A long time ago before I was born again as a Marine, I worked in a rock quarry. I always tell people this was my real boot camp. As an 18 year old working with a group of hard living red necks, Union men (Teamsters), and convicted felons (In one case a convicted bank robber and murderer), I learned fast about what being an adult, and working in a grown man’s world’s really meant. It was a real experience, and during those two years I learned lessons about life, leadership and work that no doubt helped me greatly throughout my career as an enlisted Marine. Running that circus was just one man. Anthony was the owner, a first generation Italian that was about 6’2, 240 lbs. To give you an idea what he looked like, it was rumored that he could pass a golf ball though his wedding ring. I doubt if he ever held a golf ball in his life, but I didn’t doubt that rumor. He was one of the most physically impressive human beings I’ve ever seen in person. All of the misfits working there respected the hell out of him and feared him to be honest (myself included); even the Teamsters gave him a wide berth.
When I first started working there I didn’t have a car, so as my boss lived right up the road from me, I often rode to work with him. The problem was that he was one of the true old school guys that believed in always being the first one to work. So I had to hump my ass to his house in the dark at about 0430 every morning. The rule was if I was there when he left I could ride with him, but he wasn’t going to wait for me. If I missed him I had to hitchhike to work, imagine that in today’s world? As you might guess, as a kid I often got up at the last minute and ran out the door to get there on time. I never had time to eat, so I would have to work all morning on an empty stomach. Hunger pangs would always catch up with me about halfway to work. One morning I made the mistake of asking my boss if he would stop at a diner so I could grab a quick take out breakfast. “Huh, breakfast?” he barked. “You haven’t done shit yet?” Needless to say, we didn’t stop.
The point here is that as big and strong as my boss was, he never ate at work, nothing but cigars and coffee all day. The fact was most of the other guys didn’t eat much, if at all either. The general attitude was that eating too much when there was work to do, would just slow you down. Keeping up with the fast pace of the quarry machinery meant only eating something on the fly at best. “I’m not paying you eat.” was another one of his common sayings. Looking back while this group of guys never did any “PT”, their wasn’t anyone there you would consider fat, most of them were between 30 and 50 years old, my boss was the oldest in his 50’s (I was by far the youngest). They were all physically tough, hard men, who would routinely worked outside in below zero weather, doing some very tough work 8-10 hours a day, longer during the summer months. Now contrast that with today’s health and fitness advice, you would think you can’t even do office work without eating a perfectly balanced meal or snack every 2-3 hours? Your metabolism will shut down, you’ll have no energy, you’ll gain weight, blah, blah, blah. To that advice I say: “Bullshit.” Like I say in my book Corps Strength; you’re not a baby and don’t need to eat like one. The fact is the multiple meal plan has been popular for many years now, and its results speak for themselves; the United States is at an all time high for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Even before that I was never a fan of this plan. I don’t have time for it, and I don’t think its practical or effective. I rarely eat more than what you would call a “real meal” once a day and that’s at night. During the day I eat just enough to keep me going, and never a big lunch. This isn’t anything new; General Stanley McCrystal’s routine of not eating all day, but still running 7-8 miles everyday is well known, plus more recently the “Warrior Diet” has become popular. Its the same principle I witnessed years ago. So to be productive and help stay in shape just try eating lightly during the day, and have one meal at night after the days work is done. Like I often say, maybe something old is the new answer. Does it work? My old boss recently died at 89 years old and was still working hard almost everyday. Try it. Be good and stay safe.