Looking to drop a few pounds? Increase your metabolism? Boost energy levels? Build muscle? EXERCISE is the answer. A fitness strategy is an essential component of our pursuit of BETTER. So hit the gym, go running, play a sport, or work out at home. Plan your fitness goals for the week, mix it up, and have fun with fitness. You’ll feel great, improve your health, reduce stress, live longer… we could go on and on… there are just so many benefits to reap from an active lifestyle that we cannot stress enough how important fitness is to your overall physical and mental health.
OUR RECENT FITNESS POSTS
Just wanted to whip up a quick post about supplementation. It seems like there is a new product popping up everyday promising to help you burn fat, increase energy or build strength. I'm a believer that you should seek these benefits from natural sources as part of a healthy lifestyle. (i.e. Eat your veggies!) That being said, I do like to keep an open mind and learn about what's out there. I've been hearing some buzz about Advocare products recently so I did some quick research.
The first question I always ask is "What's in it?" I was disappointed to find that when researching Advocare products, I was unable to find a complete listing of ingredients in their supplements online. Advocare operates under a multi-level marketing model so perhaps they leave that information to their consultants to disseminate but it does seem a bit shady to me. After some poking around I did find the list of ingredients clearly offered on their corporate website - kudos Advocare - but my point is that you need to make sure you read and understand those ingredients. If you've read any of my other posts, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Onnit and Legion products. One of the main reasons is that both companies clearly share complete listings of ingredients backed by thorough information about how and why the products work.
I don't recommend that anyone use the products that I talk up on my website... Why? Because I am not qualified to do so. You need to do your own research and may even want to consult your doctor or a nutritionist. Yes, I'd be happy to have you purchase any of the products that I use through my website because that will help keep Bob Betterman up and running but don't do it just because I said I use them.
Bottom line, know what you are putting in your body and be skeptical of products that are not completely transparent about their ingredients. You need to figure out what's right for you!
P.S. Also be skeptical of anyone offering a time-based solutions. (e.g. "24 Day Challenge" or "10 Day Cleanse") The only timeline you should be concerned with in your quest for better is "forever." Be better every day.
I've expressed my love for Onnit products in the past - from their Hemp Force protein to kettlebells, the quality is top notch. They're not usually the cheapest option but you get what you pay for - better ingredients and professional grade gear.
Onnit is running a 14% off everything sale so now is a great time to pick up some gear or restock. Visit with our link: https://onnit.com/?a_aid=bobbetterman and use code MAY15 at checkout.
Customers can take 14% Off their entire order from now through 5/29 with code MAY15.
Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Better.
Social media is great because it opens all sorts of doors to information and opportunities to connect with or follow those that share common interests. I've been all over Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter looking for inspiration. From fitness to healthy eating, it's all right there to guide and inspire you. But there's a problem. A big problem. Many popular channels are missing the point! Being better is not about the perfect beach body, before and after pictures or feeling guilty about eating a cheeseburger.
Recently, I've been getting frustrated by the messages sent by those trying to inspire us. One of the worst was an unnamed fitness site that celebrated successes by featuring an "athlete of the month." Sounds harmless enough right? Well, the feature included before and after pictures that didn't sit right with me. The before shot was a pic of an expecting mother and the after was post baby. This was attempting to show that you can get in shape after a baby but it missed the mark. Are you saying that a pregnant woman is overweight? Out of shape? Of course she is overweight - she's got another person in her belly! It says nothing about how she feels nor does it give any indication of health. Can't you be happy and healthy when you are expecting?
Some others that irk me are the 21 day fix (spoiler: it's not over after 21 days) or the beach body routines designed to get you to the point where you feel comfortable in a swim suit. Those before and after pics are even worse. Many before pics show what appears to be a fairly fit and healthy person and after is the extreme - barely any body fat and of course there are the abs. Again this tells us nothing about the overall health or happiness of the person. They're probably not happy at all because they feel that they need to fix themselves (in 21 days no less). This isn't natural, it's not sustainable and it's not healthy.
Being better takes time - a lifetime. It's a never ending journey, a lifestyle change. Not a quick fix. Kudos to those who have changed for the better and props to those who are trying to change for the better, but don't let these misguided messages be your motivation. And thank you to the trainers, fitness gurus, and all those who try to inspire others. Without those people, we'd have a much tougher time navigating the path to better - just please be mindful of the messages you are sending because, despite your intentions, there is always much more to the story than you can express in those before and after pics. So you still want to be better? Good for you. Do it for you, your health and most importantly your happiness!
If you want to change it, you have to measure it. What's so smart about a scale? Review of the Withings Smart Body Analyzer
What does progress mean to you? Being better could be losing weight, gaining weight (more muscle, less fat), improving overall physical fitness… It's tough to know if you are making progress against your goals if you don't measure. I'm not simply talking about obsessing over the number on the scale. Weight is a really poor measure of health and fitness. A more useful approach involves measuring a number of data points over a long period of time. Things like weight, body fat, and heart rate, when measured over time, can give you useful insights that will guide you in making the right changes to meet your goals and give you a pretty good overall state of health.
