Pandemic Self-care

Four months into the Covid-19 social distancing, self-isolation lifestyle and we are definitely feeling the impact. The isolation, employment struggles, unknowns about schools and travel are exacting there toll in the form of stress and anxiety. A society esurient for normalcy, we attempt to gain control by developing new habits and adapting to new routines, not all of them good for us.

On this episode of the show, we visit again with health and weight loss coach Elizabeth Sherman to talk about ways to change our troubling behavior for the good and manage the stress and anxiety we are all experiencing.

Course Correction

course correction

Hi guys.  I thought I would check in since it has been a week or so since my last post.  I have begun the process of course correction in an attempt to address the lack of work ethic and the 6 pound weight gain that resulted.

Before I could begin to right the ship, I first needed to understand where and how things went wrong this summer.  This is the time of year when I am most active and carry the fewest pounds.  Not so this year.

The first issue is that my aerobic exercise was way down.  At the recommendation of my doctor, I ceased competing in triathlons and, therefore, stopped training.  So swimming, biking, running and brick training went out the window.  At least to the degree that is required to be race ready.  I also strained a calf muscle and that had me sidelined for the better part of a month.

The second issue was that I did not adjust my caloric intake to reflect the decrease in aerobic exercise.  I continued my merry ways of eating, drinking, and snacking despite the fact that I was burning fewer calories.

I knew that, if I was going to get back on track, I needed to return to a healthy balance of resistance training, aerobic exercise, and smart dietary choices.

This past week, I returned to my normal resistance and strength training routine of working the major muscle groups in my arms, back, core, torso and legs.  No problem there.  Just a matter of focus.  I had to remind myself that we lose roughly 1% of muscle mass a year after age 40 and even more after age 50.  So if I am going to keep things tight in the middle ages, I need to be vigilant with regard to strength training.

To get back on top of my aerobic game, I ventured to my local running apparel shop to get properly fitted for running shoes. I attribute some of my running injuries to improper foot gear.  I was fitted for a shoe with proper width, some stability support and appropriate cushion.  I ran three miles without issue and felt pretty good.  I round things out with cycling, treadmill and plyometrics.

Perhaps the most important part of my course correction plan was addressing my inner demons.

Salt monster

Fans of the classic Star Trek series will remember the “Salt Vampire”.  You remember this chick?  Bones McCoy was whipped over her and ignored the fact that she was literally sucking the life out of the Enterprise crew.  Remember her?  Well that bitch lives inside of me.  Clawing at me from the inside, driving an insatiable need and desire for salt.  No manner of exorcism can expel her.  She sits inside me demanding chips, nuts, olives, crackers…anything with salt.  And it comes at anytime of day with unpredictable consistency.

This past week I attempted to limit my calories and alter my palate.  I adjusted to reasonable portions for lunch and dinner, eliminated salty snacks and added fresh fruit as a substitute.  I also added more lean and organic proteins to my diet for proper muscle building.  And I adjusted the point of consumption of wine downward from 7 days a week to 3.

While it is still early in the process, I have loss 2 of the 6 pounds that I have gained and my muscles feel tighter and stronger.  It is at least a sign to me that the ship is now headed in the right direction.

If you are willing to share, I ‘d love to know about your inner demons.  Do tell.


Now I’ve Gone and Done It


That’s it.  I have managed to accomplish something that I haven’t done in quite some time.  I’ve gained 6 pounds.  And in the summer no less.  Weight gain for me usually occurs during winter months when my activity is low and my consumption is high.  So why now?  Why summer?

My last post asked, “have we forgotten how to have fun?”  Apparently, I have not.  Wine consumption is up.  Food consumption is up.  Snack consumption is up.  And all are outpacing my ability to burn calories.  What’s worse is that I feel like I am spiraling out of control.  This is not a didactic post.  I am looking for some motivation as I am genuinely vexed.  I know what I have to do but just can’t seem to do it.  This, in a sense, is a public shaming.  I should wear a pig nose and sit in the public square.

