Continuously Integrate Your Health

There is a noteworthy buzz word in software development known as Continuous Integration. The idea behind Continuous Integration, or CI, is to ensure that your code is healthy as soon as you make changes to it.

Every time a developer makes a change an analysis is automatically run to check if the code is broken – i.e. does not work as expected or desired – and rapid feedback based on the analysis is sent back to the developer. The developer is then able to quickly confirm whether a change he made produced a desired and effective result. For CI to be most effective the tests must be comprehensive and cover all the areas that may be affected by new changes.

If the changes made fail the analysis – overly complicated, ineffective process, broke the application entirely – the developer is expected to revert back to the original code or quickly fix the ineffective change he made. The key benefit, and most important part of this process, is that the developer knows what broke the code as soon as it breaks it.

The process described above is widely adopted and showing great promise in improved delivery of software.

Now what if I told you the principles of CI should be applied to another system? The human body.

Software systems use CI to ensure that your code is healthy; the human system should use CI principles to ensure that your body is healthy.

His name is Joe. He is a mid-20s, highly active individual who squeezes in gym sessions week-in and week-out without hesitation or complaint. He does the work. His training routine is pretty solid, mostly sticking to the basic barbell lifts which have shown their effectiveness time and time again. He eats pretty well most of the time, always getting enough protein and adjusting for carbs based on his activity level. However, tracking macros down to the last detail doesn’t interest him. He has done a good amount of fitness-related reading and follows a few bloggers, but he has a job in another industry and doesn’t really focus all his energy on his fitness.

Does Joe have a good body and decent health markers? Probably.

Consistent, deliberate practice does wonders on its own.

Does Joe feel his body represents the amount of work he has put in? Probably not. 

The cheat meals, unplanned breaks, and overall lack of tracking probably has Joe zig-zagging all over the place without realizing it. Some weeks he loses fat, some weeks he gains weight, some weeks he maintains. Even if he is disciplined and does some form of tracking, it probably isn’t comprehensive enough to be reliable.

Does Joe know whether nightshades, gluten, dairy, or other foods or macro ratios affect him? Probably not.

Gaining fat and losing muscle is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you respond well to certain macronutrient ratios? How are your energy levels in response? Do tomatoes cause you fatigue? Does dairy give you gas, and if so, how soon after you eat it?

Does Joe change his training routine, sleep patterns, stress relievers, or other variables during short bursts of irregularity in any area? Probably not.

Joe gets stressed from work and lack of sleep from time to time. Does he adjust his training routine, cutting back on volume even during a bulk, in response? Does he take vitamin D or multivitamins during times of stress? Do they even help? What about Omega-3? Does Joe know how to adjust his stress relievers during times of high intensity in the gym to spur growth? How much could stress and lack of sleep really affect him anyway?

Is Joe you? Would you answer Probably to all three depictions above?

If you did answer probably, it is likely you have a comprehensive, albeit complex, system in place already to track everything from your sleep, activity, stress, hydration, nutrition, training, and other variables. Maybe in Excel? Or across multiple programs?

If you did not, maybe you should be tracking these data points or across other third-party applications.

There is just one problem. Rapid feedback and comprehensive analysis is extremely difficult with today’s systems.

What I am empowered to build and deliver to the world is a software system that empowers individuals to continuously integrate their fitness to ensure that their bodies are healthy.

The system will provide flexible data tracking modules, allowing users to expand coverage to as many points as they are interested in tracking. Want to start with just fat loss or muscle gain? No problem, build in coverage for that. Want to test for food sensitivities? Not a problem, those modules exist in isolation or as part of a bigger coverage system.

The system will also provide rapid feedback. What does 10,000 steps today really mean for you and how does it tie in with everything else you are doing? How did this months macronutrients seem to affect your mood, energy, and effectiveness in the gym? Did a week of pasta really affect you, and if so, what happens when you eat it?

Yes, I know you have some intuition, but do you really KNOW your body? You are going to live in it for the rest of your life. Make it your masterpiece. Continuously integrate the shit out of it.

