Category: Fitness

How to Prevent Regaining Lost Weight

There is a sad truth that 97% of dieters regain lost weight plus additional pounds within three years. Statistics vary based on the length of time that a group of people are studied but when they are followed for three years the regain rate is 97%.

I worked for a major weight loss company before coming to David’s Way and a common topic of discussion among employees was the disturbing trend that we witnessed frequently among members who had lost a significant amount of weight, usually at about 100 pounds, who began to recklessly indulge in the same way that had caused them to be morbidly obese. Before they knew what was happening, they were getting dangerously close to the original weight that had caused them to seek help to lose weight in the first place. These people talked about how they felt like they deserved “a break” for all of their hard work, a reward. The problem was that whenever they started eating like they had in the past, they couldn’t or wouldn’t stop. Large quantities of added sugar were always a part of their debauchery and it caused them to have terrible cravings for more. They seemed helpless in the onslaught. The problem was that they had never committed to a new lifestyle, they were conducting themselves as if they were on a “diet”, something temporary. Weight management is a permanent issue. It cannot be addressed through temporary means. Here at David’s Way, we give you the tools to address this issue for the rest of your life at no cost. This website will always be free.

I have been much heavier than I am now and so has David. I know what it’s like to sit in a dark kitchen at 3AM eating peanut butter straight out of the jar until I almost choke to death. I know what it’s like to do this without being hungry. I know what it’s like to cry because I can’t understand why “I’m doing this to myself…”.

I also know what it’s like to finally decide what I want the most, trash food in massive quantities or health, strength and feeling good about my appearance. The night that I made that decision for the last time was overwhelmingly emotional. I cried like a baby because I had just become accountable to myself for my health and well-being for the rest of my life. I knew that it all depended on the choices that I made. Shortly afterward I was blessed to find David’s Way. It has fixed the problem of craving and yo yo dieting for me. I stay full of wholesome, nutritional foods and never have cravings or angst about what I eat. I am never deprived. My only struggle is making sure that I eat enough. I want you to understand, my weight struggle began at the age of four years and continued my entire life until I found David’s Way at the age of sixty. That is why I write on this website. It’s the only thing that has ever worked for me.

Here is a list of tips that will help you maintain your weight loss or keep pushing whenever you plateau.

1- Commit to a lifestyle. Again, you cannot fix a permanent issue with temporary methods. Read our Home Page. It will educate you on David’s Way.

2- “Make your world small.” Cut out the dead wood that causes you to lose your focus on good health. People that hinder your progress need to be removed from your life. If there are some people who cannot be removed then avoid them as much as possible and never listen to their negative input. Continuing to associate with people who are not supportive of your health initiative will cause you to crash and burn.

3- Drop the habits that got you unhealthy. You may say that this is easier said than done. Oh, believe me, I know all about that. Yes, it is hard but not nearly as hard as dying younger than necessary and being sick until you do. I have watched close family members die at their own hand from bad habits. It was not fun or pretty and it was much harder than eating healthy. I have had some really bad habits in my life and I have thought that I could not live without them. The truth of the matter was, I could not live WITH them. The power of a simple decision to commit to health is immeasurable. It’s within your power and ability to make that decision. It all depends on what you want more, the trash food or life.

4-Get active, with your doctor’s permission. As we lose pounds it takes fewer calories to live. Getting a little exercise will boost your calorie burn and make it easier to shed pounds and maintain a loss. Research indicates that 300 minutes of exercise per week is a good goal to lose weight and maintain that loss. (1) The Mayo Clinic advises both strength training and aerobic activity. I’ve got to tell you, the way that I strength train, it becomes aerobic. I also hike and walk but my strength training works me hard.

5- Don’t get discouraged. David has a saying, “Trust the process.” Honestly, we all want instant results but take a long serious look at yourself, your overall health and physical condition. How long did it take to get there? In most cases, it’s been years of neglect and abuse that has brought about the current state of affairs. You cannot fix this quickly. Commit for the long haul knowing that there will be good days and hard days. Sometimes the scale will go up and sometimes it will come down. The day to day fluctuations are not significant. It’s the long term effect that matters. When I first began this program I was soft and overweight. That is not the case now but it’s about two years and a whole lot of weight lifting and meal planning later and I’m still not”there” yet. I will never “get there”. This is the rest of my life and my health and appearance will benefit indefinitely from good nutrition and good workouts.

6- Reassess your habits. Sometimes we get careless. It can be brought about by over confidence or just being busy but it will always show. When you have attained a measure of success and feel good about your progress, make sure to tighten up! We tend to do the opposite and when we do, the pounds will creep back on quickly. Don’t think for a minute that you can go back to binge eating and get away with it. Not only will you feel bad almost immediately, you will most likely spin out of control. Constantly analyze and reorganize your strategy for being in control of your health. Read our articles and try the recipes. Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize!

7- As you lose pounds reassess your caloric needs. You can use the Calorie Counter Pro found on our menu to do this and keep your calories at a level that will allow you to continue to lose weight. If you see the scale going up, quickly reassess and adjust.

8- Find a source of positive input concerning your goals. Just as negative input can hinder you, positive interactions with like minded people can encourage you to be healthy. Notice the people in your environment who are interested in being healthy and gravitate towards them. Read this website. We have over 600 articles and recipes to help you on your journey.

9- Realize that you are the most influential person in your life. Sometimes we give our power away to those who do not have our best interest at heart. Be the Master of your fate. It’s all up to you.

10- Don’t Quit. Regardless of what life throws at you or how discouraged you may get, always remember that “Can’t never could do anything.” If you quit fighting for your health, you will certainly lose it. Get in the battle for the long term benefits of healthy choices and a healthy lifestyle. Create the life that you desire. You have everything that you need, your ability to make a decision. Use it.

(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916

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Foods That Kill Your Testosterone

I quite simply abhor sensationalist headlines, and the one for this piece is indeed one I would normally skip right over without even a glimmer of interest of what I might find should I decide to investigate further. Today was an exception.

My personal Facebook page has been deluged with advertisements from one whom I’m only going to refer to as The Shredded One. I have read the headline: “Eight Foods That Kill Your Testosterone” multiple times a day and despite the fact I keep blocking The Shredded One and his infomercial, it keeps coming back to my feed. Today, I said the hell with it and investigated just what The Shredded One is selling to my fellow man. After watching a short video presentation by The Shredded One, where he proclaimed to have backing for his work from Harvard, I then went on to watch the next 20 minute video he insists you watch where you will sit and listen to a huge amount of nonsense and fear mongering before the sales pitch goes into full effect for you to purchase the information you have just sat through about thirty total minutes of video presentations to receive. My friends, I am going to give you the information this huckster is trying to sell you about these foods for free.

