OlderBeast Weekly Web Picks: January 23, 2017

With all the great fitness, nutrition and wellness stuff out there on the Internet…there’s often too much to make sense of. Without an integrating philosophy and approach, it’s hard to interpret, prioritize and orchestrate everything into your own game plan. And your own plan is what you need, to sustain and thrive on for decades.

Helping you be your own Architect is OlderBeast’s core mission. Now, with OlderBeast philosophy as a foundation, we’re starting a weekly “best of the web” post at OlderBeast.com. For fitness, nutrition and Wellness categories, it features a single, useful pointer to highly-relevant and useful stuff.

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Good news / bad news about the Internet for 40+ guys interested in fitness, nutrition and wellness.

Good: The fantastic wealth of stuff, from deep experts. I’m amazed by and grateful for information and advice I find almost every day.

Bad: Obvious but true…there’s often too much to make sense of. Without an integrating philosophy and approach, it’s hard to interpret, prioritize and orchestrate everything into your own game plan. And your own plan is what you need, to sustain and thrive on for decades.

Helping you be your own Architect is OlderBeast’s core mission. (If you’re new here, check out this introductory post).

Now, with OlderBeast philosophy as a foundation, we’re starting a weekly “best of the web” post at OlderBeast.com. For fitness, nutrition and Wellness categories, it features a single, useful pointer to highly-relevant and useful stuff.

Weekly Web Pick: Fitness

A recent post (mini sessions) discussed intense, ~5-minute cycles of an individual strength move (like push-ups), put together into a 15 or 20-minute routine to add on to some “cardio” days.

Here’s more theory, and concrete ideas, on this theme—an article about the “Tabata” approach in which you:

1. Go hard for 20 seconds

2. Rest for 10 seconds

3. Complete 8 rounds of this 30-second cycle (the article rightly calls this perhaps the longest four minutes of your life!)

If you rest for one minute after each four-minute cycle, and string together three or four Tabata cycles with different, complementary exercises, that’s a great 15 or 20-minute mini strength session!

Or, make this a dedicated strength session, with eight or ten of these.

Link to Article

Weekly Web Pick: Nutrition

In OlderBeast’s nutrition philosophy, carbs are not “the enemy” (neither is fat). In each case, it’s about seeking out the good kinds of these things, and having them be a smart portion of what you eat.

While I DON’T advocate a “low carb diet” for active guys, I’ve found that people who write about such diets often provide really good information and inspiration on “bad carbs” to avoid. And at least, they make the case for being sure not to overload on carbs, which is key given the barrage of carb-heavy food the world throws at us.

This article has great perspective and research-based data on how controlling carbs and avoiding the bad kinds works better for weight loss or weight management than the alternatives.

And in fairness, though the headline includes “low carb diet,” the author is in fact advocating control of carbs and sometimes just slight reduction of them…not the extreme approach that other low-carb advocates talk about.

Link to Article

Caveat: for guys not trying to lose weight, but just manage it at a healthy level, there are some areas where I don’t fully agree with the author.

For example, he says “you should omit the following foods entirely”:

Anything made with flour: bread, pasta, tortillas, pastries (I think moderate intake of whole-grain-based things is fine…just keep quantities modest and don’t have these things be part of every single meal, dude)

Anything with added sugar: soft drinks, fruit juice, candy, cookies (I agree here…but think the occasional pig day is a smart temptation-relief valve for a long-term sustainable healthy eating approach)

Starch: potatoes, sweet potatoes (again with the caveat about not overdoing and this being for guys maintaining, not trying to lose, weight—I disagree about the “sweet potatoes” part of this)

Weekly Web Pick: Wellness

At OlderBeast, we often talk about benefits of walking and getting outside for fitness. Here’s a great article that puts those together…about how walking in nature “changes the working of our brains in ways that improve our mental health.”

Rhetorical question: you want more or less of that in your life?

Not a lot of further context here, brothers—walking outside in proximity to trees and other natural things is just good for you, in so many ways.

Link to Article

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If you have topics and resources to suggest we highlight for the OlderBeast community, that’s great. Please contact us and let us know. Thanks!

“Many times I’ve wondered, how much there is to know” (Led Zeppelin, Over the Hills and Far Away – click to listen)

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Activities

Running Form: Try These Two SIMPLE Adjustments on Your Next Run

There’s useful advice out there on how to get more efficient in your running. That is, how to go farther or faster at your level of conditioning. Efficiency improvements come from what your legs are doing of course, but it’s also about your hips, torso, shoulders and arms.

Still, most guys aren’t so into running that they want to explicitly think about the angle of their femur in the push-off part of the stride. Or precisely how bent their elbows are. Or do special drills designed solely to change the way they run (“dorsiflex” your ankles, anyone?).

Based on my own experimentation with this stuff, though, I recommend you try these two form tweaks. They are 100% easy to understand, and don’t mess with your basic running style.

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Activities , Planning

One of These Simple Fitness Tests Will Make You More Bulletproof & Motivated

In business, there’s a saying about the benefit of quantifying things to sharpen focus on them and drive results:

“What gets measured, gets managed.”

This is true for fitness and health, too. And for all of us past age 40, periodic physical tests and assessments are especially important because:

(1) We’re more prone to slow-developing asymmetries in our fitness, which become weaknesses over time — chinks in our armor vs. aging. Fitness assessments help flag potential problem areas so we can address them.

And (2) when assessments find strengths, this is great and much-valued reinforcement of the investments we make in fitness. It’s motivation to keep going…something we all need.
With these benefits in mind, have you done a fitness self-assessment recently? And no, the “Presidential” tests back in gym class in 1970-something don’t count, man.

Here are three simple assessments you can do on your own, with descriptions and pro’s/con’s. I’ve purposely left out tests that require any fancy equipment, and ones that are “hard core” for advanced disciples of any given fitness activity. So, sorry, nothing here about how much you can dead lift or how fast you can run a half-marathon.   

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Activities , Nutrition , Planning

Guys, You Know It’s Time for Fitness…Here’s How to Start

With all the focus here on finer points of tuning your fitness approach, continuing to eat smarter, and mixing the outdoors and adventure into your activities…I worry OlderBeast may feel inaccessible to guys who don’t (currently) make fitness and good nutrition a habit.

OlderBeast isn’t just about getting even fitter and healthier from a solid starting point, though – it’s about getting started from wherever you are.

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Activities , Tips & Tricks

“Too Old” to Run (or Bike) Up That Hill? This Will Help You Keep Saying “Hell No.”

There are great reasons to keep fighting gravity, man.

Going up hills works different muscles than staying on the flats (and it works the same muscles harder, too). It provides natural interval training. You don’t need some trainer shouting at you “now go harder” – Mother Nature takes care of that. And not least, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and can-do power to help sustain fitness motivation as life unfolds.

But it’s not easy. As the saying goes, if it were easier, more people would be doing it. To keep you among the relative “few who climb,” here are tips for use before, during and after that hill looms up in front of you.

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