Fitness Over 40

You Thought This Was About Fitness?

I guess I can see you point, since 21 days of exercising is at the core of this process.  But this assumption would be incorrect, however, fitness is a vehicle to reach the goal that I have placed on myself.  Coming up with 21 Shred was to help build mental and physical strength by facing that dark side in your life: for me, that was alcohol.  It had become a dependency in my life to help cope with anxiety and the stresses of my life.  I have always looked at myself as a strong and determined person, so the idea that something is controlling me is an unacceptable thought, but it took me many years to accept that.  21 Shred is about facing those demons in your life.  It can be something as strong as alcohol, or maybe you have an addiction to sugar, or you just don’t have the motivation to get up and exercise.  Whatever that is, this is about facing it and conquering it.

21 Days to form a habit, so once you establish “whats your 21?” it is time to face it head on and prove to yourself and to that demon, that you will not be controlled by that force.  You are the one in control, and it is up to you to conquer it.  As I am conquering mine, I welcome all that are looking for someone going through the same experience and can be that support system to get through this.

So why 21 days of exercise?  First, it’s good for the mind and body.  But secondly, I am well aware that there would be soreness and fatigue, all the factors that would tell the mind to force the body to “rest and recuperate”  Not during this 21 day period.  This 21 day period is about being uncomfortable, it is about feeling like you want to give up.  I wanted to put everything in place that I could to create an environment that pushes me to the limit of wanting to quit.  And well my friend, I am just in the beginning, so my strength is yet to be determined.

So why Intermittent Fasting?  I will refer to the above section about being uncomfortable.  Going 16 hours of fasting can be a challenge, especially when you are not consuming any artificial foods or sugars.  Actually, as I state in my book, not consuming these makes it easier since you are eliminating blood sugar spikes and reducing hunger pains.  There is plenty of research now backing the benefits of intermittent fasting both mental and physical and to me, it just makes the most sense as to how our bodies were designed to eat in the first place.

Yes, this is a fitness challenge, but that is just a piece of this pie.  This is a mental challenge.  A test to show you that you are strong, and you can overcome the obstacles in your life that are holding you back, or leading you down a path that is undesirable.   And as your Shred Head Coach, I want to make sure you are successful!

37957-quotes-about-overcoming-adversity

Fitness Over 40

Day 2: 21 Shred Wrap Up

First complete day of a 16 hour fast, followed by a workout in which I could barely move in the beginning.  Legs are very sore, which was anticipated, and within a few minutes had the blood flowing and reduced the soreness by about 70%.  Allowed me to at least complete my workout, and to help with recovery, I took out the jump lunges and lunges with side laterals and replaced with a plank dumbbell row and a shoulder complex movement.

Once 11am hit this morning, my first veggie smoothie tasted better than just about anything I can remember.  Here was my diet intake for the day:

  • 11am: parsley, chia seed, 1/2 banana, blueberries, 2 scoops vegan protein powder
  • 1pm ish:  almonds and apple
  • 3ish:  baja salad mixed with quinoa and brown rice blend
  • 5ish:  beet powder, and supplements recharge
  • 7pm:  grilled swordfish over spinach, avocado, tomato

Will finish with my fat burning cocktail in about an hour, then off to bed for day 3 to begin!

Health and Happiness!

Fitness Over 40

No “Guaranteed Results!”

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”- Carl Jung

About to turn 46, I would believe at this point that I have learned quite a few things about life and human nature, all which I am grateful for and able to apply to my life on a daily basis.  One of the reasons I was motivated to sit down and write “Reinvented: A Survivors Guide” was that I remember feeling just few years back, when I had achieved probably the best level of health and fitness in my life, how I would have bet I found the answer!  Each day, was just a pillar in my belief system strengthening my foundation towards a healthy and active lifestyle.  I thought there was absolutely no way, having learned what I learned, applied what I was applying, that I would ever result back to being out of shape and over weight again.  Several years later, I can remember just thinking, “what the hell happened?”

