Our search for longevity is rooted in our physical wellness. This dimension is an easy place to start developing your desired frequency because it deals with the physical reality, providing immediate feedback to build lasting confidence and easy practice to anchor your ritual onto a calendar. It’s almost like this dimension is nutrient-dense for our longevity goals, because longevity has been linked to high musculature, proper eating habits, and sleep hygiene. If that wasn’t enough, some more great things about developing your physical wellness is that you are able to utilize your body more optimally, reduce illness, and improve your emotional, social, occupational, and intellectual wellness dimensions.
“The superior physician looks for the root cause of ill health and tries first to change the condition with food.” - Sun Si-Miso
The rules behind this meal plan are simple, but the key is to be mindful of what you are eating. Remember, ask yourself why are you eating what you’re eating? Are you eating for social reasons, or are you eating because you are hungry? Will this choice make you feel good afterward? Your desired frequency is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no magic diet, but there are some things I’ve found on my journey to consider that can help you frame the basis of your diet:
Eat foods that are whole, fresh, and natural. By eating foods that are whole, fresh, and natural, you avoid the consumption of free radicals. A great combatant of free radicals are antioxidants because they neutralize the free radicals in the body. You can find antioxidants in fruits and vegetables.
Eat Raw Vegetables. Raw vegetables contain living enzymes, electrolytes, vitamins, and phytonutrients. Adding a few raw veggies compliments any meal because the living enzymes also help us to digest our meals better.
Drink plenty of water. Increasing water will improve your overall mood, rid your body of waste, improve metabolism, improve your athletic performance, increase your immune system, calm your central nervous system, improve circulation, decrease stress levels, reduce toxins, relieve constipation, and much more.
Try fasting. Fasting allows the body to heal and purge toxins. When fasting, you are trying to allow your body time to relax. Take it slow, and focus on much less labor-intensive projects like planning, stretching, or meditating.
The Black Rites Wellness Protocol leverages intermittent fasting as the vehicle to improve cognitive function, longevity, muscle growth by way of increased growth hormone production, and many more benefits. The 16/8 intermittent fasting instructs you to eat your caloric intake within a given 8-hour window. This leaves a 16 hour fasting period where you don’t eat anything. To create weight loss, it is recommended that you reduce your caloric intake by 500 a week until you see the results you are seeking. For muscle gain, you will increase your caloric intake by 500 to introduce more protein for the body to synthesize.
Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition
To stimulate your muscles for growth, you need the energy to work hard enough for muscle adaptation. You can achieve this with a proper pre-workout meal to produce the energy necessary to work hard. Carbohydrates are an abundant energy source that the body uses for immediate energy, so a quick, healthy carb meal 30 minutes to an hour before exercise is a great way to fuel your workouts. The post-workout meal, 15 minutes to 2 hours after your workout, should contain 20-30g of protein to utilize the protein synthesis spike in your body for optimal strength gains.
My Eating Habit and Meal Prepping
To make this fueling process a habit, I advise getting into the habit of meal prepping. Meal prepping will assist you with keeping the caloric intake for the week balanced, low, or high. With the information provided the way I have learned to cultivate my daily eating habit is a follows:
Morning fasting. I drink water and herbal teas (sea moss tea, moringa, oolong tea, or infused water) until my eating window arrives. I try to introduce micronutrients to the body through my teas, since we tend to overeat because our body is seeking nutrients in the foods to function, and the macronutrients for energy and repair.
Eating window. My first meal begins with nutrient-dense foods and is plant-based. It’s much lighter on our digestive systems, especially after a fast. My next meal tends to be my pre-workout meal that is carb high for the exercise I am preparing to engage in. The last meal tends to be my post-workout meal and protein-focused. I personally prefer to use plants and fish for my protein sources.
Beginning Fast. The fasting period begins and I allow myself to consume water and herbal teas.
Everyone’s windows for eating will vary based on your lifestyle, so what I have presented is only a framework.
As technology has become ever more sophisticated, so has the means to engage with physical wellness. Across the nation, there are a vast amount of gyms, supplements, and vitamins, and yet the United States of America is riddled with obesity. Obviously, the ever more sophisticated means to engage in this dimension are not the magic bullet answer to true physical wellness. There is no need to buy expensive gym equipment, dietary supplements, or have to be limited to the location of a gym. We are the ultimate exercise machine. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing recreational sports, gardening, lawn care, strength training, picking up and putting down kids, or any movement you naturally do in your life, you begin to become physically optimal.
There isn’t a magic bullet to physical wellness, but with these synergistic methods, there is a ritual to create the magic. The Black Rites Wellness Protocol includes a very effective strength training practice that is simple, time-efficient, and accessible that I will share with you in the practice section.
Forget about it!
I think we all know the harms of processed foods, but simplifying your diet by eliminating them will do wonders for your health. Don’t stop there, though; with an even more meticulous look, you can eliminate these additives as well.
Eliminate sugar, corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Sugar is a big culprit in the health issues we find linked to obesity. The sugar that is found in common foods is high fructose corn syrup or white refined sugar. This sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Place a bone in a soft drink and watch how soft the bone becomes. This is because sugar can leach minerals and calcium from the bone just to help process the sugar.
