Established masters athlete and author Bill Pritchett shares his philosophies on healthy living for men over 50 with these important 10 habits.
By: Bill Pritchett
There’s an old Hindu proverb that says, “For the first thirty years of your life, you make your habits For the last thirty years of your life, your habits make you.” While I don’t like the
implication that our lifespan is limited to sixty years, I completely agree with the idea behind this saying. We truly are the product of our habits, whether they’re healthy ones or not, and for masters athletes, the second half our life can be dictated by the habits we formed earlier. When I read this proverb, it made me think of some of the healthy habits I have tried to develop over roughly the past twenty-five years, as I’ve sought to live a healthy lifestyle:
Habit #1: Drink a lot of water. Then drink some more. About 57% of your body is water, so you obviously need a lot of it to be healthy. Be sure to drink a glass every morning immediately after you wake up. You wouldn’t go 7 or 8 hours during the day without drinking water, would you? When you wake up, you’ve gone that long without it, so be sure to drink water before you have coffee, tea, or juice. During the day, keep a glass on your desk or wherever you work so that you can stay hydrated throughout the day. To know how much to drink after exercising, weigh yourself unclothed before and after Continue reading
A healthy diet is important at any age, but as you become a senior athlete, the importance of having a healthy diet increases dramatically. Let’s face facts; we are not going to be on this planet forever and each year that passes brings us closer to the inevitable.
To ensure this happens as far in the future as possible, the first place to start is to review what your current diet is and, if necessary, seek the assistance of a nutritionist to put together a new diet plan.
Remember, though, being over 50 means that you need to make adjustments to what you consume. You will need less calories and certainly less fats/cholesterols than your younger counterparts.
A critical aspect of any diet change is that it should not be viewed as a diet. Diets are short-term in nature and often do not last beyond reaching the immediate goal that has been set.
Instead, a diet change should be viewed as a lifestyle and eating habit change, one that you will get used to and maintain for the long-term.
In order to successfully implement a lifestyle change, it is important to understand what your personality type is and how you will both initially lose weight and keep it off over the long term.
For example, there is a stark contrast between those that are detailed planners and those that are Continue reading
For anyone over 50 thinking it’s “too late” to get into the best shape of your life, just read Greg Dasenbrock’s interview. At age 49 Greg had several very serious health complications that, unfortunately, are all too common in men at this age.
However, with the help of renowned trainer Sean Harley and a “can-do/will-do” attitude, in a mere 24 months Greg completely reversed his physical conditions and now competes as a masters bodybuilder.
Greg shows that, through a disciplined approach to both exercise and diet, any man over 50 can not only improve his health significantly, he can be in the best shape of his life. Read Greg’s motivating interview now!
Q: Tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.
A: Predominately my weight training and Bodybuilding, but I do still enjoy Cycling, Golf, Football and chasing my Grand-Kids around… I started weight training at 49 years old after 30yrs of inactivity. It has not always been easy but it is great to have my health back and be in better shape than I ever was!
Q: Why the interest in this area?
A: I have always enjoyed being competitive, but my lack of exercise over the years lead me to be less so, I had lost my athleticism and my fitness. In addition, over those years my inactivity and poor health practices (smoking and bad diet) started to lead to health issues. I started taking medications for high blood pressure in my early 30’s… in my early 40’s I added two medications to control blood sugars (Type II). I tried running and other means of cardio to slow down the progression but it was not until I switched over to Continue reading
Author and over-50 fitness freak John Shumate shares his supplementation scheme by listing all of his daily supplements, then providing a detailed description of each one in his multi-part series for masters men Supplement City.
Part 5: Glutamine, Arginine, and Fish Oil
Glutamine is the most abundant naturally occurring, non-essential (meaning our bodies can produce it) amino acid in the human body. It’s in the blood and stored in the skeletal muscles. Glutamine becomes conditionally essential (requiring intake from food or supplements) in states of illness, injury, or periods of peak physical demand, and that last benefit is why I take it as a supplement.
Sources of glutamine include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley.
