So, some of the comments on the Open Threads have gotten me to thinking about the health of our DFO family. I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money trying to figure out the best way to stay young and I figured I would pass on to you fine folks the things I have learned that will enable you to stay in good mental and physical health. Anyone can do this and you won’t have to spend any additional money that you don’t have. Do you want to look like this?
Well then, follow me!
I am not going to give you step by step directions. Every person is different and has different needs and capabilities. What I will talk to you about are concepts and general principles you can apply to your own specific situation to make it fit your life. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some fundamentals we all should follow.
In order to improve your well-being and physical/mental health, there are really four keys parts:
2- Building strength (weight training)
3- Building stamina (cardio)
4- Positive reinforcement
I’m going to take them on, one by one.
I start with nutrition because that is the #1 factor in determining your health. Too many of us don’t eat right. By not eating right, we make ourselves more susceptible to disease, depression, and injuries. Now, you may be saying right about now, “No shit, Sherlock, but I’m not made of money and I have very little time to cook my own meals. What am I supposed to do?”
The first step is some math.
or you let the Internet do the math for you. I follow the Harris Benedict formula for calculating my daily caloric needs. It uses your height, weight, age, and gender to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, the amount of calories needed to break even in a day given no exercise. It then applies a multiplier based on the level of daily physical activity you perform. Finally, if your goal is to bulk up and build muscle like Ahnold, you add 350 calories. If your goal is to lose weight, you subtract 500 calories.
Once you have the total number of calories you are supposed to consume in a day, you then turn that into how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you can consume on any given day. Let’s take them one by one:
1- Protein is the most important nutrient in anyone’s diet and most people don’t eat enough of it. The guideline is to eat .8 to 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh (each gram of protein has 4 calories). When you compare that to the protein count of most food available today (especially compared to carbs and fat), that number is ridiculously difficult to reach. This is where choosing the right food is most important. The best sources of protein are:
Eggs (preferably a mix of whole eggs and egg whites to reduce the fat content)
Lean Red Meat, Chicken, and Pork (in that order)
Whey Protein powder
Non-fat greek yogurt
2- Fat is the second most important in the sense that it’s the one that is most important to keep in check. Fat calories should only represent 25% of your daily caloric intake. So, if your daily caloric intake is 2000 calories, fat should only be 500 calories. Since each gram of fat contains 9 calories, that means you are restricted to 55 grams of fat. This is both the easiest and the hardest to follow. Most everything tasty has a lot of fat but if you wean yourself off high-fat foods, you will actually end up trying to figure out how to fit fats into your diet. The best fats to consume are:
Olive, flaxseed, or fish oil
3- Carbohydrates make up the rest of your calories for the day. Once you subtract protein and fat, whatever is left becomes your carb intake.
Wait, but what about
Alcoholic drinks have a mix of carb grams and alcohol grams. Alcohol grams have 7 calories per gram, so they are higher than carbs (at 4 calories per gram) but lower than fat. When consuming alcohol, I count the calories as carb calories and call it a day.
At this point, you may be saying, “Isn’t this a pain in the ass?”
Yes, yes it is, but you are worth it. Besides, there are resources aplenty to help you out!
I use a calorie-counter app called Sparkpeople that helps you track the calories and, more importantly, the number of grams in everything you eat. There are others out there, but this is the one I use. It has a lookup function where you enter in what you are eating and the typical counts are provided for you. All you need to do is enter the amount of food you are putting in your body.
The other wonderful thing is that most everything is now labeled so that you know exactly how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein you are ingesting. In addition, most fast food restaurants have nutritional information on their websites or on the premises, so you can choose wisely.
Does this mean you do math at the restaurant or when you are shopping? Sort of. The app will tell you how much you have eaten and how much you have left in each category. You can then make the appropriate choices.
Does this mean you have to starve yourself or deprive yourself of your favorite foods? The answer is an emphatic NO. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat a donut. It just means that you count the donut and adjust the rest of your caloric intake accordingly.
You will find, like I did, that it is actually possible to eat at fast food places and eat “right”. I actually find that it’s easier to buy pre-made food than to cook my own food as the math is done for me. The alternative if you are cooking your own food is to add all the nutrients for the ingredients as you are cooking and then divide up the final product by portions. You only have to do it once per recipe and then you know exactly what you are eating every time. You don’t have to worry about being completely exact as that is pretty much impossible. You just have to keep yourself in the ballpark of where you need to be and you will notice you will end up training yourself to eat the right foods in the right amounts.
