I remember when I was younger my older brothers and sister would always say, “just you wait until you get older, you will see and you won’t be laughing anymore.” That statement was in reference to me making a snide remark about them being older and me being 10 years younger! Yes, I was naive and know that I am finally in the club, the forty and over club that is, I have started to experience symptoms of aging. One in particular is sleep.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people in the United States suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year and an additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.
Wake at the Right Time
First of all, believe it or not getting a great night’s sleep starts in the morning.
Have you ever been wakened up from an alarm while you were in a dead sleep and felt groggy and maybe a little disoriented? If you are awakened while you are in a deep sleep or REM your body does go through the full sleep cycle and causes what some researches call, “sleep drunkennesses.”
Research shows that waking up in this state can be just as detrimental as getting four hours of sleep a night. But, since most of us use alarms to wake up how do we wake at the right time. Well, with technology today there is a device and app that can be used to monitor sleep cycles and wake you when you are in a light sleep cycle and have you awake during the most optimal point.
Get Moving Right Away
Do you hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off? Try getting up right away and start moving. Moving right away starts the process of having blood flow throughout the body helping with the waking process.
Drink a Large Glass of Cold Water
This really doesn’t have anything to do with sleep but it is a good hack for weight loss because drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn, in turn raising your metabolism, because your body has to work harder to return to normal temperature.
Find the Sun
Seeing natural daylight helps you set your daily melatonin (sleep hormone) rhythm. This will help your body throughout the day with wakefulness and eventually help you be tired in the evening for bed.
Exercise helps to regualte your 24 hour clock as well as normalize your hormone levels. Exercise first thing in the morning or early afternoon. I know some of you can exersice later in the day or evening but be careful to not do too much high intensity exercise later in the evening as that might prevent you from falling asleep.
Eat A Small to Medium Meal at Dinner
Eating too much later in the evening can make it difficult for some people to fall sleep. Try and make your last meal of the day your smallest as opposed to your biggest. Try also to eat some slow digesting carbs. This can help make you feel sleepy.
Ok, this is a big one. Having more than 1-2 drinks before bed can really interfere with REM sleep. Try and go 3 hours from your last drink before you go to sleep.
Turn off Electronics
How many of us turn of the lights and look at our smart phones or electronic devices? Try and turn off electronic devices 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. The light from the screen can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep.
Create a relaxing sleep area
Create and enviroment that is free of distractions, clutter and noise. If you live in an urban area consider getting a noise machine to drown out sounds.
Set room temp to appropariate room temp
Make sure you have a comfortable and cool room. Some liking it cooler, around 67 degree F others might like it at a nuetral setting but make sure it is not too warm.
Make room dark as possible
To maximize melatonin production make room as dark as possible. Pul shades down, turn your phone face down, trun the blue clock lights away from your face.
Take a Sleep Supplement
For some, like myself, you may need to take a supplement that contins melatonin to help get you into the deep REM sleep. I personally take a sumplement called “Sleep” that contains vitamin B2, B6 and melatonin. If you want to learn more about it you can click here.
I can’t stress to you enough how important sleep is, especially if you are looking to lose weight. Start with just a few of the sleep hacks and strive to get 7-9 hours a sleep. If you just make sleep a priority and actually plan for it you will begin to see a difference not only in your weight loss efforts but your abilty to recover, relax and overall energy levels.
Let me know which sleep hacks you are implementing and are working for you either in the comments section below or over on the Free Facebook Group “All About Health and Fitness.”
You may recall a post I wrote just a short while ago talking about what is the best diet to lose weight and in that post I mentioned several different diets. With that being said right now as of this writing one of the diets people are talking about is the “Ketogenic Diet.” I have received numerous questions about this particular diet as well as what is ketosis. So, I thought I would write up a short post and define both.
The ketogenic diet (often termed keto) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets.
It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Essentially, when your body is in ketosis it becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can help supply energy for the brain.
Now, I dont want you to get Ketosis confused with diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a serious complication of uncontrolled diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones in conjunction with high levels of glucose.
