Tuesday, July 31, 2012


As we age we lose muscle. That is a fact that is hard to face as you get into your later 40's you still work out but don't see the results that you did years ago. This is frustrating and requires a different mind-set. You should aim to be as STRONG and HEALTHY as you can, and to retain as much muscle and bone density as you are able.
If you look at older strength trained people they almost all look younger due to their more erect frame, tighter torso and better range of movement.
This is where it's at for all of us. Stay harder, tighter, but most of all feel better. There are no shortcuts, and it will take work to stay that way.
In this linked article, much older and frail individuals were able to gain muscle and strength when using resistance training. Don't get frail!! Start now while you can make the most of it.
Stay strong...live long!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

You gotta move!

Maybe you can't get to the gym or just don't want to hit the weights today...it is perfectly fine to take a day off, and do something relaxing. But if you can work it into the day...walk. Walking alone is great exercise, and very good for clearing the stress of daly living. Weight training is essential in my program to keep the body toned and the frame strong. But a walk or light aerobic exercise is the perfect break from routine and can be easily worked Into amyone's day. Get some air...see the sights or just take a stroll In a nice nearb park. The weights will still be there for you later.
My Grandfather walked every day for miles well into his late 80's. Here's to walking!

  New Balance 606 Walking Shoes

Friday, July 27, 2012

Go All the Way

If you are not doing the reps on the machines or free weights with a full motion in each one, you could be wasting a lot of time and energy. For example a curl for your arms should use the whole extension of your arm, not a half way down and back up move. Unless you are very advanced and have a reason for that shortened rep.
A pull up on a bar requires the same. You should be going all the way down each rep. If your last one or two are not full, but the prior ones were that is ok. But cheating to get more reps when you are training is not helpful except on the last rep or two.
Also while we are at it...rushing the set is not helpful either.Take your time make the most of every rep and each set you do.
all the way down!!

That will make it all worth while in the end. Progress!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Ab exercises!

Everyone seems to be concerned about abs. At the store magazine rack it seems there are more pictures of people showing "abs" than ever, with article on how to get great abs with no work. Right!
You can't get great anything with out working for it.   Face it.

The good news about that is-
 You don't have to kill yourself either.
 What you really should be after-- especially us older trainees-- is  a solid strong core. A mid-section that is tight and firm and holds us up straight, and supports us when we need the abdominal and back muscles to work.
This make everything better, sitting, standing, walking, driving. Every other exercise too becomes a bit easier.

You should begin by warming up the are with leg raises and stretches. Leg raise can be done while leaning back sitting on the floor, legs in and out to the chest slowly for 25-50 reps.
Then alternate holding one straight leg off the ground as high up as you can, then the other, while lying on your back.

Next on to the big exercise ball or stay on the floor for crunches. The ball works best. Sit on it, and lean back into the sit up position. Crunch by rolling the ball under yourself slightly. 25 reps or more.

If you have access to dumbells, with one in each hand do a set of sidebends, slowly bending over to stretch and tone the sides and back.
A cable is great for this and you can stretch and twist also by holding the cable at waist height, and turning to pull the cable using your midsection.

Lastly if you have ab machines, use the ones with weight. Do a set of 6 to 12 reps, and continue to add weight until you can only  do one or two reps. You will find over time the weight used for the one or two will become six to ten, and your mid-section will be tighter and stronger. CORE BABY!

After this ab workout you are ready for your other daily exercises.

This whole routine should take no more then TEN (10) minutes if done quickly and with little or no rest between each move. Drink a little water constantly.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Living Longer?

This is derived from an article on Blue Zone longevity. The Bluezones web site offers many tips and ideas for how to love longer, and where people really do!
To live years longer one should :

1. Move Naturally

Americans burn fewer than 100 calories a day engaged in “exercise”. We can get more physical activity naturally if we live in walkable communities, de-convenience our homes by getting rid of power tools and grow gardens. Walking is the best activity for longevity.

2. Know your Purpose

People who know why they wake up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t. Know your values, passions and talents–and how to share them on a regular basis.

3. Down Shift

Chronic inflammation caused by stress is related to every major, age-related disease. To reverse inflammation, find time each day to meditate, nap, pray or enjoy a happy hour.

4. 80% Rule

Cut 20% of your calories with evidence based practices: eat a big breakfast, eat with your family, remove the TV from your dining area and say pre-meal expressions of appreciation.

5. Plant Slant

Eat mostly a plant-based diet heavy on beans, nuts and green plants. Eat meat in small portions (the size of a deck of cards) fewer than twice weekly. For recipe ideas download our Blue Zones Recipe Booklet.

6. Wine at 5

Drinkers out-live non-drinkers. Two glasses of wine daily will add years to your life, especially when consumed during a plant-based meal.

7. Family First

Living in a thriving family is worth a half a dozen extra years of life expectancy. Invest time in your kids, nurture a monogamous relationship and keep your aging parents nearby.

8. Belong

Recommit, reconnect or explore a new faith-based community. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist. People who show up to their faith community four times a month live an extra 4-14 years.

9. Right Tribe

Your friends have a long-term and measure impact on your health and longevity. Taking stock in who your friends are and expanding your social circle to include healthy-minded, supportive people might be the most powerful thing you can do to add years to your life.

