Kinesthetic Intelligence

Posted on 12th June 2005 by Ryan Somma in Ionian Enchantment

Before

After

After

After

The Body as Extension of the Mind

Soccer player Marco Antonio “El Diablo” Etcheverry’s mind has the ability to calculate the velocity, trajectory, and spin of a soccer ball on the playing field and kick it with at precisely the right spot with the perfect amount of force to redirect it into a goalie’s box. He does all of this within a fraction of a second. That action requires intelligence just as powerful as mathematic or linguistic.

Kinesthetic Intelligence is centralized in the brain, but extends beyond it to our bodies, nerves and muscles, and beyond that to the physical world around us. Maintaining our health requires learning and adaptability. We must exercise the power of our neocortex over our basic urges in order to maintain a diet and regular exercise. We must keep up with health literature and refine our behaviors appropriately to closely model the best health practices of the day.

Remember the malleable nature of IQ, something we have a degree of control over. There are many types of intelligence and physical fitness is simply another realm of study. Like learning calculus, chemistry, or English, physical fitness requires study and application. Read about how to work out and eat, and then apply that knowledge to our bodies. Experiment, observe the results, and adjust hypotheses appropriately.

Muscles Have Memory

I, like most real-life people, have fallen off the exercise wagon from time to time, usually for stretches anywhere from 6 months to a year. When this happens, my gut expands and I must buy bigger clothes. Eventually I reach a threshold where I can’t stand anymore.

So I trudge back to the gym. The first two-to-four weeks are hell, but I quickly remember how to enjoy the pain that comes with it and soreness that follows. I’ve gone down in strength, but it returns quickly, and the best part is how quickly my muscles return. In no time at all, I am right back to where I was a half year ago, and the rest is progress. We don’t lose the gains we make in the gym quickly. I put on 25lbs of muscle in one year, and it was still there after a six-month break.

I got into physical fitness because I was looking for a confidence-booster to help overcome my social phobia. It did help improve my confidence and improved my emotional health as well (I’m still working on the social phobia). The following posts will relate what I have learned in five years of off and on exercising and cognitive dieting.

Exercise

Gym Advice

If we engage physical fitness using the scientific method, then we must follow a process of observation, hypotheses, experimentation, and theory. Our fellow enthusiasts at the gym are our peers and help with the review process. Our peers will offer much advice, offering us opportunities to compare notes:

“Don’t count reps, just go until you can’t go anymore.”

“Start with low weight to warm up and then go high.”

“Go with high weight and move to low to fully tax your muscles.”

“Supplement with creatine… ZMA… Whey Protein… multi-vitamins… etc. etc.”

“Take a week break every now and then to give your muscles building time.”

“Don’t drink water to prevent cramping.”

“Drink lots of water to keep hydrated.”

“Don’t stretch to keep your muscles fat.”

“Stretch to increase circulation to your muscles.”

As we can see, some of this is contradictory. Some of this, even the contradictory stuff, is good advice. Some of this is just plain wrong. Only through observation, hypotheses, experimentation, and theory can you extract the enduring truths from the hearsay.

Decide On A Body Type

Some women are “Petite Softies,” others are “Amazonian Goddesses.” Men have body-type choices too; they can go “Hulk” or “Athletic.” Decide on a body-type and go for it. We should look around the gym for someone of the same sex who looks like what we want to look like and take note of what they do.

This is not hard to tweak, and it’s almost all about diet. An exercise routine should be as demanding as we can comfortably make it, aerobically and anerobically. When I want bigger muscles, I eat more protein. When I want better muscle tone, I fast and eat less carbohydrates and fat. It’s all adjustable.

The Most Important Part of the Workout

Pumping Iron, eating right, supplementation, these are all very important aspects of an exercise routine, but the most important part has to do with the mental. After each iron-pumping session, while the muscles are still swollen, I take some time in the locker room to pose down, get narcissistic, appreciate the progress I’ve made.

