6 ways I’ve increased my energy after 50
I turned 53 a few weeks ago and it reinforced my focus on increasing my performance and energy levels as I age. I’ve increased my testosterone (“T”) naturally 36% over the last five years by focusing on my lifestyle, diet, and exercise. Use these tips to get the energy boost you need in later life:
Get regular sleep
Your body produces most of your energy hormones when you’re asleep. Burning the candle at both ends leads to adrenal fatigue and reduced energy levels. I aim for 6-7 hours a night which is the optimal sleep period for someone my age. I feel lucky if I honestly get 6 hours straight as I get older. I also take a mix of very light natural sleep aids a few nights a week to help me get a full nights rest. It’s a mix of ingredients that help you sleep but also help boost energy hormones at night while you rest. I also take magnesium before I go to bed. Usually about 300mg.
The leaner you are, the more testosterone you naturally produce. That “beer belly” is nothing more than a fast track to declining T, increased estrogen, and a host of other health problems. Keeping the weight off gets harder and harder as you age. Here’s how I do it:
Skip the long cardio:
Long, slow cardio is time consuming and sucks away your energy and natural human growth hormone (HGH) production. Instead, I focus on a mix of strength, mobility, and short, high-intensity training, which I call “P.R.I.M.E Training” (Peak Repetition Intervals at Maximum Effort). P.R.I.M.E Training involves an all-out effort doing rowing, burpees, or similar exercises over 20-30 seconds followed by 1-2 minutes rest between sets. I’ve also started “rucking” more – doing hikes or stair work with anything from 40-60lbs of weight in my backpack or on my shoulder. This type of training promotes lean muscle, helps drop fat, boosts and maintains high energy levels, and kicks up T and HGH levels.
Lift hard and heavy:
As you get older your muscle mass starts to decline. So I include lifting heavy weights and working large muscle groups in my training program. Studies show that increasing the weight load on the big muscle groups (hips and quads) boosts short-term T production. So forget the “ego muscles” like biceps and triceps and focus on the big muscle groups that with give you the real gains in life!
There’s a reason why our testicles (the main producers of T) hang outside our body – they love the cold (or just hate being hot!)! Cold showers, cryotherapy, or ice baths after exercise are a great way to reduce inflammation and can also help in boosting your energy, HGH, and fertility. I do cryotherapy 1-2 times a week and I can absolutely attest to the benefits – I go in feeling 75% and I come out feeling 200%. Try to also sleep in a room that’s between 60 and 67 degrees, which has been shown to enhance sleep quality. And sleep naked – it helps regulate body temperature.
Eat more fats and foods that boost your energy levels
Fats have had a bad rap over the years, but eating the right fats (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) is critical for us guys as we reach our later years. The fats in avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and other healthy fats have been shown to maximize T, help with Alzheimer’s, reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss. So make fats your friend. But don’t overdose, as those calories can add up.
I do intermittent fasting (IF) every Tuesday and Friday. IF has been shown to decrease inflammation, and boost your natural T levels. There’s no real magic to my IF – I just don’t eat for a day, usually from 6pm to the following 6pm.
Cut back on the alcohol and give your bathroom an “energy audit”
We all love a drink. But alcohol increases the metabolism and elimination of T from your bloodstream and also reduces the rate that your body produces the hormone. Cutting back on drinking helps increase your natural T levels and also helps you sleep better at night – which allows your body to naturally replenish your T levels. Alcohol also affects your liver, which is the main organ responsible for regulating the availability of free-T in our bodies. If you want to go “all in” then join me on one of my regular alcohol fasts. Your liver will thank you – and so will your energy levels!
Many people don’t realize the importance of your liver and how much it contributes to your overall health. Your liver, with the assistance of hepatocytes, works to ensure that your body and its other processes are performing as they should. These types of processes include metabolism, protein synthesis, and detoxification, and without them, your body won’t be as healthy as you would like it to be. So, cutting back on alcohol will prove wonders for not only the health of your liver but for your overall health too.
Speaking of which, you probably didn’t know that many common household products and personal skincare items can rob you of your T and energy levels. You can read more about these toxins here and how to reduce their effect on your personal health.
Good luck and stay strong!
What’s the deal with human growth hormone (HGH)?
What is human growth hormone?
