The BEST Tips for Weight Loss for Men Over 40

Muscular man with larger jeans and tape measure

If you are a man who is over 40 and you would like to lose some weight, you are not alone! There are men around the country who are struggling to lose what is often referred to as the “dad bod.” They have gotten comfortable in their daily routine, and slowly over time extra weight has crept up on them. The good news is that you can lose weight, even over 40.

Around the age of 40, our metabolism begins to slow down. Combine that with the fact that many men are not as active as they used to be, and it’s easy to see how the extra weight begins to pile up around the middle. Here are some of the best tips for weight loss for men over 40:

Keep in mind that healthy weight loss is losing only 1-2 pounds per week. You should not try to lose more than that, as it wouldn’t be healthy to do so, and there would be a good chance of you gaining it back.

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than what you take in each day. If you burn less than you take in, those calories will be taken from your stored fat. If you take in more calories than what you burn, it will be stored as fat.

A pound equals 3,500 calories. Therefore, in order to safely lose 1-2 pounds per week, you would aim to trim 500-1,000 calories off your diet per day.

Watch your alcohol intake and keep it to a minimum. While many men find this part to be a challenge, a 12-ounce beer has around 100 calories. Having a few beers can add a lot of calories, and no nutrition, to your diet (not to mention that it will help lead to the beer belly so many middle-aged men have).

Be sure to eat plenty of good protein, including leafy green vegetables, wild-caught seafood, pasture-raised chicken and pork, and grass-fed beef. Getting enough protein will help ensure you are not hungry between meals and that you have plenty of energy throughout the day.

  • Be consistent with having an exercise and workout program. To ensure that you are on the right track, work with a professional trainer, who will create a plan just for you.

Don’t look at the total amount of weight that you want to lose. Rather, focus on just making a change, even with it being slow and gradual. Research shows that even losing even 5-10 percent of your body weight can have a positive health impact. I have helped many men over the age of 40 in the Vancouver, Washington area to lose weight. My professional training practice in Vancouver specializes in doing just that!

 

Apples, Pears, Plums… Can I Enjoy It?

Apple, pear, tape and glucometerI love it when my clients get excited. Not just about fitness, either! I love hearing about what my clients are up to outside of the immediate realm of fitness, whether it’s hobbies they enjoy, weekend plans they are looking forward to, or just daily updates.

One client of mine, Jon, has been telling me all about the fruit trees he has planted in his backyard. He is stoked that his micro orchard, if you can call five trees and orchard, are going gangbusters. Despite the heat, the trees have been producing a lot of fruit, and it looks like he has a lot of dishes that include apples, plums, and pears in his immediate future.

You can see where I’m going with this, right? I bet you can!

During the late summer, a lot of fruit starts to make its way to the market. I see a lot of independent entrepreneurs on street corners selling fresh apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries. As a chef, it’s a great time to take advantage of seasonal foods.

Now for the most part, fruits seem to get a bad rap at the surface. Fruits are seen as sugar packing desserts, inferior to vegetables. It’s true, in some cases: many fruits are used in dessert items, like cherry pie, apple strudel, plum pudding… and yes, these items are not on your diet plan! But that doesn’t mean fruits as a whole should be taken out of your diet.

Fruits are still a huge part of the food pyramid, and while they should be regulated like any other portion of food, you should still include healthy fruits into your diet. Take a look at some of the most important aspects of keeping fruit in your diet:

Fruits don’t contain cholesterol – That’s right! Cholesterol free! Fruits are also low in sodium, unhealthy fats, and calories.

Fruits are sources of nutrients – As a whole, most Americans lack a healthy source of potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Guess what many fruits have? All of these, especially bananas, prunes, peaches, apricots, and cantaloupe.

Fruits reduce heart disease – Because of these nutrients I just listed, fruits are amazing at preventing heart disease, which includes risk of heart attack and stroke.

Fiber! – Fiber is essential to any diet as you get older, as it helps protect against types of cancers, creates a sense of fullness, and helps proper bowel movement.

