Men’s Unfair Fitness Advantage

Man lifting weights at gym

Men have an unfair advantage when it comes to fitness.

No, it is not the testosterone (as most urban millennials are short on it anyway). And it certainly is NOT lifestyle. Women, generally, put way more effort into their health and fitness than men. And they spend considerable time looking after their family’s health as well. Especially, their often reckless lifestyle boyfriends and husbands.

But, see that is where men generally have the advantage. Unless they are competitive body builders or male models, they don’t really care about hoisting too much weight, the flab around their guts, number of beer they drink or how many and Calories in a bacon burger and fries.

After training with both sexes for decades and plenty of research (in libraries as well as bars and restaurants), I have made some observations.

Diet. Offer most hard-working guys a choice of what to eat and they will scarf down hamburgers, chicken wings or steak before even looking at a doughnut, pastry, cake or chocolate. While some ladies are fretting over amounts of fat, sugar and calories, the males have no guilt with eating high protein dishes. (Pass the chicken wings!) Protein is good for you. It builds muscles, nerves and tissue and helps remove excess water. Let me repeat the last line: protein helps remove excess water. Carbohydrates will cause the body to hold FOUR times the amount of water that protein does. Eat at least 50 milligrams a day. One gram per day per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight for active people.

When it comes to exercise most guys have no hang ups over hoisting heavier weights or sweating. In the 1970’s, there was this belief that that heavier, intense workouts will give you big muscles. Pound for pound women tend to be stronger than men. They just do not have the hormones to develop big muscles. A good example of this is my buddy’s two fit, beautiful daughters who both cycle, ski, practise yoga, roller derby and rock climb. (One of them once tackled a thief at a video store.) They are not any where near “muscle bound.”

As for sweat, it is healthy, natural and good for your skin to release toxins. Many people use exercise bikes, tread mills or stair climbers at the lowest setting and never break a sweat or draw a deep breath. I have seen the same people doing the same minimal effort workouts for over two years. Maybe they have medical conditions. Then, again, maybe they are afraid of going past their comfort zone.

Working intensely, gets more results in less time and burns more fat during and after exercise. Huffing, puffing and sweating are good for you. (Pardon me. I just got corrected. Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.) Besides, oxygen is (still) free and your body enjoys it.

Most important is the topic of self-image. If girls and ladies have not noticed, most guys, (including yours truly) are not perfectionists. Most guys can skip a workout or have a slice of cheese cake without hating themselves. It is not the end of the world if they do only 29 push ups instead of their usual 40 or 50. They do not make it a big deal. (Hey I can do more while watching the game.) They still think that they are the coolest dudes on the block, just for showing up. Many perfectionist gals, however, feel like total failures if they do not train every day and then some. Or shed that 1.25 pounds by next week.

(Conversely, high end fitness professionals, like Karen Hulse, cut themselves some slack and have cheat days for eating.)

It is often this “all or nothing” attitude that tends to work against high performance women (and men). So, take a lesson from the happy, fit guys. Train and eat for performance, instead of just cosmetics and the results will come.

Learn how to get fitter, leaner and stronger in Flat Gut After 50.

Dance Floor Cortisol and Testosterone

Remember the crowded night club dance scenes of the 80s and 90’s?

Some nights were routinely dry. Other nights were pumped with stress-induced pain and runaway hormones. Passion, pain and pumped up cortisol and testosterone. All of this with some drunkenness and dancing mixed in.

There is a drop in that dance floor cortisol and testosterone. This might be due to less classical or even couples dancing, anymore.

When dancing does happen, it is often a big en masse activity. Which is O.K. for grooving to the tunes and having fun with friends. But, the chaos to music has little or no advantage over the classics of the dance floor.

Sure enough, night club bouncing around works up a sweat, gets you out in pubic and makes some time with the opposite sex. But, the classic dances have a distinct advantage when it comes to strength, grace and health.

Bodybuilder, Michael H. Brown advocates classic dancing to build strength and grace. In his book, Diagnostic Body Building, he mentions how his injured hip recovered from taking Latin dance classes. Several athletes were good dancers. Martial artist great, Bruce Lee won a cha-cha competition in high school. Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson used to dance for change as a teen.

What is really fascinating is the effects of Latin dancing on the human hormonal system.

