Category: 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.

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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.

10 Hacks to Accomplish Your Goals

Do you want to succeed in life or just complain about how hard and unfair life is? There are people who think that complaining justifies failure. It doesn’t. If you use all that energy that you put into complaining about the unfairness of life, into working towards your goals, you will win.

1-Make a plan and work it in a relaxed controlled manner. Even if your goal is lofty and attaining it is extremely difficult, take control. Dig in. Learn everything you can about your goal and be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. Get committed.

2-Analyze your weaknesses and strengths. If you can’t resist M&M’s, for Heaven’s sake, don’t have them in your house! That’s a no-brainer. If you are an avid swimmer and thoroughly enjoy that then you might want to choose that as your main fitness activity. If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. Know yourself and work with what you’ve got.

3-Learn everything there is to know about your goal. I am a strength trainer. The worst possible thing that I can do is to assume that I know everything that I need to know about this topic. Not only would I stop progressing towards my goal, I could get hurt. At first glance, I thought that lifting weights was simply picking it up and putting it down. That is only a small part of this lifestyle. I ask questions and discuss lifting. I also study all the time, literally. I analyze my nutrition by keeping meticulous records of what I eat and lift. That way I know how different foods, schedules, hydration. rest and state of mind affect my performance. Just as I study to write for you, I study to be healthy and strong for me. Keep learning. Knowledge is power.

4-KEEP RECORDS! David taught me this some time back. Without proper records it’s impossible to know how we are doing. Keep records of everything that affects your progression towards your goal. I know that my state of mind is critical to my performance with the Iron so I added that category to the records that David had me keep. Make your records detailed to the point that a year later you can go back and look at your notes and know exactly what happened that day and why. If I have a “bad” day at lifting, I analyze my performance and write down what I discover. If I have a great day, I do the same thing. That way I know what helps and what hurts. Take the time to analyze your behavior. Always keep a food diary. Include your calories, carbs and protein at the very least.

5-Perfect the small stuff. In this fast paced world that we live in, we tend to rush through everything. If we are trying to lose fat, we tend to look at our day in a block of time and say things like’ “I don’t eat that much, I don’t know why I’m fat.” when the truth is we don’t have any idea what we eat. Here’s where the record keeping comes in, but remember, it has to be detailed. Vaguely scribbling down at midnight what you “remember” that you ate all day is not adequate. You must get the details right. If you are lifting weights or swimming laps, you must get the details right. Your form will either make you successful or destroy your best efforts. If you swim laps have you ever tried doing the “Butterfly” stroke without paying attention to detail? You will most likely drown that way. Whatever you do, make sure that you do it right.

6-Positive self-talk is important. You cannot go where your mind won’t take you. Don’t allow negative thoughts to interfere with your progression towards your goals. Wake up every day and tell yourself that you will be successful today and most likely you will.

7-Decide what means success to you. Make sure that your goals are realistic for you. Don’t sell yourself short but don’t set ridiculous goals either. I have very specific goals for myself and they are attainable. They are not easily attainable. I will have to work long and hard to get to where I am going. It will be an uphill climb all the way. It doesn’t matter. Success for me means a very specific body type in excellent health. I have the tools. All I have to do is commit to the work. Deciding what you really want makes it easier to lay out a plan to get it.

8-Prepare. In your learning about your goal, figure out what could keep you from attaining it. Decide how to prevent that from happening. Get what you need to work with and have a long-range plan for the future. For example, in the case of getting ripped and lean, laziness and gluttony will keep you from getting it, decide to not be that way, make sure you have what you need to work out and realize that this is not going to happen overnight. Your ripped and lean body is your long-range goal, accept that now.

9-Commit to working towards your goal every day. There is no “cheat day” because this is the rest of your life. It is a lifestyle. It will not “end” until your life ends so living the healthy lifestyle every day is your pathway to ultimate success. There is no way to fail if you go at it like this.

10-Associate with like-minded people and avoid those who do not support your goals. This is critical. Have a role model and talk to them and listen to what they say and implement it into your life. If they are where you want to be, they know the way to get there. Stick with us here at David’s Way. We will help you. It’s FREE.

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

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I have heard about foam rolling for years but had never tried it until recently. The benefits are well known in the fitness industry. It is “self-myofascial release”, or SMR. It is known to relieve muscle stiffness, soreness and inflammation and increase joint range of motion. The fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.  Trainers advise rolling each muscle group for about 1-5 minutes.

Foam rolling can be utilized to help warm up before a workout. It only  takes  about  5 minutes  to warm up and hydrate your muscles and fascia. Make sure to support your body well with your arms as you roll to avoid falling off of the roller. If you find a tender spot don’t work it too long, just long enough to feel a relaxation  in the muscles.   Breathe deeply and relax into the roller and roll back and forth. Remember,  you are rolling muscles, not bones and joints. Concentrate  on the length of your muscles, not the joints. There is no benefit to rolling a sore joint until it is achy. Your muscles will respond by relaxation, your joints will not.

