What Works for Me
by John Burket


There are two major factors which determine wellness—diet and exercise. Optimal health is achieved by optimizing both. In our day, we are overwhelmed with gimmicks that claim to achieve these lofty goals. Separating good advice from bogus claims can usually only be determined by experience. For example, consider the claim that how you eat is determined by your blood type. It sounds scientific, doesn't it? However, the claimer doesn't give any references, and simply expects you to accept his claim at face value, perhaps because he has the title "doctor" in front of his name. Most attacks seem to be directed toward natural, ie, drugless, solutions. In this article, I will relate those modalities that have worked for me.


The most important facet of anyone's well-being is their diet. Much is made of exercise, but when it gets down to it, it is what you eat that counts—you are what you eat, physically. You can't expect a high-performance race car to make do with kerosene. The standard dietary information we are given in grade school is inadequate at best. Never are we told why it is unhealthy to eat pizza, for instance. For starters, all or virtually all pizza is made from hydrogenated (plastic) oils.
Hydrogenated oils alone are a major cause of heart disease, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis. And what are hydrogenated oils? Virtually all of those oils in the supermarket, including but not limited to canola, safflower, corn, and soy oils. Even olive oil, if processed, can be unhealthy. Do you really think that your local pizzeria is going to use butter, virgin olive oil, or coconut oil to prepare pizzas?
All processed food should be avoided, and this especially means potato chips, candy, and soda drinks. All food labels should be inspected to make sure that they don't contain aspartame, a known neurotoxin commonly found in diet drinks and chewing gum. A common compound added to most foods today is MSG, another item to be avoided.
It is not enough to eat balanced, natural foods anymore, unfortunately. This is because the vitamins and minerals in food grown in the U.S. today are largely gone. For example, it takes 10 servings of spinach to equal one serving of spinach 50 years ago in terms of nutrition. The solution to this dilemma is to take supplements. Especially important are mineral supplements that contain zinc, copper, selenium, iron, and magnesium. And it is important that these supplements not be in elemental form, but combined with other elements, such as the compound magnesium citrate.
As for hydration, water is the best by far. And not just any water, but purified water that still retains helpful minerals. Thus, distilled water and reverse-osmosis water are ruled out. Filtered water should be free of chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, MTBE (a gasoline additive), herbicides, arsenic, lead, and other unhealthy substances. Purchasing bottled water can be hazardous to your health, and you need to read labels, especially noting the percentage of chlorine. Virtually all contain chlorine, so it is advisable to filter bottled water as well. If your tap water is "hard", which means it is mineral-rich, then it is a good raw source of water. The best filter I have found for cleaning up tap water is a gravity-fed unit that filters out particulate matter, chlorine, fluoride, herbicides, pesticides, MTBE, heavy metals, and more. Made by British Berkefeld, the Big Berky comes with ceramic filters which are excellent at filtering biological contaminants and particulate matter. Inside the ceramic filters is activated charcoal which eliminates chlorine. Special add-on PF-4 filters take care of other contaminants, notably fluoride and MTBE, but also much more. This option is also economical compared to purchasing bottled water. Stay away from fruit juices and other drinks, as they use water containing the contaminants previously mentioned.
To build a strong body, note that there are three major food groups to consider; namely proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Proteins are the most important for building muscle, the key to a healthy body. In building muscle, arteries are exercised, and the heart and lungs are stressed. Our bodies were designed to be stressed, so this is good. Consider that astronauts, whose bodies are not stressed, lose up to 30% of their muscle during just one rendezvous in space. This is because their bodies are not stressed by gravity. To utilize the protein intake to the body, Vitamin A is very important and not just vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A contains more than just the retinol found in most vitamin A supplements. Hence, I recommend taking liver and cod liver oil, excellent whole-food sources of vitamin A when taking in protein. Ideal sources of protein are eggs and red meat. Eggs are an excellent source of not only protein (in the egg whites), but also vitamin A (in the egg yolks). Taking protein with vitamin A has been shown to be nearly as good as taking testosterone supplements, and without the side effects of the latter. This is because testosterone supplements are generally artificial. Avoid all artificial substances; virtually all, if not all, are inferior to natural substances.
To keep weight from becoming excessive, limit your carbohydrate intake. Spaghetti, bread, and sugar-based foods are necessary only in limited quantites to provide energy to perform workouts. A reliable indicator of weight is your waistline, not your actual weight. If your waist is larger than your hips, you're fat. The tummy should never protrude when relaxed. Carbohydrates, like fats, do not build muscle, so keep their intake to a minimum.
Fats are generally neglected, but the right ones are important. For example, consider that vitamin A is a fat-based vitamin. Coconut oil, butter (especially from non-pasteurized milk), cod liver oil, and fish oils in general are excellent for skin health and making the organs run smoothly.


Although secondary in importance to food, exercise is needed to stress the body. Think of those astronauts who lose muscle every time they go into orbit. Relying completely on gravity does not give one the strength required to lift weights beyond bodyweight. For this reason, I am not a fan of bodyweight exercises, or fixed-force exercise devices such as chest springs. Using a 50-lb. chest spring will limit your strength to...you guessed it, 50 lb. I performed an experiment doing over 100 repetitions with a 20 lb dumbbell - and I did not gain any hardness or strength in my arms - only soreness from the production of lactic acid. I have found that the number of repetitions done in an exercise serves no other purpose than to burn calories or tire one out.
The recipe for building maximum strength in minimum time is to do one-rep exercises, except for a couple of warm-up reps. In fact, the best warm-up exercise for a particular exercise is the same exercise, but at a lower intensity level. Two warm-up reps at 50% and 75% of maximum, for instance, keeps the exerciser from pulling a muscle, and yet does not keep the third rep from being a maximum effort. For example, an arm curl exercise should be performed as follows, assuming a maximum effort is 80 lb:
• First rep: 40 lb
• Second rep: 60 lb
• Final power rep : maximum effort (> 80 lb., preferably)
If the first time you did an arm curl was 80 lb, then a week later, you should be able to increase that amount by 5% or more. Any gain less than 2% means you should wait two weeks before you try again.
The best kind of exercise is the type that forces your body to increase in either strength or wind capacity. Anything less is only maintenance. One of the most efficient aerobic exercises is to ride uphill on a bicycle in high gear. It is guaranteed to get you winded - and the harder you breathe, the better. This builds wind, which automatically diminishes with age.


The most important factor for diet and exercise control is your desire to make it happen. Why should you care what you eat, and whether you exercise?
A feeling of exhilaration accompanies a good diet and short, high-intensity exercise. Fewer doctor appointments and sick days are a consequence. Higher concentration powers accompany a good fat diet with the good circulation encouraged by static contraction exercise. Your physical appearance leads to more self-assurance, and attracts the opposite sex.
Setting goals is essential; without goals, nothing is accomplished. Prepare a workout and/or a diet on paper. Purchase static contraction exercise devices that build strength and allow you to measure your progress. Forget about springs and bands—you need a meter to measure your progress. Doing repetitions with weights is very tiring, and I don't recommend them. Working out using static contraction doesn't even require a change of clothes, because you don't even break out into a sweat. It is truly the "no sweat" way to go.

Author's Bio: 

I am an inventor of physical fitness devices, and reside in Israel. One of my hobbies is to research nutrients and natural means of staying healthy. I also use natural means to solve health problems, and have almost forgotten the name of my doctor. In a former life, I was an electronic engineer. I am now a technical writer, after switching careers seven years ago.