Psychology Professors Cynthia Ouiroga Murcia Phd and Stephan Bongard from the Goethe University Frankfurt and Musicology professor Gunter Kreutz from the Carl von Ossietzky University conducted a study on the effects of tango dancing on dancers’ stress hormonal levels. They did this by regularly testing the cortisol and testosterone levels of the dancers’ saliva.

(As you might know, cortisol is meant to protect the body from inflammation, but often causes high blood pressure and weight gain. Testosterone builds muscle in men.)

The researchers found:

1. Passive listening to music, tended to increase testosterone in women and lower testosterone in men. But, active tango dancing did not effect the testosterone levels in either dancer. (So, guys who dance are protecting their testosterone levels.)

2. The tango dancing is a moderate activity at about 55% exertion capacity for most people. These means the tango dancers burned less Calories than the nightclub style of dancers. But, the tango dancers produced less stress and therefore little cortisol.

Now it gets really interesting.

3. Regular dancing with a partner and music lowered the cortisol levels in both the male and female dancers.

4. Dancing alone or without music was significantly less beneficial than dancing with a partner and with the music.

Is it any mystery that many good dancers live tend to live long?

Learn more about longevity methods in Flat Gut After 50.

Gone With the Glands

When I think of gone with glands and the real gland problems, I am reminded of Lizzie Velasquez. (See Ms. Velasquez’s movie: A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.

I love listening to Lizzie’s speeches and her unwavering motivation against bullying. Anytime I hear someone complain about having excess weight, I roll my eyes and think about Lizzie. See Lizzie has a condition that does not allow her to accumulate body fat. This is a very unhealthy condition and it leaves a person looking very gaunt. So, when someone complains that they have a “gland problem,” I don’t argue it. But, you have to stop and think how those fat glands got there in the first place.

Is it all Gone With the Glands?

Was it the over-active mouth gland? The carbohydrate-craving gland? Maybe the stressomania gland? The stop-sleep gland? The I-hate-sunshine gland? The I-hate-myself gland?

Glands or more accurately, the endocrine glands, regulate your body functions. Their small excretions regulate your body temperature, reproduction, reaction to stress, muscle growth, mood, appetite and metabolism. (There are seven basic endocrine glands, which also respond to the yoga chakras.)

If the endocrine glands are out of whack, then the rest of your body is as well. I know first hand what it is like to have over-worked adrenal glands. It upsets sleep, raises stress, kills appetite and takes away any kind of enthusiasm for reproduction and life in general.

But, this is not a gripe session or PMS (Poor Me Syndrome). It is a quick pep talk to get you back on track.

First, eat some protein at every meal. (I know that many cleansing diets demand abstaining from meat or high protein foods. But, when you are done your cleanse, get back into eating more protein.) This will do a few things. It will SLOW DOWN your metabolism by giving your body a steady level of energy. Protein foods will minimize the insulin highs and lows that you get from consuming sugar. Also, the protein will feed your muscles, brain cells, skin, hair, nails and everything else in your body.

Most of the strong and active men and women whom I have interviewed and known personally, consistently eat protein foods. One skating instructor, turned kick-boxing instructor, Val, ate egg whites and oatmeal almost every morning. And she was fit and solid.

Second on the hormone-balancing plan is to e-x-e-r-c-i-s-e. Even with this current COVID-19, I still take the time to exercise. It takes no equipment or special talent to do squats, push ups and crunches in front of the television set. I knew an Arnis (Filipino stick fighting) instructor and lawyer who would perform leg raises while watching television. One day, he did 1,000. This morning, during our virus emergency lock-down, I was leading friends through a Pilates and stretching routine over the internet. By moving around, you are assisting digestion, improving circulation and mood.

Which brings us to stress management. You need to have a bit of stress in your life to keep you alert. To be honest, I kind of like the rush of certain stress. It gives me a bit more drive. It adds to the excitement of living. But, too much for too long will wear you down. It also produces excess cortisol which causes weight gain. Diet, exercise and a calm disposition can help manage excess stress.

Caffeine. In her book, Caffeine Makes Me Bleed by Susan Lynn describes how after 39 years of consuming coffee, tea, colas and chocolate that she began to bleed internally and lose her health. (If you read her book, you can see the high stress of construction during the 80’s was also destroying her health). I will not deny that many high performers, writers and athletes enjoy their morning coffee. And I refuse to give up on dark chocolate. But, the if you are having hormonal imbalances, it might be time to dial back the coffee habit.