Foam rolling  let’s you  massage yourself effectively.  There are many different rollers to choose from. You want to consider 1-Density 2-Surface Texture  3-Shape and Size

Density- When  you  first begin you might want to consider a medium density roller. While they don’t  last as long as the denser rollers, their softer feel is easier to accommodate when you’re  learning to roll. White rollers are the softest while the blue and red are medium density and the black rollers are the most dense and the hardest. If your roller is too soft it may be ineffective  but if it’s  too hard, you may bruise. Most people begin with a medium density to achieve effectiveness  without undue trauma while learning.

Texture- While some rollers have knobs and ridges to give a more targeted massage similar to human hands, a smooth roller gives even pressure across the muscle. Smooth rollers are also less expensive. There are some rollers that provide a variety of textures for finding exactly  the amount of pressure that you like. The knobs and ridges on some rollers provide intense pressure which  may not be suitable  for everyone.

Shape and Size- Long rollers, around 36 inches are good to begin with because they provide stability and great coverage with little effort. They are great for massaging  your  back. Smaller rollers, around 24 inches are good for your calves and arms and work well in limited space.

The 5-6 inches in diameter rollers are comfortable for beginners and offer a less intense massage than the 3-4 inch rollers. The 3-4 inch rollers will deliver a more targeted, intense massage. You can even get a roller that looks like it’s  been cut in half lengthwise for the soles of your feet that is supposed to help with plantar fasciitis. There are foam covered roller massagers for the upper back and foam balls for curved areas such as the lower  back. Always get your  doctor’s  permission  before  beginning  any physical fitness activity or program.

Rolling is also a great cool down exercise. The same techniques  that you use to warm up will work  as a cool down, dispensing  the lactic acid from intense exercise for less post workout  soreness and stiffness.

You can buy  these fitness tools online or in store at any sporting goods retailer for anywhere from $10  to $100. Usually the $100 roller will come with a vibration  function built into the roller and the $10 roller being a plain, soft roller that will feel good enough but it won’t  last very long. Choose the one that’s  best suited to your needs but after your doctor approves, get rolling!

 

The “Generational Curse”, What Is It?

The What?

I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea about what it was supposed to be. Turns out that there were people around me who believed that bad traits passed from one generation to another by some mystical means other than just genetics. True, there are some tendencies that are familial and some outright inherited maladies, but they are few and far between. Almost all of the negative health and life issues that we have are a direct result of the choices that we make, not genetics, and certainly not some mystical, spiritual curse. Believing this falsehood is simply an excuse to under achieve and fail at life. Believing this is an excuse to abandon all effort to be responsible for the health choices that you make. Mom became diabetic at age 40? If that’s the case, it’s Mom’s choices that caused it. Make different choices. I had an Aunt who died a terrible death from throat cancer. I loved her. She was my favorite Aunt. She smoked, a  lot, and never quit. Do her children have a similar risk? Possibly, they also smoke and the genetics are secondary compared to that decision.

Is It Learned?

There is a state of mind called “Learned Helplessness” that is believed to occur when someone is exposed to traumatic events that they cannot control. Over time, the individual “learns” that he cannot control events around himself and simply doesn’t try. Feeling that we can’t control traumatic events leads to loss of motivation to the extent that even when we are presented with the opportunity to change the course of our lives, we may not take advantage of the opportunity. This “loser” state of mind cripples the individual in decision making because he feels that his decisions won’t make a difference. Feeling helpless in the face of trauma and unable or unwilling to change the course of action by deciding to take control, leads to depression in most people with learned helplessness. This is a deadly personality trait when we are faced with decisions concerning our health.

                                                                               Is It A Decision?

In the original experiments on this topic, it was discovered that dogs who did not try to avoid negative stimuli had not, however, learned helplessness. They had not learned control. (1) The difference is profound. In order to “learn” helplessness, or the lack of control, we must first decide to take control and then be unable to do so. If an individual is afraid of failure simply because that’s all they have ever seen or been exposed to, then they have not made a decision to break that consecutive chain of failure, dysfunction and sickness that may have existed in their family for generations. They have not learned helplessness, they simply have not learned control. Therein is the problem.

Lovely Ladies

I remember when I actually believed that “skinny” girls were just genetically gifted. Never mind that my Mother, who was 5’7″ and about 110 pounds, ate very little and almost never sat down. For some strange reason, I ignored the obvious. Truth be known, it was easier to believe that she had great genes, that were somehow vastly different from mine, than to see the truth of the matter. While I would binge on brownies at every chance, she might eat one, maybe not even one. While I preferred the life of a sloth, she was a busy bee. I have mentioned “Janice” a few times. She was a lovely girl, close to my age in my 20’s who had a rock star body. While I struggled to fit into a size 12 or 14, Janice was a lithe size 5 or 7. Guess what. I finally ask her what she ate. She showed me a tray of freshly cut vegetables in her fridge and she told me that she ate those veggies all the time and seldom got hungry between meals. I was at her house for meals. They were healthy meals of grilled lean meats and veggies, fruit for dessert and no munchies at the parties unless you wanted the fresh veggies. She did not deviate and was not swayed by the negative comments of those around her concerning her diet.  She was in control. So was my Mom. Both Janice and my Mom had obese Mothers. They had made a conscious choice to take control, to do better than their upbringing. Genetics be damned.