Why Can’t I CHANGE?

The focus of Why Can’t I CHANGE? by P.J. Eby, a self-proclaimed mind hacking instructor, is to understand how the brain works and how to control it. Many people go through life trying harder to change their circumstances, only to find themselves struggling and giving up. P.J. Eby has done a wonderful job of explaining how the brain can help guide the body to do what we want, just like riding an animal, we just have to know how. The brain is the rider, the body is the animal we’re riding. The body will do what it wants unless we guide it to do something else.

Why Can't I Change

 

 

Repetition is Unnecessary

  • If you have to do something over and over, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Some belief or behavior can be fixed or improved if repetition is still occurring.

Consciousness Is Optional

  • Our thinking process is a tool that the computer -our body – uses.
  • We’re not the user of our brain, our brain uses us.
  • “You” are not the doer of things.
  • Our brain doesn’t care if we get what we want, it wants what our genes want – to survive, reproduce.
  • Our brain wants to get along with the rest of the tribe.
  • We all have image criteria that we have to maintain in order to stay as a viable member of the group.

Naturally Successful People vs. Non-Naturally Successful People

  • Naturally successful people did not learn any restrictions on who they needed to be in order to fit in.
  • Non-naturally successful people think there are restrictions, and that raises conflict when they want to do something.
  • By removing the idea of restrictions, we can remove the conflict.

High-Conflict State (Pain Brain) vs. Low-Conflict State (Gain Brain)

  • Low conflict state people have very little trouble getting their brain to do what they want, because there isn’t a higher priority conflict interfering. The brain doesn’t sense there is a conflict, or restriction.
  • A low conflict state person seeks the greatest pleasure.
  • When there are no survival priority overrides going on, your brain goes after gain.
  • If your brain has a priority survival override going on, it’s not going to let you do that stuff. It’s going to make you feel fear.
  • In the pain brain you will only move when you have enough pain going on to make you move immediately.
  • How you think other people will think of you are the survival overrides if you think it will hurt your position in the tribe.
  • Fitting into the group, tribe is more important than almost anything.
  • Our brain is still running off the pecking order wired in pretty early.
  • To tell if you’re in a high or low conflict state, ask yourself if you know what you want then ask what happens if you don’t get it.
  • If your brain has decided that you cannot afford to lose something, then you will be in a state of not wanting.
  • Never force yourself to do anything again.
  • Find out why you’re resisting something.

Change What Choices Are On The Menu

  • We only have free choice of the options that our brain presents to us.
  • If we don’t think of the choice, we can’t make the choice.

Change What Seems Like The Natural Thing To Do

  • Your brain picks your options based on how you feel about them.
  • This creates the idea of an “image.

Pecking Order

  • There is a natural pecking order that we used before thinking was available to us.
  • We keep track of our pecking order in relation to other people and it makes a difference as to whether or not we go after something.
  • Our brain is still running off the pecking order we were in among the kids at school or at home.

Judgments 

  • Your brain will only store one set of rules to live by.
  • The way that we get low self-esteem is when we make judgments about ourselves as a person on the basis of our behavior.

Key Principles

1. In order to be successful, you don’t have to be someone else. All you have to be is you, without the emotional baggage.

2. Indecision is suffering.

  • Pain is something that is a normal part of life.
  • Suffering is when you want to have your cake and eat it too.
  • When you want to not pay the price, and still get what you want.

3. If it’s pushing you forward, it’s holding you back.

  • Any place where you find yourself pushing forward in your life trying to be something that you’re not, that is an indication that you have one of these survival and replication fears, these fears that cause a priority override for your brain.
  • You will avoid anything that smacks of what you’re afraid you are.
  • It creates this, “we must succeed! We cannot… we must not fail.”
  • Take away the reason you’re pushing yourself to do what you want to do.
  • Successful people don’t even think about losing the way non-successful people do.

4. If you don’t bet on yourself, you cannot win.

  • You have to be willing to lose something.