Sugar. Don’t kid yourself on this one. In his book, Sugar Blues, celebrity reporter, William Dufty totally slags sugar. As much as I like the taste, this stuff is in almost every food and wrecks havoc on your health. Cut back on this now. That means less pop, pastries and processed breakfast cereals. Even ketchup. If you have to, eat some protein first, please.

Finally, I will harp on getting good, sound sleep. In the army, I learned to sleep almost anywhere. The rule of survival, was to eat and sleep every chance that you got because you often did not know when the next meal or rest period came sometimes. Lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance and aggravate diabetes. It can also increase the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which increase appetite. Sleep-starved shift workers often crave high carbohydrate foods. (Stick to the high protein foods. Eat the eggs, skip the toast, etc.)

Maybe, by now you might be nodding and admitting that you have some control on your hormonal balancing. Take a good look at your last few months of Gone With the Glands style of eating, working, exercising and sleeping and often the answer to your gland problem could be right there in front of you.

Learn more in the book: Flat Gut After 50

Can You Save Ageing Skin?

Can you save ageing skin? How about damaged skin?

To start with, how do you find how old your skin is? Number of wrinkles? Depth of wrinkles? Spots? Elasticity?

A quick and easy exam is the Snap Test. Just place your hand flat on a surface and with your free hand pinch and pull a piece of skin. Hold it for five seconds. Then, let it go quickly and watch how long it “snaps” back into place.

I compared my snap test to my 11 year old daughter. My skin took about three seconds to settle back to normal. While my daughter’s skin was flat almost instantly.

The snap test can be used to test skin products. Just put the skin product on the back of one hand. Then snap test the backs of both hands against one another. I have seen this work in real life when testing a skin product. In a test case, I did notice that the skin of the treated hand did snap back quicker.

However, the treated skin could have snapped back faster due to the removal of old skin or the skin being massaged with the skin product. So, the results could have been a bit superficial.

This is why I believe the the internal sources of skin protection are as important as the external precautions.

Before we explain how to save ageing skin, let’s explore what is known about why our body cover ages in the first place.

First consider what cracked plastic, worn windshield wipers and rigid, vulcanised rubber have in common with wrinkled human skin? They all have undergone a rigidity from chemical reactions. These chemical reactions are similar to what causes your skin to become hard, brittle and less elastic. The main villains that age these products and human skin are: aldehydes (from alcohol, tobacco, pollutants) ozone, x-rays and ultra violent light.

But, don’t worry. We can still save that ageing skin.

A healthy lifestyle is the best approach to nourish and protect one’s skin. One only has to observe the smooth, healthy skin of some cultures, like the Polynesians to realize that their lifestyle is beneficial for their skin. Some of the theories behind their beautiful skin involves their consumption of papaya and pineapple. These foods reportedly dissolve the hardening ageing-type proteins in the body. (But, some people with ulcers or other conditions cannot eat them.) So, the right food is paramount.

But, since the Garden of Eden is long gone and we have to do the best that we can. I can only recommend fresh, high-protein, low sugar eating. Sugar dries out the skin. End of story. If you don’t believe me, put a paste of sugar and water on your skin and watch it dry the area. (This paste works great on drawing out infections.)

Even good nutrition can be assisted As for supplements, I always take higher than minimal dosages. Vitamins A, B, C and E will nourish and protect the skin. Minerals, such as zinc and selenium also protect the skin. According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone (of the Perricone Perscription) anti-wrinkle formulae dosages are vitamin A 5,000 IU, (B Vitamins vary, so go with a minimal of 25 mg), vitamin C 500-1,000 mg & vitamin E 400-800 IU.

Having regular exercise is a no-brainer. It improves circulation and body functions, which help keep the skin clean and healthy. Often exercising involves sweating. Sweat is normal and it releases skin-harming toxins in the body. A good workout, followed by a sauna raises your body’s T-cells and builds resistance against infections and illnesses. Good for your body, good for your skin.

The sauna also helps with restorative sleep. A good sleep allows the body to regenerate itself…including the skin. Get your rest. Your skin, like any other organ, needs it.

Lastly, I will share a skin-preserving tip with you. A friend of mine, (now in her 60s) explained that she always rubbed a solution of vitamin C powder and water on her facial skin every morning. Even after 60 years of age, she had better skin than many 20 year olds.

