I enjoy my morning workouts and I feel much better when I stay active. Whether I am walking the dog, working in the yard, or playing basketball with my son I enjoy staying active and being outside as much as possible. My workouts have transitioned more towards strength building and less cardio. At my age I need to retain as much muscle as possible. I try to supplement my workouts with plenty of activities that get my heart and lungs going. I have found that nothing is important enough to squeeze out the time I have set aside for workouts and physical activities. It just isn’t worth it.
But like everyone else, I want to make sure I get the most from my workouts since I am investing the time and energy for it. I have discovered that the food, vitamins and minerals I take in before and after my workout make a huge difference in how I feel and in the results I get.
- Carbohydrates – your body needs quick energy during your workout and carbs get you there. Carbs are especially important before your workout to give you energy to provide you the energy needed to give it your all. The best, of course, are complex carbohydrates. If you work out first thing in the morning like I do, a great option is whole wheat toast or pita, stone-rolled oatmeal, non-fat Greek yogurt, a few strawberries or a banana. If your workout fits your schedule later in the day you may be more in the mood for most any kind of beans, sweet potatoes, corn, whole grain breads or brown rice. I generally grab a banana and go. Probably not enough. But one thing in for sure, you don’t want to your gut to be too full so just a quick snack is best.
- Fat – this is especially helpful to sustain your energy levels during a long exercise routine such as long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. Carbohydrates give you quick energy but fat keeps you going for the long haul. This is due to the high calorie density, one gram of fat equals nine calories. It burns off slower so it fuels your body for a longer period of time compared to carbs. For this reason, fat doesn’t really help for shorter, high intensity workouts. These include avocados, eggs, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish such as tuna, sardines and trout.
- Protein – this will sustain you through your workout and will help build the muscle you need. Protein will help rebuild the muscle that is broken down in weight training exercise so it is best to take in extra protein immediately after your workout and for the next 12-24 hours. Without the protein your muscles need you will not get the full results you have worked so hard for. Lean meat is a great source of protein. This includes chicken or turkey breast, lean cuts of beef steak (top or bottom round), and pork chops. Fish is also a good source with Halibut, Salmon, Tilapia and Tuna being the best. Eggs, Greek yogurt and cheese are also great options.
Also, especially important before, during, and after your workout is to stay hydrated. Drink filtered water so your body can process the nutrition you have taken in as well as rebuild your muscles. As I have said before, water is superior to any of the so-called fitness drinks on the market.
If you are going to sacrifice your time and put in the effort to exercise you should want to get the most out of it and nutrition is very important. Most serious body builders find it is necessary to augment their food intake with high quality nutritional supplements. I am a believer in the products offered by Advocare. This great company offers a wide range of the highest quality products anywhere and you can find what fits your lifestyle and your needs. I will dig deeper into which of these products enhance your workout and exercise routine soon.
When I began this blog two months ago my goal was to provide simple common sense ideas and guidelines to help people live healthier lives. There is so much noise in the media surrounding fitness and healthy living, much of it contradictory, and it is frustrating for the average person to determine which is solid advice and which is hype.
Most of the people I know are very busy with a demanding career and are also focused on spending time with their families and teaching their kids about life and success, supporting them in all their endeavors. They barely have time to take care of themselves and give their spouses the attention they deserve.
There are so many simple things we can practice and turn into habits that will help us feel better, look better and live longer. Just making some slight changes to our eating habits can have a big impact over time, especially if we adopt the mindset of continuous improvement. Just a few physical activities each week will keep the body functioning properly and efficiently and if we can find a few things we enjoy doing we will stick with it long-term.
Nobody wants to wake up one day and completely change everything they do and change all the bad habits they have developed over many years that make them comfortable. But small changes every day give us a sense of control and as we succeed we are empowered to do more and do better. As we do better we feel better and we find ways to improve those habits that will eventually transform our lives. It is a process that lasts a lifetime.
I never intended this to be for the person who is training for the Olympics or who wants to be a professional athlete. Just the average guy who struggles to make time in the week to be active so they can get and stay fit.
I hope you are learning something along the way and have come to realize that being healthy is not so hard after all. If I can answer any questions or help you follow through with your goals just let me know. We all need each other to help us be accountable to our commitments.
When we succeed, it feels good. Especially when we have set a goal and have worked toward that goal and have accomplished something good. We feel this in our career. We may feel it in sports or in a hobby. Or just working around the house and fixing things.
But, can we attain that same feeling of success with our health? It seems so very confusing when we read about a new study telling us we are eating something or doing something harmful. And often it contradicts a study done last year which is why we started eating that or doing that in the first place! Grains are good, protein is bad. Uh-oh, grain turns to sugar and protein now builds muscles. Eggs have artery-clogging cholesterol and grilling causes cancer. No, that was last year. Now we don’t worry about high cholesterol and grilling is still better than frying.
So how do you negotiate your way through all the contradictory messages? That’s my goal here. To guide folks to common sense health habits that will serve them well for many years. Because common sense is the best kind.
I love the question Zig Ziglar frequently asked his audience “Does anyone here own a race horse worth over one million dollars?” No one would raise their hand and he would then ask “If you did have a million-dollar racehorse would you let him stay up half the night, drinking coffee and booze, smoking cigarettes and eating junk food? Would you treat a $10 dog or a $5 cat that way? What about a billion dollar body?”
Of course, living healthy is not always easy. It takes discipline and focus. It requires planning ahead and making hard choices. And sometimes it will seem like it is not worth the effort and sacrifice. But it is. And together we can stay on track to feel better and have more energy to enjoy life.
How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions?
We are halfway through this “new year” and much of the excitement we had in January to do better, be better, and take control of our lives has faded away. I have always loved the new year and the idea of starting over with the goal of continuous improvement. Being better. Doing better. Learning and growing. I always expect to make some changes and do things differently and better in the new year. But change is hard. It takes commitment and determination. Something most of us struggle with. But it can be done.
You are reading my first installment of my new blog. My goal is to help us all learn and grow and get better in every way. I will be sharing ideas and insights about health and being healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. My feelings are that, being in the information age, we have heard and read enough to know what to do and how to act to achieve the goals we want for ourselves. We know we shouldn’t sit down and stuff an entire bag of Lays in our mouth while we watch some meaningless sitcom. Dr. Phil explained that one to us years ago. And it’s probably not a good thing when the employees at the local Krispy Kreme not only know us by name and favorite donut but they know who our kids are dating. Maybe a bit too much time being spent at the donut shop?
We also know we should include more physical activity in our lives. And we really should be reading more. Inspiring and uplifting stuff, especially the Bible.
We simply need help to do what we know we need to do. That is where I hope I can help. It’s why I titled this blog “When We Succeed”. Because we can succeed at better. We just need help and support. An encouraging word occasionally.
My hope is to be an inspiration with my random thoughts through words, videos, podcasts, articles and any other media I think might help us all. I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or psychologist. I’m not a famous body builder or fitness consultant, in fact I’m not a famous anything. But I have been around long enough and have paid attention to what works and what doesn’t as I am sure you have. Just want to do better and maybe I can help you do the same. Please let me know if I am helping in any way and if you have a subject you would like for me to cover. I appreciate your time. Continue reading