So don’t feel bad by grabbing an apple for the afternoon snack, or grabbing a few plums for lunch. Enjoy the treat! Be sure to talk to a personal trainer at Boomer Fitness to see how we can fully incorporate a healthy amount of fruit into your daily diet.

 

Water: Don’t Neglect It

water splash in a glassWhen it comes to working out, there really aren’t a lot of things you need to take with you. You get some gym clothes, you grab a towel, and you’re ready to build some muscles, right?

Gyms like Boomer Fitness are great for that reason. We carry the essentials you need when you’re here, so you don’t have to worry about taking things with you. We’ve got the equipment for the workout, the showers for cleaning up afterward, and the water faucet for when you need to re-hydrate.

But what happens when you’re outdoors this summer? You might go for a hike up Dog Mountain, go jogging around the block, or even cycle down to the local grocery store. When you head out, you still might not take much with you, other than some breathable clothes, a cellphone, and the keys. But there’s something missing. Can you guess it? If you guessed water, you know where I’m going with this.

Water is ESSENTIAL, especially when you’re outdoors. Think about it this way: your body is already around 65% water. Would you really want to deny yourself something that makes up 65% of your body?

No matter what you’re doing, you’re likely going to be outdoors this summer. And if this heat continues, it’s going to get very, very hot while we’re outdoors.

This means you’re going to need a lot more water than you might in a regular workout. Why is that? Well, when your in a hotter environment, you’re going to be sweating a lot more. Your going to be expending more water, which means you’re going to need to replace it with even more.

When you exercise, your muscles are going through a number of chemical reactions. Water is essential in many of these reactions, and if they don’t have the necessary ingredients, these reactions slow down. Think of water as lubrication for your muscles. Without it, you’re going to start getting less efficient.

Here’s an example – As you work out, your heart is going to be working harder than normal to get blood to your muscles. Water is the main ingredient in plasma found in your blood, which is responsible for moving chemical components around your body. Drinking more water means your body is going to be much better at getting things where they need to go.

So do yourself a favor the next time you hike up Dog Mountain: Bring a canteen of water with you! You will feel better, your body will be more efficient, and best of all, you’re exercising outdoors! You can’t lose when you’re enjoying the great weather this summer.

Empty Stomach Syndrome: Creating Havoc on your Diet

iStock_000018166519XSmallWe’ve all been there. You’re heading to the supermarket and suddenly everything looks delicious. You start walking down the aisles and you suddenly have an urge to try everything! Those chips look so good, those cookies are to die for, and I’ve never seen that beef jerky before. The next thing you know, your cart is full and you haven’t even started checking off the things on your list yet.

Stop! Drop those sugar-filled cookies and get out while you still can! You’re suffering from empty stomach syndrome, and it’s not going to help that specialty diet we set up for you.

Empty Stomach Syndrome, or ESS, is what happens when you are hungry and enter a store filled with foods. It’s a recipe for disaster if you’re on a specialty diet program, especially when you walk down those aisles that are absolutely filled with junk food.

It’s not entirely your fault, either. Supermarkets know what they’re doing with these aisles, and seek to take full advantage of your ESS. You might notice that snack foods are always at eye level, spaced throughout the store, and always seem to have some great “club prices” that scream a deal. After all, there’s no harm in trying those saturated fat crackers, especially when you’re saving two bucks when doing it!

Do yourself a favor: The next time you’re going to the market for foods, grab a quick healthy meal or snack beforehand. Planning your trip to the supermarket after a meal will do a number of things for you:

Save Money – You might notice that if you’re not shopping hungry, your cart won’t be quite as full. You’re going to be less inclined to buy foods you don’t need when you’re not daydreaming about how they taste. Less cravings mean less money at the checkout.

Less Snack Foods -If you’re not hungry, you’re going to be planning for the future,  not for the present. Keeping your attention on your diet instead of your snack cravings means you’re going to spend more time in healthier aisles, which means less temptations later down the road.

