Category: Fitness

Fit Over 40 with Muscle

The Lie

Muscle rules! As far back as I can remember, I have heard people say things like, “Well, you know, I’m getting old.” as an excuse to let themselves go. I have known mere girls of 30 who cried for days when they turned 30 because they thought that it meant a descent into fat and frumpy. Men are not immune to this line of thinking. There is some truth in this if you are not proactive concerning your health and your appearance. We are criticized for being vain but the truth is, vanity is a strong motivator, especially as you age. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good.

hispanic woman feeling stressed, worried, anxious or scared, with hands on head, panicking at mistake

Frustration!

Many of you know about my lifetime battle with my weight that was only won when I came to David’s Way. Through the years, I had tried endless diets and all kinds of exercises. I had been an avid swimmer, a runner, a pseudo-weight lifter, studied belly dancing, yoga, pilates, tai chi, calesthenics, HIIT training and sent myself to the chiropracter from jumping rope on hard-packed clay. I was in a hustle for that muscle! I used bands, a treadmill, a pull-up station in my home and joined gyms year after year. I had trainers and went to classes. I was my own guinea pig for exercise experiments. I had numerous DVD’s as long as that was a thing. I walked in my home to videos and hiked the Smokies. This is only a partial list of my activities. Let’s not forget bowling.

We know that nutrition is the most important factor in health and fitness and I struggled with that. I was a lifetime member of a well-known weight loss group. They allowed us to eat sugar and although I tracked my food religiously, the sugar cravings would always win out eventually. The weight might come off but it always returned. My muscle was continually declining. What was I doing wrong?!?

Lightbulbs on blue background, idea concept

Epiphany!

When I first began David’s Way, I bought a kettlebell for weight training. When I went into Dick’s Sporting Goods, they had a very serious bell that could be loaded with as much as 50 pounds. I bought it. Yes, there are 200 pound kettlebells but there are also 5 pound bells so a 50 pound bell looked like a challenge. The workouts that I started doing were not wimpy workouts. I could tell that I was beginning to stress my muscles. The workouts were challenging, but before long, I bought a standard barbell. I was about to learn a critical truth.

As I began the Starting Strength Program, it pushed me farther than I had ever gone before . My paltry 35 pound squat began to grow. As much as I feared deadlifting 100 pounds, before long, I was. My “Newbie Gains” got me hopelessly addicted to the Iron. There was no turning back.

The great Truth that was becoming crystal clear was simply that if I wanted amazing results, I had to do amazing things. A short, easy workout was NOT going to get me where I wanted to go. Muscle has to be damaged to repair itself to build. In my 20’s, a little walk around the block might keep me fit but believe me, at 64 it takes a whole LOT more. When I accepted the difficulty of the term, “Body Recomp”, I began to make serious progress. I learned to do hard things.

Book in library with old open textbook, stack piles of literature text archive on reading desk, and aisle of bookshelves in school study class room background for academic education learning concept

Muscle Facts

David wrote an excellent article, Losing Muscle Mass as We Age that discusses the impending change in body composition that accompanies ageing unless we aggressively fight against it. I well remember being a member of that famous weight loss group that allowed every day activity to earn the members more food to eat. Although I knew that this would not work for me, I gave it a try. I religiously tracked all of my food intake and energy output.

The other women in this group were always cleaning their houses and awarding themselves extra food for the activity. None of these woman had significant muscle. I tried counting housework as activity and gained 7 pounds in two weeks. It was not water weight, it was fat. It took me two MONTHS to get it off. Is it any wonder that out of these women, maybe 2% ever got to goal and not all of them were able to maintain their losses. In no time at all, most gained all of the weight back, eating their way into oblivion as they counted the calorie burn for washing dishes to justify eating more food.

As muscle wastes away, the signals that they send to bones to stay healthy begin to fade away, and osteoporosis can be soon to follow. We can walk the dog, do some Pilates or take a little Zumba class if we want to, but to keep the specter of these two age-related maladies away, we need some strength training. ONLY YOUR DOCTOR CAN DECIDE WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU. Talk to him to see how far you can go into strength training and what type.

Unrecognizable man and woman having fitness training with kettlebells in gym

Muscle Machines

There’s everything from elastic bands of different strengths to the barbell. It’s possible that he will recommend only body weight exercise. Performed correctly, it can do amazing things for muscle and bone. I have even read that when lap swimmers push off the wall of the pool at the end of their swimming lane, they build muscle and increase bone density in the hip. The water does provide some resistance and your doctor may only allow swimming until you get stronger or settle significant medical issues.

The point is, I had to work out hard. An evening stroll around the block was not changing my body. I watched as my muscle faded more and more with those wimpy workouts. After seeing your doctor, you may decide that you might benefit from working out as hard as you SAFELY can. When I was 21 years old, I could get in the floor and do calesthentics (body weight exercises) for 20 minutes, a few times a week, and change my body in a short period of time. While I don’t know what it will take for you, at 64 I work out harder than I have ever worked out in my life. It works for me. In three and a half years, my body composition has changed drastically. I began this journey with about 30% body fat. Now, as close as I can measure, I am at 16%. Nothing changed until I changed the intensity of my workouts. I had a clean bill of health from my doctor. NEVER try to push yourself before you have a check-up with your medical doctor where you tell him your exact intentions. Hidden health problems can be exacerbated by strenuous exercise.

You Choose

We are all going to get old but we won’t all get frail. No one is immune to ageing but you have tremendous input into HOW you age. So you tell me, how will that be?

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Vacation Fun in a Swimsuit!

Mature woman posing with a surfboard on the beach

Vacation Paradise!

I well remember the trips that we took to Panama City Beach, Florida when I was a child! I LIVED for those vacations. By the time that I was about 4 years old, I had figured out that I could delay the anxiety associated with leaving the beach if I thought about Christmas when it was time to go back home. Until then, I cried like my heart was broken every time that we had to leave that perfect world. The sand there is crystalline white and the water is usually turquoise. Nothing is as exhilarating as the salty breeze gently caressing your face while your hair wafts in the wind. I was convinced that Heaven had to be on Earth every time we went to that pristine paradise.

Vacation Anxiety

Many of you know my story about my mom telling me that I was fat at the age of 4. I weighed 40 pounds, so I wasn’t fat. After her remark to the contrary, however, I began to feel self-conscious in a swimsuit. Since we hardly ever went swimming anywhere except on those vacations, I had to have a new swimsuit to get ready to go on vacation every year. Those trips were dreadful.

