Weekly Web Picks 2/10/17: Pull-ups, Supplements & Meditation

OF COURSE, there’s a world of useful stuff beyond OlderBeast. Too much for you to find, prioritize and incorporate, really. Thus these “weekly web picks”…a hand-selected trio of super-helpful things spanning fitness, nutrition and the mind-and-spirit aspects of wellness.

This week: getting started with pull-ups…knowing the “upper limit” for vitamins & minerals…and exploring meditation.

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Guys read OlderBeast to help architect their own “forever” fitness plan—body & soul. And to laugh a little and keep rockin’ along the way.

Articles here offer a unique perspective for 40+ guys ready to double down on fitness, nutrition and wellness…so they can feel great, look their best, keep getting happier, and live long.

But, OF COURSE, there’s a world of useful stuff beyond OlderBeast. Too much for you to find, prioritize and incorporate, really. Thus these “weekly web picks”…a hand-selected trio of super-helpful things spanning fitness, nutrition and the mind-and-spirit aspects of wellness.

Fitness: Why (and How To) do Pull-ups

There are a small number of strength moves that work multiple muscle groups, can be done with the simplest of equipment (or none) almost anywhere, and can be varied in intensity based on where you currently are strength-wise.

Especially with time scarce and the need to invest some of it in endurance, flexibility and balance too…these are great strength moves for the OlderBeast.

Push-ups are one of these, discussed here last week. Pull-ups are another…and they’re a much less common part of most guys’ repertoire. They’re pretty hard, man. But who said it was going to be easy to get and stay in tip-top shape as the second half of life rolls by?

Pull-ups are a perfect complement to push-ups:

⇒ Pushups use every major pushing muscle in your upper body, including pecs, triceps and anterior deltoids (front-of-shoulder muscles). They’re great for core strength, too.

⇒ Pull-ups use every major pulling muscle, including trapezius (upper center back), rhomboids (under shoulder blades), lats (lower/side back), rear deltoids, and biceps.

Here’s a colorful and motivating article about why all guys should be able to do at least five pull-ups, and another one that helps you get started even if you currently can’t do a single pull-up.

So now I “can’t do pull-ups” is not an excuse to not do pull-ups, brother!

If you need a home pull-up bar, this one works well for me.

Nutrition: “Tolerable Upper Intake Level” for Supplements

For vitamins, minerals and other supplements, you’re probably much more familiar with “RDA” (recommended, or reference, daily allowance) than “UL.”

ULs are defined by the National Institute of Health as “the highest level of nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population.”

With many foods now being fortified, and OlderBeast readers likely taking multi-vitamin/mineral supplements…you’re probably getting your RDAs. Note that Vitamin D, which is especially important to men’s health, remains a more-likely-than-others deficiency.

But what about TOO MUCH of a vitamin or mineral? While some smart people argue ULs for some things are too conservative, I think you should at least know if you’re near or above ULs. If so, you can then learn more and decide what to do about it.

Personal example: My one-a-day has the 15 mg RDA of zinc. Based on recommendations by people whose opinion I respect, I added a standalone 20 mg supplement to improve immunity and for “men’s” type benefits. The UL is 40 mg, so my 35 mg level total was good.

But then I added a “prostate health” supplement with saw palmetto and African pygeum. (I confess to the onset of an “older man” malady: urinating more frequently, especially at night; these herbs target that issue).

I took it for a few days and then happened to look more closely at the label and saw it also contained 33 mg of zinc, now putting me at 68 mg! Even without the standalone zinc supplement, this prostate health supplement plus my one-a-day would have been 48 mg. And I get zinc from my diet, too, since I eat beef, chicken and chickpeas (high-zinc foods, among others).

Most experts say too much zinc over the long term can cause digestive and other problems. So, I’ve dropped the standalone supplement and switched to a lower-zinc prostate pill, and now I’m back under 40 mg a day.

Interested in the ULs for vitamins and minerals, and how the total of what you’re taking compares to that? Here’s a chart with RDA and UL info (you’ll need to select “male” and choose age range).

