How to make 2018 your best year ever?

And this time really make it happen...

Have you been promising yourself to lose weight, get fitter, run a marathon, climb the stairs without having to rest at the top or whatever over and over and over again, year after year?

Join the club. According US News and World Report, 80% of New Years Resolutions fail by February. February. That is only about 31 days after you made the commitment presumably on New Year’s Eve albeit when drinking may have been a factor.

So assuming you are still interested in improving yourself somehow, here are some ways to finally make it happen in 2018. If you want help staying with a program this year and finally hitting those goals, CLICK HERE to sign up for the BoomerangFit newsletter and mailing list now.

Goals – You need a small number of attainable, reasonable and measurable goals. One common model for this is SMART Goals. This model dictates that goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time Bounded. I want to be fitter or look better in 2018 is not so great. I want to lose a certain number of pounds by a specific date is better assuming this doesn’t require you to lose much more than 2 lbs. per week. Also, WHY you want to achieve these goals is very important and will get you out of bed on the coldest, darkest winter mornings. Do I want to lose weight to live longer to see my daughter be married? Do I want to lose weight to have more energy to start my dream business? Tie your goals to something deep inside of you to add motivation. You should only have 1-3 goals so you don’t lose focus. There will be more on setting and keeping goals as part of the BoomerangFit site and Facebook page.

Act – Now do something. Sure it matters what you do but it probably matters more that you just do something that drives you towards your goals every day. If you are trying to lose weight, just start out by cutting out added sugar or cutting out one can of soda, then move up from there. If you want to get fitter, perhaps you walk for 20 minutes everyday or workout every day. Just start somewhere and check in with yourself everyday. There will be plenty more information on how to get fitter in 2018 on the BoomerangFit website and Facebook page.

Events or Sub-Goal – A great way to keep motivated is to have sub-goals that build up to your goal. If I want to run a marathon at the end of the year, I might want to sign up for a half marathon over the summer or in the fall. Sign up now. Post them to your social media. Invite your friends to participate. Put it on your calendar or on the wall of your room. Team BoomerangFit will be doing a number of

Regular Review – Now that you have your SMART goals in place, some events on the calendar and are doing something every single day that moves you towards your goals, you need to regularly review them to see how you are doing against your original goals, is what you are doing working, do you need to make changes to be more successful, etc. I would suggest that everyday as part of a morning ritual you read or better write your goals into a journal along with what you plan on doing that day to get closer to your goals and what you are grateful for in life. Then weekly and monthly you should take a little time to take stock of where you are against your goals, what you want to accomplish over the next week or month and then crates some actions for yourself to add to your daily practice. For example, I started by walking 20 minutes a day but this has gotten easy so now I want to up it to 40 minutes or maybe I try to run for 20 minutes.

Accountability – It is very important to build accountability into your life. The Regular Review above is a great start but you need to reach outside yourself as well. You can work with your spouse or another loved one. You can bet a friend from high school or there are even websites and apps that will help you here. You can also join Team BoomerangFit to keep you accountable. We will have a lot of information and feedback on how to stay on your goals in 2018.

Community – Finally find other people with the same goals and share the fun. Team BoomerangFit is a group of Baby Boomers looking to get back to the fitness they had earlier in life and to continue achieving goals at this stage in life. Consider joining our team to see if it can be helpful. The website and newsletter will include motivation, interviews with coaches and other members, reviews of gear, book reviews and much more.

Good luck in 2018. If you would like to receive regular information, news, ideas, motivation, etc to help you reach your goals in 2018, CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.

Is our health the nation’s biggest problem?

Even more important than taxes...

Almost half of Americans in a new Associated Press-NORC poll say health care is their top concern going into 2018. Health care outpaced other issues, like taxes, immigration and climate change, by more than 15 percentage points, according to an article in AXIOS.

Why it matters: Congress and President Trump rushed to pass an overhaul of the tax system after failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Although Republicans may not spend more political capital on health care next year, the issue won’t go away as the public continues to grapple with high health care costs.

In other words, while the government and its opponents are going back and forth on taxes, the economy, the environment, and other important issues, preventable diseases driven mostly by our poor nutrition and lack of exercise are killing us.

According to the Global Wellness Institute and its new Wellness Moonshot focused on creating a world free of preventable disease: 

  • 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases. Centers for Disease Control, 2017
  • More than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years is now overweight. World Health Organization, 2014
  • The global cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health) could reach $47 trillion by 2030. World Economic Forum, 2017.

