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Running Gear

FASHION - If and when you decide to take up jogging or running there is a list of things you will want.

#1. Running Shoes - ie. A good pair of Nike running shoes. Just do it.

#2. Comfortable Pants or Shorts - If its winter you will want something you can run in easily and has some kind of deep pocket to keep your house/apartments keys in so you don't get locked outside. (Speaking for myself, I wear camouflage army pants with big pockets.)

#3. A Hoodie - Because nothing says jogging like running around like Rocky Balboa in matching grey pants and hoodie.

#4. Gloves - If you're jogging in the winter comfortable warm gloves is a must.

#5. Scheduler - It doesn't matter whether you use a calendar, your alarm clock on your cellphone or a fancy dancy device specifically for joggers. Anyone who tracks their jogging is more likely to turn it into a routine and become successful in their goal of losing weight, running marathons, etc.

#6. Music - This is really optional, but a mp3 player or old fashioned walkman works just as well if you need extra motivation. I recommend including several songs from the Rocky soundtrack just for fun.

At the Gym, Exercise Humour

Ever wondered what other people at the gym are thinking??? Here is a little humour for you. :)

Whey Protein Supplements

Now if you've seen them in stores before you know what they are. Whey Protein containers... they look a bit like a bucket and what is inside is usually chocolate flavoured protein, a whole whack-load of chemicals designed to give you energy (like Creatine, a chemical which boosts energy being sent to your muscle tissue) all wrapped up in a chocolaty powder designed to be mixed with milk or water.

Speaking for myself I've been doing weightlifting and boxing for several years now (nothing professional, just as part of my weight loss / muscle bulking goal) and what I've learned is that whey protein supplements are really only useful if you're getting in a lot of exercise. As in at least 1 hour per day.

So if you're only doing 5 minute workouts you might as well just stick with your regular nutritious diet. The supplements aren't going to help you much.

But if you're jogging for an hour per day, doing weightlifting for an hour per day, or aerobics... or anything that causes you to break a sweat and gets your heart rate going (really rowdy sex) for an hour... then you might want to consider having 1 scoop of whey protein + 2 glasses of milk.

The Whey Protein I use is SIX STAR MUSCLE. The same as in the photo above.

Why do I prefer that one? Because I like the chocolate flavour and it has 26 grams of protein in one scoop. One of those per day is enough for my fitness routine and I only drink one if I know I am going to be exercising a lot on that day. The professional weightlifters are consuming 6 scoops per day (156 grams of protein) in addition to their regular diet... but that is just craziness. You would need to be exercising 30 to 40 hours per week to make that much protein actually do its job.

For myself my goal right now is to get rock hard abs, so I am combining a cardio routine with a battery of abdominal exercises designed to beef up my abs in a hurry. So I figured I might as well be taking 1 scoop per day to help speed up the process.

Whey protein supplements isn't for everyone. If you don't want all the extra muscle and just want to lose weight then you definitely don't need it. So if you're doing yoga, aerobics, cycling, etc and want a slim cyclist / yoga instructor physique then its definitely not for you.

There are plenty of places in Toronto where you can buy whey protein, including Shoppers Drug Mart. If you have a personal trainer they can also give you advice on how much whey protein you should be using to compliment your weight lifting routine.

10 Winter Exercising Tips

#1. Stay Warm

One way to do this is to stick your exercise clothes in the dryer the night before, zap them some heat for 3 minutes in the morning, put them on and then go outside and exercise. You won't notice the cold so much then. Other alternatives are to have a hot shower before you go outside or drink hot tea / hot chocolate before leaving the house. Go to the bathroom before you leave your home too. Your body will be warmer if you aren't wasting energy keeping your urine warm.

#2. Extra Long Warmups

Before you go outside do stretches, jumping jacks, jogging in place to warm yourself up before going outside. The extra 2 minutes of jumping jacks before you go out in the cold air will warm you up significantly.

#3. Interval Training

Doing intense exercises and moderate exercises in varying intervals will both make you hotter while exercising outdoors, but it also burns calories more effectively due to the Afterburn Effect.

#4. Shovel Some Snow

Shoveling snow counts as weightlifting. And having a tidy driveway is just a nice perk.

#5. Wear Layers

Wear 3 or 4 layers and you won't notice the cold so much. Wear 2 pairs of socks, extra thick underwear, etc. Don't forget a neck warmer, arm warmers, a hat or scarves. Think tight-fitting when picking what to wear. Don't ignore silk and high quality fabrics for your base layer. Silk is very breathable and warm.