I would ransack the clothes racks for suits that I liked and my mother would tell me why I couldn’t wear them, one by one. Eventually, I would leave the store with a suit that my mother had picked out to help disguise my “problem”. I also had to appease the standard that my dad’s church people had put into place. The suit had to be exceedingly modest. Every year, I wore a “nice girl”, one-piece, structured suit that I didn’t like. After all that hoopla, the beach became my testing ground instead of my paradise. Looking forward to paradise would forevermore be tainted with anxiety and way too much self-awareness.

Do the Work!

Once we become self-conscious, it takes years of hard work to find the balance that will allow us to accept the idea to “Be the best that YOU can be.” (David Yochim) The pressure to be beautiful is even greater now with Instagram burning altered images of “perfect” bodies into our brains all the time. Even if we don’t look for those images, they will still flood the feed. Those images are what sells Instagram. I could write an entire article about how the models get those pictures but I would be even farther off course if I did that!

Along with fighting anxiety and low self-esteem, as we struggle to be rock star impressive, we better be on guard against the self-lovely idea that regardless of what shape we’re in, we’re still “lovely”. That idea is an excuse to let ourselves get fat and unhealthy. Balance creates an inner peace that cannot be obtained if we constantly bounce back and forth between mouse and diva. Odds are, neither persona is accurate.

Most of us will navigate our way around the edges of life, waiting for someone “important” to tell us that we’re a writer, or an athlete or even a good mom. In order to create balance, we have to find ways to cope, behaviors that create whatever we want to achieve in life.  If you are like many people who dread that swimsuit, there are still ways to feel better about the way that you look on the beach and have a great vacay! Get a good restorative respite under your belt and commit to count your calories and this time next year, you’ll have a different attitude when you go shopping for your suit. A good vacation will lower the fat-depositing hormone cortisol, so it’s a great way to get a little boost to start your program with confidence.

Cheerful plus size woman taking a selfie at the beach

Vacation Readiness

When we wear clothing that exposes parts of our bodies that seldom see the light of day,  we need to make sure that we have prepped our bodies. By spending a little time in the three weeks or so before vacay caring for ourselves, we will walk out of the motel room with much more confidence and swagger than if we just wriggle into the offending piece of clothing at the last minute and hope for the best.

1-Remove body hair. Yes, I know, some cultures don’t do this. Okay, that’s fine. Unless you are from a culture that doesn’t remove superfluous hair, make SURE to remove all hair from your legs, arm pits and bikini area. You choose the method that you are most comfortable with but remember, sunlight will find every single one that is left behind. Even check your toes. Hair can sprout up ANYWHERE. Consult your doctor for his advise about what method to use and make sure to keep antibiotic ointment handy. Every hair follicle is a potential infection. Be clean and careful and smooth as silk.

2- Find a suit that makes you feel AWESOME! That doesn’t mean the suit you saw on Instagram or one like your friend has. It means the one that shows off your best assets in a way that makes you strut!

3-Just as your suit should enhance your best features, it should camouflage any body part that you aren’t quite ready to put on display. If your legs are your best feature, choose a suit with a high-cut leg with attention-getting, colorful features around the leg. If you don’t want to showcase your breasts, stick to the more modest necklines in muted colors. Work your best features!

4-If you know that certain foods bloat your belly then DON”T eat those foods when you are going to be wearing your swimsuit! I quit drinking Diet carbonated drinks solely because of the bloating effect that they have on my body. There are good, whole, healthy foods that I also avoid in order to be more comfortable in my skin. I work hard to be healthy and have body confidence, I’m not willing to impact the look that I have so meticulously worked for just to appease a craving or appetite. Although at one time I would have doubted it, I can live just fine without carbonation. When I eat dairy, I take dairy enzymes that help to digest dairy products easily with no bloat. Always consult your medical doctor about any supplementation that you might want to take.

Tips to Beat Bloating

5-Exfoliate in the shower with whatever method that you choose. I like one of those net scrubbies. You may use body scrubs or even a good coarse washcloth. Whatever method you choose will make you look more toned and healthy as the exfoliation accelerates blood flow and your skin takes on a rosy glow.

6-Stick to your workout schedule! Exercise causes a temporary “pump” in your muscles that looks great and it is associated with less depression, elevated mood and increased self-esteem.

7-Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!!

8-Wear sunscreen and reapply frequently. Burnt skin is not attractive.

9-Although natural tans damage the skin, self-tanners and spray-on tans do not. There are also waterproof body make-ups to hide any bruises that might mar your canvas. These products give your body a smoother appearance and make you feel great!

10-STRUT! True confidence is attractive! After you have bought THE suit, prepped your body, beat the bloat, pumped your muscles and finessed your canvas, hold your head high and ENJOY YOUR VACATION! It might only come once a year. It does for most people. DON’T MISS the benefits of getting away by stressing and raising your cortisol levels.

 Positive Reinforcement

Avoid alcohol, over-eating, excess salt and sugar to keep your work on display and not only will you look amazing while you’re on vacation, you will be well on your way to wearing a smaller size suit next year.

Happy Summer!

 

 

Stay Full and Lose Weight!

 

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Common Misconception

Eating to stay full could be a challenge in the diet era that I grew up in. I well remember years of my life growing up in a home where I was constantly on a diet. My mother believed that 1000 calories per day was the magic number for weight loss, although I was 5’6″ tall in the 8th grade. I had the body of an adult with a little muscle to boot. There was no way that 1000 calories was enough food for me to be anything except miserable.

 

Photo by Masahiro Naruse on Unsplash

While my mother cooked all of our meals and they were healthy food, sometimes they were calorie dense. I typically had 250 calories for breakfast, 250 for lunch and 500 for supper. A typical meal in our home was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green peas and cornbread or rolls. 500 calories did not get me a very full plate of that. By supper time I was ravenous due to low calorie intake during the day and 500 calories was just enough to tease me, especially when those 500 calories were made up of heavy Southern food. Between too few calories and the wrong food choices, my diets didn’t last long enough to make me skinny. Extreme hunger gave way to “cheating” on my diet and when my mom found out, she refused to help me any more. This cycle repeated itself until losing weight seemed like a torture chamber.

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Signs of The Times

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Have you ever noticed how the standard of beauty is continually changing? When I was under the age of about 10, curvaceous women were considered desirable. That seemed easy enough for young girls, as long as we managed to develop breasts, and most of us did. We had gotten to this very impressionable, critical time of our young lives thinking that was about all there was to being good-looking and then, everything changed. Eating to stay full was not a part of our lives.

photo by emiliano-vittoriosi-h7dWAkvPqOA-unsplash.jpg

Suddenly gaunt, bony, heroin-chic models were everywhere with their cheeks pulled in and their flat chests brazenly displayed in see-through, braless tops. Those of us who were approaching puberty with great anticipation of what was about to happen in our bodies, were suddenly taken aback as curves started showing up. As a generation, we starved ourselves and plunged into depression as sharp angles gave way to feminine softness. There was no way to avoid pain much less stay full. We were doomed to be fat. It became the norm to avoid eating altogether. We would never eat to stay full, only to ease the pain of the constant hunger that we all lived with every day. As soon as we felt like we could stand it another minute, we stopped eating. None of us learned how to eat healthy. We only learned that food was our sworn enemy.

