This painting shows the dead body of Thomas Chatterton, an 18th century poet who killed himself by taking arsenic rather than live in poverty.
I suspect that if you weren’t familiar with this picture you wouldn’t guess that it shows an impoverished young man who has died of self administered arsenic poisoning. Although relatively unknown during his life, Chatterton’s death became a well known event because of the romanticised reaction it provoked. As well as this painting, there were poetic responses from the likes of Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats.
When Want and cold Neglect had chill’d thy soul,
Athirst for Death I see thee drench the bowl!
Thy corpse of many a livid hue
On the bare ground I view,
Whilst various passions all my mind engage;
Now is my breast distended with a sigh,
And now a flash of Rage
Darts through the tear, that glistens in my eye
(Monody on the death of Chatterton by Samuel Taylor Coleridge See link)
Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) was an unsuccessful poet whose suicide became a symbol of blighted artistic genius. Wallis used his friend George Meredith (1828-1909), also a struggling writer, as the model. Recent research has questioned whether Chatterton was living in poverty and if his death was suicide or accident (Nick Groom, 2004).
When the large painting of this subject was first exhibited as ‘Chatterton’ at the Royal Academy, Wallis added a quote from Christopher Marlowe: ‘ Cut is the branch that might have grown straight, And burned is Appollo’s laurel bough’. A label on the verso of this painted version reads: The Death of Chatteton/ the original painting/ Study by H Wallis/-’The Marvellous Boy/ The sleepless soul, that perished in his pride’/ Wordsworth.
I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous boy, The sleepless soul that perished in his pride; Of him who walked in glory and in joy Following his plough, along the mountain side: By our own spirits are we deified: We poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850), British poet. Resolution and Independence (l. 43–49). . .
The Poems; Vol. 1 [William Wordsworth]. John O. Hayden, ed. (1977, repr. 1990) Penguin Books.
Sonnet to Chatterton ( John Keats)
O CHATTERTON! how very sad thy fate! Dear child of sorrow – son of misery! How soon the film of death obscur’d that eye, Whence Genius mildly flash’d, and high debate. How soon that voice, majestic and elate, Melted in dying numbers! Oh! how nigh Was night to thy fair morning. Thou didst die A half-blown flow’ret which cold blasts amate. But this is past: thou art among the stars Of highest Heaven: to the rolling spheres Thou sweetly singest: naught thy hymning mars, Above the ingrate world and human fears. On earth the good man base detraction bars From thy fair name, and waters it with tears.
Skin can be complicated to take care of. However, this doesn’t mean your routine has to be complex and long winded – so long as you’re smart about which products you need to buy or not. To make your life easier, we’ve gathered up some top tips – hopefully they’ll help to streamline your skin care, and get you right on track for Summer. And with your own DIY beauty products.. let’s see how with the following authors.
How I Fixed My Skin by Making My Own Beauty Products
by LESLEY CLAYTON
My 14-year-old niece looks out from behind the pantry door in our kitchen to ask me where the honey is. I tell her that I left it in the shower, and she gives me that teenager-perfected look of pity and revulsion. But she’ll just have to get used to it because, for the foreseeable future, what she uses to sweeten her tea and what I use to clean my face are coming out of the same jar.
Since I was younger than she is now, I’ve had what my mother calls “problem skin.” It is an excessively sensitive, acne-prone mess of keratosis and razor burn whose hobbies include scarring, peeling in direct sunlight, blotching red when I watch GOP debates, and bursting into itchy pustules if I use the wrong laundry detergent. As a teenager, I took comfort in the assumption that adulthood would mean post-pubescent cutaneous bliss, but my skin just got worse.
Recently, I started to wonder if the problem wasn’t my skin, but the harsh chemicals I used on it. So after 15 years and thousands of dollars in creams and gels and dermatologists and medications and microdermabrasion and infomercial impulse buys, I decided to go the full hippie and renounce all commercial skincare products. Now, I’d dabbled in homemade scrubs and bath soaks here and there because I espouse a doctrine of DIY frugality and have been desperate enough to try anything. But this time, I got serious.
I gathered every bottle, tube, and pot of store-bought product (and there are a lot of them after all that trial-and-error) and put them in a drawer, then decided on a couple of ground rules.
1. Nothing goes on my face that I wouldn’t eat (with the exception of makeup and sunblock). Sometimes I even put things on my face and eat them simultaneously, but we’ll get to that later.
2. The materials are cheap. With a project like this, it’s very easy to spend a small fortune on natural ingredients making claims as inflated as their commercial counterparts. I, however, am budgeted within an inch of my life. I’ve heard wonderful things about the benefits of tamanu oil, but at $13 an ounce, it doesn’t interest me. Luckily, I already had a small cache of essential oils collected over the years. They make a great addition to natural skin care concoctions, but aren’t necessary. The only carrier oils I use are olive, grapeseed, and coconut, because I also cook with them.
With these basic rules established, the objective is the same as any other facial care regimen: cleanse, tone, moisturize.
Every day I wash my face with honey. In its raw form, honey has serious antiseptic and antibacterial properties that are perfect for getting gunk off your face. Just make sure the label explicitly says it’s raw, because pasteurization wipes out all the benefits.
Treat it like you would any other cleanser: Rub about a teaspoon onto damp skin and rinse clean. If you can leave it on for a few minutes while you brush your teeth, even better. With wet hands and face, it’s not sticky at all and comes off easily. If I need a little more oomph, like for removing makeup, I’ll mix it with a little baking soda in my palm before applying for extra scrubbing power.
There is a method of facial cleansing that uses oil exclusively, which seems counterintuitive to those of us who spent the late ‘90s as shining beacons of sebum. (The internet is full of raves, but science says I should stay away.) A little olive oil on a cotton swab makes a phenomenal eye makeup remover.
I keep two toners on hand. The first is a recipe I developed after sneaking a cellphone picture of an ingredients label in a pricy handmade cosmetics shop. Boutique espionage is the greatest starting point in at-home product development. Toner No. 1:
1 oz vodka
2 oz water
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops grapefruit essential oil
The vodka is serving two purposes here. The oils and water need an emulsifier in order to mix—think of it as a vinaigrette for your face—and alcohol does that. Any time you want to dilute essential oils in water, you’ll need one. It’s also a powerful astringent that will tighten your pores. Tea tree oil is an anti-inflammatory that helps tame redness, andgrapefruit smells nice. This one’s refreshing as hell, but very drying. Oily skin and humid climates can stand up to daily use, but listen to your face and scale back if it’s feeling too aggressive. I keep it in a spray bottle for quick application in especially clammy situations, like after a workout or during that long stretch of Texas summer when the air is made up of crotch sweat and tequila vapor.