Learn other anti-ageing methods in Flat Gut After 50.

Fifty Shades of Doug (Why I Gave Up Saw Palmetto)

Fifty shades of Doug is better than 50 shades of humiliation.

Guys past 40 know what I am talking about. And ladies, I ask you in a gentleman fashion not to laugh. Because, this is really, really annoying. I don’t like talking about and I sure as heck don’t like the “test.” So, I attempted to avoid this horrible fate. This meant taking massive amounts of the herb saw palmetto. It is proven to shrink the prostrate. And, believe me, with this kind of pressure, it threatens Fifty Shades of Doug.

The thing was, I personally did not notice any difference or hear of any difference whenever I had that test or gave a blood sample. This is not to completely ignoring that popular herb. I used to take it while in my twenties as it reportedly lowered congestion and promoted kidney health. (I was going into exhaustion at the time and was shot-gunning herbal cures.) It also promotes hair growth and may promote breast enlargement in women. (Not sure on that last. No test subjects at this time.)

So, back to prostate testing, here is what I found out.

  1. The physical inspection is not always accurate.
  2. The blood test is not always accurate.

The grope test does detect enlarged prostrate gland, which may or may not be cancerous. It is one method of early detection. (I avoided it at every opportunity, even when I was in the army. But, there was this old, really cranky, female civilian doctor who insisted on doing it. Later, I found out that she was performing the same test on young men in their twenties. She was promptly fired. Burn in hell, you sick old bat!)

Now most blood tests detect the presence of Prostrate Specific Antigens (PSAs), which is an immune response. It can be many things causing it. So, when my PSA reading went from two point something to over 7.2, the doctor got concerned and I was about to go “under the knife.”

But, I had a good doctor and he asks some questions and did some research. It turned out that riding my bike to the testing clinic raised the PSA in my blood. Yeah, it was the pressure of that narrow axe blade of a seat hammering into you-know-where that was making those extra PSAs. Mystery solved. No cutting Doug open. Whew.

In the meantime, I was trying to figure out the other symptom of a suspected enlarge prostrate: frequent bathroom trips. This really sucked. Especially while running a half marathon as I lost a good 85 seconds stopping for a bathroom break. (Next race, I just wear dark shorts!).

After trying different herbs, like stinging nettle and horsetail (both super cheap or free), I noticed less bathroom trips. But, the biggest change came after I just calmed down. I took the time out to meditate, exercise with moderate/heavy weights, took saunas, ate more complex carbohydrates (carbs cause water retention), talked with a therapist and supplemented my diet with vitamins and minerals.

Did I mention calming down? (Did I also mention dropping the shame and guilt from the baggage train? Maybe time to get off of that ride.) How does calming down and dumping emotional baggage assist fifty shades of Doug?

Everything!

Dump that baggage. Get the R & R.

Soldiers and most athletes have the ability to doze off prior to intense situations like competition. Much the same as lions, badgers, crocodiles and other dangerous animals. These predators have the ability to sleep or remain still and relaxed for long periods of time. Then they can unload with incredible speed and strength.

I recall this kick-boxer, Nick Penner whom I was in the same waiting room with before our matches. It was amazing at how he could eat and sleep prior to a match. Most of us were too wired to eat, let alone sleep. But, he trained, ate and slept like a professional athlete and always performed well.

Prior to a match (or even during a parachute jump) I’d force myself to stay calm and tell my fighters to adopt the same. The kick-boxers who ran around expending their energy usually did not fair so well.

Learning to relax, improved my strength. Those short naps improved my strength and ability to concentrate.

Getting back to the frequent urination thing. You often see that in frightened little dogs. They pee when scared and they seem perpetually nervous. The calmer, healthy, confident dogs don’t pee that often (and probably save it for peeing on small nervous dogs).

The physically active males tend to have less health problems than unhealthy males, especially in the area of said mentioned gland, prostate problems, high blood pressure, stress and lame relationships. The same is said for females. Train, eat and sleep like athletes and you generally will have better health, less illness and a stronger charged libido.

Learn more in Flat Gut After 50.

The Fall Guy: Set Up to Fail

Ever been the fall guy?

You know, the guy or gal who gets brought in at the last minute to fill in. Someone to fill in a position and just be there for appearances or for minor entertainment.