We all fall off of the wagon and stray from the path.  I am no different.  One could say that knowing and admitting is half of the battle and, with that in mind, I plan to use that knowledge to right the ship before the end of summer.  I will be assiduous in my effort to decrease inputs and increase outputs.

I will reduce wine intake by 30%, reduce caloric food intake by 200 calories and increase cardio exercise to 3 30-60 minutes sessions per week.  Weight and strength training will remain the same.

If you have had a successful rebound, I’d love to hear it.  If you see me post pictures of wine or food on social media platforms, politely ask me if I’ve had an appropriate amount of calorie burn that day.

It’s time to take control and seize the day.  Who’s with me?!

We Know It’s Coming and Still We Do Nothing to Prepare

The dreaded plateau
The dreaded plateau

You’ve been consistent with your workouts, hitting the gym on schedule, running on the hamster wheel, and you notice that the needle is not moving much at all. It happens to us every year and, for some, multiple times per year.  It’s the dreaded plateau. I’ve written about it before and, because I’m going through it now, it’s time to give it more attention.

A plateau, in fitness terms, is a performance peak. It usually happens when there is little variation to your workout. Your body gets use to your routine, your metabolism stabilizes, and muscles cease to grow.

There are a few things that you can do to shake things up a bit.

People love the treadmill, but is it getting you the results that you want? If the answer is no, consider switching your treadmill routine with high-intensity intervals. Do 4 minutes of any cardio exercise as hard as you can and then do 2 minutes of strength exercise. Repeat that 5 times.

Are you a walker? While walking is good for your health, it doesn’t help you lose much weight. Mix it up a bit by throwing in other cardio exercises like stationary bike, outdoor cycling, running, row machine, elliptical machine, stair climber etc.

If you are an early riser but you save your workouts for the afternoon and evenings, try getting your cardio in in the mornings.  Light cardio in the AM can jumpstart the fat-burning enzymes in your liver.

Check your food choices
Check your food choices

Eat healthier. You might think that you are so examine what you are putting in your body. 80% of weight loss results are based on diet.  Add healthy calories to your diet to boost metabolism.

Get your sleep on. When you are sleeping your muscles continue to build, fat continues to burn and your body recovers.

To get some advice on breaking through my own plateau, I turned to my trainer Lindsey Blair. She leads the Les Mills Grit class that I’m taking and she is in phenomenal shape. She advised me to add super-setting to my strength routine. She advised that I skip taking a rest between sets and do another exercise to eliminate the break. After those two exercises, Lindsey suggested taking an active break by jumping rope for 1-2 minutes.  The goal, she says, is to keep the heart rate up.

Super-setting is when you complete two exercises back-to-back with no rest between sets. There are two types of super-sets: 1) antagonist supper-setting pairs two opposite muscle groups like bicep and tricep. One muscle relaxes while the other contracts; and 2) agonist supper-sets pairs two similar muscle groups back-to-back. Combine compound movement with isolation movement. Compound movement could include bench press followed by incline bench press. Isolation could include barbell curls followed by hammer curls.

Here I combined cable curls with hammer curls
Here I combined cable curls with hammer curls

I set out to follow LB’s advice and have been doing so for the last couple of weeks. I’ve added super-sets to my strength workouts and concentrate on keeping my heart rate up between sets by doing high knee runs, mountain climbers or burpees.

Here I added barbell front rows with isolated front pull-downs
Here I added barbell front rows with isolated front pull-downs

I feel much stronger than I did a few weeks ago.  My muscles feel more challenged and my metabolism has increased.

Perhaps the most important key to breaking through any plateau is to get real with yourself. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Recognize when your performance has peaked, man up, and change your workout by challenging yourself.



The 30 Minute HIT

You’ve seen my Facebook posts and numerous gym selfies posted via Instagram.  And if you track me, you know that I make an effort to stay fit.  I believe that it is a cornerstone of stability and happiness.  Unbeknownst to me, my workouts have been lacking.  Somewhere along the line in mid-winter I slowly begin to slack off.  The sessions are shorter, less intense and less focused.  But I’m there and that’s all that counts, right?  That’s what I tell myself anyway.  It wasn’t until I signed up for the Les Mills Grit series that I discovered just how out of shape I was.  At least as far as cardiovascular health is concerned.

