WELLBEING AFTER 40 – A MAN’S ESSENTIALS
You were built to be strong and fearless, confident and powerful! You were designed to build empires, carve roads through mountains, cross oceans and even walk on the moon. These are great things that great men have done. While these examples may not seem applicable to you in the “here and now”, know that all men have what it takes to accomplish great things.
Ordinary men can become heroes
Why don’t we as ordinary men, understand the levels of greatness we can achieve?
The reason is a little hard-to-swallow… most of us live our lives in an ordinary world, with no thought to leaving it. The ordinary man is not looking to break away from the ordinary. It is an undeniable reality that very few people are living the lives they want. – but it wasn’t always that way. How did the cultural avatar of manhood change? How did men move from capable to more dependent? The typical scapegoats are not to blame as you might think. Do bigger food portions make us fat? (In reality, it’s our snacking habits) Is it a lack of time spent in the gym? (a Gallup poll has shown that 50% of the first world population now exercises 3 times a week, yet obesity rates are at an all-time high) – So why are “ordinary” men having such a tough time? Truth be told, there are several reasons, ranging from sitting too much, picking the wrong mate, not wearing clothes that fit properly, to watching too many reality shows on the TV. (seriously)
Every little thing you do (or don’t do) affects you both physiologically and psychologically.
Every suit you wear, every book you read, every movie you watch, is either edifying you or eroding the man you can be. Combine those frequent bad food choices with inconsistent sleeping habits and we have a dangerous recipe: a perfect storm of screw-ups leading to a universe where you are trapped – against your wishes or knowledge – in a cage of ordinary existence and a body that is not
designed for excellence. – this is not a gloom and doom message, but I would urge you to see it as a reality check for all men on a global level.
There’s an elephant in the room
At the age of 45, I was fat, unhappy and spending way too much time on the couch. I weighed in at just over 105Kg’s. I thought I was doing right by my body. I would go to the gym in the mornings. I would eat the food I thought was right for me, and still, the weight just came creeping up on me. I was becoming less of a man in increments. My marriage was not great and I often joked about my (then) wife being hormonal. – (something men do when they just don’t know what’s going on.) – Little did I know that I was much closer to the truth than I had imagined…
You see, the real culprits are the lifestyle choices that disrupt the normal functioning of your hormones. This is the big fat elephant in the room. Guys are simply not made aware that they can naturally control their hormonal levels.
Hormones control how you look, feel and age. (read that again and it’s ok to tweet it)
Today’s diets and workout programs have created a society of men who are suffering from sub-par hormonal function. Without knowing it, you’re probably suffering from lower testosterone, dwindling growth hormone levels (GH) and high amounts of stress-induced cortisol. Yeah…you.
Doctors, trainers, nutritionists, and mainstream media ignore the fact that our lifestyles have led to a downshift in the hormones that make us less manly. If a 20-year-old male produces 100% of testosterone at his peak, know that a 50-year-old male will produce only half of that amount – naturally. Add to this the changes in lifestyle brought about by our modern living, and it’s no wonder males and no longer being… well, males…
Hormones are what makes you a man, and their suboptimal functioning has made many of us “ordinary”. It’s not only logical but also undeniable that hormonal dysfunction is the reason men are fat, slow, weak, indecisive or overly emotional. In short, hormonal dysfunction is the silent killer of the basic attributes that make you a man. It’s the reason why men are uninterested (also becoming uninteresting to their partners).
For us guys, the less we produce, the more our manliness declines. I’m not saying that men don’t need to progress from being hormone-raging teenagers to a more state-manly stage, where the “Silverbacks” (named after a “leader of the pack” Gorilla) take their place in society as leaders and influencers of our society. I’m saying that when you (as a silverback) are dealing with life with unnaturally depleted hormonal levels, you’re going to struggle to assert yourself on your surroundings.
The good news is that small lifestyle changes can re-set your levels dramatically.
Let’s face it… Your health directly influences EVERYTHING in your life. – and I mean everything – your wealth, happiness, intelligence, sex life, and longevity. Every aspect of how you live and feel depends on the way you exercise and the way you eat.
Become aware of these hormones, and what to do to elevate their levels, and you will be hitting the core root of many issues.
I recently had some blood-work done and was happy to hear that I have the hormonal profile of someone half my age. (I’m 50) I have achieved this by getting a handle on the BIG 5 (for men)
It’s time to meet the BIG 5
This is what makes you a man. It allows you to build muscle and to melt fat. In the past 20 years, T-levels are down by 50% in men over the age of 40 and for that reason, men have become fatter, less sexual and less satisfied – with how they look, feel and (you guessed it) … F’ck – Don’t misunderstand me. Testosterone is not about becoming big and bulky like a bodybuilder. Most health programs don’t focus on testosterone. You can do all the reps you want, but if you’re not producing enough Testosterone, you won’t make muscles.