That’s really the most important thing you will get out of this. As you track what everything contains, you will start eliminating certain things from your diet and adding others. You will get more bang for your buck out of certain foods and gravitate towards them.
You also will get a better sense of what a balanced diet really is and that’s really the best part because teaching yourself what to eat and how much to eat is the ultimate goal.
Two more things: Drink water until your pee is clear and take Metamucil or another fiber supplement every day. The easiest way to change your body is to pee and poo out the bad things inside you.
Eating right is important, but if you want to tone your body to be a certain shape other than round, it is important to do exercise. More specifically: weight training exercise.
Now, remember what I said about not spending money? You can do proper exercise without belonging to a gym and without buying a lot of expensive equipment. The key is to do the right exercises and to follow the principle of progression.
Simply put, every time you workout you should be increasing either the:
1- Weight lifted
or decreasing the time it takes you to complete the exercises. Any combination of the three will mean you are progressing in the development of your body and it means your body is constantly adapting to more stimulation. Here are the basic exercises you can do anytime anywhere:
You can increase the difficulty by adding the number of squats or by holding a weight. You then increase the weight.
You can increase the intensity by having weight on your back, increasing the number of pushups, and by switching the angles. By that I mean that you can find an elevated area and either push against that or put your feet there and do the pushups at a decline.
All you need is a bar to hold onto and to pull yourself up on. Granted, some people cannot even do one, so you can start, as with pushups, at an incline and work yourself up. You also don’t have to have a bar. You can use any elevated surface that allows a grip. Kinda like this:
You can increase intensity by adding the number of pullups, changing the angle, or by adding weight to your body.
Again, you can adjust intensity by adding reps or weight. Notice that all you need is an elevated surface to grasp and nothing more.
Most ab and/or core exercises do not require any equipment. Anyone can do planks, crunches, or twists. There are multiple ways to work abs and pretty much any of them will work. To ensure progression, constantly switch among the different exercises available.
Yes, our nether regions need exercise too. Here is the exercise:
Men: First, work up a boner. Then, using your muscles, make your penis move up and down. Increase intensity by adding reps and, once you get really good, adding a hand towel. Then a wet hand towel. Then a bath towel. Etc.
Or, you can just do kegel exercises for men. My way is more fun, though. I call them Dickups.
Women: There are many kegel exercises you can do. Pick some and roll with it. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do it.
In order to do more strength exercises and to burn more calories, you need to work on your cardiovascular health. Yes, that’s where the word ‘cardio” comes from. This means getting your ass moving. You can, again, accomplish this without spending money. It is free to walk. Or jog. Or run.
As with strength training, the key is progression. You can always increase distance or shorten time. Either way works as long as each time you do exercise you improve. You can also increase intensity by performing more intense exercise. For example, you can move from walking to jogging to running. Once you are running, you can move to high intensity interval training which basically means you alternate between running really hard and not quite as hard. Again, you can increase intensity by making the time of running hard longer or by shortening the rest period. Either way works.
The key is to get moving and stop being sedentary. The bonus is that the more you do it, the better you will feel. Which segues nicely into
One of the things I’ve discovered is that life is a series of circles
What I mean by that is that we all tend to go into spirals. They can either be downward or upward. If you feel bad about yourself, you may do things that are not good for you and then you feel worse and it’s a downward spiral. On the other hand, if you do things that are good for you, you start feeling better, and you can reverse the downward spiral and make it an upward spiral. Success breeds success so every positive thing that happens to you helps to fuel you on and keeps you motivated and on the right path.
Given that, I give you this advice: Track your progress! When you see yourself doing more reps than you did the day before and run a lap in a shorter time than before, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. If you forget what you did yesterday, how are you going to tell how good you are doing?
Don’t worry about occasional hiccups. We all have bad days. The great part about writing your progress down is that you can see how five days of positive progress outweigh one bad day.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!
You can start the nutrition part today and you can follow a workout schedule like this:
Day 1 – Strength training
Day 2 – Stamina training
Day 3 – Strength
Day 4 – Stamina
Day 5 – Strength
Day 6 – Stamina
Day 7 – Sex exercises only
If you spend 30 minutes doing each workout each day, you will notice a difference. I work 11 hour days and barely have time for anything. Yet, I have time to watch what I eat and do 30 minutes of exercise each day. You can too. Do this and