imagesSummer is in full swing and the 4th of July is almost upon us. Being cool and staying cool this summer is probably on your mind. With the plethora of ways to stay cool this summer and be cool – make sure that you keep hydration on top of your to-do list. Outdoor activities and exercises are a great way to take advantage of the warm and sunny days of summer. Did you know that the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has determined that for every 1% body mass you lose through ‘sweat’ that your heart rate ticks up 3 beats per minute which of course means that your heart has to work harder?

Staying hydrated is your best defense – hydration helps your body hold in more water and thereby allows your heart not to work so hard. That means if you really like the outdoor strenuous activities, hydration is VERY helpful and will actually allow you to exercise with a higher intensity. Remember that it’s important to hydrate before your workout – not just during your workout. Something interesting to do would be to weigh yourself before you begin your workout and then again after your sweat inducing workout and make a note of how much ‘sweat weight’ you actually lose. Then the first thing you should do before your next workout is to take in that amount of water first. While water is your best go to choice for hydration the following liquids work as well!

Iced Coffee – that’s right I said ‘Iced Coffee’ – some recent research has noted that regular coffee drinkers (3 – 6 cups per day) get just as hydrated from coffee as water – and you also get an endurance boost from the caffeine.
Coconut Water – offers the same amount of hydration as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and water.
Watermelon Juice (my personal favorite) – Just 17 ounces before exercise can lead to less soreness after your workout. You can make this with seedless watermelon and a blender!

Oh and one other thing – when your outside – please don’t forget the sunscreen! Remember a proper warm-up and stretching is key to maintaining your flexibility and long term positive effects of your workout – especially in your Prime!

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I must confess – I have been keeping something from all of you. After hearing all of the chatter about gluten and dairy and the benefits of deleting those items from your diet I decided to give it a go. About 12 months ago I went gluten and dairy free as a personal experiment to see what all of the fuss was about.

Of course I had read the articles – both pro and con and listened to friends testimonials about the positive benefits of deleting these two items from their diet. I felt that my best course of action was to do this myself and see if I actually noticed anything. I will admit that I was skeptical. I thought,  really – deleting bread and dairy would make that big of a difference. No – impossible!

Well to my surprise I was wrong. Not only did I start to feel better in less than 10 days, or as it is sometimes called ‘coming out of the gluten fog’. I really truly did feel better! Clear, more energetic and believe it or not that clearness actually allowed me to see things in a different light. Then of course there was the fact that I dropped 3 pounds easily and actually looked like I lost more weight. Weight loss was not the intention of my stab at a gluten and dairy free lifestyle, but it was certainly a welcome side effect.

So – needless to say I was sold. I have always been recommending to everyone that one of the most important things you could do to lose weight is to eat less and of course eat healthy – read no processed foods, etc.

Over the course of the next 10 months I slowly started eating more dairy again – cheese in particular. Compared to the average American I was still eating far less dairy. The good news for me is that I never really liked milk – even as a young child. Sure I liked cheese and of course ice cream, whipped cream etc….but truly only in small amounts.

In the last two months a group of my friends here in CO got together and decided to try on another ‘diet’ called the CleanProgram.com. First – allow me to say that I am NOT offering advice or a recommendation here on nutrition, but rather sharing my personal experience in MY process. In short – the Clean Program requires you to not only delete gluten and dairy but also coffee, soda, alcohol, beef pork, the night shade vegetables, bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes, corn, soy and processed sugar. (For more information on this diet go to http://www.CleanProgram.com).

I will admit that the coffee, sugar and alcohol deletion were challenging – but after the first 4 – 5 days that deletion became a breeze. The long and the short of my experience –  I felt much better, had more energy, felt clearer and dropped another 3 pounds. However – the interesting thing that happened is now I don’t crave those deleted ‘things’ anymore like I had previously, ESP the sugar. Yes – I am drinking coffee now – but with stevia as a sweetener, and yes I have the occasional alcoholic libation. However – my internal desire to eat/drink all of those deleted items has subsequently subsided.

Will this work for you?  – I’m not sure. I am here only to share my experience and to state that I am not going back to my ‘old school’ eating habits. Something inside of me has ‘reset’ and I feel that much better because it has happened. Yes – of course I still will allow myself to have indulgences, but they are just that INDULGENCES. So – I strongly recommend that you try this for yourself (of course make sure you share what you are doing with your health care provider), and see if you too notice a change – for the better. Keep in mind though that ‘old habits are hard to break’ – so be kind to yourself in the process.

Here’s a link for some more information on exactly what’s going on with ‘gluten’ these days – and yes as usual it has something to do with the processing….http://www.alternet.org/food/could-baker-solve-gluten-mystery

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Out with the OLD – In with the NEW. It is a NEW YEAR – so of course it’s time to try something NEW! Or is it?

Here we are almost one month into the New Year. Hopefully you are on track with whatever resolution, change or improvement you have decided to make with your life. if you are not – that’s OK too. Every day is a New Day and a perfect reason for a New Beginning or a Positive Life Changing Step.

