Friday, November 27, 2015

Don’t Volunteer For Ageist Prejudice

With Zeke on my 52nd birthday.

As a 9 year old kid I had some issues that presented as physical aches and pains. My grandmother, then in her late 60s, talked about her own aches and pains, attributing them entirely to “getting old.” I replied that I had my share of aches and pains as well, so why were hers due to getting old, yet mine were not? I remember her laughing at my conclusion because I had said something important. I had made her realize that she had known various aches and pains ever since she was kid, so why at this stage in her life did she so willingly buy into the popular notion that these were suddenly age-related, as opposed to previously being simply life-related?

This ageist conceit applies to many things that are life-related and that can and do happen at any age from our youth to our later years. When I was a kid and forgot things, I may have been mocked for it, but not in the same way younger people dismiss older people for the identical thing. When you’re young, you forget stuff and that’s perfectly normal. But when you’re approaching your later years and you forget stuff, instantly people assume this is entirely age-related, or worse, conclude you have Alzheimer’s.

Unlike other prejudices, such as those related to religion, race or national origin, everybody who doesn’t die young is going to get old. Although true, there’s little comfort in knowing that these youthful people dismissive of their “olds” will themselves experience the very same prejudices down the road.

We can’t change the human race, but we can refuse to sign up for others’ prejudices, ageist and otherwise. More importantly, we can, like my grandmother, filter what we ourselves say and how we phrase things to others so as not to add to the problem.

By concluding that the very same issues we had as younger people, such as tripping and falling, forgetting someone’s name, or having an aching back are nowadays due entirely to our getting older, we reinforce others’ ageist attitudes and plant the idea in our own heads that maybe we should “slow down” and begin restricting ourselves. Nothing will make us older faster than adopting uncalled-for or fear based limitations.

The following is great advice no matter what age you are, from preschool to your centennial year: don’t limit yourself by allowing others to limit you. Don’t give your power, and thus your freedom, away.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Live A Little: The Holidays Are No Time For A Punishing Diet

When I see the proliferation of online articles at this time of year warning people against the dangers of all those calories in the Thanksgiving turkey stuffing or the amount of fat in the Christmas eggnog, I have to laugh. It’s admirable to stick to our diets or our workout eating regimens 360 days out of the year, but really, the other 5? Uh…no.
Don’t be the fool who has your calorie calculator out at the dinner table so you don’t “over-do.” That right there borders on an eating disorder. First of all, people will think you’re nuts, and secondly, your hosts will regard you as a real party pooper — so don’t be surprised if they forget to mail you an invitation next year.
Thanksgiving is for feasting, and Christmas is for even more feasting, as well as a few Christmas parties where cookies, rum eggnog and other scrumptious goodies represent what the Holidays are supposed to be all about: Celebrating. That’s why we don’t have bodybuilding and fitness contests scheduled for this time of year. What could be more dismal than a “celebration” where people fail to celebrate?

Personally, I do keep to my eating regimen during the holidays — but I don’t go on a six week-long eating binge. But on the other had I surely don’t show restraint at parties or get-togethers. I eat. So this holiday season, enjoy yourself. Celebrate.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Taking An Antibiotic? Eat Yogurt.

A painful and ongoing reaction to the antibiotic Clindamycin had me doubled over with cramps. My intestines felt like they were on fire, and that was 12 days after I had finished its prescribed course. The severe side effects that were spelled out in the pharmaceutical's insert really surprised me — diarrhea and cramping could be expected anytime for MONTHS after taking it!
 The infection I originally took this pharmaceutical to cure was a picnic in comparison. My doctor was out of town. The physician taking his place didn’t respond right away and ultimately turned out to be clueless, so I googled. Not surprisingly there were scores of hits, all saying the same thing: take a probiotic, such as acidophilus, and eat a spoonful of yogurt every couple of hours. I did this, and felt like a new person within 24 hours.

Come to find out from a French friend, in France when doctors prescribe any antibiotic it is always ordered to be accompanied by a probiotic twice a day and yogurt every few hours. The antibiotics kill off all bacteria including the beneficial gut bacteria, so replacing that is essential. A name brand or chain store brand of acidophilus such as CVS should do the trick, and the yogurt should NOT be some Yoplait dessert yogurt, but rather an unflavored plain version from an ethnic Greek/Middle eastern store, or your local health food store, a brand like Brown Cow or similar.

Monday, November 16, 2015

How Much Do You Bench Press?

This question has been asked of me so many times I can’t possibly count. My answer has always been, “I never bench press.” This statement would invariably be followed by an incredulous look. “Are you kidding?” my questioner would ask just to be sure he heard right. Bench press tonnage is supposed to be some benchmark for guys who work out at the gym. At the top of my form, looking contest-ready, questioners who looked like they’d never seen the inside of a gym before would then lecture me on my mistake of not bench pressing. Few wanted to hear that the bench press is the number one exercise responsible for injuries that put an end to countless guys’ attempts to get in shape. Or that challenging yourself with extreme poundages is called Power Lifting, not Bodybuilding.
I’m a bodybuilder. My goal is to sculpt and hone and strengthen my muscles into an esthetically pleasing form, safely. I still want to be doing this on my 100th birthday. Power Lifters challenge themselves to move the greatest amount of weight possible, and then some.
Knowing the difference will not only keep you safe, but will bring a better result. The two are not interchangeable.

 Choose one or the other, because trying to combine the two means cheating yourself out of reaching your ultimate goal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hands-On Trainers

Having been a trainer for almost 25 years I absorbed a lot on the job, especially observing other trainers. Watching videos of trainers on YouTube just reiterates one interesting behavior that you need to be cautious of when working with, and evaluating, your trainer.
No trainer should be “helping” you perform the exercise. A psychological technique many trainers employ is to help/guide/steer you physically through all your sets by keeping their hands on you at all times and actually driving you as you perform the exercise. 
Obviously you must do the exercise yourself to get the benefit — to build up stamina, balance and strength. Someone physically manipulating you every step of the way is saying “You can’t do this without me. You need me.”
Everyone wants to stay employed. Everyone wants to keep their clients, and giving you the idea that you can’t do it without them by habitually engaging you physically creates a psychological reliance.

A trainer guiding you now and then in order to demonstrate proper form is perfectly acceptable, but performing your set along with you as a matter of course certainly is not.