Biohacking of diets and how does it help?

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Times Of India

Edited for content.

Our Takeaways:

· Dieting is one of the most fundamental ways to transform the body

· Experimenting with eliminating certain foods from the diet can be helpful

· Fasting is an ancient and proven method towards preserving health and mental function

What Is Biohacking? If we bring down that term by hacking, we see that the bio has to do with our biology to do with our body? The way our body functions are natural processes in the body from eating to performance and so on and hacking is, of course, trying to decode something. Biohacking of diet is trying to use science or technology to improve our body’s functioning by way of eating. “I think our bodies are incredibly intelligent and given the right diet in the right lifestyle, we can elevate ourselves and feel amazing. Everyone has a scope of self-improvement and living their best life and biohacking of diets can make that possible without spending all money on fancy foods and a million different tools, gadgets and medicines to feel good. It’s a natural way to optimise the body’s performance,” says Nutritionist Ritu Khaneja

Diet Hack #1
Elimination Diet

An elimination diet is one where you can eliminate certain foods based on medical research to see if you react to them. You can generally start by eliminating the most common food allergens for a few weeks then you slowly add them back one at a time and note any symptoms better or worse. The main benefit is that by turning into a body’s reactions to certain foods you can’t pinpoint sensitivities and intolerances that you may not otherwise know of experiencing results.
It is less expensive and, in some cases, more reliable than standard allergy testing. It can also be very empowering to be in control of what you eat learn about food and the compounds they contain and try new recipes that exclude eliminated foods. Having a good diet plan makes things much easier and beneficial.

Diet Hack #2
Intermittent Fasting

There are several approaches to intermittent fasting but the easiest to achieve is the one that simply extends the usual timing of the night fast. A daily cycle of a 1 6 hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window is usually sustainable for intermittent fasting. It must be combined with balanced meals that provide good nutrition. The goal of IF is to systematically starve the body long enough to trigger fat burning but the method may not be suitable for everyone. When done correctly intermission fasting can help lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent or control diabetes and improve the brain’s health.

Diet Biohack#3
Adding More Fibre To The Diet

The normal fibre in our body has been eliminated just with the processing of food. One of the best way to eat fibre is by adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet. The benefits of fibre are weight control and maintaining bowel movements.lt also helps in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Diet Hack #4
Adding Superfoods

The first step that I take to treat my clients through diet is adding superfoods. There is a whole list of superfoods with numerous benefits. 1 st category of superfoods is seeds not just any seeds but 2 seeds which one should hack into the diet are chia and flax. Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, They have more calcium than milk and there are great sources of anti-inflammatory compounds. They’re great for growing skin and mental health and clarity and much much more. Flaxseeds are another great source for omega 3 fats and dietary fibre as well as essential vitamins minerals name powerful anti-cancer hormone-balancing compounds called lignans. It’s a great way of curing constipation as well.

Diet Biohack #5
Protein-Rich Diet

Eating plenty of high protein foods include a generous portion of at least 1 protein rich food at every meal will help you lose body fat or improve your body composition. Eating protein-rich meals can help you feel full and satisfied so you will eat less and lose weight. A high protein diet can help reduce insulin resistance so if you have diabetes or prediabetes, a high protein diet could be a good strategy for improving your blood sugar control.

To conclude, I think Biohacking of diet should be done mindfully as if something can be very beneficial for one body, It doesn’t mean it will suit everyone.

Changing Your Diet Can Add 10 Years to Your Life

Everyone wants to live longer. And we’re often told that the key to doing this is making healthier lifestyle choices, such as exercising, avoiding smoking and not drinking too much alcohol. Studies have also shown that diet can increase lifespan.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on ThePrint
Laura Brown - February 20, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels 
Study Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003889

Our Takeaways:

  • An optimal diet includes more legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole grains (oats, barley and brown rice) and nuts, and less red and processed meat.
  • Gains from changing from a western diet to the optimal diet are largest if the diet changes start early in life.
  • Eating the optimal diet from age 20 would increase life expectancy by more than a decade for women and men from the US, China and Europe.
  • At age 60, life expectancy is increased by eight years. At age 80, life expectancy is increased by almost three and a half years.

new study has found that eating healthier could extend lifespan by six to seven years in middle-aged age adults, and in young adults, could increase lifespan by about ten years.

The researchers brought together data from many studies that looked at diet and longevity, alongside data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which provides a summary of population health from many countries. Combining this data, the authors were then able to estimate how life expectancy varied with continuous changes in intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, dairy, red meat, processed meat and sugary drinks.

The authors were then able to produce an optimal diet for longevity, which they then compared with the typical western diet – which mostly contains high amounts of processed foods, red meat, high-fat dairy products, high-sugar foods, pre-packed foods and low fruit and vegetable intake. According to their research, an optimal diet included more legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole grains (oats, barley and brown rice) and nuts, and less red and processed meat.

The researchers found that eating an optimal diet from age 20 would increase life expectancy by more than a decade for women and men from the US, China and Europe. They also found that changing from a western diet to the optimal diet at age 60 would increase life expectancy by eight years. For 80-year-olds, life expectancy could increase by almost three and a half years.

But given it isn’t always possible for people to completely change their diet, the researchers also calculated what would happen if people changed from a western diet to a diet that was halfway between the optimal diet and the typical western diet. They found that even this kind of diet – which they called a “feasibility approach diet” – could still increase life expectancy for 20-year-olds by just over six years for women and just over seven years for men.

These results show us that making long-term diet changes at any age may have substantial benefits to life expectancy. But the gains are largest if these changes start early in life.

Full picture?

The life expectancy estimates this study makes come from the most thorough and recent meta-analyses (a study that combines the results of multiple scientific studies) on diet and mortality.

While meta-analyses are, in many cases, the best evidence because of the amount of data analysed, they still produce assumptions with the data, which may cause important differences between studies to be ignored. It’s also worth noting that the evidence for reducing consumption of eggs and white meat was of a lower quality than the evidence they had for whole grains, fish, processed meats and nuts.

There are also a few things the study didn’t take into account. First, to see these benefits, people needed to make changes to their diet within a ten-year period. This means it’s uncertain if people may still see benefits to their lifespan if they make changes to their diet over a longer period of time. The study also didn’t take past ill-health into account, which can affect life expectancy. This means that the benefits of diet on life expectancy only reflect an average and may be different for each person depending on a variety of other factors, such as ongoing health issues, genetics and lifestyle, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and exercise.

But the evidence the researchers looked at was still robust and drawn from many studies on this subject. These findings also align with previous research which has shown that modest but long-term improvements to diet and lifestyle can have significant health benefits – including longevity.

It’s not yet entirely clear all the mechanisms that explain why diet can improve lifespan. But the optimal diet that the researchers uncovered in this study includes many foods that are high in antioxidants. Some research in human cells suggests that these substances may slow or prevent damage to cells, which is one cause of ageing. However, research in this area is still ongoing, so it’s uncertain whether antioxidants that we consume as part of our diet will have the same effect. Many of the foods included within this study also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may also delay the onset of various diseases – and the ageing process.

Of course, changing your diet completely can be difficult. But even introducing some of the foods shown to increase longevity may still have some benefit.

