All About Phytates (Phytic Acid)

By Ryan Andrews

phytic acid whole grains All About Phytates (Phytic Acid)

Phytic acid – the storage form of phosphorus – is one of those pesky “anti-nutrients” the Paleo community keeps telling you to avoid.

It’s often considered an anti-nutrient because it binds minerals in the digestive tract, making them less available to our bodies.

Yet these same anti-nutrient properties can also help in the prevention of chronic disease.

What is phytic acid?

Seeds — such as nuts, edible seeds, beans/legumes, and grains — store phosphorus as phytic acid. When phytic acid is bound to a mineral in the seed, it’s known as phytate.

The tables below compare various seed types according to their phytic acid/phytate content.

Whole grains

Source: Schlemmer U, et al. Phytate in foods and significance for humans: Food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol Nutr Food res 2009;53:S330-S375.

Legumes

phytic acid beans All About Phytates (Phytic Acid)

Source: Schlemmer U, et al. Phytate in foods and significance for humans: Food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol Nutr Food res 2009;53:S330-S375.

Nuts

phytic acid nuts 1024x361 All About Phytates (Phytic Acid)

Source: Schlemmer U, et al. Phytate in foods and significance for humans: Food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol Nutr Food res 2009;53:S330-S375.

Oil seeds

phytic acid oils 1024x326 All About Phytates (Phytic Acid)

Source: Schlemmer U, et al. Phytate in foods and significance for humans: Food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol Nutr Food res 2009;53:S330-S375

As you can see, phytic acid content varies greatly among plants.  This is due to the type of seed, environmental condition, climate, soil quality, how phytate is measured in the lab, and so forth.

Roots, tubers, and other vegetables may also contain phytic acid, but usually in lower amounts.

The most concentrated sources tend to be whole grains and beans. Phytic acid is isolated in the aleurone layer in most grains, making it more concentrated in the bran.  In legumes, it’s found in the cotyledon layer (where the protein is).

Phytate = phytic acid bound to a mineral
Phytates perform an essential role in plants, as they are an energy source for the sprouting seed. When a seed sprouts, phytase enzymes break down the stored phytates.

When we eat the plant, phytates are hydrolyzed during digestion to myo-inositol-1,2,3,4,5,6-hexkisphosphate (IP6) and lower inositol polyphosphates including IP1 through IP5 (these are phytate degradation products).

Who’s eating phytic acid?

Everyone who eats plants consumes some phytic acid. It’s all a question of degree.

As you can imagine, intake tends to be much higher among those who follow non-Westernized diets.  In developing countries, plants are staple foods, which means people eat more of them, and therefore get more phytic acid.

In developed countries, plant-based or vegetarian eaters tend to consume more phytic acid than omnivores.  Further, males usually consume more phytic acid than females, simply because they eat more food.

Phytate digestion

Most phytate (37-66%) is degraded in the stomach and small intestines.

Ordinarily, our bodies regulate phytate levels pretty well, adjusting uptake in the gut and excretion until body levels come into balance.

Vitamin D status in the body seems to influence how much phytate is actually retained.  The more vitamin D, the more phytate retained; the less vitamin D, the less phytate retained.

Potential problems with phytic acid

Phytic acid can bind minerals in the gut before they are absorbed and influence digestive enzymes.  Phytates also reduce the digestibility of starches, proteins, and fats.

Here’s an example.

Vegan eaters often consume more iron than omnivores.  Yet, they also consume more anti-nutrients, including phytates, and these reduce the amount of iron available to their bodies. Consuming 5-10 mg of phytic acid can reduce iron absorption by 50%.

This is why vegetarian eaters should eat more iron than omnivores (33 mg for veg eaters vs. 18 mg for omnivores).

Daily iron loss for men & women
  • Adult men lose ~1 mg of iron per day
  • Adult menstruating women lose ~1.4 mg/day
  • Postmenopausal women lose ~0.8 mg/day
  • Lactating women lose ~1.1 mg/day

While in the intestines, phytic acid can bind the minerals iron, zinc, and manganese. Once bound, they are then excreted in waste.

This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the condition.  It’s a bad thing if you’re having trouble building up iron stores in the body and have developed iron-deficiency anemia.

