OlderBeast Weekly Web Picks, 2/24/17

Guys, as usual I’ve scoured the Internet this week for things to help OlderBeasts double down on “body and soul” fitness.

As quick weekend reading, here’s useful stuff on workouts (cycling), nutrition (what “five servings” of fruits/vegetables actually looks like), and mind-and-spirit (benefits of solitude).

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Guys, as usual I’ve scoured the Internet this week for things to help OlderBeasts double down on “body and soul” fitness. For some quick weekend reading, here’s useful stuff on a workout routine (cycling), nutrition (what “five servings” of fruits/vegetables actually looks like), and mind-and-spirit (benefits of solitude).

Fitness: Bring Cycling Into (or Back Into) Your Workout Routine This Year

There are so many good reasons to ride a bike:

1. Gets you out of the house, office or gym…and into nature

2. Low-impact on feet, ankles and knees compared to running and some other sports

3. Great way to have a destination-oriented workout (you can bike somewhere a lot more distant than you can reach on foot!)

4. Can combine “fitness” and “transportation” to help save time, money (and the planet)

5. Simple to vary between easy and hard…to fit your current fitness level, how you feel that day, or for interval training where you go easy and hard in the same workout

6. Fun – who doesn’t like riding a bike?

7. Growth of bike paths and bike lanes in many places makes it even easier and more enjoyable

BUT, there are also impediments.

It seems expensive (if you need a new bike)…you’re not sure what kind of bike…you need to know something about fixing flats and other maintenance.

And for some of us (I’m one), you don’t want to wear the European Racing Team spandex suit, but are not sure what your alternative apparel should be.

The “expensive” concern is one each guy needs to judge for himself. But I’ll point out (a) in general, our fitness is priceless and (b) compared to non-fitness things we spend money on, or other fitness-related things (especially expensive gyms or personal trainers), a non-fancy bike isn’t all that expensive.

For all the other impediment / question areas, I’ve been looking around for the best “101” view to start or re-start cycling. Here it is.

Nutrition: Visualizing Five Servings of Fruits & Vegetables

Most of us don’t need convincing that we should eat fruits and vegetables within our diet.

According to recent research, though, about 98% of us don’t get enough of these things.

Some of you might consciously limit fruit for “low carb” reasons (I don’t advocate going too hard-core in that direction, man). But mainly, this fruit-and-vegetable gap is for other reasons.

One of the simplest impediments to overcome: a sense of just what “five servings” of fruits and vegetables looks like (that’s the minimum daily amount recommended by government dietary guidelines). This simple post has 10 illustrative photos of how you can get there in any given day.

Note how a few of the pictures have a salad (a small one). If you make this a big salad, with several types of vegetables in it, as well as avocado for a healthy fat, and then also add a protein to it…you’re taking care of a big chunk of your nutrition goals for the day, in one solid meal.

By the way, in case you still do need convincing about fruits and vegetables, here’s an impressive list of benefits, with citations to high-end research sources.

Mind-and-Spirit: Benefits of Solitude

In various OlderBeast articles, I extol the virtues of certain workouts in part because they bring you solitude in addition to physical benefits.

Running/hiking/walking, cycling, swimming, sometimes yoga can really deliver here. Maybe doing a strength routine at the gym does too, if you really lock in to what you’re doing and tune out all the blaring music, TVs, sound of cardio machines, etc. But I’m dubious of this, and so I urge you to get out of the gym or studio/class environment regularly, brother.

The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil. -Thomas A. Edison

Here’s an article that looks at the psychology of solitude, and why it helps. For the best view of this, I’m pointing to an article that’s almost five years old. You can mentally “turn up” the things it says about unplugging from 24/7 technology, which is even more needed in 2017!

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The first and last items in this week’s web round-up work well together: get yourself out on a bike, and among all the other benefits, you can get some precious solitude. As for eating fruits and vegetables…well, you can do that alone or in a group of people. Your body won’t know the difference!

“Yeah, you know when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself.” (George Thorogood, I Drink Alone—click to listen)

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

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Nutrition & Recipes

Got Milk, or Not? Here’s How to Cut Through the Dairy Controversy.

OTHER THAN ORGANIC VEGETABLES, it seems like everything supposedly good for you also has “yeah, but” warnings about it.

Fish…mercury. Fruit…too much sugar. Nuts…high-calorie. Whole grains…carbs!

Dairy is controversial this way. Some very fit guys drink milk, eat dairy products, and use post-workout recovery drinks and energy bars with milk proteins. Others entirely shun dairy.

What should YOU do? Let’s look at pro’s and con’s, and my two cents on sorting this out to make your own decision.

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Nutrition & Recipes

Upgrade Your Energy Bar: 10 Criteria + “Best of the Best” From Reviews

It’s amazing how ubiquitous energy bars have become. You often find an impressive selection in even modest convenience stores…and the category “bars” is even elevated onto supermarket aisle signs.

Since I eat healthy snacks a couple of times a day and travel a lot while trying to still eat well, the trusty energy bar has long been one of my staples.

I’ve tried a ton of ‘em, and dutifully read any best-of list I see on the Web.

Here’s how I suggest you think about criteria for the “best” energy bars. And, a synthesis of high-quality best-of lists. Combining these two views highlights five great bars you should try.

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Nutrition & Recipes

Low-Carb? Go “Smart Carb” Instead.

You’d think in the 21st Century what “healthy eating looks like” would be non-controversial. Not so.

One major example of this: there’s a lot of controversy and confusion around carbs. Some fitness gurus swear by a low-carb approach, while some nutritionists and doctors see major downsides from dramatic carb reduction.

I urge you to chart a smart middle course, brother. Don’t go dramatically low-carb, but do keep your carb intake moderate and high-quality.

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Endurance , Fitness Planning & Gear

Love Running? Me Too (But Here’s Why I’ll Never Run More Than 10K Again)

Seeing the sunrise on a workday morning. Running on the beach. Running to explore a city. The sense of accomplishment and physical fulfillment running brings.

Are these part of your life, too? I hope so, brother. If not, you can and in fact should experience them.

But if you love running, the (ironic) challenge becomes one of doing it too often, or going too far. Both of these undermine a balanced and long-term sustainable fitness plan.

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