Better Planning – When you’re operating on a full tank, you’re a lot less likely to make mistakes than if you’re running on empty. After a meal, you’re going to be thinking straight, which means you can plan around your diet. You’re going to remember things that are on your good list, and remember to keep yourself from buying foods that are not.

Remember: You either go all the way or your don’t go at all. There’s no middle ground, which means you can’t cut corners on your diet. Stick to it, and you will make progress!

Natural vs Unnatural Sugars

iStock_000012651702XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about sugar and the dangers of consuming too much. Many of us are eating sugar without even knowing it, with many condiments and processed foods smuggling sugar into our diets.

There is such a thing as too much sugar, but does that mean you can cut them from your diet altogether? Well, not exactly. Carbohydrates, necessary to keeping your body energized, is a sugar! Give up carbs altogether, and you won’t have any energy to get through the day.

Now, you might be thinking I’m contradicting myself. How can I tell you to cut sugar from you diet, but then tell you that sugars like carbs are a necessity of life? There is a distinction between necessary sugars and excessive sugars, and it’s as simple as looking at the source.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The biggest culprit in excessive sugar consumption is high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. HFCS is made primarily of corn, and is created when corn syrup undergoes a conversion process, changing some of its glucose to fructose. Because of the ease of processing, HFCS is used as a supplement in many processed foods for sweetness. You can find it in most sodas, processed desserts like Twinkies, and even in places you wouldn’t expect like energy bars or cereal.

There has recently been a lot of conflicting information regarding HFCS. Many sources will tell you that there are no dangers in HFCS, while others will tell you that its a poisonous bile you should avoid at all costs. As commonplace as it is, it’s hard to escape HFCS. But there are always alternatives to unnatural sources of sugar.

Natural Sugars 

Of course, sugar isn’t an unnatural product altogether. Many healthy foods, like fruits for example, naturally contain sugars. A single red delicious apple will naturally contain approximately 23 grams of sugar, and you will seldom hear a doctor telling you to stop eating fruits.

As I said before, carbohydrate sugars have a very important part in our lives, and it would be unhealthy to block out these energy sources completely. How can we get through our fitness regimen if our body doesn’t have the energy to do it?

I have a quick tip I tell some of my clients who are struggling with this: If you’re considering a food, look at the nutritional information on the back. If sugar comes up in the first few lines, put the box down and find something else to eat. If High Fructose Corn Syrup shows up, find something else to eat. If you see words that you have to sound out in your head, put the box down.

The ingredient sugar is not deadly, but sugar in high quantity is. As we make changes in our lives, especially in our diet, it is important to be aware of what we are fueling ourselves with. Trust me, I know that making the change from processed foods packed full of sugar will be difficult, but I also know it will be worth the change.

Be sure to ask any of the personal trainers at Boomer Fitness about how you can make a healthy change in your diet. And stay up to date on my blog for more details to come!

Sugar, the Unknown Danger Hiding in your Food

iStock_000016293067XSmallI don’t know about you, but during my childhood, one of my favorite memories was waking up exceedingly early on Saturday Mornings. I would head downstairs, turn on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and grab a huge bowl of Frosted Flakes, doused with extra sugar from the cabinet. It was a childhood tradition, and you could never have too much sugar.

Today, I shudder to think about how much sugar kids are putting through their bodies whether their parents know about it or not. With the amount of sugar that can be found in every day foods anymore, adding even more is beyond excessive.

I won’t beat around the bush on this one: whether you are a kid watching cartoons early in the morning or just adding some sugar to your morning coffee, high levels of sugar in anyone’s diet is deadly. (When I was proof reading this, a client of mine thought claiming excessive sugar consumption is deadly was going too far, but I disagree. I want to make sure you know the truth about what is in your food, and I have no intention of sugar coating the truth for you… pun intended) Excess consumption of sugar is known to be directly linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, all of which a big portion of our population is struggling with right now.

This problem isn’t just something we can ignore and hope will go away, either. Today, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, and it’s only estimated to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that the total deaths caused by diabetes will increase by 50% in the next 10 years. in 2012, the American Diabetes Association discovered that just under 10% of the US population had a form of diabetes.

