Dressing to feel good !

How I stay in shape over 50 – “Warm Up Day”

Working out = putting stress on your body. There is no way around this no matter what you are doing you are exposing your body to stress. Now stress by way of exercise can produce higher calorie burns, increased muscle mass and generally good health. What about when you get older? As I have said before on my blog, I lift weights, moderately heavy weights. This is important for men over 50 to maintain testosterone levels but this has the negative impact of really putting stress on joints.

Warm ups are important. If you have been in any form of an exercise program you have heard of the concept. Simply put, you are warming your body up so that it is prepared for a stress movement. You don’t warm up for a walk, but you do for squats, you get the idea. The older you get the more important it is to “warm up”. Its more than just getting your heart rate elevated to increase blood flow, that’s an important part of it.

The more important part is to target the areas in the warm up you plan to work in that training session. If your squatting today, you need to stretch your hamstrings and release your hips. If you benching pressing you need to target your shoulders for stretches. The key is being very aware of the muscle group you are working that day, and plan your warm up accordingly. Now the over 50 part. What I do at 52 and what I recommend everyone over 50 do is have one day a week as a “warm up day”

Stretch your body and your mind

What does that mean? That means you are exclusively using light exercise and stretching one day a week outside of your normal workout routines. Now maybe you aren’t here yet in your training. Maybe you go to the gym, do the treadmill leave. That’s cool you do you, this advice is really meant for people engaged in a moderate to mid-level training routine and are over 50. For those people, your recovery is more important as you do not have youth on your side. This “warm up day” is part of your recovery cycle.

What a “warm up day” looks like for me

  1. 30 min walk on the treadmill: I use the track which is flat and just do 30 min at about 3.0 speed. This loosens up my hips, gets blood moving, and helps me identify pain points. If it hurts when you are walking, you need to address it.
  2. Hamstring stretches: I put time in here, this is a pain point for me. My hamstrings are extremely tight. There are a few good stretches you can do, find one that works for you.
  3. Unlocking my hips: I sit Japanese style first, then flare out the bottom of my legs (calf area) and try and rest my butt on the floor in the gap. This will stretch your hips a lot. There are a lot of hip stretches out there, this one works for me.
  4. Snake pose & Planks: Snake pose is with two hands on the ground and push up locking your lower body on the ground. This stretches your lower back. Plank is a plank, lol they suck.
  5. I then stand and get a light bar and do trunk twists
  6. Next shoulders: I cross my right arm in front of my body and pull it at the elbow with my left, then switch sides.
  7. I then find an upright bar/machine and stretch my chest, then my back.

Now I realize I am not getting into great detail and posting pictures etc. You can find stretches online and or are doing something similar. For me this “warm up day” is about an hour (I rarely spend more than an hour in the gym per session). As I am leaving, I am aware of what “spot” has pain.

This is the benefit of the warm up day, you are hitting everything with a stretch nothing can escape. You will know if something isn’t right and or what needs to be rested going forward. Or in my case, what area needs icy hot (or for all my Gen X Friends out there, some bengay, lol). Remember to warm up before each work out with targeted stretches and start incorporating a “warm up day” into your routine, your 50+ year old self will thank you.

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Squats

How I stay in shape over 50: The importance and illusion of the forearm

If you have been working out for a while you’ve likely heard about the illusion of the V taper. Basically the broader your shoulders are, the smaller your waist will appear. This creates the illusion of you being thinner then you actually are. This actually works, but there is a subtler, yet potent illusion men can use to increase attraction. The Forearm.

To be clear, this post is meant for heterosexual men attempting to attract women. I don’t know if this works for other sexualities, you would have to tell me. Now your forearms are the director connector to your hands which many people watch while engaged. Hands are used in communication all the time, people watch your hands, so do women. There is plenty of psychology around this, I’m not going to post a bunch of links here but I would ask you to consider this: Why do women get their nails done and make sure their hands are smooth?

Back to Men…. So hands are important, for men this extends to the forearms. A muscled and cut (you can see the veins) forearm creates the illusion (in some cases its true) that the rest of the body is as defined. Most men are covered head to toe. Often the only thing exposed is the head, neck and arms. If you have sleeves on your jacket or shirt even your arms aren’t exposed. Females like flesh too. Don’t be fooled by this, this might not be their sole motivation for engaging with you but we have to be real here, women evaluate men sexually too. Attraction may be different for them (meaning the fact you can fix the car might be “Hot” to them) but they also enjoy a man who looks good physically.