What’s the difference between sugar, other natural sweeteners and artificial sweeteners? A food chemist explains sweet science

A quick walk down the drink aisle of any corner store reveals the incredible ingenuity of food scientists in search of sweet flavors. In some drinks you’ll find sugar. A diet soda might have an artificial or natural low-calorie sweetener. And found in nearly everything else is high fructose corn syrup, the king of U.S. sweetness.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The Conversation
Kristine Nolin (Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Richmond) - January 5, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels

Our Takeaways:

  • Glucose is the most basic sugar and is mostly made by plants. Fructose is a sugar from fruit. Galactose is a sugar in milk. Table sugar comes from Sugar Cane.
  • High fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch, then treated with a second enzyme to convert some of it into fructose. Generally, high fructose corn syrup is roughly 42%-55% fructose.
  • Natural Non-sugar Sweeteners – These are food additives such as stevia and monk fruit, as well as natural sugar alcohols. These molecules aren’t sugars, but they can still bind to the sweet receptors and therefore taste sweet.
  • Artificial Sweeteners are produced in labs and factories and are not found in nature.

I am a chemist who studies compounds found in nature, and I am also a lover of food. With confusing food labels claiming foods and beverages to be diet, zero-sugar or with “no artificial sweeteners,” it can be confusing to know exactly what you are consuming.

So what are these sweet molecules? How can cane sugar and artificial sweeteners produce such similar flavors? First, it is helpful to understand how taste buds work.

Taste buds and chemistry

The “taste map” – the idea that you taste different flavors on different parts of your tongue – is far from the truth. People are able to taste all flavors anywhere there are taste buds. So what’s a taste bud?

Taste buds are areas on your tongue that contain dozens of taste receptor cells. These cells can detect the five flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. When you eat, food molecules are dissolved in saliva and then washed across the taste buds, where they bind to the different taste receptor cells. Only molecules with certain shapes can bind to certain receptors, and this produces the perception of different flavors.

Molecules that taste sweet bind to specific proteins on the taste receptor cells called G-proteins. When a molecule binds these G-proteins, it triggers a series of signals that are sent to the brain where it is interpreted as sweet.

Natural sugars

Natural sugars are types of carbohydrates known as saccharides that are made of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. You can imagine sugars as rings of carbon atoms with pairs of oxygen and hydrogen attached to the outside of the rings. The oxygen and hydrogen groups are what make sugar sticky to the touch. They behave like Velcro, sticking to the oxygen and hydrogen pairs on other sugar molecules.

The simplest sugars are single-molecule sugars called monosaccharides. You’ve probably heard of some of these. Glucose is the most basic sugar and is mostly made by plants. Fructose is a sugar from fruit. Galactose is a sugar in milk.

Table sugar – or sucrose, which comes from sugar cane – is an example of a dissacharide, a compound made of two monosaccharides. Sucrose is formed when a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule join together. Other common dissacharides are lactose from milk and maltose, which comes grains.

When these sugars are eaten, the body processes each of them slightly differently. But eventually they are broken down into molecules that your body converts into energy. The amount of energy from sugar – and all food – is measured in calories.

High fructose corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup is a staple of U.S. foods, and this hybrid sugar sweetener needs a category all on its own. High fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch – the main carbohydrate found in corn. Corn starch is made of thousands of glucose molecules bonded together. At an industrial scale, the starch is broken into individual glucose molecules using enzymes. This glucose is then treated with a second enzyme to convert some of it into fructose. Generally, high fructose corn syrup is roughly 42%-55% fructose.

This blend is sweet and cheap to produce but has a high calorie content. As with other natural sugars, too much high fructose corn syrup is bad for your health. And since most processed foods and drinks are packed full of the stuff, it is easy to consume too much.

Natural nonsugar sweeteners

The second category of sweeteners could be defined as natural nonsugar sweeteners. These are food additives such as stevia and monk fruit, as well as natural sugar alcohols. These molecules aren’t sugars, but they can still bind to the sweet receptors and therefore taste sweet.

Stevia is a molecule that comes from the leaves of the Stevia redaudiana plant. It contains “sweet” molecules that are much larger than most sugars and have three glucose molecules attached to them. These molecules are 30 to 150 times sweeter than glucose itself. The sweet molecules from monk fruit are similar to stevia and 250 times sweeter than glucose.

The human body has a really hard time breaking down both stevia and monk fruit. So even though they’re both really sweet, you don’t get any calories from eating them.

Sugar alcohols, like sorbital, for example, are not as sweet as sucrose. They can be found in a variety of foods, including pineapples, mushrooms, carrots and seaweed, and are often added to diet drinks, sugar-free chewing gum and many other foods and drinks. Sugar alcohols are made of chains of carbon atoms instead of circles like normal sugars. While they are composed of the same atoms as the sugars, sugar alcohols are not absorbed well by the body so they are considered low-calorie sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners

The third way to make something sweet is to add artificial sweeteners. These chemicals are produced in labs and factories and are not found in nature. Like all things that taste sweet, they do so because they can bind to certain receptors in taste buds.

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved six artificial sweeteners. The most well known are probably saccharin, aspartame and sucralose – better known as Splenda. Artificial sweeteners all have different chemical formulas. Some resemble natural sugars while others are radically different. They are usually many times sweeter than sugar – saccharin is an incredible 200 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar – and some of them are hard for the body to break down.

While a sweet dessert may be a simple pleasure for many, the chemistry of how your taste buds perceive sweetness is not so simple. Only molecules with the perfect combination of atoms taste sweet, but bodies deal with each of these molecules differently when it comes to calories.

100 Ways to Live to 100: A Definitive Guide to Longevity Fitness

At this point, we’re all familiar with the trope. A local news station visits a retirement home to celebrate Muriel’s 106th birthday. She’s deaf or blind or both or neither, sitting in a wheelchair in the “good spot” next to the TV set, and a reporter asks her her secret. You’ve lived through both World Wars?! How’d you do it? Then Muriel gets to flash a mischievous grin and tells us she smoked a pack a day for 50 years.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on InsideHook
Tanner Garrity - October 21, 2021 
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels

Interacting with centenarians in this way has long made them seem like circus oddities. It trivializes the concept of lifespan and longevity, reducing the science to a throw-your-hands-in-the-hair “Who the hell knows!” It reinforces the idea that our time on this planet isn’t necessarily under our control. If my dad had a stroke and his dad had a stroke then one’s probably coming for me too, right? If I make it to 80, or — god forbid — 90, I’ve just beaten the odds. Right?

Not exactly. Since the mid-1990s, in fact, following the infamous Danish twins study, researchers have understood longevity to be “only moderately heritable.” For a while, this spawned estimates that genetics accounted for somewhere between 20 and 30% of one’s longevity. More recently, scientists have concluded that the true heritability of human longevity at birth is closer to just 7%.

Where does that other 93% come from? Your lifestyle. Your decisions. Your everyday habits, big and small. It’s possible to put years on your life, to surge past both average life expectancy and your own expectations, by resolving to live a certain way. The crazy part? This doesn’t involve some complex Ponce de Leónian quest. You don’t even have to search far and wide for the answers.

