Weekly Web Picks: 2/17/17

Here are highly useful things from around the web on: Starting (or restarting) a committed workout program…Healthy carbs to include in your diet (while minimizing bad ones, of course)…and Five simple actions you can take now to enhance your feelings of happiness.

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Here are highly useful things from around the web on: Starting (or restarting) a committed workout program, healthy carbs to include in your diet (while minimizing bad ones, of course), and five simple actions you can take now to enhance your feelings of happiness.

Fitness: 7-10 Week Plan to Start, or Return to, a Regular Workout Program

At some point, nearly all of us have been there: you’re working hard, maybe traveling, investing a lot of time with family…and you’re workout program dwindles to near-zero, or actually zero.

It’s hard to move toward fitness from this place, partly because of the time challenge…but equally or maybe more, simply because it’s hard to know “where to start.”

So, here’s my ultra-simple suggestion.

1. Pick one type of endurance activity. Start a very modest and gradual program over ~7-10 weeks, to get to a 3-times-a-week, 30+-minutes-per-workout habit.

2. Add very-low-time-required, easy strength exercises, either on the same days you do the cardio, or on a couple of the other days

3. Walk a little more, and make at least 1-2 small improvements in what you eat (ideas for that here)

This is guaranteed to make you feel better, man, physically and mentally (within 2-3 weeks, even). And it will provide positive motivations to keep going. I just corresponded with an old friend who started like this, and now he’s doing triathlons at a competitive level and feels like a totally new man.

For the cardio, there are lots of options, but it all possible I recommend RUNNING.

No gym membership required. No one else’s schedule to adhere to. The simplest of equipment (running shoes…and if required to pull it off time-wise, a running stroller so you can give your wife a break at the same time you do something for yourself).

And building your endurance to run – even if just a mile or two – is a beautiful, fulfilling thing that is further motivational.

Here’s a solid guide on a program to start running. And one on basic, at-home strength exercises.

In both cases, this type of “begin at the beginning” approach will be perfect for some guys’ current starting point. Others of you might think “OK, I’m doing this, and I can do more.” Well, that’s great, brother. Onward and upward!

Nutrition: Getting Specific About Healthy Carbs

Recently, I wrote about a smart, moderate carb approach instead of a very-low-carb one. That post went pretty deep on rationale for this, but if you “cried uncle” and were convinced, I know it’s further useful to get concrete on actual foods with healthy carbs.

Here’s a good list of healthy carbs to focus on.

For me, hall-of-famers among these include oatmeal, whole grain tortillas, “ancient grains” type cereals (with things like spelt, millet, amaranth, quinoa), sweet potatoes, and apples/oranges/bananas/cantaloupe. Many of these are high in heart-healthy and digestion-aiding fiber, too.

Quick reminder: I know I sound pretty “religious” about avoiding refined sugars and white flours. But we should all seek to have a high batting average on this stuff, not to bat 1.000. Being perfect on nutrition is hard to do in the modern world.

Even if you could do it, it may stoke an inner rebellion that makes you give up on healthy eating. So it’s better to occasionally indulge than entirely suppress that urge, and risk have the healthy-eating you be “overthrown” by the inner mob.

Mind-and-Spirit: Simple, Happiness-enhancing Actions

To me, happiness is the ultimate goal. That’s not at all to minimize the importance of goals like achievement, morality, service to others, etc. It’s simply that our own personal mix of these other goals is rolled up into what it takes to be “happy.”

But happiness isn’t just a by-product of achieving other goals and being in enjoyable circumstances. It can be an active state-of-mind that helps you achieve life goals, and enjoy your daily circumstances more.

There are some surprisingly simple “evolve your state of mind” skills that increase feelings of happiness in the short term. And, as with getting started on fitness…getting started on happiness builds its own momentum.

Here’s a useful short article on five things you can do, today and onward, to contribute to your own happiness.

One last point: this wouldn’t be an OlderBeast article if I didn’t make a plug for physical fitness contributing to mental wellness and happiness.

When you read this “five things” article, please think about the fact that your regular workouts are a great time and mental environment to do some of these happiness-enhancing things.

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I think there are a lot of 40+ guys for whom all three of this week’s topics are highly relevant. And even more of us for whom one or two of them resonate.

Whatever your starting point, I hope you make this weekend and upcoming week the beginning, of or continuation of, progress on all of these dimensions!

“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” (Grateful Dead, Scarlet Begonias—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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Endurance , Philosophy & Motivation

“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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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

In defense (and praise) of the EASY workout

It’s important to keep physically challenging ourselves as we age. That’s why OlderBeast feature things like push-up challenges, exhortations to increase your weekly workout frequency, and calls to keep on running uphill.

But the name of the game is to do it thoughtfully, man — in a way we can sustain for years and hopefully decades. And on some days that calls for a game-time decision to do an EASY workout.

There’s the planned easy workout, to recover from intense effort yesterday or get ready to go hard tomorrow. But here, I want to talk about something different…a last-minute call to just do something “light” today.

Maybe a shorter and/or slower run. Or just some light body weight exercises and stretching. Or some lower-intensity cardio on a machine and then a short core routine.

The idea of switching to an easier workout is really about our relationship with motivation: having more than one response to call on when we feel unmotivated.

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Philosophy & Motivation

Get Back, Man…to Physical Things You Once Thrived On

I think we all recognize—if we really stop and think–that we lose some precious things as we move through life. Do you have something you “used to” do, that was really good for you physically and mentally…but which you don’t do anymore?

However natural and understandable this is, it has multiple adverse effects we don’t want:

⇒ Physical: we lose the contributions of that activity to our ongoing quest for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance – and the diversity of movement that’s so important to all-over fitness

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Health & Medicine , Nutrition & Recipes

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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  1. […] 1. Take up (or return to) running […]

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