That’s right, no charge to you at all!

For possible legal reasons, I am not using The Shredded Ones name, but I will say that if you are a weight trainer who follows Jeff Cavalier from AthleneX, you will know The Shredded One as the young guy who has directly copied Jeff’s video work to sell as his own creations. It actually may not make any legal difference if I use the guy’s name or not, but I will not since I do not want any legal hassles out of him.

What is testosterone and why do I care how food is impacting mine?

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the human body. It’s mainly produced in men by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It stimulates sperm production as well as a man’s sex drive. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.

Men can experience a range of symptoms if testosterone decreases more than it should. Low testosterone, or low T, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

A normal range is typically 300 to 1,000 ng/dL, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone. (1)

A good many men, especially young strength trainers and body builders completely freak out when they believe their body is not producing a sufficient quantity of testosterone which is why you can find “Low T” clinics in just about every major city across America today. The issue of “Low T” is a topic that can be easily found on every online strength training forum I have ever visited or have been active on, which is several to say the least.

Why the hell do I care about someone selling us a diet based on information about foods that might lower our testosterone levels? Face it fellas, as men we can be kind of dumb sometimes, especially those of us who pursue great strength and Schwarzenegger like body’s. If you do not believe you might be occasionally dumb, turn and ask any of the women in your life what their opinion might be on the topic. Too often, we might just jump on the latest information that might give us a competitive edge while never taking the time to actually research the information being put out. If you do not believe this is a problem, then consider the number of fools who take steroids and SARMS in order to get stronger, consider the idiots who are injection the synthetic oil Synthol into their muscle tissue in order to look more muscular without putting in the work to get there through the hard work that body building requires. And then, think about the crazy ass extreme diets that body builders and wannabe’s subject themselves to. Guys will do all of this stupidity without a care in the world about how they might just be shortening their very lives by doing so. Never mind if ones advice is sound or not, if it is coming from someone who looks to be stronger and better shape, gym rats will jump on it.

Eight foods that allegedly lower testosterone.

In the interest of saving you the expense of your hard earned money, here are the eight foods The Shredded One wants you to avoid in order to not lower your testosterone:

  • Soy and soy based products. Animal and human studies have found that certain compounds in soy-based foods may decrease testosterone levels, but research is still inconclusive. One study in 35 men found that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days resulted in decreased testosterone levels. Soy foods are also high in phytoestrogens, which are plant-based substances that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body by altering hormone levels and potentially reducing testosterone. Though human-based research is limited, one rat study showed that consuming phytoestrogens significantly decreased testosterone levels and prostate weight.However, other research found conflicting results, suggesting that soy-based foods may not have as much of an impact as these isolated soy components. In fact, one large review of 15 studies found that soy foods had no effect on testosterone levels in men. (2)  Consumption of soy and soy products are indeed wonderful for women for their hormonal health. But guys, let’s be realistic, you do not need to completely shun these products being as the research is still inconclusive and if you believe an occasional soy protein shake or other soy product is going to hurt you, you probably have other nutritional issues causing yourself even more harm than a little soy once in a while.
  • Mint. Good lord, Jesus jumped a freight train! Just how much mint would you need to swallow to have an impact on your testosterone? Some studies show that spearmint and peppermint may cause a decrease in testosterone levels, but research has so far focused on the effects on women or animals . High-quality human studies focusing on both genders are needed to assess how mint affects testosterone levels in both men and women. Before you chuck your mint gum out the window, or your mint tea down the drain because it might lower your testosterone, how about finding a conclusive study first. It could be that you might need to drink 50 gallons of mint tea a week to have an impact on you.
  • Licorice root. Ok, first off, we are talking about the root, not the candy. Licorice root is a popular natural remedy in holistic medicine and often used to treat everything from chronic pain to persistent coughing. In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time. In one study, 25 men consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily, which caused a 26% drop in testosterone levels after just one week. (2) Chances are that if you consume 7 grams per day of licorice root, you are doing it for a medicinal purpose and may not be too concerned with a temporary drop in testosterone anyhow. Because people can be kind of dumb, and run wild with little tidbits of information, I will say this; If you come to me and tell me you will not eat licorice candy because it will lower your “T” levels, I might just force feed you enough to get you good and sick, just for being that dumb. If you are using licorice root for relieving stomach discomfort, nausea, stomach pain, and heartburn, you are not going to have your testicles shrink up from a few days use.
  • Vegetable oil. If you are still eating foods fried in vegetable oil, you are likely not too interested in your waist line, nor your health in the first place. One study in 69 men showed that frequently consuming polyunsaturated fats was associated with significantly lower testosterone levels. (2) Would anyone care to wager that these men might also have had an obesity problem from consuming far too much vegetable oil in their fried foods? It is not rocket science that folks who eat a fair amount of fried foods have weight control issues, and men who are over weight or obese have low testosterone levels because of it. If you are disciplined in your dietary habits and exercise, a little vegetable oil is not going to drain your “T” levels.
  • Flaxseed. Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber and various important vitamins and minerals. However, some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body. Flaxseed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be linked to a decrease in testosterone as well. But consider this before discarding your flaxseed, or products which contain flaxseed, is the heart health benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids going to over ride any negative effect derived from the lignan component for you? If you are a strength athlete who might be concerned about your “T” levels, odds are you probably take fish oil pills to aid in keeping inflammation down in your body after hardcore workouts. Let’s use a little common sense when deciding to use, or not to use flaxseed. I would wager that if you consume enough flaxseed to have an impact on your testosterone, you will without a doubt be spending a tremendous amount of time on the toilet evacuating your bowels. 
  • Processed foods. Well duh! Processed foods are full of all kinds of garbage that is supposed to resemble actual food. They are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium and preservatives. Part of the blame here is being laid on trans fats which are also to blame for heart disease, diabetes and inflammation. If you are a disciplined eater, you might get away with eating processed foods and not having your “T” levels impacted much. If you are not disciplined in your dietary habits, you are going to have a plethora of health issues related to obesity at some point anyhow. Fellas, if you are fat and out of shape, your testosterone is going to be lower no matter what the hell you are eating.
  • Alcohol. The evidence isn’t completely clear-cut when it comes to the effects of alcohol on testosterone. In fact, both human and animal studies have had mixed results, with some research indicating that alcohol could actually increase testosterone levels in certain cases. Further research is still needed to understand how different doses of alcohol affect testosterone levels in the general population. (2)
  • Nuts. Nuts are a great source of many important nutrients, including fiber, heart-healthy fats and minerals like folic acid, selenium  and magnesium. However, some studies suggest that certain types of nuts may decrease testosterone levels. Despite some findings, more research is needed to determine how certain types of nuts may impact testosterone levels.Do you really want to shun the health benefits that are known about nuts for vague research that has not been found to be conclusive? I hope not.