Photo by Georgie Cobbs on Unsplash

REVOLUTION!

After being mercilessly tortured by society for years and falling prey to every fad diet that came down the track, a new culture began to emerge. Skipping right over the self-lovely, fat-acceptance trend, a group of women emerged that wanted to be the best that we can be. We chose to conform neither to the ever-changing trends of media and fashion OR to the feminist/self-lovely trend of ignoring fitness. As we found our equilibrium and came into a state of balance, we discovered that we can be curvy and athletic without being fat, unhealthy or ashamed of wanting to look good. Eating to stay full became a necessity.

While different cultures do have different ideas about what is attractive, there is nothing wrong with wanting a fit, healthy body at a body fat percentage that is pleasing to the eye. You can be whoever you want to be but for a huge number of proactive women, we stand united in the thought that it’s not only okay to strive to control our weight, but that it’s a good thing. The new body image that has emerged is a fit woman with adequate muscle for strength and self-reliance and low enough body fat percentage to wear anything we want to wear, (or not!) with  ultimate confidence.

It’s a common misconception that great bodies are made in the gym. While I am a fitness enthusiast, all of the strength training or cardio in the world will not give you a great shape if you eat too much. There is a skill to eating enough to stay full but keeping your calorie count low enough to have a good body fat percentage. It’s simply exactly what we teach, fill up on good, whole healthy foods and avoid added sugars and most processed foods most of the time. Learn to budget your calories like you budget money. Make them go as far as you can and you will stay satisfied and have the energy and stamina to get through your workouts.


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Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Eating to Stay Full Is All In Your Choices

The top picture is about 330 calories of muscle building protein and a bit of complex carbs in the green beans while the THREE servings of French Toast with butter AND regular pancake syrup are about 800-900 calories and tons of simple carbohydrates from all that white bread. Do I really have to elaborate? As we always tell you, weight management is about calories in-calories out. That French Toast breakfast will also leave you ravenous in a short period of time as those simple carbs break down into sugar and demand an insulin dump. I didn’t even count the orange juice, That’s another 100 or so calories of fruit sugar. This meal will not help you to stay full.

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

The grilled chicken salad pictured above is approximately 300 calories of great, lean protein and complex carbs that will fuel a workout. The burger as big as your head, pictured here with the washtub of fries is every bit of 1000 calories. Add in the ever-present milkshake and you just ate your calories for the day. This is a no-brainer. There’s nothing wrong with a good, 4-6 ounce burger patty on a whole grain bun with condiments that are weighed and measured. As is usually the case at fast food joints, this one here is just over-the-top. If you want a burger, have it, at home where YOU control the weight of every single ingredient. Serve it up on a whole grain bun and enjoy. You can even have French fries IN MODERATION. Slice them about the size of a pencil, ONE medium potato per person and simmer them in about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil per person. Drain them well, measure your oil and count the calories of how much your fries absorbed. You DON’T NEED a quart of oil to make fries. A home-made burger meal like this is delicious and will help you stay full for hours.

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Photo by Ulysse Pointcheval on Unsplash

The luscious steak dinner pictured above will cost you about 500 calories and supply large amounts of protein and trace minerals to build muscle and strength. Nothing helps you stay full like a steak dinner! If you eat at a buffet, the sky is the limit. While you may be able to be conservative at a buffet and make wise choices, the odds are against you. If you choose the buffet, you are intending to overeat. Order from the menu or go somewhere else altogether. Remember, YOU are in control of your life. Don’t leave these critical decisions to anyone else.

Your Most Important Body Part to Stay Full

We often refuse to use the tool that will make more difference in our lives than any other. We all have one. Agreeably, some are in better shape than others but if you’ve gotten this far in this article, yours is working pretty good. It’s your brain. THINK about what you are putting in your mouth. Download My Fitness Pal, or some other calorie counting app, and log your food. If you don’t want to do that then for God’s sake, write it down. We have a calorie/macronutrient chart that you can access here  with the calories listed for many foods. You can also look up the calorie content of any food online simply by typing in “calories (name of food)”.

Becoming conscientious of what you eat will take practice but it’s the most important thing that you can do to manage your weight and get the body that you want. Start logging your food today and never quit. Let it be as much a part of eating as opening your mouth. In no time at all you will see a difference. I promise.

Eating On The Run

Athlete In You

Photo by Leon Liu on Unsplash athlete

The Imposter

I can remember when I first started lifting weights about three years ago. Although I was dead serious about bodybuilding, when I first began building strength, I felt like an imposter. I was studying well-known females who were already successful in this sport and I didn’t feel like I was “one of them”. The same thing happened many years ago when I went from casual water activity to lap swimming. Little by little, I centered my life around the sport. Before long, I became an athlete, the most unlikely thing in the world for me to ever be.

My first squat was only 35 pounds and was little more than a 3/4 depth. I was so embarrassed. How on Earth could I possibly continue in this King of Exercises with this beginning? Little did I know that the difficulty of this endeavor would change me into an athlete. It seemed like an absurdity that I would ever even pick that bar up again. But I did, over and over.

As my hunger for progress drove me deeper into the Iron, I researched nutrition and committed to my workouts above everything. If anything hindered my progress, it fell to the wayside. I cut out people, habits and ideas that might slow me down. I entered into a state of mind that was new to me. I was willing to do anything to learn to lift. Still, I felt like an outsider, a “Wannabe”, anything except a Bodybuilder. It seemed that I was taking on a Herculean task  and I didn’t have the qualifications.

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Newbie Gains

Before long, I had a new swagger. My squat had grown from 35 to 80 pounds and I was full of myself. The weight that I was able to add pretty quickly was working. I was getting stronger every day. Mind you, I started this at the age of 61.

At about 80 pounds on the squat, I started sitting on the stairs to my “Dungeon” in the garage where I had built my weight pit, staring at the bar for long periods of time before I lifted. I was also approaching a 100 pound deadlift and I was anxious about that. Although David was skillfully coaching me, I could barely comprehend being able to deadlift 100 pounds. It was in these days that I had to decide if I was serious. The answer was always “Yes!” In the midst of Newbie Gains, the early increases in weight, you will begin to feel like you know something. Before long, you will begin to wonder if you can spell bodybuilding much less do it.

