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Ask HN: Where do you go for learning about health and well-being?
178 points by stevofolife on Sept 5, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments

I've been focusing, and doing, this wellness and exercise thing lately. Just reading for the last several years.

Best article, which led me to action, is this http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/everything-you-know-abou... together with the book The Power of Full Engagement https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743226755/ref=as_li_tl?ie...

And here are the guys I read regularly (on and off, actually):

Scott Sonnon: http://www.rmaxinternational.com/flowcoach/

Pavel Tsatsouline: http://www.strongfirst.com

Phil Maffetone: https://philmaffetone.com

the guys at GMB: https://gmb.io

and Leo Babauta: http://zenhabits.net

I really like GMB's approach to fitness (emphasis on movement and skill over reps and kilograms lifted) and have paid for a number of their programs. They know what they're talking about, and are incredibly humble about it too. Highly recommended.

I remember reading and really liking that Men's Journal article you referenced. They've changed it since the original (2012), as it included tips from Kevin Brown on how to stay injury free that are really simple and quite excellent.

Here's the graphic that used to be included that some might find useful http://i.imgur.com/qBT7QUX.jpg

The UK's NHS website is an excellent, reputable source of health information. It may not be the most attractive looking site, but it has a goldmine of info. There's information on ailments and conditions, treatments and general health advice.

Importantly, the information is written and vetted by qualified medical professionals.


The NHS also provides great summaries of health-related stories that are (often poorly) reported in the news.


I second that site. I've reached the point where I no longer bother to read about health news in other general news media outlets.

I'm posting this from Singapore, and I sorely wish the local Government Ministry of Health runs something similar.

http://beta.nhs.uk - not rolled out yet.

Finding about nutrition and health online is worse than searching for PHP sample code that doesn't suck.

There's a lot of opinions, some based on facts and research, some based on empirical studies and some based on pure misinterpretation of actual science. You are better of paying a visit to a good nutritionist who can provide you with a tailored diet to suit your body and lifestyle.

(In the UK) "Nutritionist" is not a protected term, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.

Look for a "dietitian" as this is a protected term.

>You are better of paying a visit to a good nutritionist who can provide you with a tailored diet to suit your body and lifestyle

Unless you have a medical condition that requires a special diet, what exactly is a nutritionist going to tell you that you can't read online? Eating well isn't rocket science. I'd love to see an example of what such a tailored diet would look like.

> what exactly is a nutritionist going to tell you that you can't read online?

Which things to read online?

If u know biochemistry is clear dat healthy diet is anything but fried foods(plugs arteries with oxidated fats, other cancerous toxics from high tempreratres of oil) and refined carbs(spikes insulin, which is not healthy).

Outside that there is personal staff like obviously if u not tolera lactose or gluten avoid that.

Here's another good way to tell, "What're your thoughts on a vegan diet?" Anyone with a fervid opinion on this should be ignored, full stop.

There are many things about health and well-being that are specific to the person. You can find all sorts of ideas (many based loosely on science, others anecdotal) from just about anywhere - books, blogs, youtube, etc.

Really though, you have to find what works for you personally. Take any idea - let's say you decide that you want to know if eating less red meat is good for you. You can read a hundred studies that have conflicting results. Or you can try eating less or none of it yourself and see how you feel. You feel great? Awesome. Now you know! You don't feel any different? Again, that's awesome. Now you know you need to eat a little more red meat.

One example for me was pull-ups (the exercise). I always assumed you had to do them overhand with a medium-wide grip. They never "clicked" with me and I could never feel good doing them. After 10+ years of doing them the same way, I finally saw a video where a guy explained how different people might need to use different grip styles to feel it best. I tried several of the different grips and found what works for me. No study or book would be able to tell me which grip style I should use. It was just something I had to learn for myself.

For something more science-based, check out examine.com[1]. Anytime I read about a supplement or chemical that's supposed to be amazing, I go read examine.com and find out what the studies say.

[1] http://examine.com/supplements/

>There are many things about health and well-being that are specific to the person.

Yes this is true, and important.

What is also true is that many people use individuality as an excuse. They can't exercise a certain way, or a certain diet doesn't sit well with them. I hear this daily: "You go to the gym every day? You go whole days with no carbs (or sometimes no food)?" In reality, diet and exercise is hard work (and not fun for most people), and at the end of the day most people aren't willing to put in the effort.

This is why the world is littered with fitness shortcut scams. But you'll find the fittest people have taken no shortcuts.

I think places like HN tend to attract people who like to collect the data first. But we need to worry less about perfect and just get busy getting results. Like you're building software.

> One example for me was pull-ups (the exercise). I always assumed you had to do them overhand with a medium-wide grip. They never "clicked" with me and I could never feel good doing them.

