Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.

November 19, 2023 | Max Jenkinson

Simple Things Repeated Changes Lives

You are on a metaphorical journey up the mountain of good health, where boulders threaten to knock you off course and indirect challenges test your resilience.

The mountain you climb is Maslow’s mountain of needs. It seemingly determines your well-being. The obvious goal then is to climb as high as you can.

Do you see material success on the mountain?

If your physical health was impeccable, your mental health was incredible and you had a monk-like philosophical perspective, do you need more than you have to be happy?

Even if we know what we should do it won’t matter unless we have a “why“ strong enough. There are two main problems we face when attempting to be healthy.

The first one is that we don’t have a good enough reason to do what we need to be healthy. The second one is that we don’t know what we should do (or have too many options of what we could do).

We solve the first by understanding the metaphorical mountain we all climb. Luckily enough I realized quite early on that it was up to me to climb the mountain if I wanted to be happy.

In the beginning, I focused on things I thought would make me healthy once and for all. Fasting, cold showers, specific molecules in kale, and secret supplements. I was searching for the one thing that would save me.

I was stuck in this quick-fix mindset for years. Somewhere along the road, I started to view my health more and more from a biological perspective, and so I switched my approach.

The quick-fix mindset didn’t take me far. When I started looking for the fundamentals of good health I made more progress in a couple of months than I did in the previous years.

Once we accept that the metaphorical mountain is not only worth climbing but also the determining factor of our well-being, a new approach is needed. One that allows us to make an implementable change that helps our upward mobility.


Fundamentals. Fundamentals. Fundamentals.

But, what are the fundamentals?

The quick-fix mindset is an evolutionary bug. Something that filled a useful purpose in the past.

Today we are constantly being sold the idea that there are magic pills out there for any problem that we have. These shiny objects are so bright that we are blind to what actually works.

Everyone who has gone deep into anything goes into it with an idealistic idea of what we should do. There has to be a secret that we need to figure out.

On the other side of mastery, we all realize something. It is the fundamentals repeated on a daily basis for an unappealing amount of time that create the results we want.

Getting big in the gym is not about exercise selection or some secret supplement (unless you want to take steroids). It comes down to volume, intensity, progressive overload, and recovery.

Your body evolved to be healthy because health is evolutionarily adaptive. Your lack of health is due to things that impair your body’s ability to remain healthy.

There are boulders in your environment hitting you left and right making you fall down the metaphorical mountain of health we all must climb. Sidestep the large boulder you see coming. Do the basics to maintain a resilient body so you can withstand the boulders you can’t see.

You know what to do, you’ve heard it all before. But, like I was, you’re still searching for that one low-effort thing that will make you healthy, wealthy and sexy as fuck.

You’re never going to find it. Anything hard requires effort. The quick-fix mindset is keeping you stuck in a place with hope but no real progress. Hope without progress over time turns into resentment.

Why am I fat?, why am not rich and why don’t I have a six pack?

Well obviously, it’s because you have not done the required work. If I put the fundamentals into the context of determining everything you value, you might do them.

However, there’s still a problem, what you could do is more than what you can do. The things you should do for your health are overwhelming.

When there are too many options, we end up doing nothing. What we should do is simple but knowing what to do and why is hard.

The mountain we all have to climb is the mountain that determines our well-being, our motivation, our drive, our vitality, and our reality.

Why in the world are you not improving your ability to climb that mountain if this is the case?

Everything you value and everything that stands in your way of happiness is on that mountain. What allows you to climb it is your physical health. So, let’s do the fundamentals on a daily basis for an unappealing amount of time that create the results we want.

Here they are:

Setting The Time

Your body evolved in a 24-hour cycle. It regulates all the trillions of processes according to the time of day. However, the watch wasn’t invented until late in our history.

Instead of using a watch to tell the time the body uses other things called zeit-geibers. The main things are light, temperature, sleep- and meal timing.

We want the body to upregulate processes related to digestion when we eat, processes related to regeneration when we sleep, and processes related to motivation and energy when we work.

To do this there are so fundamental habits we can implement.

  1. Eat at similar times every day

  2. Wake up and go to bed at similar times every day

  3. Get daylight into your eyes in the morning

By doing this we ensure that processes are turned on at the correct time. But, the processes run on raw materials we get from food. Pretty simple right, so, now do it.

Giving The Body What It Needs

The raw material our body uses comes from food. Macro- and micronutrients. We need both in sufficient amounts.

If we eat real food we get nutrients in a form our bodies understand. We also usually get them in a sufficient amount. So, it’s quite easy. Remove the shit from your diet.

It’s only when you have switched to a whole-food diet you can start to optimize for nutrient density. Don’t think about supplements, or superfoods, or a special diet unless you stop eating things worse than dog food.

Moving and not moving is essential

The body did not evolve in a vat. It evolved constantly moving through a dynamic environment. There are three main categories of movement we all need to hit.

1) Accumulated Movement

Our bodies are made to move constantly. The majority of that movement is low effort, like walking, dancing, or playing games.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of this every day, preferably more. There is (almost) no upper limit so go easy and long.

2) Sprinting For Your Life

We used to run really fast when we had to. So often that it is required for our bodies to function properly.

A couple of times per week to some maximal effort sprints. It doesn’t matter if it’s running, biking, or any other form of cardio. Just keep it very short and very intense.

3) Picking Heavy Things Off The Ground

This is probably the most bang for your buck category when it comes to movement. Everyone should do it, kids, women, men, old people.

It seems to be more important the more frail we become. So, the older you are the more important it is to lift heavy shit.

Again, do this a couple of times per week not more than 30 minutes per session unless you want to. The important part is intensity, it needs to be really hard (for you).

Rest Is Also Vital

But let’s not forget that we also need rest so that we can reap the benefits of our movement. Without rest, movement is just another stressor.

So, sleep more than you think you need. Experiment with sauna, cold exposure, and breath work.


Why the Fundamentals Work

As I said, your body wants to be healthy. It does this by regulating trillions of processes all in harmony. Sounds complicated? Well, that’s because it is.

BIOLOGY IS COMPLEX. That’s why we can’t seem to figure out how to be healthy.

I could talk about complex biochemical pathways and acronyms like PDH, IGF-1, FAAS, and SCD1. It might sound smart but unless we can derive practical advice from their understanding it becomes useless.

The question we’re trying to answer is not how the complex processes in our bodies work but what makes them work, so, think of it this way. Your cells all have the same hardware, but it’s the software that makes the processes run well or not.

The software runs on information and building blocks. But, there are also things that impair the body’s ability to run the software correctly. You can think of these as anything the body is not used to.

To be healthy we need to give the body information about what time it is and what we want it to do. We also need to give it the raw material so that it can act on the information we give.

But, we also need to remove as much confusion as possible. We do this by avoiding things that give confusing information. Irregular sleep schedule, processed foods, and lack of movement.


Do it & Do it now

We’ve now done the basics of letting our body know what time of day it is so that it can regulate all the trillions of internal processes accordingly. We have also given the body the raw materials it needs to run those processes. Finally, we move the body in ways that stimulate the correct response to maintain a highly functional and healthy body.

This is probably the work required to get 80% of the way toward optimal health. And the impressive part is that it does not take a lot of time out of your day. In fact, as you now know, it will give you more energy, and motivation to do the things you want to do.

It’s free and it works because it removes the largest obstacles in the way of your body’s purpose of keeping you healthy. It’s now up to you to do the basics. You know why you should do it, you know what you need to do, now do it.

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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.