Photo by Javier Santos Guzmán on Unsplash

Going All In to Become an Athlete

After setting up my weight pit in my garage, I began to train harder. I had previously set up in my living room of a house where I lodged temporarily after relocating from being hit by a tornado.  (Before that I trained in a motel room after the hit, using totes as a weight rack.) I thought that I had a luxurious set-up. It was the entire living room of a really nice house with plush carpet and a big picture window. I was so proud of my gym. That’s where David taught me how to “ditch”. He told me to build some safety horses, like saw horses, and squat and deliberately throw off that weight and get out from under it.

Although my carpentry skills are pretty sad, I did my best. I squatted about 90 pounds and threw it off my back and lunged forward. The bar cleared me just fine. He had me do it again. This was necessary early on. Safety is EVERYTHING and I had to know how to get out from under that bar just in case I ever got down with more than I could raise. After that, my confidence became almost obnoxious, but I was falling deeper and deeper in love with the Iron. You know, “The Iron Never Lies” . What’s not to love? It does you up just right and leaves you better than it found you. Yes, just yes…

I was so proud of my gym that David didn’t tell me immediately that I had to work on a hard floor. When my squat began to fail. He told me I had to move onto a hard surface so that’s when I moved to the “Dungeon”, my garage that looked like the back room of the Salvation Army. It had a concrete floor though and that is exactly what I needed.

Photo by Javier Santos Guzmán on Unsplash

New Identity

When I first committed to lift, I was living in a terrible situation. I had to explain why I bought socks in a household with a good income. Something came over me as my heart was drawn to the bar. I had finagled around and managed to buy a kettle bell with interchangeable weights, but very quickly, I knew that I had to have a bar and the weights to go with it. I simply stated that I was going to buy them…and I did.

After the tornado, as we climbed out of the wreckage that was our home, I saw that my weights were unscathed. I quickly gathered them up and lugged them around the house debris to my car. Someone asked if I wanted them to take the weight set about 10 miles away for “safe-keeping”. I said “NO!” Although I was ridiculed for the very idea that I would lift in a motel room, that’s exactly what I did, alone, for weeks. The Iron had taken hold. It was the air that I breathed. It was making me into a new person that would not be denied or mistreated. Major life changes occurred that night. I never had to explain anything to anyone again unless I chose to do that. I had become someone unique. I had become myself.

 

Photo by Javier Santos Guzmán on Unsplash

New Day to Be an Athlete

After lifting in the temporary home for 10 months and steadily gaining strength, my son and I moved back into the home that was destroyed that fateful night. It was rebuilt like brand new and so was our life. My weights were getting heavier and I knew that it was time for an Olympic bar and a Power Rack. I had one very close call in the temporary home when I dropped one end of the bar across my throat in a Bench Press. With heavier weights, safety was even more important so I bought a Power Rack much like the one pictured above. I never thought that I would want an Olympic Bar but that time had come. When it does, you will never look back.

By now, I had struggled and clawed my way through Starting Strength and Mad Cow 5×5. I thought that I was tough. Little did I know what was looming in the not so distant future.

I well remember the day that David showed me The Hepburn Powerlifting Program the second time. He had familiarized me with it during the third program that I did called 531. I was getting in deeper and deeper and would not turn back if my life depended on it. One day when we were discussing my progress he told me that we were going to do Hepburn. The next day, I had it in Google Sheets and my life changed again.

 

 

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

The Agony and The Ecstasy

Although that picture is not me, the expression on the face of this athlete says it all. Just before I began Hepburn, a woman who was just not serious about her fitness looked at me and said, “Why do you do that to yourself?” She had no idea, and neither did I, of what was to come.

The Doug Hepburn Program is intended to build explosive strength for the athlete, and it does. It’s a commitment that few people can understand. It will test your limits of strength, commitment and endurance in every way. Although there are a few programs that are more difficult, it’s not for the weak of heart.

As I fought my way through each day, week and month of this program, I established my identity for myself. If this athlete had ever felt like an “imposter”, those days were far behind me now. I went down those steps to my gym like clockwork, like I was going to the gallows. Just before beginning Hepburn I had failed to set my safety pins one time on the Bench Press and almost died. There was no room for mistakes anymore. Hepburn became my proving ground. I progressed and struggled and cried but did not turn away from it until David said that it was time to move on.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash athlete

My Heart

From the beginning of weight lifting, I had wanted to be a Bodybuilder. I am vain and I want the look. Little did I know that I would have to walk through Hell to even be able to begin true Bodybuilding. Although it seems like pure vanity, if you are natural (no performance enhancing drugs or steroids), the skill, dedication, brute strength and endurance required for this sport is unimaginable for most people. Hepburn was necessary to get me strong enough to even begin what I bought that first Standard Bar to do. Even athletes who are using steroids are pushed to their limits in this demanding practice.

I am, and always will be, a Natty, a natural athlete. I understand the competitive nature of the business that pushes some people to do otherwise but Performance Enhancing Drugs are not for me. Notice what I just said. I AM a natural ATHLETE.

In the beginning, you won’t believe it. Along the way, you will think you’re faking it. Then one day, when you’ve walked through Hell and survived, you will know that you have become exactly what you set out to do. You are an athlete. You have paid your dues, now continue. As David says, “We don’t own our level of fitness. We’re only paying rent.” Many athletes contributed to the programs that benefited me and I will always be grateful. My greatest appreciation is for David, who sees me through my most difficult days with exactly what I need, when I need it. He does not go easy on me. His standards are high and I am forever grateful.

Choose your sport and do it over and over until it’s life to you.

That’s how you become an athlete.

Women’s Strength Training Program

Ab Doer 360, Just Don’t!

Ab Doer 360

Ab Doer 360+

Wow, just think, for three easy payments of $66.65 or one payment of $199.95, you too can have an Ab Doer 360 (or damn fancy office chair) to hang your laundry from too.

Why would you hang laundry from this fancy chair masquerading as a piece of fitness equipment you may ask? The answer is simple, you are going to be disappointed with your results from using it in very short order. Once you figure out that you have been had, you are going to put it somewhere where you might want to hang your clean laundry.  Another use would be as an extra chair when you have company over for dinner if you do not have enough to go around. Just be sure Grandma knows that it will tilt in any given direction before she sits in it.

What I find fundamentally wrong about the Ab Doer 360

The marketer of this piece of junk has a video on their advertisement that presents some bold promises that you will achieve the body you want by using it. The only truthful thing I heard was where they offered a book with nutrition information to help you lose even more weight than if you used the chair by itself.

