The people who decide to abandon that comfort for some of the rawness of nature represent an indigenous ethos that has almost been wiped out by a societal desire for comfort. If they embrace the way their bodies respond to the natural world, they can unlock a hidden wellspring of animal strength.
Today tens of thousands of people are discovering that the environment contains hidden tools for hacking the nervous system. People are not super-human, but they start to become more in control of their own system – they become more human.
For over half a century, conventional wisdom about maintaining good health was resting on the twin pillars of diet and exercise.
But focusing on just those two things may not be enough, according to a theory investigated (and experienced) by journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney in his recent book “What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength.”
While these two pillars are vital, there is an equal and completely ignored third pillar. By incorporating environmental training into your routine, you will achieve big results in very little time. It only takes a matter of weeks for the human body to acclimatise to a dazzling array of conditions. E.g. increased production of red blood cells at altitude, sweating fewer salts after acclimatising to a hotter environment and produce lower amounts of urine.
In his book, Carney investigates the idea that incorporating some environmental challenges back into our lives could lead to health benefits. He embarks on a journey to see if “environmental conditioning” — guided by the Dutchman Wim Hof, who goes by the nickname “Iceman” — can help him unlock new levels of fitness.
The idea behind environmental conditioning is the same, as Carney describes it:
“Anatomically modern humans have lived on the planet for almost 200,000 years. That means your office-mate who sits on a rolling chair behind fluorescent lights all day has pretty much the same basic body as the prehistoric caveman who made spear points out of flint to hunt antelope. To get from there to here humans faced countless challenges as we fled predators, froze in snowstorms, sought shelter from the rain, hunted and gathered our food, and continued breathing despite suffocating heat. Until very recently there was never time a when comfort could be taken for granted — there was always a balance between the effort we expended and the downtime we earned. For the bulk of that time, we managed these feats without even a shred of what anyone today would consider modern technology. Instead, we had to be strong to survive.”
It’s no secret, to most people, “fat,” particularly the kind that bulges under the skin is a four-letter word. It makes our tummy shake, thighs jiggle, arms wobble, chin flap and our desire for it sexual contact less appealing; it lingers despite our torturous attempts to eliminate it.
In the late 2000s, Scientists discovered that humans produce at least two types of fat tissue—white and brown. White fat cell stores energy in the form of a single large, oily droplet but is otherwise relatively inert. In contrast, brown fat cells contain many smaller droplets, that burn up the droplets to generate heat.
FACT: Brown fat generates three hundred times more heat than any other tissue in the body.
Supercharge Your Brown Fat 300% to Battle Obesity
For most people, “fat,” particularly the kind that bulges under the skin, is a four-letter word. It makes our tummy shake, thighs jiggle, arms wobble, chin flap and our desire for it sexual contact less appealing; it lingers despite our torturous attempts to eliminate it. Too much fat increases our risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes it’s one major reason why well over half of our nation’s adult population are overweight or obese? (1)
By 2025, it is estimated that 70 percent of Australia’s population will be obese or overweight.
The cost to our country is near the Trillion mark each year and the indirect or “hidden” costs of obesity is not just the early onset of illness and death, but also the huge loss in productivity and performance.
In 2011/12, Australians spent an estimated $368 million on weight loss intervention, including bariatric procedures.
For decades’ researchers have looked for ways to reduce our collective stores of fat because they seemed to do more harm than good.
In the late 2000s, several research groups independently discovered something that shattered the consensus about the absolute dangers of body fat. Scientists discovered that humans produce at least two types of fat tissue—white and brown. Each white fat cell stores energy in the form of a single large, oily droplet but is otherwise relatively inert. In contrast, brown fat cells contain many smaller droplets, as well as chestnut-coloured molecular machines known as mitochondria. These organelles, in turn, burn up the droplets to generate heat.
Why Is Brown Fat Important?
Deposits of brown fat are in the neck and around the shoulders in babies to control their temperature but, it diminished as we age. Findings concluded that brown fat is hard to find and maintain in humans to have any impact on the obese but and the easiest way to get brown fat warmed up and going is to expose people to low temperatures, which as you can image diminishes brown fat’s appeal as a weight-loss tool. Scientists have found a way that fat may become an important ally in the fight against obesity.
3 Ways To Unlock a Hidden Wellspring
Brown fat burns calories to produce heat and when fully activated, brown fat generates three hundred times more heat than any other tissue in the body. To give you some ways to activate brown fat through the environment, exercise and diet, I have provided ways below:
The information in this article is an investigation into the scientific evidence provided in the referred articles. No one should attempt any of these methods or practices without appropriate experience, training, fitness level, doctor approval, and supervision – an even then, readers must be aware that these practices are inherently dangerous and could result in grave harm or death.
1. Environmental Conditioning
- Try Cold Foot Baths: Research on subjects who cooled their body by repeatedly placing one foot in ice water for five minutes at a time, followed by five minutes out of the water found that not only that all the subjects have detectable brown fat deposits, but boosted their brown-fat activity 15-fold.
- Lower Your Thermostat: Cold temperatures send a signal to your brain, which then acts to stimulate brown fat activity in two ways: by acting on your vascular system directly to increase blood flow to your brown fat stores and by sending nerve impulses to brown fat cells that stimulate an additional boost in cellular activity. Lowering your home’s thermostat to the mid-60s or below may be enough to stimulate at least some brown fat activity.
- Exercise in cool temperatures: Exercise in temperatures that are 16.67 to 17.78 Celsius (62°F to 64°F) or lower. Even better: Make sure your skin is exposed because the evaporation of sweat as you exercise adds to the cooling effect.
- Improve your blood sugar metabolism: People with lower glucose levels tend to have more brown fat than those with higher levels, which indicates that it may play a direct role in glucose control. A study at the Joslin Diabetes Center transplanted a small amount of brown fat from one group of mice into the abdomens of another group. The results were astonishing: After eight weeks, the mice given the transplants were not only leaner than a placebo group, but also processed blood glucose better and had reduced insulin resistance
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to lose weight: The American College of Sports Medicine stated “…HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. The post-exercise period is called ‘EPOC’, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy.” HIIT burns calories, builds muscle, increases metabolism – all equating to weight loss.
Some of my Favourite HIIT method sessions are featured in the first 3 days of the Beginner eBook.
Interval Circuit Training – Week 1, Day 1, ICT 1
2. Tabata – Week 1, Day 2, Tabata 1
The session is structured as a Primary/Secondary Mover Splits Option #1: therefore all the major muscle of your back will get the most stimulus, with the triceps (agonist i.e. opposite muscle) used to help complement the workout to build stabilizers.
3. Countdowns – Week 1, Day 3, Count 1
The session is structured as an Upper/Lower Split, therefore your both segments of your body will get used.
George King, MD, is Chief Scientific Officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that a low-fat, high-carb diet (from his book Diabetes Reset) will boost brown fat activity.
Low Carb Food List – Foods to Eat
You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.
- Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others. Grass-fed is best
- Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock and many others. Wild-caught fish is best
- Eggs: Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best
- Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc
- High-Fat Dairy: Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yoghurt
- Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil
Take Home Message (THM)
I’m passionate about this style of training and I’m committed to making it happen because it’s an important part of community values and connection.
The next BIG stage from my perspective, will be to provide events where people can experience the ultimate transforming fitness lifestyle retreat.
I’m excited about this next stage in what has been an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to you joining me.