Thanks to the efforts of vanguard sociologists, geneticists and historians, we know where the world’s largest concentration of centenarians live and how they spend their days. (They’re called Blue Zones, and the way people cook, move and even happy hour in them is truly revelatory.) We also know, courtesy of a renowned doctor with whom we spoke last year, that certain behaviors can decelerate cellular aging and push the human lifespan into hitherto uncharted territories, and also that we should probably stop eating hot dogs.

You might wonder: Why would I want to live longer? Doesn’t the end of life look drawn out, expensive and horrible? Why would I sign up for decades of suffering? Well, the latest wave of longevity research isn’t focused on living years for the sake of years. It’s concerned with quality years.

Think about it. More years to travel, to exercise, to spend time with your family and whatever new family comes along. An entire life of creativity and challenges to enjoy after retirement. And consider this: those who make it to 100 are no more likely to die at 108 years old than 103. Genetics do start to factor in a bit more once you get way up there in age (hence how the Muriels of the world make it to 106), but overall, your risk of dying from any of the usual diseases plateaus. Longevity wizards only really suffer in the last couple years of their lives.

Take note — this movement is going to happen, with or without you. With an assist from modern medical care, scientists project there will be 25 million centenarians scattered across the world by 2100. (There are currently just 573,000.) But you don’t need to wait for Benjamin Button patents from the big pharmaceuticals. You can start living in the name of longevity today.

Below, 100 ways to live to 100, broken down by how you optimize your lifespan through diet, fitness, good choices and some truly wild wild cards. Before diving in, understand that you can’t do all of them; some of them are likely even incompatible. But the idea is to cherrypick those that work for your life. Ultimately, if nothing else, know this: making the call right now to act in the name of longevity — whether your “right now” is 35 or 65 — won’t just add life to your ledger. It’ll enrich and lighten every year along the way.

DIETARY DECISIONS

1. Eat fresh ingredients grown nearby

The planet’s longest-living communities all have access to food from farms and orchards down the road — that’s to say, within a 10-mile radius of their homes. These ingredients aren’t treated with pesticides or pumped with preservatives; they’re their original nutrient-dense, fiber-rich selves. Sound expensive? So are late-life medical bills.

2. Eat a wide variety of vegetables

So you’ll eat carrots, beets and cucumbers and that’s it. Okay. But if you want to unlock your true longevity potential — and lower your risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to macular degeneration — you need to regularly cycle through the whole menu: cruciferous veggies, dark leafy greens, edible plant stems, roots and marrows.

3. Eat until 80% full

Hara hachi bu is a Japanese saying that translates to “Eat until you’re 80% full.” It’s an alien concept in America, where portion sizes are the biggest in the world and somehow getting larger. But finding your “slightly full” will directly reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke while giving your body more energy and less bloating in the short term.

4. Eat home-cooked family dinners

As the godfather of nouvelle cuisine, Chef Fernard Point, once famously said: “Butter! Give me butter! Always butter!” Restaurants want customers to leave happy, so they use lots of flavor — salt, sugar and fat. It all adds up. According to one study, eating out twice a day increases your chance of an early death by 95%. Cooking is your best bet.

5. Embrace complex carbohydrates

The bread aisle is a starting point for understanding the difference between foods rich in simple carbohydrates (Wonder Bread) and those rich in complex carbohydrates (100% whole-wheat breads). The latter, for instance, rocks a ton of fiber and fuels the body in a sustainable way. Seek out more complex carbs like brown rice, oats and barley.

6. Consider a plant-based diet

You don’t have to give up meat. But you should know that societies full of centenarians don’t eat very much of it. While meat dominates most American meals, it only appears in Blue Zone diets at a rate of five times a month, two ounces per serving. And when it does, it comes sourced from free-range animals that weren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics.

7. Substitute meat with fish

Keeping fish in the rotation not only takes pressure off your veggie cooking skills — it’s also a huge life-expectancy boon. One study found that “pesco-vegetarians” (who eat up to three ounces of fish daily) live longest, aided by omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. If you can, aim for non-farmed, mid-chain fish like trout, snapper and sardines.

8. Try not to eat just before bed

Your last meal of the day should be your smallest, and shouldn’t be eaten within three hours of heading to sleep. If you’re constantly pining for a huge dinner or bedtime snack, you’re probably not fueling properly throughout the day. It’s stress-eating dressed up as a reward, which leads to indigestion in the near term and weight gain over time.

9. Let yourself feel hunger

Don’t get bogged down with YouTube videos on “the right way to intermittently fast.” As renowned Harvard geneticist Dr. David Sinclair told us: “We don’t know the best method. We do know that if you’re never hungry,  if you’re eating three meals a day and snacking in between, that’s the worst thing you can do. It switches off your body’s defenses.”

10. Eat dark chocolate

Most people have heard this one. Dark chocolate is no elixir on its own, but cacao tree seeds are part of a family of environmentally stressed plants that “activate longevity pathways in other organisms when consumed.” Replace your cookies and cupcakes with a little square from time to time to reap the rewards of flavanols and resveratrol.

11. Make more PB&Js

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are having a moment. A few years ago, ESPN devoted a profile to the NBA’s “secret addiction.” Tom Brady revealed not long after that the PB&J is his pregame meal of choice. And this year, a study concluded that the sandwich can add 33 minutes to your life. Remember to use whole-wheat bread and all-natural jelly.

12. Eat more beans

The backbone of the centenarian diet. Beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins, and low in fat and calories. They fill you up as well as meat and cook easy (serve them on their own with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, or put them in a burrito or salad). David Buettner calls beans “the world’s greatest longevity food.”

13. Eat more nuts

Sure, you’ve heard it forever. That doesn’t make it any less true. One massive study that assessed nut consumption in approximately 119,000 Americans over 30 years found that regular nut-eaters (think a handful or two of almonds a day) reduced their risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease by 20%.

14. Cook with olive oil instead of butter

Olive oil giveth, butter taketh away. While butter increases “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood (low-density lipoproteins), olive oil is a longevity rockstar — in one study, people in the highest quintile for ingesting olive oil’s polyphenols lived an average of 9.5 years longer after the age of 65. Just make sure you’re buying extra virgin olive oil.

15. Put a cap on fun foods

You don’t have to ban salty and sugary treats from your life forever, but recognize that — in order to avoid empty calories and reduce your risk of heart disease — they can’t happen every time you have a tough day at work. That’s a self-defeating choice. Save them for the right time and place, like special celebrations, when you’ll appreciate them the most.

16. Eat slowly

For one, choking to death would really hamper your longevity goal (about one in 2,500 people die each year from choking). But slowing down while eating is also a great way to avoid overeating. Remember — it takes up to 20 minutes for the stomach to process what you’ve eaten. Take deliberate bites. Honor the meal and the effort it took to make it.

17. Drink more water

Here’s the rule: your optimal H20 per diem is one-half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight. A 180-pound male, then, should aim for a little over 11 cups of water over the course of his day. There’s no need to exceed that (you’ll just piss it out), but reach it with regularity and your body’s command centers will repay you in kind.