NEWS FLASH!

It does not matter how much abdominal work you might do, if your diet is not on spot, you will never see your abdominal muscles. If you are overweight and considering buying the Ab Doer 360, you had best be prepared to drop your calories to 500 below what your body requires for maintenance. If you do not cut your caloric intake, your tummy is likely to only get larger when the muscle hypertrophy pushes the fat out even more than before. Abdominal muscles are made visible in the kitchen, not in the gym!

Best Exercises for Six Pack Abs!

The advertisement for the Ab Doer 360 has people in great condition using their product. But you should know that no serious athlete would waste their money on this. There are plenty of great abdominal and core exercises that you can do without wasting $199.95 of your hard earned cash.

Ab Doer 360 claims that you will have a total body transformation  faster than ever before through a full body workout that targets your core. They claim it is going to activate more muscles and will massage you all at the same time! You know what they say about things when they are too good to be true, right?

How does the Ab Doer 360 work?

When you watch the video they have on the advertisement, you will see fit people sitting in these chairs, moving about back and forth, side to side, and doing twisting motions. They claim that by doing the workout they provide you that you will burn more calories and build more muscle fast. As a strength trainer myself, I find these claims to be quite dubious. Yes, you might burn more calories than you would just sitting there like a lump, but you will also burn more calories than a couch potato if you are naturally fidgety.

Core Strength Development for Newbies

The bottom line truth is, if you have never been one to exercise, it is highly unlikely you will remain interested in a wobbly chair to get fit. As for muscle building, this is simply not going to do it for you. It takes hard work to build muscle at any age. If you are out of shape, the Ab Doer 360 is not going to get you even toned, especially if you do not have a corresponding change to healthier nutrition choices that come in below your actual caloric needs to remain at the same body weight.

Why Sit-ups Enlarge Your Gut

Consult your doctor before buying the Ab Doer 360!

I tell everyone to always consult with their doctor before beginning any new exercise regiment. And with the Ab Doer 360, I think it may be even more prudent for you to get clearance from your doctor before using one. The reason is, this contraption is not targeted at people who have been serious about physical fitness.

The Ab Doer 360 is designed to appeal to one who wants to begin an easy exercise routine since they are out of shape. If you are overweight and out of shape, all the twisting and bending you would do could be harmful to your back. This would be especially true for anyone who has already had a history of back problems beforehand.

If you are overweight and out of shape, my best advice to you is to save your money. You do not need a wobbly chair in your life. What you need is to begin daily walks with your doctors approval, and to clean up your nutrition. Once you have built up a little endurance, then think about adding simple body weight exercises to your daily walks. There is no need to waste your money.

For the best and most comprehensive nutrition, health and fitness information on the web, you can easily start following us at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We always have been, and always will be free to our followers!

 

Weight Loss Magic

 

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You Can Do Weight Loss Magic!

I always looked at people who were thinner than me and thought that they knew some kind of magic trick. I read fashion magazines and looked at the high fashion models in disbelief. How could they look like that!?! They had to be magical creatures with pixie dust flowing in their veins.

As I got older, I began reading health based magazines and books. As I perused those fitness models, I thought that they were the “lucky” ones. They simply had to have superior genetics and lots of money to afford special food and trainers and such. I even suspected that their good looks might involve a bit of surgery or trickery of some sort. While I was not far off in some cases, the critical factor that I overlooked was simply what they put into their mouths. They ate healthy amounts of healthy foods. All of the genetics, drugs, camera tricks and surgeries in the world could not produce those results if those models ate poorly. The “Magic” was what they ate.

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Words Into Action

I well remember all those “diets” that I was going to start tomorrow. It was always “after” something. After a birthday party, after the vacation and after supper all seemed like better times than RIGHT NOW. The day that I decided to start NOW, was a turning point in my life. I still had a lot to learn but when I decided to stop procrastinating, I was ready to fix my life. I just had to discover the magic.

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Accountability for Weight Loss

We tend to avoid being accountable for everything that we eat until we get serious about weight loss and health. We may “keep up with it in our heads”, avoiding logging each and every bite that we take. Bites of cupcakes at the school event, an extra dollop of sour cream on the baked potato and dessert “just one more time this week” all add up in a hurry. When we refuse to keep an accurate tally of the calories that we consume, we are stopping weight loss before it begins.

Many people have told me “I’ve cut back on my eating.” but when I ask them how many calories  they are eating, they don’t know. If that is the case, how do you know that you are eating less? It’s easy to lie to ourselves about our intake if we don’t journal it in some way. You can write it down on paper or use an app, but it is a mandatory part of weight loss. Programs that limit you to specific foods but do not require accountability are reinforcing bad habits. Lack of accountability is what got you overweight in the first place.

This is the time to quit eating added sugars. Foods with added sugars make your calorie count skyrocket and leave you under nourished because you have wasted your calories. Added sugars create foods with empty calories that keep you hungry and miserable. Those sugars create an insulin dump which lowers your blood sugar and you get hungry again quickly.

The first bit of magic for weight loss is count your calories.

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Explore

After learning to count your calories religiously, you may tend to eat the same things over and over. That will work for a while, but sooner or later you will need to explore different foods. You need to find ways to eat the foods that you love. That does not mean to eat sugar. It means finding foods that will give you a sweet taste that will satisfy your new taste for sweets. You will find that after you withdraw from added sugars, naturally sweet foods such as fruit will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.

It also means to find ways to cook other foods that conserve calories. I recently did a video on how to make low calorie french fries. These are not oven fries. They are french fries. You can fry a potato in 1-2 Tablespoon of oil and then still pour most of that oil back into a cup to measure just how much you are eating. Slice that potato into fries about the size of a pencil and put them in a seasoned, cast iron skillet in one layer and fry them on medium until brown on one side. Flip them and brown the other side and take them up, one at a time. Measure the oil left in the skillet and deduct that from the amount that you put in and track it. Salt them with your favorite popcorn seasoning or regular salt or both and enjoy! You don’t have to suffer to lose weight. You have to think and be willing to learn new habits. The old ones will only take you back to where you started.

The second bit of magic is be willing to learn.

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Toughen Up for Weight Loss!

Think about what you are trying to do. There’s a phrase, “Body Recomp”. It means “body recomposition” which is losing excess fat and gaining muscle. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made with built-in survival systems. If we are trying to change the cellular make-up of our bodies, we are delving deeply into advanced physiology. Everything in us will rebel. When you first begin to avoid sugar, you will have a real feeling of withdrawal. Sugar is a quick source of energy and our bodies get accustomed to having that for quick access. When we remove that, we feel it! You have to be ready for a few days of discomfort, but let me ask you a question here. Which is better, a week or two of discomfort or years of sickness brought on by the complications of obesity? Suck it up, Buttercup, if you want to realize your dreams.