I saw the signs at my local YMCA announcing the 6 week series and thought…this could be fun.  He (i.e. me) scoffed at the $125 price tag when I made an inquiry with the front desk folk.  So I continued my lame workouts and started to ignore the posters on the walls and the big cardboard stand up outside the cardio room.  Yet is kept calling me.  “Do it Joe.  It’ll be fun”.  “You’re in shape, it will be a breeze.”  I’m a consumer.  I consume things.  It’s in my nature.  $125 check in hand, I ventured back to the front desk and signed up for the twice per week, 6 week class and thought no more about it.

At the end of class 1 I was shocked, devastated, perplexed, angry and nearly dead.  How could I have fooled myself into thinking I was fit.  I’ve competed in triathlons for Pete’s sake! Sure it’s been 2 years but I did them damn it!  This program had me heaving like a run-away slave with hounds at my heels.  And it was only 30 minutes long!  Time out.  Before you call me a pussy, let’s take a look at this thing.

Les Mills Grit is a trade marked 30 minute high intensity interval training program.  It is part of a growing trend of programs designed to deliver maximum effort in a condensed format.  For the record, I am not an employee of this program and I received no consideration, monetary or otherwise, for this review.

The program that I am enrolled in mixes three unique workouts:  strength, plyo and cardio.  My program is scheduled for twice a week for six weeks.  I am in week two.  Aside from actual triathlon competition, it is the most intensive workout I have ever done.

The Strength program uses barbells, weight plates and leverages body weight to work all major muscle groups.  I lift weights so no problem for me, right?  Wrong.  Mixing the weight with cardio and providing very few recovery periods made for an intense training session.  In fact, I pooped out on parts of the last two exercises.

The Plyo program is a plyometric based workout.  Plyometric is also known as jump training.  Jump training are exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time period as possible to increase speed and power.  Lots of burpees, squats, jump-tucks and the like.  It too was so intense that I didn’t quite finish parts of the last two sets.  My legs were like jelly at the end of the session and a clear indication that I have neglected them during my workouts.

The Cardio workout utilizes high-impact body weight exercises and uses no equipment.  There is a goofy warm up at the beginning where you run around the room and dodge each other.  It felt a little like kindergarten recess but, once past that point, things get intense with sprints, front-back lunges, jumps, side-to-side lunges, push-ups and more with very short recovery periods.  My heart rate was elevated for almost the entire 30 minutes.

I am completely exhausted after each class and it is the most intensive workout I’ve ever done.  Three classes in and I already feel quicker and stronger.  I think, for once, that I just might get my summer body back long before the start of summer.  I have mad respect and appreciation for my trainer Lindsey Blair who pushes me for maximum effort.

Here’s a look at the Les Mills Grit cardio workout:

Protect Your Heart – It Could Keep You Above Ground

I recently lost a friend and colleague and, while the cause of death is yet to be determined, the speculation is that a massive heart attack removed him from this world and our lives and, as a result, the jazz world lost one of its most enthusiastic ambassadors.  Men’s health is nothing to dick around with hominids.  Black men in particular are notorious for ignoring warning signs that, with early detection, provide important indicators that all is not well but treatable.  Man Up fellas and take control of your health!

The Vitals

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • 5.1 million people in the US have heart failure
  • 1 in 9 deaths in 2009 included heart failure as a contributing factor
  • About half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years
Risk factors include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking tobacco (though smoking crack is OK?), eating foods high in fat, cholesterol and sodium, not getting enough physical activity and being obese.  This is hardly new information but it is well worth repeating since many of us ignore the data despite our knowing.