This is great thing to point out in general. A lot of advice and widely held "knowledge" is well-meaning but can either be wrong or too strict.

Another one I've come across is people thinking there's no point in trying start running/jogging if they'll have walk most of the way...

As far as choosing the right grip goes I remember hearing something about it in a Tim Ferriss podcast with Coach Sommer. Can't recall what it was exactly, sorry.

You should check it out, two podcasts with Sommer are pretty lengthy but full of nice, actionable tidbits (not that I've used them since I don't remember what they were ;P).

>Really though, you have to find what works for you personally. Take any idea - let's say you decide that you want to know if smoking is good for you. You can read a hundred studies that have conflicting results. Or you can try smoking yourself and see how you feel. You feel great? Awesome. Now you know! You don't feel any different? Again, that's awesome. Now you know you need to start smoking a little more!

While I agree with your point to some extent, I feel like the logic you used to arrive there is shaky at best. This is the whole reason scientific studies exist. Smoking makes you feel good in the present but has some disastrous consequences in the near and long term future.

this one should be much higher on the list. hope more people will upvote it

It would be helpful if you (or your parent comment) described _why_ it "should be much higher on the list", what's better about it compared to the many other resources shared here.

I am a big fan of the health & fitness guide that's in stickies on 4chan.org/fit and I'm serious :) Direct link:


Lots of good stuff on nutrition and training without BS.

Yeah, and /r/fitness is a pretty solid resource, although you have to check your facts.

Agreed. I have sent this link to a lot of people.

Using the paleo diet/lifestyle as my true north has led to the nitty-gritty knowledge and resources I need to learn about being healthy, mainly: cooking ability, mindfulness/meditation, doing more with less (more whole foods, less ingredients), using exercise to accomplish goals other than “look good naked”. I get this info mostly from books, podcasts and pubmed, very rarely from blogs since the “truths” you find in these sources tend to have a half-life of a few months…

Many would call paleo and mindfulness fads too. A good way to check is if the government has something to say about it. They move so slowly and are so cautious in their advice that it's hard for them to pick up short lived fads. They also do more thorough research than finding a couple of unreproduced papers that support something. Nutrition is very hard. We hardly know anything and I think that's why people like to cling to fads. A bit like we clung to religion when we hardly knew anything about nature and we cling to alternative medicines when we hardly know anything about medicine.



You provided a link to the article about CBT and depression. But meditation is a gym for the brain, not a cure for every serious issue like depression.

Fads usually aren't visible on fMRI results.



The author adds an opinion that it could be a fad. ctrl-F for "mindfulness". "gym for the brain"? Like those brain training games that were shown to be ineffective? Analogies aren't science.

I think mindfulness is a little more than a fad. However, it is in many cases treated as a fad, just like there are lots of fad diets and nutrition-related info.

One place to look for less fad-like treatment of mindfulness is the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School, or some of the books by people associated with it, like Jon Kabat-Zinn: http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/

Also, of course, there are loads of Buddhist-based sources for mindfulness, ancient religion that has always been based on mindfulness, and which can hardly be called a "fad". Some Buddhist-related sources are fad-like. Many are not.

There's an issue with the current rise of popularity of the practice. Many generally non-mindful entities and persons are trying to cash out on the concept and they are adding a lot of new-agy noise.

I've discovered helpful practices through some of these new-agey sources. I think as long as the consumers don't get trapped under dogma, hero-worship or financial burdens and do their own due-diligence then I'm fine with these new players.

It may not be "right" that they are raking in the money for centuries-old practices but that's the way it is with capitalism.

Same here but I spent a lot of time to understand where to look. Thanks to Headspace, it made things much easier.

I'm not against earning money for teaching and the world needs more mindful people anyway. The problem for me is that most of these sources are very egocentric and focused on personal well-being when the centuries-old practices are deeply philosophical and also teach compassion and loving kindness.

I'm not sure popularization of the practice of mindfulness is anything very new. E.g., Alan Watts made a big name for himself doing this back in 1950's and before, and est was a big thing in the 1970's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhard_Seminars_Training ) It's been around as a major cultural thing since then and before.

In any case, it seems to me that even more "scientific" subjects, like, say diet or exercise science, have similar levels of "faddiness". It can be hard to separate the legitimate from the merely titillating.

> Like those brain training games that were shown to be ineffective? Analogies aren't science.

Please take some time to read about the processes going during meditation in the consciousness because it's incomparable to "brain training games". There's enough scientific evidence at this point, the wiki link above is a good place to start.

For general info, I go to https://nutritionfacts.org and http://www.youtube.com/user/thehealthcaretriage. I have a couple of medical textbooks at home to get a deeper understanding of some issues. Beyond these, when I have specific problems, my methods vary.

I can't recomment nutritionfacts.org enough. It's a nice break from all the "bro-science" that usually get picked up by the media.