After all of my years in the Fitness and Wellness profession the one thing that you can’t get away from are the Trends or as I refer to them  What’s  HOT. Trends have been around for years –  and when I mean years I’m talking about more than 100…. For the 2nd year in a row the prestigious American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has listed the Top 20 Exercises Trends without including Pilates in that Trend. According to these esteemed researchers (Ahem) since Pilates is no longer in the Top 20 trends then according to them it truly must be a ‘FAD’.

Seriously – Pilates a Fad? The Pilates method has been in continuous use here in the US since (depending on which story you believe) approximately 1929 ish. I personally don’t know of any Fads that have been in existence for 85 years – do you? However – I do digress…

Everything is measured by its popularity – even health, fitness and wellness. Health, Fitness and Wellness is NOT a Trend, Fad or Flash in the Pan – it is a commitment  to a lifestyle  that embodies  health, fitness and wellness. This type of commitment knows no ‘hip’ or ‘trendy’ names and is not governed by the popular press – or God forbid some Reality Show.  This commitment involves the embodiment of a healthy life style and for each person that commitment is different. Sometimes it’s easy to dive into this lifestyle head first and sometimes it’s better achieved just one step at a time. Whatever route you take as long as your final destination is a healthier you then when you started out on the path – you have accomplished your goal.

Therefore if one path doesn’t get you there,  try another. As I mentioned before –  the best fitness program is the one that you stick with and actually thrive. Since there have been Fitness trends around for more than 100 years let’s suffice it to say, I’m sure that One of them is the correct choice for you. One old trend that I really like is ‘Old School” fitness utilizing body weight training and movements. This type of training is especially valuable for everyone and in my opinion one of the Top choices for the 40+ demographic. Pilates falls into this category – but wait a minute Pilates is just a fad according to ACSM isn’t it? Some of the others that fall into this ‘old’ school category actually date back to the 1880’s. Calisthenics, Indian Clubs, Gymnastics, Rope climbing, Fencing – just to name a few. For fun – here’s a link to a book that dates back to the 1880’s and features many of these modalities. https://archive.org/details/physicalcultwest00houg  It was a simpler time – mastering those exercises may have not have been that simple but the effects were profound.

The good news here is that whatever exercises you decide to do, maybe you should take a look back in time before you decide to move ahead. If you have a any questions don’t hesitate to contact me – Kevin@theprimemale.com

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I’m sure many of you have heard or read this before. What’s the best type of Exercise or Fitness Program?  – The one you stick with…! AND you can start on that Program any time – not just on new years.

There were 5 relatively simple things you could do to address your health in the last blog. Here are some tips to assist in getting your Exercise/Fitness program off the ground.

1) Assess honestly where you are now and where you would like to be in say 6 months. Remember to keep your expectations realistic and achievable. Establish some basic primary goals – say one thing you can do from a health standpoint – (cut out soda) – and one thing from a fitness standpoint – (increase my weekly cardiovascular activity by 50%).

2) Keep in mind that daily activity is cumulative. Therefore if you have a free 15 minutes – why not take a quick walk, do some stretching or floor work exercises. Keeping yourself active and moving throughout the day is key to increasing your health!

3) Many a New Year/New Exercise Program resolution has been halted by injury. Don’t get  too aggressive at getting fit quickly when you are just getting started. You may become injured, feel a lot of soreness, or think of exercise as an unpleasant experience – all of which could quickly put to an end all you best intentions!

Start out Slowly and then gradually progress. Remember you didn’t become deconditioned overnight and you will not become super-fit over night either.
 
4) When in doubt consult with an expert. If you are just getting started a well-educated, qualified and experienced personal trainer is your best go to professional  to set you up on the road to success. One on One training can be expensive so there are actually now other options that are more cost-effective. Splitting the cost of the trainer with a friend, Small group training (3 – 6) participants, specialized group exercise classes or even online training options are plentiful.
 
5) Combine your cardiovascular activity with some body weight training activities to get a well-rounded, efficient and effective workout.
Next – Sometimes what’s old is new again…
 

How many time have we all either read or heard that tag line? The beginning of a New Year presents many things to us: new beginnings, an end to the old, a chance for a new outlook or beginning, a new commitment to getting healthy and fit…..

It seems to me that the saying ‘A New Year ahealth-tips-for-new-year New You and the thought process behind it sets up defeat for the majority of those wishing to move themselves into a new place of health, wellness and vitality. That’s why I have waited to post anything about the New Year and getting fit or healthy until now. Starting a new trek to health, fitness or positive life changes can happen at any time, and in my opinion trying to make those things happen at a particular time of year may not necessarily be the best way to handle your health in the long run.