Cleaning up your dietary habits along with vigorous exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Before you get caught up in any hype coming from a personal trainer, or internet fitness guru, be sure to do your own homework too. Sometimes, these people are trying so hard to be the best, or first to teach something new to others, they do not do their own due diligence first either.

 

(1) https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/warning-signs

(2) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

 

The Cost of “Comfort”

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Many years ago,  my Grandmother and I were talking about a family  member who really  needed to make some changes for her health, and my Grandmother said, “She’ll never lose weight or quit smoking because she’s  not  going to  do  anything  that  makes  her  uncomfortable.” No truer words have ever been  spoken.  Although my Grandmother is gone now, she was right. That person has continued her unhealthy habits and although she’s much younger than me, she has the health and life of a much older person than I do. She also looks much older. Her body has taken on the stereotypical “old lady” traits of bulging belly and huge, sagging breasts. She stays in the doctor’s  office  a lot and has serious health problems. She takes a lot of medication and still refuses to change her ways. The empty calories, cigarettes, alcohol and lack of fitness have changed her into someone who is barely reminiscent of her former self. She wouldn’t do the hard stuff like controlling her appetite or working out. She wanted comfort. Her medical bills are exorbitant.

Healthy habits can be learned and developed but there will always be a measure of discomfort when we push ourselves beyond our primal needs of a full belly and ease. I do not have any cravings now because I eat David’s Way. When I first quit eating  sugar, however, I  thought I would crack up for a few days. I was undoubtedly addicted. In a few days, however, the misery ended and now, years later, I’m the healthiest  and most fit that I have ever been. Without that struggle to kick sugar, I would not be where I am today. I was uncomfortable for a little while. One of the lessons that I had to learn is that good health and fitness take work and work is merely a skillset that can be learned.

In the case of my relative, she never would give up or limit any of her “comfort” foods. She thought it was just too hard. As a result, the pounds piled on over  the  years and her once beautiful figure became a burden to carry around with about 50 pounds of fat added to her frame. Her back, pelvis and neck gave way to injury and pain and she has had numerous surgeries in an attempt to be pain free. As a result of this ongoing pain issue, she has become addicted to opiates. Opiate addiction causes constipation and her belly is always huge and bloated. The extra weight and disproportionate distribution of her weight has furthur injured her back and the cascade of symptoms continues. It appears that she will live out her life as an opiate addict. Surely it would have been easier to have done without a few goodies. Her smoking has left her with ever worsening emphysema. A single breath comes hard. Was the eating with abandon and the momentary rush of the nicotine really worth the price?

There are methods to change our behaviors that really work but we must be willing to acknowledge that we need and want to change.

1-Clearly state what habits you truly want to change.  Be truthful  and focus on one habit at a time.

2- Analyze your bad behavior. Why are you doing it? At one time I asked myself that question and the sad answer was that I didn’t enjoy anything  else. I changed that.

3-Listen to your inner voice. We usually recognize our bad behaviors. Be truthful with yourself and allow that wisdom to guide you into better habits.

4-Every time you stop a bad behavior, replace it with a good one.

5-Remove triggers from your life. Whether it’s a person, a song, an old picture or simply a memory that you allows to ride roughshod through your brain, just say “NO!!!” Avoid negative triggers and be instantly happier and healthier.

6-Keep an ever upgraded visualization of yourself front and foremost in your mind. We can change the way our brain works and thinks with focus on the positive changes that we are willing to make.

7-Stop self talking yourself in a negative way. We tend to believe our thoughts. Make them good ones.

8- Break your goal down into manageable bits and pieces. When I began strength training I knew that I had to start small. I have lofty goals but they are not being obtained overnight. Build your good habits piece by piece. I had to decide where to lift and then what to buy. I had to commit to excellence in order to be safe. I had to be willing to work towards my goals slowly. I had to be willing  to work hard and then work harder. I had to make the decision to eat right. Making these practical decisions were a building block that had to go into the foundation of my program. If I had not done this first, I could have never successfully trained.

9-Give yourself Grace. Life happens. If you botch a workout or your nutrition one day, keep going. Stay committed and learn from your mistakes.

10-Remember, changing destructive habits takes time. You have to keep repeating the better behavior until the change is made in your brain. It won’t happen overnight but if you remain diligent, it will happen. I never crave sugar anymore. It may take several weeks to change some habits. Be patient. Your discomfort will pass and you will be free of the destructive behavior and free to create a better life.

Lessons of the Iron

When I first got my inspiration to write about continuing to push through a weight loss plateau, I wondered if that was enough to write about and then I realized, that’s only one lesson of the Iron. The weight loss plateau is only one of thousands of difficulties that the Iron helps me to overcome. When I first began my journey with the Iron, my first question was, “How long will this take?” My wise trainer hesitated and kindly responded, “The rest of your life.” Thank you, David, that truth has sustained me and caused me to push when it’s hard, damn hard.

The weight loss plateau responds to the same tactics that the Front Squat responds to, diligence to pursue the goal regardless of everything else. It doesn’t matter if I feel like it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard thing to do. The Goal is everything. The Goal is all. The method that I use to get there doesn’t have to be pretty or comfortable. The truth is, lofty goals are hard fought and harder won. How many people find a hard fight fun or comfortable? Very few, I would imagine, but we all want to win. We all want what we want. Those of us who are willing to persevere when it’s hard are the ones who will be victorious.

