Saturday, March 01, 2008

My twin brother Keats Snideman's Philosophy on Health

(these pics were taken in 2004 at Josh Henkin's house. Fun times for sure. Josh killed us all with Atlas stones, kegs, tires and all of his strongman training. Senior RKC Geoff Neupert also gave us a great two hour Olympic lifting seminar. Omar was also there, as were Troy Anderson, Mike T.Nelson, Jim Kretz, Ray De' Alesio, Jason Rhymer, and more. Steve Cotter was asleep in Josh's house and my brother Keats had just left to go home)

I found this on my brother's website and thought it was very solid stuff. I think most people reading this blog will agree with Keats' principles!

Coach Keats, What Is Your Philosophy?

As a lifelong student of health, fitness, sports perforamnce, rehabilitation and nutrition, I am always studying and trying to stay current with the latest scientific and evidence-based information out there. Therfore, like most coaches, my theories and philosophy on training, programming, and healthful living are dynamic and likely to slightly change as new information and experience encourages me to do so. However, if I were to sum up in a nutshell my philosophy for helping others achieve optimal levels of health, fitness and subsequent high performance living , it would be contained in following practical and science-based recommendations:

1) Stay Hydrated, aka: “Never Get Thirsty”

No person or athlete will function well with sub-optimal hydration status. How do you know if your hydrated? Consume enough water and/or other suitable beverages until your urine is very pale yellow or clear (even better). Dark yellow urine is totally unacceptable and means that you are already dehydrated! Of course too much water can be a bad thing as well. A condition known as hyponatremia (low blood sodium) can be very dangerous and lead to dangerous swelling of the brain and subsequent death. Every year a few unfortunate athletes die (in endurance events mostly) who have over-hydrated to the point of hypotnatremia. This will not be a problem for most people though (thankfully)!

2) Stabilize Your Blood Sugar Levels, aka: “Never Get Hungry”

Stabilzing your blood sugar thoughout the day is best accomplished by eating approximately every 2-4 hours (3 seems to be optimal for many). This means eat breakfast, a mid-morning snack (or second breakfast if you’re a Hobit), lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and possibly a pre-bed snack. People who eat in this fashion are leaner, build and mantain muscle mass easier, have better physical and mental performance, and even have lower blood lipid profiles compared to those who eat less frequently. It is important to mention that these meals must be balanced in the three primary macronutrients however for this type of meal frequency to be effective. In general, most meals will need to contain some amount of protein, carbohydrate, and dietary fat depending on the time of day, what activity/exercise is about to done or has just been completed.

3) Get Enough Sleep, aka: “Go To Bed!”

Getting enough sleep may be the most important key to your health and wellness. According to Stanford sleep researcher William Dement, healthfull sleep is more influential than diet, exercise and even heredity in predicting longevity. So how much sleep do we need? Experts will all agree that there is no magic number since people”s needs will vary based on age, health, and activity levels. As a rule of thumb, younger children and infants need more sleep while adults can do well getting between 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Teenagers usually need more sleep than adults possibly as high as 10 hours per night. Here’s a nice little table to summarize sleep needs for various age groups:

Sleep Needs
Newborns (1-2 months)
10.5-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months)
9-12 hours during night and 30 minute to two-hour naps, one to four times per day
Toddlers (1-3 Years)
12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
11-13 hours
School-aged Children (5-12 years)
10-11 hours
Teens (11-17 years)
8.5-9.25 hours
7-9 hours
Older Adults
7-9 hours (maybe more due to diminished sleep quality)

4) Focus On Eating Mostly Whole Foods, aka: “The Whiter The Bread, The Sooner You”re Dead”

What this means is that most of the foods you eat should come from natural, unprocessed sources with the food in it”s whole state with nothing added or taken away. This equates to eating real meats (not lunch meats or “franken-foods”), real fruits and vegetable (not their juices), whole grains (like Oats groats, Quinoa, and Millet for example), nuts and seeds (including legumes) and even some small amounts of low-fat dairy products. Excpetions to this rule would be during or after strenuous exercise when blood sugar levels could be maintained or restored better with quicker and more refined sources of carbohydrate such as consuming a suitable sports beverage (Gatorade or Accelerade for example) or post-workout recovery drink (such as Biotest Surge or Endurox).

