Solutions for Self-Reliance

Here’s a Trick for Getting Fit with the Least Possible Effort


The weather today in New England is pristine.   The sun is out and the air is crisp.  The crisp air is a hint that fall is around the corner.

It’s the perfect day to do some thinking about physical fitness as a way to improve our personal resilience.

So far, I’ve been using project work in my garden and around the house to stay fit.  However, with the change in seasons, I’m going to need to do something else.

The success of my recent diet (by treating the body as a smart, resilient system rather than a dumb machine) and some recommendations from readers has led me to the work of the legendary Arthur De Vany.

Low Cost Fitness

Arthur’s approach to fitness is based on the idea that your body is so smart and so capable, it will actually BUILD you a fit body if you ask it the right way.  As a result, it’s an extremely efficient approach to fitness, one that has the potential to provide the greatest possible results with the minimum possible effort.

NOTE:  While his fitness approach isn’t for everyone, why it works is worth understanding.   Read on.

What is it?  The workout I’m doing is very simple.  Here’s what I’m doing once a week, at random times:

  1. An intense 30 minute workout with weights and high stress isometrics.  The goal is to drive all of my major muscle groups into failure.
  2. Wind sprints for 15 minutes.  I sprint for 50 yards and walk the distance back until the time runs out.
  3. That’s it.

Why should it work?

The idea is that the body is smart.  It’s built to keep us alive in a very harsh environment: the vast forests and plains of a prehistorical earth.

This requirement means that our bodies are frugal.  They only build expensive muscle mass or spend energy on maintaining a high efficiency cardiovascular system when they absolutely need to.  IF you don’t need the muscles or cardiovascular system, the body will take it away to save energy.

This is the reason astronauts start to lose muscle/bone mass immediately after they enter zero-gravity.

I hope you can see where this is going.  De Vany’s approach to fitness is to trick the body into building lots of muscle and a high efficiency cardiovascular system by simulating an extremely taxing struggle for survival.  A fight or flight to avoid death.  Both workouts are so intense, the body needs to spend the rest of week building the muscle and cardiovascular performance necessary to allow us to survive the next struggle.

So far, I’m really happy with the results.  I’m feeling and looking stronger than I’ve been in years.  Will keep you informed on how it progresses.


Resilient Idea: Water Frames?

Here’s an idea that I found intriguing.  It’s from Amy Woodward.  She’s implemented a system that uses tubing to provide both a trickle watering system and a structural support for a cold frame.

What is a cold frame?  A cold frame is an unheated mini-greenhouse.  In this case, some clear plastic would be stretched over the frame to help trap solar heat to extend the growing season for the plants in the bed.


Resiliently Yours,


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