Your Choice

What would your life be like if you decide, right now, to take control over the things that you have refused to exercise control over until this moment in time? Would you be different tomorrow? What about this time next year? Would you still eat the same things, smoke, drink alcohol and hang out with the same people? Remember, if someone doesn’t encourage you to be healthy, they are not your friend and do not have your best interest at heart. I challenge you. Exercise your ability to create your life and take control today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

(1) medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325355.php

Invest In Yourself, Exercise!

I cannot fathom the reasoning that goes into ones thought process when they state they do not do healthy. I have heard this enough over the years I actually wrote an article about it which I titled,  I Don’t Do Healthy and Other Dumb Quotes.

Honestly, I have a difficult time getting past such an absurd mindset. Yet I know it is not uncommon. The mind set delves further into the absurd when it is coming from who is obese and suffering from many self inflicted ailments that require constant medical attention. Not that I have, or will ask this, but sometimes it makes me wonder if they are really this dumb, or just want me to believe they are. After all,  who are they hurting with their obstinence?

Who they are hurting might just be you if you are the one who will be picking up all the shattered and broken pieces of their lives one day.

 Is it really too much effort to take care of yourself before your body decides to fight back with ailments and or disease?

It does not take rocket science to know and fully understand that exercise is good for our bodies. Even if you suffer from DOM’s (delayed onset muscle soreness) for your first few days of an exercise regimen, your body is liking that it is being worked as it was meant to be. Too many lay about licking their wounds, wanting a doctor to just prescribe them something to stop the sickness, the aches and pains, and the early aging. Yet, you have the power within yourself to put a stop to most of this without ever stepping foot in a doctors office.

It is proven science that as we age, exercise will help mitigate the frailty and diseases that come from a sedentary lifestyle. The more fit your body, the longer you will live a quality life. If you want to live a life of laying about the house eating cookies and cakes while binge watching your favorite program on the television, then you will likely die younger than you need to, while being a miserable individual in your final years on earth. It really is as simple a concept as this, and no one can scientifically argue against the benefits of physical exercise.

Invest in yourself!

Make an inexpensive investment into your future that will pay big dividends for quality of life as you age. Begin investing when you are young, and before you get too far out of shape. Even if you are obese and out of shape, get your butt up off the couch and move it with a purpose. Once you begin getting into better shape, you will live a more active life that will make you feel and look younger. Exercise is going to make daily life functions much easier and simpler. There will not have to be any thinking about how hard it will be to climb the steps in your home. You will have an easier time carrying in your groceries. Best of all, you will be able to live a fuller life where you can actually enjoy doing outside activities with your grandchildren. And you will be able to do these things without gasping for air every few minutes or having to constantly sit down to rest.  By exercising at enough aerobic intensity to get your heart rate elevated, by strength training and stretching, you are going to improve your functional fitness, which is going to improve your life for you and your loved ones. You will no longer rain on your kids, or grandchildren’s parades anymore by sitting out every activity they might want you to be involved with them in.

Immediate payoff

Good exercise can and will give you a boost in energy. If you are lethargic in the afternoons, you can easily turn this around with a brisk walk and simple stretching. This will aid in getting your more blood pumping to your brain. At night, you will find that sleep will improve and come easier than it did when you were fat and out of shape. Your body will have true fatigue and your stress levels will have fallen as a result of a good bout of vigorous exercise. This is good since as we age, our periods of deep sleep will often shorten, which translates into less restful sleep.

Being as physical exercise essentially resets the brain, you will find that you have become a calmer individual than you might have been before. Exercise reduces our stress levels immensely. It helps to keep our blood pressure lower during stressful situations. If you are a couch potato, your blood pressure will rise quicker and higher than a normal weight, fit individual. This benefit is one of great quality as it allows you to remain better focused on the difficult tasks life often hands to us.

Exercise helps with chronic pain and helps relieve menopausal hot flashes. After a few short weeks with an exercise regimen you notice that your self esteem has improved as you achieve your new fitness goals, and of course, as you begin to feel healthier. you will find that an active life style will work wonders with your mood as it is known to release endorphins, or the feel good brain chemicals in your brain. Have you ever heard of runners high? I can tell you it is absolutely real, and it damn sure feels good.

Getting your heart healthy.