Now that I have briefly describe what ketosis is I know some of you are thinking well how do I get into Ketosis. Before I give you some tips to get your body into Ketosis please make sure that you consult with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy and dont suffer from any metabolic disorders or other conditions that might be harmful to you. With that disclaimer out of the way…
If you were having questions about ketosis and the ketogenic diet I hope this brief post gives you a sense of what it is and how it affects metabolism in the body. Remember it is not for everyone and if you just implement a few of those 7 tips at some level you will see results in regards to your weight loss.
Let me know if you have any questions either by emailing me at Dave@davemcgarry.com with the subject “Ketosis” or sign up to receive my newsletter where I share my best tips and strategies for being fit over 40!
Are you tired of counting calories to ensure you lose weight? Listen, it has become easier with all the apps and technology to track your food and log it. I mean all you have to do is scan a bar code and you can get most all the information you need added to your daily log. But, let’s face it nobody really wants to spend time every day, 365 days a year logging their food. I know I will have the best intentions in the world but trying to juggle running an online coaching business, coaching at Orangetheory fitness, and the hustle and bustle of two active kids I fall short and stop after a few good days. Well, if you are like me and need a more simpler approach I have you covered.
Take a look at this infographic by Precision Nutrition and Dr. John Beradi. I think you will agree this is a much easier approach to knowing how much you should be eating without the hassle of pulling out your smart phone and searching for food items to add to your food diary!
Using your hand is really all you need but if you want to see the different portion sizes for men and women as well as body type then download the entire infographic to see how to build your plate!
You can download the full info graph here => precision_nutrition_calorie_control_guide_pdf
I would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or in the FREE Facebook Group “All About Health and Fitness.”
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Is it possible to still have a heart attack even though you are fit? Well, yes you can and the famous fitness guru and host of “The Biggest Loser,” Bob Harper suffered a heart attack over 2 weeks ago that left him unconscious for two days. It happened while he was working out a NYC gym. Luckily, a doctor happened to be working out near him and performed CPR and AED until the paramedics came. Bob is just one example I have heard of this week alone, as a little closer to home for me, a client’s husband that I train had a mild heart attack and ultimately needed surgery to get a stent placed in one of his valves as it had blockage. In relative terms he is in great shape. He does Muy Thai regularly, lifts weights, and eats healthy. However, one thing that both men have in common is that they have a family history of heart disease and cardiac arrest in their family. Family history is a huge red flag and if you fall into that category your risk is increased and even if you are fit a heart attack can still happen.
So, just because you work out and eat well doesn’t mean you are immune from suffering a heart attack. As many of you know my father died at the age of 67 from a massive heart attack and is a primary reason I am on the mission to help others get fit and transform themselves physically to help prevent such a terrible thing from happening. However, as you can see it can still happen to those of us that work out and try and be fit. With all this being said is there anything you can do to potentially prevent a heart attack from occurring? That is actually the question I had myself and actually asked my good friend and doctor just the other day. He told me of a new procedure, which I am looking into and will report back here once I have it performed. As for other ways here are just a few:
Now, I know some of these tests may be more extensive and involves more time and money but I highly encourage you if you have a history of heart disease in your family like me or Bob you should consult your doctor during your physical and see if one or more of these tests should be administered. I mean the saying it is better safe than to be sorry is definitely in play here.
Over the years potential clients or my coaching clients at some point have either asked me how they could get 6 pack Abs or asked how can they get a stronger core because they either have back issues or want to prevent it. Now, unfortunately in the fitness industry their is a ton of information out there and some if it is just not accurate. So today my goal is to debunk 3 Core Strength Myths that I commonly hear and see posted on the web!
Myth #1 – The Core is just your abdominal muscles
When you hear someone mention or reference the core do you think they are referring to the abdominals? Most people I speak with think that the core consists of only the abdominals. And although you would be correct somewhat, the core consists of much more than your abs. Now not to get too scientific with you but the core consists of a lot more. Major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae(sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.
So you can see that the core is much more than just your abs!
Myth #2 – If I have a Strong Core, I’ll Have a Flat Stomach or 6 Pack Abs
Sorry to disappoint you but you could do crunches all day long 7 days a week and you still might not have the 6 pack ab look you are shooting for. The reason is because actually how lean your stomach is and the showing of your abdominal muscles has much more to do with your nutrition thanks the strength of your abdominals.
