Archives for posts with tag: men’s fitness over 40

KetoFood*This blog is NOT intended to endorse or recommend this type of diet. It is intended to give information on the how and why, my decision to proceed down this path and my personal experience during the process. I undertook this endeavor with my doctor’s supervision and the direction of a licensed clinical nutritionist.

I have been in the health and fitness industry for almost 28 years. During that time I have watched as many fitness and health fads and changes have taken place. The industry itself is wrought with an overabundance of popular trends not only for exercise but diet. These fads most of the time are simply temporary fashions promising the next best way to lose those extra 5 – 10 lbs., or to sculpt your body into the best shape, in the shortest amount of time.

Through the years, we as health and fitness professionals have become the initial demographic that these movements target, so that we in turn can share them with our clients. However, promoting these many and varied trends with little or no information on the evidence based research is not appropriate or professional. As a tenured health and wellness professional I make it a point to gather as much information as possible about a new fad or craze whether it be fitness or diet. Since I am not a licensed clinical nutritionist or dietician it is not within my scope of practice to recommend any diet, I simply share and report what has worked for me in the past and offer suggestions on reliable resources as well as give referrals to qualified diet and nutrition professionals.

So, I decided to have my own first hand experience with a low carb diet. To do so I enlisted the aid of a skilled licensed clinical nutritionist whom I know well and has touted the many virtues of a low carb high fat/ketogenic diet, and also involved my MD in this adventure.

My nutritionist asked for a copy of my most recent blood work from my medical files. After a thorough review of my history and a request for additional lab tests I was placed on a supplement regime in order to optimize my metabolism and ease my transition into this new lifestyle.

About two weeks after starting my new supplement program I then began to lower my carbohydrates. I mentally geared myself up for this process by outfitting my kitchen and refrigerator. I began eating grass fed red meat, free range lamb, wild or sustainably farmed salmon, as well as organic/free range chicken. I began to lower my daily carbohydrate intake to 100g or less. I used Google and my kitchen food scale to calculate my carbohydrate intake. I have also included medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) in order to source the necessary building block for ketones that will gradually and eventually allow me to transition deriving my energy needs from carbohydrate/glucose to fat.

I stopped using nut and seed oils for cooking and moved to using ghee (clarified butter), and coconut oil instead. I started using olive oil for flavoring after cooking or on salad only. As a point of clarification my intention is not use olive oil at high heat. The following were the foods that I have begun to use for my daily carbohydrates: small amount of sweet potato, white basmati rice, onion, spinach, kale, blueberries, cherries and pineapple for a smoothie with pea protein. I removed all all nightshade vegetables from my diet in order to better manage inflammation: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, all peppers but black pepper, paprika. Most days I have successfully kept my carbs below 100 grams, many days I have gone lower than 50. This is a personal exploration in meeting my daily energy requirements from a low carb high fat diet (LCHF) in order to have a first hand experience how this shift in my macro nutrients affects my body composition, exercise stamina, mood and cognitive function, digestion and overall sense of well being.

And so the journey begins…

Stay tuned for the next installment.

 

 

Stretch3

 

What really is flexibility? – Well to put it succinctly – flexibility is a measure of the range of motion around a joint or series of joints. Flexibility is usually most limited by the joint’s physical structure which includes the bone, connective tissue and muscle. And what’s most important is that both men and women can improve flexibility with training.

It is truly important for all of us and especially those of us in our ‘prime’ to make flexibility training a regular part of our workout routine – or as I like to say our ‘Living Well’ commitment.
Did you know that there is scientific evidence that the incidence of injury actually decreases when we include flexibility training in our regular daily routines? The reason for this is that flexibility training gives us an enhanced ability to move better through a wider ROM – or range of motion.
The last thing that any of us wants to do is lose our mobility as we age, and the simple fact of the matter is that flexibility decreases as we age. Being flexible and mobile increases and enhances our lives as we age and helps ensure our independence. In addition – flexibility reduces our chances of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.
Increased flexibility can increase and improve our performance of everyday activities as well as our performance in exercise and sport. It can also reduce our risk of injury during exercise or our daily activities because muscles are more pliable and supple. Further – flexibility training helps balance the musculature of our body and improves our posture!
Keep in mind a few things:
• Stretching should be included after every workout to improve and maintain overall flexibility.
• Stretching should never be painful – remember it is best to bring your muscle to a point of tension and above all-  breathe through your stretching.
•Don’t cut your stretching short – doing so is just cutting yourself short. Stretch for at least 5 – 10 minutes, preferably longer than shorter. This is esp. true for all of you ‘prime’ time stretchers out there.
•And for optimal results give ‘dynamic stretching’ a try – this involves using increasingly dynamic moves through the full ROM of a joint.

Activities such as Pilates are great to incorporate into your daily stretching and strengthening routine – remember Joe Pilates used to say that ‘a man is as old as his spine is flexible!’.
If you need some further advice don’t hesitate to contact me.

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!

Drop your pants, lay down on your side on the examination table. The snap of rubber gloves and a then a cold moist finger being put….

