Fitness Over 40

The “Food-Like” Culture

As I write these food related posts, I must begin to explain that I too, like the rest of society, has been sucked in to the culture of “food-like” nutrition that has plagued our American diet.  I spend a lot of time discussing this in my book, since overcoming the addiction of what food manufacturers have created is by far, the biggest obstacle to overcome in the quest for proper health and nutrition.  So what is “food-like” products?  I would probably imagine by now you can read between the lines and figure out it is food that has been converted, processed, refined, artificially flavored, colored, and preserved and put into a very attractive bag or box, celebrity endorsed or just heavily promoted, and typically inexpensive food that sits on the shelves at your local grocery store.  I briefly touched on this in my last post about the meat industry, stating that 100 years ago, there was no such thing as any of the above listed items found in our food.  The introduction of all these chemicals have created a very unhealthy society, and it’s only getting unhealthier.

Unfortunately, as much as these products taste good, our society truly doesn’t understand the magnitude of the food they are consuming.  Again, pointing back to the fact that we have become so detached from our food, that we don’t even question its relevancy anymore to our overall health and well being.  To us, it’s about enjoying the taste, and providing the calories that our body and mind think we need.  I will spell it out right now:  THIS IS NOT FOOD!  I know that the old phrase, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck; it’s probably a duck.  So you think to yourself: “it smells like food, it tastes like food, so it must be food!”  Unfortunately some truth there, but looking further into the industry behind that food sheds light on a completely different picture!  There is a great book by Michael Moss, called “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” which really opens the door to discussing how the food manufacturers are working to create a food so closely to have the same addictive properties as a drug.  By combining those three things into food, and at exact amount in order to create something called a “Bliss Factor” which creates this immediate pleasure to the system that says, “oh yeah! I want more of that!”  It is really funny to think about the idea that these food manufacturers are basically scientists that are in a lab, adding more of this, taking away some of this, adding this, and all in search to get you addicted to their product so that you keep coming back for more.  This is how sad our food system has become, it has pretty much gone away from the farm, and now is built inside a laboratory.

With this much effort put into creating an addictive food product, no wonder it is so hard to try and eat a well balanced and healthy diet! Not to mention, if you are a father like me, having 3 teenage boys who see these commercials and they see their friends bringing it in their lunch bags to school, they ride your coat tails to get some in the house. And of course, in a weak moment, you come home, you are hungry, it will take 30 minutes or so to prepare a healthy meal, so it is so easy to just grab that bag or box and eat a few, and a few more, and some more, and next thing you know, you have consumed the same amount of calories you would have consumed in that healthy meal you were about to prepare. So what do we do?

This was an area I had to discuss about more thoroughly in my book, since the psychology of eating plays a much greater factor in our food choices than simply the nutrition or purpose.  I (at the time of my vegan run) had to daily work on verbally announcing to myself when I saw a bag of something on the shelf or a box of something in the pantry, I had to tell myself, “that is not food!”  and I would have to search my house for something that nature had provided me, not the laboratory.  Simply put, the only thing I would allow myself to eat would be a food item where the ingredient, was the ingredient!  Make sense?  It had to in its natural form, a piece of fruit, vegetable, or something else that grew out of the earth, but not in a processed form!  If there were more ingredients than the ingredient, it was off limits!

This little activity actually began to give me power.  Sounds funny, but having the strength to say no to artificial food-like food and yes to something natural, even though I would go through periods of feeling hungry, this sense of inner strength made me proud of my decision and each time, it became easier and easier.

Try practicing this activity, and I promise you will begin to see improvements in your health and energy levels!

Fitness Over 40

Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan? Which is best?

I love food and nutrition.  I almost went back to school to receive my nutrition degree, but I believed at the time preparing my son for college was more important.  I didn’t think that having that degree would significantly advance my career.  But during my time teaching college, I would teach a basic nutrition course for my students, and we always enjoyed learning about the “popular diets” and eating styles that people engage in, all looking for that “secret” to better health.  Let’s look at a few of the most popular ones:

  • Vegetarian: no meat products, but will eat byproducts of those such as eggs and dairy.
  • Vegan: Absolutely no meat or meat related products.
  • Paleo: Eat as first humans ate, just from the land.  Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and meat.

