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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Health & Medicine , Nutrition & Recipes

Supplements? Don’t Just Ensure “Enough”…Beware of “Too Much” (Here’s How)

Do you take vitamins/minerals or other supplements? If so, you’re probably much more familiar with “RDA” (recommended, or reference, daily allowance) than “UL.”

UL’s stands for Upper Limits. They’re 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 a multi-vitamin/mineral…you’re probably getting your RDAs. (Though if you don’t use dairy products and don’t take supplements, be wary of a potential Vitamin D need you may not be meeting).

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

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Nutrition & Recipes

How a “Man Salad” You Actually Like Will Make You Leaner & Healthier For Decades

For many guys, “salad” would be a four-letter word if it didn’t have five letters. Salad gets an unfair rap, though. This article’s mission: challenge you to rethink your relationship with salad…a better, more satisfying kind of salad than you typically see.

Why does salad need a reputation overhaul?

First – and no offense meant to women (from whom men can learn a lot about health) – we’re conditioned to think of it as un-manly. Sometimes restaurant servers just assume salad was ordered by a female at the table. Salad’s derided as “rabbit food” (and no rabbit, not even Bugs or Ricochet Rabbit, seems manly enough).

More substantively, most salads actually kind of suck. Even at expensive restaurants, they’re usually a pile of greens with a few small things thrown on there. And the “side salad” with an entrée is typically pitiful. Order it at risk of feeling bitter regret for passing up the trusty spuds that were the other option. “Salad” begins to feel like “sacrifice.”

And salad seems like a lot of work. Washing, peeling, etc.

But salad done right – with a variety of good vegetables, a solid serving of protein, healthy fats like avocado, and a nice dressing – is one of the best things you can eat for lunch or dinner. And it’s easy to make nowadays.

Even just two of these per week will have substantial nutrition and weight management benefits. And you’ll like it, man. Guaranteed, or I’ll give you double your salad back.

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Philosophy & Motivation

Turning 50? Here’s Fitness & Wellness Inspiration From an Unusual Source.

I made a new friend recently who’s into astrology. I don’t mean just the “horoscope” kind of astrology. I’m talking about the heavy-duty kind, which considers your time of birth and exactly where astronomical bodies were at that moment.

When I told her I’d turned 50 a few months ago, she mentioned something called the “Chiron Return” which makes turning 50 a major watershed in life. Not just by marking another decade, but by unleashing a transition in priorities and an evolution of how we resolve to live the rest of our lives.

To me, this is all pretty “out there.” But I feel (as with some people’s belief in ghosts): who am I to be so sure these things don’t exist?

And besides, I’ll take life lessons and inspiration wherever I can find them. The ideas associated with Chiron Return are highly relevant for 50-ish guys doubling down on body-and-soul health. Or guys that will be 50-ish before long…or ones that were not so long ago!

So indulge me for two or three minutes, brother. Read on and see if this stuff is useful to you in your quest to maximize the decades ahead.

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

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