The 800g Diet, An Easy Way to Improve Balance, and 3 Nuggets of Wisdom from Dr. Kelly Starrett
A simple, sustainable, and expansion-based way of eating, Improving balance without training for it, and 3 Nuggets of Wisdom from Dr. Kelly Starrett
On an Egyptian bus ride from Cairo to Alexandria last week, I listened to a recent episode of The Tim Ferriss Show featuring Dr. Kelly Starrett.
Dr. Starrett is a performance of coach for pro athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, Olympic gold medalists, Tour de France cyclists, world- and national-record-holding Olympic Lifting and Power athletes, CrossFit Games medalists, professional ballet dancers, elite military personnel, and more.
I scribbled down pages of notes and ideas but two strategies stuck with me for their simple and easy-to-follow style.
Consistency is the number one predictor of success.
And the two strategies below are designed to add zero additional time burden to your day while improving your body composition and balance.
Short and simple.
Here we go…
The 800g Diet: Simple, Sustainable, and Expansion-based
This way of eating has two simple rules.
Rule #1: Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
I weigh 195 lbs so I should aim to eat around 195 grams of protein per day.
This is enough protein to build or maintain muscle mass, stay lean, and nourish healthy tissues.
It’s also a very reasonable amount of protein to eat.
Each gram of protein has 4 calories.
That means if I hit my goal of 195g of protein, 780 of my daily calories are coming from protein which is only 26% of my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
You can do this math for your own body weight by calculating your TDEE and then dividing your body weight times four by your TDEE.
In my example, the math works out as: (195 lbs bodyweight * 4 calories per gram of protein) / 3,000 calorie TDEE = 26%.
Rule #2: Eat 800 grams of fruits and vegetables per day.
Fresh, frozen, raw, or cooked. You can do it however you want.
Dr. Starrett aims for 6-8 different types of fruits and vegetables each day (totaling 800 grams) for diversity.
But this way of eating is designed to be highly customizable, flexible, and expansion-based (not limiting) so feel free to do whatever works for you.
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get many of the required vitamins and minerals as well as a healthy dose of fibre.
You can consult the Dirty Dozen list to avoid chemical-heavy fruits and vegetables or selectively purchase certified organic for products that are on the list.
The goal is to make this sustainable.
Get an idea of what 800g is by googling the weight of the fruits and vegetables you select or using a kitchen scale to weigh what you eat for the first few days.
Once you have an idea of what 800g looks like, there’s no need to meticulously weigh and measure your fruit and vegetable intake unless you want to.
An Easy Way to Improve Balance
You should be able to easily balance on one foot for 20 seconds.
Are you able to? On both legs? Are there any differences between your left and right legs?
If that was a breeze then try the standing on one leg with eyes closed (SOLEC) test. Repeat the same drill as above but with your eyes closed this time.
It’s important to develop balance with your eyes closed to not become over-dependent on your vision for balance.
When you’re operating in a dark environment, such as going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and rely too heavily on your vision for balance then you are more susceptible to a fall which can be deadly in old age.
Here’s a simple way to improve your balance without draining any additional time from your day…
How To Improve Your Balance Daily: The “Putting your shoes on” Test
Use every time you put on socks and shoes as an opportunity to improve your balance.
Balance on one foot, put on your sock, then your shoe, and then tie it.
You have to stay balanced on one foot the entire time but you can use any strategy or approach you like.
For additional practice, you can brush your teeth while balancing on one foot with the option of closing your eyes when you’re up for the challenge.
This works dynamic balance, improves your sense of foot feel and foot pressure on the ground, and requires zero additional time.
3 Nuggets of Wisdom from Dr. Kelly Starrett
1) Be consistent before you’re heroic.
2) Wait for it. It takes time to make change but it always works.
3) You’re not alone. Bring someone with you on your journey. Who you live and surround yourself with has a huge impact on your ability to change.
That’s all for this week, folks.
Finish the week strong and have a fantastic weekend.
Much love to you and yours,
I was humbled at the beginning of Physical Therapy school at how hard standing on one leg actually is. I’ve done a lot of balance training the past few years and I’m shocked how much it has helped my lifts. What’s your favorite way to train it?