Get Your Best Body With the BEAST System
By DR. MARK HOM with GREG LEMOND
"Diet and exercise" is the mantra of those touting lifestyle choices and preventative health. But is that really enough advice to be meaningful? According to Mark Hom, M.D., co-author of a new book, The Science of Fitness: Power, Performance, and Endurance, BEAST is an acronym that highlights a five-point lifestyle with advice that is more useful.
These five points will keep your body functioning at its best, with simple decisions that will bring you the greatest physical benefit and avoid the most harm. You don't need more than what is listed, nor can the list be reduced further. The BEAST system is made up of the following parts:
Bicycling (or other aerobic exercise) to boost energy metabolism
Eating a nutritious diet for optimal energy and faster recovery
Avoiding toxins (dietary, environmental and pharmacologic)
Stopping self-destructive and addictive behavior
Training with resistance (weights)
Greg LeMond was able to reach his full physical potential when he won the Tour de France three times and the World Cycling Championship three times. You can also reach your full potential by incorporating these concepts into your daily life. The word beast is to remind us that we evolved as physical beings that require exercise to maintain health. Here are a few dos and don'ts to support your inner BEAST.
Exercise with HIIT: High-intensity interval training triggers mitochondrial biogenesis. More simply put, this means that HIIT will multiply your cellular energy. With more mitochondria, the athlete will have more energy on tap to go faster and endure longer.
Eat like a BEAST: Consume a balanced diet that includes fuel for cellular energy, hydration for optimal performance and nutrients for the recovery and rebuilding of your cells and muscles.
Enjoy your workout: Keep motivated to stay with a sport or exercise program for years (or a lifetime). Exercise should always be a pleasure and should never become a chore.
Pick up those weights: Strength training with resistance builds muscle mass. This will raise metabolism, increase power, change body composition (more muscle and less fat), minimize age-related muscle atrophy and improve longevity.
[Read More: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working]
Don't stop training: To maintain fitness, we must exercise at least every other day. If we stop exercising for a week or more, we can lose massive amounts of fitness that will take many weeks or months to regain.
Don't overtrain or ignore injury: Too much exercise of the wrong type can be counterproductive. A repetitive injury can be a major impediment to attaining fitness.
Don't forget about the foundation: Base mileage promotes endurance and mitochondrial fat burning. When beginning a new sport or starting a new season, a foundation of low to moderate levels of exercise is important to prime the body in preparation for the more intense training to follow.
The goal of the BEAST system is ever-improving fitness through natural means. Although an Olympic athlete or Tour de France competitor knows what it is like to reach the highest levels in a sport, most of us fall well short of reaching our true athletic potential. The BEAST training program raises the bar for regular athletes so they can expect more and get more out of their training.
--Dr. Hom with Greg LeMond
Readers -- Have you ever experienced a fitness plateau? How did you push past it? How many of the BEAST system elements do you incorporate in your daily life? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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Dr. Mark Hom is a Johns Hopkins University-trained biologist, an award-winning artist and medical illustrator, an interventional radiologist applying high technology to the diagnosis and treatment of his patients, an educator of young doctors and an avid fitness cyclist. Dr. Hom's work explains how the human body, various organ systems and individual cells function in the biologic process of exercise. He is currently an assistant professor of the Department of Radiology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. The Science of Fitness: Power, Performance, and Endurance is available online.
Greg LeMond is a legendary and pioneering bicyclist, three-time winner of the Tour de France (1986, 1989, 1990), three-time World Cycling Champion (1979 junior, 1983, 1989), author and owner of GregLeMond.com, a bicycle technology innovator and fitness expert. He is the founder of LeMond Fitness and a leader in the manufacture of the latest training equipment. He also works closely with leading sports physiologists (such as Adrie Van Diemen, physiologist for Team Garmin) in the development of power-training devices. Greg is the global cycling ambassador and commentator for EuroSport, which had 50 million viewers last year.