Toner No. 2 is just equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. I use it on a cotton swab when I’m feeling dry. It’s gentler than the vodka toner and balances your skin’s pH.
This one’s easy. Grapeseed oil. On my face. Just remember a little goes a very long way. The challenge in this is getting it on as lightly as possible. Using your fingers to slide on a thin layer gets easier with practice, and a cotton swab can be a huge help, but I use a Misto. Seriously. It gives me moisture light enough to wear under makeup.
On days I’m not wearing makeup but don’t want to look like a greasy teenager, I rub the cut side of a potato all over my face. It feels wet going on but dries in a few seconds and the starches control shine longer than any powder makeup claiming the same.
For a fantastic exfoliating scrub, combine used coffee grounds and enough olive oil to form a paste. It’s aggressive (especially if you French press), so I wouldn’t try it while broken out.
I love masks, but I rarely make one unless I’m using ingredients that would otherwise be thrown out. I’ve read that avocados are wonderful for repairing sun damage and fighting wrinkles, but I will never experience that because eating guacamole is a core tenant of my personal beliefs. What I’m saying is that we’re going to use every part of the buffalo.
I mask once a week at most, and have three go-to recipes.
Mask No. 1: The pulp from my juicer that I normally trash can be mixed with just enough coconut oil to form a paste, spread onto my face for 10-15 minutes, and rinsed clean for deep moisture. The works great withcarrots, cucumbers, spinach, tomato—really anything worth juicing is worth putting on your face. Just be wary of acidic fruits (which should be fine in moderation) and beets, lest you risk losing Homecoming Queen to Muffin Sangria.
Mask No. 2: Yogurt’s lactic acid is as good for your skin as it is your digestive tract. Any morning I don’t finish a breakfast of yogurt, honey, and flax seeds, leftovers are going on my face. Lay this on thick until it dries. Pieces of it should come of easily in your hands, making rinsing a bit easier. Oatmeal is another great dual-purpose breakfast and mask.
Mask No. 3: Anytime I make mayonnaise or pasta carbonara, that abandoned egg white is going on my face for my favorite and simplest mask. Whip the egg white with a whisk or food processor until it’s frothy, spread it on your face, and let it dry completely. The white will tighten like crazy—you can crack it if you smile—but it will melt away easily with warm water.
Granted, my BA in English doesn’t qualify me to make these recommendations with any scientific or medical authority, but I’m confident that I can know a lot more about what going on my face when I browse for skincare products in my pantry than I ever did when I was shopping in a drugstore. And I think it’s safe to assume that honey won’t be taken off the market for its link to inflammatory bowel diseases, like our old friend Accutane. What I can say with certainty is that I haven’t put a cleaning agent of unknown origins to my skin in over a month, and my face has never been happier.
How to Make Your Own Beauty Products from Scratch
by LESLEY CLAYTON
Let’s keep things simple this week. When it comes to personal-care products, we are big believers in streamlining what you use—see “Eight Products You Think You Need But Don’t” for a refresher—buying less in general, and getting creative. We have both always loved experimenting in our kitchens and our bathrooms, checking ingredients in products we love, isolating the main ones, and then trying them on their own. Sometimes it works: A favorite hair leave-in contained aloe, for example, so one day we tried aloe alone and found that, lo and behold, it worked just fine on its own. And sometimes it didn’t. Over the years we have tried dozens of DIY beauty recipes to find ones we like—and that work. Below are our favorite six. And the best thing about these is that none contains more than four ingredients, and chances are good you have them all in your kitchen already. So get cookin’ and if you have your own, be sure to share it in the comments.
Simple body scrub
Many body scrubs, even the ones that claim to be sugar- or salt-based, actually contain beads made out of polyethylene, which isenvironmentally deplorable (it all goes down the drain, remember)—to say nothing of the preservatives, fragrance, penetration enhancers, and sulfates that typically bulk up these products. Instead, head to your kitchen. Grab a bowl and combine a quarter cup of any oil you like (I like olive best), an eighth of a cup of coarse brown sugar, same amount of salt, and an essential oil you love. Vanilla seems to me the can’t-beat option for smell, but go with your favorite. And if you have dry skin, a sunburn, or eczema, leave out the salt and double up the sugar.
Honey face wash
We already told you about our new favorite homemade face wash last week but here’s the recipe: In the palm of your hand, combine a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered honey with a half a tablespoon of baking soda, mix it together, and apply to damp skin. The honey is antibacterial while also soothing dry skin, and the baking soda is gently exfoliating without tearing or irritating your face. Cheap, too.
One-ingredient eye liner
For the ladies (or the gents with a flair for the dramatic) this is as easy as it gets: Grab a capsule of activated charcoal, which you can get at most pharmacies and any health food store. Instead of ingesting it for your tummy ache, dump out the contents on a clean surface, moisten the tip of a makeup brush with water, and sweep it on like you would any other eye liner. It goes on easily and lasts just as long as regular powdered liner—minus the preservatives, artificial dyes, fragrance, and other chemicals.
Because fragrance is protected under trade secret laws, there is literally no way to know what is in that perfume or cologne you think of as your signature scent. But if a recent study is any indication (and it is), there are some things in there we shouldn’t be too happy about. Instead, make your own! Combine essential oils you like—cedar, ylang ylang, vanilla, lavender, citrus oils—with a little bit of vodka, and keep it in an airtight container. You can experiment and tweak it as the seasons change—lighter in summer, heavier for winter—without having to drop another $80 on potentially dangerous chemical cocktails.
Outside the shower, grab an oil you like—olive, argan, jojoba, and coconut work well—slather it on the area that needs a shave, and go for it. Oils are hard for some people at first: We are hard-wired to think oils on our face are a bad idea, but if you use a skin-compatible oil like the ones listed, it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. (In fact, some people find the opposite happens!)
Yogurt face mask
This one raises some eyebrows—putting yogurt on your face sounds a little gross at first—but it can be a great skin-brightening, moisturizing mask on its own for sensitive skin. Combine a cut of yogurt with half a cup of non-instant oatmeal, mix, and apply. The lactic acid in the yogurt softens skin gently, and can be great for dehydrated and congested skin. Leave it in for 15 minutes, and rinse. No need to wash after.
This is a series inspired by No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics, a book by GOOD’s features editor Siobhan O’Connor and her co-author Alexandra Spunt.
The OODA loop (for observe, orient, decide, and act) is a concept originally applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The concept was developed by military strategist and USAFColonel John Boyd.