Life

Writing the book was a therapeutic journey for me to reflect back on the changes I had made in my life, and how creating these small successes in my life, and being grateful for all that my life had to offer me, helped develop my mindset to shed well over 30 pounds, and feel better about my physical and mental state than before.  The hard part, was then having to dig into those memories and occurrences in my life that began to subtlety tear apart the fabric that had been woven in my life.  Small stresses that I allowed to dominate my thoughts, and cultivated those beliefs until it grew into constant anxiety.  Anxiety that soon had taken over my subconscious mind and the only way to alleviate moments was through alcohol.   In combination with the reduced anxiety and stress, also reduced my ability to control my will.  I found that during the day, I would eat healthy and stay motivated, until the mental laxative of alcohol soon let everything come out.   I would be quick to anger, quick to explain everything that was wrong with society, and quick to eat whatever the frick I wanted.  Slowly, that weight of 190lbs was over 200, then 210, then 220 and ultimately 230lbs of depressed and frustrated man.

I needed this though.  Just last evening, sitting with my family for dinner, and my youngest son said to me, “dad, I like when you’re sober.”  I wanted to first get up and dismiss myself, not from anger at my children, but from complete embarrassment.  This was their father?  I had let it get that bad?  But hearing that, was just more confirmation of why I am doing this.  For them.  I know it will not be easy, and it will be a daily struggle, but I will replay his statement to me every second I can think of it.  Which is what I explain in my book, and why I titled this post “No Guarantees” because in order achieve anything worth while in life, requires constant, consistent effort.   Chances are, if something comes quickly, it will be gone just as quick.  Reinvention, so to speak, occurs on a daily basis.  We all wish we could hit that “reset” button and start over, but unfortunately, every day we face the world, we are going to be hit as hard as we are willing to push.  This is why now when I see weight loss claims about “losing it and keeping it off” I am just like, “no, no, that is not how it works, sorry.”  This reinvention has to occur everyday, and everyday you choose to pursue that goal, you must gather the strength to tackle that task.  The greater the reward, the greater the resistance.  I knew I had to change, and I knew the strength was building inside me, and I so badly wanted it to happen immediately, however, I wasn’t ready.  The world still hadn’t prepared me to reinvent myself into the person I knew I should be.  I still had to go through some more bumps and bruises.

I can still remember though, the day I woke up and said, “today is the day” and from that moment, I was like a fist of fury, obsessed with my outcome and the 21 Shred was how I was going to prove to myself that I still have the mental fortitude to pursue and persist.  As I write this, completing 2 days of workouts, and 19 more to go, I am sore as you know what, but my passion is just growing stronger every second to prove to myself that I am one of the most persistent and mentally strong people I know.  I have never accepted defeat easily, and I will look for every opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

So my wish, during this journey, is to hopefully inspire, at the least, provide someone the encouragement that failure does not exist until accepted as such.  I think Bruce Lee said that, but if there is something you want, you are going to have to go through walls, but if in your mind, you have already decided it has been accomplished, it now just a matter of time and consistent effort, and the Universe will decide when you are ready to receive.   I would highly recommend that you download my 5 Steps To Manifestation on the sidebar if you are at a point in your life that you know you want and deserve more, but are not too sure how to get there.  I put myself through this exercise, and this process is what connected my thoughts to the Universe and taught me how to listen.  Once you listen, the Universe will align you with the people and the opportunities that will guide you to your desired outcome.  THIS, I guarantee!!

I wish you health, happiness, and success in your days!

Fitness Over 40

Supplements of Choice:

Always the million dollar question.  I would probably say that if questioned about specific types of supplements, I tend to favor the natural way over adding a bunch of questionable ingredients into my system, produced from who knows where, and with who knows what in them?

I have found in terms of helping me recover a little bit faster, giving me a little more energy, and more focus throughout the day, here is my afternoon cocktail when I feel like in times like this, my body can use a little extra push:

bulk

Fitness Over 40

Day 1 on 21 Shred: In the books

Like anything in life, the excitement of beginning something new helps fuel the motivation and ambition to succeed.  When that “honeymoon” phase wears out, it is what separates the doers and the not-doers.  So completing day 1 was a success, and I am proud of my accomplishment (more the decision to undertake this mental and physical challenge) and I will look to use the accomplishment as more motivation to keep myself going.