Did you know
- Low T levels can kill sperm
- Men with higher T-levels have lower incidences of heart disease, spend less money on health care and live significantly longer
- Your levels peak into your mid 20’s and then decrease at a rate of about 10% per year
- Increasing your sleep can increase your T-levels by as much as 50%
Do this to increase your body’s testosterone production
- Lift Heavy weights
- Do interval training
- Work your lower body
- Supplement with vitamin D
- Don’t smoke
- Supplement with zinc
- Sleep more than 6 hours per night
- Eat more protein
- Take Fish Oil
- Eat Eggs
If testosterone is your Batman to masculinity, then GH is your Robin. This powerful, yet understated hormone is often considered to be the fountain of youth and is prescribed by doctors to combat old age. When you have more GH cursing through your system, you are able to make better use of protein and build muscle. You’re also able to speed up post-workout recovery and will have better sleep. GH also fights off disease.
GH is best produced by your body when you practice intermittent fasting.
Here’s how you boost your GH levels.
- Sleep more than 6 hours a night
- Fast during the morning
- Improve your sleep quality
- Lift heavier weights
- Supplement with BCAA’s (Branch chain amino acids)
- Eat your biggest meal before bedtime
- Perform sprints
- Don’t eat fat before a workout
- Don’t eat too many calories before a workout
We’ve all seen a friend who lost 10kg’s and then had trouble losing the last 3kg’s…Like most weight loss, this is linked to your hormones.
Named after the Greek word Leptos, meaning thin, Leptin is produced in your fat cells and it controls your metabolism by regulating your thyroid hormones. High fat levels mean that there’s more leptin for weight loss. When you eat fewer calories, your leptin levels drop, which is why it becomes more difficult to shed the last bit of weight. This means that you need to keep leptin levels elevated for fat loss.
Here’s your Leptin elevating cheat sheet
- Fast at least 16 hours a day
- Include a strategic Cheat day once a week
- Perform resistance training
- Eat a high protein diet
- Don’t eat too much fructose
- Don’t drop past 500 calories per week when watching your intake
Produced in the hypothalamus of the brain, Ghrelin makes you feel hungry. It is produced when you eat. What people don’t know, is that there is a link between lack of sleep and overeating and obesity. When you don’t sleep, you produce more ghrelin you end up feeling hungry all the time. This is why you are more likely to “treat” yourself to a dessert since the craving for sweets is elevated. Your best protection from the snack-attack is to get more sleep.
Here’s how you keep Ghrelin at bay
- Ensure enough sleep
- Avoid refined sugars
- Don’t eat too often
- Eat more protein
- Practice intermittent fasting
I’ve saved the “Big Daddy” for last. Also known as the “gatekeeper” hormone, Insulin controls the uptake of nutrients into your liver, muscles and stored fat. Controlling insulin is the key to looking good. If you eat it at the right time, your cells are primed for nutrient storage. If you eat at the wrong time, then the nutrients are packed into your fat cells. Controlling this is not all that easy. Your goal is to be insulin sensitive, meaning that you don’t secrete much of it to get the apportioning of food done. High insulin sensitivity is the easiest way to ensure that you will gain muscle and lose fat. You can increase your sensitivity by avoiding foods that spike the production of insulin, such as sugar.
Most people have diets that constantly spike insulin levels, which stunts fat loss and muscle growth (placing the nutrients into fat cells) When you eat carbohydrates, this energy-containing food is normally routed to the muscles. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin you secrete. You don’t want too much of it in your body, because too much of it will make you store your food in your muscle cells. When you are insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels stay higher for longer and the carbs which are turned into sugar, don’t make it to your muscles. If your muscles are the engine and the sugar is the fuel, the carbs literally become backed up in your arteries and your body is forced to “re-route” to fat storage. So if your muscles don’t get the carbs, because your body is resistant, you produce even more insulin to get the job done, which stores the sugars as fats… The carbs trapped in the “traffic” also have the effect of not letting the proteins and amino acids to your muscles.
Re-setting insulin sensitivity
- Cut out all carbs and sugars for 2 full weeks.
- Cut out all sweets and refined sugars
- Re-introduce by eating your carb-rich meal in the evening.
After 2 weeks of total abstinence, you will have turned your insulin resistance to insulin sensitivity and your system will produce less insulin, this makes you less prone to sugar spikes and will allow you to get the maximum nutritional benefit from what you put into your system.
Once you get your insulin production under control, the fat will melt away…