You may have heard it before but sound nutritional habits and diet have a much greater impact on you looking lean and losing weight than the actually performing of the exercise.
The funny thing is I once had a client that told me I don’t care what exercises we do throughout the 50 minutes of our session but the last 5 -10 all I want us to focus on is my abs. Well, after several weeks she said to me that she was upset because she was not seeing results and getting the cut look with her abs. She told me this was unsatisfactory to her and she was going to quit. I asked her if she had changed her diet like we talked about and she said, “not really!” Well we had a heart to heart and after me finally convincing her and telling her that we could do ab exercises all day long and but unless you change your diet your not going to see the results you want. Finally she changed and eventually saw some results but again it came down to her nutrition more than the doing of the exercises.
Myth #3 – A Strong Core Helps Prevent and Reduce Lower Back Pain
I have to admit that earlier in my coaching career I believed this to be true. However, after working with some chiropractors and me always conning my education I began to understand more about the movement and function of the body and how low back pain can be more than just a weak core. In honesty there could be a million different reasons for lower back pain. And although this may seem counterintuitive actually doing more exercises like crunches can lead to a higher risk of back pain. In the video below Dr. Stuart McGill does a really good job of explaining how flexing the spine repeatedly can lead or eventually cause a disk bulge. I love this quote from him in the video, “Optimal back health doesn’t come from doing nothing, it comes from doing the perfect optimal amount, not too much and not too little.”
Now if you are looking to get a leaner, healthier and stronger core I have a solution for you. It is what I call the “6 Days to a Stronger Core Challenge.” All you have to do is click on the image below and sign up to get you started on a strong and leaner core!
Are you struggling with self motivation? Having a hard time getting yourself to your regularly scheduled workouts? Finding more and more reasons to cheat on your healthy diet?
You are not alone and today in this episode of Fit Over 40 Challenge I’ve got 4 Self Motivating Mind Tricks that will help you lock onto your goals and finally get the results you want.
Are you struggling with self motivation? Having a hard time getting yourself to your regularly scheduled workouts? Finding more and more reasons to cheat on your healthy diet?
You’re not alone and today I’ve got just the 4 Self-Motivating Mind Tricks that you need to lock onto your goals…
A healthy dose of motivation coupled with determination will get you almost anything in life. So how do you know if you’re genuinely motivated?
* Motivation will tell you to get out of bed for an early workout.
* Motivation will nag you to put down the doughnut.
* Motivation makes passing on fries a reflex.
* Motivation makes a sweat drenched workout exciting.
* Motivation constantly reminds you why you do what you do.
Self-Motivating Mind Trick #1: Pinpoint Your Motivator.
Motivation stems from having a goal. What is your goal? Why do you want to get into great shape?
Once you uncover your personal motivator you’ll find that motivation flows quickly your way.
Take a minute to really uncover the reason that you want to lose the weight. Don’t say something vague like you want to ‘Be thinner’ or ‘Look more attractive.’ Dig deeper – there is a very specific motivator in your life, you simply need to uncover it.
Here are some possible motivators…
* I want to have more energy to keep up with the kids.
* I want to improve my health through weight loss to extend and improve my life.
* I want to lose 15 pounds before my vacation.
* I want to restore my confidence to wear sleeveless shirts.
* I want to regain my figure to impress and attract my significant other.
Self-Motivating Mind Trick #2: Make It Official.
When you write something down it suddenly feels official, doesn’t it? Write down your motivator for getting into great shape, and post it where you will see it often—next to your alarm clock, on the bathroom mirror, or in your car.
Each time you see your written motivator take a moment to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal. Try to make the scene as clear in your mind as possible. This is a powerful tool for maintaining your focus and direction.
Self-Motivating Mind Trick #3: Be Practical.
It’s game plan time. You know what you want, and now you need to map out exactly how you’ll achieve it. It is important to be practical in your planning, rather than throwing out ideas that you know you won’t stick with.
