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Michael A Koontz
Life is your art. Health, Photography, Fitness, Writing, Sustainable Living.
Life is your art. Health, Photography, Fitness, Writing, Sustainable Living.

Michael's posts

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This is a story of salt: The female perspective
The ongoing story of salt is also the story of the 200 000 individual girls that end up dead each year in the United States of America due to high blood pressure, one of many health issues and causes of death that excess salt consumption gives rise to.

Other health issues directly related to excess salt consumption ( more than 5 grams of salt per day ) that might interest you are.

Higher Blood Pressure
Stroke risk increase
Heart failure happens more frequently
Osteoporosis increase
Higher chance of Stomach Cancer
Kidney Disease is more prevalent.
Kidney Stones happens more frequently
Enlarged Heart Muscle is more common.
Headaches get worse and more frequent.

read the complete article

Meredith Mack

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This is a story of salt. The outcome.
Let us start from the tail of the end. Because we all know that every good tale comes equipped with an end that makes the rest of the story worth reading.

And as such, the changing story of salt is a story of the roughly 2.5 million deaths around the world which could be prevented each year if global salt
consumption was to be reduced below the recommended levels.

And soon the story of salt will return to develop some more, and once it does, it will also start from something a little bit closer to the beginning :).

music of the day
Flesh Coffin by Lorna Shore

But today is a Thursday, and like every other day, it starts anew with a blank canvas.

And perhaps instead of the day before the weekend, we could simply choose to say and think that today a brand new week started it´s very own blank sheet.

Like all other weeks that is born at the end of Sunday, during the black skies of shining stars and that all encompassing black velvet blanket that envelops us all.

It is true that the moon that traverse the Sunday evening might shine it´s light too during the night, at times, if you have a big enough window that faces the right direction, the moon will light the night bright enough to touch your face and color your every dreams as if it were the sun itself and not the howling moon that simply soak up the rays of sun as it traverse our nighttime view inside our dreams, and outside our windows.

But perhaps there is some sort of true to life poetry in that, the moon is after all, as much an alien thing as it is a child of Earth, sucking at our oxygen and life matter like a tiny cow still breastfeeding.

So perhaps the fact that it radiates the light of the sun during the night is perfectly poetic, the moon is as much a still growing and changing prodigy of the Earth as it is a wayward child of the vast milky way galaxy.

Well, come Monday morning, when we do open our eyes, the moon is usually gone with the night and the stars, and we are left with the rays of the sun, and the organic ever changing life of planet Earth.

And so a brand new week begins anew, every Monday.

It carries with it traces of the past, of the night, the stars and the moon, it breathes the light and air of aeons past.

But it is also a blank sheet, unwrapping and eager every Monday morning lay in wait, a week to write and sketch our own peculiar way.

And today, I kiss you good morning, as I handcuff your gorgeous wrist as you lay naked in bed, and in truth, be it Monday or Thursday, that is a perfect good morning :).

if you are interested in reading the complete story of salt article, look no further

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A life of health and fitness is in truth exactly like a game of chess.
There are no unearthly and illogical surprises waiting in the dark of night that will upend and change the actual fabric of the landscape. Your opponent can not cast fiery magic and summon demons from the netherworld to do their bidding

Instead what we have is a beautifully defined field of known and still developing, yet for now, unknown for you and me facts and variables, and the vast amount of personal choices those known, but evolving facts allows us to make.

And at every step of that personal journey, chess and fitness will leave you standing as the sole commander, at a vast field made up of pure facts and deductive knowledge and the cause and consequences that every single choice will give birth to.

That is what you are, a proud commander and general, standing at the precipice of a domain that answers to nothing but pure logic and science, equipped with the free will to make your own decision making at every step of the way.
No strings attached.

You are left in absolute and complete control.

Free to go in any direction.

But like any good chess player will tell you, nothing you ever do will alter reality and the consequences of ignoring facts and logical thinking. You are free to lead any which way you wish, but the landscape of your journey ahead is defined at every turn by absolute reality and purely determined logic.

And so, at the end of the day, you make your own individual choices that will lead you step by step across that vast adventure through a domain of scientific facts and known variables, steps that will by their own design take you towards your own goals, or away from them.

But no matter where you go, that journey and direction, and its outcome is all according to your own choosing and you always know which way every choice will take you.

