THE MEASURE OF A DETAILERS' VITALITY
I'm not a medical practitioner, but if I had a chance to take myself back to college, I would undoubtedly enroll in medical school just so I could accurately diagnose the next set of symptoms related to my aching body. There is no paragon or flawless model by which a detailing technician can be measured objectively, but there's one universal truth that can be drawn from working in this tiring field.
Do you know what that one truth is? If your answer was maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you'd be correct but that's only half of the formula. In fact, what I'm trying to articulate stretches beyond the bandwidth of what we might interpret as healthy. When I initially started my business in 2008, I'd let my innocence of youth and naivete blind my decision-making, and often times would be needlessly drawn to "food" that didn't serve any nutritional value nor was it a sustainable lifestyle to any degree.
Begrudgingly, I decided to eventually acquiesce because once I'd turned 30, I had come to an understanding that if I was to continue down the gauntlet of detail-specific projects, I had to reconstruct what I thought was perceived as a healthy diet and capitulate into what was good for both the mind, body, and soul.
Remember that nutritional pyramid (FIG.1) that was shown to you in primary school? If for any reason you don't or it wasn't part of your elementary education, then it's time you introduce yourself to the graph that'll give you the building blocks to achieving healthy eating habits. Yes, it's self-explanatory but I'll bet you the moon and stars that at one time or another, this graph had escaped your mind as you continue to venture down the vicissitudes of life. Of course, this is a difficult trend to continue since maintaining this rubric is easier said than done, especially as we continue to age.
Oh, lest we forget that amendments are made in response to our ever-changing bodies. While the pyramid may not serve as an all-encompassing chart to sustaining healthy eating habits, it should still provide us with an irreproachable model by which we can fuel our bodies. This leads me into a smooth transition where we start to discuss the semantics of the word "fuel". For the longest time, I'd relished in the delight of consuming less than desirable options only to satisfy my taste buds. Unfortunately, when one becomes dependent on such foods (we all know which foods they are) then we hijack our taste buds and become dependent on things the body never needed in the first place.
The old adage of "you are what you eat" speaks volumes to those who not only dedicate themselves to this industry, but it also applies to all the individuals who work in fields where continually punishing one's body is considered a daily ritual. While it's not my point to pass judgement on any person based on their preferred lifestyle, it's been scientifically proven by a compendium of medical journals along with other like-minded studies worldwide that a combination of a healthy diet infused with an active lifestyle will invariably lead to brighter days for the soldiers of the detailing industry.
That's correct, this formula has been proven to be more efficacious than any misinformation or miracle pill that's spread across the web and social media. As we continue to box ourselves in with time constraints and deadlines relating to projects that require a strict attention to detail, there are some viable alternatives to consuming a healthy diet without having to reach for that hot pocket or bag of potato chips. Temptation will always rear its ugly head, but the more we practice, the more we can convert to something that yields the highest return.
First and foremost, as most of us should know through observation and research, nothing good ever came from a box. Reach for foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and when it comes to taking on labor-intensive projects, practicing the "simple approach", as I like to call it, will pay great dividends, and dare I say will give you that "je ne sais quoi" for when you reach the proverbial "wall" as you slowly approach the finish line. This "simple approach" can be interpreted as reaching for whole foods that come from the earth, but don't mischaracterize it as a form of veganism because that couldn't be farther from the truth. Without further ado, andiamo!
Protein & Zinc
Lean forms of protein such as chicken, fish, and seafood will provide your muscle fibers with the strength that's needed to complete large-scale projects such as minivans, lifted trucks, RV's, or even the seemingly simple sedan that hadn't been touched since 1981. The common denominator amongst these forms of protein is zinc.
If you didn't already know, zinc has the wondrous ability to forestall disease and sickness which can only be to one's benefit. To underpin zinc's characteristics, it also has the ability to expedite the healing process when it comes to subjecting oneself to cuts and bruises. Trust me, we've all been there before.
