Oct 14, 2012
You show me a guy with ripped abs, and I’ll show you a guy very unlikely to survive the coming economic collapse. There are three scientific reasons for this:
#1) Having “ripped abs” is only achieved by shedding excess body fat and achieving a dangerously low body fat level (such as 5% for men).
#2) People with ribbed abs (i.e. very low body fat) have virtually no excess calories to keep them alive if access to food is suddenly limited.
#3) People with ribbed abs have no built-in insulation from the cold. A person with very low body fat is extremely vulnerable to hypothermia. This may be a life-or-death matter if an economic collapse arrives during the winter months and electricity or heating fuels are not available for extended periods of time.
Having very low body fat is dangerous to your survival
It’s almost comedic that men are running around the gym these days, trying to build up their biceps and shed body fat. Neither of these is useful in a collapse scenario. They are purely a cosmetic reflection of today’s cultural fashions. (For hundreds of years, for example, being plump was considered a lot more attractive than being lean.)
In a collapse scenario, you’ll wish you had some extra body fat. Obviously you don’t want to face a crisis as an obese person, but carrying around 15 – 20 percent body fat (for men) or 20 – 28 percent body fat (for women) is actually a smart survival strategy, especially if combined with regular physical fitness and resistance training.
A 6′ tall man weighing 215 pounds and carrying some belly fat, for example is a lot more likely to survive hard times than a 6′ tall man weighing 175 with ripped abs and virtually no body fat.
Scenarios where you’ll wish you had body fat
• If food is suddenly in short supply and you have to survive with a prolonged calorie deficit.
• If you’re forced to travel on foot for extended durations (such as days or weeks). You’ll burn fat along the way. If you don’t have sufficient fat, your body will start breaking down and burning your muscles.
• If you’re forced to sleep outside, possibly in a tent, where you need thermal protection from the elements.
• If you’re sleeping in a home or apartment, but the heat is cut off in the winter.
In each of these scenarios, some spare body fat actually adds to your survival potential.
Don’t use this as an excuse to pig out, though
Of course, you probably don’t want to carry around more than 25 – 30 pounds of extra body fat, even if you’re preparing for hard times. Don’t use this article as an excuse to pig out this holiday season. I can just see sometime stuffing their face with ice cream and declaring, “The Health Ranger said this was a good way to get prepared!”
That’s not what I’m saying at all. In fact, if you do carry around some extra stored body fat, make sure it was built with the healthiest foods you could find. You want body fat derived from healthy foods and healthy oils, for example. Not “junk food fat.”
You want to be healthy, fit and well-fed but not obese. For men, obese means 25% body fat or higher. For women, it’s 32% or higher.
The bodybuilding “health” myth
As you consider all this, remember that people who have “ripped abs” are really sporting a temporary fiction. Body builders, for example, are in terrible overall health. They spend months over-feeding themselves, gorging on calories to build muscle, then they spend a month or two “cutting” calories through planned starvation so that they shed all their body fat by competition day.
A day or two before competition day, they then force themselves through a grueling dehydration regimen, to the point where they’re about to pass out during the competition itself. The body you see during bodybuilding competitions is, technically, very close to death by dehydration, starvation and mineral (salt) deficiency. That is not a healthy body. We should not strive, in any way, to look like those bodies. Even bodybuilders don’t look like that, day to day.
Immediately after bodybuilding competitions, the participants drink so much water and salt that they can gain as much as 30 pounds in 24 hours. They also begin to eat huge portions again, bringing themselves back from the brink of starvation. In just 72 hours after a competition, a typical bodybuilder looks nothing like their on-stage performance. That was a “performance,” not a lifestyle.
If an economic collapse were to occur the day before a bodybuilding competition, those participants would quite literally find themselves on the verge of death and need to take immediate action to rehydrate and intake mass quantities of salt and calories just to get back into functional shape again.
Do you see how silly it is to wish to have “ripped muscles” when the global economy is on the brink? Or when a Fukushima-scale nuclear accident could happen at any time?
That’s why I encourage you to take care of yourself and carry around a reasonable quantity of spare calories. Stay fit, eat well and exercise regularly, but don’t try to drop so much body fat, salt and water that you put yourself at risk in an uncertain world.
And of course, in addition to storing a bit of extra energy around your waist or hips, also store some preparedness foods in your home. When today’s world such an uncertain place, it only makes sense to keep you and your family ready for whatever might be coming our way.
This article was posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 5:24 am