There are plenty of other diets that fall into the category of “fad” diet, so I would like to focus on these and lead into how Veg-aleo came into play.  Looking at that list, if you had to choose which one our body was most conditioned to follow from a basic human nature standpoint, which would you choose?  I hope you said Paleo, since for millions of years until up to the last almost 100 years; the human being only was able to eat what the land provided.  There was no such thing as a cookie (in today’s terms at least) a thousand years ago.  So it is logical to think that we are conditioned to eat in a certain way, it is in our DNA, and it is how the human evolved into our current state.  Now, advancement and the current evolving of our society is going to change, there is no doubt about that.  However, it cannot be argued that we are in the unhealthiest of states we’ve ever been and it just gets worse every year.  The food we eat becomes more and more processed (looking for that bliss factor), and we become more sedentary as a society, putting everything within our finger tips reach.  My point is that this has just occurred over the last 100 years, and it’s only getting more advanced by the minute.  But the hundreds of thousands of years before that, the human being did not eat foods that were filled with artificial ingredients and chemicals.  This has become a shock to the body, and the only way the body can react is to become sick and unhealthy.

For me personally, I believe you cannot go wrong consuming as many fruits and vegetables in a day as you can tolerate.  Most people don’t realize that by consuming more fruits and vegetables, you will fill up the stomach much faster than processed foods and fats.  I love this diagram:

veggies-oils-fats-1024x576

This is why during the day, I try to keep my cooler filled with a bag of spinach, apple, banana, carrots, strawberry’s, kale and any fresh stuff I can get my hands on.  I keep my nutribullet at work with me, and every few hours, I grind up some chia seeds, let it sit in the water for about 15 minutes, then throw in my fruits and vegetables.  In the afternoon, I also like to add a scoop of vegan protein powder and some branched chain amino acids for muscle repair.

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I purchase mine right online from A1supplements.com.  Today I added a handful of organic spinach, about 8 strawberries, teaspoon of ground up chia seeds, a scoop each of Muscle Martini and Vanilla Vegan Protein Powder.  Trust me, add 1 or 2 all fruit and vegetable smoothie into your diet, and you will be surprised how little your blood sugar spikes and crashes, leaving you feeling more satisfied throughout the day.

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Let the games begin…almost!

If you are like me, I can get inspired in a moments notice, and within the hour, it was like it almost never occurred.  I am aware that hitting that 40 mark is a game changer, and everything that “makes you a man” begins to slowly diminish.  Let’s face it, 100 years ago the average life expectancy of men was around 46, that is pretty depressing!  I am sure you can agree that in my mind, I still feel like a 20 year old.

So, this brings me around to the current post.  I know there are guys out there who have reached the 40 year mark and feel similar feelings that I do.  Even if you don’t, I would imagine that you still feel that hitting 40 took a turn of events in regards to your energy and activity level.  And like me, it would feel good to have that “inner drive” again and get up every day with the desire to conquer your goals.

Curious, any 40 year old guys out there relating to what I am saying?  In this day of community support through social media, what better way to get back in shape than to create a fitness group challenge where each day we can perform some basic exercises, calculate our points, and compete for the top 3 spots of the month for the cash winnings.

Introducing the Sisu Fit Games!  Some people might not have heard the word “sisu” and until my in-laws of Finnish decent introduced me to it, hadn’t heard of it either.  It means “perseverance, determination, guts, tenacity, stubbornness, and steadfastness.”  Basically the unwillingness to give up.  I love that word!  I learned that later in my life, that you must always possess some “Sisu” to accomplish anything worthwhile in life.  Now, here is our time to regain that inner and outer strength and compete in a friendly, supportive and encouraging manner.  Here are the details:

Eligibility:

  • Men 40 and over.  Must take a picture of drivers license(blur out license number) so that DOB is showing.

  • Classification of age group will be awarded points in the following manner:

    • 40-45 calculated points

    • 46-50 calculated points x 1.2 factor

    • 51-55 calculated points x 1.5 factor

    • 56 and over calculated points x 1.75 factor

  • Must have the ability to video record and post short workout segments for point verification.

  • Must have a distance tracking device via cell phone app or GPS monitor.

  • Must have a Facebook account.  Will be invited to our Private Group.

  • Exercise equipment needed:  Pull up bar and Abdominal Wheel (strength bands may be desired to help with assisted pull ups)

Rules:

  • Official launch date is September 1, 2017

  • Calender of exercises shown here: sept2017 

  • Each day on sisufitgames.com, a specific exercise will be assigned(air squats, push ups, plank, pull ups, 1 mile run, etc) with a directional video going over the details of the exercise, point value of completed repetitions, what is considered acceptable variations, and is not acceptable.