You may be thinking “Ok Brian, I get it. Sugar is bad, but I cut soda out of my diet years ago. I don’t have ice cream in the house, and I treat myself to one candy bar when Halloween comes around. I’m doing enough to cut sugar out of my diet, right?

Unfortunately, you likely have more sugar in your diet than you think. Adding a little sugar from the packets on the restaurant table is one thing, but many processed foods include sugar as an additive already. You are likely consuming sugar without even knowing it’s in the food you’re eating. Take a look at some of the worst offenders of sugar smuggling that could be in your refrigerator right now:

Ketchup – Generic brands of ketchup are well known for smuggling sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. One tablespoon of ketchup can have as much a 3.7 grams of it packed inside, which can equate to about a sugar cubes worth of sweetness.

Peanut Butter – Another offender of the high fructose corn syrup smuggling is your typical name brand peanut butter. In two tablespoons, you will find 3 grams of sugar, or just under one sugar cube.

Beef Jerky – How much can you really jam into a piece of dried meat? Turns out quite a lot more than you might have thought. Once piece of jerky, averaged at just under 1 ounce, can have as much as 1.8 grams of sugar. More if it’s a flavored brand of jerky.

Name Brand Iced Tea – Various brands of Iced Tea try to frame themselves as a healthier alternative to soda or other sugary drinks. But one 24 ounce can of generic Iced Tea can hold as much as 72 grams of sugar! That’s 18 cubes of sugar packed into a single drink.

Name Brand Light Yogurt – Even yogurt, which is labelled as a healthy way to start the day and snack on, contains up to 14 grams of sugar. Non “light” versions of the same yogurt can have even more, up to 27 grams.

Unsweetened Diet Cereal – This one almost makes me laugh. After all, unsweetened diet cereal appears to be one of the blandest things you can include in your diet, right? It looks as simple as baked corn flakes! How can they possibly cram sugar into that? Before you grab the non-frosted corn flakes off the store shelves, be sure to take a look at the nutritional facts. A typical generic brand of dietary cereal will have anywhere between 3 to 4 grams of sugar per cup. Just because it’s not labelled as “frosted” doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Unfortunately, added sugar is found in almost all packaged foods. I have a difficult time going into a local grocery store and finding foods that haven’t had sugar added for flavor. But there are ways of checking if sugar has been added, and even foods that don’t have any additives. This Thursday, check back in and I’ll tell you what to look for and how to avoid the additive sugars you can live without.

Good Supplements – Filling in the Gaps

iStock_000004424358XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about the dangers of bad supplements, and how they can do a lot more damage than good. Things like carbohydrate blockers, unregulated testosterone boosters, and too many vitamins can cause harm to the way your body functions. Many don’t measure up to the outrageous claims made on late night tv commercials.

Many supplements can do damage, but that doesn’t mean all supplements deserve a bad rap. In fact, many supplements on the market can do a lot of good, depending on what your body needs and your diet might be lacking.

There are plenty of supplements in the market that are perfectly healthy, when taken in moderation and with the full knowledge of what you’re putting in your body. I could write a book about all the good supplements out there, but lets take a brief look at some of the well known supplements out there:

Whey Protein – When I bring up protein mixes, a lot of people initially think I’m trying to turn them into a muscle head or a body builder. Having extra protein in your diet isn’t going to automatically give you bulging muscles, but what it can do is help preserve your muscles after exercising.

Whey Protein is a great source of Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs. These proteins reduce the amount of protein breakdown in your muscles. This means your muscles are going to recover faster after a workout, and promote muscle growth.

There are many, many different types of whey protein out on the market. There are even many types of protein mixtures other than whey you can use. I typically do not pay attention to the label as much as I do the nutritional information. Since it’s a protein mixture, I tend to choose mixtures that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

Vitamin C – This particular vitamin has many uses throughout your body. From fighting colds to reducing pollutants, curing infections to promoting better blood flow, Vitamin C goes a long way to promoting healthy bodily function.