Some mornings I get up and don’t know what to do with myself, I’m so damn pretty. : )

Diet

Our ancestors diets changed with our evolving lifestyles. For several 100k years we were “hunter-gatherers,” grazing all day long on what palatable foliage we could find and eating meat on the rare occasions we could get it. Then we became farmers, domesticating animals, introducing their milk into our diet and increasing our meat consumption. Then we invented the process to refine grains, introducing an abundance of simple sugars into our diet. We have evolved to varying degrees in various cultures to each of these diets.

Biologically we have canines, characteristic of meat-eaters, but they are atrophied. We have an atrophied appendix, which probably helped digest raw meat before the invention of fire. We also have a very long digestive track, perfect for breaking down complex carbohydrates, not so great for rotting meat. Eating mushy cooked meat has atrophied the human jaw to the point that it can no longer hold our teeth, resulting in tooth abscesses and the common procedure of removing wisdom teeth.

What does this mean for us when choosing a diet?

The Low-Carb Approach

Geeks are particularly fond of the Low-Carb crazy because it tricks your body into burning fat, similar to over-clocking the processor on a computer. The Low-Carb technique is effective, but has yet to stand the test of time. Ten to twenty years from now we will be seeing the long-term health effects of low-carb dieting.

Low-Carb diets are good for quick weight loss, and can be used as a short-term solution, a jumpstart into a more comprehensive program of diet and exercise. Over the longer term, they impair workout performance as carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in our muscles. Eliminating complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, from our diet is detrimental to our extensive digestive tracks.

The Starvation Approach

This weight-loss strategy will work… eventually, and at great cost to your health and mental well-being. The first week or two of starving ourselves brings on dramatic results as our bodies burn off fat to compensate for the suddenly reduction in nutritional intake.

Then evolution steps in. Our bodies are inherited from our ancestors, and they had to deal with slow periods when food was scarce. Our bodies, therefore, have a “famine mode,” where the body tries to hold onto its fat stores, lowering its metabolism to keep us alive through the hard times.

Our ancestors’ evolutionary adaptation is our challenge on the road to becoming physically fit. Famine Mode costs us muscle mass, as the body consumes the tissue for fuel. It also costs us mental acuity, as the brain is denied fuel in order to keep the whole body functioning.

The Grazing Approach

A stable and constant flow of nutritional foods is the most natural and healthiest approach to dieting. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, grazing on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, bugs, and occasionally meat all day long. Perpetually eating increases the body’s metabolism and keeps it up. It becomes better at processing food and does not lapse into famine mode.

Instead of eating three well-balanced meals a day, we divide those into six well-balanced meals at half the portions. This means six meals containing vegetables and equal portions of carbohydrates and protein, providing a steady stream of nutrition to the muscles and the brain.

Fat and Fit Versus Lean and Lazy

Diet and exercise are always intertwined. If we diet ourselves down to a lean figure, but do not exercise, then we are open to heart disease. If we exercise, but eat whatever we want, then we are prone to diabetes.

Obviously either dieting or exercising will benefit us by reducing the potential for the host of health problems that will occur with their absence, but seeing that heart disease is much more likely to kill us than diabetes, the emphasis should be placed on exercise. It is better to be overweight than inert, but it is ideal to be neither.

Supplementation

Science has produced a plethora of improved ways to feed our muscles, increase our endurance, and promote muscle growth. In addition to a well balanced diet, some of these supplements are crucial to seeing quick results. Other supplements are far too detrimental overall health to justify their short-term gains:

Steroids – People who still do steroids to beef up haven’t been keeping with the times. There are now a slew of safe and effective supplements to improve performance and build muscle mass. As Dennis Miller said, “The irony of steroids is that they only make one thing smaller…”

Creatine – A natural component of meat, especially red meat, this gritty insoluble stuff is a key component to building muscle and improving anerobic exercise. Follow the directions on the can, which emphasize taking the powder with a fruit drink. The citrus and dose of simple sugars aid in its digestion. One word of warning: The long term effects of this substance are yet unrealized, and it may cause kidney problems over 20-30 years of continued use.

