow, fear and astonishment. Negative external influences are the four dispositions of nature: wind, cold, heat and humidity. Being able to control your inner desires is the true foundation of the way of nurturing life. If you have a strong foundation, your strength will increase and you’ll be able to hold off the external influences. However, lack of caution towards your desires will weaken your health and make you vulnerable to external influences that will most often result in serious illness and a shorter lifespan.
Suppress anger and desire.
Diminish grief and yearning.
Never trouble your mind or your ch’i.
Do not take excessive pleasure in sleep.
Ch’i does not circulate well when lying down for extended periods of time.
Never go to bed with a full stomach.
Never eat until full, never go beyond moderation, and establish limits.
Never sit, stand or lie down for a long time.
Move to make the ch’i flow.
6. Never neglect the basics
Inside and/or outside the gym. All the supplements in the world won’t help you unless you have established a solid base nutritionally speaking. A balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats will do wonders. Only than supplements can work optimally.
The same goes in the gym. You can’t squat or bench like the big boys unless you have built a solid base by being structurally balanced.
7. You shall practice altruism
Research has put forward that practicing selflessness enhances our personal well-being—emotionally, physically, and perhaps even financially. It’s also essential to stable and healthy communities, and to the well being of our species as a whole.
I remember a while ago I had to do something in my backyard. I ordered way too much dirt and I had way too much left. I am no landscape artist so go figure. I had no idea what to do with and most people told me to sell it. I asked around and decided to GIVE it to two of my neighbors, for free.
The following day, we had an appointment but were seriously late, so we left the car in the street, even if we knew we might get a ticket due to city restrictions. One of the neighbors, who I gave some dirt to saw the parking police writing a ticket for my car, ran outside and told them that we had an emergency. So he basically saved us from that parking ticket.
Later that day, he came to ask us what happened since I never do that mistake and he told us about the parking. That guy is such a great man, checking up on the kids when they are playing outside, helping out without asking anything in return. We just return the favors when we can.
It was only a small deed we did to each other, but it had a great impact. Not too many people would have had done what he did. Really grateful for my family, friends and neighbors watching out for us and ready to help no matter what.
”Gratitude is something of which none of us can give too much. For on the smiles, the thanks we give, our little gestures of appreciation, our neighbors build up their philosophy of life.”
8. You shall give your body what your body needs
Processed foods are harder to digest and assimilate. They are often a source of food intolerances or can have undesirable symptoms such a bloating and indigestion. Foods and liquids nourish life, for that reason you should see feeding your body a life support habit that should never be abused or neglected.
9. You shall live one day at a time
One day at a time is the golden rule. Be circumspect of that day alone. Live and examine yourself one day at a time. By exhibiting common sense from morning to night, you will make no mistakes, cause little or no damage and suffer no disasters in your allotted span of life. Live for today: this will prepare your tomorrow.
10. You shall prevent illness at all cost
There is an old saying that goes; “The sage treats the not-yet-ill,” meaning that being careful beforehand will help avoid sickness altogether. Sun Tzu said, “The man who uses his army well performs no outstanding meritorious deeds.” In other words, using your resources skillfully will avoid great and dangerous battles. He also stated that the ancients who were skillful at defeating the enemy were those who defeated the easily defeated. Commit yourself to being victorious (healthy) before the battle even begins (illness). This is the strategy to heal the not-yet-ill.
[i] The ancient Chinese described it as “life force”. They believed qi permeated everything and linked their surroundings together. They likened it to the flow of energy around and through the body, forming a cohesive and functioning unit. By understanding its rhythm and flow they believed they could guide exercises and treatments to provide stability and longevity.
[ii] Ho, Peng Yoke (Oct 2000). Li, Qi, and Shu: An Introduction to Science and Civilization in China. Dover Publications.
[i] Kaibara was born into a family of advisors to the daimyo of Fukuoka Domain in Chikuzen Province (modern-day Fukuoka Prefecture). He accompanied his father to Edo in 1648, and was sent in 1649 to Nagasaki to study Western science. At his father’s urging, he continued his studies in Nagasaki as a rōnin from 1650 through 1656. In his YOJOKUN: LIFE LESSONS FROM A SAMURAI, he collected six decades of study and observation to compile one of the most remarkable commentaries of his age. In his work YOJOKUN, he combined his knowledge of holistic health, the principles of ch’i (the material force that pervades all things) and jin (“human heartedness”), Buddhism, Confucianism, and the art of living. He addressed concerns that ran from mental and physical health to spiritual matters. His discourses examined the intake of food and drink, sexual practices, sustaining stamina and health in old age, overindulgence and restraint, bathing and healthy habits, and more.
[i] Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Mar;16(3):643-53. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.118. Epub2008 Jan 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 18239586; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2723045.
[ii] Patel SR, Malhotra A, White DP, Gottlieb DJ, Hu FB. Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Nov 15;164(10):947-54. Epub 2006 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 16914506; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3496783.