So how much is enough Vitamin C? As I wrote before, having too many vitamins can be a bad thing, but one to three grams of Vitamin C per day can go a long way toward promoting healthy body functions.

Green leafy vegetables and fruits like oranges and kiwis are very high in Vitamin C, and are a great natural source of the vitamin.

Fish Oil – This is a generalized supplement, but fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy body function when paired with omega-6 acids. Because the common diet of red meats and eggs contain many omega-6 acids but not as many omega-3s, having a healthy boost of omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Again, supplements should not be taken in excess, as fish oil can also raise levels of cholesterol. But when taken in moderation, the omega-3s found in this oil can be very beneficial.

Of course, the big question comes to mind: do I need to take these supplements? And the answer is of course not! Supplements do nothing but add nutrients to your body that you might not normally get in your everyday diet. There are no miracle cures that will automatically give you the body of Wonderwoman. But what supplements can do is fill in a few gaps you might have in your every day diet. They won’t do the hard work for you, but it might give you a little extra help.

No matter what though, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking supplements of any kind. And be sure to talk to me about any supplements you might be considering! I am happy to share my two cents on any and all supplements out there.

Vegetables – The Neglected Section of the Food Pyramid

Senior Woman Eating Healthy SaladIf your childhood was anything like mine, there were many conversations (always one-sided) about the merits of eating your vegetables. I know I was a carnivore growing up, and anything green was always pushed to the side of the plate.

Of course, as we grow up, we grow out of our picky eating habits and start to eat much healthier than we ever thought we would as kids. But I have noticed that many vegetables still get sidelined when it comes to preparing meals.

Vegetables play a huge part in making sure you’re getting enough nutrition in each meal and we can’t afford to ignore them, especially as we get older and wiser. But it’s one thing to know that vegetables are good for you, and another thing to know why vegetables are good for you. Other than the fact your parents used to say “It’s good for you,” why should you make an extra effort to get some salad for dinner?

Take a look at some of the benefits you get by having a vegetable-rich diet:

Vitamins – Vegetables are a great source of Vitamins A and C, both of which are essential to keeping your body healthy. Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy, protecting from infection. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, and helps cuts and bruises heal. Vitmin A can be found in Carrots, leafy greens, and broccoli, and Vitamin C is found in parsley, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and peppers.

Folic Acid – This paticular type of acid helps your body create red blood cells in your blood stream. Pregnant women are usually encouraged to get their fair share of folic acid, but its importance doesn’t cease once you have had a child. Folic acid also helps liver and kidney functions, prevent colon and cervical cancer, and prevent stroke. Folic Acid can be found in leafy greens, okra, asparagus, mushrooms, and tomato juice.

Antioxidants – While fruits usually get credit for being high in antioxidants, vegetables also contain a lot of the chemical compound. Antioxidants help reduce oxidant stress, disease, cancerous cells, and can even help boost your immune system. Vegetables that are high in antioxidants include eggplant, spinach, onions, leeks, and oregano.

Dietary Fiber – Fiber is the uncredited hero in vegetables! Fiber does everything from helping reduce your risk of heart disease to reducing your cholesterol levels, helping your insides work correctly and even providing a sense of “fullness” so you don’t overeat. High fiber vegetables include artichokes, peas, avocados (technically a fruit, but still worth mentioning) and lima beans.

You might be thinking “I know that vegetables are healthy for me. That’s not news to me. It’s finding new ways to enjoy vegetables that challenges me,” and I understand that. Sometimes, the hardest part is finding new ways to enjoy different foods. That’s why this Thursday, I’m going to have a few recipes high in vegetable content that you can try over the weekend, and find that maybe, just maybe, your parents had the right idea when you were a kid.

Superbowl Snack Aftermath: Part 2

TiStock_000009709487XSmallhis last Tuesday, I wrote about some of the less-than healthy food you might have been enjoying during the Superbowl. Like I wrote before, hindsight is always 20/20, but I feel it’s important to acknowledge the reasons why we are making changes. Especially when it’s a daily change, like our diet.