  • Contestants will have 2 minutes to complete as many repetitions(1 mile run n/a) in proper and acceptable form.  The repetitions must be video recorded with verbal time and date stamp.  All recordings must be from a side view(except pullups and ones noted).

  • Contestants are allowed to complete as many 2 minute rounds prior to 9 pm (EST) that evening as desired for maximum point values.  Only 2 minute video segments may be uploaded per time. Once round is completed, video is to be uploaded to the private FB page with point value noted.

  • Contestants must complete a point value form which will be provided with the exercise of the day, to be submitted by 9 pm that day the exercise was assigned.

    How To Compete In Sisu Fit Games

Log onto sisufitgames.com and go to the “EOD” page.

Screenshot 2017-07-05 10.03.11

You will see the EOD and instructional videos to complete each version Record and complete your 2 minute round of the EOD Click on the “Submit Your Points Here link Total your points for properly completed repetitions Screenshot 2017-07-05 10.05.05 Submit your points once entered Visit our Facebook page to upload your video of your 2 minute clip Official Rules for Standard of Conduct on Social Media Here Screenshot 2017-07-05 10.03.34 Post your video You may complete as many times during the day as you are able to Visit our Leader Board on Sisufitgames.com to see your ranking

  • At 9 pm on the last day of the month, winners will be announced.

  • 1st place: 50% of the jackpot

  • 2nd place: 30% of the jackpot

  • 3rd place: 20% of the jackpot

    • Jackpot amount is indicative of the amount of eligible contestants registered for that given month.

  • Winning distribution through Paypal or Visa Check Card.

  • Yes, I will be competing as well in the games, however, any personal winnings will be put back into the cash pot for the next month of competition!
  • To be eligible for each monthly contest, participant must submit entrance fee of $15 ($12 prize account, $3 processing) prior to the 1st day of each month.

To register go to www.sisufitgames.comDo you haveSisu_

 

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Make Yourself Bulletproof 

Starting off on a good note, definitely the key to a productive day.  Like all dietary challenges, staying away from sugar is the diet killer.  That damn thing is just as addictive as drugs (not been there, but believe it would be).  Understanding some things about nutrition and human performance, fat is awesome energy source, and like carbohydrates, it can be broken down to glucose for sustained energy.  Unlike sugar(carbohydrates), it has many, many chains of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen so it takes longer for the body to create glucose from fat.  This is why I like to start my day with bulletproof coffee, which is a teaspoon of ghee and also coconut oil.  It seems to satisfy my desire for food and provides me a good energy source for my workout.

Monday Workout:

  • Started with a 2000 meter row
  • completed 3 sets of as many reps on TRX rows and inverted pushups with stands
  • completed 3 sets of TRX chest press into a superman for as many reps
  • Finished with 10 minutes of interval sprints on the treadmill.
    • 2:30 warm up light jog
    • :30 sprint at 7 mph
    • 1:30 light jog at 4.5 mph
    • :30 sprint at 8mph
    • 1:30 light jog
    • :30 sprint at 9mph
    • 1:30 light jog
    • :30 sprint at 9.5 mph
    • walk cool down

Fueled up and repair with 3 scrambled eggs with spinach, topped with guacamole and a few strawberry’s.  On with the day!


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Afternoon Pick-me-up 

Have coffee left over from the morning? (Part of me feels like this is a dumb question since most people use Keurigs nowadays) I guess I am still old school (or economical) since I still like to brew a pot. Here is a filling afternoon mocha latte to add to your coffee:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 or whole frozen banana for sweetness
  • 1/4 c raw non sweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c almond or coconut milk
  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract

Whip up in a blender, enjoy!

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Goin Back To My Roots…Way Back

Looking back a few years ago, no doubt, implementing my “Veg-Aleo” eating was the single greatest contributor to getting lean and in the best shape of my 40 year life! Over the last several weeks, I have found myself slowing shifting my daily diet back into a more “off the land” mentality. As I describe in book, it brings a natural primitive feeling to me and seems to feel connected to my soul. Of course I am asked constantly about what I eat throughout the day, so today I took a pic of “what’s in my lunchbox?” Just another day to reinvent yourself and be your best! I will update later as to the “-Aleo” part of my food intake. 