Any type of exercise is going to be better for your heart health than sitting on your couch all day doing nothing of substance. By getting your body moving with some intensity, you will strengthen your heart, which is absolutely going to make you feel better. Your heart will beat with less effort and your arterial walls will be more supple, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. Moderate exercise that burns 1200 to 1600 calories per week will improve your cholesterol profile by raising your HDL (good cholesterol) and preventing the oxidation of your LDL (bad cholesterol) which if left unchecked, will cause your LDL to stick to the walls of your arteries.

This is a topic I love! The American Heart Association has come to the conclusion that lifting weights is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Strength training lowers your cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and improves your overall cardiovascular fitness. Your glucose metabolism becomes more efficient, which lowers your risk of diabetes and your ratio of muscle to fat will be increased which means your metabolism will be more efficient at burning off body fat. The importance of having a low bod fat to lean muscle percentage is the fact lean muscle burns more calories than your body fat ever will, and it does this even when you are sitting down resting. When people ask me if I do much cardio, I always tell them that weight training done right, is cardio.

Greater lung capacity.

After the age of 25, there is a 1% decline in lung capacity that occurs every year unless you do something about it with aerobic activity. This lung capacity, known as your VO-2, will typically increase by 6 to 20% with aerobic conditioning, and can go as high as a 50% increase. When you can breath better, you live better. Only a fool would argue this. As your lung capacity improves, oxygen enters your lungs more efficiently and the carbon dioxide waste, leaves more rapidly. By increasing your lung volume, you are increasing the quality of your life. You will be able to function without getting winded so easily.

Benefits, head to toes.

You do not need any expensive gym memberships or high tech fitness gadgets to get yourself into good physical condition. All you need is your doctors clearance and a will to get yourself active. By simply walking 30 minutes per day, you will begin reaping many benefits to your body and soul.  From arthritis to weight gain, good vigorous exercise will help mitigate many medical issues in your life. The investment in a pair of sneakers and a comfortable outfit to exercise in is far cheaper than unnecessary medical bills brought about by an unhealthy diet and sedentary life. Strong muscles in your thighs will help reduce the risk of arthritis in your knees. Women can reduce their risk of diabetes by half.

It is a well established fact that exercise boosts your body’s immune system function. And you do not have to work out every day to enjoy the many health benefits. I have read of a study where it was found that people who exercised moderately for 30 minutes, only 6 times per month outlived those with a sedentary lifestyle by a 43% margin. When it comes to quality of life and longevity, staying physically fit is the best investment you can make in yourself.

Invest into your own future wisely. You will have no regrets.

Why Sit-ups Enlarge Your Gut

Do you ever wonder why you do hundreds of sit-ups every week and your gut gets bigger? Do you ever wonder why, despite all of this abdominal work that you’re doing that instead of a six-pack you have a dunlap? It’s your diet.

Everyone has heard that abs are made in the kitchen. No truer words have ever been spoken. If you have a layer of fat on your belly, regardless of how much ab work you do, you will not see your abdominal muscles. It’s mandatory to shed that fat pad if you want to look ripped.

I’ve often heard it said that someone wants to “get some abs”. Guess what, you have them. We all have abdominal muscles or we couldn’t stand upright. The trick is to uncover them. Good strength training will make them look better but you will never see the fruit of your labor unless you shed the fat.

When you do a high number of ab exercises you will get hypertrophic growth of those muscles. This occurs when inflammation from the exercises causes the body to retain sarcoplasmic fluid in response to the microtears to the muscle tissue caused by exercise. If you have a layer of fat on your abdomen, then the retained fluid, also known as “a pump” will just cause your gut to protrude all the more. If you lose the fat, then when you get that “pump” in your abs, you will have a visible six-pack.

At David’s Way we promote a high protein, low carb diet. We do not promote keto. For most people that is too restrictive and if they lose fat that way, they will usually rebound and overeat and gain the fat back rather quickly. We also advise to aim for about 1 pound per week loss. You can download the Calorie Counter Pro and enter your information for a customized calorie count for your personal needs. This is private, only you can see this information. It is also a free service. Everything on this blog is free to you because we want to improve the health of humanity worldwide.

When you begin to lose that fat pad, you will see your hard earned abs emerge. They are waiting.

Out Exercise a Bad Diet? You’re Funny

Congratulations, after a living a considerable time of being over weight and out of shape you made the wise decision at the beginning of spring to do something productive about it. You did your due diligence with homework and found a great weight loss plan as well as an intensive exercise program to compliment the new diet. You absolutely rocked this new lifestyle and lost about 10 pounds in the first couple of weeks. Then you started becoming somewhat discouraged as the weekly weight loss began to slow down to only a pound or two a week. This rapid deceleration lasted for a couple of months before the losses really slowed to a turtle’s pace of only a pound or so a month. if even that much. Now, it is the end of summer, the kids are back in school, you exercise yourself to near death and the weight is stuck exactly where it was at the first week of June. It is at this point where you are totally exasperated and ready to just throw in the towel because you believe you did everything right, therefore you must be one who is genetically doomed to a life of obesity. What went wrong?

Plenty went wrong.

