How to be King (or Queen) Of the Jungle
By Coach Zach B.S. NASM. FPT
When we hear the term, “King of The Jungle,” we immediately think of a lion. The lion is known as the ultimate predator; powerful, muscular, and majestic. No one messes with a lion, except another lion, and lions know that they’re king of the jungle. So, what do lions have to do with your health and fitness? There are actually many things we can learn from observing the King’s habits and lifestyle.
Have you ever gone to the zoo and been disappointed when you get to the lion exhibit? First, you must search high and low to spot the low-lying creature. Then, once your eyes land on the lion, they’re not doing anything exciting; they’re simply lying there sleeping, completely unaffected by your presence. Cats in general sleep 16 – 18 hours a day, typically broken up into small bouts, A.K.A cat naps. Lions have even been known to remain sedentary and cat nap for up to 24 hours straight following a large meal. That leads me to the next observation we can learn a great deal from.
Lions are meat eaters… to say the least! They are true carnivores and consume a ton of animal protein, which also provides a substantial amount of healthy fats. This high protein, high fat diet contributes to the lean muscular build of cats found in the wild. Domesticated cats usually consume kibble and wet food containing vast amounts of carbohydrates. This is why we have an internet sensation of “Fat Cats.”
The next lesson we can learn from observing the King of the Jungle’s habits is how often they stretch. While the main part of a cat’s day is spent napping, they often get up to move napping locations. Every time they stand up, they stretch. Stretching wakes up the cat’s muscles and keeps them ready to get up and move at a moments notice, even though most of their day is spent sedentary.
This leads to my final observation. Lions are predators. Their day is not complete without an all out intense session of exercise. Lions participate in two very intense forms of exercise. The first is hunting, chasing, and killing their prey. The second leads to lion cubs.
So there you have it. We’ve basically covered a lion’s life in a nutshell. Now let’s see how we can use these observations and apply them to our health and fitness.
There is obviously a great deal of concern revolving around our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Remember that cats sleep all day long but get up and stretch often. To help combat our sedentary lifestyles, we can stand up, stretch, and move around at least every hour. It’s also important to note that cat naps can be a powerful tool to help boost energy. Just remember, 8-15 minutes is ideal, anymore than that and it will have the opposite effect.
In general, it is always beneficial to eat high quality protein and fats, while consuming less carbs. Obviously, humans are omnivores and need plenty of plant-based nutrients as well. However, consuming animal proteins and fats are more beneficial when it comes to gaining lean muscle mass and reducing body fat.
Finally, cats in the wild consistently perform short bouts of exercise at maximum intensity. Research shows that this style of exercise increases muscle strength, endurance, and caloric expenditure; and is more beneficial toward fat loss than longer, low intensity workouts.
Lions are incredible athletes with awesome strength and muscle tone, especially taking into account that they lie around all day and don’t really do all that much. If we apply the same tactics they use, we can help combat our increasingly sedentary lifestyle and be King of The Jungle!
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Carlucci, Sue. 2017, Web: https://athleanx.com/for-women/5-things-we-can-learn-from-cats-about-fitness