When I first began lifting I had some pretty quick “Newbie Gains”. It’s encouraging and it makes you feel like a “Lifter”, but when the progress slows and you’re struggling and fighting for every quarter pound gain, you will know whether or not you really are a Lifter. I found myself doing what a lot of folks do. stopping short on my squat. I was fighting the weight all the way to the floor, trying to control the descent. All that got me was an uncommitted squat, you know, the kind where you look at your video and think, “Wow, I should be lower.” We do that in everything. We take on a difficult task and do it pretty well but don’t go all in. You can do that but you will never get what you came for, in the squat or on the job or on a weight loss program or a relationship or anything else. It’s all or nothing if you want all it’s got to offer. I have learned to give it up to gravity, drop like a rock, don’t fight the process and then…all I have to do is get up. It works for everything, go all in and get what you came for and be strengthened. You will get up stronger.

I know people who hack around, doing all kinds of random resistance training and say that they lift but really don’t have the strength or the appearance of a lifter. Again, they are not committed to pushing and pressing through hard times. When it gets really hard, they do something else. Sometimes they will quit squatting or deadlifting and do the newest, dumbest, trendiest thing that they saw on YouTube or at their gym. God, if I see one more video of a trainer having someone squat on a ball while struggling to hold onto a barbell I think I’ll scream. The first thing that you need to understand is respect for the weight, it is relentless. Don’t do stupid stuff. Have an established program and stick with it through the hard times.At David’s Way we promote the idea, “Live to lift another day.” While lifting can be done safely, it requires forethought and diligence to safety and form. While our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, they are not indestructible. Respect the Iron. Speaking of form…

The day that I finally gave it up to gravity on my Front Squat and let it drop me was one of the happiest days of my life. Believe me, that’s saying a lot. I am 63 and live a full life. I grew up during the pursuit of happiness of the hippie era. I was a little young for some of it but that just made me more determined to experience my share of the good times and I did. I have traveled a bit, I have a son, I work three jobs, I write, I enjoy my dogs and am always up for a laugh. The day that I squatted below parallel on my front squat was still one of the best days of my life. Conquering that fear of descent changed my entire life. I knew that if I could trust myself to handle that weight, I could trust myself to handle anything. It was hard. I have learned to embrace hard things. The Iron has taught me that. Almost every worthy pursuit in life is hard. If we only do easy things, we won’t reach our full potential. The Iron makes me grow, muscle hypertrophy and mind hypertrophy. You gotta love it.

Living David’s Way, eating a low carb, (NOT keto), high protein, nutritionally dense diet and working out hard requires me to eat ENOUGH. Yes, now I am always concerned about eating enough. I have been a size 22. I have been 60 pounds overweight at my heaviest. I always had to worry about eating too much because I ate sugar and other simple carbs that contained too many calories and provided little to no nutrition. I was always hungry and craving something else. I was never satisfied. Now my biggest nutritional concern is making sure to get in all my calories before the day is over. I cannot lift if I don’t eat enough calories. Every bite that I eat is nutritionally dense and I have no cravings and rarely get hungry. I see food as fuel that is created to make me healthy and strong and by eating nutritionally dense foods, it does. I am finally free of the perpetual sadness that a “Dieter” lives with, I am not deprived. I am nourished.

There are many situations that we face in life where we can’t see the end of the journey. In order to reach our destination, it’s mandatory that we just trust the process. We get on the interstate and trust those road signs that tell us how far it is to our destination. We can’t see the destination, but we know it’s there. We trust the interstate system. The journey of The Iron is the same. I know that my destination is there. I know the shape and appearance of the body that I am furiously pursuing. I know the perfect form and ease of motion that awaits me. I know the strength and confidence that this journey brings. I just have to trust the process. The Iron has made good on every promise. It will continue to deliver as long as I trust it. My confidence and self-esteem is formidable. The Iron has made it so. I have made changes in my life that some people find astounding since I began this journey. Instead of “winding down”, I am “winding up”.

I almost never go to the doctor because I don’t remember the last time that I was sick. I take absolutely no medications. The financial impact of this alone is staggering. Good nutrition and The Iron is my first medical insurance. I don’t remember the last time that I needed the other kind. I spend my money on things that I want, not things that I have to have to stay alive. Neither of my parents had good health. My dad developed cardiac issues early in life and my mother was always sick. My good health is not genetic. It is choice.

Our choices are the most powerful tool that we have to create a healthy life. Every moment of every day we make choices. What would happen if you always made the choice for health? I challenge you, try it and see. Before beginning any weight management or exercise program, always have your doctor’s permission.

Fitness Quiz

Can you pass this fitness quiz?

Find out how much you really know about exercise. Some of the answers may surprise you.

  1. There is no such thing as an under active metabolism.                                                                      True___  False___
  2. Exercise is  not of much use for dieters because it burns relatively few calories.                  True___  False___
  3. Exercise can help prevent the body from losing muscle.                                                                True___  False___
  4. Walking one mile burns nearly the same calories as running one mile.                                   True___  False___
  5. Expensive exercise suits are worth the money because the special materials help the body. True___  False___
  6. Climbing stairs requires more energy  per minute than traditional exercises such as swimming and jogging.                                                                                                                                                        True___   False___
  7. Your resting pulse rate will increase as you lose weight and get in better condition.          True___  False___
  8. To get a cardiovascular training effect, an exerciser must achieve the right combination of frequency, intensity, and duration of activity.                                                                                        True___  False___
  9. No exercise can help you lose fat in specific body parts.                                                                      True___  False___
  10. Jogging and cycling are good forms of exercise for people who are trying to lose weight. True___  False___
  11. Using stairs is a convenient and accessible way for many people to increase activity.      True___  False___
  12. American adults are more physically active than they were 200 years ago.                            True___  False___
  13. You should not exercise if you feel hungry because exercise will increase your appetite. True___  False___
  14. When you go on a diet, your body loses fat but not muscle tissue.                                            True___  False___
  15. Small, incremental and consistent exercise can provide great benefits for the dieter.      True___  False___