You did not know what it is that you did not know about successful weight loss and weight management.

The above scenario is one we have encountered many times from our clients and our readers who have contacted us for advice. It is a scenario that gets played out all across the globe among many of those who have decided to get their bodies down to a healthy weight while increasing their physical fitness. If this scenario fits you, it is not all of your fault being as there is so much conflicting information out there in regards to diet and physical fitness. Besides a huge plethora of information telling us “just do this, and don’t do that” from well meaning individuals, there is also an abundance of scam businesses putting out information that only serves to keep you coming back to them as a perpetual income stream. It is enough to make your head spin, we understand this. At David’s Way, our blog information will always be free for your use in order to get fit and healthy.

Note: we are in work now towards publishing e-books which will be sold in order to offset our overhead expenses for the blog. The blog will always be free to you, as our purpose is to help others first and foremost. Anything else, is and always will be, secondary.

Now, lets address why you are not losing weight despite your best efforts. Barring the possibility of any health or medical issues, I am going to first take a look at your dietary habits before addressing your exercise regimen.

DIET

  • Do you know how many calories per day your body requires for healthy weight loss?
    1. If you do not know how many calories per day your body requires, you need to find this out before proceeding any further.
    2. You can simply consult our Calorie Counter Pro right in our blog menu to find this information out. This is 100% private. No one, not even we at David’s Way will know your information. We respect the privacy of all and are HIPAA compliant.
  • Do you know how many calories per day you are consuming? Do you measure and track your daily intake in order to ensure you are eating the amount of calories per day your body needs?
    1. No matter what other weight loss sites and business might tell you, you had better be tracking your intake of food in some manner or another. If you do not track how much you consume, it is quite possible you are eating too much for your level of activity. Any that tell you that tracking is not necessary are likely going to keep you around for perpetual income.
    2. As much as you do not want to over eat when trying to lose weight, conversely, you do not want to under eat .
      • Under eating will cause your body to go into starvation mode which will both slow down your metabolism and cause you to lose lean muscle mass.
  • Do you keep track of the macro-nutrients you consume? Do you know how much protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats your body requires for good health?
    1. At David’s Way, for weight loss we recommend a diet high in a variety of proteins, lower in complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
      • By keeping your protein intake higher, you will feel satiated much longer than when you fill up on carbs.
      • Be sure that your consume a variety of protein sources to ensure you are getting a full profile of the 9 essential amino acids required by your body to repair and replace cells and muscle tissues.
      • We have different protein needs depending on the level and intensity of our physical fitness regimens. For instance as a strength trainer and endurance hiker, I consume at least 1 to 1.2 grams of protein for each pound of my body weight each day. For women who are strength trainers, I recommend .8 to 1 gram of protein per day. Those who are not involved in high intensity physical fitness regimens do not need this much. In fact, the recommendation for women is .62 grams per kilogram of body weight and .8 grams per kilogram for men. A 130 pound woman who is not very active might only need 37 grams of protein per day for good health, but a higher total is going to help her to remain satiated better between meals. Especially if she is also consuming healthy fats to go along with the protein. Fat also helps to keep you satiated longer.
      • Note: A big deal is made by some in regards to excessive protein turning to fat within the body. This is true. However, if you are tracking what you consume, this is not a concern as the same can be said for excessive carbohydrates. The point is to track and know how much you are eating and to not exceed the number of calories your body requires in a day. One gram of protein and one gram of carbohydrates both provide 4 calories to your body. I weigh 170 pounds and consume 2500 calories per day in order to maintain my weight. If I consume 1 gram of protein per each pound of my body weight, this equals 680 of my allotted 2500 calories for 27 percent. Even on my heavy lifting days when I might consume 200 grams of protein, this is still only 32 percent of my total calories coming from protein. With the hunger that comes from a heavy weight training session or a long distance hike, it is much easier to keep my calories under control with protein rather than carbohydrates. By tracking my total intake of calories and macro-nutrients I can properly fuel my body without taking it to an excess. This allows me to maintain my body fat percentage at 9 percent at 56 years old.
  • If you are still consuming added sugar, simple carbohydrates without a fiber content, and processed foods, just stop it now. These foods will always keep you hungry as they have a direct impact on spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels. These foods will always keep you craving more.
    1. If you never had control over cravings for simple carbohydrates in the past, you are not likely to have control over them in the present, nor the future.  Simple carbs added together with exercise only means you are likely to end up craving more carbs.
    2. Who am I to tell you to not eat sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods when other weight loss business such as Weight Watchers specifically says you can still eat them?  Consider this, I am not charging you anything for my advice. Others such as Weight Watchers will charge you a monthly membership fee while they know that my advice is the truth. Yet, by telling a sugar addict they can continue eating sugar laden foods, they know that you will be a perpetual income stream to them. I make nothing off of your readership while they make anywhere from $20 to $40 per month off of each of their 100,000 plus members. With this kind of revenue, you can bank on the fact they have nutritionists and scientists under their employment that also know the truth about simple sugars and their role in keeping you over weight or obese.
  • Ensure that your diet is well rounded between a variety of protein sources, vegetables and fruits. Ensure that your dietary habits provide with the protein and a full amino acid profile as well as the vitamins and minerals you need for good health and vitality.
  • Last word on diet, although there is more which could be said. Let’s assume that everything about your diet is spot on point. You are tracking your calories and macro-nutrients. Your diet is nutritionally well rounded and you still can not lose weight no matter how much you exercise. My question to you is:
    1. Have you adjusted your caloric intake with your actual needs since beginning your weight loss journey?
    2. Are you aware that you have to adjust your caloric needs downward as you lose weight, even if you exercise?
      • If you are a 250 pound female who stands 5′ 2″ and want to lose 120 pounds down to 130 pounds, your caloric needs are going to drop as your weight does. In fact, the calories it will take for a 250 pound woman to begin losing weight at a rate of 1 pound per week will equalize to where that same amount of calories will be what it takes for her to maintain her weight at 165 pounds if she went from being sedentary to moderately active over the course of her weight loss. Therefore, if you do not periodically adjust, you will plateau. This is why almost everyone who goes on a weight loss journey eventually stalls out with 30 pounds or less to go in order to meet their goal weight.