Whey Protein – Think of this tasty milkshake as a reward for a great weightlifting session. Enhance the candy-like quality of this drink with a handful of frozen blueberries, cherry-juice, raspberries, strawberries, banana, whatever. It comes in different flavors too. Try them all. Don’t go too cheap, though, or you will cause yourself serious intestinal distress.

ZMA – This supplement will increases testosterone output in men, which improves performance and the body’s ability to build muscle.

MultiVitamins – Why spend hours at the grocery store reading nutritional facts off food labels to make sure we’re getting our proper daily intake of niacin, when you can pop a horse-pill once a day and feel secure that we’ve got it covered? Take them with food if you don’t want them coming back up!

Metabolic Enhancers – I take ephedrine before some workouts as a means of improving my performance. These supplements increase our metabolism and many people use them to increase their metabolism during the day. I cannot recommend these for either purpose. When we artificially increase the body’s heart rate while at rest, we are placing a strain on it because muscle movement aids in circulation. Artificially increasing our energy before a workout unnaturally boosts performance, which can lead to over-working muscles, dizziness, and fatigue.

Pain Killers – Some people use ibuprofen and aspirin to get past the normal aches and pains that come with working out. Again, I cannot recommend this. Pain is a message from our bodies to our brains that something is wrong, and we shouldn’t turn it off. There is also a growing body of evidence that painkillers inhibit muscle growth, constituting a two-punch to the recovery process. Not only are we ignoring the body’s warning system, but hurting its ability to rebound from the stress.

The Enduring Truths of Working Out

So here are the things I’ve learned that have stuck with me. All of these posts are me as a peer offering advice, so experiment with my suggestions or not, but always do what works for you:

  • Eat all day long (6 meals a day, every 2.5 hours) this will keep your metabolism up and prevent your body from entering the dreaded “famine mode,” where your evolutionary hereditary comes into play. In order to keep from starving, our ancestors adapted to periods without food by entering a lower metabolic rate where the body holds onto fat stores. This was great for them, but makes loosing fat tricky for us.
  • Aerobics in the morning on an empty stomach will help burn fat because the body is coming off of a fast from sleeping for eight hours. Aerobics in the afternoon reduces the chances of injury because the body is warmed up from the day’s activities. Either of these are good to consider when scheduling a workout, but the most important thing is scheduling a workout when you will actually do it.
  • We should take a day of rest and reward each week. No working out and eating whatever we want. It’s good to break our routine and shock our bodies a little occasionally. This will also remind us of what junk food makes us feel like and makes it easier to stick to a diet during the week if we can look forward to chowing down on fried chicken and donuts on Saturday.
  • For Men: Stop caring about how much weight you can lift. The only people paying attention to that are other men, and you shouldn’t care what they think unless you’re homosexual. Women only care about a great body, and it’s their opinion that counts. A survey in “Men’s Health” magazine found that a six-pack of abs is the attribute women find most attractive and indicative of a healthy man.
  • For Women: Lift Weights!!! I cannot stress that enough. Want to loose fat and keep it off? Lift Weights! Muscle mass increases your metabolism, burning fat while you sleep. Want to counter act the effects of osteoporosis? Lift Weights! It strengthens your bones. Want to tone up? Get in shape? Practice healthy living? LIFT WEIGHTS!!!

    So many women avoid the weights out of fear they will “bulk up,” but this is nearly impossible for women to do. They don’t have the testosterone to build the same muscle mass quantities as men. Women body-builders must undertake incredible dietary supplementation in order to achieve their results. Women do not get bigger muscles, but they do get stronger ones, and stronger muscle-mass requires a higher metabolism to maintain it.