Took my son with me in the afternoon to shop for food at the wholesale club and our local farmers market for some organic fresh veggies.  Here was my list:

  • Coconut milk
  • vegan burgers
  • raw almonds
  • vegan vanilla protein powder
  • avocados
  • guacamole
  • wild caught swordfish
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • organic corn
  • organic black beans
  • spaghetti squash
  • turkey
  • bananas
  • spinach

I posted my 21 Shred routine in the previous blog, so this one is dedicated to my “Veg-aleo” approach to my diet yesterday.:  All the times are “-ish”.

  • 11am: fruit and veggie smoothie with almond milk (no pic
  • 12:30: tried a new vegan burger and was impressed!
  • 2pm: handful of raw almonds and apple
  • 4pm: my favorite baja salad over whole sprouted brown rice and quinoa
  • 7pm:  turkey spaghetti in a bowl of spaghetti squash.
  • 9pm: fat burner tonic to cleanse the body

Now that the food intake is complete, nothing will be consumed(except for black coffee in the morning) until 11am the following morning.  Yesterday, I weighed myself at 227, which was about where I expected, but still hard to digest how fat I have gotten.

Definitely was sore this morning from yesterdays day 1 workout.  Wasn’t trying to go easy, but also wasn’t trying to kill myself either.  But no doubt, the glutes and hamstrings are sore, so needed a little more warmup this morning before Day 2 of 21 Shred.

Have an awesome day!  All recipes are posted on our private facebook page.  Register now at www.whatsyour21.com and use coupon code 21Shred for 50% off for a limited time.

Fitness Over 40

The Beginning Has Begun

I honestly had troubles sleeping last night.  A mixture of excitement and nervousness consumed my mind, causing me to wake up several times throughout the night, mixed in with dreams of how my video production and getting everything set up was in complete disarray.  Well, workout #1 is completed, felt awesome to do so, but no doubt, looking forward to upgrading and improving the “exercise studio” to every ones viewing pleasure.

I wanted to post the video to todays workout, so anyone who is curious what the 21 Shred Workout looks like, can watch in its entirety. After today, all the daily videos will be on our members page at http://www.whatsyour21.com and click on “shred heads”.  I am surprised (also concerned) that my legs are a bit wobbly now that the workout is completed.  Might have some soreness tomorrow that I have to work through.

Now that the workout is complete, I will finish my large glass of water, enjoy a hot cup of black coffee, then off to the Co-op to get some organic produce for my first meal at 11am.  Still not completely sure of its ingredients, a lot depends on what’s available there and looks ripe.  My goal is to make a green smoothie with almond/coconut milk, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, spinach or parsley, hemp seeds, and maybe some mango or pineapple.

Anyone not familiar with intermittent fasting, remember to first:

  • welcome the feelings of hunger.  Science has already proven the benefits of this program for our bodies and mind, so this state of hunger was something modern man and women experienced and adapted to.
  • Don’t calorie count!  Remember, you are eating for only a 8 hour period, eat throughout the day foods that are low on the glycemic index (all explained in my book).
  • Stay away from “set meals” throughout the day.  Eat only as your body requires, just grazing on foods at intermittent periods.  Your last meal of the day is your feast!

coupon1

Fitness Over 40

The Recharge I Needed!

Last week, I was fortunate to arrive home safely from our trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the Keewenaw, which is right on Lake Superior.  I have never discovered as much beauty in this world, until I visited here.  There is no question, my soul values time to be in peace and feel connected to the world around me.  Shuffling around on a crowded beach with thousands of people around me is no idea for me of a relaxing vacation.  Being able to take my coffee, sit quietly with my feet in the slightly cold waters of Lake Superior, surrounded by forests, wildlife, bald eagles, and just the calmness of the waters so gently washing up against the sand.  It is amazing out rejuvenated I feel after several days of this luxury.