Eliminate salt, and use unrefined sea salt. Unrefined sea salt contains 92 essential minerals that the body needs and refined sea salt normally contains only sodium chloride. As a disclaimer, too much salt causes high blood pressure.
As explained by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, everyone’s an athlete. During my certification process under this organization I learned that functional fitness has 7 components that every athlete should train to improve their mobility. Those components are Cardio; Flexibility; Balance; Speed, Agility, and Quickness; Reactivity; Core; and Resistance. I personally train capoeira to improve the first 6 components very effectively, and I use this protocol to improve the last component to functional fitness to further enhance my capoeira abilities, life-span, and health-span.
What is presented here is the resistance training component to functional fitness, and I recommend finding a skill-based recreational activity that will allow you to develop your remaining 6. I also think it is great to combine a few dimensions of wellness in your search to develop your functional fitness by:
Riding a bike. A great way to improve cardio, save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and meet new people.
Playing a recreational sport. Improves multiple components of functional fitness and you can meet new people.
Gardening / Farming. This simple act can improve multiple components of functional fitness, you can feed yourself, improve the environment, make a little cash, and more.
Many more ways. This strength training protocol helps you to maintain and/or improve health anywhere in a time-efficient manner. I want this newfound strength to build your confidence to dive into a more active lifestyle. Remember, there is no magic pill.
Practices for Effective Fueling
There are also some practices for fueling you can adopt into your daily life. Who would have thought that there was more to doing something we do every day to survive than just cooking and eating? Try to incorporate these practices into your fueling routine.
Steam your food, or use a crock-pot or waterless cookware. Drinking water has been contaminated with many different metals and minerals that are harmful. By cooking in crockpots, glass, or not using water in your daily kitchenware, the metals from the manufactured surfaces don’t get into your food.
Bake or broil foods rather than frying them. Foods that are fried typically add on extra calories to a meal, but even more importantly, oils can become rancid and toxic to your body through the healing process. Cooking with cold-pressed oils such as olive oil, grapeseed, and coconut oil are okay because they can withstand high temperatures while maintaining their nutritional value.
Learn and practice proper food combinations. Some foods don’t work so well with others based on the different lifespans they have in the gut. For example, fruits and grains are a bad combination because the fruit will begin to ferment while the grains are still digesting. It is recommended that fruits are eaten alone, or in combination with vegetables. Another recommendation for this would be to have vegetables and grains as one meal, and vegetables and protein as a different meal.
Choose from a variety of foods daily. When you choose to eat food in variety, you are able to feed your body with a wide range of minerals and nutrients. Each specific part of the body requires specific nutrients, so eating a limited range of foods will only nurture limited parts of the body.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. You are naturally built with a mechanism to feel hunger when it is time to nourish yourself, and you are built with a mechanism to feel satiated so you can stop eating. These mechanisms are overlooked because people eat for different reasons that are not associated with hunger. Some people eat because they are happy or sad, or eat to satisfy emotional needs. You must learn to discern between food hunger and emotional hunger. Meal prepping is a great way to monitor yourself to keep from overeating and under-eating.
Chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth! When you swallow food whole, these foods can’t be digested properly in the stomach. The food then doesn’t provide the nutrients that you need and can ferment, becoming food for parasites and creating free radicals. Aim to chew your food 25 times before swallowing to ensure that the food can be digested.
Eat your last meal 3 hours before bed. When you eat a meal and go to sleep, the body is actually digesting rather than resting. If hunger does strike before you go to bed and you truly need something to bring some satisfaction, try drinking some water, or having a glass of raw vegetable juice. The juice aids in maintaining your blood sugar throughout the night, which will allow you to sleep.
Here is how the strength training works. When you have sufficient stimulation you reach your threshold, you then stop and allow your body time to recover. If you provided your body with enough intensity, then the body will get stronger. The next time you exercise, you will have a higher baseline than you did before. There is also a possibility to go into an exercise with a lower baseline due to over-training. Over-training is worse than ineffective exercise because your starting baseline is much lower. Without addressing this issue, even with sufficient stimulation, your next workout will be progressively less effective.
How to Reach the Threshold
As you exercise, you begin to exhaust your muscles. As the stress on your muscles continues, the body recruits stronger and stronger areas of the muscles to overcome the stress you are applying. When you have exhausted the strongest areas of your muscles, you have reached your threshold or temporary muscle failure in the case of this practice. To reach temporary muscle failure, it is important that you never relax your muscles during an exercise because the weaker muscles, or your slow-twitch muscles, recover much quicker, which will only allow you to reach partial failure.
Muscle failure is the single most important aspect of muscle growth and neurological efficiency. A weight as light as your own body is adequate enough to reach your temporary muscle failure, and high volume is also not a requirement for muscle strength, hence the 30-minute full-body strength training calisthenics practice being presented.
This protocol is focused on natural body movements, not assisted with a machine, because calisthenics allows you to build stabilizing muscles during your strength training sessions. These stabilizing muscles are important for functional human movement and will decrease your chances of mortality due to falling. Falling is a leading cause of mortality in adults, and this is obviously counteractive to our goal of longevity.
