Laird’s Laws – the most amazing fitness advice you’ve never heard

The most amazing fitness advice you’ve never heard.

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Search for fitness advice online and you’ll get superfoods, supplements, trackers, apps, scales, and calories.  You won’t find any of that hoo-ha in these 17 commandments from fitness god Laird Hamilton.


The most important one, that you never hear, is basing everything on your body’s own internal barometers – how you feel.  if you do someone else’s number of reps, shoot for some measure on an app or tracker, or try to burn some arbitrary number of calories, you’re accepting the limitations placed on you by others.  Only you can tell if you’re stimulating new muscle fiber in your body with new directions and contractions.  Are you breathless or feeling the burn on the first rep?  Good, it’s working.


As Hamilton says “Think of your body like a car … if you just keep driving it, it’ll keep going.  It likes to be driven.”  The way to keep driving it is to identify a move right at the edge of your limits every day and practice pushing through these limits until they’re so easy that you have to move the needle.


Chew more – that’s refreshing advice that your never hear.  It’s a great way to slow down and focus on mindful eating.  Enjoy every bite, every chew, and observe how food affects your hunger and how your hunger affects when, what, how much, and how fast you eat.


He also points out that trying to eat “healthy” all the time can become an obsession and a massive waste of time.  When I first started I was using superfoods and supplements to justify eating more.  I suspect that this is what most people who are obsessed with healthy eating are actually doing.  Laird suggests lightening up a little and treating your body like a truck instead of a high-performance car.  A Big Mac is nutrition too, and as Hamilton says, you’re gonna “get through it and keep running”.


There are lots of good reasons to schedule training in the morning, and Hamilton points out 2 of them: jump-starting your metabolism and avoiding the the inevitable daily interruptions that will end your workout before it begins.  I would add several others.  Sleep is calorie-free energy that you can put to use to intensify your efforts.  According to sleep researcher Daniel Pardi, “sleep pressure” is lowest in the morning.  There are also good psychological studies showing that willpower is strongest immediately following sleep – it peaks soon after you wake up, and decision fatigue is at it’s lowest.  Finally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy theory suggests that exercising first thing in the morning is a way of rewiring your brain.  According to Harvard-trained happiness researcher Shawn Achor, demonstrating that your behavior matters and can positively affect your thoughts and moods – can carry positively into other activities throughout your day.


The other awesome point Hamilton makes that I love is about exercise machines and gyms.  I think that gyms are designed for mediocre results, because the exercise machines stabilize your body weight in ways that make your muscles lazy and actually make you weaker and impede your progress.  In Hamilton’s words, “…you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”  This is why repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves not only achieve inferior results but they also make you weaker and less able to push your limits in the future.


Finally, fear can be an awesome motivator.  Most people use fear as reason to quit, or even not to start in the first place.  You’re so afraid of not reaching your goals that it seems pointless to try.  Sound familiar?  Well, you can flip that fear on its head and use it  to your advantage.  Which is worse, trying to just make the effort to get started today or resigning yourself to living inside a body you don’t love for the rest of your life?


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