18. Drink red wine at 5:00 p.m.

Like dark chocolate, red wine comes from a plant source that is rich in cholesterol-lowering flavanols. Some are wary of linking longevity to alcohol, but learning to moderately drink red wine can also recalibrate your relationship to the drug. Having a glass (keep it under three) at the end of the day, preferably with friends, is a stress-relieving behavior.

19. Drink tea every day

Green tea pops up everywhere in lifespan research. One famous study found that drinking the stuff three times a week pushes back your risk of “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.” If you’re a fan, take up to two cups a day. It makes sure those “cardioprotective” polyphenols stay in your body long-term.

20. Coffee is also a good idea

A stimulant with side effects like jitters and trouble sleeping can help us live longer? Indeed. The chemical compounds in coffee aside from caffeine — a wealth of antixodiants — have a positive impact on mortality, especially when consumed in copious amounts. Drinking multiple cups of coffee each day can help stem chronic diseases from Type 2 diabetes to Parkinson’s.

21. Try the Mediterranean Diet

If you pick up some of the dietary habits above — eat locally, sub fish, use olive oil — you’re already well on your way. Nutritionists are rightfully skeptical on today’s litany of fad diets, but the Mediterranean diet remains well-respected for its capability to alter microbiomes, improve cognitive function, limit risk of heart disease and promote longevity.

22. Let food be

We want food that fits our wacky preferences (separating yolks to make egg whites), has a lot of flavor (peanut butter with added sugar) or would look good on TikTok (deep-fried macaroni and cheese casseroles). But these concepts don’t square away with the traditions of long-living communities, who treat and cook whole foods as they’re naturally cultivated.

23. Stop drinking cow’s milk

Why can’t 68% of the global population digest cow’s milk? We’re not supposed to drink it. Milk — and dairy, at large — is too high in fat and sugar to justify its long-time anointment as the best place to turn for protein and calcium. At the very least, cow’s milk has no impact on longevity, so feel free to sub it for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

24. Know it’s never too late

One month of healthy eating will confer immediate results in the realms of cell regeneration, decreased inflammation and improved digestion. Starting young is great, but it doesn’t matter how old you are. Meet with your doctor beforehand to get your bloodwork done. Then come back after and note the changes, specifically in vascular health.

25. Stick to your dietary changes

Your body will rebel once you ditch your unhealthy ways for a few days. It will undoubtedly feel easier to go back to butter, processed foods and the two vegetables that you actually like. But note all the positive little changes — from your trips up the stairs to your trips to the bathroom. Eating healthy will change your life, then let you live more of it.

BUILD THE BODY

26. Sleep more than seven hours a night

Quality sleep is non-negotiable if you want to live a long, healthy life. Entertain a pattern of undersleeping, and exhaustion will seep into everything you do: exercise, diet, interpersonal relationships. Sleeping five hours a night doubles your risk of death. Try to log seven, and keep it right thereToo much sleep isn’t great for longevity, either.

27. Practice yoga

No surprises here. Yoga slows down the effects of stress on cellular aging. Multiple studies (see here and here) have sung the praises of just three months of dedicated yoga. The combination of physical effort, breathwork and meditation slows the tide of inflammation while balancing hormones (like cortisol) that cause chronic stress.

27. Meditate for 15 minutes a day

Even if you can’t commit to an intensive yoga practice, finding time each day to “quiet” your brain is likely a life-extending habit. When we stage personal interventions to decrease brain activity, the brain increases activity of RE1-Silencing Transcription factor, a protein that “allows the brain to function at a higher capacity with less strain.”

28. Schedule an annual physical

“Physician-dodging” is a disturbing status quo for men between the ages of 35 and 54. Only 43% of that middle-aged cohort reported seeing their doctors for annual physicals. Blame it on busy-ness (or more likely, a mix of toxic masculinity and unacknowledged vulnerability), but too often men are late to diagnoses and die earlier because of it.

29. Start strength training

“Functional fitness” takes on an entirely new meaning by age 70, at which point most of us have a lost a quarter of the strength we had at 30 and struggle to perform basic tasks. In fact, people with low muscle strength are 50% more likely to die earlier. Start strength training early and focus particularly on grip strength, which will aid you best in old age.

30. Move every day

Walking for just 11 minutes each day can tangibly protect the body from the mortality risks of hours spent sitting in front of a computer. Leaving the house for a walk each day — like drinking tea and eating beans — is something all Blue Zone communities share. Find a time of day that works for you and pencil in a daily constitutional, rain or shine.

31. Optimize your workplace

A dose of reality on all the longevity chat: most of us aren’t herding goats on a bluff over the Aegean. We spend most of the day answering emails. Within that less-than-ideal situation, make sure your screen is raised to eye level, your back is set against an ergonomic chair and your feet are planted against the floor. Spinal health is critical as you age.

32. Keep an active sex life

Or at the least, an active orgasm life, especially as you age. One Welsh study of men between the ages of 45 and 59 discovered that a “high orgasmic frequency” can lower mortality risk by as much as 50%. Regular sex with a partner, meanwhile, reduces stress and risk of prostate cancer, while lowering blood pressure and improving mood.

33. Hang from a bar for one minute a day

In the “text neck” era, a daily dead hang will bring mobility back to your shoulders. The practice decompresses the spine and builds strength in the upper back. One minute at a time is really hard, so feel free to break the challenge into multiple increments. Oh, and don’t be surprised when the move improves your grip strength, too.

34. Turn the volume down

Damage done to the ossicles is irreversible. Train yourself to listen to AirPods and the like on low volume. Pumping 90-decibel noise (80% of an iPhone’s allotted volume) into your ears for just 10 minutes will put you on the path to tinnitus. The effect this has on quality of life is likely why people with extensive hearing loss die earlier.

35. Breathe through your nose

When we breathe through the nose, the nasal passageway humidifies and pressurizes the air. It produces nitric oxide, a molecule that “screens” air particles before they make it to the lungs. Once there, the lungs have an easier, more efficient time circulating oxygen throughout the body. This isn’t an easy switch (more than half of Americans breathe through their mouths), but it’s worth it — the practice can increase lung capacity, which improves cardio-respiratory function.

36. Relax your jaw

“Bruxism,” also known as teeth grinding or jaw clenching, is a natural response in an age of constant anxiety, but it leads to terrible sleep and even tooth fractures. When you’re stressing, take extra care to put space between your teeth and focus on your breathing. And while sleeping, consider a nighttime mouth guard.

37. Exercise in the cold

Cold-temperature exposure turns white fat (the inflammatory fat linked to heart disease) into brown fat (the naturally occurring fat that produces heat) though a process called thermogenesis. Basically, your body has to burn more energy to stay warm, which jumpstarts your metabolism. Norwegian research suggests 120 minutes outside a week in winter.

38. Get off the toilet

According to the “hydromechanics of defecation,” it takes the average person only 12 seconds to do his or her business. But men often linger in the bathroom, to the point that it’s played for laughs in sitcoms. The habit is less than ideal: stretching across the seat inflames the veins of the anal canal and over time can lead to hemorrhoids.