What ever you say Popeye

This isn’t absolute, there are always exceptions to the rule. Your forearms set off one of the few socially acceptable “flesh points” for men. If you are having your nails polished, nvm… if you aren’t, then a vascular well-muscled forearm will get you attention most of the time. The issue then becomes training. Your forearms are engaged in nearly every exercise you do in the gym so hitting them exclusively has to be done carefully.

Forearms should be worked at the end of a workout so you do not pre exhaust them and prohibit other lifts. Reverse curls, and wrist curls are two simple exercises you can do that will beef up your forearms. Start working these into your routine a few times week. Your forearms will grow quickly, you use them all the time so be very aware of how they feel and where you are at with them.  Strong forearms set off an entire look. You can be wearing a suit and you roll up your sleeves…. Your forearms will take center stage. You might lift something for someone, and the veins pop, and their eyes widen.

Don’t neglect your forearms, the illusion they can create is potent.

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3 simple commitments to your health that will help you lose weight

So my personal health journey has been a long running aside to this blog. I post on it from time to time but the blog itself isn’t specifically a health blog. Since the pandemic started I have lost and kept off roughly 30 pounds (this fluctuates believe me). Now I was never obese but as I turned 50 a few years ago I really took stock of how I was feeling. When I was in my 20’s I was actually in great shape, yes I had abs you could see.

Here I am 3 decades later and that wasn’t the case. I had a “great” dad bod. Meaning I worked out I have a good amount of muscle but I carried a spare tire. Now I am down to approx. 215 my highest weight if I recall correctly was 247 or 254 I can’t remember. For context at 23 I was 187. You can’t see my abs now, I still have fat but I feel much better. So how I have kept it off is making small commitments to my health.

Maybe instead of Coffee with cream & sugar its time for Tea?

I have found “resolutions” or huge life changes are often recipes for failure. It’s the small changes that really add up and over time help you keep weight off which is the hardest trick to pull off in the weight loss journey. So what are 3 simple commitments? Let’s take a look.

  1. Consistent Sleep schedule: Sleep is critical for so many health outcomes we can’t possibly do it justice here. The simple commitment? Go to bed at the same time every night. I don’t care if its 9PM or 1AM, its creating a consistent schedule that your body wants. Now if you can go to bed earlier great but THE SAME TIME every night is the goal here.
  2. Less sugar: Sugar is hastening your bodies demise. I can’t be any more blunt than that, and yes that includes all sweeteners. Let’s be clear here, some sugar is okay. Sugar in everything is not. Sweeteners in food are artificial most of the time and have a dramatic impact on the base components of the food and how your body processes what you have eaten. I don’t care where you find it, but in your food consumption right now there is hidden sugars, start cutting some of it out.
  3. Your face: caring for your face is critical to physical health. When you look in the mirror if you don’t like what you see you will be unhappy and food is a great place to find imagined happiness. Keep your teeth clean, use moisturizer, keep your beard trimmed, eyebrows neat, be honest about the amount of makeup you use. If you are happy with your face you will generally be happier and that leads to many positive outcomes.

Notice I didn’t mention exercise here. This is a given, you have to do it. I’m not going to preach to you about exercise at length, but I will say that if you aren’t exercising regularly the 3 tips above will not be as potent.

You have to take care of yourself. I am 52 and I am looking back at all of you 40,30 and 20 somethings and telling you it gets harder. Start your work now, it’s like planting a garden. The seeds you sow now means you will reap a harvest later.

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A simple weight loss tip – Timing.

If you have frequented this blog you know that over the last few years, I have dropped over 30 pounds and kept it off. I was not obese, I was overweight. Like many out there I had “20 pounds to lose” and I did it during a raging pandemic. I am not super athlete, I don’t train every day, I eat normal food. In my journey I have picked up a few helpful tricks.

One of the main things I have done to keep the weight off is to be more active. Yes, that means going to the gym, but it also means taking more stairs, walking more and just generally being as active as I can. Every motion burns calories and it’s a critical part of anyone’s weight loss journey. So is food, and no matter how many diet programs you try the bottom line is if you want to lose weight you have to be in a caloric deficit.

This particular blog post isn’t about that it is just another simple weight loss tip. Basically this tip is to help trick your mind into thinking it’s getting more food than it actually is. It is simply, to eat slower. I know it’s not the magic trick you were thinking. There has to be some special diet or workout that the super fit use to be in shape always. There isn’t. There is one thing that the super fit does have that many of us don’t and that is the ability to muster self-discipline.