Diagram of a decision cycle known as the Boyd cycle, or the OODA loop.
The OODA loop has become an important concept in both business and military strategy. According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage. Frans Osinga argues that Boyd’s own views on the OODA loop are much deeper, richer, and more comprehensive than the common interpretation of the ‘rapid OODA loop’ idea.
Boyd developed the concept to explain how to direct one’s energies to defeat an adversary and survive. Boyd emphasized that “the loop” is actually a set of interacting loops that are to be kept in continuous operation during combat. He also indicated that the phase of the battle has an important bearing on the ideal allocation of one’s energies.
Boyd’s diagram shows that all decisions are based on observations of the evolving situation tempered with implicit filtering of the problem being addressed. These observations are the raw information on which decisions and actions are based. The observed information must be processed to orient it for further making a decision. In notes from his talk “Organic Design for Command and Control”, Boyd said,
The second O, orientation – as the repository of our genetic heritage, cultural tradition, and previous experiences – is the most important part of the O-O-D-A loop since it shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.
As stated by Boyd and shown in the “Orient” box, there is much filtering of the information through our culture, genetics, ability to analyze and synthesize, and previous experience. Since the OODA Loop was designed to describe a single decision maker, the situation is usually much worse than shown as most business and technical decisions have a team of people observing and orienting, each bringing their own cultural traditions, genetics, experience and other information. It is here that decisions often get stuck, which does not lead to winning, since
In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries–or, better yet, get inside [the] adversary’s Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action time cycle or loop. … Such activity will make us appear ambiguous (unpredictable) thereby generate confusion and disorder among our adversaries–since our adversaries will be unable to generate mental images or pictures that agree with the menacing as well as faster transient rhythm or patterns they are competing against.
The OODA loop, which focuses on strategic military requirements, was adapted for business and public sector operational continuity planning. Compare it with thePlan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle or Shewhart cycle, which focuses on the operational or tactical level of projects.
As one of Boyd’s colleagues, Harry Hillaker, put it in “John Boyd, USAF Retired, Father of the F16“:
The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.
Writer Robert Greene wrote in an article called OODA and You that
the proper mindset is to let go a little, to allow some of the chaos to become part of his mental system, and to use it to his advantage by simply creating more chaos and confusion for the opponent. He funnels the inevitable chaos of the battlefield in the direction of the enemy.
Applicability of the OODA loop
Consider a fighter pilot being scrambled to shoot down an enemy aircraft.
Before the enemy airplane is even within visual contact range, the pilot will consider any available information about the likely identity of the enemy pilot: his nationality, level of training, and cultural traditions that may come into play.
When the enemy aircraft comes into radar contact, more direct information about the speed, size, and maneuverability, of the enemy plane becomes available; unfolding circumstances take priority over radio chatter. A first decision is made based on the available information so far: the pilot decides to “get into the sun” above his opponent, and acts by applying control inputs to climb. Back to observation: is the attacker reacting to the change of altitude? Then to orient: is the enemy reacting characteristically, or perhaps acting like a noncombatant? Is his plane exhibiting better-than-expected performance?
As the dogfight begins, little time is devoted to orienting unless some new information pertaining to the actual identity or intent of the attacker comes into play. Information cascades in real time, and the pilot does not have time to process it consciously; the pilot reacts as he is trained to, and conscious thought is directed to supervising the flow of action and reaction, continuously repeating the OODA cycle. Simultaneously, the opponent is going through the same cycle.
How does one interfere with an opponent’s OODA cycle? One of John Boyd’s primary insights in fighter combat was that it is vital to change speed and direction faster than the opponent. This is not necessarily a function of the plane’s ability to maneuver, rather the pilot must think and act faster than the opponent can think and act. Getting “inside” the cycle—short-circuiting the opponent’s thinking processes—produces opportunities for the opponent to react inappropriately.
Another tactical-level example can be found on the basketball court, where a player takes possession of the ball and must get past an opponent who is taller or faster. A straight dribble or pass is unlikely to succeed. Instead the player may engage in a rapid and elaborate series of body movements designed to befuddle the opponent and deny him the ability to take advantage of his superior size or speed. At a basic level of play, this may be merely a series of fakes, with the hope that the opponent will make a mistake or an opening will occur, but practice and mental focus may allow one to accelerate tempo, get inside the opponent’s OODA loop and take control of the situation—to cause the opponent to move in a particular way, and generate an advantage rather than merely react to an accident. Taking control of the situation is key. It is not enough to speed through OODA faster — that results in flailing.
The same cycle operates over a longer timescale in a competitive business landscape, and the same logic applies. Decision makers gather information (observe), form hypotheses about customer activity and the intentions of competitors (orient), make decisions, and act on them. The cycle is repeated continuously. The aggressive and conscious application of the process gives a business advantage over a competitor who is merely reacting to conditions as they occur, or has poor awareness of the situation.
The approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor. John Boyd put this ethos into practice with his work for the USAF. He was an advocate of maneuverable fighter aircraft, in contrast to the heavy, powerful jet fighters that were prevalent in the 1960s, such as the F-4 Phantom II andGeneral Dynamics F-111. Boyd inspired the Light Weight Fighter Project that produced the successful F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet, which are still in use by the United States and several other military powers into the 21st century.
An article published in the McKinsey Quarterly triggered my thinking a couple of month ago. The author, Lowell Bryant, was highlighting the need for “just in time” decision making in companies.
“Much of the art of decision making under uncertainty is getting the timing right. If you delay too much, investment costs may escalate, and losses can accumulate. However, making critical decisions too early can lead to bad choices or excessive risks”
90% of pilot training include decision making. Professional pilots spend hundreds of hours in simulators and in the cockpit trying to tackle one key challenge: those 3 or 4 minutes where, one day in their career, they will have to make the one decision that will result in the life or death of hundreds of passengers.
The environment a pilot is navigating is not that dissimilar than the corporate environment and its many uncertainties and disruptions: a bird striking your engines, icing accumulating on the wings, an unexpected delay resulting on an aircraft been in your flightpath… as those happen, the hundreds of hours of training are coming into play.
This is how we train pilots to make the right decision.
Understand biases induced by the way our brain, and more specifically our senses are built.
