Table of Contents and Introduction
Information included in Not Another Guru: Understanding the Diet and Exercise Game is for your general knowledge only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice or care of medical professionals. Before you begin any exercise program, and before you follow any of the advice, instructions, or other recommendations, written or implied, found in Not Another Guru: Your Easy to Understand Guide to the Diet and Exercise Game, you should first consult with your doctor and have a physical examination.
“You wrote all this?” is a question I have been asked often through the course of this project when sharing it with friends and clients. This is often followed by, “How did you do it?” My reply generally falls along the lines of, “One question and one page at a time.” However, without the continued emotional and financial support from my family, this project would never have come to completion. Their sacrifices and contributions were all given to help me fulfill my vision, and at times when I was tempted to let “good enough” be “good enough,” they demanded that I give my best. My deepest appreciations go to my wife, Emily De Groat; my parents, Dave and Grace De Groat; and my in-laws, Bruce and Audrey Schuurmann.
Writing is a process, one that I failed to understand well or appreciate until my senior year as a philosophy major at Calvin College. It was there that I learned to take in large amounts of information, process it, and then with reflection, organize a structured response in my own words. However, I soon learned this was only the first step in the process of writing. The steps that followed focused on the painstaking details of the writing processes, details that my professors demanded from me, that frustrated and tried me, leading to a greater appreciation of the writing process. Thank you Dr. Kelly James Clark, Dr. Steve Wykstra, and Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart.
As the title states, I am not another guru. I do not believe I have any deep mystical secrets or rites of passage to winning the war on fat. However, I do believe what I have done in the pages that follow is put together a body of information that can change an individual’s life dramatically. I have found, while working with individuals from many different backgrounds, that the majority of frustration with and confusion about the diet and exercise industries stems from the skewing of the truth and blatant fallacies these industries at times foster.
My goal is to communicate the basic scientific principles that regulate the world in which we live, as they pertain to diet and exercise. Thus, I hope to empower individuals against the skewing and fallacies made by others against these truths. To be able to do this, I have attempted to boil the truth down to its essence without losing any of its true taste or bite, so that individuals can truly understand and appreciate it. Like a chef looking for the right mix of ingredients, I put many presentations together, tried and retried them to find the best combinations. Thank you to all of the clients and fellow staff members who helped me to refine my presentation of these truths.
This project would never have become fully realized were it not for individuals willing to give of their expert skills and advice to a project on a shoe-string budget. To my editor Ira Steinberg, who helped to clarify my voice. To PJ McNerney, who helped to show me the possibilities of my project and gave tireless support and encouragement. Robert Budd and Harvey Steiner: your willingness to entertain the visions of a penniless author while extending your helping professional hands helped to bring shape to this ever growing and changing project. The world of multimedia presentation was a new undertaking for me, and Carl West provided the much-needed technical and artistic support to put my ideas into a usable and presentable format. Matt Smith was willing to put his Olympic rowing dreams on hold for an evening to model for us; thank you. The truth is many of us judge a book by its cover. Thank you to Rebecca Fagan for her willingness to bring both her creativity and expertise to the design of the cover, layout, and website. And finally, thank you to my sound man Dave Feldman for his never ending enthusiasm and willingness to do it “one more time.” The inability to express oneself can be a frustrating and paralyzing state; thank you, Rebecca and gentlemen, for saving me from a tortured existence.
During the past ten years of helping individuals understand the diet and exercise game, I have found myself answering the same essential questions again and again. These were questions on the basics of how the human body works, what makes certain diets better than others, and the importance and role of resistance, cardiovascular, range of motion, and body awareness training, along with techniques to maintain mental health.
I began to collect, create, and refine a series of easy-to-understand analogies to help people understand their own anatomy and physiology during exercise. These everyday analogies allowed people to have an “aha” moment, but more was needed to help them reach their goals. To meet this need, I formulated the Health and Wellness Portfolio™ (HWP™).
The HWP™ is a tool that will give you the ability to sort through the onslaught of information that bombards you, to get to what you need. It will help you in creating and executing your long and short-term fitness and wellness goals. Whatever your goals, whether you are 25 or 75 years old, want to lose 10 lbs or 100 lbs, add ten yards to your golf drive, or be able to walk 10 blocks, the HWP™ is a tool that will help you in organizing, understanding, and planning your fitness and wellness goals in a way that will allow you to work effectively and efficiently.
The goal of this book and CD-ROM is not to give you some “8 Short Weeks to a Better You!” over-hyped quick fix with a fast fizzle. The information is designed and presented in an easy to understand and apply fashion, but it will also challenge you on many different levels. And as with all great challenges that cause you to dig in, dig deep, and dig hard, you will come away with a new understanding of yourself, the world you live in, and the skills to meet your health and wellness challenges.
This is not a book of absolutes. I am a firm believer that we each possess a unique biochemical and orthopedic identity. That is specifically why the chapter on diet is presented in a way that does not list foods that you should and should not eat, or give you exact percentages of protein, fats, or carbohydrates. My body may respond productively to whole wheat pancakes, while you find yourself becoming foggy headed and bloated. Eating a choice piece of meat may hit the spot for your energy and satiety needs, but leave me with a lump in my stomach that won’t go away. How a particular food or combination of foods affects you is also dependent on a number of changing variables, including your overall activity level, the timing of a meal in relationship to a bout of exercise, medications, and stress levels.
With such individual uniqueness the question may be asked, “Is it just one big relative free-for-all, a shot in the dark, when it comes to diet and exercise?” The answer to that is simple: no. There are things that are unique to the arrangement and processes of your world that create your individual experience. However, there are universal laws that govern and regulate your world that apply to you and everyone else. These universal laws create the framework of our lives. We each add a unique set of experiences and variables that paints the picture. The goal of this book is to give you the tools and understanding you need to paint your desired picture.
I want to recognize that there are those with congenital metabolic and hormonal dysfunctions, as well as problems caused as a by-product of some medications and/or lifestyle. In the absolute sense, these individuals’ worlds are regulated by the same universal laws as everyone elses’. However, their unique response to these laws requires tools and diagnoses which should be utilized under the care and supervision of medically qualified individuals. These special conditions should not be whimsically appropriated and self-diagnosed by individuals unwilling to make needed lifestyle changes.
There is no single best way to approach the material in the following pages. Starting with the audio quick-start on the CD-ROM will give you a quick overview of what the book brings out in much more detail. I recommend starting with the first three chapters. They create the framework and goals for the remaining chapters. Chapters four and five may seem a bit taxing for some on the first read and can be skipped and referenced at a later point when needed. Chapters six through twelve can be read in order or in a random fashion, as driven by your current topic interest.
The final two chapters give you the framework to get going and the answers to the most common questions when you get stuck. The CD-ROM contains an audio coach and fitness calculators that will help you in putting together your quick start game plan found in the final chapter.
I also want to encourage you to take advantage of the resources found at the web site, www.BiGHeadFitness.com. There you will find a growing number of resources that will help you expand on the information you will learn going through this book and the tools needed to apply it.
I cannot promise that working through the information will always be easy, but I can promise that it will be worth it. If you are willing to do the work and take one baby step at a time over the next year, learning and applying the information that follows to your life, you will make a tremendously positive impact that will last a lifetime!
You are about to take the next steps along the path of regaining the control of your health and wellness. I want to encourage you to enjoy the journey. Run when the wind is at your back, walk when the hill seems too steep to climb, enjoy the view of the peaks and the richness of the valleys, and please do contact me. I want to enjoy your victories with you and help you through your struggles in any way that I can.