Any time of year is a good time to change your lifestyle and begin to incorporate a new perspective. What’s important is to keep things in context. For example – you didn’t gain those extra twenty pounds overnight – and you are not going to lose those extra twenty pounds overnight either. A deliberate and perhaps even slow pace to a New Improved You is actually the quickest way to get there. So if you are just getting started – here are a few tips to begin the journey. 1) Cut salt for heart health. 2) Stay sharp – a healthy diet can help cut the risk if dementia. Healthy unsaturated fats and very few saturated fats are an easy way to start. 3) Keep your bones strong – A recent study in The Journal of Cellular Physiology found a connection between probiotic supplements and increased bone density in male mice. I know you are not a male mouse but researchers believe that there is something to this – and men loses bone mass after 50 much like women do. 4) Drink water for prostate health, unfortunately most men prefer soda over water and that’s not good for your prostate. Soda could increase your risk for prostate cancer, increase weight gain and even lead to diabetes. 5) And finally for your sexual health and general health for that matter – go natural. Avoid red meats and for better performance get more protein from plants and powerhouses such as black and red kidney beans, and cut back on red meat, refined sugars and trans fat. Red meat can clog your arteries which can cause erectile dysfunction and lead to increased levels of HDL.

Next up we’ll talk about some simple ways to increase your fitness levels – Remember a slow steady pace will always win out in the long run!

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It’s Christmas Eve and at least for me it’s a great day to do some reflection on the past year and what this season means. Ever since I was a kid, Christmas time has always been my favorite time of year, and I’m sure that’s true for quite a few people in this world. Since my birthday and Christmas are literally the same day I sometime feel like I have to cram as many things as I can into the season and that one day. Sometimes I even tricked myself into thinking that I was happiest at this time of year – and yes as a child I probably was. Who wouldn’t be with all of the awe and wonder of the season about them and the abundance of gifts (ESP for me all on one day).  

As I aged though I realized that all of those things truly didn’t equate to happiness. This year 4 important people who came through my life – left this world for another place. One of them was only around for a short time, yet he left a definitive mark on my life and others and sadly left his world by his own hand. Another I had know for 36 years, we had many ups and also some downs. He had a way of making everything around him ‘beautiful’. Sadly we had lost touch due to some of the ridiculous BS that happens in our lives. He moved on because as I understand it he had lost his will to live and stopped taking his medications and caring about life. Yet another put up a courageous fight with cancer not one but three times and in the end left this world peacefully and in so doing left a wife, daughter, son and countless others whose lives he touched to be inspired by his love and humor and carry them on. The female of the group had the most significant impact on not only my life but many others. She believed in me at a time when others were closing doors in my face, took me under her wing and allowed me to birth a movement for the professional Pilates community.

I look back on my personal experience with these individuals and of course think – why didn’t I call more often, why didn’t I tell them that I cared about them deeply, why, why why? This of course is quite a typical response for many of us, it’s understandable, it’s human, it’s life.  

Now it’s time for me to take that regret and turn it into something else before I am confronted with any more regret. Harvard just released a study 75 years in the making on what men need to live a happy life. George Valliant who directed the study summed it up in his own words, the #1 most important finding from the Grant Study is this: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love.  Full stop.” 

So my wish for all of you and myself at this special time of year is LOVE. To be able to give it, receive it and nurture it on a regular basis – Merry Christmas!

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Gentleman and Ladies. Tis the season to take care of yourself and SURVIVE. During the holiday Season while we are all busily running around attending parties or fighting Holiday traffic trying to find that perfect gift – don’t forget charity and gift giving begins at home. AND by home, I mean yourself. Be sure to take some time for yourself. Try to use a key thought throughout this entire time – MODERATION.  Office parties for example are just that ‘Office’. There’s a time and a place to let your wild side show and the office party is neither the time nor the place. At the ‘office’ party and all other parties – sampling all of the food that you don’t normally allow yourself to indulge in during the rest of the year in my opinion is perfectly acceptable. Notice however I use the word sample, not over – indulge. Did you know that according to the national Institute for Health over eating during the holidays can lead to an extra pound or two per year, that can really add up. 

Because the Holidays are such an emotional time of year they can bring up such a response in us that they can trigger us to eat more. “Research has shown that our emotions and our thoughts seem to actually play a bigger role than environmental cues — we eat in response to feelings — and for many people, the holidays can drum up a whole treasure chest of feelings, both good and bad,” according to heather Neimer Phd. This subject is actually quite involved and certainly deserves some more attention which I can shed some light on at a later date. Be aware too of the ‘food pushers’, those folks whether they be co-workers, family or friends who just won’t take NO when they offer you some of their holiday deliciousness. Remember,  it’s OK to say no – just be polite and firm. If that doesn’t work you can tell a little white lie – such as you have a food allergy, or….

Be sure to take some time to Exercise or Move. Even though your time will be compromised – this could be a good time to get an early start on your New Years Health resolution and try an Interval Training Class – or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Please be sure to do a quick bit of research before diving head first into one of these classes – make sure that the instructor(s) are highly knowledgeable and ‘SAFE’. The beauty of these type of classes is that they are short and they work – but again make sure the class is ‘SAFE’ and that the instructor has knowledge of working with a person in their Prime. More very soon on Surviving the Holidays!