In today’s society you should be striving to be as abnormal as possible. The norm is now the unhealthy, the norm is now over-fat, the norm is now contracting a chronic disease and the norm now does not know how good it feels to be fit and to move freely.

What is normal for the human body? The normal should be optimal function or the body as a system working the way it is designed to work. Yet I think ‘the norm’ is far from that these days.


It is staggering to think that two of every three people are overweight, one in three people will get cancer in their lives, nine out of 10 individuals who develop lung cancer are smokers and one in 10 have type 2 diabetes. In the US, which tracks such statistics, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death; it killed more than one in every four who died in 2006.


The really sad thing is these statistics are only growing and chronic diseases are affecting younger and younger people. And all of the above diseases are classified as largely PREVENTABLE.


It is now almost normal to be unhealthy, out of shape and sick. Is this now the new expectation? The accepted state of living? Are these statistics really the numbers you want to live by? If you are fit and healthy are you now the extraordinary?


The Lunar New Year has begun and it’s time to take a look at yourself and the state of our relationships with food, movement and health. Simple actions are all it would take to have tons more energy, feel amazing and look ten years younger. There are a number of clear trends the have influenced this normal unhealthiness. Here are the ones to really look out for:


Avoid Sugar at All Costs


In the 1980s, the obesity epidemic really took off. Is it any coincidence that the trend line for sugar increase and obesity percentage escalation is almost exact?


Avoid Good Fats


Good fats are essential to health and fat loss. They provide healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins K, D and E and help to train your body to use fat as a fuel. It is again no coincidence that obesity rates started to skyrocket after the Low-Fat Guidelines (the food pyramid) was introduced. Guess what the fat was replaced with… sugar!


The Social Weight Gainer



Here in Vietnam, as in many cities and countries, the social activities strongly rotate around food and alcohol. These graphs illustrate the trend that the more social the event (larger number of people) the more calories are likely to be consumed — up to a whooping 72 percent more! Other studies found that people are consuming more calories at the weekend than during the week. Are your social outings ruining your fat loss and fitness desires?


Move More



Sitting is killing us… get up and simply move! 150 calories every day makes a difference. Many people visit a gym twice per week for their workout, but then go on to have a more sedentary week than non-gym users. Consider that the average workout is 600 kcals (two times per week = 1,200 calories) and walking to work for a half-hour every day will burn 150 kcals each way (10 times per week = 1,500 calories). Simply stand and move — it will make all the difference.


Get More and Better Sleep



Sleep is now considered the fourth macronutrient. It is extremely important for both fat loss and health. A number of my clients suffer from sleep apnea, once we diagnose and treat the issue they feel like their quality of life has improved out of this world. Even without a sleep issue, the average sleep quantity has reduced by two hours over a 40-year period between 1960 and 2000.


What might be more important is the deterioration of sleep quality. The use of electrical devices in the evening, sitting under strong artificial lighting, not sleeping in total darkness and noise pollution all greatly influence restful and restorative sleep.


Individuals often see food as a treat, especially with children. The next time you feel like treating yourself or your child with a soda or sugary food, think about these statistics and ask yourself… do you want to be normal or extraordinary?


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at or through Star Fitness (

Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information. 


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