Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four Thoughts

The greatest weight.-- What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?... Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?
from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Four thoughts ...

It seems counter-intuitive to me to view eternity as linear. If it were linear then all of eternity would stretch out before I was born and forevermore after I die. How can this be? If eternity existed before I was born then the time would never arrive for me to be born. Thus eternity is circular and hence my belief in the Eternal Recurrence.

There is also eternity in a moment. A moment of action, now in the past, exists for eternity - is this not hard to deny? It cannot be changed and therefore exists forever, locked in time and space. As eons pass and eternity comes full circle this moment is replayed.

There is one fact that I cannot deny and that is that I exist. It is possible for me to exist. If it is possible once then it is possible again.

Life then becomes the very opposite of meaningless. We are locked into this circle of eternity forever therefore it is imperitive that, with all our energy, we make this life the best possible one we can.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Being Seen - Some More Thoughts

I've noticed a lot of people lately running in the dark with no lights or reflective gear whatsoever. This wouldn't be so bad except that they are often running on the road expecting traffic to see them in poor visibilty conditions. This seems really dumb to me as , after all, the whole purpose of exercising is to maintain fitness and improve strength - getting bowled over by a car or even a bicycle is going to stuff up all that hard work big time.

The theme of this blog is to promote survival so that people can remain fit and strong well into old age and an important aspect of this is taking measures to protect yourself from risk. The more risks you take the more likely a tragic accident is going to occur. It's simple math. So when out running or cycling in the dark or in poor visibilty conditions it is essential to make sure you can be seen. The above photo is of me wearing my Nathan, Human Propulsion Laboratories, reflective sash. The flash from the camera reveals the excellent reflective qualities of this safety equipment. I decided on the sash over a more conventional road worker type of jacket as, well, I didn't want to look like a road worker. The sash makes me stand out from the crowd. I didn't realise at the time I took the above photo that my Addidas leggings also had reflective bits as well. I've noticed that reflective strips on parts of the body that move are very effective such as on the legs or shoes.

Think about visibilty when purchasing new training gear.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bicycle Lighting Systems

Now that it is deepest, darkest winter, providing some light for the early morning exercises is essential. On the bike I have fitted two S-Sun battery powered headlamps which are just adequate for lighting the way. The good thing about these units are that they are powerful LED type lights that can be quickly released from the bike and used while running as well. I have noticed many people running around the park on very dark mornings without lighting at all which I consider to be very foolish. The chances of tripping up are greatly increased especially on a moonless morning. There are also cattle and sheep about and the last thing you want to do is step into some pile of shit wearing your expensive runners.

The picture above is the most elaborate lighting system I have seen on a bicycle - again from Peter White Cycles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I’m an advocate for intermittent fasting. I believe you should go for as long as possible without eating anything. If you stop eating at 8pm and don’t eat again until 11am or noon then you will have fasted for 15 to 16 hours. Do this every day and eat only healthy food like meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts and your weight will be well under control with your nutritional needs being met as well.

Some people seem to get outraged by this suggestion as it goes against a lot of conventional thinking. Many people think the metabolism will come to a screaming halt if it is not fed continuously. People even think that it is highly dangerous to go any length of time without eating and that the body will start consuming its own muscles. This may well happen after a week or so of fasting but it certainly isn’t going to happen in less than 24 hours.

The regime I propose above works for me because I rarely feel like eating breakfast anyway. I have heard of someone who never ate anything after 5pm and then ate breakfast giving them a shifted 15 hour break from eating and this worked well also.

So what happens to the metabolism? It is highly doubtful that the metabolism changes much at all with this style of eating. For the most part metabolisms are set by glands and are only altered by illness. There is evidence that the metabolism is increased by doing anaerobic exercise. Sometimes after a vigorous workout involving cycling, running and then weights I have felt that my metabolism has been increased. You can just feel that your body’s furnace is turned up for a few hours afterward.