Yes, that’s how it goes gentlemen when we have to succumb to the dreaded of all test at the doctor’s office – the Prostate Exam! We all know that this is the test/exam that we don’t like to talk about, however remember it is actually one of the most important that we need to have on a regular basis.

November is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, that is why I am growing a moustache in honor of Prostate and Testicular Cancer Awareness. For more information go to:  http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5699537/k.BEF4/Home.htm

Here are some important facts to know:

Did you know that Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America affecting 1 in 6 men? There are several factors that influence risk:

Age – the older you are the more likely you are to be diagnosed with Prostate cancer – for example the rate for men under 40 is 1 in 10,000 men, but that rate shoots up to 1 in 15 men for ages 60 – 69.

Race – African-American men are more likely t develop Prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men, and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. Asian men who live in Asia actually have the lowest risk.

Family history/genetics – A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease.

Where you live – For men in the U.S., the risk of developing prostate cancer is 17%. For men who live in rural China, it’s 2%. However, when Chinese men move to the western culture, their risk increases substantially.

Men who live in cities north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia, PA, Columbus, OH, and Provo, UT, for instance) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States. This effect appears to be mediated by inadequate sunlight during three months of the year, which reduces vitamin D levels.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.

Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

You should consult with your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above.

The above information was provided by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Stay tuned for my next installment about Prostate cancer and why I believe Men and those who love Men need to know the facts and understand all of aspects of this disease! I truly believe that the attention and funding that we have given to Breast cancer in Women, should be the same that we give to Prostate cancer in men.

It’s been awhile sine The Prime Male has made a post – but that is all about to change, more on that later. Since we are currently in the midst of the summer, I couldn’t think of a better time to talk about ‘Sweat’. 

Sweating is vital to our health, if you could not sweat you would actually die! So think of it this way – men who are actually in the best shape will actually sweat the quickest and the most. Sweating is our bodies way of cooling itself. So when you exercise regularly your body is better able to deal with the ‘heat’ generated with exercise and jump into action to cool and cope. Therefore the more efficient you become at sweating, the better you are able to hold onto sodium which prevents muscle cramping. I can remember as a kid when my Dad was working out in the yard in the middle of the sweltering Florida summer sun and perspiring profusely, he would take a break, run in the house and pour about a teaspoon of salt into his glass of water. He explained to me that this was to counteract all of the loss of sodium from sweating. Hmmm – I guess what he didn’t realize was that he was already a ‘good sweater’ and he already got enough sodium from his diet.

Here are a few good rules of thumb for healthy sweating:

1) Be sure to drink plenty of liquids – water is the best. Keep in mind that after an hour or so of heavy sweating you would need to replace electrolytes and some sodium, so a sports drink would be appropriate – I personally like to dilute the sports drink with water. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that 2 – 3 hours before exercising drink 2 – 3 glasses  of water and then try to drink 8 – 10 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise.

2) Be sure to get plenty of sleep/rest. There are some studies that suggest that lack of sleep negatively effects sweat production.

3) Be sure to adapt to conditions. Sweating in a humid environment doesn’t allow for the evaporation of the perspiration which actually cools the body. Acclimating to heat and environment is very similar to acclimating to altitude. So if you workout in a gym or ‘air conditioned’ environment then suddenly step outside into a hot humid summer environment the effects on the body will be considerable.

4) Be sure to wear the ‘right’ workout clothes – think breathable clothing. So even if you don’t want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe of ‘breathable’ fitness workout wear – your cotton clothing should be just fine, it gets wet – but it does breathe.

5) Do not try to force sweat by wearing something that is completely breathable – like a plastic bag. Let it happen naturally. Do not wear antiperspirants during exercises – deodorants are just fine. Let your sweat glands breathe!

Happy Healthy Sexy Sweating.

Back again with some more gym equipment that would be best for you to avoid gentlemen.

The Seated Lat Pull Down (behind the neck): This machine is supposed to train your upper back, back – (think lats) and biceps. The problem is that unless your shoulders are extremely flexible it can cause an impingement in your shoulder joint and possibly even damage the rotator cuff. Further prime males most of us, even the ladies have some form of a rotator cuff injury or tear by the time we reach 50 anyway – so why make it worse? If you are insistent upon using this machine then do the pull down in the front leaning back slightly with a straight back and engaged torso for support. Better yet – why not try incline pull-ups? Begin by  placing  a bar on a squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands and then hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Next, keep your torso engaged and pull your chest up to the bar 10 – 15 repetitions. You can make this exercise more difficult by lower the bar or easier by raising the bar.

Smith Machine Squats: This exercise is predominantly supposed to train your legs – (hamstrings, glutes, quads). What actually ends up happening is because the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track – the movement arc is very linear and therefore does not create a natural or arched movement plane. This unnatural movement then puts undue stress on not only the back but also the knees and the shoulders.

A better alternative would be to do body weight squats where you focus on descending (squatting) with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. You can do 15 – 20 repetitions per set and increase sets as you get stronger.