Aging and Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)

I kind of already knew that as we age, we lose muscle. But folks, I didn’t realize that we start to lose muscle mass (Sarcopenia is what it is called) as early as 25 years old! Yep it’s true. I read it in my Exercise Physiology textbook. Actually the muscle mass loss happens pretty slowly between the age of 25 and 50, declining about 10%. But once the big 50 happens (gulp, I just turned 50!) we start to see a rapid decline. In fact between 50-80 years old we can see an additional loss of 40%. What can we do about this problem? You know the answer I am going to give, and that is: “Resistance Training”. It’s the only known way to keep “age-related muscle loss” at bay. Think about this folks. The faster we get to exercising on a regular basis, the longer we can stay fit and healthy and build and maintain muscle mass. Let’s get to working out and include resistance training in our fitness programs. Let’s do this together!

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Core Work

Hey folks, and speaking of the core, here are some core movements you can try at home, starting with a warm up as you see in my video.  Sorry for the music.  I’m starting to get acclimated to Youtube.  I will improve!  But just focus on the visual.  There are 6 movements for the warmup, and 6 Core base exercises.

Happy Fitness everyone!


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Finally I’m ready for Youtube

It’s ridiculous because my Youtube channel has been up since 2012 but I never got around to posting videos. But finally you will see my workouts on there. I will be chronologuing my fitness goals, starting with an upcoming Insanity teaching workshop. Here is the link to my hello on Youtube. Feel free to subscribe to my channel!

Thanks everybody!

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Let’s get to the Core of the matter!

Hello there! Happy Fitness everyone!

I wonder if we realize just how much we use our core and all of our major muscle groups for just about everything we do in our daily activities. Do we think about the muscles we are using when we perform the fundamental movement patterns? We should though. So I thought I would let everyone know what those basic movement patterns are.
1) Bend and Lift (bending to take a baby out of a carriage)
2) Single leg (walking; lunging)
3) Pushing (a door open)
4) Pulling (a door open)
5) Rotational (reaching over side to grab something)
I’m sure you have plenty of other examples of daily activities that incorporate any one or a combination of these 5 movements. And at the heart of all of this is our core. Our core keeps us stable; our core keeps us strong. Our core helps us to be mobile an do all the things we need to do in life. Everyone should do some type of core training, and I’m not talking about doing hundreds of boring sit-ups either. Core training involves the stomach muscles, yes–we all know about the 6-pack. In fact, we all already have one-it’s just hidden beneath a later of fat that becomes more visible as we lose body fat. But core training involves others muscles too, like the back, sides and even internal muscles hidden beneath the ones we are already familiar with. In fact we should also be concerned with strengthening our upper body, arms and legs. Because the core supports the body and the body supports the core.
I like to do this exercise when I am walking or even standing. I like to connect my mind to my core. And I try to do this as much as possible. When I walk, I think about standing tall with my shoulders back and down and I engage my core as often as I can think about it. In fact, as I am typing this post in my iPhone, I am on a moving train, standing with legs hip width apart and I am balancing myself with my core. I have learned over time to strengthen my core so I don’t have to hold on. (Most times, that is. Sometimes there is a lunatic driving the train and we get thrown from side to side).

Listen folks, I’m not suggesting that you do what I do. I am suggesting that you become aware of your core, just as I advise people to know their heart rates. Your core is the essence of your body. It keeps you strong, balanced and grounded, if you take care of it to allow it to so.
Let’s do something actively engaging the core today!

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Weight Control and Healthy Eating

Hi Fitness P50 peeps! Here we are, another week gone by in what I like to call a “mission to fruition”! My goal is to be happy and healthy. My wish for all of you is the same. But in our daily lives, we all know how hard it is to come to that state of balance. It doesn’t help with all the stress in our daily lives that tends to promote weight gain and unhealthy eating habits. So I thought it would be a great post to share with all of you what I am learning about this week from my Nutrition class. According to some of the below reputable resources, there are some simple healthful eating guidelines that we can follow to help us control our weight.

▶️ The Food Exchange System
▶️ The National Weight Control Registry
▶️ The DASH and OmniHeart Diets

There are 20 guidelines, which focus on certain “Key Points”
⏩ Eat fewer calories from fat and sugar
⏩ Eat healthier carbohydrates, fats and proteins
⏩ Eat healthier fats and proteins

I know 20 guidelines seems like a lot. But really, when you break it down, it’s not so bad. And I would like to help with that. So today’s post will be #1 of a series of 20 posts that will expand upon each of the 20 guidelines. For today, I will indicate each in numerical order for you to absorb and try to start implementing into your eating regimen, one by one or all-whatever works for you. Some of these may seem like common sense. But I understand it’s easier said than done. And some of them use terminology that may be unclear. I will put these terms in quotes. While you wait for my further posts, I encourage you to research these terms, because learning about this stuff is what helped me to turn my health status around and I am confident it will have the same positive affect on yours. Meanwhile, be sure to subscribe to FP50 so you can get the follow up posts on this topic. Until then, and without further ado, here you are folks:

The 20 Guidelines For Weight Control and Healthy Eating:

1) Eat more “nutrient-dense” foods and fewer “energy-dense” foods.
2) Eat foods that make you feel full.
3) Restrict portion sizes.
4) Eat less fat.
5) Eat fewer and smaller amounts of “refined sugar”.
6) Reduce the amounts of both added fat and sugar.
7) Eat more low-fat dairy products.
8) Eat more low-fat meat and meat substitutes
9) Eat more whole, “unprocessed carbohydrates”
10) Eat more fruits
11) Eat more vegetables
12) Consume fewer high-calorie “fat exchanges”
13) Reduce liquid calories.
14) Limit your intake of alcohol.
15) Limit salt intake.
16) Eat slowly
17) Eat at least 3 meals per day (key words here are “at least”, folks)
18) Eat breakfast
19) Learn to cook
20) Learn low-calorie foods

Listen folks, in closing I just want to say that I am not giving advice or telling anyone to follow these guidelines. I am simply passing along information that I have learned and also things that I have done for myself. It is up to each of us to be responsible for our own health. With that I bid all Happy Fitness everyone!