We all like to root for the underdog. The unknown hopeful who maybe does not lose too badly. A number. Another one of the nameless faces that come and go.

That’s what it felt like later on. Like about 48 hours after I get that phone call. “Please Doug, I really, really need another fighter,” said world class kick-boxer, Barry Atkins. “My guy is really green. All your expenses will be covered.” And being eager to please and build up my kick-boxing experience, I accepted. Never mind that I was to start a new job on Monday, three days from now.

After a five hour drive to Kamloops, B.C. Canada and got a home at a hotel. The next day, during weigh-in (like they were going to change their minds at this point), I met a fellow martial artist, Dan Lowney. Dan asked who my coach and corner man was. Embarrassed, I admitted not to have any and was on my own. What I did not tell Dan was that I also had not trained in kick-boxing for the past five months. Being a stand up guy, Dan volunteered to corner for me.

Now, I am not making excuses for what happened later during the match. I had not properly prepared. My fault. I will also mention that Barry Atkins’ White Crane school of martial arts trained some world class fighters. They were very good. I had been up against one of their guys before and he had been tough as nails. Besides, this match was supposedly against a total rookie.

So, I had three matches under my belt. During the five month kick-boxing layoff, I had been training in Chinese kung fu. I had been mostly training stances, forms and breathing techniques. I did not even wonder if that was enough. Logically it was not.

Then came the fight night. There were 11 matches of Atkins’ White Crane kick-boxers against different out-of-town clubs. Most of the matches did not even last one round. The White Crane fighters were grinding these outsiders like so much hamburger. One after another, the other fighters were hitting the canvas or assisted out of the boxing ring.

During my match, my opponent came at me like a mad Rottweiler. Whatever, I threw, he ignored and kept punching and punching..and punching. I felt my knees start to buckle as I grabbed him in a clinch. I flopped a weak hook at his head in an attempt to look like I was still in the match.

There was no kick-boxing going on here. Just a maniac who rushed in throwing punches.

The referee separated us and I hung back in my corner, still unsteady. I remember the Canadian champion, Dennis Crawford telling me something about how to fight a slugger. What was it? I also vaguely remember, this tough 18 year old kick-boxer talking about technique that worked and the other kick-boxers thought that he was crazy. What was that about?

Too late to think about it as here comes slugger boy again. This time I did not try to box or kick-box. I moved my head to the left and drove a straight right fist like I was throwing a shot put. It caught him flush in the mouth and he staggered back.

For a few seconds his eyes looked glassy and he just stood there. Then someone behind him shouted something and he comes charging in like a bull. I throw that same right punch with everything, which, after beating was not that much.

About the third or fourth time that I had countered his rushes, he switched to kick-boxing. For short bits and then he would rush in again and again.

I had this one side kick that I could throw really close. Like even from a clinch. (Thank you, Al Cheng for teaching me.) It worked over and over.

By the third round, I was wobbling and someone in the crowd kept yelling at me to keep my hands up. Rule number one: keep up your guard. Keep your hands up. But, I was so exhausted and disorientated. Counter punch. Counter punch. Take the kick. Eat the pain. Slip in another tricky side kick. When he got close, I threw my arms around him in a clinch and hugged him in tight, until the referee separated us.

The match ended and that was that. Dan congratulated me for doing so well. After a shower and a meal, I went to bed with a pounding headache.

The following day, while driving back to Vancouver, I heard Kamloops radio announcer talk about the former night’s kick-boxing matches. The Kamloops team had won 10 of 11 matches.

I smiled, knowing first-hand, which match that they did not win. Even the underdog has their day.

Believe in yourself or no one else will.

I cover many of the training methods that I used in Flat Gut After 50 and Strength Endurance Secrets.

Dead Vehicle, Frost Bitten Feet (Was I Ever Going Overseas?)

I hated waking up to feet turning to frostbite blue. That and both of our vehicles freezing. Not a good sign.

We probably were not going to make it to the hot springs near Pemberton, B.C. Canada. But, there was still some argument about still going to the hot springs and enjoying our final weekend before I shipped off on a United Nations mission overseas.

It kind of reminded me of when some of my same group of friends came down with hypothermia when trying to climb Mount Baker. It was a time to forget the egos, improvise, turn back and live to see another day.