Gym Diaries. Day 8 811
A day of leg and abs. A good morning walk outdoors, midday leg and abs, and evening MMA, and nothing but healthy food.

-squat x 2 set
-deadlift x 7 set
-squat x 3 set
-hip thrust x 3 set
-lunges x 3 set
-hanging leg raises

That´s my health and fitness day.
How is your day looking?

music of the day
The//Watcher by Lorna Shore


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Gym Diaries. Day 8 805
chest day, morning run outdoors, chest and abs, and evening cardio

Wednesday is the day of Odin, the gallows god with short war hungry temper and an all seeing eye and ravens that welcome battle fallen Vikings when he is not busy making love to earthbound women and causing all sorts of mischief :).

Oden has quite a few name btw, one of them being Woden, and in old English or if you so wish "English-Scandinavian" Wednesday was Wōdnesdæg ‘day of Odin’, and in Dutch Woensdag.

But it is also my chest day :).

20-minute morning run through sparkling snow and paw prints of our ancient forests nightly beasts.
And soonish I will tear up the gym with

- 6 set of heavier bench press ( 8 - 14 rep to failure each set ).
- 3 set of incline bench press
- 3 set of heavy dumbbell pull-over.
- 5 set of Squat ( which normally reside on my leg day for obvious reasons, but I am still doing my 2-day leg split, for a couple month more or so, what can I say, it feels great )
- 3 set of hanging leg raises

And as always I round down my day in the evening with 1 hour of lower impact yoga inspired martial arts stuff.

How about you? - Yoga move of the day
Today nude yoga girl get´s to be your boss unless you already have a busy fitness schedule, pick one pose and go to work.

music of the day ( and what I started my morning with )
Gloom by She must burn

Nude yoga girl

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Gym Diaries. Day 8 804
leg day, morning walk outdoors, legs and abs, and evening cardio

Tuesday started out with a beautiful and sun filled 20-minute walk outdoors through sparkling snow.
And later in the day there will be a different kind of savage beauty waiting for me, in the form of

- 7 set of heavy deadlift ( 8 - 14 rep to failure each set ).
- 3 set of hip thrust with a weighted barbell
- 3 set of stationary lunges to failure.
- 3 set of hanging leg raises

And in the evening 1 hour of low impact yoga inspired martial arts stuff at home while watching something good on the tv, because why not kill two birds with one stone.

How about you? - Yoga move of the day
If you are in need of a fitness challenge or looking for a pick me up suggestion this Tuesday, I am going to boss you around and tell you to spend your next 20 minutes of yoga on the previously mentioned hip thrust.

Forget about the barbell and reps, and do it bodyweight and simply hold each "rep" for as long as you can and shoot those hips as high as you can, and keep in mind, every second you can hold it like that count.

Rest for 30 seconds once done, and repeat until you either reach complete failure for the day or max 20 minutes, whatever comes first ( and if you somehow manage to keep it going for 20 minutes, well I heard that X-men is in need of a new wolverine ( male or female ) just so you know it :P )

Hip thrust - the science of how and why

a Norse View article
or Google+ version

music of the day ( and what I started my morning with )
Possessed by She must burn

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Gym Diaries. Day 8 803
cardio day, sprint interval, abs, and mma

Monday is one of two pure cardio days every single week for me so no weights at all today, but instead I got to enjoy the feeling of getting up out of bed and once my body and mind felt powered up by two black cups of coffee, or perhaps it actually ended up being three :), it was time to go outside in the purdy looking snow and enjoy a Hiit sprint cardio session for 20 minutes to start up my Monday morning.

Which will be followed later today by a lower impact MMA workout for 60 - 90 minutes and 3 set of hanging leg raises for my abs.

How about you? - Yoga move of the day
But, how is your own fitness & health activity looking for the day?.

And if you have absolutely nothing to conquer, or perhaps feel in dire need of a kick in the butt towards a healthier life, how about taking the first few steps towards mastering a low impact yoga pose by making Monday a day dedicated to one or several of the following yoga poses, Plank, Triangle or Camel.

If you are already firmly set in the world of yoga, branch out and pick a completely new and more challenging pose and make the next 20 minutes all about that pose and nothing else.

Divide those 20 minutes in proper sets the same way we lift weights in the gym. And give yourself a minute or two of rest in between each set.

Round it off with 20 minutes of shadow boxing, move, strike, dance, punch like a mutant bumblebee, and while you do that, why not throw in a few set of body weight squats while boxing.

