Category Archives: Diet

Coronavirus Deaths

Three Things That Could Save Your Life

In this challenging time of the coronavirus pandemic and the daily updates on positive tests and fatalities, one thing is very obvious: baby boomers who are by definition nearing 60 or older are significantly more likely to die than younger people (see chart). One of the main reasons for this seems to be the prevalence of pre-existing conditions in this older age group. “In the first big analysis of more than 44,000 cases from China, deaths were at least five times more common among confirmed cases with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart or breathing problems” stated the BBC in a recent article.

So, what’s a baby boomer to do? Accept fate and try to stay as far away as possible from the virus, other people and society. Certainly if you are in a high risk group you should be doing just this. Additionally however, there are other things that we Boomers can do to reduce the impact or likelihood of these mostly chronic diseases that are aiding and abetting this deadly virus.

Chronic Diseases and Nutrition

Many people increasingly believe that chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, some heart and lung diseases, some cancers and the broader umbrella of metabolic syndrome that also includes insulin resistance and general obesity are in large part caused by our diet, lack of movement and increasingly toxic environment. Therefore if you believe this, then one way to improve your likelihood of survival in this new world of pandemics is to improve your health.

The two easiest ways to do this is: 1) Stop Eating Crap – remove as much processed food and added sugar from your diet as you can and replace it with healthy natural foods. Don’t try to cut calories or restrict the amount of food yet just eat less crap. Then later you can start to worry about how much you eat and other details like do I want to eat meat or not. There are many arguments over these more nuanced nutrition programs but for now just reduce the crap that you eat. 2) Start Moving More – no matter how much you move now just move a bit more. Go from the coach to a walk around the block. Go from sitting all day to standing some part of the day or getting up very hour to stretch and move. If you walk already, try transitioning to some easy running. Just move more.

Taming the Lizard

3) Tame the Lizard – the base of your brain or what some people call the lizard brain is focused on keeping you alive so when it perceives stress whether it be an approaching lion or approaching deadline, it kicks into gear and among other things can trigger cravings for sweets. Sweet foods are high in sugar and sugar is easily burned if you need to climb a tree to get away from the lion and easily stored if we are about to go into a famine. This increase in easy calories however is not needed to sit down and stop procrastinating on that deadline and is not need later either so it just becomes fat, increases insulin and starts a cascade of bad stuff that leads to the above chronic diseases. Our Lizard Brain also doesn’t like movement as it wants to conserve energy for when its needed to escape predators and hunt but we don’t do that much anymore but when you think about going to the gym or going for a run, it still kicks in with that little voice urging you to stay on the couch.

So how do we tame this lizard that in name of saving us from threats is really starting to kill us? You need to break the connection between the stress and the sweets. i.e. the boss’s email creating a craving for that chocolate bar. There are several tools that you can use to do this but fundamentally it comes down to interrupting the message from one to the other within the lizard brain so the more rational part of your brain can kick in.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” Victor Frankly in Man’s Search for Meaning. 

So how do we train ourselves to do this. There are probably many ways but here are two tools that I have found helpful: 1) 5,4,3,2,1 – Whenever you feel a craving or start walking towards the fridge, simply countdown from 5 to give yourself the space for your higher brain to kick in and take over. This is the crux of Mel Robbin’s Five Second Rule. Mel has a great book and a lot of online information that go into more detail. 2) WIRM – Witness, Interrupt, Redirect, Maintain. This is simple tool that I found at The Unbeatable Mind with Mark Divine, a retired Navy SEAL. When you feel a craving or notice something starting to brew inside your lizard brain, just witness it or notice it. Then use a quick mantra to interrupt it like NO or STOP or whatever and then quickly redirect this with another automated response such as instead of sugar I will just walk around the block and finally maintain it or reinforce it with another mantra like Everyday In Every Way I am Getting Better Stronger and Leaner or use Mark’s Looking Good, Feeling Good, On the Way to Hollywood. Make up your own sayings and give it a try or just use Mel’s countdown to see how it works.

BoomerangFit is a community of primarily baby boomers who believe that they can still be do whatever it is they want to do such as climb a mountain, run a marathon or just run around the back yard with their kids or grandkids. Age is just a number and aging doesn’t have to mean less mobility or fitness or saying goodbye to your goals.

If you would like to get more information about our community here at BoomerangFit, please CLICK HERE and give us your email address. We won’t sell this info to anyone and will just send you info we think will help you improve your fitness. 2020 is going to be your year.