I would add that to be healthier and happier these are a great place to start. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Interval Training

Maybe you have heard about interval training. For maximum cardio benefits it is the idea that instead of running or cycling for an hour at a steady pace, you should go for much less time using bursts of high intensity speeds for a only a few minutes. For example cycle at a warm up pace for 3 minutes then push the speed up and cycle to almost your max for a minute or two. Then reduce and repeat. Cut the lower level speed to recover each time then hit it hard.
It is said that too many laps, miles, hours etc, can be so hard on our bodies that you are defeating your purpose and not gaining any benefit. Many runners hit mile after mile, when they are abusing themselves and not gaining any healthy benefit. With less miles and much more intense short bursts of speed they can gain more in overall health and work less.
Its not the amount of  time spent its how you spend it.
My 30-40 minute strength training work out is more intense and does more for the body then multiple set much longer workouts.It is a fact and can save you time and get you more and better results that are visible.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Look and feel younger

who doesn't want to peel back a few years and look younger? No plastic surgery or expensive doctors needed. Just a regular regimen of strength training will do it for you. University researchers reported years ago that the true fountain of youth was to be found in the gym. Check out the older people who regularly work out with intensity and you may notice that they look younger than their cronological age would represent. I man I spoke with at the gym today looks 60..and is 73.
It works. It just takes work.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Keep at IT

Motivation to keep working out when you are older is a tough thing to manage. You need to keep fired up to get through the down days emotionally and the days when other things overwhelm us all.
Think of it this way...if you do work out, even if it is a modified shorter or lighter routine, you will feel so much better afterwards. Your emotional state will be better, your energy in a better place, and your stress level will dissipate.
The thing about stress and emotional issues is that they contribute to inflammation on our systems, one big cause of heart disease, cancer and other problems.
Working out can be a stress and inflammation reliever if not overdone, or abusive.
Studies show that non-professional athletes who work out hours a day may actually be causing inflammation and the related problems.
So get motivated and do it right and DON'T HURT YOURSELF!

Monday, July 9, 2012

If you are over 50 your ability to build muscle is severely hampered by the normal aging process.  The good news is that yes you can build and maintain muscle, but sadly you will find it takes more to achieve...less.
I weigh in at137 pounds. At my heaviest I was 155 -158. I was never a big guy, but I did have some obvious muscle and looked strong. Now I look slim and generally toned, guess I should be happy with that.

At my current body weight I can do a set of 6 or 7 standing alternate dumbbell curls with 40lbs in each hand. This is a fair amount of weight to handle for a smaller guy. Yet this does not build my arm size much, if at all. I do a great arm routine about once or twice a week, one that would grow the biceps size on any younger guy. For me it maintains what I have and keeps my arms toned and strong...but size is not happening.
Part of this is due to my smaller frame, but a lot is to do with my age.

Important for any aging strength training...remember to set REALISTIC goals.
Use creatine and protein to spike up your muscle gaining ability, taking some before and after a workout as directed. But don't hope for any incredible packed solid muscle to cover you like it might have if you were 30 or 40. You can look and feel great but be realistic.

The important thing is to maintain your strength, bone density and energy level. Hobbling around with bent legs and back due to a  lack of maintenance on your only body.... is no way to live.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Go Big or Go Home! P90x at 60.

If you are training and not getting results..you need to make a change. Working out three to five times a week and seeing minimal results is a waste of time. A few years ago at age 60 I saw an infomercial for P90x the DVD training series. I never pay much attention to these kind of TV ads, but this stood out for me. I had a long day in some ministry work and found myself sitting in front of the tube at midnight watching the ad. I bought the series. I had been training regularly, but this was tougher than anything I had done in awhile. It took over an hour a day for 3 months to get through the first round of P90x. I was able to do about 4 or 5 pull ups when I started and made it all the way to 20 by the end. It required pushups of many kinds, stretching and Yoga moves, and a 20 minute ab workout routine. Leg work included wall sits; where you squat with your back against the wall and hold it. Hard..yeah it was hard! Soreness was a regular experience with this program. It was hard to get through, but by my 61 birthday a year later I had gotten through 3 rounds of it. Not to say I am recommending you to go out and start P90x but it is not a bad idea, if you have the time to spend daily on this workout. It doesn't take a lot of gear, only a pullup bar and some dumbbells. Point is if you are stagnant in your routine, this is one way to get your body gaining muscle and losing fat again. P90x works, it is not the only way but it is a way that will work. http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/p90x.do Next up The Mighty Atom ......junior!

Monday, July 2, 2012

You see many guys at the gym who have no idea what they are doing. Many reps, too many sets, and way too much time on cardio machines. I see them doing 30 minutes or more at a steady pace on the elliptical for example...no intensity just steady work. What a waste of time! You can accomplish more with less. Try a 10 minute cardio with 2 minutes of high intensity alternating with 2 mins of slower pace. Your body will get more benefit from this routine. Current studies show greater effect on the heart and cardio system from short bursts of 2 minutes in high intensity. Same with weight training. High intensity means slow and heavy reps. Not more tha 6 to 8 a set. Maybe one warmup sets prior. This works!