How a puppy can help improve your hip mobility?

And other crazy tips to stay fit

WARNING: I have just recently rescued a puppy from a shelter here in Boston. This may or may not have been a good decision. But so far we are very happy.

An unexpected benefit of getting a new puppy however has been an increase in hip mobility. How did this happen?

If you have ever had a puppy or even a human baby, you will be familiar with gates that are used to prevent them from going places. We now have gates and fences both inside and out to corral the little thing (her name is Lucy and she is an unknown mix of breeds). These gates and fences require me to lift up my feet fairly high to step over so I don’t have to continually take them down or open their impossible little doors. The repeated lifting up of both legs have increased my hip mobility demonstrably.  (The yoga hasn’t hurt either but thats a different post.)

The larger point is that you don’t have to commit large periods of time each day to your health.  Small little actions throughout the day can also have a measurable impact. Examples of this include stepping over the gates, taking the stairs where possible, getting a standing desk, taking a short walk after lunch, stand up during meetings or better yet do some squats or lunges during conference calls. You get the idea.

What kind of things do you or could you do every day to make progress? Comment below so that we can all learn.

Also click HERE to 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.

Why the world is really in trouble?

Hint: It has nothing to do with Donald Trump

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.

How are you different and why does it matter?

Getting fit can mean something different for everyone

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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Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for Your Life

What one exercise can help you live longer?

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-2-45-09-pmTo paraphrase the classic Bob Marley song, being able to get up off the floor, to stand from a sitting position, can be a great predictor of how long you will live.

In a article I just found in Outside Magazine entitled Why You Need to Be Doing BurpeesMichael Joyner MD from the Mayo Clinic sites a study from Brazil that indicates that “there was a clear relationship between how easy it was for people to get off the floor and how long they lived.” If you are interested in the study, click through above to the Outside article and there is a link.

Dr Joyner goes on to say that Grip Strength is another great predictor of longevity. Additionally, in my experience balance is another skill that will go quickly as you age if you don’t stay on top of it.

So, what can you do? Are just doomed to dwindle away with old age? NO.

As the article’s title implies, if you want to get good at or stay good at getting up and down off the floor then you should practice. Here’s some ideas:

  1. Good old fashioned burpees. If you don’t now what a burpee is, HERE is a link to a great instructional video courtesy of the coaches at the Spartan Obstacle Race group. If you don’t know what Spartan Race is, you should check it out HERE and you should go try one. There are races all over the country as well as coaches certified to help you succeed all on their website. I have done 5 of them so far and they are a great challenge to get you off the couch.
  2. Turkish Get Ups. The Turkish Get Up is a fairly old exercise that I found out about when I got my Kettle Bell Certification through the RKC. HERE is a video that shows you the steps. Try it with no weight at first and then you can add weights via a kettle bell or dumb bell.
  3. Just get up and down off of the floor. No Frills. Lie down on your stomach and stand up. Lie down on your back and then stand up. Or, as I learned at seminar from legendary coach Dan John, challenge yourself to get up and down off the floor using only one arm or no arms, etc. Mix it up. Take your time and when this gets easy try the two exercises above.

So what about Balance and Grip Strength. Well, balance can be improved by the drills above as well as simply standing on one foot, or standing on one foot and closing your eyes. Try standing on one foot and closing your eyes while you brush your teeth. As for Grip Strength, get a something grip while sitting at your desk or in the car like a tennis ball or grip strength device like the Captains of Crush Gripper. Or, simply hang from a bar, do pull ups or dead lifts.

What exercises do you do everyday?

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Don’t Throw Away Your Stinky Workout Gear. Try This First!

     If you are like me, you have to keep your used workout gear in a separate room from where you live and sleep until laundry day.