Answers

  1. False.Even if you have a slow metabolic rate, exercise will promote weight loss for you. In fact, if you incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen, your metabolism will increase as you build lean muscle mass. At a minimum, strength training will help you retain the lean muscle mass you already have which will mitigate your metabolism becoming even more underactive.
  2. False. The cumulative effect of exercise can increase caloric expenditure by several hundred calories per day. One word of caution though.; a mistake made by many is they will underestimate the number of calories they might consume in a day while greatly over rating the number of calories they burn through their exercise. Be accurate in all of your tracking.
  3. True. Exercise maximizes the loss of fat and can help prevent the loss of lean muscle tissue, especially when strength training has been incorporated.
  4. True. How far you go is more important than how fast you go. While this is true, know that your body is going to derive more benefit from getting your heart rate into the aerobic fat burning zone for a mile over the benefit from not doing so. Even if you do not jog or run, do yourself a favor and walk at a brisk enough pace in order to raise your heart rate. This will give a far superior cardiovascular workout that will help immensely in lowering your blood pressure while increasing your lung volume.
  5. False. Rubberized sweat suits and other gimmicks do not provide any benefit and can be dangerous by causing your body to over heat Leave these things alone and dress comfortably. At best, these sweat suits and other gimmicks only cause you to lose water weight which you will immediately put back on once you drink a glass or two of water.
  6. True. You can accumulate significant caloric expenditure over the course of a day if you often use the stairs. Just do not trick yourself into thinking that a few flights of stairs that only took you a couple minutes at best are actually going to give you more physical benefit swimming or jogging for longer duration and distance.
  7. False. Your resting pulse rate will come down as you become more physically fit. This is a sign that your heart has become stronger and can pump more blood with each beat.
  8. True. However, you should not worry about achieving a specific dose of exercise. Focus on increasing your activity level.
  9. True. Increasing caloric expenditure can help reduce body fat in general, but you cannot control the areas where body fat will be lost. There is no such thing as being able to spot reduce body fat. You will first notice reductions in body fat where the accumulations are in the least amount, yet the rate of reduction will be the same throughout your entire body.
  10. True. Both burn a lot of calories quickly, improve overall fitness and make you feel good.
  11. True. Most people have access to stairs, so it’s easy to climb several flights per day. If you do not have stairs, you can always purchase exercise steps relatively cheaply.
  12. False. Motorized transportation and countless labor-saving devices have greatly reduced physical activity on the job and during leisure time.
  13. False. If anything, exercise will temporarily blunt your appetite, although in the long run, more exercise will require more calories. However, exercise seems to help regulate caloric intake to appropriate levels.
  14. False. Caloric restriction causes significant loos of muscle tissue. Weight loss by exercise or by a combination of exercise and diet tends to come mainly from fat stores.
  15. True. Strive to accumulate several activities during the course of each day.

Dealing With My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As many of you might already know, I am a retired military veteran with service spread between two separate branches. I began my military career September 1981 in the US Navy which I was separated from in 1997 during force reductions. Skip ahead to 2008, and I re-enlisted into the Kansas Army Reserve National Guard which I retired from October 2010 after suffering a bad spinal injury on my civilian job.

As a result of too many highly stressful years and events during my military career, I was left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which I will only refer to going forward as PTS while intentionally leaving off the “disorder”. I do not feel I have a disorder with my PTS as what has happened in my brain is actually a natural reaction when one has been overwhelmed with stressful situations.

What is Post Traumatic Stress?

From National Center for PTSD

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your trauma — even things you used to enjoy.

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

From Mayo Clinic:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feeling detached from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Intensity of symptoms

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through. For example, you may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences. Or you may see a report on the news about a sexual assault and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

When to see a doctor

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor or a mental health professional.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you know someone who’s in danger of attempting suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person to keep him or her safe. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

In America, we have a national tragedy which has been unfolding for several years now. This tragedy is an average of 22 veterans per day are ending their own lives through suicide as a direct result of Post Traumatic Stress. I’m not going to get into all the details of all that has transpired for mine to occur, but still want to relate a portion of my experience.

In 1996, during my fourth tour of duty in the Navy, I was experiencing symptoms of PTS, although I had never heard this term used before. I knew I needed some help and reached out despite the fact it was taboo in the military to do so. Learning to embrace the suck, and drive on was the mentality, and heaven forbid you display any types of weakness.  I did begin receiving therapy, and lost my military career about a half a year later. After all, what kind of strong military leader ever needs to see a shrink. Right?

As with many veterans, I suffered in silence. I suffered in silence because I was first and foremost, embarrassed for my weakness,  secondly because I still had a family to support. Life goes on despite our personal issues. It’s not like it’s a merry go round we can just step off of when we tire of the ride.  And lastly, there was little actual available help from the Veterans Administration for Post Traumatic Stress until just a few years ago.

When you have family responsibilities, sometimes you feel you have to put aside your own problems in order to best take care of your loved ones. Getting help gets even tougher when you are viewed as a pillar of strength, the one who others go to for help. You try to put the PTS behind you, but then you always feel as if you are about to burst apart at the seams. Like a simmering pot of water about to boil over.

And despite the low simmering boil, you just do your best to mask it, to keep it contained and hidden from your family and friends. Pressure cookers at least have a vented lid to control the pressure, I’m no pressure cooker.

Who was the weak one?

My PTS has resulted in over 20 years of chronic insomnia and scary dreams. It has resulted in a mind that never shuts down, a mind that is always in deep thought. My mind often wakes me up in the middle of the night in deep thoughts over serious topics. This low simmering boil makes it difficult to deal with individuals who do not have a similar life experience. This low simmering boil makes it easier to say “fuck it” in the work place. After my life experience, who needs lame bullshit out of a boss. Who wants to work around a bunch of weak ass pussies when you are used to working and living with the toughest of the tough. I have had more jobs over the last 22 years than I am proud to admit. I am the one who had a problem, not my bosses or co-workers. I am the one who was not reacting in the best manner to what I perceived as weak foolishness. I had to accept that it is up to me in how I manage to deal with the world around me.

Back around 2000, give or take a year or so, I went to the VA for help. I had no clue as to where to begin so I filed a claim for benefits. As when I was on active duty, stepping out and asking for help was a huge deal for me. I went to the American Legion office at the Leavenworth VA and was treated really nice by the Legion folks managing this office. They were glad to help me file a claim since I had a previous diagnosed condition of major depressive disorder diagnosed before my separation from the Navy.

