By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind) There is a lot of debate in the scientific and the lay (non-scientific) community regarding the role that genetics plays in a person’s development. In general, one side of the debate seems to believe in disempowering themselves and attributing all of their short-comings and other people’s achievements, on their genetic make-up. On the other side, there are those who believe that all of ones failures or successes are only due to their personal dedication to pursuing goals through dedication and persistence. Reliance on the genetics only hypothesis could be called nature, while reliance on the self could be called nurture.
So is it nature or nurture? Perhaps the advice of Maimonides (1138-1204), who amongst other things, was an accomplished physician who wrote about several diseases and their cures is relevant. Maimonides writes “The upright path is the middle path of all qualities known to man. This is the path which is equally distant from the two extremes, not being too close to either side.” This is also the sentiment of certain Buddhist teachings. The Middle Way in Buddhism is a path of moderation between self-mortification and sensual indulgence that leads to liberation.
The way this can be practically applied is in the fact that we are born with our genetic make-up, and there is nothing we can readily do about that; and we can also cultivate a discipline in how we moderate our daily activities in order to optimize our physical and mental health. The middle path is to work between our inherited traits and our learned traits or behavior. This optimization is basically an individually balanced combination of healthy nutrition based on whole foods, intelligently planned exercise founded on high-intensity interval training, and adequate rest and sleep built on our personal biological needs. It is this synthesis of Healthy Living activities that I like to call HypnoAthletics EpiGenetic Engineering.
EpiGenetic Engineering is not something only for PhDs in Biochemistry or Professors of HypnoAthletics. Indeed, you too can and should be your own EpiGenetic Engineer. In fact, you have already been an EpiGenetic Engineer all of your life. However, if you have been experiencing any difficulties or challenges with your health, including unwanted body fat, low energy levels, inadequate sleep or other issues, it may be because you have not been following the EpiGenetic Engineering methods that will promote the best of health that you can experience.
Simply stated, Epigenetic Engineering is the stimulation of changes in gene expression that do not involve modifications in the DNA sequence that may also be inherited by your children. You may take advantage of these changes in gene expression and adaptation to achieve the results you desire.
EpiGenetic Engineering Methods: Physical and
Physical Exercise all by itself benefits many of your body’s organ systems. One of the benefits of exercise is that it stimulates the genetic expression of several proteins that promote good health. When you exercise, your skeletal muscles may have less of the molecule –CH3, the methyl-group. When this genetic marker is lessened, it stimulates gene expression that helps your muscles adapt to exercise.
Physical exercise promotes neurogenesis, or the growth of new neurons and brain cells from stem-cells. These new neurons are primarily motor-neurons that are necessary for proper movement of those skeletal muscles you are exercising. This in turn enhances neuro-motor functional activity. Also, some new neurons may develop to support your heart or cardiac muscles as an adaptation to support increased cardiac output. The same goes for the muscles in your lungs or respiratory system.
In cooperation with your respiratory system, your muscles use glucose, aka sugar as a main fuel source and therefore, exercise improves the sensitivity of insulin receptors on cells so that it may use the sugars for energy. The added benefit of stimulating insulin receptivity is the release of insulin from your pancreas. Insulin removes glucose from your blood and moves it into muscle to be used as energy. The excess glucose is then stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen to be stored for later use. If your pancreas does not release insulin, or your cells are not sensitive to insulin, the excess sugar in your blood becomes poisonous to your organs. This may be due to Type I or Type II Diabetes which are both improved with exercise.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, exercise increases the beneficial human growth hormone (HGH), decreases body fat, helps firm your skin, improves muscle tone, increases energy and libido or sex-drive, and increases your overall fitness.
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Dr. Mercola also suggests that some forms of exercise are more beneficial than others. I agree with his assessment and also recommend high intensity interval training as the most effective way to improve overall health and fitness. My method is similar to Dr. Mercola’s and is a main component of EpiGenetic Engineering. It is called “Optimum-Nine“. Optimum-Nine focuses on high intensity bursts of exercise for 45-seconds with 90-seconds of rest in between for 9-sets total.