Today, I want to highlight healthy foods, things you can enjoy without worrying about empty calories, excessive carbs, or high levels of salt.

One misconception I hear a lot is healthy food is simply boring food. It can be bland, repetitive, and at the end of the day, simply doesn’t taste good. We all know these culprits of the bland food crime: Celery sticks, plain kale salad, white fish a la carte. Trust me, after a week of nothing but white fish for dinner, even those plain corn chips in the cupboard start to look really, really good.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can still enjoy healthy food without forcing yourself to endure tasteless, repetitive health foods we start to dread.

The Right Carbohydrates – Carbs are not the enemy! A lot of people who come to the gym tell me they’re trying to eliminate all carbohydrates from their diet. It’s important to remember that carbs are not the only enemy, and in fact give you the energy to hit the day. What we do want to do is reduce carbohydrates, and get them from the right sources.

I recommend adding Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Oatmeal to your diet. These are full of fiber and protein, getting us the nutrients we need to hit the day running.

Proteins: Not just for Bodybuilders  – Protein seems to be the big word that comes to mind when you think of weight training, bodybuilding, marathon running, and so forth. But it’s important to remember that proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet. Whether you’re an herbivore, a carnivore, or somewhere in between, it’s important to get yourself the right amount of protein in your diet.

I recommend unprocessed cheese, greek yogurt, beans, eggs, and lean meats, like chicken breast and lean beef. These get us high amounts of protein and other supplements our bodies need, while avoiding unhealthy levels of sodium or other unnecessary byproducts.

Fats are you Friend –  Fats usually get a bad rap in a lot of conventional diets, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, give us healthy hormones and some structure in our body composition. Like everything else, the real culprit is the amount of fats that we consume.

I recommend almond butter, avocados, olive oil, and nuts to get your daily dose of fats. These give you the energy your body needs, while avoiding excessive saturated fats.

iStock_000018256851XSmallThe More Natural Color, the Better – It might sound ridiculous to judge foods on color, but it gives you a visual gauge of how healthy and unprocessed a meal is. And in the end, colorful food looks a lot more appetizing than the greys and tans of processed foods.

When I’m in the kitchen, I like to include as many colors as possible in each dish. This can include vegetables like bell peppers carrots, radishes, zucchini, and fruits like blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, and oranges.

So a lot of tips, right? You might be thinking it’s easier said than done, throwing all these suggestions into action. That’s why I’ve got a couple of recipes to show you that health food done right doesn’t have to be bland food.

Breakfast Burrito – To start the day, I like to throw together something quick and easy, so I can take it out the door if necessary. To start, I like to gather some eggs (high protein), red bell peppers (vitamin C) , kale (fiber), pesto (healthy fats), non processed cheese (more protein, and flavor!), and a corn tortilla (magnesium and fiber). Then, I crack some eggs on a medium powered skillet, add the ingredients, and then wrap it all up in the tortilla. Now I’ve got a healthy meal I can take on the road if need be.

Tuna Sandwich – Nothing hits the spot for lunch like a classic tuna sandwich. I like to use whole grain bread, spinach, hummus, sun dried tomatoes, and a can of tuna. This combination gives us a lot of fiber from the bread, iron from the spinach, chickpeas, olive oil, and carbs from the hummus, and lean, low fat protein from the tuna. And best of all, it’s quick, easy, and tastes better than celery sticks.

Chicken and Rice, with a side of Salad – Not ground breaking, but a good way to prove to yourself that healthy can be tasty! For dinner, I like to cook lean chicken breast (healthy protein) using olive oil (healthy fats) and combine it with peppers and squash (vitamins). I also cook up some brown rice to serve under the chicken (for healthy carbs) and add a side salad of kale mixed with cranberries, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a light dressing.

Getting hungry? I know I was when writing this. Next time you come in to the gym, talk to us about making some changes to your diet. We can give you some in-depth ideas of restructuring your meals.