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Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss For Men Over 40

Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss For Men Over 40

Let’s face it. The older we get, the more difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight. Not only do our bodies change over time, but many of us tend to not eat as healthy as we should, and we are not nearly as active as we should be. Once you hit 40, if you aren’t already living a healthy lifestyle and you find yourself needing to lose weight, it is time to start making some serious lifestyle changes. Here, we will talk about the various ways that men over 40 can get back into shape and stay in shape.

No More Fad Diets

One of the worst things you can do is try fad diets — they don’t work! Sure, you may lose a few pounds quickly, but once you go off the diet and go back to your normal way of eating, that weight is going to come right back, and those pounds will likely bring a few friends along for the ride. Not only are these diets not going to help you lose weight and keep it off, they are often very unhealthy. For instance, one diet may be so restrictive in calories that you won’t have enough calories daily to keep you healthy. Other diets leave out certain important nutrients. You will end up feeling tired, irritable, and hungry, and that is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

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Eat Healthy Instead Of Dieting

If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, the trick is to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in all of the nutrients our bodies need in order to stay healthy. Make sure that you are eating a healthy breakfast every day, because it really is the most important meal of the day. You need to have plenty of protein in your diet, as well as other nutrients. If you are unsure about how you should be eating, speak to your physician or a nutritionist to help get you on the right track. This type of “dieting” has led to plenty of success stories, such as James Barbour, who managed to lose almost 35 pounds in 60 days with no exercise and keep it off through the 3X Fat Loss program.

Be Careful With Comfort Foods

Many of us love to eat a lot of unhealthy things because they are comfort foods. Pamela Wartian Smith, M.D. and co-director of the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s master’s program in medical sciences, states that, “When you eat things to which you’re sensitive or intolerant, you get an increase of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, so you literally get a high.” In addition to this, the comfort foods you eat could cause many issues that lead to problems with weight loss, including water retention and inflammation.

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Don’t Skimp On Sleep

When we were kids, naps seemed like punishment. As we age, we start to see the importance of sleep and just how much it can do for our bodies and minds. There may have been a time when you could party all night and work all day, but that probably isn’t the case these days. The older you get, the more important sleep is. Even if you lose one hour of sleep a night for three nights, your appetite can be affected, and your body won’t tell you that it is full. When you are getting plenty of good sleep, it can actually help to encourage fat-burning. So, it really is time to start taking sleep a lot more seriously, and don’t feel guilty for sleeping in on the weekends. You, and your body, deserve it.

Be Careful When Eating Out

We all love to eat out once in a while, and we tend to use eating out as an excuse to not eat healthy. Even the unhealthiest of take-out places have some healthy options, and more restaurants are adding these options all the time because of the demand for healthy foods. For example, instead of getting a donut with your morning coffee, get yourself a healthy piece of fruit. Many of the breakfast fares offered at restaurants have more fat (which can actually be good depending on the kind of fat), sugar, and calories than a candy bar, so you have to be careful. Don’t stop at breakfast either. No matter what meal you are eating at a restaurant, check to see if there are healthier options that you can enjoy and not regret later.

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Start Taking Walks

You can eat healthy until the cows come home, but you aren’t going to notice huge weight loss results unless you are combining exercise with a healthy diet. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at the gym every day, but it does mean that you need to get moving more, and that starts with walking. To burn enough calories to lose weight, you need to walk at 3 miles per hour, and it is recommended that we all take 10,000 steps per day.

On the flip side of this coin, it is important that you stop sitting around. The more you sit, the greater your chances are of developing a number of health issues, including Type 2 diabetes. If your job requires you to sit for eight hours a day or longer, you need to find ways to get up and move around — for the sake of your health and your weight. Ask your employer about bringing in one of those new stand-up desks, which raise and lower so you have the option to stand up once in a while and still be able to do your work. However, remember that excessive exercise can actually lead to massive inflammation.

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Get Motivated

Finally, the last thing we are going to talk about is motivation. This can be the most difficult part of any weight loss or health plan. After all, junk food tastes so good, and laying around the house seems a lot easier than getting out and exercising. If this sounds like you, then you need something to get you motivated. There are all kinds of things that you can do to get out of this rut. Get out and play with the kids. Get involved in a local team. Find ways to make living healthy seem a lot more enticing than laying around and eating junk food all the time. You can do it, and your life will be better for it.

Featured photo credit: SplitShire via splitshire.com

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Jane Hurst

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Published on March 8, 2019

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

Think about your current workouts:

If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

    Meet Strong Stan

    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

    Meet Flexible Fiona

    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

      Final Thoughts

      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

      Reference

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