39. Use sunscreen

When melanoma metastasizes, the five-year survival rate nose-dives from 99% down to 25%. Here’s an even crazier statistic: between 1995 and 2014, 60% of those who died from head or neck melanoma were men between the ages of 15 and 39. The sun is no joke; it can snatch life away early if you aren’t using sunscreen and scheduling regular screenings.

40. Take power naps

Careful — napping for more than an hour in the middle of the day has been linked to all-cause mortality. But a 15- to 30-minute “power nap” actually increases cognitive ability and alertness. It solidifies memories in the brain, relieves stress during an exhausting day and energizes afternoons for exercise or social interaction.

41. Pick up HIIT

One of the beauties of modern exercise? It can be quick. Like, really quick. In the past decade, studies have extolled the benefits of exercising for 15 minutes, four minutes … even four seconds. The rationale remains the same throughout: high-intensity, “all out” bursts of physical effort foster muscle growth, clean up arteries and put years on your life.

42. Learn to play again

The only thing that’s inherently “childish” about playing is that children are more likely to do it.  Playing, in whatever form it may take — tennis, pick-up hoops, chasing your kids with a super soaker — is essential for mental health at all ages, and a crucial deviation from exercise measured solely in pain and progress.

43. Worry less about weight loss

Wait, shouldn’t we make weight loss a priority? The issue’s a bit more nuanced. Studies indicate that overly stressing about weight loss often leads to “weight cycling,” defined as a process of losing weight only to regain it all over again. This strains the body. Focus on building sustainable practices instead of aiming to shed fat from your frame.

44. Screen for cancer regularly

This one piggybacks on both the issue of physician-dodging and the need for sunscreen. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, with lung, colon and liver cancer accounting for the most deaths. It’s imperative that you take it seriously. Start screening regularly at age 45.

45. Make sure to floss once a day

There’s a reason dental hygienists get so terse when you admit to only flossing “once in a while.” Flossing doesn’t just prevents gum disease. It can stop heart disease. When bacteria gets into the bloodstream through the mouth, arteries narrow in an immune response. This taxes vascular health. Flossing for two minutes directly influences life expectancy.

46. Practice sleep hygiene

That doesn’t refer to washing your sheets once a week. Sleep hygiene is “an upkeep of behaviors that help you sleep.” Essentially: treating the process around sleeping as sacred. Learn to keep a calm, cool, uncluttered, sleep-only bedroom and follow methods (from shutting down caffeine intake to getting blackout curtains), that shorten your sleep latency.

47. Start running

Running helps people live longer. That much is clear. But researchers concluded recently that the pace and distance of your run doesn’t necessarily matter. Any sort of running routine (up to four-and-a-half hours total per week) will lead to a 30% reduced risk in all-cause mortality. FYI: going over that amount won’t cause any harm. Just be wary of injuries.

48. Get into swimming

In the battle of cardio routines, though, swimming might take the cake. The activity is perfect for aging: it’s low-impact, burns a ton of calories, works the whole body and encourages flexibility. No wonder that over one 32-year study, swimmers were an amazing 50% less likely to die than regular walkers and runners. Time to fish out the goggles.

49. Forget the six-pack

Listen: chasing a six-pack is a waste of time that has no bearing on how long you’ll live on this planet. Overworking “show muscles” too often comes at the expense of a functional, full-body routine. Double down on a diverse workout scheme and a diet without non-processed ingredients and you’ll naturally arrive at a tighter core, anyway.

50. Ask for help

Recruiting a family member or friend for advice on your fitness journey — or hiring a personal trainer or scheduling a consultation with an exercise physiologist — is not a sign of weakness. It’s the ultimate sign that you’re ready for change, committed to turning your life around and determined to get more life out of it in the process.

THINGS TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS

51. Don’t ride a motorcycle

Motorcycles look great, but their mortality numbers don’t. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to have a fatal accident than car drivers. Even survival comes with a cost: 96% of motorcycle accidents result in injury.

52. Don’t take up BASE jumping

One of the bleakest databases you’ll ever see? The BASE fatality list. BASE jumping carries a risk up to eight times greater than skydiving. Its even more dangerous cousin, meanwhile — wingsuit flying — has a rate of one death per 500 jumps. Unsurprisingly, virtually everyone involved with the sport has a friend who died young.

53. Don’t eat processed foods

Foodstuffs with added sugar, sodium and fat are killing us all. Processed food isn’t supposed to be easy to give up (it comprises over half the “dietary energy consumed” in the United States and United Kingdom). But it’s critical that you cut back. Frozen pizzas, mayonnaise, Oreos and the like drastically increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

54. Don’t take hard drugs

Aside from the obvious in-moment risk of overdose (deaths from opioids and psychostimulants have been going up since 1990), chronic and high-dose drug use decelerate dopaminergic function. In simpler terms: most of the things you rely on for healthy living — motor control, motivation, arousal, etc. — become seriously compromised over time.

55. Don’t ingest tobacco

Not to sound like an elementary school health teacher, but it really is this simple. Right behind diet, tobacco use is the leading cause of “premature, preventable death” in the United States. And while we normally associate cigarettes with lung cancer, nicotine use can also cause cancer in the throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix.

56. Don’t smoke e-cigarettes

The majority of e-cigarettes have nicotine in them, but all of them have chemicals that will irritate your lungs. Consider: they contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin (which are toxic to cells), acetaldehyde, formaldehyde (which can cause lung or heart disease) and acrolein (a herbicide that’s usually used to kill weeds).

57. Don’t binge drink

The CDC: “A a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above.” Think seven drinks or so per binge, with several binges a month. Health experts unilaterally agree that this is a bad idea. One study even determined that drinking 25 drinks per week at age 40 can shorten life expectancy by up to five years.

58. Don’t eat hot dogs

Twitter had a lot of fun with this one, but it’s actually true — according to a recent University of Michigan study, eating a hot dog takes 36 minutes off your life. That doesn’t exactly compare to a single hit of heroin (24 hours off your life!), but it could put you in a bad cycle of salty, highly processed “meat.” Avoid them, or save solely for the odd ballgame.

59. Don’t have unprotected sex

While STIs are most definitely not more fatal than traveling in a car (as one group of volunteers misestimated in a study), they can cause infertility, urinary tract problems and half a dozen different cancers. Not to mention: unprotected sex can bring overwhelming mental stress to an activity that otherwise helps us stay healthy and happy.

60. Don’t drive under impairment

Every hour, someone dies from a drunk-driving incident in America. That’s over 30% of annual road deaths in the country. Even if you’re a responsible driver, remember to prepare for those who aren’t (always wear a seat belt!) and assess other ways you engage in distracted driving. Sending one text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds.

61. Don’t live in the middle of nowhere

Living close to nature decreases your risk of depression and obesity, indirectly adding years to your life. But there’s such a thing as too much solitude. Rural living can also mean a repressed social life, too much time in the car, relying on Walmart for food, fending for yourself during natural disasters and traveling over an hour for emergency medical care.

62. Don’t blindly pop OTC pills

We’re so accustomed to taking corner-store drugs like Tylenol and Advil that we can forget they’re, well, drugs. Always follow capsule instructions to a tee. The former contains Acetaminophen (which can cause liver issues in high doses), while the latter is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (which can cause gastrointestinal bleeding when taken improperly).