How to Get Into the Best Shape of Your Life

2020 is it. This is the year you are going to get into the best shape of your life and we are going to do it together.

Let’s start by talking about the word shape. What shape do aspire to be? A cone, a pear, an apple or a banana? The phrase is ridiculous. None of us aspire to be a shape. I think what we really want to be is fit. But fit for what? You may want to be fit to keep up with your grandchildren or fit enough to walk your daughter down the aisle or fit enough to finally run a marathon or to win a contest. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just go from a place of current fitness to a place of improved fitness using the measurement(s) you choose.

Measurements – so what are the measurements that you should choose? Most people would say they want to lose “weight” but this can be very difficult to measure. Muscle is more dense than fat so it takes up less space. If you are gaining muscle while losing fat, your weight could remain the same or increase but you could be getting healthier by reducing fat. Many people gain muscle quickly with any weight-bearing exercise so they will seem to “gain” weight even though they are eating better and exercising. A better measurement of improvement and a better goal for you might be how your clothes fit, what is the measurement of your waist or even how do you feel? If you really want to get technical, you could measure your body fat percentage using one of many tools that have varying accuracy. Why not just start with a journal and just note how you feel, how things fit and your energy levels.

Journal – Start a journal and keep track of these measurements so you can hold yourself accountable and see your progress. This progress also will not be a straight line to so just accept that and move on.

Team BoomerangFitEveryone is different. The biggest thing that just about most in the fitness game seems to ignore is that everyone is different. Everyone has different genes or genetics. Everyone has different epigenetics as well this means that certain genes may be turned on or turned off based on where you live, how you live and what you eat. Everyone lives in a different part of the world and has different problems, stresses, allergies, sensitivities and habits. So to think that any fitness or nutrition guru can create a program to work for anyone other than themselves or a single person is pretty ridiculous. They simply provide a program that has worked for them or other people “like” you before. Working with a trainer or nutritionist can be very helpful but realize that its your responsibility to customize the programs for yourself. Just try different things and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Food – don’t count calories just count crap. Try to get on a #crapfreediet. This means reducing the amount of processed food that you eat every day. If it has a label on the side then it has most likely been processed to some extent. On the other hand vegetables, fruit and yes organic grass-fed beef are all on the other side of the processed spectrum. So eat more and more unprocessed and less and less processed. Simple as that. Once you have completely reduced your intake of processed food or at least to the extent possible then you might want to consider further customizations based on what works for you.

Organic vs Non-Organic – At the end of the day if you can consume food that hasn’t been processed and that hasn’t been sprayed with or fed with chemicals and pesticides, you are better off. But if you are living on McDonalds and/or have no affordable access to organic food than just start eating less McDonalds and more vegetables. If they aren’t organic just wash them a lot. But at least its a start.

Vegan vs Keto – For most people, it just doesn’t matter. Focus on dramatically reducing the processed food in your diet and you will get healthier and probably lose a lot of fat. However, if you have already reduced the processed food then look at refining things further in whatever way works for you. But first focus on reducing the processed food. Then try out eating like a vegan or a vegetarian, paleo or Keto. They can all work for the right person and they will all not work for everyone. When you do this, however, be careful not to increase the processed food. Potato Chips in a bag could still be considered vegan or vegetarian. So again get rid of the processed food first.

Cooking – take a cooking class or marry a chef like I did. It is a lot easier to eat healthy and remove processed food if you know how to cook at least a few key meals.

Exercise – much like nutrition what you do for exercise depends a lot on your goals, what your current capabilities are such as mobility and flexibility and what resources that you have. Like removing processed food, almost anyone will benefit from moving more. This could include a daily walk, a standing desk, a run at lunch time or joining a CrossFit gym. It doesn’t matter, just move more than you are moving now and start where you are without try to cheat the system and jump ahead. This will just lead to injury or burnout.

Community – In most cases, getting other people to walk with you, workout with you, train for a marathon with you will help you stay committed and hold you accountable. There are lots of way to do this. CrossFit and OrangeTheory for example have built great communities just be sure to join a community that will work with you to increase your mobility and fitness while also teaching you the correct way to do whatever it is your doing, or you will get injured and will need to stop exercising for some period of time. There are also virtual communities to help you stay motivated, hold you accountable and bring you great new information like Peloton. This community we are building here at BoomerangFit is another example.