DeFunkit

     Then, even though it smells okay when it comes out of the wash, it really starts to stink once you get warmed up and start to sweat. And when you are finished, you and your clothes are banished to the far reaches of your home. But I don’t want to throw away perfectly good work out gear just because it smells.
     It turns out there is a really good reason for this behavior and better yet a way to deal with it that doesn’t include throwing out your favorite gear, buying new gear or an expensive divorce.
     Bacteria and other microbes latch on to the microfiber fabric that makes up most workout gear. Remember cotton. Didn’t smell as much but it has its own problems. So regular washing doesn’t break this bond between that which smells and your clothes, it just hides it until you start to sweat again.
     Other things I have tried in the past like soaking my workout gear in vinegar have worked to get the stink out because it kills the bacteria but it didn’t stop it from coming back.
     Now I have found a way to both remove the stuff that smells and stop it from coming back with DeFunkit. I have tried this myself with gear that needed to be hung up outside for days after each workout and it did the job. It is a bit expensive but realize that you have to wash gear using this system once to rid it of the bacteria and block it from coming back. After that you just wash normally.
     Give it a try and come back to tell us how it worked….

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How Do You Stay Fast After 50?

Advice from Legendary Coach Joe Friel

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.

Drop 35 Pounds in 4 Months

And be better at your job too

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 9.11.27 AM

Keith Krach (via Business Insider)

Losing 35 pounds in 4 months is pretty impressive. It sounds like it could be the title of a late night infomercial, but it isn’t.

This great feat was accomplished by Keith Krach, the CEO of tech company Docusign, and was highlighted recently in an article in Business Insider – Why the CEO of this $3 billion startup just dropped 35 points in 4 months.

What was more interesting is why he did it. “Krach says there wasn’t any clear motivation aside from an open-ended commitment he’d made with his two sons that he’d get in his best physical shape since college before the age of 60.”

This is a commitment we should all be making and is the commitment that is essentially at the crux of BoomerangFit. Lets all commit to ourselves, our families and our friends to get in the best physical shape that we have been in since college before we turn 60 or just pick and age that works for you. This is a fabulous goal and is more doable than most people think.

“Krach’s weight-loss regimen comprised of a strict low-carb/high-protein diet and a daily workout program that involved heavy lifting.”

After losing the weight Krach said that he could “narrow down the benefits to the following three reasons: high energy level, better sleep, and an improved clarity of thinking.”

What commitment will you make to yourself?

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Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.

Guaranteed Way to Succeed

It is simple but not easy!

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.28.14 AMThere is a Japanese proverb that states “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

To me this probably the key to accomplishing anything. Some people might use a different saying such as “If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again.”

Either way, the point is don’t give up. The problem here is that this is a lot harder than it looks for two main reasons in my view:

One: giving up is harder than not giving up. Not giving up requires gumption or stick-to-itiveness or sisu (if you are Finnish) or Grit or whatever you want to call it. There is a great book out on this subject called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth that is definitely worth a read or a listen if you want to understand how to get better at not giving up.

Two: the other aspect of giving up refers to what you are not giving up on. At some point it might be worth giving up on a secondary goal or a “means” goal in order to continue being focused on a primary goal or an “end” goal. For example, if my end goal is to travel more, I could get there in many different ways. I could become a travel agent. I could create a job for myself that allows me to be paid to travel like a travel writer or I could build something and sell it for a great value and then travel whenever I want. Each of these means goals gets me to the same end of traveling more. However, I may want to give up on becoming a travel agent someday if I come across a great opportunity to be a travel writer now but I would never give up on the goal of traveling more. Does this make sense? It is also very important to pick the right end goals based on your own vision. There is a great book that walks you through this process called The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani.

So, what do you need to know to succeed at any goal.

  1. Pick an End Goal that is meaningful and aligned with your passion, principles and vision and never give up on this.
  2. Pick a Means Goal to get you to the End goal. These can change based on experience and circumstances.
  3. Figure out what you need to do every day to reach the above goals.
  4. Do these things every day.
  5. Don’t stop!

What kind of experiences have you have with goals and not giving up?

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Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.