The thing is you probably don’t want to have a high metabolism. If anything a lower metabolism is desirable. Animals with high metabolisms like shrews for instance have very short life spans while animals with low metabolisms like the tortoise have very long life spans. The shrew has a very high heart rate and the tortoise a low one.

A good exercise regime should result in a lowered resting heart rate and this is a good indication that the body is operating at an optimum level. The metabolism may not be lower but it probably is operating very efficiently. A heightened heart rate is certainly an indicator of poor health or over exercise. It seems to make sense that for a long and healthy life a strong heart that pumps slowly and steadily is desirable. The Active Survivalist should endeavour to lower the resting heart rate to somewhere in the forties and have a nice efficient metabolic rate if not a low one.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Survivalist Bike

This bike is very close to what I was thinking about with my Active Survivalist bike. The Silkroad from Peter White Cycles. The one thing I would change is the front forks which should have suspension for curb hitting and generally bouncing along. I imagine this could be easily fitted. It has a 14 speed Rohloff Speedhub instead of derailleurs. The front headlight is powered by a dynamo. Mudguards are considered a little infra dig these days but I believe are a survivalist essential - you don't want dirt spraying up into your face or all up your back in wet weather.

Update: On second thoughts this bike might not suit front suspension due to the design of the dynamo. The dynamo is built into the front hub - how cool is that? I think I could live without the front suspension for something like that. This bike is appealing because everything is built in making it look very uncomplicated and durable.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Skin Offal and Bones…yum

I have read many diet and fitness articles that say things like you should remove the skin from chicken, eat only the breast meat or eat only the leanest of meats. Tons of nutritious food is discarded every day because of silly ideas like this. Imagine pulling the skin off chicken and throwing it away – it’s the best part and packed with nutritious substances essential for strong bodies.

The same goes for pork skin and fat, livers, marrow, kidneys, heart, tongue, stomach – anything from an animal you can eat you should eat. I do tend to draw the line at brains though but that’s just a bit of squeamishness on my part, some people love them.

Canned fish is a good source of nutrition, especially fish that has the bones like sardines. Sardines seem to have the guts as well, at least my Brunswick ones do although I prefer King Oscar but being three times the price they are a rare treat. The bones that have been softened by the canning process are a great source of calcium in the diet. Sardines have a very high Omega 3 rating as well and are a very oily fish.

The lean meat is probably the least nutritious part of the animal. A century or so ago a couple of Europeans found themselves having to spend a year with Eskimos in the far north. The Eskimos ate a diet almost exclusively of fresh animal product. The visitors weren’t keen on the Eskimo food and grilled their own lean seal meat. After a while they became very weak and unhealthy yet the Eskimos were fine. They started eating the Eskimo diet that included almost the entire animal even the stomach contents in nice hearty stews full of fat. Soon they got their strength back and eventually returned to civilization stronger than ever.

The moral of the story? Eat lean meat and die.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Train Your Body to Burn Fat

Some people accuse me of being too skinny and that I should put on weight. In a way I agree with them – I would love to put on a bit of muscular weight around the chest and shoulders. Yet I suspect they mean that I should put on some fat. Why this would be a good thing is beyond me. Stores of fat around the midriff are never a good thing or a good look.

I actively eat quite a bit of fat yet I do not gain weight. This is because I force my body to burn fat as a fuel. There are millions upon millions of people out there who want to lose fat yet have trained their bodies to never use fat as a fuel source. Quite simply if your system is awash with carbohydrates from bread, rice, pasta, sugars it will never need to draw upon its supply of stored fat. A lot of the time it will have an excess of sugar and will store that sugar as fat.

It’s hard for people to get their heads around this concept. Sugars make you fat, fat makes you thin. If your food source is protein, fat and some sugars from fruit and non-starchy vegetables only, you will lose weight. The idea is to keep your muscles running on only a limited supply of sugars in the form of fructose and force it to burn fat and protein. If the body can burn fat as a fuel then in situations where there is little food in the blood stream it will readily draw upon the fat reserves.

Here is an interesting article on how carbs cause weight gain.