With any weight loss goal it is important to 1) maintain a healthy low-calorie diet, and 2) participate in a consistent and challenging exercise program.
Plan a routine that will fit into your schedule and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Also choose an exercise program that you enjoy—don’t force yourself to jog everyday if you hate jogging.
Self-Motivating Mind Trick #4: Call For Backup.
Enlist the support of your friends, family and co-workers. Tell everyone about your goal to lose weight and get fit, you’ll be surprised how supportive most people will be. By being open about your goals you’ll likely be an encouragement to others to make healthy changes in their own lives.
The most effective way to ensure that you meet your goal is to enlist my support, your personal trainer. Together we will identify what really motivates you. Together we will design a workout routine that fits into your schedule and into your life. And together we will see it through until your goal is met.
Get started on the program that will transform your life. Start today with the 7 Day Fat Loss Jump Start Program. Just enter your info below and you can get started changing your life today!
In this episode of the Fit Over 40 Challenge I acknowledge the frustrations that people have when it comes to their body and I talk about my weight loss journey struggle as a boy and adult however, I give 21 reasons and rewards that exercise can give you. My whole goal with this episode is to light a fire under you and get you to take action on becoming fit and healthy.
Below you will find the list of 21 reasons and rewards that you can print out and look at them to keep you motivated.
1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep.
2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better but to also look nicer. Also exercise ensures that soon you’ll be trading your clothes in for smaller sizes.
3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break. A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.
4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that 90% prove exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.
5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.
6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part by an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone, which has an appetite-taming effect.
7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Fight back by burning loads of calories with fat-blasting workouts.
8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch as your confidence sky-rockets.
9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.
10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.
11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.
12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.
13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.
14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.
15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.
16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.
17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? Gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends.
18. You’ll improve your BMI: You know that maintaining a healthy BMI is key in disease prevention. Exercise is the best way to keep your BMI under control.
19. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.
20. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture about losing weight and exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!
21. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.
P.S. If you are looking to take a challenge to get you jump started on your fat loss then you can get the “7 Day Fat Loss Jump Start program that I use with my new clients below. Let me know how I can help!
I am excited about taking on the 22 minute Hard Corps 8 week Challenge with Tony Horton.
I like most people have a tendency to get into the habit and routine of doing the same old thing over and over again. I mean let’s face it we hate change and resist it at all levels. So, I decided that I was going to take this challenge and change up what I have been doing for the past year. Now don’t get me wrong the current workouts that I am doing are great workouts and I have sen results
Throughout the next 8 weeks I am going to journal about my experience that I will embarking on.
First, I shot a quick video on what comes with the 22 Minute Hard Corps Kit. I have to admit I am like a kid in the candy store when it comes to getting physical products in the mail these days. Oh, and I was hoping to have a solid video shoot but when you work from home and have kids 10 and under you see what happens when you try to do this when they are home. Actually, when I watch it now I laugh but I was frustrated at the time 🙂
Click here to watch the 22 Minute Hard Corp Workout.
If you are interested in taking the 8 week challenge and want to learn more about the 22 Minute Hard Corps Workout then click here.
P.S. If you are looking to surround yourself around highly motivating people and need some accountability I would love for you to join me over at my FREE Facebook Group. Go to www.allabouthealthandfitness.com
It is funny how the older I get the more concerned I have become about my health. Now I can’t say that I subscribe to all of these but I found myself reflecting back on how bad I used to be about my health and nutrition! And I can’t tell you how many of #2 I ate in my 20’s!
Even your breakfast contains kale. Especially kale. In fact, you’re probably eating kale right now.
What is this shit?
Remember when you used to drink soy?
And you have to count to 10 every time someone tells you milk is essential for calcium. Because cows specifically produce milk to nourish people, right?
The kings and queens of the health world, to which you can only aspire. I mean, look at Kris Carr – the woman has cancer and she looks better than you do.
…more than an actress.
Decadent super chocolate-candy birthday day with whipped cream and extra icing…
Raw cacao, avocado, coconut oil, lucuma and maca cake with an almond base. Mmmm…
You might not be certified, but, let’s face it, you’re basically a nutritionist. You’re pretty sure you know more than most health professionals. You’ve probably read more books on health than you did for your degree. And this time, because you actually wanted to.