When one cut heals another is in the dugout waiting to surface. Thankfully, a consistent intake of zinc from any form of lean protein will accelerate the healing process as it relates to muscle tears and other muscle-related inadequacies. If you're a long-distance runner like me, then you know how important protein is to the regeneration of muscle mass after a tiring event. To take it a step further, you'd be surprised at how full you'll feel if you strip yourself of all the needless simple sugars and carbohydrates and limit yourself to just the meat alone. This plays to the benefit of the detailer, because once you feel satiated (that's not to say you won't in the future) the interval between cravings will become much longer giving you the opportunity to battle through that next stage of restoration.
As we shift our focus, it's important to note that a well-balanced diet should be a conscious effort, and should be evenly distributed throughout the course of one week. As a prime example, consuming more of any given food group isn't necessarily going to give you "star power" because in some cases, take salmon for example, if you consume 500 mg of salmon a day, that could lead to adverse affects on the liver and heart, not to mention having the potential of circulating (PoP's) or persistent organic pollutants into the bloodstream. Then again, I trust that your entire diet isn't entirely comprised of wild salmon.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to realize that water is the single-most important element to sustain all lifeforms on earth. When it comes to capitalizing on this precious resource, it should be known that water plays more than just the role of keeping you hydrated. Although we've heard through the grapevine time and time again, water not only supplies our bloodstream with maximum fluidity, but serves a myriad of other benefits. For one, water allows your internal temperature to maintain a level of homeostasis. When you're working in the oppressive heat, water will save you from disorientation, heatstroke, and the dreaded heat-induced headache. Trust me, I've been down that avenue and it's scary territory.
Above all other benefits, the greatest utility that water can provide is the fact that it lubricates the joints, especially your vertebrae. As we continue to age, particularly after the age of 25, which by multiple accounts from exercise physiologists, it's vital that we continue to supply ourselves with lubrication since the space between our discs lessen. When the pistons in your vehicle aren't lubricated, what do yo think starts to happen? You guessed it, problems. In the case of our bodies, back problems will invariably make their way through the cogs of the human anatomy.
When you compound the excessive temperatures with hard physical labor, that's a first-class ticket to the emergency room. Interestingly enough, it happens more often than you think. With advertisements for soda, carbonated beverages, and energy drinks taking westernized culture by storm, it's no wonder the masses are now reaching for beverages that hijack your taste buds and alter your palate.
If you're craving an additive to your water, even adding fresh berries or a slice of lemon or lime will compensate for the bland nature that water can carry from time to time. For those of you forced to work outdoors, water should be well-stocked and ready at a moment's notice. When I used to live in New York, I would always fill a used gallon of milk with fresh water right before I would leave the following day. In excessive heat, it's recommended to drink one glass (8 oz.) every 20 minutes to maintain the same level of intensity required to complete any given activity.
Vitamins B12, D, and Iron
Whilst these three aforementioned vitamins aren't necessarily representative of a complete diet, it's in my unbiased opinion that vitamins B12, D, and iron could in many ways be considered the trifecta of nutrients the body needs to sustain hard labor. Not only do they each respectively carry the body across the finish line, but each one are multifaceted in the sense that it covers all organs and functions that the detailer will travail.
Based on a study conducted by Harvard University in 1998, a team of researchers found that on a worldwide scale, vitamin D was the least consumed. Now, when you think of vitamin D, at least through the lens of westernized culture, we're led to believe that the best source comes from milk. Yes, you would be partially right. However, higher concentrations of vitamin D can be found in foods such as yogurt, eggs, mushrooms, and oranges. Why do I mention vitamin D? Well, vitamin D is responsible for maintaining muscle generation and elasticity over time.
When you cut this out of your diet completely, then you're increasing the risk for osteoporosis and a loss in bone density. Many deign to incorporate enough vitamin D into their diet because the food industry has viable "alternatives", with most of which being laced with stabilizers and lower concentrations that don't serve much of a benefit to begin with.
When it comes to vitamin B12, you're taking control of both your nervous and blood-related systems. Thankfully, B-12 can be found in virtually any form of real sustenance and when it comes to sustaining that certain vigor, B-12 allows the body to ward off fatigue, keeps your DNA strand intact, and contributes to optimal brain performance. The benefits that come from B12 alone give credence to why I stand firm behind the need to supply one's body with this important nutrient.