If you’re working hard in the gym each day, there’s no question that you’ll want to be taking care of your body during training. Each time you lift weight, a large amount of stress is placed on the body, including muscles and nerves. Glutamine helps speed recovery so I can continue pressing hard in my workouts.
It’s possible for our bodies to lose up to 50% of its glutamine levels from stressful workouts, and if your immune system or other parts of your body become glutamine-deficient, the muscles’ glutamine stores are first to be tapped, creating the risk for muscle loss.
Arginine plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of Continue reading
Nutrition for Masters Fitness
by: Mike Wangi
When we reach the age of 50, falling into the “Masters Fitness” category, and we see such things as retirement beckoning, we tend to be resigned to the fact that our lives are on the decline. This decline is accepted by many as part of life after 50 years of age. This is a dangerous status quo, but if you start looking after your life at 50, you could be healthier and fitter than you ever were in your younger years. A healthy diet is one of the most important ways to turn the clock of aging. At the age of 50, dietary practices will not only boost your fitness but also reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The nutritional requirements of a man at 50 depend on a variety of factors. Paramount among these is his weight, physical activity and his health. The American Heart Association quotes that a man at this age requires up to 2,400 calories per day, which increases up to 2.800 calories depending on the activity level. You should check this for yourself with a calorie calculator as it also differs by body mass. These requirements should be met on a diet that is health conscious.
Dietary fiber is important especially for men above the age of 50. It has been shown to have a positive impact on the occurrence of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and GIT diseases. The amount of fiber in your diet should be adequate and it can be obtained from whole grains, cereal and vegetables.
Micronutrients are just as important in prevention of these diseases and staying fit. Micronutrients such as Zinc and Selenium among others, and fiber have antioxidant properties that help reverse the effects of aging both on the skin and on the internal organs.
Foods that contain high amounst of sodium should be avoided as these can lead to hypertension and kidney disease. A lot has been written about red meat and its effects on Continue reading
Is it possible that more food be the secret to losing weight? This runs absolutely counter to what we’ve been taught to believe! But practicing what’s known as “clean eating”, we can focus on quality over quantity. It’s a philosophy that has been applied by athletes and those in the physical fitness industry for years, but now the concept of clean eating is going mainstream, especially with seniors looking to lose weight, to show muscle tone, and to get fit.
Less time on the treadmill does have its allure, however, particularly if you have limited time or just don’t like to work out a lot.But far too many people have this formula mixed up and spend ample time in the gym but neglect their diet, therefore ending up disappointed with their results when they look in the mirror.
Clean eating starts with shopping the “perimeter” of your supermarket, pretty much the premise of the clean eating diet, which means no Continue reading
Author and over-50 fitness freak John Shumate shares his supplementation scheme by listing all of his daily supplements, then providing a detailed description of each one in his multi-part series Supplement City.
Part 2 – Multivitamins
Are you taking a daily multivitamin? You don’t get a pass on this one, supplementing daily with a good multivitamin is an absolute requirement for masters men over 50. Many items on my personal supplementation list are optional for many, but not the multi-vite, the holy grail of nutritional supplementation.
In fact, the only real debate of merit on multivitamins is what blend of nutrients and how much of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of each one should be taken.
Okay, so let’s say up to this point you’ve totally missed the boat on multivitamins, why are multivitamins critical to the daily nutritional needs of men over 50? Without turning this into a science course the basics are as follows:
1. We don’t get the essential nutrients in our daily diets. By and large, the typical US diet is pretty crappy. The main culprit is processed foods that have been mangled beyond recognition to our bodies.
However, even “clean eating”of whole foods like meats, fruits and vegetables can leave us short due to mass-production techniques requiring low-cost and distribution requirements of durability and long shelf life.
Unless you’re growing or raising your own food (yea, right) or buying from trusted local producers, your foods are likely lacking in their full nutritional potential.
2. If you’re watching your calories to maintain weight or to lose weight (you should be) then you’re on a limited calorie budget for the three main macronutrient categories of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Therefore, due to these calorie constraints, you have limited opportunity to ingest the nutrients your body needs. Multivitamins give us these nutrients without adding calories.