63. Don’t overeat

Calorie restriction can play a small part in adding years to your life, but unchecked calorie intake plays a very loud role in taking them away. The average American eats 3,600 calories a day (up nearly 25% from the 1960s), and the national obesity rate sits at 42.4%. Obesity coincides with common comorbidities like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

64. Don’t eat more protein than you need

The scientific research on this is pretty clear, as much as it may shock the biggest guy at your gym. A reduced protein intake “plays a critical role in longevity and metabolic health.” Most American men currently average twice the amount of protein they actually need in a day. That comes with too much IGF-1, a growth factor that accelerates aging.

65. Don’t stay in a stressful job

A study published in 2015 found that sticking with a tough job — with an unreasonable boss, little social support or looming layoffs — can literally take two years off your life. A paycheck is a paycheck, but when a job starts exerting massive mental stress over you, the body can’t tell if the initial trigger is mental or physical. It’ll fall apart either way.

66. Don’t hold a grudge

Happy people live longer. Improve your happiness by practicing “epistemic humility,” an intellectual virtue predicated on the idea that one can ever know something for sure. It’s meant to help us admit our imperfections and forgive others. Sounds too good to be true in the 2020s? All the more reason to give it a try.

67. Don’t blame your genes

When just 25% of your genetics are accountable for your personal longevity, it doesn’t make much sense to deterministically pin your fate (or blame your behaviors) on what happened to your parents or grandparents. Learn your familial risks, yes, but approach your daily actions and decisions with confidence and hope.

68. Don’t sit around all day

Online publications really ran with the “sitting is the new smoking” tagline. Not quite, but sitting should be taken seriously as a public health issue. American adults sit seven hours a day, which disrupts the body’s ability to break down body fat, slows metabolism and elevates blood pressure. Get moving, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

69. Don’t doomscroll

New phrase for you? Doomscrolling is “excessively scrolling through news or social media feeds looking for negative updates.” It’s at the intersection of smartphone addictions, a terrible news cycle and our primordial need to anticipate danger. But this sort of behavior wreaks havoc on your mental health and (unsurprisingly) never solves anything.

70. Don’t binge-watch Netflix

A full eight years ago, 61% of Netflix users admitted to binge-watching content on the platform. We’ve added five major streaming services since then; each has a revolving door of content and most employ hyped full-season releases. While cranking through episodes feels like a reward, it causes eye strain, backaches, weight gain and sleep deprivation.

71. Don’t binge on screentime

American adults spend up to six hours on their phones each day. Some of those hours are spent doomscrolling, others pushing back sleep (66% of adults bring their phones to bed), and far too much of it involves poring over the airbrushed life updates of others. Little wonder Instagram has been likened to addictive painkillers by reputable researchers.

72. Don’t play American football

The “Should you let your kids play football?” became a culture war topic in the early 2010s on the heels of unprecedented CTE research. Honest answer: probably not. At least, avoid the full-contact version of the game, which has the highest concussion rate outside of rugby and can cause irreversible damage to the brain.

73. Don’t fool around in National Parks

Or state parks. Or the woods behind your house. Or any public lands where you can hike, swim and camp without a professional ranger on hand to help at a moment’s notice. People die constantly from drowning, falls, exposure, animal encounters … selfie sticks. The issue is more relevant than ever, as novice hikers flock to nature in the pandemic era.

74. Don’t mess with firearms

There are 120.5 guns for every 100 people in America. An insane 73% of homicides involve a gun.The disturbing truth is you can easily find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time in this country. Still, the least you can do is keep guns out of your home: 27,000 people go to the hospital for accidental firearm injuries each year.

75. Don’t ignore air quality

Dirty air kills more people than all transportation accidents and shootings combined, accounting for the premature deaths of one in every 25 Americans. Train yourself to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the weather app on your iPhone. Anything over 100 means the air “is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Your run can wait until tomorrow.

THE WILD CARDS

76. Check your household products

We knew we hated shampoo. Chemicals called phthalates are found in shampoos, fragrances, cleansers and plastics. When they get into the body, they reduce the body’s stress hormone cortisol, meddle with metabolism, negatively affect the reproductive system, and can lead to extremely preventable premature deaths.

77. Live with a purpose

The Okinawans say ikigai, the Nicoyans in Costa Rica say plan de vida. Each phrase translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Finding that “why” can feel random and frustrating, but it often brings people to pursuits and causes outside of themselves. And — science backs this up — once you believe your life matters, you get to live more of it.

78. Manage negative thought loops

Negative thought loops trick us into thinking we’re being productive (we psychoanalyze uncomfortable memories, prepare for imaginary dangers, relitigate life decisions), but in reality we’re just willingly drowning ourselves in a puddle of anxiety, activating a hormone-fueled “fight or flight” response that can’t be addressed in the given moment.

79. Have a plan after retirement

Not necessarily a financial plan, though that’s also a good idea. One surprising study displayed that working longer can help people live longer. Remember, jobs can be real-world lifelines for many — they offer social engagement, days out of the house, challenging projects. It’s important to have goals and communities for filling your time after retiring, too.

80. Pick up “forest bathing”

In Japan, shinrin-yoku refers to “forest bathing,” or the act of taking in nature using all of your senses. Recent studies show adults spend 93% of their time indoors, which takes a toll on mental health (“stir crazy” is scientific). But the exact opposite is true for spending time outdoors. A single forest “bath” decreases scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety.

81. Settle down near a body of water

Take a look at a map of the world’s Blue Zones. Each is concentrated along a coastline. Settling down by the sea — in a so-called “blue space” — has been linked to a 17% reduction in mortality rate. One study suggested that living within 250 meters of a seaside environment helps reduce stress levels, with the smell and sounds offering a “wonderful tonic.”

82. Play board games

People who regularly play non-digital games are more likely to score well on memory and thinking tests in their 70s, a study determined in 2019. Games like cards, chess and crosswords aren’t just stress-relievers; they aid in cognitive function and slow down cognitive decline. Fortunately, that holds true if you come to them later in life, too.

83. Join a team

Team sports are a longevity motherlode. They combine consistent social interaction, vigorous exercise and play, all of which convey dynamite benefits for your physical and mental health. One study even discovered that making an adult soccer league your primary mode of exercise (over solo activities like jogging) could add five years to your life.

84. Tell the truth

Another reason not to get into politics — lying takes years off your life. The emotional stress that comes from telling mistruths often manifests as physical stress. Whatever the momentary reward, lying increases your risk of anxiety and depression, can sabotage relationships over time and shatters your self-esteem.

85. Listen to live music twice a month

Take the fortnight frequency with a grain of salt (it comes from a study commissioned by British entertainment operator O2), but we do know that live concerts are mindful, socially rich experiences. Assuming you don’t need to binge drink or trip on acid every time you attend one, plugging concerts into the calendar each month is a great idea.

86. Take colder showers

Make like Ian Fleming’s James Bond and finish your showers with an ice-cold “Scottish” rinse. Up to a minute (after a morning workout) is best, if you can handle it. The ritual will lower blood pressure, stimulate your immune system and can even hack your mood, releasing happy neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine and serotonin.