The third bit of magic is be strong!

 

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Commit

People frequently fail at weight loss because they say, “I’ll TRY to lose weight.” That’s the problem because that means that they will do it if it’s comfortable.

We are creatures of habit. Change is never comfortable for us. Even if the changes are positive things that we really want and need to do, it is not comfortable. Unless you commit to stay on the path, when the craving for sugar gets intense, you will cave. Make up your mind that you will endure. Decide why you need to do this and don’t waver. The misery that you may feel in the beginning is short-lived but the rewards of enduring are for a lifetime.

The fourth and final bit of magic is endure.

 

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Guaranteed Weight Loss

If you do these things, you will be successful at weight loss. The magic is all in your habits and mindset. I was both elated and terrified when I discovered that the answer that I had been looking for most of my life was within me. Elated because I had the key, but terrified because I had to use it. No one was going to wave a magic wand over me and make me lose weight. Working the magic was my job alone. I practice this magic daily and my life is good.

Now, get out your jar of pixie dust and get started!

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM.

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How To Lose Weight – David’s Way to Health and Fitness (davidsway.blog)

How To Lose Weight

 

Genetics and Habits in Obesity

photo from pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3768146

Cause or Curse?

I first heard the phrase, “Generational Curse” 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.

What “Genetics” Will We Pass Down?

True, there are some tendencies that are familial. There are also 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 fail at achieving your goals. 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 90-95% that Mom’s choices that caused it. (1) 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. Habits are sometimes “familial”. That is not the same as “genetic”. Bad habits that are passed down can cause death and disease. That does not mean that you are doomed to have those diseases. You can choose to avoid the bad habits that cause them.

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What Have You 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. Learned Helplessness is perpetuated in many families as an excuse for bad behavior. I have seen it in relatives and the families of friends.

Decisions, Genetics and Choice

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. (3) 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.

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The Habits of 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. I assumed she had great genetics. 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.

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.

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It’s Not My Fault, It’s Genetics

(1) https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-causes

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

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920136/

Crush Your Weight Loss Goals!

 

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash marathon runner

Set Your Goals

Before we can begin to pursue a goal, it’s necessary to determine what those goals are. So often, people live for years just wanting to lose weight. They may have an unrealistic goal in mind. It could be to wear clothes that they wore when they were in high school or to be a size that is absurd for their frame. In recent years the Size 0 got to be a fad. In real life, there are very few people who actually should be a Size 0. A few years later the “thigh gap” craze began. With rare exception, no woman at a healthy weight should have a gap at her upper thighs. When we are setting goals it’s imperative that we are realistic. This does not mean to settle for less than your best body.

Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash female body behind plastic

It means to set the goal of making YOUR body the very best that it can be with the genetics that you have. All body types can be healthy and good-looking. Just because you find a picture that you like on Instagram that does not mean that is the best look for you. I am in pursuit of an athletic V-taper. Being a natural hourglass, I must accept the fact that my V-taper will be modified by curves. To try to change the very foundation of who I am is both absurd and pointless. It would lead to a life of endless, futile struggling and low self-esteem. I quit indulging in low self-esteem years ago

While I work long and hard at the iron, and other exercise, and stay within my caloric allowance every day, I am not in a struggle of futility. I have accepted my hourglass shape with appreciation that I can be both athletic and curvy at the same time. There are good points about every body type. Learn to enhance the body that you were given. Don’t ever fall into the thinking that one type is “better” than another. Unless you are a bodybuilding competitor, where a specific shape is the standard, that’s nonsense.

Photo by Windows on Unsplash researching

Do Your Weight Loss Research

Weight loss is simple. Eat less than you burn. It’s staggering when you consider the simplicity of the science involved and then note that there are infinite entities to help you do that. If a plan or program costs money other than the basic cost of whole, healthy food and a pair of good walking shoes, it’s possibly a money making plan. It may not be a weight loss plan. I know of such a company whose primary objective is merely to keep people coming back. That’s where they make their money, repeat business. If that is the business plan, then you may not lose weight and keep it off.

Another tactic is the prepackaged food programs. While we all might buy convenience foods from time to time, a steady stream of prepackaged foods is neither healthy or practical. Sooner or later you will tire of the salt and preservatives and stale, artificial quality of these meals and binge on food that tastes good. The feeling of shame and failure that accompanies “getting off of your diet” will most likely cause a downward spiral that will end in excess pounds. You very well may even gain more weight than you lost. In that case, the money that you lost will be part of the tragedy.

Fad Diets for Weight Loss

There are many fad diets that come and go. Many people think that keto is a new thing. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination! When I was 13 years old, my mother put me on what she called a “Low Carbohydrate Diet”. The idea was to eat as few carbs as possible. Believe me, I ate very few. I was also limited in calories, much unlike the keto of today. I averaged about 20-30 grams of carbs a day and about 1000 calories.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash spiral

Twilight Zone

By the third day, my ears were ringing and I could barely hear. Maybe I could hear but it didn’t seem like I could. Nothing made any sense. I had NO energy and could barely study. Since I was in the 8th grade and expected to make good grades, that was a horrible experience. There’s the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Air Force Diet and on and on… While you will lose weight on all of these diets, I can assure you, you won’t keep it off.

At David’s Way we merely supply you with the knowledge that you need to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. We charge nothing. There is no hidden cost. We encourage you to be the best YOU that you can be. Part of our methodology is to have a complete, fulfilling, healthy life all around. In the hectic, sometimes scary world that we live in, having a strong, healthy body, and a life that we have created with forethought, is an island of calm.

Commit To Weight Loss

So many times people misunderstand what a commitment is. It is a binding, such as in a contractual relationship. It is something that you agree to do, without waver. Oftentimes, at the commitment stage of a positive life change, the change is treated more like a suggestion. If we view weight loss merely as a suggestion or a good idea, when it seems tough, we will forget all about it. If we have determined in our heart that we will do this thing, there is no room for quibbling. Once a true commitment is made, we will find a way to execute our plan. At this stage, our motive is the most important element of implementing our plan. When it comes to weight loss, good health and mobility and being able to care for ourselves should be a strong motivation. Living independently in good health is it’s own reward.

Establish a Schedule

Goals are more easily realized when we work towards them on a regular schedule. Since I am a strength trainer, this is front and center for me. When we are building strength, programming is critical. I have to have a regular workout schedule. If I work out randomly, whenever I “feel like it”, I would never progress. Have a regular time for your meals as much as possible. Decide how many days you are going to work out and do it. Don’t look for excuses to deviate. Remember your reasons to commit. It’s okay to change the workout days within the week but make sure to exercise the number of times that you have committed to do.

Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash yellow tabby cat Charlie

Make Your World Small

Remove hindrances to your program, whether they are people who try to undermine you, or clutter in your workout room. Get what you need to be healthy. It may be good, healthy food or shoes. Whatever it is, get it. Don’t over buy thinking that if you spend enough money, that will do the trick. It won’t. You have to use what you buy in accordance with your programming. The $2000.00 treadmill that turns into a clothes rack won’t help you at all. A $40 pair of athletic shoes that you use on the walking track will work much better!

Check-Points

There is probably nothing more important to an ongoing healthy lifestyle than periodic evaluation. I weigh, measure and compare pictures from different times to assess my progress. I have found out that I need to do that at least every three months. As I begin bodybuilding as opposed to power lifting, I will be doing that monthly. When we are committed to a lifetime of healthy choices, occasional assessment helps us to make minor or major changes when we see trends either positive or negative. Without reassessment, we can get way off track before we realize that we have a problem. If we see that a change we made at our last assessment has had positive effects, we will know to keep it up.

Never underestimate what you are capable of doing. Achievement is possible only if you first believe that you can do it. Plan your work and work your plan. You are more than capable of crushing your weight loss goals.

Commit To Lose the Weight This Time

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Understanding Hydration

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Spring has now arrived and many of us physical fitness buffs will be taking our activities outside where we can enjoy nature as we go at our favorite outside recreational activities. Some will go for walks, while a good many of us will go at our activity vigorously enough to raise a sweat along with our heart rates. While it is my personal opinion that outside exercise is great for everyone, we have to be quite vigilant about our level of hydration as dehydration can not only hurt us, it can kill us. ALWAYS seek medical attention if you have ANY signs or symptoms of dehydration!

Hydration might seem a boring topic, yet it is an important one as there are people who really do not understand the implications of both dehydration, nor the ill effects of over hydrating. It was through my following of Weight Watchers social media Connect where I really became aware of some of the crazy ideas which proliferate the internet, ideas which range from being mildly ill informed to down right dangerous. The mildly ill informed crowd would be the folks who make it a point to drink one to two gallons of water per day with no solid scientific evidence to back up their reasoning, it was just something they read on the internet they should do in order to lose weight easier. For most people, the worst aspect of this would be never being able to get too far away from a bathroom during the day as they will be urinating on a frequent basis. When this practice becomes harmful is if the individual drinks enough to suffer a condition called hyponatremia, or water intoxication. Water intoxication is a result of drinking an extreme amount of water in a short time which will cause the level of salt, or sodium, in your blood to drop too low. This situation is serious and can be fatal.

 A downright dangerous idea I saw perpetuated on Connect was by a very popular male “Connector” who appears to have little else to do with his day than to flex his muscles for selfie pictures which he constantly posts every day. Many people who are struggling with weight loss and are new to physical fitness hang on every word this gentleman writes on his page. This fellow who is a huge influence to a great many people once wrote about how he likes to workout while dehydrated. This is an old body builder trick for just before competition in order to make their muscles appear more “cut”, or to have a clear separation between each muscle group. While this ignorant practice might be good for him, it is beyond the pale, that he would put this word out to people who for the most part do not know better than to workout while dehydrated. I called him out on this and was blocked not long afterwards. I sure hope this individual never put out dangerous word like that ever again.

Friends, before I get further into dehydration, refer to the chart below and remember this as a rule of thumb in regards to hydration; there is no magic amount of water you need to drink each day for your health. The amount you need is going to be unique to each individual based on not only how much water is consumed, but how much water is taken in through other sources of liquid, including food. Look at the simple chart below and use that as a hydration guide. By the color of your urine, you can know if you are taking in too little or too much water. Note, the upper color is a light straw and does not represent entirely clear, like water, urine. If your urine can pass for drinking water, you have likely depleted a good amount of your body’s electrolytes and you will need to replenish them before partaking in vigorous exercise.

To get more into science of this topic, did you know that the human body is made up of about 60% water?

Adequate hydration for healthy digestion of our foods, proper breathing, and just about every basic function. When you are not taking in enough water, dehydration will happen which can lead into less than favorable side effects. Unfortunately, more than 70% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration according to doctors (1). And because it can come in the form of several different symptoms, many people fail to notice that they are dehydrated.

What is dehydration?

Your body requires adequate water intake for every function it performs. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, severe, or chronic depending on how much fluid your body is missing.

  • Dehydration is your body’s negative reaction to having a water deficiency.
  • Chronic dehydration is a condition where dehydration lasts for longer periods of time.

Again, without sufficient hydration, your body cannot perform its basic functions properly. No matter your age, dehydration can occur for several reasons. Babies and elderly people are more prone to fluid deficiencies than adolescents and adults.

Young children are most likely to experience diarrhea and vomiting which purges both electrolytes and water, which increase the chances of dehydration. Babies also do not have fully developed kidneys. This means they will retain less water than they store in their tiny little bodies.

Older adults naturally have less water in their bodies and often times will not realize they are thirsty until dehydration has already set in. Additionally, elderly people are more susceptible to dehydration if they take certain medications like diuretics.

Causes of dehydration

The causes of dehydration can vary per individual depending on certain lifestyles, genetic and environmental factors. Most people are prone to dehydration under specific circumstances such as exercising frequently, illness and exposure to heat.

Your body loses water every day just through breathing, sweating, going to the bathroom and through saliva. If you have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, you are excreting additional fluids that can worsen dehydration. People who are active, exercise frequently, and sweat a lot also have an increased risk of fluid deficiencies.

In addition, some digestive tract issues can make you more prone to diarrhea which is linked to dehydration. Some of these conditions include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gluten sensitivity

Always, make it a habit to increase your water intake when you are releasing more water than you normally would.