A few months went by and I finally received an envelope in the mail from the Veterans Administration. They had denied my claim. They said my case was resolved and was closed. It was also implied that my  major depressive disorder was actually nothing more than me being angry at my last command leadership. What a crock of bullshit, but I saw no hope in trying to fight the entrenched bureaucracy. I got on with life, but the insomnia and bad dreams never eased. The low boil irritations never settled. I never learned to quit seeing everything in black and white while never allowing any gray areas into my world. I never learned how to turn the military off in my mind. After all, while we are serving, we are trained to be the best in our jobs, but, we are never trained in how to come back home to normalcy. Our normalcy in the military is not so normal in the civilian world, and this makes adjustments tough. The toughness is made even greater when we no longer have our military brothers and sisters to lean on for support. Often, when veterans leave military service, we might lose our identity. My identity was that of an Aviation Ordnanceman. Once out in the civilian world, some cannot even spell Aviation Ordnanceman, much less give a damn what the hell one is. No one cares about the tremendous amounts of responsibility that begins riding on the shoulders of a young service member, that keeps building over the years until their retirement. Once you are out, you are just another number, another cog in the gears of life. Your military experience and exploits sound like nothing more than tall tails to those who have never experienced the same, so you learn to just be silent about a good amount of your past experiences. What was an important part of the shaping of your life means little to nothing to a lot of folks we veterans encounter once our careers are over.

Help is available at the VA now!

There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist.

Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most effective treatment for PTSD. There are different types of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. Changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE) where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. This will help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. You also go to places or do things that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they remind you of the trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.

Actions you can take for yourself in addition to seeking help.

I only returned to using the VA last spring after suffering a kidney stone. Up to that point, I viewed the VA as a huge bureaucracy that was failing veterans daily. Therefore, over the course of several years, I learned to create some of my own coping mechanisms for Post Traumatic Stress which I believe are helpful, but not a replacement for professional care by a doctor. Please, do not attempt to go it alone when dealing with this issue. Twenty two veterans per day lose this fight when they take their own lives to escape it.

  • Learn to make your world small as best as possible. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in issues beyond your control, or that have no direct impact on your life.
  • Even if you do not believe in God, learn to live by the principles of the Serenity Prayer. Lord, grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change. The courage to change that which I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Practice good nutritional habits. The foods we consume can and will have a direct impact on our health and how we feel each and every day. It is easier to have a better outlook on life when you actually feel healthy instead of suffering from preventable ailments as a result of poor nutritional habits.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. When your body is at its strongest and healthiest, you will feel better about life. Your self esteem is increased as well as your levels of confidence in taking on new challenges. regular exercise has a number of benefits. It can contribute to many positive physical health outcomes, such as improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and greater flexibility and mobility. In addition to these physical health outcomes, regular exercise can also have a positive impact on your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression.

We can all help prevent suicide, but many people don’t know how to support the Veteran or Service member in their life who is going through a difficult time. A simple act of kindness can help someone feel less alone. If you are a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and are feeling suicidal, please reach out for help.

God bless and thank you for reading.

 

Peaceful Inspiration from Nature

My personal favorite physical fitness activity is strength training, while my second favorite, by a fairly narrow margin, is getting out into the great outdoors on a good hike on dirt trails that meander through out our local woodlands here in north eastern Kansas and north western Missouri. Today, on an off day from weight training, I got in a most excellent hike of a little over seven miles on some really great trails at Weston Bend Park in Missouri, about 25 miles north of Kansas City.

This particular trail head begins at a prepared asphalt trail and then meanders through a wooded ravine and then gradually takes you upwards to the top of a high ridge that overlooks the Missouri River Valley and the river itself. This time of year is a beautiful time to hike there as the leaves on the trees are beginning to change to their fall colors before dropping to the ground for the winter months. The falling leaves will lay on the ground and rot before being absorbed into the soil as nutrients for next springs new growth. Much in the same manner as how our own body’s absorb nutrients for growth and cellular repairs when we are at rest.

Getting out on the trail is a relaxing method of vigorous exercise for myself. It is vigorous, as I make it a point to hike at a rate that keeps my heart rate within the aerobic fat burning zone for my body over the entire course of my outing. Yet as my heart rate comes up, I can only feel relaxed in mind, body and soul as my eyes take in the beautiful surrounding sights while my ears pick up on the subtle sounds of nature living all around me. I am but a small microcosm of all the life around me despite the fact I only encountered a couple other hikers out on the trail this morning. Surrounded by life, yet alone where I can bring upon an inner peace to settle my post traumatic stress.

Looking out, over the Mighty Missouri River from atop the ridge.

The hills and ridges in this part of America were cut by glaciers during the last ice age. I look upon these two humongous slabs of stone and wonder if they were one piece many centuries or thousands of years ago. Maybe this huge rock was split by the awe inspiring force of nature when water found it’s way into a small crack, and with each cycle of freezing, the rock split more and more until it was separated enough for a seedling to become a sapling, which eventually grew into a mature tree in the center of these massive stones.

When out hiking in the woods, my mind is freed which allows me to find inspiration to write just about anywhere about anything. You might find it odd, but the inspiration which came from this split rock was the thoughts of how just like water seeping into a small crack, and eventually breaking the rock apart, we do the same thing within our body’s when we eat a diet that is calorie dense and nutritionally poor. Too many simple carbohydrates with cookies, cupcakes and other junk foods cause our pancreas to release floods of insulin as a result of high blood sugar.

The rocks, with their cracks remind me of our cellular structure, which opens up to the entry of blood sugar when signaled by our insulin. Over time, with centuries of thawing and freezing cycles, the rock become fractured until it finally breaks apart. In the same manner, when our blood sugar remains high for too long, and our body’s begin suffering ill effects such as damage to your nerves, blood vessels and internal organs. It can also cause:

  • vaginal and skin infections
  • slow healing cuts and sores
  • loss of vision
  • nerve damage
  • and erectile dysfunction

Whether you realize it or not, our body is just another element of the nature which surrounds us, It is a shame, a sad reality that far too many people never give the health of their own glorious body the same care as they might give to plant or animal life out in the nature.

Some people shake their heads in disbelief when I speak of going out and hiking anywhere from 5 to 10 miles or better, or when I talk about dedicating no less than four days a week to strength train for two hours at a time. Some assume that to follow my way of living, they might have to go to the same physical extremes as myself in order to get the same results.

You do not have to go to my extremes to get fit and healthy, There is no one size fits all exercise regimen. However, you do need to be active at a level that is appropriate for your level of fitness and capabilities. Your activity needs to match your needs and preferences.