  • Alternate aerobic and anerobic exercise days, lift weights one day, hit the treadmill the next. These two types of exercise compliment one another. One works the heart the other works the muscles. Both increase our metabolisms in different ways.
  • Remember this one word: ENDURE. If we can Endure, the truth will endure with us. It’s the most important aspect of working out. Any amount of exercise and healthy eating will bring forth benefits, and by sticking with it, remaining mindful of it, we will get more proficient at it. A sprinter has a flash of intense energy in 50 yards, a marathon runner expends for 24 miles. There are many paths to the same truth.
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    Sexual Reproduction Disputations

    Posted on 1st June 2005 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior

    I find it interesting that so indispensable and natural a biological act as copulation carries so many stigmas in our society, but perhaps not so surprising. As animals with the capacity for forward thinking and the potential for cognitive mastery over our instinctual urges, we can recognize the harmful effects of over-population and the need to control it. A need arose in society to prevent individuals from producing more offspring than the community resources could support.

    The need to control population growth is the reason for interfering with copulation in places such as China and much of the third world. The focus of the solution is to implement devices to prevent the production of zygotes, a merged sperm and egg. These forms of birth control include condoms, diaphragms, birth control pills, and vasectomies. In China abortions and child taxes are used as secondary population controls.

    The disputation in all nations revolves around the consequences of the copulation act itself. Sexual intercourse provides a means for many diseases to transfer from person to person. Teenagers who become pregnant are not as capable as adults for providing for and raising children. Rape and sexual addiction are abnormal behaviors that objectify other human beings and are detrimental to the afflicted individual.

    In America and other nations with a large population of western religious followers, a disputation concerning the ethics of copulation takes place. Most Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sects prohibit sexual intercourse outside of marriage, a contract between two individuals pledging dedication to a monogamous partnership. Even sexual intercourse for the purpose of mutual pleasure and not procreation is prohibited by many of the sub-sects of these religions. Additionally, non-reproductive sexual practices, such as fellatio, sodomy, homosexuality, and birth control are all often prohibited as well.

    Thanks to scientific discoveries in psychology and genetics, we are becoming more informed on these issues and possibly coming closer to achieving an ideal mean on them.


    Abstinence VS Birth Control

    There are basically four methods of controlling population growth. These range from the simple to the extreme. For human beings, with our proclivity for forward-thought, all of these are cognitive methods, choices consciously made.

    There are many reasons for birth control on both personal and societal levels. Sexual intercourse is an enjoyable recreational activity we engage in for purely for pleasure far more often than we do for procreation. Many individuals have other priorities than raising offspring, and pregnancy can be detrimental to career or lifestyle goals. Society may also be concerned with individuals incapable of caring for their offspring placing a burden on the community, which must then care for them.

    Trying to spread the various methods of birth control across the American left/right political axis is an exercise in futility; however, it is possible, if not perfect, to look at them from a type of natural vs technological perspective. We could also split these along lines of what is more human nature along the spectrum.

    Proponents of abstaining from sexual intercourse cite it as the only method 100% assured to prevent pregnancy. Some cite it as the only method 100% assured of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, but this is not true. It is possible to catch many STD’s without sexual intercourse. A true statement would be that sexual intercourse significantly increases one’s chances of acquiring an STD.

    The variety of methods used to allow sexual intercourse without pregnancy range from artificial barriers, to medication, to surgery. Condoms and saran-wrap (for giving oral sex to a woman) are barrier methods that help prevent the transmission of STD’s as well as preventing human gametes from merging. Birth Control medication prevents pregnancies by manipulating the female’s menstrual cycles. Surgeries effectively render an individual sterile without otherwise impairing their ability to copulate.

    Abstinence is more natural in a technological sense compared to other birth control methods; however, it is more unnatural on an instinctual level. Our natural urge is to have sex. It has served an indispensable role in the propagation of our species, like eating, so denial of this urge is also unnatural.

    The healthiness of each method also comes into the dispute. There are some relatively minor health risks to medications and surgeries. There are also some health benefits to the sex act. So there is certainly a gray zone to this issue and a combination of both methods is the most popular choice in today’s society. Both birth control and abstinence practitioners should seek STD testing for themselves and their partner to make themselves aware of any potential risks.


