Modernization of the world has transformed us into a lazy and obese society, making us forget our primitive animal instincts. I can assure you that 100,000 years ago you did not see obese cave men walking the plains of Africa; they would be “dinner” for stronger and faster animals.

Our ancestors lead very difficult and active lives, but the need to fight for survival made them very strong. Back then, we only ate enough to keep us alive and functioning, look at us now…we eat if we feel happy, depressed, stressed, cravings. Our eating habits are even tied to different activities — movies/popcorn, sporting events/hot dogs, social celebrations/sweets and alcohol…have you have enough yet?? It is ridiculous!!

Our diets were once based around 85% protein/fats and only 15% “carbs” and even these carbs were from things that we could only see and gather, fruits, veggies, plants…we didn’t even know about root veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc) which are high in glycemic carbs (high sugar) because they where buried under the earth. We were cut, toned, strong and functional.

Then we learned how to create and process food from plants found in our environment, such as bread, pasta, sugar, etc. These are some of the things that our bodies still have a problem processing in a effective way today, making us slothful and overweight.

If we want to become fit and healthy again, we need to go back and awaken our animal instincts. Regarding your diet, if you want to become more athletic, you will need to eat some protein.

Take a look at how herbivores (plant eaters/carbs) eat. You will find that they usually are a bit far from each other, quietly chewing their food…Just like us. We like to munch on carbs (popcorn, crackers, etc) when we are alone watching TV or taking a break eating a “snack”.

Now consider the carnivores (meat eaters/protein). They usually hunt in packs and when they get a kill and while they are feeding, they are very noisy and “vocal”. Now look at us, whenever we have a big group of people for dinner and we are “socializing”, what is usually in the middle of the table? I can guarantee you that the main course will be some type of meat/protein. That is our main source of food, our natural animal instinct taking over. We still have our tiny canine, or “tearing” teeth, in our mouths for a reason.

A balanced protein to carb diet is essential for good health, and if you are a vegetarian, for whatever reason that may be, I have to say that you really need to know what you are doing, because you will have a hard time getting a good amount of protein out of veggies alone.

We had few challenges back then – hunt for food, fight for our territory, fight to be the strongest, and attract a mate. In a different way, we still do that today, but in a very tame and modern fashion.

We fight and compete to get that job position, to make that sale, to buy the perfect car or house, and look what happens to those who get married. Not all, but some newly weds might get a bit chubby just for the fact that they don’t have to compete to attract a mate anymore.

We tend to take better care of ourselves when we are trying to attract someone else, just like we are more competitive when we have a goal, a deadline at work, or bills to pay; all of these things require hard work. We are still “hunting” today, but in a very different way that unfortunately does not require as much physical energy as it once did.

In order to be the fittest that you can be, make sure that you are surrounded by people who will offer you a challenge, and the right environment to grow and learn. If your group of friends likes to go out all the time, drink and not take care of themselves you will be one of them…it is you adapting to your environment.

We love to compete no matter what, once again it’s that animal instinct that we have. Sometimes I like to bring out this instinct in my clients. When placed next to a person doing the same exercise, many of my clients start to do more reps or push more weight so that they do not appear to be the weaker person. But most of the time they do this without even knowing why. Group exercise classes are also very popular, because the people who take them like the challenge and enjoy competing with other people in the class – sometimes even with the instructor!

Finally, everything is so convenient nowadays, you can get everything done in a day from your house by using the phone, internet and home appliances. Laundry, shopping, studying, ordering food… rather than making the effort to go out and “hunt”. I’m not saying that we have to give up all the comforts that we have, but we need to be more active, and find the time in our lives to exercise and eat healthfully.

We lack the motivation to stay in shape, as our survival does not depend on being able to actively hunt and gather food or fight for our territory. Some of us are married and don’t need to compete for a mate anymore, or have the convenience of having everything at home, and some of us are completely satisfied with not having any challenges at all. However, one thing to consider is your health: being physically and mentally fit will allow you to live longer, and look and feel younger, which is plenty of motivation in my opinion.

Our lives were once very basic in the stone age, but now our lives are more complicated. Try to bring more simplicity to your life, go back to the basics and wake that animal instinct that we all have.

Rolando Amorim

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