One single potentially preventable disease, Alzheimer’s could bankrupt our healthcare system. Payments for care of Alzheimers in 2012 were estimated to be $226 billion (with a B) —and more than 15 million Americans provided unpaid care for persons with Alzheimer’s. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050 (CureAlzheimer’s Fund).

The question then is if our government is not focused on it, how can we make an impact. The answer is simply that we each need to take responsibility for our own health and wellness by improving our diet and adding exercise wherever we can.

Are you too old for CrossFit?

Probably not...

Arguably you are never too old for anything. However some people are intimidated by seemingly extreme fitness modalities like CrossFit at any age and especially over 50.

CrossFit can be a useful tool for anyone to get fit though. At CrossFit South Brooklyn, there is a special group of people over 55 who are doing really well as you can see in the video below. As long as your trainers are working with you to assess and improve mobility and form and not just beating you to death, you should be fine. And, of course always consult your doctor before any intense fitness regime. My trainer, Angelo Gala from EDX CrossFit in Lafayette, CO, also integrates yoga, kettlebells, endurance and other modalities to keep things fresh and allow me to recover from day to day.

If you want help and motivation to get and stay fit over fifty, join register for Boomerangfit by clicking HERE.

 

Titus Unlimited – Ripped Over 50

There is no excuse....

Fit over 50

“In order to be alive you have to constantly challenge yourself. You have to constantly grow.” says Jean Titus from Titus Unlimited in a profile on the website Metro. He is over 50 and is about as ripped as they come. The video in the Metro site is pretty motivational as well.

You don’t have to be this ripped to function in your life and be happy but you certainly need to follow his advice above. If you are moving, your dying. Exercise, whether it is going to the gym or hiking in the woods with your dog, is going to make you feel and look younger as well as helping you avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Heart Disease.

The biggest excuse for not taking your health seriously is that you don’t have time. But the truth really is that you always have time, what haven’t done is prioritized yourself above something else like television or video games or whatever else you do when you aren’t working or sleeping. So take the first step whatever is appropriate for you. Go for a walk or a run. Go back to the gym you have been avoiding. Or just start by eating less sugar and processed food. Whatever works for you but pick a primary goal and then stick to it.

If you would like more information on Jean Titus who is now a personal trainer, life coach and motivational speaker, you can find him HERE at Titus Unlimited.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

Its Official – We’re Climbing Mt Rainier for the CureAlzheimer’s Fund

And we are bit intimidated...

Mt. Rainier is 14,411 feet above sea level. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters and it is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. Basically it is giant popsicle that could explode at any moment. Sounds like we should climb it to raise money for the CureAzheimer’s Fund. If you would like to donate to this great cause or just learn more about the fund and the challenge, click HERE.

Four members of Team BoomerangFit will be doing just that on September 25th, 2018. The members of the team use challenges like this climb, our 2016 climb of Mt Baker, our Spartan Obstacle Racing Trifecta and many smaller challenges and races along the way to keep us motivated to stay fit even as we enter our 50s and 60s.

If you are not happy with your weight or your fitness, there is no reason that you can’t get back to the fitness you dream of or have enjoyed in the past even at our age. The keys to success are 1) Commitment – you need to commit to improvement and you need to have a reason WHY? What is your why? To see your children grow up, achieve your potential, give back to a charity. What is your why?  2) Discipline – Discipline is really just being a disciple to something greater than yourself. And, this just comes right back to your why. What drives your discipline? 3) Accountability – Once you make a commitment and start implementing your discipline, you need someone or something to hold you accountable. It could be an app or a friend or your neighbor. Somehow you need to see and review your short term and long term goals regularly. 4) Community – find other people to go along for the ride, share the ups and downs and support you when you need it. Here at Boomerangfit we are committed to helping ourselves and others achieve their potential, working together, playing together, holding each other accountable and having a whole lot of fun.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

If you would like to donate money to help rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

Unbreakable Runner – What is CrossFit Endurance?

At 54 years old, I still run, work out, hike, paddle board, play ultimate frisbee and climb. I also compete periodically in events such as my upcoming StoneCat Trail Marathon to test myself and to raise money for charities such as The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The problem of course is how do you the find the time.

After reading two books, I think I have figured it out to a large extent.

The first book is called Fit After Fifty by legendary coach Joe Friel.  Coach Friel’s primary advice is to focus on more intensity less often and more recovery. The BoomerangFit blog has a lengthy review of the book HERE. 