Our hot springs trip organizer, Art was not going to quit. He kept arguing to push on. Besides, Art had a plan. He removed the batteries from the two jeeps and warmed them up with in water heated in pots over our stoves.

Next, Art hooked the batteries up in a series circuit to produce enough power to start one of the jeeps. Once one jeep started, the other jeep could be jump started.

But, we were not, literally, out of the woods yet. Art still argued about pressing on and I had to disagree. Survival first, right. Besides, I was feeling really stupid that I had left my mukluks at home and thought I could get away with new climbing boots. Yep, Mr. Outdoorsman, paratrooper, marathon runner, whatever. All of the stamina in the world was not going to save my numb feet. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

It was a good thing that Art finally agreed. On the way back, we find the narrow, mountain road (with a sheer drop off on one side), blocked by some ****** truck, sitting in the middle of the narrow road. We spent the next 20 or so minutes digging the snow around that vehicle. Meanwhile, I cannot feel my feet. I am cursing the truck owner and wondering if we can just force it off the cliff.

Art’s girlfriend puts a nasty note on the abandoned truck’s windshield and we barely squeeze by the truck with our jeeps. Of course, a bit further down, one of the jeeps breaks down. Meanwhile, I am stamping my boots on the cold metal floor of the jeep to get some feeling back into them.

We make a quick decision to abandon the broken down vehicle and pile into the working one. The essential personal gear gets strapped onto the top of the working jeep.

We roll into the town of Pemberton, looking like kind of hillbilly party. None of the hotels have vacancy, so we opt for a Bed & Breakfast. I end up in a North Vancouver (Lion’s Gate) hospital, blue feet and all. Heck of a way to spend New Year’s Eve.

But, it is not over yet. Seven days later I arrive in Winnipeg, Manitoba, one of the coldest cities in North America. Temperatures vary from minus 15 to minus 30 Celcius (+5 to -22 Farenheit). (Yes, cold. Damn cold.) So, I spent the next 2.5 months training in the below freezing and the rain, while carrying loads, training with different weapons and tactics and dealing with the constant uncertainty of whether or not the mission was going through and who would be chosen. At night, I would check my feet and tape the big toe nails so they do not tear the skin. But, with the forced marches and carrying loads, the toe nails eventually fell off. Since, toenails took about six months to grow back, I could use them as kind of a calendar for the half year tour, if I was chosen.

Did I mention the uncertainty? Some days during our “workup training” we did not know what was going on. Were we all going? Some of us? Who would be left behind with the rear party? Were we training on the west coast in California or the east coast in New Brunswick?

To this day, I have to give our commander, LCol Calvin credit for organizing the mission. We had plenty of problems to overcome.

For starters our gear was outdated and some of the soldiers who I had to work with and supervise were first-rate annoying. There were guys with health problems, personal problems, attitude problems, drinking problems. Then there were guys dropping out from injuries, broken-hearts, home-sickness going and AWOL. It just never ended.

All this time, I kept quiet about my previously frost-bitten feet. I would just tape them up to minimize the blisters and discomfort and KEEP GOING. Improvise and keep going. Every day, every hour, every step brought me closer to making it overseas. I won’t even talk about money problems, an upcoming court case and an unreliable book deal. Yet, I remember my basic army course with the warrant officer yelling at me to “improvise!” (Like in Heartbreak Ridge, where Clint Eastwood’s character, Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway preached: “Adapt, improvise and overcome.”)

And even today, with the COVID-19 crisis, I still think about that mantra: improvise and keep going.

Eventually, I did get selected for the mission in Croatia, (former Yugoslavia). As a reservist, I served as a sergeant and a section commander. But, that and my return home….those are whole other stories.

Whatever you are facing. Improvise and keep going. You can do it.

Fitness and Survival (for After the COVID-19)

Fitness and survival goes hand-in-hand. Whether it is surviving an outbreak, disaster, a war or even an economic slump. A person’s skills, intelligence AND fitness will often determine their ability to survive and thrive.

While serving as a paratrooper and United Nations peacekeeper, I learned really fast that if you were not physically fit, you were a liability to yourself and everyone around you. The physically fit soldiers were the least likely to get in trouble (except for fights), get sick or get injured than the lazy soldiers.