Optimum-Nine is based on Numerology, the F.I.T.T.E. outline from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Dr. Mercola’s Peak-8, and my personal experience of the benefits of high intensity interval training earned from years of playing Capoeira. In Numerology 9 is the number of completeness or the end of a cycle. F.I.T.T.E. is an acronym for Frequency. Intensity. Time. Type. and Enjoyment. Capoeira is an art-form that synthesizes a game, a dance and a martial-art all into one. Capoeira involves lots of high intensity intervals of explosive activity.
EpiGenetic Engineering Methods:
Physical and Mental Exercise
It is challenging to decide whether to place mental exercise before or after physical, so this being after physical should be no indication that it is less important than the physical. In fact, it may be more important, but since the two compliment each other and lead to a healthy cycle, I will leave it up to you to decide which to begin practicing first.
Motivation is a primary factor to begin any type of activity. Therefore, you must seek ways to sufficiently motivate yourself into action. One of the ways I maintain a high level of motivation is by creating original ideas and synthesizing others by adopting and adapting methods from other that I find useful. By definition, this is a form of self-hypnosis, which is very therapeutic when properly applied. This is why, for example, I formulate these terms like HypnoAthletics, EpiGenetic Engineering, UniquilibriuM, KappaGuerra and others. It inspires me by way of a sense of accomplishment that I am creating something new, altering or improving upon something already in use.
It is also motivating that what I am creating may be shared with others who might benefit from my eccentricities. In this way I am giving back to a world and people who have given me so much all of my life, especially the love and support I get from my family and friends. Being motivated effects the subconscious mind which in turn, enhances our success in self-improvement. The goal of self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy is in fact, to replace or change unproductive thought processes into more useful or productive thinking by accessing the subconscious mind.
Anything that attempts to change or control behavior in this way may be defined as hypnosis. Hypnosis then may be used for good or bad as it is just a natural process that must be directed. Just like the physical component of EpiGenetic Engineering, you have been practicing it all of your life. If it is the case that you are not achieving the results you desire, then you have most likely been using hypnosis in a way that is unhealthy.
This is because all hypnosis is in actuality self-hypnosis. The so-called “Laws of Self-Hypnosis” are Repetition, Association and Impression. Those thoughts that you repeat to yourself and others become associated as reality and thereby impress themselves on your behavior. You can either direct it, or let yourself be directed by it. Usually when you allow this natural process to direct you, it does not tend to produce favorable results because most of the information we are surrounded by is not as healthy as you would like or expect it to be.
By focusing your thoughts on and immersing yourself in healthy and productive concepts and ideas, you may actually stimulate neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, just as with physical activity. This is especially true if you are imagining yourself performing athletic movements and exercise. I like to call this Synaptic Syntax Sequencing (S3) which is stimulated by the practice of what I call 3rd-I, or Independent Integrated Intelligence. These are just more of my concepts that help to motivate me towards self improvement. The more creative and fulfilling life experiences you can find or make to inspire you to improved health, the better off you will be.
The quality of your food will definitely effect the quality of your life. One of the most effective ways to be a master EpiGenetic Engineer is to seek ways to discipline yourself to be a healthy eater. By eating more whole, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods that are responsibly produced; our health will be dramatically improved. You may or may not see immediate results from changing the way you eat, but over time, usually two to six months, you will experience life-changing benefits. the food that we eat can have positive or negative effects on the way we exercise, think and sleep.
Rest and Sleep
Finally, but not least of all is rest and sleep. Getting adequate amounts of sleep for your personal needs may help improve your sensitivity to insulin, but perhaps by way of a different mechanism. It also helps to increase your level of a hormone called leptin, which helps you to feel satisfied after eating. When leptin levels are reduced, you may feel more hungry, even if you have had enough to eat. This may contribute to overeating, especially sugary foods that over-burden your carbohydrate metabolizing systems.
To be an effective EpiGenetic Engineer who achieves the best results you desire requires discipline. As you may notice, all of the components are interactive with each other. exercise helps you get better sleep, proper sleep improves your metabolism, healthy eating improve your ability to think and so on. Whatever area you decide to begin with does not matter as long as you begin to progressively realize the results you are seeking, which I am assuming is the most optimum physical and mental health possible for you.
By seeking the middle path and balancing your inherited genetics traits with your learned traits or behavior, you soon may become a master EpiGenetic Engineer and experience the greatest health and fitness possible for you.