I really like Marks Daily Apple [1]. He is big on Paleo and some may find him controversial/extreme. But he does back what he says up with a lot of science (maybe pseudo-science, I'm not sure).

Anyway following his advice has really helped me.


- If it fits your macros / basic calorie consciousness that let's you hold a healthy weight.

- Some form of exercise that you do regularly

- Don't drink much

- Don't smoke

- sleep

- Have meaningful relationships

This will get you most of the way towards good health.

I agree this simple advice will get you very far, and from then imo, you can pick specific goals you want to work on, flexibility, strength, etc.

I would say out of all the points listed, sleep is the most important and the one where all health habits will follow from.

www.leangains.com is a great resource for a simple intermittent fasting protocol. Martin seems to really do his research, and he's in incredible shape which gives credibility to his method.

As for where I go personally for learning about health, I have found personally, it's better to just try something, see how you feel and refine it.

(unless you have a chronic parasitic infection that western medicine can't detect with urine and stool samples. Then you need to try the 'weird' stuff in traditional chinese medicine.)

Agreed, and to expand on your last bullet point, since someone might not know where to start: God, family and community.

The meaningfulness part comes with living for someone other than yourself, living in service.

I personally prefer Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


They base their recommendations on real scientific articles.

Upd: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you...

4hourworkweek podcast, he has some interesting guests. former us national gymnastics coach, people that competed in ultramarathons, scientist who created drugs similar to steroids.

youtube for workout: athlean-x

joe rogan youtube channel <powerfuljre>, had on Rhonda Patrick (phd in biomedical science) for a few eps (3-4 hr each) talking about vitamins

if you buy vitamins you have to research the specific ingredient (cheap forms of magnesium, calcium, etc that don't get absorbed).

This is a very open-ended question. I think you need to let us know you current state.

If you're just starting out, getting a book on working out and eating healthy will get you 80% of the result for 20% the effort.

If you're already experienced, again it depends. Some people have already been mentioned like Tim Ferriss, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Peter Attia, Dom D'Angostino and many more.

However you need to have the critical thinking to weed out what and how you could safely try some new theory. (say Intermittent Fasting or whatever new theory)

And I think after some time/experience you can go and pick up papers and judge them for yourself.

Pubmed to see if there are any scientific studies done. There is a lot of crap information on health and well-being on the internet, I prefer to have the information backed up by science.

FWIW, a common criticism of exercise and nutrition science is that they're not actually science and that most published studies in these areas are designed in a way that prevents them from actually testing the stated hypothesis.

Yes but there are enough claims out there you need to get rid of false positives. And some stuff is testable. Intermittent fasting for example has rat studies backing up the claims to an extent - that it extends lifespan and other aspects of health. I haven't seen anything comparable for paleo diet (comparable experiments don't really exist). The theory is plausable, but I have yet to see evidence that its actually beneficial. For that reason I would be more interested a fasting diet rather than a paleo one.

I haven't stayed up to date on the nutrition science stuff much, but there are studies showing that low carb, high fat diets (paleo, essentially) are better than the opposite. Here's a researcher presenting the results of their study as well as discussing several others[1]. Their study had 311 subjects, but most of the other studies the researcher mentions have extremely small sample sizes (one of the common problems with many nutritional science studies).

Exercise science is really kind of a joke, though. The Starting Starting Strength community does an annual review of the year's important exercise science studies. Almost every single one is not capable of actually testing the stated hypothesis. Here's the review from 2012, if you're interested[2].

[1]: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eREuZEdMAVo [2]: http://startingstrength.com/contentfiles/strength_science_20...

If you like the MOOC format, then there are a bunch of free online courses around health/nutrition [1] and mindfulness [2].

[1] https://www.class-central.com/subject/nutrition-and-wellness

[2] https://www.class-central.com/search?q=mindfulness

Somehow, it seems to me that these topics are in constant flux, and something 'radical and latest' is discovered quite often which makes you scamper to upgrade. (I guess if one is a web front end developer, this feels like home.) I also dislike reading pop-health and taking life advice from so called experts in general, so I stopped reading these topics many years back. I follow a simple healthy balanced diet, which is more common sense than carefully scientifically crafted, remain stress free as much as possible, do moderate exercise regularly (not bodybuilding etc) and get enough sleep. Every now and then I look up some nutritional information but that's it. As they say, don't fix it if it ain't broke.

As for learning about health issues like diseases etc, I usually read reputable sources like mayo clinic or www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or www.nhs.uk. One of these is bound to answer my queries.

> do moderate exercise regularly (not bodybuilding etc)

Care to elaborate on this? Why no bodybuilding?

I think the point is establishing a baseline for "what do I need to do to be healthy?". Bodybuilding and powerlifting are great sports/hobbies/personal improvement/whatever you want to call it, but I wouldn't call them strictly necessary to be healthy.