Mind-and-Spirit: Meditation

There’s a lot of interest in meditation nowadays. I haven’t tried it much, though two of my key fitness activities, yoga and swimming, feature controlled deep breathing and are meditative in nature.

But with motivation advocates including Lebron James and other star athletes, Clint Eastwood and other actors, and the late Steve Jobs and other visionary CEOs…I’m interested to learn more.

It’s a little daunting, though, given how many types of meditation there seem to be. And, to be honest, how “out there” the stereotypical image of meditation is.

If you’re like me (interested but unsure), here are two good resources to check out:

⇒ A straightforward article that lays out a really simple, low-time-required way to test the meditation waters

⇒ Two popular smartphone apps: Headspace and Calm (separate links for iPhone or Android and you can also access this via browser). These will walk you through “guided” meditation exercises. They’re both highly rated, but have different personalities to them.

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OlderBeast is about taking charge of your own fitness and wellness, man. It’s learning what you need to know, making a game plan, and taking action.

With that goal, this week’s picks should help you get stronger, stay smart and safe on supplements, and further your quest for peace-of-mind.

“Oh is there concrete all around, or is it in my head?” (Mott the Hoople, All the Young Dudes – click to listen).

Note: this is a great trivia question…very few people can name Mott the Hoople as the band!

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High-Intensity Interval Program Reviews: Orange Theory Fitness

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HITT interests me because of its inherent fitness benefits, and because it often combines endurance and strength work in an intense way.

I’ve started checking out HITT gym concepts and at-home workout programs, to add HITT into my own mix and also share findings via OlderBeast. This is the first of several reviews, starting with Orange Theory Fitness (“OTF” for short here).

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Here’s Something to Seriously Consider Taking: Turmeric

I’ve been conscientious about vitamins and minerals for a while now—via a high-quality one-a-day and also — most importantly — what I eat. But there’s also a whole world of herbal/natural supplements out there. These are ones for which the US FDA hasn’t asserted a firm stance and thus hasn’t announced any official “RDA” (Recommended, or Reference, Daily Allowance).

Awful pun intended, I take a lot of the “miracle herb or spice” claims with a grain of salt.

But I decided to start taking turmeric supplements recently based on the emerging evidence of its many benefits. Turmeric is a spice that’s a main ingredient in curry, and so it’s something people have been consuming for thousands of years.

You may also feel barraged with “miracle” health headlines; maybe even a bit cynical. I get that. But please read on for a minute or two, because I’ve come to believe that turmeric is an exceptional thing: a substance with many, many benefits and no real downside.

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Six Fitness Actions You’ll Thank Yourself For *NEXT* Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have much to be thankful for this year, man. Even while you gratefully make note of all that, this is also a good time to think ahead.

What would you additionally like to be thankful for next Thanksgiving?

What if on Thanksgiving 2018 you could take a personal inventory and conclude:

1. I’m staying more motivated for fitness – and avoiding major backslides

2. I’m eating better (not perfectly, but better)…and I feel better for it

3. I forgive myself for not always following my fitness plans…but I hold myself more accountable to usually do so

4. I’ve varied my fitness routine, so I’m in better all-around shape than I was a year ago

5. I’m using exercise to better combat stress and make my life feel more spacious

6. If needed, I overcame aches-and-pains to do these things – instead of letting 2018 be a year of narrowing possibilities

Dude! That would be an incredible “thanks” list. So enjoy the coming weeks of 2017 wrap-up and holidays, yes. But I invite you to also make this time a springboard into a meaningful 2018. (Don’t wait for the cliched New Year’s Resolution.)

Here’s the why-and-how of six actions you can take, starting now, to add to your “thankful for” list for next year.

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How I Improved “Mental Nutrition” By Reducing These Five Media Behaviors

Of course, you know what you eat has a huge impact on health. But how about what you take into your mind every day?

Just as “you are what you eat,” as Modern Man your well-being is directly impacted by all the digital media you take in throughout the day. And just as with physical nutrition, you can and should manage this, man.

Let’s discuss why and how (and the results-so-far of my own personal experiment on a “digital diet”).

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