87. Read before bed

According to one study from the Yale University School of Public Health, “people who read books for at least 30 minutes a day live nearly two years longer than non-readers.” Reading lowers heart rate and eases tension in the muscles, fosters empathy (especially if you’re reading fiction) and helps defeat insomnia. Start with a chapter a day.

88. Keep a journal

Personal journal-keeping can predict an astonishing 53% reduction in all-cause dementia risk. The action boosts your “cognitive reserve” in the long term while sharpening memory in the short term. Oh, and, taking notes with pen and paper is crucial; it makes it easier to summarize and retain information than taking notes with computers.

89. Embrace behavioral activation

The phrase refers to performing an activity that necessitates  presence of mind. Think: cooking, gardening, walking the dog. While these sound like chores, they’re actually back doors to positive thinking and productivity. It’s an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders, whereas languishing only worsens symptoms.

90. Avoid social jetlag

Social jet lag occurs when the body’s sleep-wake cycle is suddenly thrown out of whack. When you choose to stay up late on a Saturday, you’re pushing the “midpoint” of your sleep forward. You then have to scramble back to your usual internal clock in time for Monday morning, which affects everything from body temperature to metabolism.

91. Learn a language

Similar to “eat a bowl of almonds,” we’ve all heard this one. But it’s also absolutely true. Bilingual brains age slower than monolingual brains, delaying neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s never too late, and don’t stress if fluency feels out of reach — the simple act of learning and studying a second language has a positive impact on the brain.

92. Show up to events

Researchers are convinced: “Social connections are probably the single-most important feature of living a long, healthy, happy life.” Showing up to functions with family and friends (as opposed to stressing out and skipping them) proves you can be a light, reliable presence in other people’s lives. The invites will keep coming, and you’ll be better off for it.

93. Maintain friendships

Swimming in centenarians, Sardinia was the first Blue Zone region ever identified. The island’s men have a habit of finishing each day at a local bar to talk with lifelong friends. In America, where 15% of middle-aged men report having no close friends, that sort of dynamic everyday interaction (whether at a bar or book club) could prove revelatory.

94. Make time to travel

Make time for vacation, first off — overworked Americans leave hundreds of millions of vacation days on the table each year in fear of looking replaceable to employers. Then use that time to actually go and see the world you’ve read so much about; taking just two trips a year raises feelings of contentment while lowering your risk of heart disease.

95. Visit museums

Or visit the ballet. Or visit some experimental art show that your friend’s friend is putting on (even if you have no interest). Those who afford themselves a regular “culture fix” have a 14% lower risk of passing away earlier than a typical lifespan. There is a correlation-over-causation argument to be made, but taking in art is always beneficial.

96. Find your spiritual side

You may want nothing to do with religion. But the findings are indisputable. People of faith people live longer, and in some cases, by up to four years. Congregations show up at the same time each week, they tell stories, they volunteer in their communities. From a longevity perspective, these rituals are extremely potent. It’s worth finding your equivalent.

97. Change your mind

Never in the history of the internet has anyone said “My bad, I’ve changed my mind.” Perhaps people should start. Challenging yourself to look past your imperfect point of view is a next-level stress-reliever that unshackles your entire mindset. Stop arguing in circles. Embrace that other people know things. Then live longer for it.

98. Have a family

It’s a good idea to grow old around younger people. Adults with at least one child tend to have more social interactions and lower mortality rates. On a somewhat less wholesome note, men who end up with younger partners also live longer, too. Younger spouses are a positive psychological influence, and more capable caretakers in the twilight years.

99. Summon some empathy

The whole of society is in an “empathy crisis” right now, so it’s okay if thinking of others takes a little extra effort. But monitoring and augmenting your empathic capacity isn’t just beneficial for your friends, family and colleagues — it’s associated with with life satisfaction and positive “interaction profiles” (how you do with others), regardless of age.

100. Celebrate aging

Not just in the birthday cake sense. Those who approach aging with a positive outlook end up aging easier than others. Proactively acknowledge what’s to come instead of fretting about the wrinkles under your eyes. Maybe you’ll make it to 100. Maybe you won’t. But your absolute best chance comes from living your best life along the way.

The Diet and Workout I Used to Build Muscle and Get Ripped at 63

The Workout and Diet I Used to Build Muscle and Get Ripped at 63 Years Old

“Small successes add up. One more rep can make a big difference.”

By Philip Ellis   Jun 23, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’sHealth

Edited for content.

Airline pilot Bruce Endler, 63, shares with Men’s Health how he overcame a quarantine slump and transformed his body in just 60 days.


I have always been involved in some form of physical activity, from weight training to martial arts, and around my 60th birthday I got into bodybuilding. However, it was not unusual to miss several months at a time for various reasons. In addition to family and work issues, several surgeries caused me to suspend training. I’ve had both shoulders decompressed, a deviated septum corrected (a result of my Tae Kwon Do studies) and a spinal surgery that cost me three months.

As an airline pilot, I would plan my trips around layovers where I knew I would have have access to a gym and time to train. I would also work out with my trainer Bob Holper at Life Time once or twice a week depending on my work schedule. But starting in late March 2020, the airline industry suffered a dramatic reduction in passenger traffic due to the pandemic.

Coupled with the inability to train on the road, the shutdown of gyms meant that I was solely working out at home. I have never found pure bodyweight workouts appealing, and had only minimal equipment available at the beginning of quarantine. I ordered some resistance bands, but the global logistics issues resulted in a lengthy delay in their arrival. The same issue affected the building of my garage gym .The result was that my workouts became markedly inconsistent.

On the nutrition side, I also struggled to stick to the macronutrients and calories in my healthy eating plan: in order to support the struggling restaurant industry, my wife and I routinely ordered from three or four of our favorite local restaurants. And like many others, we also found ourselves drinking too much and watching too much television.

I decided to sign up for Life Time’s 60-Day Challenge. My younger son, Andrew, had just competed in his first bodybuilding show, and he any my trainer Bob (an IFBB pro) encouraged me to give it a shot. I have always been goal-oriented and driven to succeed. I was disappointed with the extra body fat I had acquired, and wanted to return to a healthier state. Ultimately, I decided to enrol a couple of weeks prior to the challenge start date.

Bob and I set up two three-day training splits. The first was heavier compound movements, and the second was higher rep isolation movements. He left cardio up to me, but encouraged me to begin each day with fasting fat-burning cardio. I began each day with 16 ounces of water, a cup of coffee, and a 45-minute walk. Then it was meal one. I then did my weight training for 60 to 90 minutes followed by meal two. Another 45-minute walk was followed by meal three and a shower, with meals four and five about three hours apart. On non-weight training days, I would add to or replace one of the walking workouts with a 30-minute HIIT session on an elliptical machine.

Nutrition started off low carb for the first few weeks to get my metabolism going. I then moved into a few weeks of carb cycling. Bob tends to like five low days followed by two high days, but I have found that three low and one high works better for me. Since the challenge ended, I have been adding additional daily carbs on a weekly basis. This has slowed the rate of weight loss but increased my metabolism further.