When is it a good thing?  Keep reading – you’ll find potential benefits of phytic acid below.

Potential benefits of phytic acid

Despite its potential drawbacks, phytic acid is similar in some ways to a vitamin, and metabolites of phytic acid may have secondary messenger roles in cells.

Some experts even suggest that it’s the phytic acid in whole grains and beans that lends them their apparent protective properties against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

(Remember, the grains with little to no phytic acid are the refined ones.)

The supplement industry has caught on to this.  Have you even seen a bottle of inositol hexaphosphate, or IP6?  …read more

Read more here: Precision Nutrition

  

Nutrition for Injury Recovery - Part 3

Nutrition for Injury Recovery: Part 3

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

The right food and supplements can speed injury recovery. This is important — but often ignored.

Most trainers, coaches, nutritionists, therapists understand that nutrition can play a role in injury recovery.  However, in lecturing around the world, I’ve found that very few of them really know how to use food and supplements in this way.

Aside from recommending more water, topical homeopathic creams and gels, and glucosamine/chondroitin combinations, there’s really not much else on the menu when a client or athlete goes down with an acute injury.

That’s why we’re sharing this 5-part video series, filmed live at the 2012 Fit Pro Convention in Loughborough, England.

In this video series, we’ll teach you how the body repairs itself after an injury.

Then we’ll share the food and supplement protocols we use to get injured clients back in the game more quickly and completely.

To learn more, click the play button below to get started with Part 3 of Nutrition for Injury Recovery.  (Click here for part 1, part 2, part 4, and part 5). The video is about 8 minutes long.

To download an audio or a video version of this file, click here.
Please be patient as downloads may take a few minutes.

Calorie needs during recovery

In the previous video, we looked mostly at managing Stage 1 of injury recovery. Today, we’ll look at two important factors that affect Stage 2 and 3 injury recovery: adequate calorie and micronutrient intake.

Activity costs energy. Thus, we need more energy when training for sports, or following an exercise program.

Yet some athletes, especially female athletes, intentionally (to lose body weight) or unintentionally (due to improper nutrition education) under-eat.

This can lead to more repetitive stress injuries such as stress fractures or ligamentous injury. Thus, too few calories when healthy can lead to injury; too few calories during recovery can prevent an athlete from getting healthy.

Energy needs increase during acute injury repair. In fact, basal metabolic rate (BMR) may increase by 15 to 50% based on the severity of the trauma.  For example, sports injury and minor surgery may increase BMR by 15-20% ,while major surgery and burn injury may lead to a 50% increase in BMR.

Of course, comparatively speaking, an athlete or exerciser will have to eat less during injury recovery than during training and competition. Yet if they return to baseline intake, they may be under-eating.

Thus, nutrition coaches must balance the increased energy and nutrient needs of injured and recovering clients with the reality of less activity.

One example of calorie needs

Let’s take the example of a young male athlete. He’s 14 years old, 5’6? and 140 lb.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate – 1611 kcal/day (mean of 3 predictive equations)
  • Energy needs when sedentary – 1933 kcal/day (activity factor of 1.2)
  • Energy needs with daily training/competition – 2739 kcal/day (activity factor of 1.7)
  • Energy needs during recovery – 2319 kcal/day (activity factor of 1.2 and a 20% increase in metabolism due to injury)

As you can see, during injury repair, energy intake should decrease (2319 kcal) relative to training and competition (2739 kcal).  However, returning to sedentary baseline (1933 kcal) will lead to underfeeding.

This is important both clinically and practically.

Less physical activity means lower appetite. If an athlete is eating based on hunger cues, s/he may under-eat during recovery. S/he might lose lean mass, heal poorly, and progress slowly.

Thus while injured athletes should eat less during periods of injury, remember: They’re still athletes, and should eat as such. This includes things like eating every few hours, getting enough protein, balancing macronutrients, and getting enough important micronutrients.

Macronutrient needs during recovery

Protein

Injury repair requires more protein. Injured athletes should aim for 1.5-2.0 g/kg, up from the usual 0.8 g/kg. Many already do this.

To ensure a quick recovery, make sure to get this higher protein intake consistently. At minimum, injured athletes should be taking in 1 g of protein per pound of body weight.