You need to know, that while you can lose body fat and be healthy without exercise, you are only selling yourself short in your efforts. Regular activity reduces both insulin levels and insulin resistance. Regular physical fitness activities can and will help with lowering high blood pressure, improve your total blood fat level, elevate your good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). Exercise on a consistent basis will lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, while decreasing your body fat and your risk of insulin related heart disease such as Coronary Artery and Coronary Heart Diseases.

Exercise does not, nor should it ever be a chore to suffer through. You should select an activity that is fun and easy to fit into your busy schedule. Instead of going all out hardcore like, you need to start slow and easy and increase your intensity over time in order to not burn out before you have derived any benefit from your activity.

Consistency is going to be key to your success with any physical fitness activity/program. Again, you will need to select an activity that is fun for you and easy to fit into your schedule in order to make being consistent easier on yourself. You do not require a daily commitment in order to be consistent. You can pick 3 to 5 days a week to exercise and use your off days as time for rest and recovery. These two elements, along with nutrition are as important as the physical activity itself.

By giving yourself a break a few days per week away from exercise, you will be more inclined to stick with it as it is not an every day chore. By taking a few days off you will always be able to attack a new exercise session with a fully rested body which will give you the best results, more bang for your buck if you will.

Again, find an activity that you will enjoy. Never force yourself to do something you really do not want to do as you will come to resent it. By all means, while you need to push yourself to always excel at your activity, never push yourself past your level of endurance as you are likely to come to hate what you are doing. This is not helpful in helping you to achieve your goals.

My advice is to please try to be loving, understanding, firm and compassionate with yourself. In the end, it makes good heart sense on all levels.

Active minds and active bodies never grow old. – Lee Salk

 

Stay Healthy and Fit This Winter!

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I’m always shocked when I  hear someone say that they stay sick all Winter! Why? There are steps that you can take to help yourself  stay healthy this Winter.

Cold temperatures  tend to make us crave carbohydrates due to low light levels affecting our serotonin  levels. Carbohydrates naturally  boost serotonin so when it’s  depleted, strong carb cravings set in, especially if we’re hungry and run down. To offset some of these cravings, eat a good high protein breakfast and have healthy snacks available throughout the day. Cravings are much less intense when we are satiated.

Make sure to get some Omega-3 Fatty Acids in your diet. They tend to help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with cold weather. If you have less pain you are more likely to continue working out and be more fit. Omega-3’s are also known to help with depression which is more common during Winter months. Depression  can curtail your work out which is a shame because working out is known to decrease depression in some people. That is not to say that any of these will prevent or cure major depression. That is a subject to be taken up with your doctor, but these habits can help with simple Winter doldrums.

Mushrooms and spices help boost immunity. Try different  varieties of mushrooms in recipes and reap the benefits of naturally-occurring antibiotic-like substances found in all types of mushrooms. Liven up your regular  recipes with garlic, ginger, cilantro and other tasty spices that can help you sail through Winter with better health. Eat green and orange veggies to help ensure that you’re  getting  a good variety of nutrients.

Stick to your regular  workout schedule. Don’t  let Holidays and family and friends hinder you. Exercise helps balance your hormones and helps keep your body running more smoothly during stressful times. You might want to investigate ways to work out  at home so that the cold weather doesn’t  keep you from working out. There are videos and all kinds of home gym equipment that can help you keep your fitness commitment.

Get your vehicle inspected for safety and winterize your ride. Don’t  get caught out in freezing  weather in a stalled out car. Your life may depend on the safety of your vehicle during cold Winter months.

Be safe about your decorations during the Holidays. Open flames of candles cause many house fires every year. Decorations with lights get very hot if they are left on. Be sure to unplug all Holiday decorations when they are left unattended. Be sure to mind your fireplace and keep it safe. Keep your chimney clean because creosote fires are common in the Winter and they will burn your house to the ground. Make sure that you have CO detectors  and smoke detectors  installed and working with good hot batteries. Never just remove a battery to make the unit quit beeping.

Install handrails and use ice melt on your frozen sidewalks and other walkways. If you fall you may not only stop your fitness  program, you may be in the hospital until Spring!

Wash your hands frequently  and keep them away from your face. Transferring a microbe to your eyes while shopping could give you a preventable upper respiratory infection. Use some common sense.

Get your rest. Sleep helps support your immune system. During the Holidays stress can take an extra toll on your overall health. Replenish with quality rest. If you are a strength trainer, rest is always imperative.

Always stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps flush trouble making bacteria out of your body.

With minimal effort you can navigate this time of year safely and in good health. Take care of yourself and enjoy this Season with no down time and great the Spring with an increased level of health and fitness.

 

 

Remaining Athletic as We Age

Sometimes as our bodies age, it becomes necessary to change up our physical fitness routines and methodologies in order to continue our pursuits in physical fitness. And this is completely fine. I personally have switched up from dead lifting with a straight barbell to dead lifting with a hex bar as not only have I suffered a spinal injury in the past, my age can still play a role in my flexibility and mobility, the lack of which can prevent me from being able to place my body into the optimal position for pulling in excess of 300 pounds off the floor for multiple repetitions. The important message I want to convey is it is far better to modify your physical fitness routine rather than just quitting once it becomes difficult to accomplish. Do not quit because your ego is hurt solely because your form and abilities are no longer that of the twenty somethings you see in your gym. If you are over the age of 50, it is now even more imperative that you keep your body fit and strong. The alternative is to find yourself prematurely living in a nursing home because you might now lack the ability to get yourself on and off the toilet by yourself, or you might find yourself lacking in any of your other basic functions of life.