During this time, it allowed me to focus in on “who is the person I want to be?”  It became ever so clear, when defining my passions in life, outside of family, more in line with my purpose, these are:

  1. health and fitness- regardless of my personal struggles in this area, it is still what drives me each and every day.
  2. Helping people- I never thought I was a true people person, since my personality is more of an introvert, however, that sensitivity is what allows me to see perspectives from other peoples eyes.  In my opinion, I don’t believe there is a better quality that could exist than the goal of always seeking to understand before seeking to be understood.
  3. Being an Entrepreneur- My mind never shuts down, it is probably just another situation that creates anxiety and the purpose behind my “whatsyour21.com”  I have taken up meditation, which has helped, but as soon as my feet hit the ground, my mind starts going a mile a minute.

All this, tied up neatly in a bow, lead to my www.whatsyour21.com.  I realized that if I can put myself out there as someone who can help people, I first need to learn to master myself.  This is my journey, this is my passion, this is my purpose!

Health and Happiness!

Fitness Over 40

Tomorrow: My life changes forever!

It has really been a mental warm up to get to this point, but I am ready for the challenge, and more importantly, the change.  Tomorrow morning will be my first day on my 21 Shred challenge, which is going to test me mentally and physically by going 21 consecutive days performing the 21 Shred workout program, and the 21 day nutrition plan that includes Veg-Aleo and Intermittent Fasting.  Truthfully, that is the easy part for me.  It is also the first time in almost 10 years that I will be refraining from alcohol for that long of a period.  It seems so sad to me to even write that, but it’s true.  But I am doing this for my children, and most importantly, my middle son with special needs, who needs his dad around for a much longer time.  He will be my motivation through this.  No doubt, I am excited, but at the same time, so nervous.  My anxiety has been a challenge to deal with, and the use of alcohol for almost 10 years has created that dependency that will be hard to break.

My hopes are that I will be able to connect with others who are going to be going through similar challenges, and we can all pull together to encourage and motivate one another to create this change that will hopefully be long lasting.  I have been around the block long enough to know that it takes 21 consecutive days to form a new habit, and at the age of 46, teaching this old dog a new trick will be nothing short of a miracle.

Tomorrow morning will be my first of the exercise program, which not having exercised rigorously for over a month, I am going to welcome the challenge.  My objective however, being that I have to do this for 21 consecutive days, I will have to remember to not completely exhaust myself in that I will create soreness that will make day 2 very uncomfortable!  I have my dumbbells, and I have my space cleared out to get this program under way!

This is a call to any out there like me, who have been wanting to overcome either a food or lack of motivation habit, and want to finish the year of 2017 in a stronger and healthier body.  Go to www.whatsyour21.com and consider joining the challenge with me!  The more we get together for support, the better chance of success we will all have!

Cheers to a healthy and happy rest of 2017!

Fitness Over 40

Progression of Activities For Exercising

I was asked a question earlier today, so I am going to put on my degree and certification as a Corrective Exercise Specialist through the NASM to answer.  I was asked if it was good to do static stretching before working out to get the muscles “loosened” up.  For example, bending down to touch your toes to loosen the hamstrings and lower back.  The answer to this question, most cases, is “no.”  I will first answer why, then explain the proper progression of before and after workout.

In attempt to simplify for anyone not too familiar with muscle anatomy and physiology, I will first show you a diagram of how our muscles look under a super microscope.  Example in that this could be your bicep muscle:

fiber

If you look further, there are sections broken down into actin and myosin, in which the image below, you can see when you make a muscle or your muscle has to contract to help lift or move something, these filaments move across one another, back and forth, creating movement in the muscle.  Contraction, relaxation.  There are potentially hundreds of these sections that run along a muscle, all performing their duties of contracting and relaxing in unison to help move your body in manner intended.

actin-myosin

What happens throughout our day, muscles can become damaged, or be stressed to a point that they may be prone to injury, so in order to prevent further damage, sections as shown above will remain in that contracted period, almost like a stubborn child who crosses his arms and says “no!  I am not moving!”  So a person might have a bicep or we will use a more real life situation, a hamstring muscle that can move, however, there may be many sections that are “stuck” and will not engage in activity with the others.  So a person may be running, but potentially, a section of the hamstring muscle is not being engaged, actually making the ones that are engaged, have to try and work harder to maintain a proper movement pattern.  This could result in a complete “charlie horse” which some people right now are saying, “oh yeah! those damn things hurt!”