The faster you eat, the more you want.

So how do you slow down the pace in which you eat your food? You have to start timing yourself. Literally, when you start eating time how long it takes you from start to finish. Everything you put in your mouth and chew should be timed and recorded in a journal. Do this for a week and look at the results. Obviously the time it takes to eat a candy bar will be shorter than a 3 course meal but from here you will see patterns.

  1. What you are eating.
  2. How often you eat the same foods.
  3. How long you eat for.

You will be amazed at how fast you eat, particularly if you binge eat. Get your phone out, put on the stop watch and see how fast you consume calories. If you can slow this down, even 10% it gives your brain time to “digest” what you are consuming and signals to you when you have had enough. This isn’t full proof of course but you are going to see patterns here and you will see just how fast you eat.

It’s like getting on a scale; you can’t hide the number. You can’t hide how fast you are consuming your food either. By timing yourself you are actively changing the way you eat your food and how long it takes you. This by default will change your relationship with food and that is really the hardest part of the weight loss journey. Try it, let me know how it goes.

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Squats

How I stay in shape over 50 – Squats (in detail)

In 2021 I lost a lot of weight and to be blunt most of it was fat and water. My muscle tone improved dramatically, obviously from losing weight but because I also increased my muscle mass. I am by no means a diet guru, this isn’t a fitness blog but I’ve done it. I lost nearly 30 pounds and kept it off. Sure there are no photos to prove this, I mean you are going to believe what you want any way. How do I keep it off though? Perhaps more importantly how do I train to maintain muscle mass.

To be blunt I do very little. I train, hard but I am in the gym only 3 times a week and each session is intense for perhaps 30 min. Now outside of the gym I stay active. I shovel snow, I walk, I rake leaves, I take the stairs, I mow the lawn. I find ways to move which = calories burned. But how do I stay in shape? I do squats. I employ the same strategy to my upper body as well but that is another post for another day.

So Squats – In detail……

Squats are a compound exercise engaging multiple muscle groups in one motion. Get familiar with the concept of “Compound Exercises” if you are a man over 50 it’s the fountain of youth if you can pull them off. Squats are considered by many the “king of exercises” because of how much of your body and systems are engaged in the operation. Simply put, you bend at the knee lowering down, ideally touching your but to the ground (no one can do this, but go deep and low) and then rise up. Feet placement can vary but as a general rule you want your feet shoulder length apart, slight wider is fine, your toes should be straight ahead or outward. This largely depends on your hip flexibility, do a few air squats and then look at your feet, your body tells you where they belong.

What I do:

3 Months I do a basic 5×5 split. So what does that mean?

  1. 3 Months start date: Any day you want, but its 3 months so say 1/1/22 – 3/31/22.
  2. 3 workouts per week: Mon-Wed-Fri or Tues-Thurs-Sat

There are only 2 workouts. Workout A is the squat day. Warm up stretch and then get to the free weight squat rack. You start with the bar, if that is to heavy you start with a 25-pound weight. You do 5 sets of 5 reps. That’s the workout. Your next workout day (48 hours later) you do workout B, then next workout you are back to work out A.

Over time you will make gains

The catch here is every workout you make the 5×5 (25 total reps) you increase the weight for the next workout by 10% or for simplicity 10 pounds. Additionally, you want to start with a weight that is challenging. Most free-weight bars are 45 pounds. I would encourage you to start there, for me I start with 90 pounds (the bar with a 25-pound plate on each side). So in a 3 month span you would have 36 workouts, 18 of which would be squat days. If you started with 100 pounds and were able to hit the 25 rep each workout, by your last workout you would be squatting 260 pounds for 5 sets 5 reps. Again it really depends on what weight you start at but somewhere in the middle is when things should get very hard, and you should be failing. There will be workouts you can’t get 3 full sets of 5. That’s okay, you come back the next work out and use that same weight UNTIL you get the 5 sets and 5 reps.

This becomes a gut busting sweaty mess, but it’s the kick in the ass any man over 50 needs. Its increasing your strength, your endocrine system, your cardio system it really is hard work. I do a very similar workout for my upper body as well but that is for another time. I don’t run, I diet, I don’t skip desert but when I go to the gym, I go intense.

If you do this, you will lose weight and keep it off. Try it, let me know how you do.

Disclaimer: Please make sure you are physically and medically able to work out before trying. If you exercise regularly you are probably fine but if you don’t consult your physician.

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