As a pilot feels the skin of his/her back pressing against the back of the seat, he/she will assume the plane is accelerating. However, it can also be the results of a plane which nose has unexpectedly pointed towards the sky, and which is climbing sharply while loosing speed. Polits also are well aware of the Graveyard spiral: an observed loss of altitude during a coordinated constant-rate turn that has ceased stimulating the motion sensing system can create the illusion of being in a descent with the wings level. The disoriented pilot will pull back on the controls, tightening the spiral and increasing the loss of altitude. Mistakes like this have in the past led to terrible accidents, one of them been the decision made by the Air France pilots during that terrible Rio-Paris crash.
See here a documentary by the BBC on the Air France Rio-Paris crash, largely due to pilot error.
Most significantly, we now when we train pilots that biases are accentuated in the following situations:
Expectations based on experience: pilots compare the information they get with what they have learned from past experiences. For example, the image of the runway as they are about the land is compared with the image from runways they are used to. If a runway is narrower or larger than what they are used to, it can result in an inaccurate estimate of airplave height.
The recent decision by HP’s CEO to exit the computer world and focus on developing software is partly driven by Leo Apoteker’s experience at SAP. This logic can have unexpected consequences: it implies that the most experienced CEOs might be the ones who are most likely to make the wrong decisions.
Expectations based on anticipation: as a pilot is getting ready to take off, he/she is waiting for the final green light from the tower. Accidents have happened when the insctruction that followed ” cleared into take off position” can be understood as “cleared for take-off” ( resulting a few years ago in a collision of 2 Boeing 747 in Tenerife). Similarly, we have observed CEOs who after having presented a strategic plan to a less than luke-warm board of directors, have taken the quiet reserve or lack of decision for a green light.
Expectations based on habits: if a pilot is used to parking his/her plane on “Parking Area Alpha” and exceptionally receives the instruction to park in “Parking Area Golf”, the risk exists that the pilot still goes to Alpha, even after having repeated accurately the instructions to the tower. This bias explains why so many executives keep repeating the same patterns or decisions, even when their environment is clearly shifting ( this is currently happening in the telecommunication industry).
You will find additional information about strategic biases in our article : “Strategic Blindspot Index” ( see here ).
When under stress, revert to checklists
To allow the mind to focus on the important task of assessing the situation,checklists have been built to allow pilots to process information fast and get data he / she needs. This is due to the fact that to the best of human abilities, the mind can only process 7 pieces of short information at a time ( this is why in most countries most phone numbers have 7 digits). Offloading pilots on steps to follow in an emergency situation has been crucial to the profession. As far as I know, no such checklists have been developed for CEOs and executives ( except in extreme crisis situations).
If one looks closely at how those checklists have been developed overtime, an interesting process emerges: checklists have been crowdsourced to the entire flight community. Any incident, any accident is logged, discussed and shared in publications and training session so that the knowledge in the industry can collectively grow. No such process exists in the corporate world. Companies struggle to share knowledge internally, and certainly, no repository exists today to share failures, and debate them publicly. A few initiatives have emerged, such as the MIX (Management Insight Exchange), but they have only gained limited visibility.
Be physically shaped for decision making
A significant percentage of human errors occur under stress. There is a code of eating behavior that guides pilots to be physicallly shaped for decision making.
In addition, the aerospace community has studied those factors carefully and are able to anticipate situations when decision making might fail ( for more, see here ).
A questionnaire concerning life changes, personality factors, and adjustmental and leadership qualities of U.S. Naval aircrewmembers involved in aircraft accidents was sent to investigating flight surgeons during 1977-78. The responses were divided into two groups: those who were causally involved in accidents and those who were not. In order to cross-validate the results, data were collected and analyzed. Results indicate that aircrewmembers in the process of deciding about staying in the service are more likely to fall into the causally involved group. So were those who had trouble with interpersonal relationships, had no sense of humor or humility concerning themselves, were immature, or had recently lost a friend or family member through death.
Source: A questionnaire study of psychological background factors in U.S. Navy aircraft accidents ( Alkov RA, Borowsky MS.)
I have not seen one company that has adopted a eating guide, health and fitness code (and requirement) for its executives. Few have tackled the issue of executive support and coaching to deal with stress factors. Finally, I also have never seen a“sense of humor” test as part of the recruiting toolkit…
Understand the role of intelligence
When flying, pilots do have an array of information they can tap into: numerous maps of existing weather and wind conditions, 3-hour forecasts, a radars, insights from the control tower, etc…
Similarly, executives can base their decisions on a flow of information and data. Thecompetitive and strategic intelligence process is therefore a key part of their decision making process. A recent survey of North American companies ( 2011 Global Market Intelligence Survey) shows that 84% of companies have implemented a structured intelligence process in house. On average, North American companies have teams of 10 people with competitive intelligence as their primary role, which cater to 1,162 internal clients. Furthermore, nearly 70% of North American companies intend to increase their investments in competitive intelligence (also known as market intelligence) in 2012-2013.
Flight instructors know the law of intensity: the best way to anchor learning in a student is to experience the effect of mistake emotionally. For example, we often let the student pilot stall the aircraft and go for a spin. A new pilot will never forget this experience – and hopefully recognize the signs early in the future.
Pilots wil rehearse the same crisis situation many times, each time with an added twist or new factors to learn to make decisions without anchoring to a past situation.
Similarly, role playing, business simulations and war gaming can help executive play out possible outcomes in crisis situation. The “World without Oil” is a great example of how this might be done.
WORLD WITHOUT OIL is a serious game for the public good. WWO invited people from all walks of life to contribute “collective imagination” to confront a real-world issue: the risk our unbridled thirst for oil poses to our economy, climate and quality of life. It’s a milestone in the quest to use games as democratic, collaborative platforms for exploring possible futures and sparking future-changing action.
Do not trust your instruments
Pilots learn early not to trust their instruments entirely, and only when they cantriangulate the information. As instruments can lie, or break down. Again, the recent accident of the Paris-Rio Air France flight illustrated how difficult it can be to make the right decision when one instrument ( in that case a frozen speed indicator) fails. It is only by looking at the full picture that they make up their mind about the real situation.
Similarly, companies should revisit their key indicators. One way to avoid blindspots can be to systematically revisit the type of information that is collected and communicated and take some key assumptions off the equation: if my sales go up, and the number of customers as well, does it mean I attract the best ones ( or that I am failing like in the subprime case) ? What if the indicators say the opposite ? Am I monitoring the correct dashboard ?
Train for the situation
Pilots are trained specifically for each type of aircraft they fly. In fact, they will get additional training each time they change the type of aircraft they are flying.
Managers don’t. When new CEO of HP joined from SAP, he applies to his new business the same principles as the ones what seemed to work at SAP. He divested of hardware, and directed the company towards software. I do not know business schools today which differentiate their training based on the type of company managers will work with. What about an MBA in Telecommunication management? An MBA in retail management? ( of course, it would also be interesting – and innovative- for a telecom company to hire a retail management MBA to bring in a different way of doing business….)