Back in the civilized world, I see these gyms full of pretty boys and fashion queens who spend more time refilling their water bottles or adjusting their ipods than actually training. Do you honestly believe than most of this lot could do hard physical work all day on little food, water and sleep? I think not.

So, where are you in your fitness? Does a walk up a flight of stairs after your smoke break count as fitness? (I heard this from a supervisor once.) I mean, this COVID-19 lock down has been a good wake up call to people living sedentary lives. When jobs are scarce or work is difficult, you might need a strong back and plenty of stamina to get you through some hard times. Never mind this Calorie-burning, booty camp and perfect bod fantasy.

The fitness goals need to be concerned with strong core muscles, overall strength and stamina. Cosmetics come of a result of a fit, healthy body. Do not forget that physical exercise is instrumental in reducing and releasing stress and often promotes improved mental stimulus.

Physical fitness also helps build mental strength. Super athletes I know, like Monika Kriedmann Bleckenwagner (Iron Man Competitor)Trish Dong (KettleBell champion) and Meagan Hackinen (world record holder in distance cycling) are too busy training, cooking or writing books to worry about the effects of some exotic flu. Check out Meagan’s book: South Away.

I cover many of these training methods, including the mental programming in my training (contact me: doug@dougsetter.com) and my books. See Flat Gut After 50. Strength Endurance Secrets.

You want to be strong, tough and ready.

The 7 Second How-Long-Will-You-Live-Test

Generally how long you live can be determined by a simple five to ten second test called SRT.

SRT is the Sit to Rise Test. It is based on how easily you can stand up from sitting on the floor to full standing. You cannot use hands, elbows or knees.

The test goes as follows:

  1. Sit on the floor cross-legged with your hands clasped in front of you.
  2. Shift your hips over your feet; and
  3. Stand up.

While it sounds simple enough. But, it is amazing how many people cannot do it the first time. Even teenagers.

Yet, what is more amazing, is that the average over 50 year old can be trained to do it without much hassle.

The trick is to break the movement down into stages. Practice standing up from the kneeling position first. Do this WITHOUT pushing on your front knee your hands. Just sit up with your weight on your knees and balls of your feet, step forward and drive from your rear calf, thigh and glute (butt) muscles and not only from your front thigh.

Once you can stand from the kneeling, you can go onto standing from the sitting position. It is mostly a matter of shifting your hips over top of your feet and driving yourself upwards using your butt muscles and balance.

Learn more life extending tips from: Flat Gut After 50.

She Dropped 250

No kidding. She dropped two hundred and fifty pounds. A special client dropped the first 50 pounds in four months. But that was not what made her lighter.

It was a change in her attitude.

See, she was a struggling single mother and business woman. The stress was wearing her down. Born in Russia, fairly new to Canada, she was often quiet and reserved. Though there seemed to be something weighing on her.

At the time, I was too stressed and busy to take on a new client. I just bought a new townhouse, was busy in my day job and personal training business and my sister was terminally ill. Reluctantly, I took the lady on as a personal training client.

It was one of the best choices that I made with clients. I always had such great conversations with this lady when we trained. It got to the point that I really looked forward to training her. She knew so much about international affairs, business and marketing. But, there was still that sad side to her personality.

Then she really seemed to get happier.

E (I will call her that) really did lose that 50 pounds of excess weight. The change was fairly quick and she looked strong, shapely and solid. E also had taken up skiing and other activities that she never had the confidence to do before.

Then the truth came out. The truth about dropping 250 pounds.

E confided in me about the other 200 pounds that she lost. It was in the form of couple of hundred pounds of overbearing boyfriend. He was from some demanding middle eastern culture that had been grinding down her self-esteem. Since then, anyone could see that she was way more confident with herself after dropping that other 200 pounds, if you get my drift.

It was also kind of funny, because at that time, E kept getting free gym space and around the city. As it turned out, different guys whom she met, gave her parking privileges in very expensive areas of the city. So, she was receiving all of these dates and favours from these suitors.

Thing was, her new found energy and dating was more from her change in attitude and not just the cosmetics of fitness and weight-loss.

Watching her success was a game changer for me as well. While training this amazing lady, I came to understand that fitness training is not just about performance, weight-loss and cosmetics. Fitness and health is more about the sense of well-being and self-confidence.

She discovered the power of doing better, being better and accepting better.

The dating and health game is not over after 50. Learn more in

Flat Gut After 50