I do personally lift, specifically with the goal of getting stronger, but it's definitely going above and beyond what's necessary to be healthy.

Exactly what tonyarkles said. I do lift, however its a quick 30 min compound lifts twice a week and not an obsessive bodybuilding type.

Wikipedia and the fitness subreddits' sidebars.

Diet is all about focusing on nutrient density and hitting all your micronutrient targets (tracked with sites like Cronometer.com). (Rhonda Patrick is a useful resource in this realm, as is Examine.com)

The Science of Ultra podcast. Run by Shawn Bearden, a runner and professor of physiology, he has scientists on to talk about high altitude physiology, hydration, effective calorie absorption, and a host of other fascinating subjects.

I am not an ultra runner or even a marathoner, I'm a wannabe alpinist. But the podcast is incredibly informative for anyone who is going to be under movement for more than 4 hours. I have learned more that has helped me in training and on hikes and climbs from this podcast than any other single resource.


Many of the "Ask HN" threads usually hint at work/life balance as well as ways to stay physically fit. Aside from that I've tried to find hobbies to stay active and become interested in. I suppose it can be broken down into fitness and diet (for my purposes) and it can be broken down much further from there.

Care to be a little more specific? I enjoy frequenting /r/fitness and /r/running for their FAQ information which is helpful as well.

Getting into a routine is a big thing (and a thing I struggle with sometimes) with improving health and well-being (imo).

> Getting into a routine is a big thing (and a thing I struggle with sometimes) with improving health and well-being (imo).

I will also add -- at the risk of stating the obvious -- having a community (real or virtual) of people who share like priorities helps as well. It's a lot harder to skip your daily bike ride if you're riding with other people, et cetera.

(An anecdote from my personal life: I have a "race car" and I also race bicycles. The apparent health of the two communities diverges dramatically with age -- so much so that as a relatively young person, I remind myself that I should work extra hard to remain a part of one community, even if it's at the expense of the other...)

Get a personal trainer to learn how to keep proper form while exercising and eat right to boost your metabolism. That's how I started 3 years ago now and the trainer was worth every penny.

Diet: I find forums at bodybuilding.com have a lot of info some times. If you are a guy, anabolicmen.com .

Well being is the job moral philosophy: https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Ethics-Russ-Shafer-Landa...

I've found http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ to be one of the better resources online. I signed up for the certification and it's way more advance than what you see everyone else talking about. It explains the basics of how the body actually digests foods then goes into the day to day stuff.

One of the most important things ive leatned is do one thing one small step at a time.

You want all of these to be a habit. It's a journey.

Just subscribe to some health related magazine. You'll learn a lot regarding generic well being, pretty standard things. Then you can choose were and when to dig for more (nutrition, exercise, relaxing, etc.)

You can find tons of blogs and articles in health magazine, but I think they are mostly a loss of time. I'd rather try to find information provided by health professionals. You can even ask your MD.

Unfortunately, between today and 3 years ago, Google search is returning the assuming of a meat based diet. I could easily find correlations between food and nutrients evaluating how my body would function. Today, it's harder to find good information on the topic. Now it's just noise or my googling ability has failed me.

Grains and fermented food for breakfast. Snack throughout the day on high fat veggies/lean meats/nuts. Dark leafy greens and protein for dinner. Eat at least two servings of fruit a day. Above all, if you have a craving, eat it, but reduce the quantity.


Reddit. These subreddits are my primary source of guidance: /r/science - /r/Paleo - /r/Fitness - /r/GetMotivated - /r/Running


Well written, thorough, and most of all... actually evidence based!

A lot of health related problems come down to dysbiosis (imbalance of gut flora). It helps to read up on those. Also look up FMTs and raw milk diet.

https://chriskresser.com/ and Mark's Daily Apple

Dr. Rhonda Patrick. she has a website and podcast

http://www.dietdoctor.com/ is worth reading

How has no one mentioned https://www.examine.com ?

Question is too broad. Health can be exercise, diet, meditation, etc.

The same place I go for learning about anything: Wikipedia

Follow Marion Nestle @marionnestle on Twitter.

Amazon.com, kindle books.

For fields outside of computing, the best knowledge is still mostly stuck in book form.

Remote rural areas.

stay active and don't eat bad food.

Is there more to it?

HN :)


Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

I am in the gym two days a week running a push/pull split. The two days are picked uniformly at random each week to 'confuse' the muscles and stimulate continued growth.

More importantly, every Sunday morning I attend Mass at my local Roman Catholic church. The body and spirit both require regular attention.

I bitch to my son that I need specific info for a specific issue, an hour later I have an email. Then I often blog about it to collate the info.

(If you were hoping for links to sites so you can see it yourself, perhaps you should say that.)

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