Managers and executives are still largely trained today the same way they were trained 50 years ago. Little emphasis is put on decision making, which is one of the key skills in today’s turbulent environment. As other professions have developed an acute understanding of the decision making process, we should, as a business community, learn from them.
Estelle Métayer brings vast experience and fresh perspective to the ever-changing world of Competitive and Strategic Intelligence. A noted expert, her intuitive, precise research provides managers, CEOs, and board members with the right tools to effectively build and hone their competitive intelligence and strategic planning – to avoid blind spots, capitalize on strengths and excel. Estelle is also a commercial pilot and Certified Flight Instructor.
Oxidation gives rooibos its familiar reddish colour. (Photo by Smaku)
The herbal tea made from rooibos has been a popular drink in Southern Africa for generations. The plant, Aspalathus linearis, is grown only in a small area in the Western Cape province of South Africa, but during recent years rooibos has become popular in other parts of the world as well.
Though not technically a tea, the infusion made from oxidised rooibos leaves is commonly referred to as rooibos tea. Traditionally, it is enjoyed hot with a slice of lemon and sugar or honey, but iced tea versions and even a rooibos espresso made from concentrated rooibos are apparently gaining popularity.
This tea is high in antioxidants called flavonoids and flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce allergic responses and histamine release. It’s not really a tea but a true herb. There are no worries of calories with consumption of this tea. In Japan this tea is referred to as “Long Life Tea” and an anti-ageing beverage. It is believed by many Japanese women that Rooibos tea offer unique benefits during pregnancy.
There is no negative effect on the absorption of iron and proteins into the body with Rooibos as it is low in tannin. It can also be freely consumed by people suffering from kidney stones since Rooibos contains no oxalic acid. It is also safe for infants and pregnant women to consume this tea.
So whether you have digestive problems, skin problems, sleep issues, allergies and hay fever, this tea helps in all.
While many people have acquired a taste for rooibos and know that it is considered something of a health drink, most of us are clueless as to what exactly the health benefits of rooibos are. In this post, we’ll review what the studies say on rooibos tea.
The antioxidant activity of rooibos tea
Like regular tea, rooibos tea contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants. While the most beneficial flavonoids of green tea are catechins such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main flavonoids in rooibos tea are aspalathin and nothofagin. One in vitro study found that aspalathin is even more effective at scavenging free radicals than EGCG (link) – a rather surprising result, given that just about everyone knows about antioxidants in green tea but not in rooibos tea. All in all, green tea still seems to beat rooibos tea in antioxidant activity, however (link).
The second flavonoid tested, nothofagin, was not as effective as quercetin but still potent. Oddly enough, an older study found that aspalathin and nothofagin can also act as pro-oxidants under certain in vitro conditions (link). The authors comment:
Fermentation (i.e., oxidation) of rooibos decreased the pro-oxidant activity of aqueous extracts, which was contributed to a decrease in their dihydrochalcone content. The in vitro pro-oxidant activity displayed by flavonoid-enriched fractions of rooibos demonstrates that one must be aware of the potential adverse biological properties of potent antioxidant extracts utilized as dietary supplements.
This is not a unique case, however. Vitamin C, probably the most famous antioxidant, has also been said to act as a pro-oxidant in some conditions in vitro; there is much less evidence to suggest it does so in vivo, however (link).
Feeding normal, healthy rats given rooibos tea instead of water had significantly higher serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels than the control rats (link). They also had less DNA damage, a result that confirms the findings of an earlier study (link). Futhermore, when the rats were given dextran sodium sulfate to induce colitis, the rooibos group had higher SOD levels, and the drop in hemoglobin levels seen in the control group was prevented. Thus, rooibos tea seems to be anti-inflammatory and have the potential to prevent DNA damage.
The cardiovascular benefits of rooibos tea
Due to their effects on vasodilation and vasoconstriction, angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and nitric oxide (NO) are used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and heart failure. In one study, the effect of green tea, black tea and rooibos tea on ACE and NO was compared in healthy human volunteers (link). None of the three had a marked effect on NO concentration, but both green tea and rooibos tea inhibited ACE activity, suggesting that they have cardiovascular benefits. This is in contrast to an earlier in vitro study which found that only green tea and black tea inhibited ACE (link).
Closely related to cardiovascular disease is diabetes. The good news is that that rooibos tea may help with this as well. In a mouse model of type 2 diabetes, aslapathin suppresses the increase in fasting blood glucose levels. It also improves glucose tolerance, apparently through stimulating glucose uptake in muscle tissues and insulin secretion from the pancreas (link). Drinking rooibos tea during a meal may not be a bad idea.
Rooibos tea for liver disease and respiratory problems
In rats, rooibos tea aids in liver tissue regeneration after prolonged intoxication. Compared to the rats receiving water during the regeneration period, the rooibos group had less fibrotic tissue in their livers and lower tissue malondialdehyde levels. The authors conclude that rooibos tea “can be recommended not only for the prevention but also as a co-adjuvant for the therapy of liver diseases.”
Rooibos tea also has therapeutic potential for respiratory ailments. According to a study on rats, in addition to lowering blood pressure, rooibos tea is both a bronchodilator and an antispasmodic (link, link). This helps explain why rooibos tea is commonly used for gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. The flavonoid chrysoeriol seems to be mainly responsible for the bronchodilator and antispasmodic effect.
Our daily amounts of calcium, manganese and especially fluoride, required for the development of strong teeth and bones are met by the regular consumption of this tea. Good news for those suffering from any kind of skin problem, Rooibos has a soothing effect on the skin; helps relieve itching and other related skin irritations like nappy rash, eczema, and acne.
Rooibos extract fights HIV
Rooibos tea extract seems to be helpful in antigen-specific antibody production by increasing interleukin-2 (IL-2) production in vitro and in vivo (link). According to the authors, rooibos tea intake “may be of value in prophylaxis of the diseases involving a severe defect in Th1 immune response such as cancer, allergy, AIDS, and other infections.”
Another study found that an alkaline extract of rooibos tea leaves suppressed HIV-induced cytopathicity (link). Green tea extract, on the other hand, was ineffective. The authors conclude that HIV infection may be suppressed by the daily intake of the alkaline extract of rooibos tea. Note that the extraction mechanism is important here, because regular rooibos tea does not have anti-HIV activity (link). See the abstracts for details.