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The Winter Blues-say it ain’t so, and it won’t be!

Hey there fitness peeps. So sorry for not checking in for so long. I’ve been steadily working on my mission to fruition, as I like to call it. But I wanted to touch base as the temps begin to dip and maybe some moods begin to follow right along with it.

If anyone understands the winter blues, it’s certainly me. For years I would find myself reaching my fitness peak in the summer only to come spiraling down the mountainside in the winter, gaining more weight with each passing year; finding it even harder to recover with the onset of Spring the next. And I asked myself “Why, why, why does this happen to me over and over?”

Well, the reason I couldn’t figure the answer out for so long is because I was asking myself the wrong question. Instead of asking why this “happens” to me, I should have asked myself, “Why do I allow this to keep happening?” Do you see the change in ownership and accountability with that switch of verbiage, folks? It took me a lifetime to realize that I and only I am responsible for my own health and fitness status. This realization struck me as an epiphany back in 2011 and since that moment (read about it in “My Story”) I have learned (and I am still learning) about my body and myself and what caused me to go through that year in and year out yo-yo fitness pattern. It was back then that I knew that I had had enough and the moment I took responsibility for myself.

Why am I telling you this as the winter months start making their debut and the holidays approach with all of the excuses our minds will try to come up with to not exercise? The answer lies right within the question folks. We don’t have to succumb to the winter blues. Let’s embrace winter by switching up our summer exercise program to winter mode. There are exercises we can do at the gym or even at home-without weights. We can use our bodies to become lean, mean, strong and healthy machines. Use whatever tools you find that help to make you get moving and motivated, like your phone, fitness apps, videos, friends. Let’s do this together. Let’s stay physically active throughout the winter so we won’t find it to be such a struggle to get going when the temps rise again and it’s bathing suit time! Are you ready? C’mon let’s do this!

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It’s not “Me Time” if we don’t focus on the “Me” part….

Hey folks!  You know I am all about developing a relationship with our hearts and being aware of our heart rates, right?  I know my heart rate when I am standing still, versus walking slow or fast, running up hills or just jogging slow.  By the same token, I know when something is not right.  I would like to share something that happened at the gym the other night that made me realize just that.

I had a very stressful week at the office and in my personal life.  But I was determined not to let anything get in my way of doing my scheduled workouts.  So one particular night I planned to do a short but very intense workout at the gym.  I expected to be at the gym no more than 40 minutes but the objective was to burn maximum calories in that short amount of time.

Well, the day was going badly and I could see that my workout time was being pushed out later and later.  Stress levels at the office were particularly high that day; people wanted things done yesterday and as usual, I kept pushing out the time to leave the office as a result; but I was angry and feeling very resentful about that.  It was not until 6:50 p.m. that I managed to tear myself away to start walking to the gym.  By that time, I was so frustrated and angry (more so at myself than anything for I allowing myself to be pulled into the that emotional environment yet again) that I almost turned back around to go back to work.  But I chose to go to the gym instead, hoping that my workout quality would not be compromised. And I realized as I was stomping angrily towards the gym that I had forgotten to put on my heart monitor strap; but at that point, I didn’t care.  I just wanted to work off the stress.

So I get to the gym and I start with a 5 minute warm up with the jump rope and then I proceeded to do the main part of the planned routine, which was a high intensity cardio conditioning and plyometrics, consisting of a series of fast paced exercises for timed intervals, in groups of threes.  So for example, I would jump rope for 60 seconds, then proceed to do jumping jacks for 60 seconds and from there I would hit the floor to do mountain climbers for 60 seconds.  Then I would rest for about 30 seconds and go into the next group, which might be jump rope, followed by burpees, and then squat jumps, etc.  It’s a pretty intense workout and lots of fun (usually).

But the problem was that all the while I was working out, my mind was still at the office.  I wasn’t focused on my workout, I was thinking that I had so much to do and how it was going to be another late night, etc. etc.  All along my heart rate is going up and up.  In fact, my heart rate was already high from stress when I walked into the gym.  So as I am doing this high intensity workout, I suddenly felt very strange.  At the end of each round, my heart felt as if it were pounding out of my chest.  And when I went into the rest period, it took way too long for my heart rate to come down.  I was getting worried at that point.

When I do plyometrics or high intensity interval training, my heart rate goes pretty high, sometimes as high as 181 bpms.  But I have never experienced that feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest; It was like I was terrified or having a panic attack or something.  I felt as though I was not in control of my heart rate. I was really regretting not having the heart strap connected.  But I suspect it went well beyond 181 bpms at that point.

Then I realized what was happening.  I was working out while I was angry; thinking about other things and not focusing.  And I immediately stopped to get a grip.  I had to bring my mind back to the present so I could finish the workout.

This mental pep talk got me through my workout that night.  I did not have another scary heart rate moment after that.  And when I finished and as I was headed back to work for another long night, I vowed never to take my job to the gym ever again!  I will keep that promise.

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