    There is a third option to this debate, which I have left out because it is unthinkable to our modern principles, and that is no birth control or abstinence, which is the most natural approach of all. Nature’s preferred method of birth control is starvation. A species overpopulates, the resources needed to support it are exhausted and those members less-capable of obtaining resources die.

    In our modern civilization, the community assumes responsibility for children who’s parents are incapable of providing for them. This is an unnatural situation that allows individuals to reproduce without concern for being able to provide for offspring because the community will prevent them from starvation. The genes of the irresponsible members then propagate and the community becomes exploited by them.

    Neither of these options, starvation or welfare, is ideal, but the disputation does exist and our civilization must work to strike a balance between them.


    Pornography

    Sexually arousing material confronts us everywhere we go. Lingerie ads in the newspaper, music videos, advertisements, and styles of dress are all assaulting our senses, trying to trigger that hypothalamus response to get us thinking about sex, and therefore get our undivided attention. Even textbooks may contain unintentionally sexually arousing imagery. Some even argue that naked babies in advertising constitute pedophilia, as they tempt individuals plagued by that sexual abnormality.

    Pornography is defined as “The explicit depiction or exhibition of sexual activity in literature, films or photography that is intended to stimulate erotic, rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.” Pornography, therefore, has no artistic or emotional value. Its sole purpose is to evoke arousal in its audience.

    So what constitutes pornography under this definition? The Supreme Court was completely at a loss to answer this question. On one extreme are people and organizations that believe ancient Greek statues are pornographic. On the other are people who find anything permissible. The personal nature of sexual arousal, taste in art, and emotional response make this an incredibly complex issue to deconstruct.

    Definitions fall subject to societal norms. The criteria for determining pornography revolve around standards of normalcy that differ between cultures. America and Canada are much less permissive regarding explicit material than Europe. Standards of decency within these cultures vary between individuals, so an ideal mean is sought. It is no wonder, therefore, that this disputation holds a permanent place in our public forum.

    Health Concerns

    Pornographic materials present a problem of distorting expectations in their audience. The men and women in pornographic films present unrealistic body types exhibited in only a very small percentage of the human population. In addition to breast sizes, statures, penis lengths, and other attributes all being exhibited in above average proportions, there is also the use of make-up and lighting to disguise blemishes and emphasize the mechanics of the sex act. Just as women should not purchase the largest vibrator they can find, watching pornography can lead to disappointment in one’s sexual partner’s attributes. It is like reading comic books to educate oneself about realistic body types.

    The sexual positions in pornographic films are engineered, not for enjoyment, but for exhibition; therefore, many of the positions performed are not practical for couples pursuing mutual pleasure. Pornography’s focus on the visual, for the purposes of self-gratification, is detrimental to the physical sensations. It is the many frictions that occur all over the body, the breath on skin, the sounds of arousal, not just the main sexual organ, that produces the enjoyment of sex.

    Further Reading
    Why Porn is a Problem


    Homosexuality

    Several religious organizations have claimed success at converting homosexuals to heterosexuality. I avoid the use of the term “curing” here because it implies homosexuality in and of itself is an abnormal behavior–abnormal being defined as compulsive and destructive to the health and happiness of the individual.

    While homosexuality does occur in many other species of animal, including primates, Dr. Marie Helweg-Larsen notes that this does not settle the debate of whether homosexuality is natural or not. Most animal species are promiscuous. Should human beings follow that natural model? Rhinoceri mate for one and a half hours, while chimpanzees mating takes less than 30 seconds, which species should humans emulate more?

    While generalizations about homosexuality in other species are used by defenders of the behavior, generalizations about homosexual humans are used by its opponents. They characterize homosexuals as being more promiscuous, more prone to certain health problems and diseases. While some statistics may support these claims, we must evaluate the behaviors of individuals and not condemn an entire demographic for its stereotype.