Getting back into consistent training was fabulous. I have always enjoyed the endorphin high. Additionally, despite the weight loss, my strength was mostly maintained. Fortunately, motivation was not a factor since the pilot side of me thrives on routine. Additionally, my wife’s trainer provided her with a nutrition plan that was similar initially, so we could eat together.

I began the 60-day process at a little over 165 pounds and 22.9% body fat. I ended the contest at 152.1 pounds and 17.8%. Since then, continued training has put me at 15.1%. I feel so much more confident as a result. Pullups are also a lot easier, which means I am about ready to make them weighted rather than bodyweight.

The most important advice I could give anyone is to understand your own journey. There will always be setbacks or detours, but you must press on with the effort. Consistency is the key to success, but don’t let an inability to maintain consistency keep you from undertaking the journey. Small successes add up. One more rep, another 5 pounds, or a few more minutes can make a big difference. Never, ever quit. Or, if you are a Galaxy Quest fan: “Never give up, never surrender.”

 

Living With ED: How To Take Back Your Life

Living With ED: How To Take Back Your Life

Dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) can be incredibly difficult for men at any age. Men often feel ashamed of their condition and convince themselves that they’re “less of a man” because of it. When left untreated, the effects can spiral into other areas of their life. Self confidence, intimate relationships, and overall health can decline quickly. If you are struggling with ED, it’s important to realize that it doesn’t have to control your life. With these few tips you can get back to being your best self!

Talk To A Doctor

The first step to taking back control of your life is to talk to a doctor. With the shame or embarrassment that a lot of men feel about ED, it’s normal to even be embarrassed to tell your doctor. Remember that your physician will simply want to help you. Don’t let a mental block stop you from reaching out for help. They might help you explore options for ED medications to give you some short term relief or suggest other lifestyle changes. They also might want to make sure you don’t have any other undiagnosed illnesses. ED can be a symptom of another illness like heart disease, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome to name a few.

Exercise

Being proactive about your overall health will help you feel more in control of your ED symptoms. Working out can help tackle ED symptoms from many angles as your overall health generally improves. Since obesity increases the risk of ED, working out can get you on track to being a healthier weight and potentially reducing your symptoms. Another way that exercise can impact ED is through body positivity. Perhaps you’re not confident in your body and it’s causing some performance anxiety. If that’s the case, working out can improve your self esteem over time and potentially relieve your ED symptoms.

Diet

Incorporating a healthy diet into your routine is another great way to help alleviate ED symptoms. Being selective about what you eat and noticing the effects on your mood and mental state and your body will help you feel in control of your body. Aside from your basic “healthy balanced diet” there are some specific nutrients to help fight ED that you’ll want to be sure to incorporate. Many of these nutrients are linked to improving circulation, which is necessary for improving ED symptoms.

Remember, having erectile dysfunction does NOT diminish you as a man, or as a person. You may feel alone, defeated, betrayed by your body and unable to do the things you want when you want to. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. Find solace in controlling other aspects of your life that you are able to control. Your mental and physical health will improve and you’ll be well on your way to getting your confidence back.

# # #

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Smoking, Stress, And Unhealthy Food Can Take a Toll on Your Sex Life

Smoking, Stress, And Unhealthy Food Can Take a Toll on Your Sex Life

Read on to know how smoking, consuming unhealthy food and taking stress hamper your sex life.

Edited by Juhi Kumari

This article is a repost which originally appeared on India.com

Sex is a taboo even today in the society we live. People hardly talk about it in public. Probably they do not realise that it is a part of daily life and that too a significant one. Sexual satisfaction is important for an array of reasons. It does not only gives you pleasure but also boosts your immunity and provides relief from stress and anxiety. Also, it helps you to sleep better and lowers your blood pressure. Still, some people knowingly or unknowingly indulge in habits that are known to sabotage their sex life. Here, we tell you about those habits.

Eating Unhealthy Food

A good amount of energy is required to act on bed. And, that comes from food that you eat. Following an unhealthy diet including fried food, burger, cholesterol-rich food can reduce your libido and take a toll on your sex life. Also, eating refined carbs present in food like white flour can decrease the level of testosterone in the body and increase the level of estrogen hormone. What you can opt for include kale juice, carrot, pomegranate, etc. as they enhance blood flow to the genitals and keep you charged up to perform better. Eating natural food can also increase your sexual stamina.

Smoking

Cigarettes contain nicotine that is known to be a potent vasoconstrictor. This means, its consumption can make your blood vessels narrow and damage your veins and arteries. In men, smoking can damage the small arteries present in the penis and negatively impact sex life. If you wish to have a rocking time on bed with your partner, you need to stop smoking.

Taking stress

Stress is a silent killer. Chronic stress can gradually make you extremely sick. It can also reduce your desire to get cozy with your partner and indulge in sex. Low libido can create problems in your relationship. Also, it can reduce your partner’s probability to get pregnant. Stress can also decrease the level of the happy hormones in the body and interfere with your sex response. Meditation, yoga, and working out daily can help you in this regard.

inSHAPE Fitness Program: The Modern Way to Get Fit

inshape fitness sexual fitness

inshape fitness sexual fitnessExpert Trainer and Nutritionist, Jake Kocherhans’ inSHAPE fitness program helps those looking to improve their health and fitness. As we’ve talked about for years, your general fitness is critical to maximizing your sexual fitness. Strength and cardio stamina are key to be being a great lover. Plus, a healthy body weight and strong cardio system is needed for the hardest erection possible.

This is where fitness programs, like inSHAPE and nutrition programs like Isagenix, really come into play.

What makes inSHAPE so different from other programs out there is the importance they place on adaptation. Without proper phasing, it can be easy for our body’s to become adapted to what they’re doing and stop progressing. You may see great results initially, but if you’re not incorporating different stimulus into your training, those results will eventually begin to plateau. With inSHAPE, you’ll have six months worth of phased programming designed to take your body through a different style of training every four weeks. With new workouts provided every two weeks, you’ll never get tired of the same old routine.

The other factor that separates inSHAPE Fitness from other programs is the way they incorporate frequency into our program. It only makes sense that the more you’re constantly stimulating your muscles, the quicker they will get stronger & grow. As more and more science comes out supporting the idea of increasing frequency as a means to promote muscle growth, inSHAPE made it a priority to incorporate it into the program in a way that would maximize your results without sacrificing adequate recovery

For less than 50 cents a day, you’ll have unlimited access to everything you need to achieve your fitness goals:

  • 6 MONTHS OF PHASED EXERCISES designed specifically to avoid plateaus and help you see results week after week.
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  • EXERCISE LIBRARY with instructional videos & tutorials on how to perform each movement properly.
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  • FULL NUTRITION GUIDE & MEAL CALCULATOR that will provide you with a full understanding of exactly what you need to eat to reach your goals.
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  • FREE E-BOOK covering in-depth tips & strategies for how to maximize your time in the gym.
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  • PRIVATE FACEBOOK COACHING GROUP where expert trainer & nutritionist Jake Kocherhans answers questions directly, and does weekly video Q&A’s. The group is also a great place to build community, support & motivate each other, and hold one another accountable.

inshape fitness sexual fitness