BoomerangFit is a community of primarily baby boomers who believe that they can still be do whatever it is they want to do such as climb a mountain, run a marathon or just run around the back yard with their kids or grandkids. Age is just a number and aging doesn’t have to mean less mobility or fitness or saying goodbye to your goals.

If you would like to get more information about our community here at BoomerangFit, please CLICK HERE and give us your email address. We won’t sell this info to anyone and will just send you info we think will help you improve your fitness. 2020 is going to be your year.

 

Can You Recover from This Bar?

While wasting a perfectly good Sunday browsing through Amazon, I was served up an advertisement for a tasty and potentially healthy sounding Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bar – Chocolate Chip flavor. Since I had just gotten back this past Friday from attempting to climb Mt Rainier, I was desperately in need of some recovery. Also, as regular readers here will know, recovery is one of the most important aspects of an older athletes regimen.

Before I pushed the magic Amazon “Buy with One Click”, however, I thought I would do a little due diligence.

As you can see from the photo, one of these “Recover” Bars has 41 grams of carbohydrates and 29 grams of sugar. It also has 360 calories. Is the bar itself what we need to “recover” from after the Insulin spike?  This really seems like a lot of sugar for a single bar whether I am recovering from something or not. However, to avoid the politics of low carb diets vs vegetarians and Paleo vs vegans and also considering that I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I went to the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance.

Lo and behold, apparently the WHO in March of 2014 dropped its sugar intake recommendation from 10% of your daily calorie intake to 5%. Or, for an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI) that works out to about 6 teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar.

So, assuming that my trusty elementary school math hasn’t deserted me, the 29 grams of sugar in the Gatorade Recover Bar is about 4 grams of sugar more than an adult with normal BMI should be consuming in an entire day. Huh? Perhaps this isn’t such a good choice after all. 

Furthermore, if you look at the label even more closely you will see that the 41 grams of total carbohydrates are supposedly about 14% of your daily values.  And below it says that Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and that your daily values may be different depending on your calorie needs. Interesting, so the 14% is for some fictitious person and not for you so beware of what the percentages are for you. But also realize that at 2000 calories in order for 41 grams of carbohydrates to be only 14% of your Daily Values, you need to be getting more than 60% of your calories from carbohydrates or about 293 grams and 1172 calories per day. This seems a bit high to start for your daily intake of carbohydrates.  Also if I am only eating 2000 calories per day, I just used up 20% of my whole day with the 360 calories in this one bar.

What’s the lesson? Buyer beware. Just because it says something like “organic” or “healthy” or “natural” or “recover” on the label doesn’t mean it is good for you so make sure to read the fine print. Better yet try to eat as little processed food as possible or just try to avoid eating something with an ingredient label at all. For the record, a banana has about 100 calories and only 14 grams of sugar so maybe try that next time you are looking to recover.

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 Team BoomerangFit try to rid the earth of the scourge that is Alzheimer’s Disease, then click HERE to donate.

 

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.

How to make 2019 your best year ever?

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. 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 2019. 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 2019 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 2019 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. 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 2019.

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 2019. If you would like to receive regular information, news, ideas, motivation, etc to help you reach your goals in 2019, CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and mailing list.

Why the world is really in trouble?

Climate change, taxes and health insurance and all of the other hot button issues of the moment are certainly important to the long-term success of our country and our world.

However, there are perhaps more imminent threats to our society that have less to do with Donald Trump and more to do with health, nutrition, exercise, inflammation, obesity and disease.

According to a new study published on July 6th, 2017 in the New England Journal of Medicine
, “more than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of their weight.” That is Billion with a “B” and that is 30% of the entire world! And it is getting worse.

Furthermore, “the United States has the greatest percentage of obese children and young adults among the 195 countries and territories included in the study.”  We fret about destroying our children’s future with climate change and government debt, but what if they don’t live long enough to find out?

This isn’t just about weight gain or body mass index either. Diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes that are essentially directly linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome are growing as well. And, other diseases with indirect links to obesity, metabolic syndrome and nutrition like Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease are also growing rapidly.

For example, today, 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease. According to the CureAlzheimer’s Fund, payments for care in 2012 were estimated to be $200 billion. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050 and would most likely bankrupt the healthcare system as we know it.

Alzheimer’s Disease alone could bankrupt the healthcare system. Then add in growing rates of Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and the aging baby boom and it seems that we might just be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic arguing over insurance premiums.

