Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paleo Minds Meet in NYC

Art Devany is 73 years old, yet he is more muscular than most of my twenty-something year old friends.  Art is also one of the first to promote the paleolithic diet.  On Thursday night, he lectured to a group (including myself) at McNally Jackson Books in NYC.  He spoke about his paleo diet, workout, and his new book, The New Evolution Diet.  Here are some of his points that I found especially interesting:

From left to right: John Durant, Fred Hahn (author of The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution), Art Devany, Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution), Eugene Thong, and me.

  • "Any wild animal intermittently fasts."  We've talked about the benefits of fasting several times before, but I have never thought of it in that context.  Art said he practices intermittent fasting (IF) by skipping dinner periodically.  
  • He believes in working out on an empty stomach and doesn't rush to eat after either.  When working out, we need to have no immediate glucose available to break down fat, and eating before the workout provides extra glucose.  As far as post workouts go, he believes that there is enough protein inside the cell to start the muscular repair/building process.  
  • His purpose for the gym is to change himself, not use calories.  Art said that he does something he hasn't done before every time he works out.  This fits right in line with the progressive overload theory: basically, work till exhaustion and continually increase the weight so your challenge is never the same.  
  • Art regularly spends time doing nothing: not writing, not reading, not watching TV...he does nothing.  He simply lies down, sometimes outside looking at the stars.  I found this point interesting from a standpoint of mental health, especially for a population such as New Yorkers.  We are always rushing while multitasking.  Lying down while doing nothing sounds peaceful.  
  • Glucosamine, often used as a supplement to decrease joint pain, is effective because it captures inflammation-causing lectins.
  • Art said that muscle doesn't metabolize fat unless it's loaded.  If he is correct with this, that means it doesn't matter how much muscle we contain; if we sit all day, we're not optimizing the fat burning potential of our muscles.  
  • His workouts are based on movements that target the largest muscle groups: thighs, hips, back, and chest.  He does not perform small, isolated exercises, such as biceps curls.   
  • "There is no failure, only feedback."  I believe Art meant this point as both a health and life lesson, and a great lesson it is.    

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