Recently I started drinking a new type of drink in the morning that helps me kickstart my morning routine.
As you know as an avid reader of this blog, I created Action Tea because of that. I needed a pick me up to build into my morning routine to tell myself that I’m in work mode right now.
But I’m also aware that I should switch things up from time to time and experiment to reach the next level.
See, in the it’s a lifestyle not a diet post I talked about experimenting with your own body and finding out how your body works. No nutritionist, trainer or doctor can tell you that. You have to test it for yourself.
So I wanted to get off caffeine (entirely) to test out whether I work in a similar fashion without it.
I heard about drinking a squeezed lemon in warm water before and did it a lot of times to test out. The effect was so and so, but I realized one thing. In a cold winter I wouldn’t get sick, if I drank it regularly. So I thought, maybe I’m up to something and started experimenting.
Since my grandmother had a great lemon tree in her garden, my parents brought me tons of lemons to experiment around with.
Then I saw this picture:
This is from Brian MacKenzie who is a Crossfit Endurance trainer and all around interesting guy. He is way smarter than I am and has more experience so I thought, I’ll have to take this experiment further.
I added apple cider vinegar, but realized it was pasteurized and everyone told me to get raw apple cider vinegar. I set out to search for it and found it at a local organic store and paid like 3x the price of normal vinegar for it.
Since then I created this recipe for myself and I have been drinking it for the last 6 weeks:
- half an (organic) lemon
- 1 tbsp of raw ACV
- 1/2 tsp of Himalaya salt
- warm water
All mixed up in one glass and that’s the first thing I drink every morning.
In the beginning it was way too acid for my taste, so the stronger taste of the raw ACV can definitely be felt. But I kept going with it and nowadays I really look forward to drinking it in the morning. It has replaced my morning tea entirely and at this stage, gives me the same benefits (plus some health benefits added).
Why is that?
I couldn’t find a lot of scientific base for this type of drink, but both in the picture and somewhere else it said that it has to do with
- the living enzymes in the raw ACV
- the lemon has an alkaline effect (metabolically) on the body, although it has an acidic taste
- the salt is anti-microbial and anti-parasitic (that’s probably the health part!)
- the warm water is easier on the stomach and the body can take the nutrients faster into the bloodstream
Although the above source suggest lime water, I’ve read that both lime and lemon water work in the same way.
Another experiment I’m running at the moment is counting macronutrients of the food I eat. I want to gain a bit of muscle and judging from a variation of methods to do that, I thought counting macros might be the easiest.
This is how you do it:
- You weigh your food raw, before cooking (everything you eat), let’s say 100g of chicken breast
- You enter the amount into an app that counts it for you (I use myMacros+ but I’m working on an alternative right now, more on that later)
- The app gives you a total amount of carbs, fats and proteins for the day and you try to hit your goal, any way possible
Now you can eat 100% of clean calories, but as my main man Mike Vacanti often says: “Context matters”. So if you’re trying to lose fat, maybe you should eat more healthy calories to reach your goals and should limit the cheat meals to once per week, whereas if you’re gaining muscle (and are ok with gaining a bit of fat with it, too) you can combine the calories with 80% clean and 20% cheatmeal sources.
Obviously the most annoying thing of this experiment is having to weigh the food. It basically makes it impossible to weigh it when you’re out eating with friends. If you’re a nerd, you can take your food scale with you (I heard Tim Ferriss experimented with this!), otherwise you can just estimate the approximate weight. Mike has actually a great video on the topic here:
Another annoying part is to enter all the data into the app and keeping track of how much you eat. HOWEVER, it is pretty cool to see over the time how your body changes together with the food you eat, so I suggest everyone to try this out for at least 4-6 weeks (I’m on my 6th week now with a few days holiday break in between).
On certain days I was so off on the numbers it’s ridiculous. You think you just had a huge meal with at least 1000 calories, yet it’s only like 400 calories or you thought you haven’t reached your protein macros for the day, yet you shot over it by 50%. Stuff like this matters in the long-term and you have to find a balance there. I won’t do this forever, but I think it’s important to do it once in a while, to experiment and get to the next level.
The third experiment
The third experiment I want to talk to you about is hanging. Yes, literally hanging around. I learnt from one of my teachers, Ido Portal, that hanging is more important than we all think and we all do it too little in our sedentary lifestyle. As you know, I’m passionate about making you more productive and more energized, so both the experiments above can help you accomplish that, but how does hanging play into this?
In my article about desk rotation, I mention the importance of moving around throughout the day and not sitting still at the same position for hours on end. Hanging is such an important part of that movement puzzle, simply because we have the ability, yet don’t do it, and will lose it like this.
When’s the last time you changed a light bulb? Probably a few months or years ago. So chances are you have limited shoulder mobility. That in itself is of course not a problem…until you lift up your kid or trying to do proper pullups or shoulder presses. Chances of injury and pain increase immensely.
We had this concept at the last place I worked at of standing meetings. The idea was simple: Because you’re standing and it gets tiring (we’re so used to sitting) you’ll keep the meetings short and to the point. I suggested another method: The squatting meetings, where everyone is in a squat. Chances are, people will be even more uncomfortable and more to the point!
But when I did research for another article, I realized a new way of doing things: Hanging meetings. What if we had pullup bars in the meeting rooms and would have to do sets of 1min. hanging or have to hang when we talk? It might sound like a crazy idea, but do realize that hanging is a very underestimated position to both actively and passively rest. We will lose the ability to hang if we don’t do it enough.
Long story short, I started regularly hanging throughout the day. Every 50-60min. I go to the pullup bar (you can use one between the door) and just let myself hang for 30-60sec.
Three things I’ve realized with this experiment:
- My shoulder range of motion has increased immensely
- The whole chest and upper body area feels amazing after hanging, although at the beginning painful
- My spine cracks almost every time, releasing tension and relaxing, ESPECIALLY when I was sitting for too long.
These three results for me are already a great pointer that there is something important in hanging, that we need to use in our daily lives to increase our life quality and productivity.
Hanging can also help immensely with fixing your posture (I’m including it also in a posture project that I’m working on, more soon). You’re letting gravity take care of your natural body line, but slowly and over time. It doesn’t get better than that!
Now that I’ve suggested you three experiments that I’m running, what are you currently running? How are you improving your health and productivity by trying out new things and optimizing your daily life?
It’s important that you’re always working on yourself in order to improve and advance. That’s why food and movement plays such a role, because if you’re developing in different areas (health, strength, etc) chances are it will carry over to other areas.
Pick one experiment you always wanted to do and stick with it for the next 14-21 days. Evaluate the results and based on that think about how to integrate it into your life.