HGH is a hormone and a protein produced in the pituitary gland. Although it has a role in maintaining healthy tissue overall, it is probably best known for assisting in increasing muscle mass and bone density and an ability to promote cell growth and regeneration by activating receptors to initiate the process. Human growth hormone also can boost libido, slow the progression of age-related degenerative diseases, and help support a sense of well-being. Read More
Six reasons to start running 5K’s and stop running marathons
The marathon (and the Ironman triathlon) have developed a reputation as the true test of athletic fortitude: manhood in 26.2 miles. Buy into this myth too completely, however, and you may end up hurting yourself.
My suggestion? Embrace the 5K.
Why do I love the five-kilometer (3.1-mile) distance so much? Let me count the ways:
#1. Anyone Can Do It
A very unfit person can still walk 5K—or at least work up to walking 5K in a matter of a few weeks. It won’t wreck that unfit person the way a marathon will. And it won’t require an investment of time that’s unavailable to 99 percent of the population (the way an Ironman or a marathon will). The entry point, in other words, is accessible.
#2. It Offers a Challenge to Everyone
An unfit desk-jockey guy with three months of training to his name will be ecstatic to simply finish a 5K. But even the fittest guy you know can keep working on his 5K time, forever. It doesn’t matter who you are—running three miles as fast as you can is exhausting. It’s plenty of workout for one day. If I were a betting man, I’d stake my whole year’s salary that the average guy running a sub-19:30 5K is healthier than the average guy running a sub-four-hour marathon. Get faster at the 5K, and it’s a pretty good bet you’ve gotten healthier all around. Get faster at a marathon and you may well have gotten unhealthier.
#3. You Can Still Have a Life
Even if you make 5K training the center of your exercise life (by running, say, a half-dozen races a year—not a bad way of organizing these things, if you ask me), you don’t have to obsess. You don’t have to put in three hours of junk miles before work. You can make great progress on your 5K time by running just two or three times a week for less than an hour. You’re training for a race that will take under a half hour, after all.
#4. You Can Race Whenever You Want To
Although marathons are getting more and more common (there were over 1,400 marathons in the United States in 2015), you still have to wait around—and possibly travel—to get to one. And unless you’re pathological, you wouldn’t want to do more than a handful in the span of a single year anyway. 5Ks, however, are far more ubiquitous. There are 5Ks to support charities, fun-run 5Ks that families can do together, 5Ks to raise awareness for . . . well . . . just about anything. They happen almost every weekend. And since they won’t break your body down in the same way that a marathon will, you don’t have to wait weeks between races if you don’t want to. You could conservatively race three times in a single month and expect to approach your best times in each one.
My latest “Men’s Health” magazine column
Mt Baldy hike
VO2 Max testing at Albany Fitness, Bahamas
Here’s why you shouldn’t listen to Doctors (most of the time)
There’s a good chance you’ve been with your general practitioner for a few years. You go in a couple of times a year (hopefully no more often than that), you chat about your respective families and the state of your career, he (or she) listens, pokes, prods, palpates, and possibly prescribes. And you listen and do your best to follow instructions. Your GP is a health care professional, and there’s a degree hanging on the wall decreeing as much. So he or she must know what it takes to be healthy.
In an ideal world, the answer would be yes. But this world isn’t ideal—especially when it comes to health care.
Doctors need to prescribe behavior not pills
Most doctors aren’t in the health care business. They don’t prescribe behaviors to make us healthy. They prescribe pills and surgeries and treatments to make us un-sick. Most doctors I know only rarely mention diet or exercise or stress-relief techniques to their patients, in part because they don’t believe that their patients are willing or able to follow through with such a program. Rightly or wrongly, health care consumers have come to expect quick-fix solutions from our doctors that require little to no action on our part—except maybe to take a pill or show up for a procedure. The implied agreement between you and your doctor is that you will show up sick and he or she will give you something to make you well.
In some circles, this is changing. Doctors are literally prescribing exercise—writing “Aerobic exercise 3x/week 20 minutes/day” on their prescription pads and handing it to their patients, knowing that, to a completely sedentary person, almost no single behavior can be as beneficial to a person’s health as exercise is. Bravo to them.
Many doctors aren’t in a position to give health advice
Too many others, however, are too embarrassed or resigned to bring it up, and instead they offer a few vaguely reassuring words, and maybe prescribe a pill to treat the patient’s depression, or blood thinners to treat his cardiovascular disease. Indeed, they’ve bought in to the medical myth of the patient as a passive recipient of treatment. These doctors are sometimes seriously overweight and deeply unhealthy themselves, and they often do little to combat unhealthy habits in the people around them. In fact, studies have shown that the standard of care given by doctors is in direct relation to their own health and fitness. Obese and overweight doctors, for example, are less likely to talk to their patients about health, exercise, and nutrition.