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The GI Chart: The Holy Grail of Health

A brief passage from my book, “Reinvented After 40”

…Depending on how easy our body converts to glucose determines the body’s hormonal reaction. If we eat something that has a high sugar content such as candy, cookies, crackers, chips, bread ( I will provide a list later), our body immediately receives an overload of sugar in the blood and our body fights to regain homeostasis.  To do this, our pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which goes after the excess sugar and converts it to fat to store for possible famine.  Unfortunately, in our society today, famine is almost non-existent in our country, so our bodies continue to store more and more fat.   Now, when we eat carbohydrates that have a much lower sugar content, referred to as complex carbohydrates (vegetables, most fruit, beans, legumes, sweet potatoes, to name a few), our body is not able to convert to sugar as quickly, so our body does not panic and send insulin out to convert and store as fat.  So as you can see from this example, we MUST focus on eating foods that do not quickly convert to sugar.  This has been documented as the Glycemic Index

Glycemic-Index-food-And-Weight-Loss

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Reinvented After 40 on Kindle

newcoverDownload my story of battling depression and overcoming my own personal demons in search of becoming the best example for my children, and being proud of myself.   My goal is to reach out to fathers like me who seemed to hit a wall upon reaching 40, and are looking for that “reset” button to start a new path towards something greater.  Health and Happiness!

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Time To Reinvent Yourself

Hi, my name is Darren, author of Reinvented After 40.  I wrote this book after discovering how challenging it became closing in on that big 4-0 age in regards to overcoming the challenges of daily life with job, family, financial concerns, and still having that inner fire that knows we can still feel young and energized again.  These years are such an interesting paradox in that by this age you have gained so much wisdom and there is a sense of confidence with that, yet those feelings of that inner drive for the hunt, the kill, the conquer, have seemed to diminished.  Falling into the path of complacency has overtaken the desire to fulfill that inner drive.  That complacency has led to a lower drive to take care of our bodies, both inside and out.  If you have a partner, you have probably noticed a substantial reduction in intimacy, set off from our lowered levels of testosterone.  We have increased the amount of body fat, lowering our self confidence in the bedroom and in public places.  Our energy levels have decreased, the motivation for taking care of ourselves has become one of our lowest priorities.  After spending many years personally, in a dark place, I think i found out how low I could be.  Sometimes, I realized, that is what is required when you want to move up, and that was the spark I needed.  It was a rocket ship to the top by any means, everyday a battle to fight the demons, however, each day, like a muscle, you become stronger in your choices.  That inner voice telling you it is time to reinvent yourself and become a new you.  Step by step, change by change, day by day, things began to change.  I began to feel better about myself, becoming stronger each day in my decisions to move me in the path I believed was the correct one.  Turning 40 is hard enough, and I wanted to share my experience with other men who know they still have that inner drive to achieve something great, but may need a little push or direction.  Maybe my story and my path can provide some insight.

My practical guide, “Reinvented After 40” puts the steps I utilized to transform my mind first, and then my body, to achieve the most shredded physique I have ever displayed.  Even though I was into lifting as a teen and beyond, I had never looked this good!  My eBook, takes you through 6 step by step chapters to show you how I transformed my mind and became “the hunter” one more time.  I lay out by Chapter:

  1. Introduction:  My life is definitely story worthy, and I would hope that I can offer encouragement that if I can find the mental strength and the time, so can you.
  2. The Peak of Paradox:  Hitting that 40 peak, is kind of like that mountain, in many regards you are or can be at the top of your game since you now have 40 years of experience, however, in many aspects of your life it seems many things are going “down hill”
  3. Back To Basics:  I lay out how implemented a very primitive and simplistic view of my nutritional needs.  This “mindset” was the catapult of my reinvention.
  4. The Hunt Out of the Hunter:  No doubt, in our 20’s and 30’s we have have “hunter” mentality.  We basically use our strength in all aspects to find our mate and “do the deed” as often as humanly possible.  Around 40, finding time once a week almost seems like a miracle.  Of course this is going to take the hunt out of the hunter.
  5. Maximum Effort:  Exercise training in the most simplest form, however, it doesn’t matter how many you do, it’s all about “maximum effort”.
  6. Fin:  Just my thoughts as I wrapped it all together, how you begin, how you keep going, How I want to help in any manner possible.

Hope I can help you!

Best Regards,

Darren