Fat

We covered dietary fat in a previous video — you’ll recall that we recommended balancing dietary fat by getting about 1/3 of total fat intake from each of the three types of fat. Most importantly, aim for more omega-3s and cut down omega-6s, to get an omega-6 to -3 ratio that’s at least 1:1 and preferably closer to 3:1.

Carbohydrate

While athletes need glucose for athletic injury healing, no specific carbohydrate recommendations have been established for injury periods. However, you should probably include enough dietary carbohydrate to ensure adequate micronutrient intake and stable insulin concentrations (which, as an anabolic hormone, may affect wound healing). In some athletes accustomed to a higher intake of carbs, not getting enough will be an additional — and unwanted — stressor.

Macronutrient needs summary

Here’s how to implement these recommendations in treating injuries nutritionally:

Meal frequency

Eat every 3-4 hours.

Protein

Each meal/snack should contain complete protein including lean meats, lean dairy, eggs, or protein supplements (if whole food is unavailable).

Vegetables and fruit

Each meal/snack should contain 1-2 servings of veggies and/or fruit (1/2 – 1 1/2 cups or 1-2 pieces) with a greater focus on veggies.

Starches

Get additional carbohydrates from whole grain, minimally processed, high-fiber sources like whole oats, yams/sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, whole grain rice, quinoa, etc. Eat fewer starches when not training (such as during injury recovery), but don’t cut them too low, especially if an athlete is not already well adapted to using fat for fuel.

Fats

Eat each of the following good fats each day — avocados, olive oil, mixed nuts, fatty fish (such as salmon), flax seeds, and flax oil. Add 3-9 grams of fish oil daily, taken in divided doses if necessary.

Wrap-up and today’s takeaways

That’s it for part 3 of Nutrition for Injury.

For now, here are some key points.

  • Athletes and exercisers need to eat enough — when training and when recovering.
  • When you’re injured and recovering, you should eat less than you did when you were training hard… but more than you would if you were completely sedentary.
  • Eat at least 1 g of protein per pound of body weight; balance dietary fats (and get more omega-3s than -6s); get some (but not a lot of) starchy, high-fiber carbohydrates; and eat a lot of vegetables (with …read moreRead more here: Precision Nutrition

      

Nutrition for Injury Recovery - Part 2

Nutrition for Injury Recovery: Part 2

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

The right food and supplements can speed injury recovery. This is important — but often ignored.

Most trainers, coaches, nutritionists, therapists understand that nutrition can play a role in injury recovery.  However, in lecturing around the world, I’ve found that very few of them really know how to use food and supplements in this way.

Aside from recommending more water, topical homeopathic creams and gels, and glucosamine/chondroitin combinations, there’s really not much else on the menu when a client or athlete goes down with an acute injury.

That’s why we’re sharing this 5-part video series, filmed live at the 2012 Fit Pro Convention in Loughborough, England.

In this video series, we’ll teach you how the body repairs itself after an injury.

Then we’ll share the food and supplement protocols we use to get injured clients back in the game more quickly and completely.

To learn more, click the play button below to get started with Part 2 of Nutrition for Injury Recovery.  (Click here for part 1, part 3, part 4, and part 5). The video is about 11 minutes long.

To download an audio or a video version of this file, click here.
Please be patient as downloads may take a few minutes.

Three physiological targets

Once we understand how healing works, we can look for different therapies to help the process along, using a three-pronged approach:

  • Inflammation support (and management) through nutrition
  • Immune system support through nutrition
  • Regeneration and anabolic support through nutrition

Let’s start by talking about inflammation.

Inflammation

Treating acute injuries requires a tricky balance of managing inflammation while allowing it to do its important job.

Don’t try to avoid the inflammatory process in the acute phases of an injury. It’s critical for Stage 1 recovery.

But don’t make inflammation worse, either. Excessive inflammation could increase total tissue damage, slowing down the repair process.

While managing inflammation in the early stages, we want to reduce pain, as this can cause biomechanical compensations and changes that may lead to secondary injury.

However, again, strategies that eliminate pain often target inflammation. Rushing to eliminate inflammation (and pain) too soon may also reduce healing. Again, it’s a tight balancing act.