Have fun and kick ass.

music of the day ( and what I started my morning with )
The wicked by She must burn

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Health & Fitness: Daily Milk, Fruit and Vegetable consumption, in relation to your mortality rate and health.
TLDR: High amounts of daily fruit protects and prolong your health and fitness, while daily milk consumption over time cause enough increased oxidative stress and inflammation to actually shorten your lifespan and hurt your health and fitness

Milk is as far as we understand it right now causing real health issues over time that simply do not happen when you consume sugar-free yogurt or no dairy at all.
This Swedish study involved close to 200 000 people, and the accumulated data over several years indicates that a high milk consumption shortens individuals life span through increased oxidative stress and inflammation caused by that daily milk consumption.

music of the day
after death by she must burn

Milk is, obviously loaded with all the same super high-quality nutrition as yoghurt is, so why is it bad for you if yoghurt is beneficial for health and fitness?.
Most of you already know that quite a lot of people are sensitive to lactose.
Tolerating lactose is not even our normal state, but a mutation that happened to primarily develop amongst pagan Europeans in Northern Europe. Due in part because cattle was a popular way to survive and farm in the cold kingdoms of northern Vikings. Providing both nutritionally rich milk and cheese, and meat when needed. But also because of the long and utterly dark winters, northern Europeans ( read, Scandinavians mainly ) needed to get way more efficient at sucking up the little Vitamin D that life in the cold north provided.

So Vikings did what nature do best, evolved through mutation. This, however, was not a bulletproof thing.
And so, what science has started to uncover in the last few years is just how bad the long-term health impact of the milk based lactose is for most of us, and yes, it actually applies no matter if you are lactose intolerant or not.

And so the only real question that remains is what exactly the inflammation that drinking milk causes will do to our health and longevity, with and without the many protective health benefits of fruit and veggies.

The answer:

If you are a girl drinking milk on a daily basis will end up being one big reason contributing to your statistically higher chance of suffering from brittle bones later in life.

And that is because the toxic build up of drinking milk will hurt you more than it seems to hurt men.
But on the other hand, girls reap even more health and fitness benefits from eating high amounts of fruit and greens than we guys do.

But, the verdict is that both men and females suffer from drinking milk.
That includes actually aging biologically speaking quicker, more brittle bones and even premature death.

So the answer is, get your dairy fix from organic and sugar-free yoghurt and forget about milk until the industry has decided to produce milk that is both sustainably produced and healthy to drink.

You could, of course, skip dairy completely, but it really is choke full of amazing carbs and high-quality protein, vitamins, calcium and all sorts of good things that are highly beneficial for your health and fitness, except for the fact that drinking milk will harm you courtesy of those pesky d-galactose thingies that milk comes with that apparently fucks us all up.

So skip the milk, and make sure to get your dairy fix from yoghurt and eat buckets of fruit and greens every day and reap the benefits of a healthier and longer and much more fit life across your entire lifespan.

the complete article

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Science: Air Pollution and dementia. Global pollution and unhealth, and the link to mortality rates for children under 5.
TLDR version: WHO study highlights how 1.7 million children under the age of five die each year from man-made pollution

And so, as I survey not just WHO´s very latest study, published march 2017, but other studies as well, like the one referred in my article about air pollution leading to dementia and other health related issues, my conclusion is that a healthier life is about us all being able to eat healthy food grown from healthy farming and to walk in green and clean cities and countrysides that are free of the toxic fog and water that is already killing millions of people around the world every single year.

A good and clear example of that is the US which has been leading the unsustainable way of life in the last few decades in the western world, and as a result of that, it has had the worst increase in all neurological deaths – men increased that sad metric with 66 percent and women 92 % between the years 1979 and 2010.

Other issues that can be added to the pile of pollution was revealed in a very comprehensive study early march, 2017 by WHO, showing the world how man-made pollution ( in air, soil, and water ) was the sole reason behind more than 1.7 million kids around the globe, under the age of 5 ending up dead, every single year.

So as we reach the end, the conclusion is that littering, pollution, fossil fuel, sanitary issues and unsustainable business practices and life choices by politicians and individual people like you and me is a selfish killer.

Not just in regards to your own health, but choosing to continually make those selfish choices is directly, and indirectly killing other people, and damaging everybody else's health as well. And as such, that old unsustainable and unhealthy way of life have reached its end and we now owe it to ourselves and every other living human being to change course today.