So why wouldn’t stretching prior to exercise help with this?  Simply for the reason that all you would be stretching are the sections of those actin and myosin fibers that are not “locked” up.  The damaged sections would remain locked and you would still be subjected to further injury engaging in your activities.  So what is best?

The best thing you can do prior to engaging in activity, especially one requiring a greater amount of force production, would be either a foam roller or some type of massage pressure into the areas that are locked.  The reason for doing this is called Muscle Spindles, which help protect our muscles from over stretching when a stretch is applied.  By applying pressure to the area that is locked, and by holding that pressure there, it deactivates the muscle spindles and allows for the actin and myosin to unlock and return to its normal resting length.   I have included a good pdf to help you get started on foam rolling if you have never done this before.  This is one I own.  Simple and cost effective: Order right from Amazon for $19.00

So prior to exercise, spending 10-15 minutes doing some foam rolling is a great way to unlock those sections that are not mobile, and once we complete the areas and create more muscle activation, it is on to some dynamic flexibility and general warmup.

This can be accomplished by some running in place, arm circles, walking lunges, jumping jacks and the like.  The purpose now is to get the muscles to begin contracting, forcing blood into the area, and warming up the muscles.  Complete your movements in long and accentuated manner to provide full range of motion around the joint.

Now it is time to perform your activity of running, jumping or weight lifting.  Now, not only are you warmed up and ready for the activity, you will have a greater force production in that muscle since all cylinders are firing!

Once you complete your activity, now is a good time to complete your bout of static stretching, stretching the muscles and tendons that have shortened due to physical exertion.

Following this progression should allow you a safer and less injury prone session of activity.  Good luck!

Credentials:

Masters Degree in Corrective and Rehabilitative Exercise

Licensed with National Academy of Sports Medicine as Corrective Exercise Specialist

Fitness Over 40

21 Days To Form a New Habit!

3tj4reAnyone else out there that can relate to this?  Had great intentions on that “beach body” for the summer, and here we are, end of July and you’re thinking, “well that didn’t go as planned!”  Yep, me too.  Took on a new job, this was the first time I worked full time while the boys were off, kind of just threw me off my game!

No more excuses!  We all can make them.  It’s time to get laser like focus and test our mental and physical capabilities by completing the 21 Day Shred.  This will be 21 consecutive days of 21 exercises, performed in 30 second intervals with 30 second rest, all body weight and some dumbbell exercises, performed in the comfort of your own home.  Live video feed for those that want to follow along at 5:30am EST or complete on your own time.  We will be tracking on our private facebook page and pushing and motivating each other to keep going!  In the end, 2 men and 2 women will be chosen by the group who represented the contest the best by logging each consecutive day, and being there to motivate and support the others.

In addition, the goal of the group is to make a few dietary changes as well.  This includes the follow:

  • No added sugar.  If the label says “sugar” do not consume!
  • No breads
  • No alcohol
  • No processed meats, crackers, cookies, or anything artificial
  • No dairy
  • No concentrated fruit juices

Think you can do it?  I am betting that as a group, we all can!  In addition, completing the exercises I have outlined will benefit in the following ways:

  • Spike the metabolism into high gear with 21 consecutive days of exercise.
  • Develop phenomenal core and stability strength
  • Develop a strong mental attitude
  • Provide support and encouragement for all contestants
  • Lay the foundation for new habits, since it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

Click here to view the contest details and see the exercises that will be performed during the 21 days.  There will be variation to the exercises, but all are of medium difficulty and can be performed by most.  How much determination do you have?  Enough to make it for 21 days?

I am going for it, and I would love to see you too!