Warning Signs

Researches have done a lot of work in recent years studying the signs and symptoms patients experienced in the months and years leading up to a heart attack.  Melanie Haiken, Senior Editor at, reported on these common warning signs:
  • Erectile Dysfunction – ED is one of the best early warning signs of progressive heart disease.  Researchers at the Mayo clinic followed men ages 40-49  with ED and found that they were twice as likely to develop heart disease than those with no ED.  Why?  Narrowing and hardening of the arteries restricts blood flow to the penis.  So if you can’t get it up or keep it up, get to the doc and discuss your heart.  Don’t just seek treatment for the ED.
  • Snoring, Sleep Apnea and other breathing problems during sleep is another warning sign.  If you snore loud enough to make the dog bark, you could be showing signs of heart issues.  Those with sleep apnea were found to be 3 times more likely to have a heart attack within 5 years.  Why?  Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders that restrict breathing lowers the blood oxygen that feeds the heart.  If you suspect having a sleep disorder, ask your doc to set up a sleep study.  I participated in one about 5 years ago and it turned out to be one of the motivating factors that lead to my weight loss efforts.  Having to sleep with an oxygen mask on every night just wasn’t sexy at all.
  • Sore, swollen or bleeding gums.  That’s new information to me.  Experts believe that poor circulation due to heart disease could be an underlying cause of periodontal disease.
  • Puffy or swollen legs and feet.  If your feet swell enough to make your shoes tight or your ankles, wrists, or fingers are puffy, you might have a problem with fluid retention.  Why it matters?  Fluid retention occurs when the heart doesn’t pump strongly enough and blood doesn’t carry waste products away from tissues.  This is otherwise known as edema.  Talk to your doc about it.
  •  Irregular heart beat.  An early sign that something about your cardiovascular system is out of whack is irregular heart beat.  It may feel like your heart is beating too fast, pounding too hard or skipping a beat.  The most common cause of this is CAD (coronary artery disease) and is the leading cause of death for both men and women because it can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Constricting or aching in the chest or shoulder.  Angina is the most common symptom of CAD.  It is not a sharp pain but more like a heavy weight.  When plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, it deprives the heart muscle of blood, making it feel squeezed.
  • Shortness of breath can be an early sign that something is wrong with a major bodily system.  It will manifest itself during exercise, exertion and stress.  It may feel like you cant catch your breath.  Again, when your heart isn’t pumping strongly enough, it prevents oxygen from circulating properly.  95% of women who had a heart attacks reported unusual symptoms in the weeks leading up to the attack.  40% of those reported shortness of breath.

Knowing Matters

Education and early detection is key to staying in tune with your body.  Listen to it.  More often than not, it is trying to deliver feedback and that communication process just might save your life.

Another man was taken from this world before his time.  His was a father, a husband and an advocate.  He was 57 years old.  He was cool.  He was positive.  He was a voice for jazz.  He’s gone.  RIP Bobby Jackson.  You will be missed brother.

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby!

Now that I having your attention I should mention that this post is not about you embracing your inner porn star.  It’s more about embracing fitness as an integral part of your sexual performance, thereby, ensuring that your partner or partners (whatever floats your boat my friend.  I’m not here to judge you) have a complete and enjoyable experience.  Simplified, we want to meliorate your bedroom swagger!

I don’t know what you talkin’ ’bout partner, I handle my business in the bedroom!” I have never in my life met a man that admitted to being a lousy lover.  I have, however, met plenty of women who have complained about mediocre Casanovas.  So somewhere, somehow there is a disconnect.  Well my dude, it’s time to Man Up and get real with yourself.  Are you fit enough to go the distance?