Signs you are dehydrated:

  • Not urinating enough, or your urine is dark yellow. A simple way to determine if you are dehydrated is by checking the frequency of your bathroom trips as well as the color of your urine. If you are not urinating frequently, and when you do it is a darker color of yellow, chances are you have moderate dehydration. The darker it is, and the less frequent you do urinate, the more likely it is you are dehydrated, period. Start drinking more water as soon as you see that your pee is a darker yellow.
  • Dry skin. Research shows that your skin contains 30% water which is responsible for elasticity and plumpness. Many people who show signs of dehydrating may sometimes appear sweaty but as you go through the stages of dehydration, from mild to severe, your skin will become drier. Your skin may also appear red and flushed if you are dehydrated. Applying moisturizing lotion can alleviate some skin problems externally, but drinking more water will help your internal bodily functions to maintain healthy, supple skin.
  • Bad breath comes from dehydration when you are prevented from creating enough saliva. And since saliva has antibacterial properties, the lack of production can cause bacteria growth in your mouth that can lead to bad breath. If you have “zoo breath” reaching for a glass of water may be more effective than a piece of gum.
  • Experiencing muscle cramps! Refer back to the idiot telling people he likes to be dehydrated when working out, and the harm this can cause people. Exercising frequently, or working in hot weather can make you dehydrated and cause muscle cramps. As your muscles work harder, they will stop functioning properly, especially in a hot environment. Excessive sweating from exercise or heat worsens dehydration and also causes you to excrete vital minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you are experiencing muscle cramps, consider bringing a sugar free electrolyte drink as well as a water bottle and sipping on both throughout your day.
  • Fever like symptoms, having the chills and other flu like symptoms is commonly associated with infection. But dehydration is another culprit to having fever. When your body does not have adequate fluid levels, it becomes difficult for your body to maintain a stable body temperature which can lead to hyperthermia and fever symptoms. If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, immediately stop all physical activity you are doing and drink more fluids as well as electrolytes while you rest.
  • Not consuming enough water may result in fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Your brain is composed of more than 70% water so it is crucial to stay hydrated for optimal brain and body functioning. Severe dehydration can come in the form of confusion and feeling like you may pass out any second. If this occurs, take a seat, slowly drink water and give your body a rest before attempting any physical activity. Ensure you consume a source of essential vitamins and minerals from water filled fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, apples and watermelon.
  • Craving sweets and sugary treats. When you are dehydrated, it is difficult for your body to release glycogen (which uses water) as your main source of energy. If you are experiencing sudden hunger cravings for something sweet or salty, there is a good chance that dehydration is making it difficult for your body to release glucose into the bloodstream to use as a fuel source. Instead of giving into this craving, drink a glass of water or two.

How to avoid dehydration and rejuvenate your body.

Here are some tips for bouncing back from dehydration and restoring your body’s proper fluid levels. ALWAYS seek medical attention if you have ANY signs or symptoms of dehydration!

  • Keep a water bottle next to you at al times. If water is constantly in front of you and readily accessible, you will most likely get in the habit of sipping throughout the day without even noticing.
  • Add flavoring to your water if you do not like the blandness of water. Consider getting a zero calorie sweetener to satisfy your thirst and taste buds.
  • Eat more vegetables. Aim for large servings of vegetables in each one of your meals. Some fruits and vegetables are made up of 90% water such as watermelon, cucumber, celery, zucchini and lettuce.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both increase the frequency of your bathroom trips, resulting in a higher chance of dehydration.
  • Drink unsweetened tea. If you like tea, a few cups a day can help you reach proper fluid levels while benefiting from antioxidants. Avoid sweetened tea as the added sugar can worsen dehydration.
  • Workout less during extreme heat. It is hard enough to maintain proper hydration when you are working out in an air conditioned gym. If you are experiencing chronic dehydration, consider less intense exercises while it is hot out.
  • Drink a bottle of water first thing in the morning. When you are asleep, your body is still excreting fluids. More often than not, you are slightly dehydrated after a full nights rest. Drinking at least one glass of water as soon as you wake up is a great way to restore proper fluid levels.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise. Whether you are a beginner, or advanced in fitness, water intake should be one of your top priorities. We encourage drinking at least a glass of water three hours before exercise, sip on a bottle of water during your workout, and immediately after you finish.

Staying hydrated is key for optimal health and longevity.

Drinking enough water for optimum hydration can be a struggle for many people. Ranging from babies to older adults, dehydration can negatively impact your health at any age.

Putting conscious effort towards maintaining proper fluid levels will help you stay healthy and prevent dehydration from rearing it’s ugly head. If you are experiencing any of the tell tale signs mentioned above, consider adopting a few strategies above into your daily activity. Whether you are an athlete, construction worker, or live a sedentary lifestyle, drinking more water can help you improve your health and well being.

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How Much Water Do I Need?

(1) Claire Riley, AFPA Health, Nutrition & Fitness

Focus in Attaining Goals

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Focus makes everything easier. The rough, dangerous, annoying road to a local walking track that has been under construction, has “suddenly” been transformed into a magic carpet ride, smooth as silk.  The borders of the road are clearly defined with new paint and color.  It’s not only easy to traverse, but pleasant. This clearly defined pathway represents focus.

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Focus Changes Everything

As we navigate our lives we often lose focus on our goals.  This is the danger zone for our health initiatives.  As we become encumbered with the tasks and trials of daily existence, our lofty ideals of health and wellness can easily be pushed aside for more “necessary” tasks.  Our days become like the road under construction.  We can get through, but it’s a difficult task.  It’s frequently dangerous as we push ourselves to our limits without focus. We don’t enjoy it and the entire experience just wears us out.  How often do we skip a workout to manage the equivalent of a pothole in the road?  We tend to exhaust ourselves on distracting details.  We will arrive at our destination sooner if we keep our eyes on the goal.

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Make It Your Job with Focus!

The most important part of setting a goal is to be clear, detailed and focused. (1) Without this step, our minds wander and everything in the world distracts us from what is truly important.  Saying “I really need to do better.” will not give us the same results as “I will work out like it’s my job, every scheduled day.”   Everything in our lives should revolve around specific goals.

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Be Specific!

In my case, I lift weights four times per week.  My life revolves around that fact.  It is my job. Although I don’t get paid for working out, it is my first commitment, therefore it is my job.  My workouts get done by prioritizing them. There have been scheduling problems when I had to change which days I worked out.  I have not failed to work out the number of times scheduled since I made the decision to be specific.  It’s not always easy.  You would be stunned that I make this happen if you knew more about my life.  At first glance, it seems impossible.

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Without focus, we will fail.  It is not a question of whether we will or not. We will.  When we focus the journey is smoother.  We may go through hard times and dangerous places but focus redefines the pathway.  Suddenly, we know exactly what we have to do.  Then there are fewer distractions because the focus has expedited our journey.  Those unnecessary jolts, jars and potholes just don’t have a hold on us anymore.  We take note of them, but we are on a pre-determined path. With this path clearly in focus, our journey will deliver us to the doorstep of our ultimate goal.

10 Ways To Stay Focused During Stressful Times

Go ahead.  Set that goal and make it detailed.  Make it realistic.  Get committed to yourself. Focus on your goal and make it happen!

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¹www.pediatricservices.com/prof/prof-45.htm