Here you are today in your late 40s or 50’s – things are starting to change…You look down and can’t see your feet, your belly is in the way, your routine medical check-up is not so routine, there are some signs of wear and tear from your blood work you step on the scale and see numbers you have never seen before, climbing a set of stairs has left you winded, you head to the gym and realize your not 20 years old – you don’t look it and you don’t feel it!
Welcome to midlife! Does it have to be this way? The answer is 100% no! We see this too often – where males walk into the clinic and are looking for a change, they have described the above scenario and in the realization that they are not getting younger, look for alternatives not to feel older!
First off, let’s talk about how you got here. Most men have metabolic euphoria in their teens and early twenties. Their lung capacity will allow them to run for miles and they can handle fast-food meals (and double portions at that). In their mid-twenties – they try to add to this by starting a career, possibly getting married, having a few kids, starting the climb to live the life status of having a house, a few cars and possibly a cottage. As the hours of work piles and the stress layers, something has to give, and usually, this is when a male’s health gets lost. Somewhere in their subconscious they remember their 20-year-old body – it could eat whatever and do anything without damage, and thus they continue this lifestyle with endless hours at work, many meals out that are calorie and alcohol-laden. After 5 years of this, the body begins to speak up – your appearance and how you feel gets altered!
So this is where the change comes in, it’s the time where one realizes they can no longer live this way. If this is you – welcome to a very large club! I am writing this blog to share my top 3 strategies for males looking to transform their health. These strategies are not your typical advice pieces, to eat less and exercise more – instead I am offering practical tips to really get you to “u-turn” into the direction of health with lasting results…
Stop the all or nothing…
The first attempt is to radically change the diet, cut out all booze, no more eating out, and lots of salads PLUS daily trips to the gym. In a month you have lost 10 pounds and your wife is green with envy – as she has been trying to lose those 10 pounds herself! Everything seems back to normal 20 years old you! So you go back to your old ways and within 3 months the 10 pounds are back on. The reality is that you need to take this slow – even though you remember the 20-year-old boy that could do it all, that’s not you now – I like to treat health habits like school grades. A grade 8 is someone who works out daily and eats healthy – this may have been you at some point – but this is not you now. Today you may be back in grade one – no healthy eating habits and no exercise – so get back to doing grade one work – change one meal and start a ten-minute exercise regime – trying to do grade 8 work in grade 1 will lead to failure.
Work with numbers
Males are very numerically driven. It’s great to use baseline numbers like weight, body fat, muscle, blood tests as motivators. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly targets, you will be more likely to succeed with numerical targets vs how you feel. At MCC we have witnessed countless male transformations with body composition analysis. We find that males more than females like the data and are able to set and achieve targets – please don’t take this that males lose weight better than females, although they have a better body fat composition – they also don’t have the hormonal connection – thus a body composition is very black and white and can strategically improve monthly. Females on the other hand – still lose weight, but weekly weigh-ins can be affected by hormonal health and their cycle.
Don’t Ignore stress
If you are one of those males that have their 6 pack buried in a layer of swollen hard fat – that’s not normal and not necessarily. This special gut fat that haunts so many males is called visceral fat. You are not born with this fat, it is something that you accumulate with a poor diet – however, notes that not only food feeds this fat – it is also fueled by STRESS. Chronic stress – and males have lots of this – feeds belly fat. So if you are crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s with a healthy eating and fitness routine, you are not out of the woods – you need to find ways to reduce the stress. The solution to this is very similar to the school grade analogy – your grade 8 for stress management is yoga and daily meditation. Most laugh and roll their eyes at the mention of this – I always hear “I don’t do yoga…I can’t meditate” this typically means you need it more than you think! Simply start at grade one – I always suggest mind/body apps that facilitate you with this – try headspace – it’s a minute of your time a day – totally doable and this will grow.
So as you begin your quest for a health transformation – keep these tips at the top of your mind. To give you a little more push – check out MCC MOVEMBER MEMBERS of the month