The Physical

It is no secret that exercise is good for you.  It keeps your heart healthy, increases stamina, strengthens muscle and enhances flexibility.  And it makes your sex life better.  Studies show that men and women who were more physically fit rated their own sexual performance higher.
Exercise means more sex.  I kid you not.  The reasons for this are not clear but research does show that the more a person exercises, the more sex he or she tends to have.  It also enhances sexual aging.  A study that examined sexual frequency and satisfaction ratings of swimmers age 60 found that their ratings were similar to those 20 years younger.
And then there is Erectile Dysfunction.  For many men our age, ED is more a reality than it is an office joke.  You can help avoid the condition if you keep the blood flowing to your “little buddy” (insert giggle here) without interruption.  Blocked arteries, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues can interfere with blood flow.  Regular exercise reduces the risk of ED by keeping the heart and arteries healthy.
Hitting the gym also boosts the sex hormone, testosterone.  A Baylor University study found that men’s testosterone levels were highest during the 48 hours after they lifted weights.  Additionally, a study conducted by the New England Research Institute documented that a man’s waist size correlates with his testosterone levels.  They found that a waist size larger than 41 inches was a better indicator of low testosterone levels than overall weight.
Being fit also gives you options in the bedroom.  A stronger, more flexible you leads to exploration beyond the missionary position.  If you’re doing it right, sex can be an intense, physically demanding activity requiring strength and endurance.  With increased strength and endurance comes the possibility for more varied sexual positions that require greater physical control.  Can a brother get an “amen” ladies?

The Mental

A key to good sexual experiences is actually feeling sexy.  Being fit helps you feel sexy.  People who exercise have an improved body image over people who don’t exercise.  Having confidence in your appearance leads to better and more relaxed sex.  You are less likely to think about the bits and pieces of your body that bother you and more likely to give attention to the task at hand…pleasing your partner.  Like most things in life, self-confidence leads to exceptional performance.  A study showed that more physically fit men and women rated their own sexual desirability higher than less active men and women.  80% of men and 60% of women who exercised two to three times weekly rated their own sexual desirability as above average.  If you don’t think that you are desirable, why should your partner?  They are going to buy what you are selling and if you are selling a sad state of affairs, the outlook for the evening will be pretty grim.
It’s never too late to start reaping all of the benefits of exercise.  Increased muscle tone, improved stamina, better blood flow, developed agility and self-confidence will lead to better sex.  My mission in the bedroom is to be the last one standing.  As I was fooling around with Mrs Lee trying to set some expectations for the evening, she looked at me, shook her head and said referring to my energy, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with your old ass.”  Mission accomplished.


And Now A Word on Gun Control

The Arms Race

There is an arms race going on and you should consider jumping in.  Summer officially kicks of on June 22nd and with it comes short sleeve weather.  Golf shirts in the office, t-shirts on the weekends and, thanks to FLOTUS Michelle Obama, we know that the ladies too are concerned with muscle tone these days. How are your guns faring after a period of hibernation?  Do you need a minor tune-up or a major overhaul?  No worries.  There are simple routines to get you back in shape and you don’t need an expensive gym membership to accomplish it either.
As a society, we tend to show more flesh in the warm weather months and that brings attention (either welcomed or not) to areas of the body that are normally covered; most notably legs and arms.  Today it’s all about the “guns” baby and, specifically, how to look your best when exposing them.  Are your arms swimming in your shirts?  Or showing a little more flab than you want?  Don’t fret.  Grab some ammunition Hominids and Man Up because the gun show is open for business!

Gun Parts

Sporting big muscles sends a message to the world that you are fit and strong.  It really is less about this:

And more about self-confidence and pulling off the look you want (though I’ve loved this old Atlas ad since I was a boy!).  Building arm mass is not as daunting a task as you think and can make a dramatic difference in your look without killing yourself in the gym.  Your arms are comprised of two small muscle groups; biceps and triceps.  Because these muscle groups are small, it only takes a small amount of stimulation to get them going.
It is important to work both sets of muscles to get the optimum effect.  Strong triceps provide the necessary support for strong biceps.  Dedicate two days a week (one for biceps and one for triceps) 30 minutes each day utilizing four different exercises for each muscle group.  You don’t need much more than that and, in fact, you run the risk of over-working your muscles and that can be counter productive.  Why?  Your muscles require rest and protein to build.  They do their growing and developing during the rest/recovery stage.  So don’t kill yourself because it just is not necessary.
The general rule of thumb with regard to these muscle groups is “push” and “pull”.  Any exercise using your arms that requires you to pull is working the biceps.  Any exercise using your arms that requires you to push is working the triceps.  Therefore, working other muscle groups like chest (push) and back (pull) can help you accomplish your arm goals.  Use proper form when working with weights.  Lift as much weight as you can for maximum effectiveness.  If you are curling dumbbells with 20 reps a set, then you don’t have enough weight.  You want to experience muscle fatigue on your 8th or 10th repetition.


