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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Drinking Challenge with a Twist: Drink *Less* Alcohol to Improve Your Fitness!

You might not like where I’m going with this article, man. So I might as well lay it on the table upfront: you should probably cut down on the booze.

Yeah, studies periodically find some health benefits from modest alcohol consumption. But the fact is, for a 40+ guy doubling down on fitness to help maximize his decades ahead, alcohol has multiple negative properties that outweigh the positives. Drinking sparingly is thus a smart move for an OlderBeast.

Here’s a rundown of alcohol’s negative impacts on fitness, and links to a few useful expert articles if you want to go deeper.

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Study Says Running’s the Biggest Life Extender. Give Credit to Runners’ “Architect” Fitness Approach.

This week, the NY Times cited a Cooper Institute study that found running is correlated with a higher increase in life span than any other exercise. (“An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life” – see link below).

The study’s authors acknowledge this is a “correlation” and not “causation” finding. Quick illustration of causation vs. correlation. A guy keeps finding when he sleeps with his clothes and shoes on, he wakes up with a headache. Did sleeping that way cause the headache? No, it was correlated with it (they frequently happen together), with the common root cause being tequila the night before.

My hunch is this finding is an important correlation between running and positive lifespan impact. It’s not the running itself causing incremental benefit vs. other exercise types. Other exercises or mixes thereof can provide the same physical and mind-body benefits. It’s that, critically, runners are likely to have an “Architect” view of their own fitness, and associated sustainable behavior patterns. These are the causative factors behind maximum exercise impact.

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Nutrition & Recipes

Small Trick to Help You Eat Better: Best Way to Stir “Natural” Peanut Butter

OlderBeast address vital topics like lifelong fitness, nutrition, happiness…and now, peanut butter.

For those of us who eat “natural” or “old fashioned” peanut butter, stirring together the peanut/oil separation when you first open a jar is a messy PAIN.

Here’s the solution I figured out – just recently, after a decade or so of dealing with this low-grade pain.

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Why We 40+ Guys Still Need Some Adventure in Life

I love writing for OlderBeast, but sometimes worry I sound like I’ve “figured it all out.” NOT the case, man. I’m right alongside you, seeking smart choices and effective approaches to maximize life—to feel great, look my best, keep getting happier, and live long.

One topic where I feel 100% like “audience”—where these words are for myself as much as you: We should seek out more “adventure”—to inspire fitness, but also to enhance the more psychological and emotional aspects of Wellness.

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

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