This was, of course, just a short excerpt, read the entire article over at a Norse view.

music of the day
The ghost by Mors Principium Est


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When protein face off with protein, what comes out on top? Red meat, plants, nuts, dairy?. And how will it impact health, strength and even the effects of old age.
The short answer: Enough daily protein is what matters, not the actual protein source

In a recently published study, we got to take a pretty comprehensive look at nearly 3,000 men and women all aged between 19 and 72.
The study participants complete protein intake as well as all the various protein and food sources they consumed was measured.

Including various dairy products, red meat and the healthier fish & chicken and plant-based protein sources. Beyond that, the study also made sure to measure each participants lean muscle mass, their bone density, and individual strength.

The takeaway?.

When looking at the complete study, it was evident ( and to no surprise ) that the less protein you consumed the lower amount of muscle mass and strength. But to the surprise of some, the type of protein each person favored did not have any impact on their strength and musculoskeletal health, and there were no differences based on gender or age group.

So keep active, eat healthy and make sure to include enough protein, and yeah, skip that red meat based protein right away because it provides zero health and fitness benefit for anyone.

music of the day
Reclaim the sun by Mors Principium Est

The older you get, the more important protein becomes.

In other words, this study further reinforces what we already knew.
The older you get, the more important it becomes for you to keep active on a daily basis and to make sure that you get enough protein in your daily food to maintain your health and lean muscle mass.

Naturally sedentary people will lose lean muscle mass not just from the natural aging process but also because of the accumulation of sitting still, and that continuous buildup will never pause, and instead it will ramp up, continuing to take it´s toll the longer you keep up that sedentary daily life.

Two very bad things when put together, and as we age the bad effects of sitting still and eating to little protein get exponentially worse, but by adding protein to your daily food intake beyond the recommended daily levels you actually improve your chances of maintaining a healthy body and strength all through life.

And now we know that the source of the protein seems to matter very little, the amount of it has much more weight when it comes to your own health and fitness.

Something to take note of, both for the healthy and fit individual planning for a fit and fun and long life of health and quality living all until the very end and, of course, the entire health and elderly care field should pay attention to.

Kelsey Mangano, PhD, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, had this to say about the study.

“As long as a person is exceeding the recommended daily allowance for protein, no matter the ( protein ) source in their diet, they can improve their muscle health,”

Considering the negative health and environmental impact of red meat, this also becomes another good study and reason as for why people should make sure to get much more of their protein intake from plants, fruit, nuts, chicken and ecological sugar-free dairy products. And as always, you can find a link to the study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in my website article.

Enjoy the rest of your healthy and fit day :).


Eat plant and sugar-free, organic dairy products, nuts and fruit, chicken ( and non-polluted fish that isnt overfished.. good luck with that btw :P ) but avoid red meat.

website article, including link to the actual study

This post also ties into an older article I made about biological aging speeding up when eating red meat.

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The great exercises: Barbell shoulder press
and a complete shoulder workout video

Hit up the video if you are looking for some neat inspiration for your next shoulder workout. And if you are interested in getting the low down on my complete thoughts on the fabulous shoulder exercise, barbell shoulder press, hit the link and head on over to 'a Norse View' to dive, deep into my complete website article.

If not, enjoy the workout :). And this short summary.

Barbell shoulder press with the barbell in front of your head is my personal shoulder fav. It targets virtually your entire shoulder region, including chest and arms and traps, and as such, it is one of the key compound exercises for a well developed and healthy for life and fit upper body.

Keep the weight to a challenging 8 - 14 rep interval, and work those shoulders hard but strict.

The only reason I do it in front of my head, instead of behind is discomfort, I simply do not like this exercise half as much when I do it behind my neck, but beyond that personal aspect, it is totally the same exercise, well the minuscule and almost non-existent differences are to small to create any real health and strength difference.

So pick what feels more natural for you, but perhaps consider that those super tiny differences do create issues for way more people when doing this barbell exercise behind their head and with zero added benefit.

So generally speaking my vote is, do barbell shoulder press worry free in front of your head.

Targeted muscles

[ "All of shoulders

Primary front.


the outside.

Bonus muscles:


Triceps and traps" ]

website article for my complete thoughts

Music of the day
The//Watcher by Lorna Shore

shoulder workout by Nicole Wilkins.

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