The second book is called the Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong.  This book is by Brian MacKenzie and TJ Murphy. For those of you who haven’t heard of Brian, he is a well know strength and conditioning expert who came up with an innovate system called Cross Fit Endurance. Again the premise here is that endurance training, in this case for all ages, needs to focus on form, cadence, strength and stamina and not just on the long slow distance that is still so popular with most people. Running long regularly especially without the proper form or core and leg strength is a recipe for injury. 

With CrossFit Endurance, I am focusing a lot of form and cadence while running. Intuitively I know that I need to have a faster turnover and to strike the ground with my forefoot. However, with practice and strength improvement, I can’t keep that up over a long run. I am constantly reminding myself to forefoot strike only to go back to heel strike when my attention wanders. It has to be subconscious or built into a patter over time through repetition. And, this pattern needs to be supported by the strength primarily in the feet or lower legs necessary to do it correctly at scale.

Additionally, I am spending a lot more time focusing on functional fitness than I ever have for running. The book, as you might guess, recommends CrossFit like workouts but I find I can do other things as well such as kettlebells or just doing burpees and carrying heavy things around the yard.

Can you work out too hard?

Yes. You can work out too hard for a whole slew of reasons.

The NY Times focuses on one of these reasons in an article entitled: “As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common“. One woman highlighted in the article suffered some serious consequences from what should have been just a hard day at the spin studio.

“Over the next two days, her legs throbbed with excruciating pain, her urine turned a dark shade of brown, and she felt nauseated. Eventually she went to a hospital, where she was told she had rhabdomyolysis, a rare but life-threatening condition often caused by extreme exercise. It occurs when overworked muscles begin to die and leak their contents into the bloodstream, straining the kidneys and causing severe pain.” Ouch. This does not sound good.

So were you right all along and all of this workout nonsense was a lie? Is sitting on the couch safer? Not really. You should “workout” or exercise everyday if possible. You just need to remember two things first:

1) Fitness – what am I trying to get fit for? Do I want to play with my kids/grandkids without huffing and puffing? Do I want to ride my bike in the summer charity ride each year? Do I want to do better in summer ultimate or do I want to win my age category and some fitness-related sporting event. Have a serious chat with yourself to figure out where you should start your journey back to fitness. If you are looking to compete at a high level no matter what your age, consider getting a coach to help you build a plan and recognize problems and injuries.

2) Adapt – take your time getting into your new regime. Work your way up slowly, perhaps adding 10% or less of weight, resistance, time etc to your work outs each week. Take at least a day off a week to recover with some walking or yoga. Listen to your body and cut back when you are aware of over training symptoms such as elevated heart rate while working out (higher than usual), elevated heart rate when you wake up in the morning (take it every morning for a week to get a baseline) or are you having trouble sleeping? More ornery than usual? (Be honest).

So workout good. Workout too much and too soon less good.

If you are interested in more content like this to motivate you to get back to the fitness you once had,  Click HERE to sign up for their newsletter.

Why I came back to New Balance

I started running seriously in about 1975. When I say running seriously, I mean not just running away from something like my friends or my brother, but running towards something, in my case I was trying to lose weight and wanted to eventually compete in high school cross country.

Back in that day there were many different running shoes to choose from, however the shoe of choice on my cross country team at the time was New Balance. I don’t remember the name or number of the style and if I remember correctly they only had one anyway. It was pretty cool looking for the time and they worked well. I felt fast. This was also back in the time when if your shoe soles wore out, you just loaded on some Shoe Goo and kept going. Do they still make that stuff? We wouldn’t have dreamed – or been able to afford – replacing shoes more than maybe once a year.

Later in the 80s while going through college and the inevitable post college “I never weighed this much before so I better get back to running” phase, my commitment and nostalgia for New Balance wavered and I tried other shoes like Nikes, Saucony’s and even ASICS. I regularly tried new brands and new models but never found what I was looking for elsewhere.

Now that I have returned to the fitness fold and have again become “serious” about fitness, I have returned to my home with New Balance. It doesn’t hurt that they are a local company where I live near Boston. The real reason however is that they have a number of models that are just very comfortable at a reasonable price and that fit well with my focus on running, hiking, functional fitness and climbing.

I started with the New Balance Minimus for functional training. I do a lot of kettlebells, deadlifts, carrying things, crawling, burpees, etc. And it is important to have a small or zero drop to keep my body aligned and the Minimus works really well for this. It is also lightweight and pretty sturdy.

Next I decided to get back to running. To avoid injury, I wanted a lot of padding but I also didn’t want something that was unstable and mushy. I tried a few other shoes but ended up trying the New Balance Vazee Pace 2. This shoe had amazing padding but somehow without the bulk of the other shoes. I have two pair now one for crappy weather and one for nice weather.