It seems like everything from video game consoles to toasters are connecting to the internet these days. Gimmick? In many cases, the answer is probably yes. However, some practical uses are starting to emerge that will make the insights gained through data analysis useful in everyday life.
I'm a fan of most gadgets and technology but was a bit skeptical when researching connected scales. If you were to ask me a few months ago how much I weigh, I honestly would have no idea. I rarely stepped on a scale - mainly because I am a believer that weight alone just doesn't matter. Health does. Furthermore, dishing out $150 plus for a scale that talks to my smartphone just didn't seem like a prudent use of money. After all, you can find scales that measure weight, body fat and heart rate on Groupon for $25.
My research eventually led me to the Withings Smart Body Analyzer. It's a "connected" scale that can measure all of the things we mentioned above - weight, body fat %, pulse - plus a few others like room temperature and air quality. The scale connects to your home Wi-Fi network and/or your smartphone via Bluetooth in order to interact with the Withings Health Mate app. The scale is easy to setup - powered by batteries (included), setup took about 20 minutes. Once connected, simply step on the scale (bare feet required to measure body fat) and let it run through a series of measurements. The measurements will be displayed on the scale's LCD screen and synchronized with the Health Mate app wirelessly. That's it - the scale can distinguish between multiple people automatically and recognize you the next time you use it.
If you want to change it, you have to measure it.
So that's great and all but the utility comes into play with the app. The Health Mate app records your data over time and displays trending data in a graphical view. This allows you to not only see how your weight is changing (or staying the same) but will give you an indication of progress against your goals. Are you getting fitter? (Heart rate going down over time). Building muscle? (body fat down, weight up.) If you're hitting the gym and eating right and these numbers aren't changing, this could be a sign that it's time to change your strategy. A number of other data-driven features are available when combined with your smartphone including step tracking and integration with other apps like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. All of this added value and the insights provided by the app is what really sets this apart from the $25 Groupon-type deals for scales that stop at simply taking the measurements.
Obsessing over your weight = not so smart… Using a connected scale to measure your progress over time = pretty smart move!
Check it out here: http://www.withings.com/us/smart-body-analyzer.html
If you decide to give it a try, you can support us and keep posts like this coming by purchasing through our Amazon link below - free shipping for Prime members!
You are what you eat. Overall I'd say that I am on track with my plan for better. I eat well about 80% of the time, workout 4-5 times per week, and I'm generally winning the war against my vices although I lose a few battles here and there. My workouts focus on strength and my diet favors healthful fare over processed junk food.
I feel like I'm on the right path but progress, especially in terms of building muscle, often seems slow and tedious. I wanted to find a way to shift the balance of my lifestyle to accelerate the gains from the hard work that I have been putting into diet and exercise.
Enter the protein experiment. After some casual research, I've decided to experiment with measuring and manipulating my protein intake to make the most of my investment at the gym to help my body build muscle.
I'll continue doing what I have been doing in terms of eating and strength training but with an increased focus on diet. I'm not counting calories and not concerned with the amounts of food that I am eating, although I will continue to keep an eye on things like carbs and sugars - instead my focus will be on measuring my protein intake against my results.
My experiment targets protein intake of 150g per day. 165 is roughly my body weight. How did I choose this number?
How much protein? When should I eat protein? (Source: http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/post-workout-shakes?fullpage=true)
For general health and weight loss for active men, Aragon recommends consuming about 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight, erring on the higher side. (One caveat: Trained athletes cutting calories may need to consume more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.) The benefits of eating more protein are great, he says, helping to preserve lean body mass (particularly important if you’re cutting calories to lose weight), raising metabolism, and increasing satiety.
My Weight 165lbs. X .9 = 149g protein/day
Some additional info about protein: http://greatist.com/protein
Can you have too much protein? http://greatist.com/health/how-much-protein-too-much
I'm three weeks in and eating nearly 150g of protein is much harder than I thought it would be. Each meal I am tracking protein content but not calories, or fat or carbs, etc. I'll track my weight once a week with the expectation that weight will actually increase as I build muscle and drop some fat.
So here are some of the tools (foods) that I have been using to up my protein intake daily.
- Hemp or Whey protein - I can get about 15-30g in a shake.
- Fish, chicken and steak - Perhaps the best option for adding 30+ grams of protein to a meal.
- Eggs - 7g per egg
- Seeds and nuts - 10g per serving - raw almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds.
- Protein bars - Some bars have a whopping 20g P each.
- Almond/Peanut butter - about 8g per serving (I really like this almond butter from Zinke Orchards)
This is not an exact science but my measurements have come as shown below.
Like I said, not easy but I am getting closer. The dips happen on the weekends when I tend to focus much less on what I am eating - I guess there isn't much protein in beer! Stay tuned.