The Habits of Extremely Extreme People


Whether it's eating or not eating, giving up shoes for good or spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on shoes, extreme people do extreme things. You'll be surprised what people get up to when they take things to their logical conclusion. Here are seven extreme habits of extremely extreme people. (See also: Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists)

Extreme Eating: Olympians

No, we're not talking about guys who eat 85 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Instead, we're talking about how Olympians eat. Michael Phelps famously ate 12,000 calories every day the year that he made history at the Olympics. This extreme eating is, of course, to accommodate the extreme energy expenditure that goes into training for the Olympics, which is arguably a more grueling process than actually competing.

Olympians often plan their training out years in advance and may train for as many as 24 hours in a week. Often, Olympians limit their caloric intake right before training to stay lean and mean. The good news? Being an Olympian also means extreme sleeping — they try to get 10 hours a night.

Extreme Training: Tabatas

On the other hand, if you want to get the most bang for your buck without spending 24 hours a week in the gym, there's Tabatas. The Tabata Regimen is a form of high-intensity interval training where you exercise as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and complete eight circuits thereof. Exercising for 20 seconds at a time might not sound that difficult, but by the time you get to your fourth set or so, you're really going to start feeling it.

This short-but-intense exercise routine is proven to increase anaerobic capacity by 28% and aerobic power by 15%. Other benefits include a 24% increase in insulin sensitivity. This makes it ideal for extremely extreme people without a lot of time on their hands to exercise.

Extreme Not-Eating

You think you're hungry? Talk to Rob Rhinehart, the inventor of Soylent. Named after the '70s science fiction film Soylent Green, this is a substance that eliminates the need for traditional food. At the time of his first interview, Rhinehart had gone six weeks without eating any food whatsoever. Tim Ferriss even tried living off Soylent for a couple weeks.

At present time, Rob Rhinehart hasn't eaten real food in over two years. He claims to be healthier, but the jury is out on the long-term effects. Still, he's saving time and money by giving up real food.

Extreme Barefeet

You've heard of toe shoes. Maybe you're even familiar with barefoot running. Even the most committed barefoot-running paleo warrior has nothing on this guy (warning: if you think feet are gross, definitely don't click that link), who hasn't worn shoes in eight years. Cody Lundin, formerly of Dual Survival is another man who has eschewed wearing shoes for years. But why?

As it turns out, there are a lot of benefits to walking around barefoot.

  • As unbelievable as it sounds, there are studies indicating that collecting electrons from the earth through your bare feet is good for you. Seriously.
  • You get better balance when you're practiced at walking barefoot.
  • You improve both the overall strength and health of your feet by walking barefoot.
  • Posture and circulation are better among people who walk barefoot regularly.

You might not want to give up shoes for good, but talking a walk barefoot isn't just good for your feet — it also feels amazing.

Extreme Money-Making

Imagine having a job where you're responsible for millions and billions of dollars of other people's money every day. What's more, enough of a mistake could collapse the world economy. You're getting some idea of why currency trading is perhaps the world's most extreme job. Because markets are open at different times, you're virtually always on the job. When you're not actively on the job, you're researching world markets to make sure you're abreast of recent developments. When you're not researching or trading, you're hunting for new clients.

The upside? If you're really good at it (most people aren't — most forex traders lose money) you'll write your ticket into early retirement and the one percent.

Extreme Compulsive Spending

Everyone has spent more than they should at one point or another. However, some people take compulsive spending — and the debt that comes with it — to all new levels. For example:

  • A Michigan couple racked up $92,000 in debt on 17 different credit cards between 1992 and 2005. They eventually paid off their balance in full.
  • This couple had $120,000 in credit card debt that they paid off in almost $3,000 payments every month.
  • While not a spendaholic, Walter Cavanaugh has almost 1,500 credit cards with a total available credit line of $1.7 million. His wallet weighs 38 pounds and contains just half of his plastic.
  • Imelda Marcos is a one-woman cautionary tale on compulsive spending, with her shoe collection at 3,000 strong.

So the next time you look at your bank statement, remember that some people are in a lot deeper than you are — and managed to pay it all off.

Extreme Travel Miles

Here's one extreme compulsive habit that will make you jealous: travel. Mike Spencer Brown has been everywhere, including being the first tourist to do Mogadishu. He spent 23 years on the road and even backpacked his way through Iraq during the second Iraq War.

Brown travels light and focuses more on experiencing the people where he's traveling than seeing sights and spending money.

What are your extreme habits? Tell us about them in the comments.

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