As a former cross country runner, after I had gotten back into running, I started to crave the trails. So I went back to New Balance and came up with the Vazee Summit Trail V2. These shoes have some great traction and great padding but still have great stability.  This November I will be running the StoneCat Trail Marathon and these will be my go to shoe.

Finally, I have started climbing mountains as well to raise money for the CureAlzeimer’s Fund. In order to train for the mountains, I started doing some very vertical hikes carrying a lot of weight. For this I chose the New Balance Leadville.  The Leadville is also a trail running shoe but I found it to be substantial enough for hiking as well even with a heavy backpack. As a matter of fact, I hiked to base camp at 7000 ft on Mt Baker with about a 75 lbs pack using just the Leadvilles.

What shoes do you use and why?

Disclaimer – I do not receive any compensation from New Balance.  

If you are interested in more content like this to motivate you to get back to the fitness you once had,  Click HERE to sign up for their newsletter.

 

 

 

 

Are you a Carboholic?

Sugar is addictive, perhaps more addictive than cocaine. And, the actions it produces in our bodies such as releasing insulin are wreaking havoc on our systems, driving the obesity epidemic and the plague that is known as metabolic syndrome: a pernicious cocktail of high blood pressure and high blood sugar that can lead to stroke, heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

According to an article in the NY Times: “Sugar stimulates brain pathways just as an opioid would, and sugar has been found to be habit-forming in people. Cravings induced by sugar are comparable to those induced by addictive drugs like cocaine and nicotine. And although other food components may also be pleasurable, sugar may be uniquely addictive in the food world.”

The article continues: “Today added sugar is everywhere, used in approximately 75 percent of packaged foods purchased in the United States. The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. If you consider that the added sugar in a single can of soda might be more than most people would have consumed in an entire year, just a few hundred years ago, you get a sense of how dramatically our environment has changed. The sweet craving that once offered a survival advantage now works against us.”

In another article in the NY Times by renowned science writer Gary Taubes, it states “Since insulin levels after meals are determined largely by the carbohydrates we eat — particularly easily digestible grains and starches, known as high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup — diets based on this approach specifically target these carbohydrates. If we don’t want to stay fat or get fatter, we don’t eat them.”

“This effect of insulin on fat and carbohydrate metabolism offers an explanation for why these same carbohydrates, as Dr. Ludwig says, are typically the foods we crave most; why a little “slip,” as addiction specialists would call it, could so easily lead to a binge.”

So what do we carboholics do? The easiest thing to say is to just stop eating sugar. But unfortunately this is as difficult or more as quitting smoking or worse. You can’t just stop eating sugar. You need to start doing other healthier things in return like eating more healthy natural foods: fats and proteins to reduce the cravings and put you back in charge of your life.

For motivation and information from BoomerangFit, click HERE to sign up for their newsletter.

Stress is making you older. But what can you do about it?

“Stressful events in life, such as the death of a child, divorce or being fired, can age the brain by at least four years as reported by the BBC this week.

Don’t we have enough trouble already these days? Politics, global warming, health care, our kids coming back home to live with us and now we can’t just enjoy a little stress?

The study, reported at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, looked at performance in memory and thinking tests of 1,300 people in their 50s to gauge brain health.

“Although the research could not establish any direct link between stress and an increased risk of dementia, stressful experiences are known to have an impact on brain function, which could then lead to dementia in the longer term.”

Brain age and dementia could be linked but just as important we don’t want our brains to age prematurely any more than we want our muscles to atrophy and our mobility to be impaired. The idea is to not just increase lifespan but also to increase your “healthspan” – how long you can live while doing that which you enjoy whatever it is.

Stressful experiences across all groups included educational difficulties, financial insecurity, serious health problems and psychological trauma. The thinking goes that stress increases inflammation and that inflammation can cause premature aging of the brain. Inflammation is also probably a key factor in other major problems like cancer and heart disease.

So, now what? The most obvious thing to do is to reduce stress, right?  Good luck. Most people can’t just decide to reduce the stress in their lives. But if you can certainly try. Maybe kick that millennial kid out of the house. But what else can we do? The next best thing to reducing stress is to improve how your body reacts to it and two great ways to do that are meditation and exercise.

What strategies have you used to reduce stress?

For more information on how to stay motivated and to get back to the fitness for what you want to do to enjoy your life, REGISTER HERE for our newsletter.