Fitness Over 40

Early Morning HIIT this 24th of July 2017

This morning completed 10 rounds of:

  • 150 meter row
  • 10 TRX crunches

Funny, after the first set, I was thinking “hmm, I might want to add another exercise to make this more difficult” well, by the 5th set, I was sucking eggs! Why I like this is that the concept keeps track of the entire session, so now my goal is to be able to complete faster than my 27 + minutes.  (The calorie is not cumulative, but per 150 meter.)

Here is a little summary of how things went.  Thank god it’s over!  Trust me, it is still embarrassing having my shirt off, but I guess its not where you’re at, it’s where you’re going!

Without hesitation, when asked what is the best fitness equipment to own, the first two things are the Concept 2 Rower and a TRX Suspension Trainer.  You can accomplish so much with these!

TRX is running $40 off right now!  That is an awesome price since I never see these things go on sale!

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

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

If there is one thing I learned from being Vegan for over a year, it is how to make some pretty awesome tasting non-meat food.  I came up with this recipe through trial and error, but even my youngest son loves these!  Any vegan will say the hardest thing about eating Vegan, is being able to make patties that actually stick together.  I learned that grabbing a box of Falafal mix helps a considerable amount.  In a pinch, I also learned rolled oats works well too.

What I use:

  • 1 can black beans rinsed
  • handful of parsley
  • 1/2 zuchinni
  • 1-2 spring onions
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 package of falafel mix

The key is to do the Cuisinart in stages so that it gets everything well shredded up.  Also, since the zucchini and  carrot have a high water content, I shred them separately and fold them into the mix.  I forgot to add 2 cloves of garlic, so I had to use garlic powder. I cooked in some olive oil and served with sliced tomato and avocado over some spinach.  My seasoning is:

  • Chili powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • cayenne red pepper powder
Fitness Over 40

What the beef?

It is certain if there is a topic that get’s people talking besides politics, it’s about food.  And why not, it brings so much pleasure to our lives.  However, the unfortunate reality of it all, is that we enjoy it so much, but appreciate it so little.  Not in the pleasure aspect, but to consider how far we have come in the access to food, that we take it so much for granted.  Our bodies are actually designed to release certain hormones and slow down our body processing systems in order to prevent starvation.  You understand that the only reason our bodies do this was the evolution of our existence having to ward off starvation?  And the saddest of it all, is that when we have such an abundance, there are still people in this world starving.  To show how detached we’ve become to our food, just look at the example that we as a country, nation, world (if the shoe fits..), have actual contests on how much of a food item we can eat in a specific duration of time.  Sorry folks, but that to me is just plain disgusting in all forms.

When I made the decision to go Vegan for a year, it truly opened my eyes to the wonders of food.  It brought me a oneness with the food system, in that, I mean it helped me truly understand the beauty in food, and appreciation of it.  It motivated me to begin my own garden (which has grown to 3 now) and take pleasure in the cultivating and nurturing (yes, I said nurturing) of your own food.  As part of my Vegan diet, I eliminated all processed and refined food which made me realize how desensitized we have become to the natural tastes of food.  I was amazed how growing up, I had always disliked the taste of peppers, tomatoes, spinach to name a few, and the reinvention of my taste buds allowed me to grab a orange or yellow pepper and just eat it like an apple.  I can remember how shocked I was that it tasted so good!