Try these simple biceps routines:
Standing Barbell Curl
Standing Dumbbell Curl
Single Arm Dumbbell Row
Seated Hammer Curl
On a separate day try these triceps exercises:
Dumbbell Press
Bench Dip
Triceps Kickback
Triceps Extension
As you see, these exercises can be done in the privacy of your own home with just a few simple pieces of equipment.  Do these exercises and others that you are comfortable with just twice per week, 30 minutes per workout and you will see noticeable results in a few weeks.  Don’t eat too many calories and get a good amount of protein in your diet.  You’ll impress the fellas on the golf course in no time!

You 2.0 Part Two – The Logo

You don’t want to look like this guy anymore than I do and, let’s face, we couldn’t if we tried.  He represents  an all day every day supplement ladened approach to working out that is not conducive to a normal life style.  Careers, family, social time, hobbies, volunteer work etc. is how we normal mortals roll.

We are looking for simple refinement to our company logo.  The previous post focused on the internal health of our organization (keeping with the corporate analogy again) and part 2 of You 2.0 will turn our attention outward to the brand identifier – our physical appearance.

The first step in the process of reshaping your body is to understand why you’ve failed in the past.  Information is a beautiful thing.  Some 88% of new year’s resolutions fail because of the limited way that your brain stores information according to Stanford professor Baba Shiv The brain cells that operate willpower are located in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for handling short-term memory, staying focused and solving abstract tasks.  That part of your brain is like a muscle that needs to be trained and it cannot handle the additional load*.

The most effective way to train this muscle and avoid the pitfall is to build a habit.  At the end of 2012 you resolved to lose weight and get in shape.  Your approach to fitness has been hit-or-miss.  You found time when you could with a treadmill walk here and some dumbbell lunges there, and by February the gym was a distant memory.  That is because your brain was overwhelmed with the amount of information (willpower) that you were trying to store.  But you don’t have an issue remembering or carrying out the things in your life that are a routine part of your existence i.e. going to work, grocery shopping, watching your favorite TV programs etc.  They are all on autopilot.  Your exercise program must become a habit.

Take small steps to build your habit.  I do so by attending a spin class (stationary bike) every Tuesday at my YMCA.  It serves as the foundation of my weekly routine.  From that point, I carryout a basic routine that concentrates on certain muscle groups each day and that I am able to repeat with ease each week.  Doing so ensures that my workouts are routine and very little thought is required.  For example, Wednesday is chest/tricep, Thursday bicep/back, Friday shoulders/legs,core and Saturday starts the whole thing over again with Monday as my day off.  I incorporate some kind of cardio in my daily warm up.  Again, the key is to make it as routine and consistent as possible to train your brain to include it in your daily schedule.  You need not live in the gym.  30-45 minutes a day can get this done!

So the good news is that you are not the lazy bastard that you thought you were.  The bad news is that you are running out of excuses to reach your goals. (By the way, you don’t want to look like this guy either)

Rebuild With Safety In Mind

Now that we know some of what causes us to come up short of our goals, it’s time to Man Up and and kick this thing into action.  But for goodness sake, start slow.  Don’t go rushing into the free weight room looking to display a prowess long bereft of action.  “A common pitfall guys make is doing too much, too fast” says Kevin S Heffernan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Syracuse University.  And as Director of the Human Performance Lab, I think Dr. Kev is worth a listen.  “Gone are the ‘go big or go home’ days, at least initially”, he says.  Heffernan recommends allowing a little extra time for the warm-up.  “Don’t just swing your arm around in a circle for 5 seconds and call that a warm-up like you did when you were younger.”  He suggest starting with cardio to elevate body temperature and blood flow to the muscle.  After the warm-up, begin with some light static stretching, holding each stretch for 15-20 seconds.  Kevin notes, “that even moderate exercise may cause soreness now so don’t get discouraged.”