#6. Mix and Match Cardio and Strength Training

If jogging in the winter doesn't suit you mix it up by adding in chin ups at your local park jungle gym. Find ways to change it up and the extra effort will keep you warm. Climbing stairs also works well.

#7. Try New Winter Sports

Never done ice skating? Road hockey? Winter Archery? Now is a good time to try it.

#8. Reward Yourself

Don't dread exercising outside when you get to reward yourself a simple pleasure afterwards. Listen to your favourite music after you exercise, have an extra long hot shower or bath, enjoy your favourite hot chocolate or coffee, take a nap, listen to an audiobook...

#9. Don't Fear the Cold, Embrace It

Remember that the cold won't kill you. You are only minutes from your home anyway.

#10. Think Positively and Laugh

Laughter warms your spirit and positive thinking doesn't hurt either.

Fitness for Men at Forty

Getting older is not very pleasant. Sometimes it just plain sucks. As you move past your thirties and into your forties you will start noticing there are a lot of changes happening to your body - and they're not pleasant changes like when you hit puberty and started noticing girls more.

For more men it becomes painfully obvious that you are not the young man that you used to be. You have to come to grips with the fact that your late thirties and early forties is a whole new phase in life. No longer is your body naturally going to be at the same level as it was in your 20s or even early 30s, even if mentally we still have the same or greater desires to be fit and athletic.

It can be rather sobering to realize it but while your body might basically look the same as it did when you were 25 or 30, its needs have changed. Your body has started to produce much less testosterone making it more difficult for you to build muscles, your metabolism starts slowing down and you get tired easier, and your recovery / healing periods are longer. Plus you are at a greater risk for heart disease and cancer.

However before you think it is time to check into the retirement home... think again!

By this point in life you should also have the experience and hopefully the wisdom to understand and accept these changes, and then adapt by developing a smarter and more effective strategy to counteract all of these affects of getting older. In this manner we can then keep moving in the positive direction of staying healthy and fit well into our retirement years - and stave off the worst effects of aging.

The Secret of Anti-Aging

It all starts with the diet.

Shocking right? So often it all goes back to diet again. Your diet will probably be about 80% to 90% responsible for how you look and feel as you hit 40 and beyond. The other 10% to 20% will be training and exercise levels. I know a guy in his 60s, avid cyclist. Has the body of a 30 year old because he stays active, but he can't blame it all on exercise because his family is mostly vegetarian so he is, not by choice, eating pretty healthy most of the time simply because that is what his family eats.

So why is diet so important? To start, a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to make sure you are getting all the nutrients into your body. Next you need to limit things like sugar, excess fat, and carbohydrates because it will take you so much longer to burn off accumulated fat since your older body has difficulty maintaining its metabolism.

Finally diet and supplementation (multivitamins, minerals, etc) has a huge impact on our daily energy levels, sex drive, stress, depression, memory, mood, and prevention of illness and disease.

You need to take the time to really understand all the results of eating healthy sometimes versus eating like a pig all the time. That also involves making sure you are consuming the right type of supplements to help combat aging. That means having things like: A daily multivitamin, flax seed oil, whey protein, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, zinc, and l-arginine, in the cupboard to boost your internal systems.

The Right Kind of Exercise

Along with nailing down a healthy and balanced meal plan, you need to workout the correct way. Specifically that means more weight lifting and high-intensity interval training.

Why these two methods? Weight lifting is important for maintaining and even increasing lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is directly related to your metabolism. On top of that, if you incorporate more full-body exercises such as squats, deadlifts, clean and pulls, or one-arm snatches you can help increase the natural production of testosterone in your system to offset the loss from aging. You could actually end up feeling younger instead of older.

When performing cardio work, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a superior choice compared to regular cardio exercises because of how efficient it is at burning fat, helps increase testosterone levels, and helps exercise your heart by providing a new challenge.

No Time like the Present

As you get older it becomes more apparent that there is no time like the present. You are running out of time. There comes a point where you can't put off exercising and taking care of your diet if you truly want to live a long time and be able to enjoy the autumn years of your life instead of being confined to a scooter and dying quickly because you refused to take care of yourself. But, you need to make that choice, not because you feel like you have to, but because you've realized the kind of life you want to have and the kind of life you want to avoid.
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