Exercise

Many people will underrate how much food they consume each day and overrate the intensity level of their exercise. Some will overrate their intensity because they simply do not know any better, and then some will do this in order to justify eating their sweet treats or whatever extra it is they feel they cannot live without. I have seen one instance on a weight loss social media site where an individual was tracking their calories burned for their basal metabolic rate as a part of their calories burned from exercise too. This kind of thinking is ignorance at best and pretty dumb at the worse. Another example is the ones who now count their daily house cleaning as exercise in order to increase their calorie allowance for the day. News flash: if those calories burned did not help you when you last month before you began your weight loss program, they are not sufficient enough to help you now.

  • It takes 20 minutes at an aerobic level heart rate to burn through your body’s glycogen stores before you even begin to burn an ounce of fat.
  • If your heart rate is not getting elevated to where it causes your breathing to become a little bit labored, you are at too low of an intensity to do your body much good. True, you are lapping the couch potato, but not by much.
  • If you take your heart rate to the anaerobic level for a couple minutes of true high intensity, do not count your entire session as high intensity simply because, at a high intensity, you cannot hardly breath. If you cannot breath, you are not going to last more than a couple minutes at best. If you think you cannot breath, yet are able to keep moving at this intensity, you are still in a moderate intensity. Maybe you have not figured out what a true high intensity exercise is yet.
  • If you use a tracking app for your calories and exercise, be honest as dishonesty only serves to hurt you.
  • Your problem can also come from simply over doing it and not getting enough rest and recovery. Always remember that nutrition, rest and recovery are equally important to an exercise regimen as the actual exercise.

I know there are more points that can be made on this topic. If you care to elaborate on one, or address something not mentioned, please feel free to comment and or ask questions. We are always happy to correspond with our readers whether in our comments or through private contact through the blog menu. We hear from privately from readers pretty regular. Also, please feel free to make comments on our forum or create a topic of your own. We would truly like to see our forum begin to grow. Thanks and God bless.

Childhood Obesity, Do Something About It!

All who have followed this blog know that I am not even remotely apologetic in my attitude regarding our responsibility to ensuring our children do not become obese. Whether they realize it or not, our children look towards us to lead them down the path towards a well nurtured and healthy life. When we allow our children to eat themselves into obesity while living a sedentary life sitting in front of a television, this is negligence at best, abuse at the worse. You, the parent and responsible adult in their life, must be the example your children want to emulate in life. If you are fit and healthy, your children are more likely to be fit and healthy. If you are obese, lazy and out of shape, do I need to say more?

Did that last line offend you? You might check your parenting if it did.

How big a problem is childhood obesity?

From the (CDC) Center for DIsease Control and Prevention

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.

For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years:

  • The prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
  • Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22.0%) had higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
  • Non-Hispanic Asians (11.0%) had lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

Nearly one in five American children have a problem with being either obese or overweight. This number is far too high!

Complications your obese child will face in life!

From Mayo Clinic:

Childhood obesity can have complications for your child’s physical, social and emotional well-being.

Physical complications

  • Type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition affects the way your child’s body uses sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome. This cluster of conditions can put your child at risk of heart disease, diabetes or other health problems. Conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure. A poor diet can cause your child to develop one or both of these conditions. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries, which can cause arteries to narrow and harden, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  • Asthma. Children who are overweight or obese might be more likely to have asthma.
  • Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which a child’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage.
  • Bone fractures. Obese children are more likely to break bones than are children of normal weight.