Dietary fat for inflammation control

A diet high in trans-fats, omega-6 rich vegetable oils, and saturated fat will be pro-inflammatory (in other words, it’ll worsen inflammation).  A diet high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats will be anti-inflammatory.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet is important for overall inflammation in the body — especially during normal periods of healthy living when we definitely want to keep inflammation under control.

In these circumstances, the omega-6 to 3 ratio should be anywhere from 3:1 to 1:1, which should lead to a balanced inflammatory profile.

Of course, overall fat balance is important here. With a good balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats (about 1/3 of total fat intake each), the body’s inflammatory profile will look pretty good.

However, purposely decrease omega-6 fats and increase omega-3s (specifically fish oil).  High omega 6:3 ratios reduce collagen production while a low 3:6 ratio supports healing.

Even though relatively higher omega-3s create an anti-inflammatory response in the body, this response doesn’t interfere with repair; rather, it only helps with injury healing and collagen deposition.

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet determined the exact omega 6:3 ratio, nor the amount of fish oil supplementation required to manage inflammation during injury.

Studies with low dose fish oil (~450 mg to 1 g/day) have shown no effect on inflammatory or immune markers while other studies have shown that high dose fish oil (12-15 g/day) may reduce immune cell function in certain populations.

As a result, some authors have recommended anywhere from 3-9 grams of fish oil (salmon oil, sardine oil, menhaden oil, krill oil, etc.) per day.

In addition to the omega 6:3 ratio, research has shown that increased nut and seed consumption, as well as olive oil consumption, can mildly reduce inflammatory biomarkers.

Nuts, seeds, and olive oil likely share a common mechanism.  The monounsaturated fats found in all three contain compounds that can mildly reduce COX enzyme activity (something these foods share with ibuprofen). But again, be careful.  Too high a dose of any anti-inflammatory may reduce acute healing.

Thus: Improve omega 6:3 ratio while adding in healthy monounsaturated fats and balancing saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated intake. Here are some simple strategies to do this:

To balance your fats:

Increase intake of olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, ground flax and other seeds, etc. Get some of each fat source each day. These foods will balance out the saturated fats naturally present in your protein sources, leading to a healthy profile without needing a calculator. (Bear in mind that you may need to reduce overall portion sizes if you are inactive because of the injury.)

To balance your 6:3 ratio:

Add 3-9 grams of fish oil each day while reducing omega-6 fats like vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil, etc. This strategy should take care of your omega 6:3 ratio.

Dietary herbs and phytochemicals for inflammation

Beyond healthy fat balance, certain dietary herbs can help manage inflammation.

Turmeric

A flowering plant in the ginger family, turmeric has long been used as an anti-inflammatory agent and in wound healing. Current research shows that the active ingredient, curcumin, is responsible for some of the benefits of turmeric. While adding turmeric to food every day is a good strategy, using 400-600 mg of supplemental turmeric extract 3x per day (or as described on the product label) is probably more manageable for most people.

Garlic

Garlic has been shown to inhibit the activity of the inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase and affect macrophage function. Again, though, while eating additional garlic is likely a good strategy, garlic extracts may be required for more measurable anti-inflammatory effects. Typically recommended dosing is 2-4 g of whole garlic clove each day (each clove is 1 g) or 600-1200 mg of supplemental aged garlic extract.

Bromelain

Bromelain is another anti-inflammatory plant extract from pineapple. While best known for its digestive properties, bromelain is an excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound although its mechanism of action is poorly understood. …read more

Read more here: Precision Nutrition

  

Group Stand Up Paddleboarding in Malibu - Sept 7th, Saturday 9am

Group Stand Up Paddleboarding in Malibu – Sept 7th, Saturday 10am

[attention]THIS IS A MEMBERS ONLY EVENT[/attention]

WHEN: Tentatively for Saturday, September 7th @ 10am
WHERE: Malibu, CA
WHAT: Standup Paddleboarding – Lesson and tour (2 hrs)
DETAILS:

The Lesson:

We will teach you how to paddle board.  It’s really easy but it’s always good to have an instructor for your first time.  We’ll teach you how to stand and balance on your SUP.  Learn the basic techniques of how to stand up and where to position yourself on your board.  Learn basic water safety and ediquite with other paddle boarders and surfers in the water.  With our talented instructors and our fleet of brand new paddle boards, paddles and wetsuits, we will get you up and running in no time.  Paddleboarding is really easy when someone is there helping you all of the way.  For families, we have very patient instructors that will ride next to you and make sure everything is safe and fun.  The basic lesson starts out on the beach where we teach you the basics of paddleboarding and water safety, and then on to the board.  We teach you how to balance and paddle, and then we tackle the paddle.  A lesson lasts 1 hour and you’re sure to have fun.

The Tour:

Fun and mellow tour for friends, family or the paddle board enthusiast.  We offer a guided tour that starts at the World Famous surfing beach in Malibu just adjacent to the Malibu Pier.  We take  you around the pier, to the kelp beds outside the point and over to “Colony Rock”.  You will take in incredible views of the Malibu area that you would not otherwise get to see.  We will show you breathtaking views of the hills above Malibu Beach and in the distance, Catalina Island.  On the water, very often you may ?see dolphins swimming right next to you or a sea lion may pop his head up to play.  The great ecosystem below you will unfold, we commonly see schools of fish frolicking in the beauty of the kelp forests beneath.  This is a great family adventure, something fun to do with friends or simply on your own – if you just need a break.  The tour is best in groups of 6 to 8 people.  Should you want to enjoy a private experience, we gladly accommodate groups or families with a minimum of 6 people – it is a simple as reserving a date and time.  This tour is suitable for all ability levels from beginner to advanced.

This is a 90 min guided tour.  All you need to do is show up!!  We supply the paddle board, paddle and wetsuit.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Hana Paddleboards
Call 818-648-7812 to book an appointment.
Or email us at hanapaddleboards@gmail.com?

Nutrition for Injury Recovery - Part 1

Nutrition for Injury Recovery: Part 1

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

The right food and supplements can speed injury recovery. This is important — but often ignored.

Most trainers, coaches, nutritionists, therapists understand that nutrition can play a role in injury recovery.  However, in lecturing around the world, I’ve found that very few of them really know how to use food and supplements in this way.

Aside from recommending more water, topical homeopathic creams and gels, and glucosamine/chondroitin combinations, there’s really not much else on the menu when a client or athlete goes down with an acute injury.

That’s why we’re sharing this 5-part video series, filmed live at the 2012 Fit Pro Convention in Loughborough, England.

In this video series, we’ll teach you how the body repairs itself after an injury.

Then we’ll share the food and supplement protocols we use to get injured clients back in the game more quickly and completely.

To learn more, click the play button below to get started with Part 1 of Nutrition for Injury Recovery.  (Click here for part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5). The video is about 8 minutes long.

To download an audio or a video version of this file, click here.
Please be patient as downloads may take a few minutes.

All about soft tissue repair

With all the pain, swelling, redness, and dysfunction, injury can seem like a chaotic process. Yet at the physiological level, injury recovery is highly organized and consistent.

That allows researchers and clinicians to classify three distinct stages of repair:

Stage 1: Inflammation

Regardless of the type of injury, there’s usually damage to muscle, bone, and vascular tissue.  When these tissues are injured, they’re deprived of their normal flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. Reduced blood flow, as well as the actual physical damage, leads to cell death.

The body then initiates the inflammatory process to clear out the damaged/dead cells and lay down new ones.

Inflammation itself is stimulated by the increased movement of inflammatory/immune chemicals (leukocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, phagocytes, etc.) into the injured areas. These chemicals take care of the cellular debris and attract plasma (fluid from the blood) and blood proteins to the site of injury.

This biochemical process removes injured tissues and starts the repair process.

Inflammation is characterized by three elements:

1. Pain.  This is a function of two things: First, certain chemicals involved in injury repair (substance P, calcitonin, histamines, cytokines) may interact with local pain receptors to cause the pain associated with inflammation. As inflammation proceeds, pain may also result from the swelling/pressure placed on nerve endings.