Rooibos tea, lipid peroxidation and brain aging
The uncontrolled oxidation of lipids, which can happen during cooking or inside the body, leads to the formation of advanced lipid peroxidation end-products (ALEs). The accumulation of such products is one of the types of damage that occurs with aging.
Lipid peroxides also accumulate in the brain. Rooibos tea may help prevent this damage, however. Rats given rooibos tea instead of water accumulate significantly less aging damage in the brain than rats given water (link). In fact, the 24-month old rats given rooibos tea for most of their lives had brains similar to young 5-week-old rats. This is quite a remarkable result.
One study found that out of the flavonoids tested, quercetin and EGCG (found in green tea) were the best inhibitors of lipid peroxidation, while aspalathin had a similar potency as catechin (link). Nothofagin was of no use here, however. Since polyunsaturated fats or PUFAs are especially prone to form ALEs, it seems like a cup of green tea or rooibos tea with a meal containing polyunsaturated fats might be useful.
The difference between red and green rooibos tea
Typically, rooibos leaves are oxidised before they are used to make rooibos tea. This process, which is not exactly the same as the fermentation process used in making black tea, gives them the familiar reddish-brown color and the slightly sweet taste. However, unoxidised rooibos tea is also available, if you know where to look. The color and taste are quite different; I personally prefer the red version, but green rooibos tea is not bad either.
Like in the case of regular tea, the oxidation process also affects the flavonoid content of the tea. Unoxidised rooibos tea contains more about twice as much total flavonoids as oxidised tea and 10-fold higher levels of aspalathin and nothofagin (link, link). In the studies that have directly compared the two, the unoxidised version seems to generally come out on top. For example, unoxidised rooibos tea seems to protect rats from liver cancer more effectively than oxidised tea (link). The antimutagenic activity of the two depends on the mutagen in question, however (link).
Rooibos tea is highly recommended for those suffering from insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns, headaches, mild depression, nervous tension. Since this tea does not contain any caffeine, it has soothing effects on the nervous system. Healthy skin is a possibility with Rooibos as it contains zinc and alpha-hydroxy acid. For healthy nervous system magnesium helps which is again found in Rooibos.
The health benefits of rooibos tea seem to be mostly due to the flavonoids aspalathin and nothofagin, although other compounds in rooibos may also play a part. Here’s a summary of the benefits:
Acts as an antioxidant and increases SOD levels
Prevents DNA damage
Cardiovascular protection through ACE inhibition
Suppresses fasting glucose levels
Improves glucose uptake and insulin secretion after a meal
Aids in liver tissue regeneration
Lowers blood pressure
Acts as a bronchodilator and antispasmodic
Inhibits lipid peroxidation and brain aging
Rooibos extract improves immune defects such as HIV
Since nothofagin and especially aspalathin are not really found in any other plant, rooibos tea looks like a valuable addition to one’s health regimen. Even people who are not fans of green tea usually like the taste of rooibos tea. Since rooibos contains no caffeine, it can be also enjoyed in the evening.
Rooibos tea is rich in anti oxidants and flavonoids. Infact the anti-oxidants in this tea are not found in any other tea like green tea/black tea, etc. Among the many Rooibos tea benefits include no additives, limiting decline of the immune system, no caffeine, beneficial for those suffering from headaches and many more other related benefits.
Rooibos Tea History
Rooibos Tea was first brought o notice in 1772 by a botanist by the name of Carl Thunberg. Although this tea was already in use by the people of Khoisan for thousands of years before that for its medical value, it came to be known only in 1772.
Many people took to this tea as an alternative to expensive black tea. Preparation for both Rooibos tea and black tea are similar, the only dissimilarly is the amount of brewing time and the color.
Rooibos tea can be green or red and this depends on the process of the tea and whether fermentation or oxidation is used in the creation process. This tea is also referred to as the red tea. Its popularity is amongst many nations and ethics. Like for instance, in South Africa region this tea is consumed with sugar and milk, in some other places it is consumed without adding sugar and milk.
The longer Rooibos tea is brewed, the flavor improves. In addition to the flavor this tea owes its popularity for the medicinal properties it possesses. The good thing about this tea is that its caffeine free. It’s also known that this tea is a wonderful natural alternative to medication for many ailments such as, depression, menstrual cramps, insomnia, colic, allergens and even toothaches. Based on research and studies it’s proved that there is innumerable health benefits associated with this tea.
During Second World War, when it was impossible to import tea from Asian countries, Rooibos tea became an exceptional substitute. But the retailers faced the problem of highly priced Rooibos tea seeds because of the scarcity of the plant. Due to this fact it became virtually impossible to buy and enjoy the tea.
Only in early 1960’s Rooibos tea took a turn. A book was published in 1968, by Annique Theron (a South African mother) on the wonderful benefits of Rooibos tea. When the book got released, many other studies started to find more and more about Rooibos tea’s antioxidantsand other health benefits. The tea gained immense popularity then with this new medical understanding of Rooibos.
Can You Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time?
If there is one question that I’ve been asked the most, it’s how to burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether or not this can actually be done. On top of that, who actually knows how to do it?
Well, it’s no wonder. Just take a look around the internet and you’ll find 101 different answers to this question. Some sites say you can build huge amounts of muscle while reducing fat and others say you can’t.
Others say you need to bulk up first and build a large muscle base after which, you can cut the body weight and fat to show the “new” muscle.
So, who’s right?
Where do I stand on this issue? Well, I find myself caught in the middle of this question. That is, it is sort of like a balancing act when it comes to building muscle and burning fat. You see, it all depends on what you want and where you currently stand with your training program. Now, there are a whole lot of you out there who want the best of both worlds – Including me, but can it be done?
However, I can’t possibly say that you can actually build the maximum amount of muscle while at the same time, losing the maximum amount body fat. I tried this and it doesn’t work. Well it worked when I first started training but that soon stopped.
Now, I mean, when a person is training hard and heavy, their body is relying on a huge supply of nutrients to fuel and build their bodies. In order to grow, you need to feed your body the correct amount of nutrients that is required for growth. You cannot grow by reducing your overall caloric intake that is needed to lose weight and burn fat.
However, with that being said, there is a very fine line between gaining muscle and gaining body fat. You see, in order to build your muscles, you need to get strong first. When you are training, your muscles start to get strong and when they start to get strong, they get bigger and bigger to meet the demands of more weight being stressed upon them. Once this happens, they need more and more nutrients to keep growing. This is the the cycle of building lean muscle tissue.