Social and emotional complications

  • Low self-esteem and being bullied. Children often tease or bully their overweight peers, who suffer a loss of self-esteem and an increased risk of depression as a result.
  • Behavior and learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children do. These problems might lead children who are overweight either to act out and disrupt their classrooms or to withdraw socially.
  • Depression. Low self-esteem can create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, which can lead to depression in some children who are overweight.

Now that you have read that troubling list of complications your innocent child will encounter through a life of obesity, look upon that sweet child and think about your role in preventing them from experiencing an unnecessary struggle. You know you do not want their lives to be cut short because of obesity. I cannot imagine anyone wants a bad life for their child, but if you allow them to be sedentary and feed them an unhealthy diet, you are responsible for their future misery.

You are the responsible party for your child’s health and well being!

Many factors — usually working in combination — increase your child’s risk of becoming overweight. From Mayo Clinic

  • Diet. Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy and desserts also can cause weight gain, and more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity in some people.
  • Lack of exercise. Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem.
  • Family factors. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on weight. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.
  • Psychological factors. Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies.

Diet and family factors. You are the responsible adult who does the grocery shopping. You control what your children consume every day at home. You have a choice when you go to your local grocery store to either fill your cart with healthy food choices to feed your children, or you can load that cart with highly processed sugar and unhealthy fat laden junk foods. You are the one who allows them to sit on their butts in front of a television or other electronic device all day while getting very little to no exercise at all. You are the one who should see a problem when your child becomes over weight and you are the one who must do something about it. Your child did not ask to be brought into the world. No, it was your choice to bring them into the world, therefore it will always be your responsibility to take proper care to ensure your child is healthy and well, even if it is an inconvenience to the manner in which you might want to live your life.

Whether your child is at risk of becoming overweight or is currently at a healthy weight, you can take measures to get or keep things on the right track.

  • Limit your child’s consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or avoid them all together. There is no reason for your child to drink sugar sweetened drinks every day. Many children grow up drinking soda pops all day instead of water. I have a nephew who grew up like this and he now requires dialysis for kidney failure because of this foolishness. His kidneys are shot because he grew up drinking Coke all day, every day. His mother is responsible for this as she let this habit begin in his early childhood.
  • Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables. Some children are going to be picky eaters. Lord knows I was picky as a child, yet my mother never gave up. What ever you do, you must ensure that your child is getting enough their needed macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to live a healthy life. You know there is nothing nutritional about feeding your children sugar sweetened cereals and pop tarts. You know that soda pop and cookies are not nutritionally sound. You should know that while macaroni and cheese with hot dogs might be alright to serve your child occasionally for lunch, it is not nutritionally sound to feed them like this every day.
  • Eat meals as a family as often as possible. One of the healthiest things you can do as a family is to have dinner together at the dining room or kitchen table away from all other distractions such as television and other electronic devices. This is a great time to talk to your children and learn what is going on in their young lives. Your children need this kind of emotional support from you. You need this time to know what is happening in their young minds. You cannot get this when you allow them to play video games all day as an escape. If you are not interacting with your child, you might find yourself totally blindsided by their suicide one day.
  • Children and teens who are depressed have a higher risk of suicide. Symptoms of depression sometimes are obvious, such as appearing sad, hopeless, bored, overwhelmed, anxious, or irritable all the time. But some kids are good at hiding their feelings or don’t know how to share them. Since as many as 1 in every 5 teens experience depression at some point during adolescence, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children over age 12 be screened for depression at their yearly checkups.
  • In addition to depression, mood disorders, eating disorders and other psychiatric conditions can increase the risk of suicide with your child. A sedentary lifestyle combined with obesity and poor nutritional habits greatly affects your child’s mood and how they view their own self worth. As a parent, you are responsible to help them sort all of this out before they decide to just end their own life before it has even begun.
  • Limit eating out, especially at fast-food restaurants, and when you do eat out, teach your child how to make healthier choices. Go to our Recipe Category for an abundance of healthy recipes that are easy on a family budget, and that are also as healthy as they are easy to prepare. Fast food drive through’s might be alright on occasion as a treat, but it truly is cheaper and quicker to feed your family nutritious meals at home.
  • Adjust portion sizes appropriately for age. You know, if your child is 5, they do not need a portion your 15 year old will want to consume. If you have teens in the house, you can still control the portion sizes by the amount of food that you prepare. Even if they raise hell with you, you are the parent. Stand your ground and manage your home instead of letting your child rule it as is so common now days.
  • Limit TV and other “screen time” to less than 2 hours a day for children older than 2, and don’t allow television for children younger than 2. If your child is not old enough to work a part time job to buy a television or electronic device for themselves, you have the control. You do not need to buy them their own television so they can sit and lounge about in front of it anytime they please. You set the rules of the house!
  • Be sure your child gets enough sleep.

Get your child outside and teach them to use their imagination!

I am a firm believer that one of the best things a parent can do for their child is to get them outside and teach them about nature. Take them out on a good hiking trail and have some fun with them by exercising your imagination as well.