2. Swelling.  This is a result of fluid seeping through damaged — and now hyper-permeable — blood vessels into the damaged tissues. These vessels are typically damaged by the initial trauma. In addition, they’re often altered chemically during the inflammatory process.

3. Redness and heat. Vasodilation up-stream of the injury and constriction downstream shunts additional blood to the injured area, producing heat and redness. The upstream vasodilation is thought to be related to nitric oxide activity.

Although painful and irritating, we need the inflammatory process for repair. Without inflammation, injuries wouldn’t heal. So any attempt to eliminate inflammation is a mistake in the initial stages of an acute injury. 

Chronic injury is different.

Excessive inflammation, especially if it’s prolonged, can lead to other problems, such as continued macrophage activity at the site of inflammation and ongoing tissue destruction. This is why inflammation management is an important concept in injury recovery.  It’s also why anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed by physicians during chronic pain.

Stage 2: Proliferation

Once the inflammation of stage 1 begins to subside, most of the damaged tissues will have been removed from the site of injury, and new vasculature will have developed.

This restoration of oxygen and nutrient flow to the damaged area allows fibroblast proliferation/multiplication. Once this occurs, collagen and fibronectin are laid down. This forms what is commonly called “scar tissue.”

Importantly, scar tissue will lay down in alignment with the forces being placed on the area. (That’s why rehab and therapy is so important.)  Further, this scar tissue will contract and shorten as it matures.  This is due to fibroblast differentiation into myoblasts, which are similar to smooth muscle cells.  This reduces the size of the injury.

Stage 3: Remodeling

Eventually, the scar tissue (typically made up of type II collagen) will be degraded and type I collagen (much stronger) will be laid down in its place. Although this new tissue will never likely be 100% normal, it can become about 80% as strong as uninjured tissue.

Since this tissue is created along tension lines, functional activity (rehab and therapy) is critical throughout the recovery process, as it helps to maintain the length of the scar tissue. It’ll also help arrange the tissue in an organized pattern, in line with adjacent soft tissue fibers.

This predictable pattern of soft tissue healing can give us clues about how to manage injuries through the use of physical therapy, manual therapy, nutritional strategies, and drug interventions.

All about bone repair

Bone healing undergoes a similar, yet unique, process when compared to soft tissure repair.

Stage 1: Reactive phase inflammation

Bleeding from the fractured bone and surrounding tissue causes the fractured area to swell. This is similar to the inflammation phase experienced in soft tissue injury.

Stage 2: Soft callus formation

At this point, the pain and swelling will decrease. The site of the fracture will stiffen, with new bone forming. New bone is weaker than uninjured bone. It’s also incomplete and, therefore, cannot be seen on x-rays.

Stage 3: Hard callus formation

During this phase, new bone begins to bridge the fracture, covering the incomplete soft callus. This bony bridge can be seen on x-rays.

Stage 4: Bone remodeling

The fracture site remodels itself, correcting any deformities that may remain as a result of the injury. This final stage of fracture healing can last up to several years.

Like soft tissue injuries, bone injuries go through an early inflammation phase. This attracts plasma and inflammatory cells to the site of injury. These cells help to clear out the damaged tissue and revascularize the area.

After this occurs, other …read more

Read more here: Precision Nutrition

  

PN - Perfect Time to Get Star

I’d love to get started; I’m just waiting for the perfect time.

By Krista Scott-Dixon

main column bottom box submit large Id love to get started; Im just waiting for the perfect time.

Always waiting for the “perfect time” to get started on new projects? To learn a new skill? To eat better? To exercise more? If so, here’s something to think about.

When I get a different job.

When things are less busy. 

When I find a workout partner.

When I find the right equipment.

When I feel less awkward in the gym.

When I lose 20 lbs.

When I get the right workout routine.

When my fridge is full of the right foods.

Tomorrow. Next week. Never.

Human beings are always “waiting for the perfect time”. But why?

For many, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real — and risky – work of doing.

For others, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armor against potential embarrassment, criticism, and failure.

I could ___ but ___” keeps us safe from pain.

Unfortunately, it’s also what keeps us from growing, thriving, being who we know we have the potential to be.

That’s why all-or-nothing thinking — If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s awful – rarely gets us “all”.

It usually gets us “nothing”.

