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Page history last edited by Matthew Levine 12 years, 5 months ago

Optimization Vectors


Just as in software an engineer can optimize along several vectors (memory footprint, performance, maintainability, etc), there are multiple body optimization vectors as well. While there are many points of overlap (e.g. lost excessive body fat, particularly abdominal fat), there are interesting differences in emphasis (e.g. focus more on protein consumption or caloric restriction), end states (e.g. optimal weight) and strategies (e.g. anaerobic exercise vs. low-impact aerobic activity).


Some optimization vectors and example strategies:


  • Longevity
    • Diet: caloric restriction and nutrient density
    • Exercise: low-impact aerobic and anaerobic exercise
    • Supplementation: "aggressive supplementation"
    • Mental exercises: focus on reducing stress
  • Activity-specific Performance
    • Diet: high-quality proteins and larger caloric intakes to build appropriate muscles & replenish glycogen stores
    • Exercise: extensive practice of desired activities plus aerobic & anaerobic cross-training
    • Supplementation: performance-based supplementation
    • Mental exercises: visualization
  • Mental Focus & Performance
    • Diet: nutrient density and appropriate fatty acids (i.e. Omega-3/Omega-6 ratios)
    • Exercise: primarily aerobic exercises (recent studies show aerobic exercise is neurogenic), plus focus-based exercises (e.g. yoga)
    • Supplementation: general supplementation, plus Omega-3 fatty acids and mental-performance supplements (e.g. ginko biloba)
    • Mental Exercises: focus & awareness meditation and explicit training (e.g. Lumosity)
  • Aesthetics
    • Diet: low caloric intake for weight loss or high-protein for muscle growth
    • Exercise: primarily aerobic for weight loss or anaerobic for muscle growth
    • Supplementation: general supplementation (daily multi-vitamin)
    • Mental exercises: ?


It's certainly possible to optimize along one or multiple vectors up to a point, but there are some tradeoffs:


  • High-impact exercise vs. decreased metabolism? The most evidence-based way to optimize for longevity is via caloric restriction. Serious practitioners of CR will cut their caloric intake by about 1/3 of "normal" levels, preventing extensive exercise that requires a high caloric intake to rebuild muscles and glycogen stores. Additionally, some high-impact exercise can put stress on joints and increase the chances of injury, both which work against the goal of longevity.
  • Caloric restriction vs. aesthetics? Serious practitioners of caloric restrictions are often extremely lean for their height, generally more than modern aesthetic standards deem "ideal".
  • Coffee or tea? Caffeine in moderate amounts (20 - 200 mg/hour) appears to boost focus, metabolism, and performance. On a regular basis, however, caffeine can lead to physical dependence.

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