So what do we do? The easy answer is eat right and exercise more. In a nut shell, if the food or food-like substance is advertised on TV then you probably should eat less of it or cut it out completely. If it has a label that includes ingredients that you don’t recognize then don’t eat it. In general just eat less processed food and sugar. Oh and move more, stand up, walk, etc.

But we all know this isn’t easy or we would all do it. So, I have started a group called BoomerangFit that is focused primarily on helping people in their 40s and above including myself to eat better, get fit, reduce the likelihood of getting struck by disease and increasing the likelihood of enjoying a long, energetic and active life.

As a part of this group, you will get access to information, inspiration, motivation, reviews of books and equipment, interviews with masters athletes, coaches and other experts, tips and tricks as well as an invitation to participate in virtual and physical challenges to increase motivation and raise money for charities such as the CureAlzheimer’s Fund. If you would like to start today towards a healthier future for you and our world, click HERE.

Is Coconut Oil Really Bad for You?

Long a staple of the health conscious community and low carb fans, coconut oil has recently come under attack by the American Heart Association.

“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.

Unfortunately there are a couple of problems with this statement.

  1. Eating cholesterol doesn’t increase your cholesterol. Apparently the body is pretty good at regulating the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Your body manufactures most of what you need anyway and, if you are otherwise healthy, eating foods that contain cholesterol shouldn’t matter. “The body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than what you can eat, says Dr. Steven Nissen on the website of the Cleveland Clinic. So avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol won’t affect your blood cholesterol levels very much.” Actually cholesterol plays a very important role in our bodies and is involved in creating cell walls, sex hormones and vitamin D among many other things. Perhaps this is why there are seemingly so many side effects from cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.
  2. High cholesterol doesn’t seem to cause heart disease. According to an article in the Telegraph in the UK last year, “Cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed. A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease. Published in the BMJ Open journal, the new study found that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level actually lived longer.”

So, what are people to think?

It appears based on the most recent studies that it is inflammation that causes heart disease and this inflammation by and large is probably coming from eating sugar and processed foods and too much stress. Stay away as much as possible from Sugar and Processed Foods and try to reduce stress through meditation, better sleep and exercise.

Another big red flag is the number of big food and big sugar companies that are sponsors of the American Heart Association. It certainly be good for them to come out in favor of eating less cereal.

What do you think? Do you consume coconut oil? Would you reconsider that decision now?

How are you different and why does it matter?

How many people have a New Year’s Resolution to get fit or lose weight?

What does that mean? Since we are all different, it should mean something a little different for everyone. First of all, you need to set some reasonable doable goals and second you need to create some metrics and activities to hold yourself accountable and to measure your success.

Lets start with fitness or getting fit. Get fit for what? To run a marathon, to walk up and down the stairs in you house or to keep up with your kids or grandkids on the sledding hill.  This could be anything from lowering your PR in that marathon to not having to stop on the stairs to catch your breath on the way up.  If you reach the goal early, just set another one. Make them reasonable and measurable.

If you don’t think you can do it because your too old or too broken, think again. Jere’ Longman recently profiled, Ed Whitlock in the NY Times. Ed is an 85 year old runner who recently ran a marathon in under 4 hours. In fact, Ed was the first person older than 70 to have run a marathon under 3 hours. This is amazing and should be sufficient to get you off the couch no matter how old you are.

Now on to weight loss. Is weight loss your actual goal or are you more interested in how you feel or how you look in clothes. Again everyone is different. If you work out enough and eat right you could gain muscle and lose fat but not lose any weight as muscle weighs more than fat. So perhaps the right metric isn’t the scale but perhaps it is a measuring tape or your favorite pants that don’t fit anymore. If your doctor told you to lose weight, ask why? Is it to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure? You can probably do both of those things using nutrition and exercise without necessarily losing weight.

The final question is what do you mean by eat right or proper nutrition. Again, everyone is different. Some people are Vegans or vegetarians, others will never stop eating meat. One thing it seems everyone can agree on though is to eat less added sugar and processed foods. Start there and see how it works. Add it 3-4 times a week of exercise at some level and then just continue to add on as you improve or get bored. Good Luck!

Comment below on what your resolutions are for 2017?

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Could Five Minutes Change Your Life?

office-walking

Many of us work all day at an office and sit down for most of that time. Recently, we have heard that sitting is the new smoking and that we need to stand up all day, maybe even buy a standing desk.

Full disclosure: I use a standing desk and find it to be worthwhile. You can find out more about that HERE. A new study, however, has found that you might not need to go that far.