As you get stronger, your muscles will start to get larger and your body will actually demand that you feed them a certain amount of nutrients to sustain this new growth. If you don’t feed your body the nutrients that it demands, it will get weaker. Once it gets weaker, your muscles will start to get smaller and it will draw on other sources of energy.
The general line of thinking is this. To build muscle, you need to create what is called a calorie surplus. That is, you need to ingest more calories than your body is burning per day. Let’s say you need 2,500 calories on a daily basis, taking into account your exercise levels, to sustain your current body weight.
Now, if you want to add body weight and build the maximum amount of muscle, you will need to adjust your training schedule to exert new demands on your body but more importantly, ingest more calories to support these new demands. You will need additional calories on a daily basis to support new growth.
Now, if you want to burn fat, you have to create what is called a calorie deficit. That is, you must ingest less calories than your body is burning on a daily basis. Of course, your training regiment will have to change but to alter your body fat levels, you will need to cut down on calories to burn the maximum amount of body fat.
To build muscle, you need to get strong – This is a fact. Once you start getting stronger, your body will demand more nutrients to sustain these new strength and muscle levels. However, this is where the balancing act comes into play.
You know that in order to build muscle you need more and more nutrients to support new strength levels That means more and more food. Let me be very clear about this. You need clean, powerful, muscle building food to support this new growth. All increase in calories should come from clean, whole foods.
You see, muscle is a very active tissue and once they start working, they turn into mini metabolism machines that are constantly going. Once they start to get strong, they crave more and more nutrients to keep that machine going. And if you feed them the right nutrients and in the right order, they will keep on going.
However, this process depends on a variety of factors such as age, gender, training styles, and so forth. But, all things being equal, the process of building muscle stands the same which is:
• Get strong with hard and heavy weight training;
• Muscle gets larger to sustain strength levels;
• Body needs more nutrients to sustain new growth;
This is the basic process of growth. Now, this is very important for you to remember. The foods you choose to sustain new growth will have a direct impact as to how much fat you gain as compared to how much muscle you build. Yes, the foods you choose will be one of the deciding factors as to the kind of mass you want to gain. I’m a firm believer that calories are not all created equally. And this is where most people get confused when it comes to building the maximum amount of muscle while losing or maintaining current fat levels.
You want to eat just enough calories to help with the growth process. If you ingest more calories than your body can use to sustain new growth, some of it will go to fat. This is the trick. By gorging yourself with high fat foods, you will ultimately ingest too many calories to sustain new growth. However, if you eat clean, whole foods, your body will use up most of those calories for fuel and growth.
Yes, there are some sites on the internet will insist that all calories are created equally and the body doesn’t recognize one calorie from the next. I totally disagree with this statement. Eating 3,000 calories from cheeseburgers and haagan daaz is not the same as eating 3,000 calories from whole foods such as lean meat sources and complex, fibrous carbohydrates.
If you want to eat fatty, high calorie foods, you will gain a lot more fat than muscle. I think this is where most people get confused. When you get right down to it, it will come down to the foods that you choose that will be the deciding factor when trying to build the maximum amount of muscle while maintaining current body fat levels.
A diet high in quality nutrients will produce much better results than a diet high in fat and processed foods. Don’t believe me? Try cutting out all high fat foods and sugars from your diet and replace them with lean protein sources and complex carbohydrates. Do this for a week and see how it impacts your training. I can say with 100% certainty that you workouts will improve drastically and your body will take on a whole new look.
Now, there is an exception to this rule. It is during this period of growth that certain individuals can actually experience a certain level of body fat reduction while building muscle. However, before you get confused with this statement, let me explain. For beginners and those of you who are already out of shape, this is very possible.
That is, your body is in a state of growth from the weight training and your testosterone levels are increasing. Since your body is using up everything to build muscle, your fat levels are actually being reduced. For those of you who have been training for awhile, you can probably remember how fantastic those times were. You could eat just about anything and still build muscle without getting fat.
But, this happens only for a certain period of time before your body needs more and more food to sustain strength levels and where most people experience plateaus. By not feeding your body the necessary nutrients to grow, it will stop growing. That means no more strength gains and why a lot of you reading this page now, are not getting stronger and bigger.
The following point I’m about to make is very important. Building muscle and burning body fat is all dependant on:
- Somatotype (Your body type)
- Activity levels
A naturally heavier person is going to require a different amount of nutrients, weight training program, and cardiovascular regiment than someone who is naturally thin and lean. Body specific nutrition and training will take most of the guess work out of building muscle and burning fat.
I’ve written a more detailed article about this subject at:
Now, most sources on the internet and other fitness publications will say that you have to choose one or the other - Build muscle or lose fat. However, you have to be smart about this . Increasing caloric intake, doesn’t mean increasing your consumption of cheeseburgers and chili fries. You have to increase calories from high powered, clean whole foods.
This is what I suggest. You don’t want to consume so many calories that you become fat. You want to consume just enough calories that will support new growth but keep fat levels to a minimum. If you simply gorge yourself with food, it can be difficult to get rid of those extra pounds when it comes to stripping off body fat. I suggest you do the following:
1) Find your starting point;
Multiply your body weight by 18 to get your base starting caloric intake for adding mass. If you weight 165 pounds, multiply that by 18 to get 2,970 calories. This will be your base, daily caloric intake.
You will monitor your progress with a mirror, skin calipers, measuring tape, and weight scale. Remember, this is a starting point, since you want to monitor how your muscles are growing. If you find your adding too much body fat, cut down on your daily caloric intake by 500 and monitor on a weekly basis.
Keep in mind your body type. If you are a naturally heavier person, you will need to keep a very close eye on your calorie intake and possibly start with a lower calorie intake. You may need to cut body weight and fat in order to start seeing results.
If your a naturally thin person with a high metabolism, you may need to increase your calorie intake in order to start adding muscle mass.
2) Decide who much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need;
You should be consuming at least 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That is, if you weight 165 pounds, you should be consuming anywhere between 165 grams to 198 grams of protein per day. You should also be consuming about 3 to 5 grams of quality complex carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Keep fat down to about 15% to 20% of your overall caloric intake.
You will also need to eat, at the minimum 5 to 6 meals per day. If you skip breakfast, this won’t work. If you wait 4 to 5 hours in between meals, this won’t work. If you skip a meal or two, this won’t work. You must, eat 5 to 6 meals per day, spaced 2 to 3 hours apart. No questions about this part.