Explore a trail and turn it into a great adventure they will want to do again. A make shift bridge could be crossing a roaring river. The woods could be anywhere in the world you want it to be. You can teach your children about the different plants and animal life you might encounter such as deer, raccoons and opossums. Those animal tracks you in the mud might be from a large wild cat you are trying to avoid. They can be anything you want them to be.

You could pack healthy snacks for your hike along with a pair of binoculars for bird watching. You can lay out your food and enjoy your snack while sitting on a large rock and observing the “dangers” or adventures you might encounter over the next hill. Let your imagination run wild with your child’s while out on a hiking trail. You can teach your child about edible plants you might find while pointing out those that are highly toxic such as Death Caps and any that are red on the cap. You never know where a wicked witch or evil troll might be lurking out in those woods when you use your imagination with the children.


There are many lessons of life you can impart onto your child while out in the woods. You can speak of the hard lessons of life we must all come to learn at some point which will only serve to make them be well adjusted adults. And you can, and must, also teach them to seek out the beauty that is the gift of life. Every where we may venture, there can be found something of beauty to behold. Get your children excited about life and all that it has to offer. Get them excited about outdoors activities that capture the imagination. As a parent, you are responsible for giving your child as great a life as you possibly can.

Let’s keep our children healthy, it is not an impossible task if only you will.

Hormones and Nutrition

Our Bodies Social Media

Our endocrine system is an amazing messenger that keeps everything up and running with chemical fuels that are more powerful than we can imagine. They regulate our metabolism, energy levels, growth rates, reproductive health and our responses to everything around us. Nutrition plays a role in regulating our hormones, so for optimum health we need to be aware of how some foods can affect this network of “instant messaging” that runs throughout our bodies.

Necessary Nutrient

I frequently hear people say that they have trouble getting enough protein. They tend to fill up on carbohydrate laden foods and as a result, are never satisfied and tend to overeat. Adequate protein is necessary for hormone production. There are 20 amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that are necessary for human life. We can produce 11 of those inside our bodies but must get the rest through what we eat. In order to insure adequate protein intake we need to get about 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight. If you are a weight trainer, you need more, about 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight to insure the strength and muscle gains that you need and want. Some protein will build hormones and some will build enzymes that act as chemical catalysts and other protein will become muscle cells. Eating protein at every meal will reduce your level of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. Experts recommend getting a minimum of 20-30 grams of protein at every meal. (1)

Eat to Stop Eating

Eating anti-inflammatory foods will increase how well you respond to leptin, the appetite suppressor hormone. Fatty fish, nuts and leafy greens are good anti-inflammatory foods that can improve your sensitivity to leptin and help you stop eating sooner.

Decreased Thyroid Function?

Thyroid hormones determine the speed of your metabolism. Eggs, cranberries, milk, lima beans, potatoes, ocean seafood, dried plums or prunes and yogurt are all good sources of iodine which is necessary for good thyroid function. Always consult your doctor for dietary guidance if you have known thyroid problems and especially if you take medications for thyroid function. These drugs are powerful and the thyroid is a very powerful part of your endocrine system.

A Disturbing Trend

I am becoming increasingly aware of an ever increasing number of young women with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is an insulin resistant condition that may be affected by diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. At David’s Way we always advise you to avoid these foods. Sugar has no known benefits, promotes insulin resistance and packs on the pounds that add additional insult to your endocrine system. Even simple carbohydrates that do not contain sugar may increase your chances of insulin resistance. I have known of young ladies who want children to be told that PCOS would impact their fertility and yet still, they would not make these necessary dietary changes for their health. There are some studies that show a relationship between PCOS and increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer and cardiovascular problems. (1) Sugar and simple carbs cannot possibly be worth the risks involved in eating them.

Good Fat

Medium Chain Triglycerides are good fats that may decrease insulin resistance. So often people avoid fat, thinking that all fat is bad. We are supposed to eat some good fat. These powerhouses are found in palm and coconut oil.

Always avoid transfats. There is nothing good about them. They are found in baked goods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, fast food, vegetable shortenings, coffee creamers, canned biscuits and canned frostings along with other sources. Read Nutrition Facts on your food purchases and avoid these troublemakers.

Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts are believed to increase insulin sensitivity. I have coconut oil every day in my protein shake and am not hungry for hours afterwards. The healthy fat and protein punch is satisfying and supports muscle development and maintenance for my heavy lifting sessions. I use the liquid oil and it mixes right into my shake easily and gives it a velvety texture.

Naturally Balance Your Female Hormones

These tips that help balance other hormones will help balance your female hormones. Eat good whole foods and avoid sugar and simple carbs and you will immediately notice a difference in the way you feel, especially if you normally eat foods containing empty calories.

Be Proactive

We have so much control over our health including our hormones. We can never have good hormone levels if we don’t give our bodies what they need to make them. When we eat empty calories, foods devoid of nutrition, we set ourselves up for disaster. Take control and reap the benefits of good nutrition today.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/balance-hormones#section1