The search for optimal physical wellness must be limitless. If you have planted yourself in the earth instead of the pot, you shall also seek to push your physical limits to its horizons also. In this practice, 2 days out of the week you will focus on slow-motion strength training. I strongly encourage you to take up recreation or try my 15-minute functional fitness exercises on the remaining days to complete all aspects of functional fitness. This workout sequence is cleverly designed to give you the most effective workout under 30 minutes that you can now place on your calendar.
You can use any calisthenics exercise you want to reach your physical wellness goals. As you progress through the workout and seek more challenging exercises, your goal is to continually increase your muscle tension. Changing the angle of your body, squeezing your muscles as hard as you can each time, slowing down your rep tempo, adding an unstable surface to exercise on, and/or adding more weight to your exercise are easy ways to continually add more muscle tension.
It is great to have a trainer that specializes in this slow-motion protocol to assist you with this exercise, but if you can’t for whatever reason train with a trainer, here are some pro tips for doing this exercise yourself:
Grab a stopwatch; allow 10 seconds to pass before you begin your exercise.
During this time, take a deep breath to pre-oxygenate your body.
At the end of that exercise record your time, but subtract 10 seconds from that time. Each time, you should aim to go a little longer than the last.
Keep your intensity high enough to keep your time in the sweet spot of 1:00s - 1:40s.
Turn your phone on silent. That lingering thought in your head about who sent you a text during your squat will make you stop before you reach muscle failure.
Move from exercise to exercise with minimal rest time for best results.
Review the considerations.
The considerations listed below are provided by Ken Hutchins in The Super Slow Protocol book, and I will distill the information so you can begin the practice. Sign up online so I can walk you through these considerations and train you online.
Learn the Method. During the first few sessions, you aren’t immediately training to reach temporary muscle failure. The purpose of the first few sessions is to learn the slow-motion technique. This program uses 10 seconds during each phase of a rep to ensure that the exercise is intense enough with the minimum amount of loading on the body. This choice of speed reduces loading extreme weights on your joints and reduces the amount of weight needed to get an effective workout. In short, this method is the safest training program you will do.
Breathe. Breathe deeply and naturally. You may feel a little dizzy when learning how to breathe through your workouts, but don’t be too concerned by this because the dizziness from hypocapnia is a much better route than the Valsalva Maneuver.
Go slow. The goal is to achieve temporary muscle failure within a 1-2 minute interval while maintaining proper form during 20-30 second interval reps. Each transition from the positive and negative phases should be smooth and slow. This means that throughout the entire range of motion you will be engaging the muscles to lift your body weight, not just depending on momentum for the remainder of your body’s traveled path. To ensure great technique of speed, keep your focus on the first 2 inches of the movements, ensuring that they are 3 seconds long from the transition point.
Technique and Posture. Stabilize your head in a neutral position that aligns your spine. This not only gives you a more effective workout but it stabilizes your head so that you can prevent any chances of an EIH or kinetic chain imbalances. It is important that you are contracting only the muscles involved in each exercise and relaxing all other muscles that are not directly involved. The goal is to reach temporary muscle failure with great technique so that you strengthen your kinetic chain correctly.
Exercise-Induced Headaches (EIH). Exercise-induced headaches come from improper breathing and technique. If for whatever reason in your workout you feel a slight pressure in your head, stop the workout immediately! Exercise-Induced Headaches can last for hours, days, and even weeks. Although exercise can sometimes help headaches, this is a headache that is recommended to not exercise under. The suggestion is to take a moment, grab some water, and wait until the pressure has passed to begin your next exercise.
Concentrate. Because this program is rooted in calisthenics, the goal of having sufficient stimulation is based mostly on your mind’s ability to concentrate on the exercise. When you are lifting heavy weights, the muscles contract, allowing you to overcome the resistance. In the same fashion, you must focus on contracting the muscles as hard as you can during each phase of each rep for each exercise to consistently fatigue the muscle as if it were being constantly loaded. Any moments of relaxation take away from the benefit of reaching complete temporary muscle failure.
Be Cool. To prevent overheating in this intense workout, please dress appropriately and make sure you are exercising in a cool room. The intensity of this workout will get your heart rate going, causing you to heat up.
Stay Hydrated. Your body needs water to function with or without exercise. With exercise, more is needed for your muscles to function optimally and for your mind to focus clearly. Dehydration is a serious issue that can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and depression, among many other issues.
Your physical wellness dimension is repaired by becoming aware of the breakdown in your nutritional habits and exercise performance. Besides making the proper adjustments in these areas, the key to effective repair in the physical wellness dimension is sleep. Sleep is the simplest and most effective tool for repair in this dimension. Some of the proven benefits of sleep are:
Practical methods to improve your sleep quality:
Use more natural lighting.
Regulate room temperature 65-70 ℉.
Sleep and wake at consistent times
Relax, meditate and clear your mind in the evening.
Don’t drink caffeine late in the day.
Make your bed comfortable.
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