Cold, Hard Facts of Life as We Age

  • As we get older and grayer, it is a simple fact our body composition will begin to change due to an increase in fat and a decrease in lean muscle mass if you are not proactive in preventing this occurrence from happening in the first place. Beginning at the young age of 30, you can lose about a half a pound of your lean muscle tissue with each passing year. If you are a yo-yo dieter, this loss is going to be even higher. The amount of muscle you lose is going to be dependent on the quality of your nutrition, your level of fitness and activity, and to an extent, on your gender. Every year that you allow yourself to lose lean muscle mass, you are causing your metabolism to become slower and slower. I want to emphasize the words “you are causing” as the choice to eat right and exercise is entirely yours to make.
  • The less muscle you have, the weaker you can count on becoming. When you lose muscle, you are losing power and strength. This might not matter to you today, but imagine how it will feel when you need assistance with your daily functions of life. You have to take your health and fitness serious, and do so early on in life. Your skeletal muscle is going to produce less force, and the mechanical characteristics of your muscles are going to degrade. You will find that once you are over the age of 50, it can take longer for your muscles to respond than they did when you were just a youngster.
  • Your flexibility will become reduced as you age, and with that comes the risk of injuries as your tendons are not as elastic as they once were. Without this elasticity, your muscle tissues are less able to take being stressed.
  • Cardiac function becomes reduced as we age. Your heart can become less able to pump large quantities of blood throughout your body. This problem is compounded when you allow yourself to become over weight or obese. The higher blood pressure will reduce the amount of blood ejected with each heart beat. You may even see a decline in your heart rate due to changes in your electrical conduction system and to hormonal changes. Again, if you have allowed yourself to become over weight or obese, whether you want to admit it or not, you have made the poor life choices which has resulted into these health issues.
  • Your metabolism is going to decrease as you age. Metabolically, aerobic enzymes appear to decline, your aerobic capacity will be reduced about 10% per decade after the age of 25. That is, unless you are proactive in preventing these occurrences through proper nutrition and exercise.

You Can Remedy These Health Issues Yourself

You do not have to suffer the consequences of reduced muscle mass nor the subsequent loss of function if you make intelligent choices in regards to living your life. Many, if not most of the issues we face as we age in our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems are a direct result of poor nutrition and laziness.

  • The loss of lean muscle mass can be minimized or prevented by cardiovascular and or strength training.
  • By  maintaining a regular exercise regimen while eating a wholesome and healthy diet, where you are controlling the intake of energy (calories) older athletes can maintain the same levels of body fat as they had when they were much younger. (I maintain at 9% body fat at 56 years old) Not only is regular exercise going to help in maintaining your lean muscle mass, it is going to help keep your body fat percentage down at healthy levels. By doing this you will mitigate the premature occurrence of age related ailments.
  • It is a myth that muscle mass and strength cannot be built on as we age. It is entirely possible to build strength and muscle over the age of 50, I’m still training with heavy weights at 56 years old, and still going strong. No matter your age, you will benefit by beginning a strength training program of some sort. It does not have to be heavy, nor does it require special equipment or expensive gym memberships. Nope, you can do all that you require to strengthen your body simply through a few body weight exercises, rather calisthenics.

The bottom line is to eat right and get your body moving at least 3 to 4 times per week with strength or cardiovascular exercise. Regular exercise has been proven to slow the hands of Father Time.

Ladies, Forget About Getting Bulky from Strength Training

Resistance training with weights is the best form of exercise for anyone, male or female. Yet far too often women will shy away from it. Besides maybe a lack of knowledge on how to proceed with a good strength training program, many women shun it because they are afraid of getting too bulky. News flash; You will never get bulky from lifting weights on accident. Weight training takes a considerable amount of work even for men to get bulky. The female body does not produce the testosterone to do so. If you think you will become bulky, lose your femininity, and look like a freak, it will be only because at some point you made the conscious decision to become a She-Hulk. It will never just happen. But what will happen is you will become mentally stronger as well as physically. Your self esteem and sense of self worth will increase as you begin to enjoy your new look. Ladies, strength training will improve your life in countless ways as every time you get under the iron, you will feel more and more formidable. It is guaranteed to make you better across the full spectrum of your life.

Why care about muscles?

When it comes to weight loss, many of you on on too large a caloric deficit and  lose muscle along with the fat you are losing.

This is not a good thing!

It will only serve to keep you at a high body fat percentage even if you have hit your goal weight. The loss of muscle will slow your metabolism and also make you weaker.

This is a fact.

And then, if you regain the weight you have lost without also replacing the lost muscle, your body fat will only be at a higher percentage than before and therefore your metabolism will be slowed even more. And when you yo-yo diet, you are only compounding the problem with each and every up and down cycle you take your body through this insanity. Any time you lose your lean muscle mass, you are only making yourself physically weaker. At some point there could be severe consequences from not maintaining lean muscle mass.

We all know that our muscles give us the power to lift heavy objects, whether it is a bag full of groceries or a crying baby we need to comfort. They give us the power to stroll around the zoo with our children and or grandchildren, and the ability to accomplish a multitude of fun activities. None of these activities require us to be star athletes, but they do require a modicum of strength and endurance to take part in. You need, and should desire that your muscles have the ability to accomplish the basic functions of life and then some. Yet many, lose these simple abilities that most of us took for granted before our nation’s obesity problem became an epidemic. Resistance training is of great importance for a healthy body, while hormones are directly responsible for a large portion of your metabolism, your muscles ramp up your ability to burn off unhealthy and undesirable fat, your muscles will expedite the burning of calories while at work or when at rest.

Our body’s lean muscle mass give us the metabolic ability to more efficiently burn calories every time we move. This is true whether we are under the iron, swimming in a pool, or even just getting up and pushing a vacuum cleaner around our living room. Our lean muscle is constantly burning calories, therefore, the more you have, the more calories you will burn even at rest. A simple factoid for you; Our muscles will burn 40 to 120 calories a day just to sustain it’s existence, while fat will only feed on 1 to 3 calories per day. That is a pretty stark contrast between the two components of our body’s. Just by adding about 16 ounces of lean muscle mass to your body  , about enough to fill a soda pop bottle, your metabolism will continue to increase your ability to burn off body fat.

Ladies, when you think of strength training, no matter the form in mind, forget the idea of becoming the female equivalent to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not going to happen without a lot of hours expended in the gym, and then only with the help of illegal steroids. You are not going to bulk up, but your muscles will appear fuller as your body fat decreases. This will make you look as healthy as you will feel with your newfound body.

By focusing on compound muscle groups in your workouts, and following the right workout plan, you will firm up and stimulate the amount of growth your body requires to burn more calories each day. The best thing is, you do not need expensive equipment or gym memberships in order to realize a difference. You can accomplish everything you need from the comfort of your own home while using your own body weight to get there. If you have questions about strength training, Brenda Sue would be happy to answer them. I began training her in free weights a year and a half ago. When she began, she could only dead lift about 50 pounds. She recently dead lifted 215 pounds. And she has not become a bulky She-Hulk, nor has she lost any of her femininity in the process. Despite me now referring to her as the “Beast of Bama”, she is still a proud and petite Southern Belle in all aspects of how she lives and conducts her life.