Arthur De Vany – Evolutionary Fitness

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Eat fresh wholefoods that we were evolved to eat. Usually three times a day but occasionally skip a meal, let hunger dictate your meals. Workout with short and intense resistance sessions a few times a week. Walk, play and stay active

Arthur De Vany  got me on the right path with Fitness and Nutrition and his blog posts throughout the years have served me with a wealth of information. In this post I am going to sum up some of his basic principles and show you how to get started working out and eating how we evolved to for optimal health. He was featured yesterday in a great article from the Sunday Times (British Newspaper) check out the article online here……………..

His basic premise for nutrition is as follows:

Cook by colour and texture so that meals look beautiful. If busy, skip meals with little worry. You don’t have to have three square meals a day. Snack on nuts or celery. Drink plenty of water. I also drink tea, coffee and a little wine.

Carbohydrates - Avoid bread, muffins, bagels, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, vegetable oils, beans or anything in a package — empty, high-calorie foods with a high carbohydrate content. These kind of foods are not only detrimental to your health, they are of no use to your body unless your glycogen stores are severely depleted from overtraining and participating in events like marathons.

Flavour - Spice up your food with fresh ingredients such as basil, garlic, parsley, rosemary, spring onions, avocados and nuts, and use various oils, such as olive oil, for flavour.

Celery adds texture (and is good for testosterone too). I personally love to add a high quality Balsamic vinegar to my salads.

Fruits - Fresh fruits of all sorts are good; I focus on melon and red grapes. Fruit juice is out. I have one or two fruits with most breakfasts; now and then a piece with other meals. Fruits are one of the best ways for quick fresh energy, I usually try to buy local fruit, and find it important to feel and smell the fruit as these are good indicators of the freshness.

Vegetables - Eat lots of fresh raw, steamed, sauteed or grilled vegetables. Never use frozen, canned or packaged vegetables. Although Devany does not like canned vegetables I find them better than nothing and really enjoy canned pumpkin with some fresh berries and cinnamon mixed in.

Protein - Eat plenty of meat, such as ribs, steak, bacon, pork loin, turkey and chicken, but trim fat from the edges. Fish, seafood and eggs are also good choices. These should be a mainstay of most meals, protein with meals will improve satiety and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Sample Menu

  • Breakfast – Eat last night’s leftovers: turkey with jarlsberg cheese and fruit, bacon with red grapes, omelettes with rosemary, olives and spring onions. 2-3 Boiled eggs with a piece or two of fruit and coffee is a great breakfast.
  • Lunches – Usually salads, with red cabbage, romaine lettuce, spring onions, garlic, kale, broccoli or cauliflower, with salmon, tuna, turkey, chicken, pork or steak. Feel free to throw in a fresh piece of fruit or a punnet of berries.
  • Dinners – I sometimes eat a whole rack of ribs with salad and vegetables. Or a large steak, trimmed of fat. Almost always there is a beautiful salad and vegetables. I find it important to have my largest hit of protein in this final meal as it helps me wind down and relax, usually allowing me to sleep better. A glass of wine or beer is also acceptable with dinner.

Don’t be afraid to skip a meal and prolong your overnight fasts, I often workout first thing in the morning totally fasted and do not eat for an hour afterwards. This is great for Growth Hormone release.

Training Philosophy

DeVany is an advocate of intense intermittent training, keeping your workouts short and simple training with weights for no more that a couple 20-30 minute short intense sessions a week. OpenWaterChcago did a great piece summing up Power Law Training a while back check out this excerpt:

Power Law Strength Training
Lower Body Sequence Upper Body Sequence Isometric Activities
Deep Squats Incline DB Press Hanging Ab Sets
Dead Lifts DB Pullovers Standing Crane
Leg Extensions Pull Ups
Leg Curls Bent DB Rows
Arnold Press
Upright Rows
Concentration Curls

The Rules:

Follow the “15-8-4″ routine – Do a set of 15, a set of 8, and a set of 4 repetitions for each exercise using progressively more weight on the latter two sets if you can.

Keep moving – Do not rest between sets or exercises. Try to average 10-15 seconds max in between sets.

Keep your workouts very short and intense – Get in and out of the gym in 45 minutes or less.

Work out no more than once or twice a week – Pick a random day and don’t do it on the same day always.

Exercise the major muscle groups – Do free body exercises at a fairly fast pace up and a rather slower pace lowering the weight.

Protect your heart – Do not grip things too hard and stay loose so the blood flow is not constricted by clenched hands and teeth. Don’t hold your breath, and be sure to exhale as you push or pull the weight.

Protect your spine – Do the abdominal brace, contracting the erectors of the back and pushing the abdominals out a bit and contracting them. Feel as though you have a band of muscle contracted around your waist. Maintain the curvature of your spine and pivot from the hips rather than bending the spine. Use your legs versus your back when lifting and don’t be afraid to use lower weights – especially with dead-lifts.

Hanging Ab Sets – Find a pull up bar and hang from it with your knees at waist level. Hold as long as you can. Repeat 2 more times.

Standing Crane – A yoga balance-building move where you stand on one leg, stretch the other leg out behind you, and position your body parallel to the floor. Do one for each leg.

This is a great workout and if you haven’t tried it before it will definitely give you a run for your money. Art doesn’t believe in long cardio work like jogging and prefers to walk and play sports to keep that side of fitness in check.

In a Nutshell

  • Eat fresh wholefoods that we were evolved to eat (Art is not a believer in starchy foods)
  • Usually three times a day but occasionally skip a meal, let hunger dictate your meals
  • Workout with short and intense resistance sessions a few times a week
  • Walk, play and stay active

The beauty of the Evolutionary Fitness model that Devany has created is that it seems so simple but it allows so much room for adaptation to your own needs. This article is a very basic summing up of the principles and there is a lot more to it and a lot more one can learn.

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And also checkout my e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘. Thanks for reading.

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