    The American Psychology Association’s more that 150,000 members is that homosexuality is not abnormal and sexual orientation not a choice, but rather an emergent behavior. This scientific consensus differs from the organization’s pre-1970’s stance that homosexuality was abnormal. Both society’s changing standards and our evolving scientific understanding of sexual behavior prompted this change.

    Alfred Kinsey had a scale for sexuality ranging from 0, completely hetero, to 6, completely homo, with 3 being bisexual. The scale is a self-assessment tool, a simple and subjective reflective exercise in understanding where we each stand. It serves to illustrate that homosexual behavior occurs along many degrees and is not an either/or phenomenon.

    An additional gray zone in this debate is in the area of toleration and validation. It may be possible for a person to find homosexuality morally wrong, but respect another human being’s right to such a lifestyle. This is important for the homosexual community to keep in mind when defining it’s goals. Toleration is an achievable end, but across-the-board validation is impossible for anyone.


    Female Circumcision

    Lauren at Feministe has explored the conflict between two postmodern movements, feminism and multiculturalism, in regards to the issue of female circumcision, the act of surgically removing the clitoris practiced in some African and Middle-Eastern cultures. The principles of Multiculturalism argue that such cultural norms require respect. At the same time, the principles of feminism argue that the practice mutilates female genitalia and reduces their enjoyment of the sexual act.

    There are limits to Multiculturalism’s mandate of tolerance. No one suggests cannibalism or genocide requires respect and protection as a cultural practice. So the question orbits the issue of human rights and whether these women are being oppressed.

    Similarly, feminism would not dare to prevent women from circumcision if that were their desire. In fact, many women in the Middle East are proud of the fact that they have been circumcised. Again, the question is one of freedom and respect for human rights.

    The debate over female circumcision has raised questions about another cultural practice, male circumcision. Many people who believe female circumcision is an inhuman practice, think nothing of removing the male foreskin popular in western culture, but studies have suggested the practice can reduce sensitivity in males, and has given rise to a debate in the medical community. If female circumcision is a violation of human rights, then is male neonatal circumcision?


    Reproductive Rights

    Who should and should not be allowed to reproduce? Throughout history people have used a wide variety of criteria to argue for preventing certain human beings from having offspring. Ethnicity, physical disabilities, mental illness, age, and abnormal behaviors are just some of the reasons being used, even today, to argue for removing the reproductive rights from some individuals in our society.

    While most modern day societies have adopted a position that anyone capable of reproduction is permitted to attempt it — a sort of “Free Market” of sexual relations. Technology has brought the debate back into the public light. The recently forgotten questions of who should be allowed to reproduce have come up again now that medical science is permitting people who previously could not have children to bare them.

    Fertility clinics are making it possible for nearly anyone to produce offspring. Menopausal women are able to have children, but this comes at great medical risk to themselves and to the child. After the age of 40 pregnant women are classified as high-risk. Should society impose age-restrictions on reproductive rights? What about men, who may continue to have children long past an age where they may care for them? Consider the 80-year-old man who impregnates a young woman and has little chance of raising the child to maturity.

    Medical Science is also making it possible for women and men genetically incapable of producing offspring to have them. Once again, science has found a way to circumvent biological evolution. The children of these individuals will also carry the genes making them incapable of reproducing. As one doctor describes it, “We are making the next generation of patients.”

    While contemplating the possible restrictions society might require Fertility Clinics to subscribe. We must also consider the fairness of restrictions these clinics place on themselves. A survey reveals many clinics deny people their services for a variety of reasons. Lesbian couples, couples with physical disabilities, and biracial couples are just some of the demographics some clinics will deny services to.

    Should Fertility Clinics, a free enterprise, have the right to decide who has the right to reproduce and who does not? Has the free market produced a situation where a corporation may legitimately prevent demographics it disapproves of from having children? When does pragmatic policy become eugenics?

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