While I won't deviate from the subject at hand, sufficient levels of B12 have been known to not only sustain ourselves from the perspective of a healthy diet, but it also contributes to a stabilization with regard to our mood and how the brain reacts to life's challenging experiences. Life is a balancing act, and it's important that we acknowledge how our mental health can play a vital role in and outside of the workplace. Often times, we don't think of our diet as a tool but when you're faced with tasks that require a certain level of fortitude, there are tools that you need to invest in and B12 is among the most priceless.
Last but not least, we turn our attention to iron. To condense iron down to its most rudimentary meaning, iron saves you from anemia and is responsible for producing hemoglobin, which is a protein carried through red blood cells, thereby supplying your organs and surrounding tissue with the energy needed to sustain itself through long periods of vigorous activity. Similarly, the nutrient also increases the level of myoglobin which carries oxygen directly to your muscle tissue. Think of hemoglobin as the "large unit" where it oversees all aspects of the body through red blood cell transport, whereas myoglobin is the "smaller storage chamber" of oxygen that feeds directly into your muscle tissues.
If there's one thing we all need, it's a good night's rest, right? Exactly. Multiple studies from various medical publications have proven that iron contributes to a consistent sleeping pattern. Even when our minds are preoccupied with thought, iron has been known to help us drift-off into dreamland. In addition, it's already self-evident that some forms of detailing can become a marathon. Well, you're in luck. For those of the endurance sport persuasion, an intake in iron will accelerate your levels of oxygen to the areas that are needed most, especially the lungs. The demonstrable actions of the detailer should not forsake the need for this important vitamin.
Caffeine! Hell, yes! Who doesn't love caffeine? People who don't love caffeine, I guess. This might be a highly contentious debate, but there's been a bevy of research pointing to the benefits that caffeine can have on the body. Again, the operative word to use here is "can". While everything should be consumed in moderation, especially when it comes to caffeine, it can prove to be beneficial. To look at caffeine's affect on the body, I'll turn you over to this video and how it can perform well in your daily routine, even if you're the enthusiast who enjoys taking care of their own vehicles.
By nature, caffeine is a stimulant and drug. For many, caffeine should be avoided because it can counteract the absorption rate of any given medication. As such, your body will help you determine what's needed and what's considered wasteful or even detrimental to your body. Personally, I've tried the experiment of how caffeine can improve physical performance, and while I can appreciate its performance-enhancing benefits, I've also seen the benefits of releasing my dependency from it.
I was never considered the "chronic" coffee drinker, but let's be real, I can't say no to that proverbial cup in the morning. Now that I've released myself from all forms of caffeine, here are the changes I've seen in my daily transit. One, after that dreaded withdrawal phase, I started to notice that the "mid-afternoon slump" no longer resonates with me. I'm not going to lie, it feels pretty great.
However, the one caveat is that those sleepy receptors kick-in sooner than I'd anticipated. When the day is through, I'm out like a light. On the bright side, my levels of focus are more acute than ever. For example, as many of you may or may not know, I'm a former music teacher. My continued musical pursuits have become more enlightening, and in many cases, my path to learning a new piece of music has progressed at a pace faster than if I'd been drinking coffee like a commodity trader on Wall Street.
In conclusion, this article should underscore how our bodies should be treated like a precious commodity, especially when working in a field that is demanding on the joints, muscles, and everything in between. Much like mastering any technique in any given field of work, committing oneself to a healthy diet takes time. Will this work for everyone? Of course, not. Everyone's DNA is unique so if you should come to a roadblock, consult with your trusted physician so you can find a roadmap to achieving a healthy diet whilst working.
We bend, stoop, crouch, reach, press, and it's all for the sake of beauty. Well, if it's all for the sake of beauty, then why don't we all just become painters? Then again, vehicles don't detail themselves. Of course, when you start to make a conscious effort at incorporating these healthy habits into your everyday life, your body will say "God, thank you." "Whew, I feel so much better!" Trust me, it's a great feeling. I believe it was Socrates, "Father of Western Philosophy" who was once quoted with saying "It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit." I know it's a bit melodramatic, but it only points to our own mortality. A little "food for thought" never hurt anyone. Enjoy the process, and as always, drive in confidence.