I still get amused hearing and seeing people in my age bracket(mid 40’s), reading up on how some kid (half our age is a kid to us!) got all jacked, or all ripped, or just had a major transformation, and now this will become their new dietary and exercise plan. We all see it everyday, this 20-year-old-something kid (male and female) promoting the best diet, supplements, workout routine, etc, etc., and giving us this little bit of inspiration, “maybe this what I’ve been looking for?” I know many of you don’t want to hear this, but once we hit that mid-30’s mark in life, our bodies are dramatically different than how they functioned just 10 years prior. I am not saying go out and buy that rocking chair for your front porch and accept the sedentary life till the sunset. But we have to also understand that in regards to our bodily processes, mainly our hormone production, and we couple it with our activity factor, we are nothing like that which we used to be. Seeing this person consume 150 grams of protein per day, and a 3500 calorie meal plan, there is probably less than a 1% chance that you generate enough activity on a daily basis that would justify this type of caloric consumption! We can still optimize our human performance naturally, and still feel that we have that youth to do the things we truly enjoy doing, but first and foremost, we must learn to tailor our daily habits to align with our physiological makeup.
First and foremost, once we hit our 30’s, scientists say we begin to lose about 1% of our testosterone levels per year. This hormone is essential for bone density, red blood cell production, muscle strength and mass, reduction of body fat, and our sex drive. With this being the case, and our objective is that we still want to stay lean, still be active and strong, and just feel like we still have that pep to get up and go! So if our hormone levels have dropped 10, 15% over the last decade, how to do we stay youthful?
First, we must learn to maximize our ability for the body to promote testosterone production. The only way to promote this activity in the body, is we must engage in activity that stresses the muscles beyond their normal capacity. So even though those nice walks in the evening make you feel good that you got some activity in and burned some calories, you are not promoting the body’s ability to increase testosterone. This is why the concept of “HIIT” is so important to practice in your daily activity. Here is how you can take that evening walk and create a safe and effective HIIT workout: (always check with a medical professional and proceed with care and caution)
- Walk to warm up for the first 2-3 minutes, to bring your heart rate up to about 60% of maximum
- For a 30 second period, begin a power walk or run and keep it up for the entire 30 seconds.
- Bring back to a walk for the next 1-2 minutes
- Repeat for 6-7 more times.
- Cool down.
Now you have just doubled your caloric expenditure and increased your body’s ability to build lean muscle tissue and burn more fat throughout the day.
Next, we have to look at your diet. Even though the final word is still out, there are more and more scientific studies being published about the benefits of intermittent fasting. Simply, going longer periods of time with no or minimal caloric intake, forcing the body to convert its primary energy source to fat rather than sugar. There are a few different methods of IF, but for me, going 16 hours without food and eating my food in between the hours of 12-7 have shown the best results for myself and the ability to adhere to this schedule. The simple fact of the matter is, we as humans were not designed to eat 3 meals a day and snack in between. Studies have shown that our body actually becomes stronger when it is subjected to periods of “starvation” which shows that through evolution, this is something we had experienced. Below is an excerpt from a great article by a Professor from Johns Hopkins which I will include the link to read the entire article:
…..”Mattson’s studies have built on decades-old research establishing a connection between caloric intake and brain function. In laboratory experiments, Mattson and his colleagues have found that intermittent fasting—limiting caloric intake at least two days a week—can help improve neural connections in the hippocampus while protecting neurons against the accumulation of amyloid plaques, a protein prevalent in people with Alzheimer’s disease. “Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and we think that your brain reacts by activating adaptive stress responses that help it cope with disease,” says Mattson. “From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense your brain should be functioning well when you haven’t been able to obtain food for a while.”
These 2 changes into your life can make a world of difference, and not only slow down the aging process, but help your body and mind revert back as far as humanly possible to help you feel the youngest and most energetic as humanly possible. Good luck!