…so you can have your organic produce and save money too.
All that processed meat and sugar… really?
… and you wish sun salutations were more acceptable in public spaces, like the middle of the office, classroom, train, bus, supermarket, shop floor, family gathering…
… then you’re probably thinking about it, whether day dreaming about a career change, or as a straight up life path.
Because theobroma cacao is a superfood, after all, so you absolutely HAVE to have it. Every. Single. Day.
It’s for your health, okay?
This is one of the worst possible things that can happen.
And then you get stressed because your stressed, which is even worse, so you’re basically just going to die now, regardless of diet and exercise.
You’ve heard the latest studies and are positively in love with coconut. Cook with coconut oil? Of course! A spoonful of coconut oil in smoothies? Yes please!
.. with all your green juices/immuni-teas/raw ginger/other healthy techniques, you have a superhuman ability to fight off winter illnesses.
Long, long list of ambiguous symptoms, of which you have three, pertaining to many possible disorders/causes…
… but it must be Candida!
You still remember the first time you went in one, and you were like, there’s an entire supermarket dedicated to food like this?! You still walk around it in awe and can’t believe some of the things you can pick up there.
And can also justify this spending in ‘I don’t smoke/ binge drink/ eat fast food, but if I did, I would spend this much, therefore it’s okay to buy this fresh juice/mochi/umeboshi plum/raw food anything”
C’mon. You know you’ve done this.
Reconstituted potato deep fried in rancid oil with added chemicals? I think I’ll pass.
Delicious nutritious drinks that will give you a healthy glow and not lead to decisions you regret, and looking like hell the next day, please.
If you don’t live in California (so I believe), your health obsession can make you feel pretty lonely. But you don’t care because you feel and look fabulous. And those special people in your life love you anyway.
And you get agitated when people don’t see eye to eye with you.
… there’ll always be someone, online or not, telling you you’re diet is appalling for still eating carbohydrates/animal protein/fat/sugar/raw/cooked/gluten/dairy/vegan/processed foods.
You’ve seen far too many show downs on forums and MindBodyGreen. Best just to listen to your own body, for a change.
… and whatever healthy means to you, you want to honor your body, regardless of its physical shape, ability or size, that allows you live in it.
If you’re like most people then reading this subject line was a little uncomfortable and you may have even experienced a bit of anxiety.
We are forced to make decisions every day, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
When you stop to think about it, your life is the sum total of all the decisions that you’ve ever made up to this point. Your health, your mindset, your finances are all an outcome of the decisions you’ve made.
Some decisions are so small that they seem insignificant…
…and other decisions weigh on you for days because you know that the outcome will change the course of your life.
You’ll wade through a myriad of trivial decisions today – ranging from the flavor of your coffee, to the gas you put into your car, to the food you put into your body. It’s easy to be fooled into believing that these have no real impact on the big picture – – but they do.
You’ll shift over to automatic while making your habitual decisions today – these ones no longer require a second thought since your preferences are defaulted.
The time you wake up each morning, the way you take your eggs, the frequency in which you exercise. Your habitual decisions play a huge part in determining major factors in your life, and these ones aren’t always easy to modify once the habit is in place.
We’re always making decisions…
Big ones like “should you marry him/her”, “should you have another child”, “Should you stick it out another year at that job”? Life changing decisions are forks in the road that demand your full attention and analysis.
There’s a famous quote from General Norman Schwartzkopf: “A bad decision is better than no decision” which makes sense when you realize that indecision is a decision. It’s best to simply bite the bullet, choose a side, and stick with it (unless you realize you made the wrong decision lol).
You make a life changing decision when you chose to get fit.
I want to help you with that…
I want to help you reach your goal in a big way.
And the fastest way I know for reaching a fitness goal is to begin a challenging and consistent exercise program, like the ones that I offer to my clients.
And that leads us to the decision that I want you to make today…
Will you reply to this blog post, call, or sign up for my life-changing fitness program?
Spots are filling up quickly – decide now!