There is no perfect time. There never will be.

Oh sure, there might be some magic moment in your fitness journey where the universe comes together… and you’re wearing your favorite t-shirt… plus your extra-comfy sneakers… and that song you love comes on your iPod… and your body is full of exuberant, bubbling energy…and your favorite piece of gym equipment is free (in fact the gym is empty today, hooray!)… and you bang out a set of ten reps like the angels are hoisting the barbell for you.

But that magic moment will be one in the zillion other less-magic moments that make up your real life.

Indeed, if we are talking about a moment as, say, approximately ten seconds long, that means you have about:

10 x 6 x 60 x 24 x 365.25 x 76 (if you’re male) or 81 (if you’re female) = somewhere between 2,398,377,600 to 2,556,165,600 potential moments in your life.

Which means that a single perfect moment is, well, a very very very small part of the whole thing.

Yes, celebrate that perfect moment when it comes. But sure as heck don’t wait for it.

Take your moments. Make your moments.

Just so you know, nobody is going to give you any moments. You have to take moments.

Hunt them. Chase them. Make them happen.

Scratch and gouge moments out of other times. Chip off tiny flakes of moments from the monolith of your day. Use your teeth if you must — bite off mouthfuls of those moments.

You are holding the chisel and the pickaxe. You are the miner of your moments.

This frustrates us, of course.

It shouldn’t be this way, 
we think. Everyone else’s moments just… come to them. Everyone else has enough time. Enough money. Enough motivation. Enough information.

But it is this way. For everyone.

This is how it is, with moments. Moments resist expectations like water resists the intrusion of oil.

However, there is a perfect moment. There is actually always a perfect moment.

That perfect moment is now.

Here. Today. The living, breathing sliver of time that you have in this precise second.

Because that is all you ever have: right now.

Just start. At the beginning.

Here is another secret. You don’t have to actually work to get to the next moment.

All you have to do is start

And then, moments will keep moving, as moments do.

One moment will stack on top of another and before you know it, you’ll have arrived at your destination.

But I can’t! you say. I can’t get started! That is the problem, you see!

No, it’s not. If you can’t get started, you’re just jumping too far ahead.

You’re not starting with starting. You are trying to start somewhere in an imaginary middle.

For instance, let’s say you choose to start with reading about nutrition.

That can be a good start – if it keeps you moving on to the next moment.

But it is not a good start if it keeps you stuck in your chair, clicking through a blur of blogs and charts and plans and testimonials until it’s time for lights-out and you haven’t made a single good nutritional choice today.

So maybe, starting for you shouldn’t be reading.

It should be something else, like walking to the fridge and picking out a shiny fresh apple and eating it.

Or making a shopping list and putting it next to your car keys for tomorrow.

Or reading a menu from the restaurant you’re about to visit, and picking out the salad option in advance.

Starting means initiating action. Starting means committing to a choice of some kind or another. This is how you know it is a true start. 

Starting is when you drop the coin into one pinball machine, not when you stand there looking at the all machines in the arcade, deciding which one to play.

Starting is when you lift up one foot and put it in front of the other, not when you stand there debating which road to take or wondering if you should have worn different shoes.

For some folks, starting needs to be an even smaller action. Starting might be just lifting the foot. Or shifting their weight to one leg.

Putting the first foot in front of the second foot might require some help. Which is OK.

As long as something is moving, that’s a start.

Push through. Embrace Resistance.

Many people starting out assume that because they feel resistance, they have failed.

That because broccoli tastes bitter when they first try it, and accidentally overcook it, they just can’t eat vegetables.

That because they forget their printed list of exercises on the kitchen table, they can’t work out once they get to the gym.

That because their legs ache on the ascent, it means they are not ready to climb that hill.

No. That’s just how it feels, sometimes.

Starting will often feel like resistance, at least at first. Like grinding the brain’s gears.

Give it time. Push through. It will switch tracks, eventually.

Remember: You don’t have to fight the resistance of the entire trip.

You just have to push through the resistance of the first few moments.

Get support. For now.

In order for a rocket to leave the earth, it has to fire extra-hard against gravity. It needs a boost.

In order for a heavy train to get moving, it might need an extra …read more

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