3. Working out vigorously adds nutritional requirements as your body is in a constant state of Continue reading
Ah, fish oil. You’ve heard so many health claims about it you would think a monthly supply costs only $19.99 if you order Right Now, and, as a free bonus, they’ll throw in a mini-waffle press. Sensational claims aside, fish oil—specifically the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)—delivers. The long-term health and fat loss benefits have been well-supported by the scientific evidence.
Long-Term Health Benefits
Supplementation of the diet with fish oil containing EPA and DHA offers several long-term health benefits:
- Heart health – supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack
- Stroke prevention—anti-clotting properties reduce the chance of stroke
- Anti-inflammation—supplementation reduces the effect of several chemicals that break down tissues in the body when stress levels are chronically elevated
- Reduction in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis—consuming fish oil reduces the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis
- Bone health—the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil strengthen bones through facilitating the integration of calcium
These incredible benefits result from the long-term daily intake of omega-3s. It may take a month or even up to a year of daily fish oil supplementation for some of the above wellbeing enhancements to become apparent.
Fish Oil Helps You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
In addition to that stunning array of long-term health benefits, fish oil supplementation helps improve body composition in these ways: Continue reading
Hey masters athlete, looking to lose body fat? If you’re counting on relatively low-intensity cardio to get it done you may be counting wrong. While cardio provides many benefits, too many people see cardio as an end-all for body fat loss. To be sure, cardio can create an environment where body fat is burned and also can contribute to creating the all-important calorie deficit required for body fat loss. However, many people fall short of their fat-loss goals by making incorrect assumptions about using cardio, especially assumptions about a cardio-only approach.
Important to note we’re talking about mainstream, or low-intensity cardio – the people who trudge away on treadmills at a slow jog for long time periods. High-intensity cardio like going all out for ten sets of 30 seconds isn’t suitable for the general population due to conditioning, injury risk and that it’s hard and most people just won’t stick with it.
Cardio is a great thing; it pumps tons of oxygenated blood through the body, hastens delivery of nutrients to muscles and organs, develops a strong heart and strong lungs, and, at times, can give us a wonderfully euphoric shot of endorphins. Additionally, cardio requires the body to burn calories, a good thing for fat loss. But here’s where some people get badly off track.
Cardio only burns so many calories. Running a mile at moderate pace burns about 125 calories. That’s it folks. So a 30 minute treadmill session will burn roughly 375 calories, maybe 400 by throwing in some post-run residual effect. That in itself is fine. But the bigger problem is how some people will substitute cardio for diet discipline. A 375 calorie cardio burn can be blown just by picking the wrong salad dressing. I hear people talk all the time about getting in their cardio, but when asked how the diet is going they don’t have a clue.
The key to weight loss is diet, period. Sure, show on paper the math that proves the impact of cardio, but we’re talking real world here. Truth is, far too many people head out for their daily cardio thinking they’ve got it covered, then act puzzled and make excuses when the body fat levels don’t change. Typical responses from people are “I’m watching what I eat” or “I’ve been pretty good on my diet”, when in fact they really have no idea how many calories they’ve downed in the last week. It’s the diet stupid!
It all starts with knowing your daily caloric needs, then ensuring that number isn’t exceeded for maintenance or that a calorie deficit occurs for weight loss. Simple right? Not if you don’t know the numbers, and most people in pursuit of “weight loss” don’t know the numbers. That’s why techniques such as diet journaling become critical, people seeking to lose wight absolutely must be able to know, recite, and manager their caloric intake.
Cardio is a great thing. I personally can’t even recount the endless miles I’ve run or cycled in all conceivable settings around the world. Cardio can provide a pleasurable and important dimension to our physicality and to our psyche, and can definitely contribute to weight loss as part of a comprehensive plan. But never let anyone confuse cardio as a stand-alone means to masters weight loss and a great looking body, only intense diet discipline will achieve that.