Other suggestions from Dr. Heffernan include:

a. Incorporate rotator-cuff exercises in your routine (see video demo)
b. Don’t neglect the abs and lower back! (guilty)
c. Learn proper form for all exercises.
d. If you have an injury, don’t work around it and don’t train over it. (guilty here too).  Building a shoddy foundation can only lead to collapse.
e. Leave “no pain, no gain” in the 80’s where it belongs.
f.  Watch your breathing during resistance exercises. Don’t hold your breath.
g. Be aware of your surroundings (avoid walking into protruding equipment parts)
h.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help.  Use a spotter whenever you can.

Finally,” Kevin says, “recognize that you’re not off the hook for being considered ‘sedentary’ just because you’re going to the gym 30-45 minutes a day.  What good is exercise if your’re sitting on your butt/lying down the other 23 hours that day.  In addition to moving more, try to sit less.”

Don’t let doubt, perfection and restlessness get in your way.  All are barriers to achieving your goals.

I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men…..

One day I stood in front of the mirror with a sad and sour look on my face and my wife asked what was wrong.  I complained to her about the way I looked and she responded with four simple words, “do something about it.”  It was so simple and so matter-of-fact yet it felt like a pimp-slap across the face.  It was a sobering moment.
If you don’t like the way that your corporate logo is designed, redesign it.  Build an active lifestyle and embrace it.  Don’t have a bicycle?  Buy one.  Have a bicycle?  Then ride it.  Walk when you can.  Build up to jog and then a run.  Create challenges for yourself.  You say you’ve never competed in a 5K run?  Well do it.  You’ve tried the hit-or-miss approach to working out without success.  Create a routine that fits well into your daily schedule and stick to it.  Be a creature of habit.  You want to get to a point where you feel guilty for missing a workout.  Track your progress and take pride in your accomplishments.  Be patient.

It’s important to increase your metabolism to lose weight and weight lifting can help you accomplish that.  Muscles are an important factor in increasing your metabolism as a pound of muscle can burn up to 20 calories a day.  Since lifting weights helps build muscle and burn fat, it has a dual benefit in weight-loss programs.  Always remember to lift more weights than your muscles are used to.  If you are completing 20 reps of any exercise with relative ease, then you don’t have enough weight.  Shoot for 8-12 reps where the last rep of each set causes muscle fatigue.  In order to burn fat, build muscle, shape your body and lose weight, most experts recommend weight lifting at least 3 times per week.  Incorporate cardio exercises and a healthy diet for quicker results.

Equally important in burning fat and building muscle is getting the proper amount of zzzzzzs.  If you are sleep deprived, your metabolism cannot function properly or efficiently.**  We generally require 7.5 hours of sleep per night.  If you are sleeping an extra half-hour or so over that, you won’t see any improvement.  You are getting enough.  However, if you are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night, improving that to 7.5 – 8.0 per night will likely produce noticeable weight-loss results.  

I realize that we are busy little hominids and that there are only so many hours in a day.  Something has to give to in order to create room for the transformation that is to take place.  Perhaps it is some of the extra time you give your employer or maybe it eats into some family time.  In the long run, I believe that all parties that have an interest in you would be willing to give up a little time with you now so that they can experience more days with you down the road as you work toward longevity and improved quality of life.

Thanks to Syracuse University’s Kevin S. Heffernan PhD for his time and valuable contribution to this post and thank you for reading.  Now go get busy!  Part 3 of You 2.0 will put some final polish on your brand as we take a look at punching up your style.
*Credit blogger Leo Widrich, Buffer
**Credit Denise Mann, Web MD feature writer