5) Focus On Whole (Compound) Movments, aka: “The Body Knows Movments Not Muscles”

Most of one”s training should be geared around large, multi-joint compound movements such as deadlifts, squats, presses, pulls and rows. Athletic lifts such as the Olympic lifts and their deriviatives (cleans, snatches, jerks, push-presses, etc..) should be a staple in most people”s programs as well. Supplementarty and assistance lifts (i.e. single joint movements, abdominal and trunk isolation exercises, etc…) can be added where needed to make up for any deficiencies or imbalances that are not corrected with the compound lifts.

6) Strength & Speed Before Endurance, aka: What”s The Point Of Having Endurance If There”s No Strength Or Speed To Endure?

Two of the most fundamental physical attributes needed for almost any physical endeavour are maximal strength and then speed of movement (flexibility/mobility and stability is right up there as well). Most other attributes or physical abilities stem from these two key motor qualitites. Get the Strength and Speed where you need it to be, and then focus on the endurance (whether speed-endurance or strength-endurance). This is in stark contrast to how most people train for any fitness goal. Besides, as we age, it is speed of motion (i.e. power) and then strength that we lose that fastest. Interestingly, endurance can be maintained to a much higher degree than speed or strength. This is evident when comparing masters records in various strength and endurance sports to those of younger adults. Even in endurance events, you’re race pace is based on having a higher top-end speed; this is why speed work is so crucial to endurance athletes.

7) Be Goal Oriented!

Studies routinely show that people/athletes with specific and preferably written goals, accomplish more than those who simply want to improve. I mean, who doesn’t want to improve? Deep down, I think everyone one of us longs for more in many facets of our lives. However, without clear and very specific goals, improvement doesn’t usually occur at the pace we desire if ever. In my years in the fitness, sports and rehab industries, I ‘ve heard so many poeple say things like “I’d like to lose weight” or”I’d like to tone up a little.“ These wishes are almost universal among de-conditioned people and are way too vague to actually lead to any meaninful behavioral changes that would accomplish such goals. This is where having a science-based goal setting stratgey comes in handy. There are several approaches out there used for goal setting but the one that I find the easiest is summed up in the following acronym: SMART
In general, goals are pretty meaningless unless they are:

S- Specific.

M- Measurable.

A- Attainable.

R- Realistic.

T- Time-based.

NOTE: There are so many other factors to great health and physical & mental function, but if people would focus on making these key principles a habit, there would be a lot more highly functioning stong and lean individuals walking around Just take a look at Clarence Bass ( who at 69 is far fitter and healthier than most men half his age! Check back to this list of habits as I”ll be adding more information as my thoughts get a little more focused.
Content ©2007 Keats Snideman


Taikei Matsushita said...

Great post Franz.
Some have similarities what you've written in your book.

Seems in order to attain health and strength, it requires to follow principles based on common sense, rather than seeking for special formula/magic.

Rannoch Donald RKC said...

Words to live by! All SMART if you ask me.

All the best


Franklin said...

Very nice Franz!

Your posting of Coach Keats' Philosophy on Health together with Rif's post on training one's will can take a individual a long ways towards being fit for life.

Joe Sarti said...

simple and well said!

Franz Snideman said...

Taikei, yes...very similar to what is in my book! Common sense works....the problem is that common sense is not too common!

Franz Snideman said...


Thanks! SMART really is smart!

Be well!

Franz Snideman said...

Thank Franklin!!! The combo of Rif and Keats' info is pretty powerful indeed!

Franz Snideman said...

Thanks Joe!!!

Mike T Nelson said...

Good times at Josh's place! It was the first time I met many cool people and shortly after switched to study exercise physiology full time. I also had to get a big tire, KBs, etc once I got home too!

Wise words to live by! Great stuff here as always!

Rock on
Mike N

Franz Snideman said...


yeah..that weekend started it all.....didn't it?

Fun times......and now look at all of us.......all of us deeply entrenched into the fitness and health industry!