According to a study cited in a recent NY Times article by Gretchen Reynolds, “standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs”.

“The study, which also found that frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work, could provide the basis for a simple, realistic New Year’s exercise resolution for those of us bound to our desks all day.”

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How Do You Stay Fast After 50?

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-3-02-03-pmIs it possible to stay fast or even increase your speed or fitness after turning 50? America’s leading endurance coach, Joe Friel, has a book out that answers that question with a resounding yes. The way you go about it though may surprise you.

Drawing from the most current research on aging and sports performance, Friel shows how athletes can race strong and stay healthy well past age 50.

Friel’s latest book, Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life, synthesis what Friel has learned over the past 50+ years as an athlete and a coach. “The book came out of my personal experience. It was me trying to give myself a birthday present, trying to understand what happens when you turn 50 or more, what happens in your life athletically. So the book was a birthday present to me and ended up being, as far as I know, the only book written on this topic based on the research.”

The book, published by VeloPress, presents guidelines for high-intensity workouts, focused strength training, recovery, cross-training, and nutrition for high performance:

  • How the body’s response to training changes with age
  • How to adapt your training plan and avoid overtraining
  • How to shed body fat and regain muscle density
  • How to create a progressive plan for training, recovery and competition
  • Workout guidelines, field tests, and intensity measurement

More Recovery

“Probably the first thing the aging athlete discovers is the fact that they don’t recover as fast as they did when they were younger. There is something about my body that is not responding like it did a few years ago. So, that’s the starting point for most athletes in understanding that they are becoming old is they just don’t bounce back anymore.”

“The older you get the more you have to focus your whole concept of training around recovery instead of focusing more on high quality workouts which is going to be done anyway. You need to give a lot of thought on how am I going to make sure I will recover so that I can do the next hard work out after this one. In the book I offer suggestions for the athlete to start including more recovery days between hard workouts as opposed to just one.”

More Sleep

“Another one of the key issues that I had with my clients was that typically none were getting enough sleep. How I determine if you get enough sleep is if you use an alarm to wake up in the morning. It’s an artificial waking mechanism which means you just interrupted your sleep and we need to get to the point where you don’t have alarms. The key point is when you go to bed not when you wake up. Sleep is recovery so as you get older sleep becomes more and more important.”

What Do You Eat

“Nutrition can become somewhat like religion. We have these strong beliefs because it has been beaten in to us since late 1970s that you need to eat a high carbohydrate diet. Otherwise you you won’t be able to train hard and are going to die of heart disease and cancer and all these other problems. That’s just the way we’re supposed to do it.  It is kind of ordained that we are supposed to eat a high carb diet.”

“Only in the last, 5 or 8 years has it been questioned, so now we’re starting to see more research on the topic. We’re starting to see good athletes who are abandoning the concept of eating constant carbohydrates and are depending more on fat and protein. If you’re in your 50’s and you weigh more than you think you should weigh or want to weigh, its likely you have some insulin resistance and if you do have that then you probably shouldn’t be eating many carbs.”

Friel actually wrote a book about this with Professor Loren Cordain called The Paleo Diet for Athletes. There is also more information on this in an earlier post called Why Do We Get Fat As We Get Older?

Less Time Off

Finally, between finishing the book and the publication at age 70, Joe had a nasty training accident. Joe was not able to train for an extended period of time and learned a new lesson: “What I discovered was basically that the older you are the less you can afford to miss training for long periods of time. You lose fitness very rapidly at this age and take much longer to come back.”

Joe Friel

Joe Friel has trained endurance athletes since 1980. His clients are elite amateur and professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes, and duathletes. They come from all corners of the globe and include American and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian. Friel is also still a competitive age-group athlete in his 70s.

He is the author of ten books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. He holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified Elite-level coach, and is a founder and past Chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.

Friel has also been active in business as a founder of Training Peaks (www.trainingpeaks.com), a web-based software company, and TrainingBible Coaching (www.trainingbible.com)

What’s Next for Joe?

“I’m still writing, I just finished totally rewriting one of the first books I wrote back in the nineties which was called “The Triathletes Training Bible.” I came to realize that in the 17 years since I wrote that book it has become outdated. I threw the entire manuscript away and just rewrote the entire book from scratch and that will be out this fall (2016).”

Boomerangfit interviewed Joe Friel via Skype from his home in the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, AZ.