Many miss what may be the most important MAF recommendation, and it’s difficult to say why. Perhaps most people are so accustomed to following prefab diets and workout plans that they can’t tune into their own intuition.
Cats, hamsters and many other animals have very inquisitive brains. But humans may have the most expansive cognitive abilities because we are more than merely curious — we ponder, look for meaning in life, and seek out fun more than other creatures.
Using our incredible creativity, we experiment with our most important personal findings and even the most seemingly trivial ones. It’s one of the ways we survive as a species and have developed the capacity to enjoy our lives far beyond merely existing to propagate.
However, we also are herd animals, and we have developed means to exist far beyond basic survival. For example, we have far more food choices, many of them poor, than most wild animals, and because of our success as a species, food is also more plentiful — for many far too much so. In addition, we have social forces — marketing influences such as the internet, television and print advertising — that exert control over our choices.
We thrive best among the herd. However, our society has taken a bad turn in the journey. We too often lose curiosity and follow blind directions, like zombies wandering off into a bad dream.
All of this adds up to a loss of intuition, that basic life-force instinct so important not only to survival but to optimal health, performance and enjoyment. By finding out what works best for us, regardless of what the rest of the herd is doing, we can do more than just survive.
This is the key to my MAF approach and what makes it uniquely different from other programs. In fact, it’s not really a program at all. It is a system designed to help you decide what is best for you, to help you reconnect with and take control of your own intuition about diet, health, fitness and even your own brain function.
Many people just don’t get it. For example, it’s amazing how many refer to the Two-Week Test as a “diet.” The whole idea of the Two-Week Test is for individuals to individualize — re-establish intuition and instinct about eating for your personal needs. On the spectrum of human behavior it’s actually at the opposite end from dieting.
Likewise, my entire approach to physical fitness — often called maximum aerobic function (MAF) — is really intended as a “handoff” to get people headed in a healthy direction or toward a healthier alternative. MAF is a scientific approach and refers to the development of the aerobic system, which includes improving fat-burning and balancing both health and fitness. All people have individual thresholds for exercise in terms of intensity, duration and types of activities. Despite what the running magazines may say, there is no workout guideline that spells success for everyone, and many may be formulas for injury. My system helps each person to develop their own program and stay healthy while doing it. And yes, athletes get faster too.
Of all the food, exercise, stress and other information, the most unknown, hidden, and seemingly mysterious MAF recommendation is one that may also be the most important — developing your own intuition. This information is a guide to help you individualize the physical, biochemical and mental-emotional lifestyle factors that best match your body’s needs. Just be careful not to make what you think are individualized adaptations but are really based on some old cookbook recommendation still floating around your head from years ago.
Untold numbers of unnamed individuals have succeeded with the MAF system, and I hear about new cases regularly. Among professional athletes who have best exemplified this is six-time Hawaii Ironman world champ Mark Allen. The concepts clicked for him quickly and he was able to weave all the lifestyle factors together with stunning results. Now that he’s retired from triathlon, he can use these same principles to get the most out of life.
More recently, triathlete Amanda Stevens was able to quickly accomplish great feats, both in health and fitness, by figuring out the puzzle.