3) Decide on what kinds of foods you want to eat;
Cut out all junk foods! This is a priority. Cut out all sugars and processed foods. Eat only high quality protein, carbohydrate and fat sources. Remember, you don’t want to add a lot of fat but you do want to grow muscle. I can guarantee all of you who are reading this page now that if you cut out all junk food and sugars, and replace them with whole foods such as lean protein sources, fibrous carbohydrates, and clean fats, your workouts will shoot through the roof and you’ll notice a difference in your appearance within a couple of weeks.
This is what I do every Sunday. I get out a piece of paper and a pen and I write down all the meals I plan to have for the following weak. Once I get down all of the ingredients, and head to the grocery store and pick up all the food I will need for the following week. I cannot stress how important this simple process is!! If you truly want to gain the most muscle while maintaining current body fat levels, you have to follow this step. I’m not going to lie to you, you must know exactly what your putting into your body at each meal. Sorry, no getting around this fact.
Remember, you will need to gauge your progress on a weekly basis. For this, I recommend you get a weight scale, tape measure, and maybe a skin fold caliper (to measure body fat). Take your measurements on a weekly basis and record them in the body evaluation log provided at the above noted address.
Alright, now you know that you can actually build the maximum amount of muscle while maintaining current fat levels. You also know that in order to do this, you need to keep close tabs on what you eat and the kinds of foods you choose. If you can do this, I can assure you that you will build the kind of muscle your looking for without getting really, really fat.
Now, the weight lifting part is another story. If your looking for great workout routines, try going to the following page:
You CAN gain muscle and lose fat at the same time and I will show you how. Common wisdom is that you have to gain some fat to gain muscle, its the whole bulking and cutting mentality. I’m here to tell you its wrong, at least for most people. Because of many peoples unrealistic expectations about adding muscle they come to the incorrect conclusion that you can’t gain muscle while losing fat.
Gaining muscle. Most mature adults can gain a maximum of 15 pounds of muscle in a year but many can only gain 5lbs of muscle a year. That’s only 1.25 pounds of muscle gain per month maximum – pretty slow whether you are losing fat at the same time or not. In rough numbers, to gain that 1.25 pounds of muscle each month while maintaining your current bodyfat you should eat an additional 3125 calories more a month, that’s about 100 more calories a day – not much of a calorie surplus.
Losing fat. Now lets look at losing fat, its much faster than gaining muscle. You lose fat when you consume fewer calories than you burn off in a day (the TDEE). For an average person losing weight, they will eat about 400 calories a day less (12,000 calories a month) than their TDEE to lose a pound of fat a week, or 52 pounds of fat in a year.
The first important thing to note is that the calorie surplus to gain muscle is very, very small when compared to the calorie deficit required to lose fat.
To gain muscle and lose fat at same time. Now lets try to put the two together – losing fat and gaining muscle. Now, your first thought is probably that it can’t be done because to gain muscle, you have to eat 100 calories more per day and to lose fat, you have to eat 400 calories less per day. How can you eat less and eat more at the same time? The secret to this is that our assumption that you need to eat more to gain muscle is incorrect for most adults.
Lets look at what your body does with its calories, please look at my body on left side of the above diagram. A whopping 25% of your energy goes to your brain. 50% is housekeeping stuff to keep us alive – breathing, pumping blood, maintain body temperature, replacing dead cells, etc. Its only down here where it gets interesting. About 20% is actually spend DOING stuff – walking, lifting, moving and only about 5% is spent adding muscle. Don’t get hung up on the exact numbers, the important thing is that exercise and building muscle uses very little of the calories we consume.
Now look at the right side of the above diagram, the sources. To keep you alive, your body needs two things, plain energy to burn in the form of carbs or fat and then amino acids in the form of protein. Your body has an amazing series of emergency backup system to keep you alive should food be scarce. Your stomach is the gas tank for ordinary use. Your bodyfat is the backup up generator to be turned on when food is scarce. And your muscles are the emergency backup, your body wont turn on this nuclear power plant to cannibalize muscle unless its a DIRE emergency. Energy can come from any of the three systems but amino acids can only come from the stomach or the muscles.
Lets talk about this nuclear reactor here and how to stop if from turning on and burning up our muscles. Our bodies are really smart, they know muscle is really important and they wont burn it unless they absolutely have to. There are three occasions your body will fire up the nuke in the above diagram:
It needs energy to stay alive that is not available in the stomach or fat stores (the barrel or the portable generator in the above diagram)
It needs amino acids to stay alive that are not in the stomach (the barrel in the above diagram)
Its afraid you are starving. If you cut calories more than 10% under TDEE, risk burning muscle.
40% of energy from protein eaten
50% of energy from fats and carbs eaten
10% of energy from stored bodyfat
So YES, you can gain muscle and lose fat and here’s how:
Constant influx of protein. 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day taken 5-6 equal portions spaced evenly through out the day – otherwise your nuclear power plant will have to turn on between meals and burn muscle, you don’t want that.
Consume enough calories to keep your body from thinking its starving but not so many calories that you gain fat, 10% under your TDEE is a good value to use. My calorie calculator will tell you exactly what that is for your type metabolism. Make sure to set your goal in step 6 to “10% calorie reduction”
eat less than 30% of your calories from fat and eat only good fats like olives, nuts, and avocados
eat whole grains and low G.I. carbs – no simple carbs like sugar, alcohol, or white flour
eat omega-IIIs daily, flax or salmon are great sources
Hardcore, consistent weight workouts. You can use my custom workout plan generator to design a workout plan appropriate for you.
Daily cardio, 30-40min. Cardio will not burn muscle, it will help you gain muscle while losing fat at the same time.
Many beginners to fitness ask if they should lose their fat first or start lifting to gain muscle first, the answer is that they should do BOTH at the same time!!! Especially for beginners, it is very easy to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time!
Now lets talk about the exceptions to this, those who can’t gain muscle and lose fat:
Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is very difficult for advanced bodybuilders. Many of them are close to their genetic limits so adding muscle is very difficult and slow for them even under the best of circumstances. Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is something that only beginning and intermediate bodybuilders can do. (By my somewhat arbitrary definition, an advanced bodybuilder is someone who can do 8 flawless, ultra slow-motion pullups and 20 flawless, ultra slow-motion pushups.)
Skinny teens who can’t gain either fat or muscle even when they eat as much as they can.
Advanced bodybuilders with low bodyfat (under 8%).Your body needs some fat so when you get to a certain point, your body will start choosing to burn muscle instead of fat if you have a caloric deficit. If you are 8% bodyfat and want to get down to 4-6% bodyfat you wont be able to add muscle while you do this, at best you can do is to maintain your muscle mass. With regular dieting, its tough to drop down to 4-6% without losing muscle mass but carb cycling seems to really help for this specific purpose.