The purpose of this post is not to convert anyone, however if you truly care about your body and the earth we live on, it is time to wake up and take accountability for what you put into your body.  I am speaking to myself as well here.  That being said, I will call our society out and say that why in the hell do we feel that our bodies require to have meat all meals of the day?  Most people will answer we need protein.  True, but let’s look at our society more closely.  According to the CDC, 2/3 of our population is overweight.  Do we really need that much protein to sit at a desk all day, and maybe, on a good week, we walk a few miles?  Protein is an essential part of existence, it rebuilds the cells that have been destroyed or damaged and allows your body to keep repairing itself.  But animal protein also has dietary cholesterol, which is fact that as humans, we need cholesterol for hormone regulation, but do your realize that humans produce their own, and even without dietary cholesterol, we produce enough to maintain homeostasis.  Practically all dietary cholesterol just simply gets stored along our arterial walls, or our body is able to dispose of some.  Wonder why the leading cause of death in our country is Cardiovascular disease?  It’s not a lack of animal protein that is for sure.  What’s even better, vegetables have protein too! ( I discuss the amino acid profile in my book)

Animal protein does however, provide some essential nutrients that are abundant to help with body processes: Vitamin B12 is found in animal protein (dairy, eggs too) and B12 has been shown to help cognitive development and brain activity.  This ongoing conflict I developed during my Vegan days, led me to how I viewed the human was designed to eat.  This lead to “Veg-Aleo” which I describe about in my eBook.  I truly believe that if we are to become healthier as humans, we must learn and adopt a diet that is consistent with how our bodies are designed to eat.  100 years ago, there was no fast food, there were no bags of potato chips.  Especially, there was no Genetically Modified Food, no chemical preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors.  You realize that these are chemicals right?  Even if you decide to eat less, they are being fed to the animals that you then consume.  So either way, you may not grab that bag of processed food, but that burger you consume ate the chemicals you are attempting to stay away from.

Here is the thing as I try to wrap up my thoughts(this is why food and nutrition is about 70% of my book!), we as humans have destroyed the food system.  Big business has made us believe that we need pork for breakfast, processed meat for lunch, and a cow slab for dinner.  As I was stating earlier about be removed from our food, if people actually gave thought and researched how the food got to your table, I believe our society would do an about face.  You may be saying, “I don’t care, I just want to eat it!”  And that’s your prerogative,  it will be your health you have to deal with later on in life.  So let’s look at that typical day of eating.  That breakfast sausage or bacon is part of 23 billion pounds produced annually (according to World Health Organization).  You don’t have to look far on the internet to see that pigs are not out tramping around in the mud and running through field, but raised in metal cages, along sick and diseased ridden pigs, lying in their own feces, until time to be slaughtered.  Pigs produce 10x the amount of waste that humans produce and if you ever see the waste pools outside of pig farms, you might not want to eat pork again.  Lunch time and its a ham sandwich or turkey lunch meat.  Well, according to the WHO again, a serving of lunch meat is ranked as the same level of a carcinogen as a cigarette.  And that is 5.8 billion pounds of it our country produces annually.  At least there is that juicy steak at the end of the day to reward us for a job well done to provide for our family.  Much like those pigs, they don’t walk around in fields and eat grass!  Our system is feeding them tons of steroids to make them grow really fast, feed them all sorts of chemicals and unhealthy feed, and get them to your plate as fast as possible.  Not too mention, most of the time people are getting 1 or 2 meals from fast food chains, which are the largest buyers of beef in our country.   Adds up to 33 million cattle per year to supply us.  Maybe this is a little rant on my part, it just frustrates me on how detached we as a society have become from the food we eat and the result is a unhealthy country and it comes back to us all in medical costs and insurance premiums.  I am not saying somebody should become Vegan and not consume meat products, but I bet if we learned how to minimize our meat consumption, meat packing industries would probably be able to have cleaner facilities, healthier animals, and as a result, the meat on our table would do what it was intended to do thousands and thousands (keep going) of years ago.

To the Native Americans who still practice the sacrificial component of killing their animal for food, I respect and admire you.  You give thanks to the animal, you understand it had a purpose and to feed your family is a blessing.  You don’t discard anything that is not prime meat, you utilize the animal in all aspects to show your appreciation for giving its life.  We has US citizens don’t have to go to this extreme (unless we keep destroying our land) but watching a few documentaries on the food industry or researching about health and disease might open your eyes to the direction we as a society are heading very fast!

Be well my friends!


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



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!


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,