Monthly Archives for November 2011

Archives for November 2011

Is Peanut Butter Good for You?

That peanut butter is rich, flavorful and creamy immediately raises speculation about its nutritional value. Because it tastes so damn good, many people wonder: Is peanut butter really a healthy choice?

If you have a jar of peanut butter in your home, take a look at the nutritional facts. Two things will probably jump out. First, it is calorie-dense. With 200 calories in just tablespoons, it’s like eating a bowl of cereal. Second, with 16 grams of fat per serving (about 25% of a typical person’s daily value), it’s quite high in fat. It even has 3.5 grams of saturated fat – about 16% of your daily value.

It doesn’t seem to paint peanut butter in a good light.

But calories and fat don’t tell the full story. According to Dr. Walter C. Willett, a nationally known nutrition expert at Harvard University:

The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu – all “healthy” foods – have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.

The ratio of unsaturated fat to saturated fat in peanut butter is similar to that of heart-healthy olive oil. Peanut butter also contains fiber, protein and some vitamins and minerals.

Peanut butter, other nut butters and nuts have been studied quite extensively. As it turns out, people who consume nuts or nut butters are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes. According to a separate study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, individuals who eat a diet high in foods like peanut butter are more likely to keep weight off than people following a lower-fat diet. Researchers at Purdue University also found that people feel fuller and eat less after snacking on peanut butter than other foods.

So, go ahead and spread some gooey peanut butter on a frozen banana (my favorite) or on a sliced up apple. Mix it into your smoothies. Peanut butter – and other nut butters and nuts – can certainly be a part of your healthy diet.

The Martyr Excuse: Time For Everyone But You.

You need to make time for yourself to make the most of your time for others.

Over the years, I’ve become quite accustomed to hearing exercise excuses. Indeed, there are as many excuses for avoiding physical activity as there a people in the world. However, few of those excuses are as convincing as the ‘martyr excuse.’

It goes something like this:

I’d love to exercise but I just don’t have that luxury. I’m busy with work. Sometimes I have to put in 50 or 60 hours a week, or even more. I even work on Saturday’s, too. And when I’m not working, I’m taking care of my sick mother who just drains me of all my energy. I don’t have time exercise.

In more words, the martyr excuse says, “Poor me: I can’t exercise because I make time for everyone and everything but myself.” While it may sound outwardly convincing – and perhaps even worthy of sympathy – it’s indicative of delusional logic.

First and foremost, exercise doesn’t require require a lot of time. While no one can “find” time for exercise (when was the last time you discovered an extra 30 minutes in your day?), everyone can create time for exercise. Yes, it may mean shifting priorities – but, at the end of the day, all of us can schedule 30 minutes a few times each week to get our heart rates up. As I’ve said before, if president Barack Obama can find time to exercise, then you can, too.

Second, if your life is really about serving other people, then you must recognize that you serve others best when you are the best, strongest and healthiest version of yourself. Exercise improves mental clarity, increases energy, decreases your risk of illness and disease and provides innumerable other benefits. By skipping out on exercise, you’re not delivering on your full potential. You need to make time for yourself to make the most of your time for others.

So, I don’t buy it. If you’re really the martyr that you claim to be, you’d recognize the important role of exercise in fulfilling your responsibilities. Though the martyr excuse is outwardly convincing, it doesn’t hold up – and it doesn’t make sense.

So let’s stop letting it sabotage our exercise routines.

Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality by 65%.

Sweet, sweet dreams...

Do you find yourself tired during the day – or unable to fall asleep at night? Before popping a pill, you may want to try this: Regular exercise.

We’ve always heard anecdotal evidence that regular exercise promotes higher levels of energy during the day and improved sleep at night. We’ve even seen the link between exercise sleep touted in a number of studies. Unfortunately, those studies usually rely on self-report to determine exercise level – and many people tend to overestimate their activity.

A new study,  published in the December issue of Mental Health and Physical Activity, is the first of its kind to combine a nationally representative sample with scientifically measured physical activity levels. 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 engaged in 150 minutes of physical activity per week (the national guideline for recommended physical activity).

So, how did the 150 minutes of physical activity impact sleep?

Here are a few of the findings:

  • Feeling overly sleepy during the day decreased 65%
  • Leg cramps while sleeping decreased 68%
  • Difficulty concentrating with tired decreased 45%

With 35 – 40 percent of Americans experiencing sleep issues, a little bit of exercise may go a long way to a better night’s sleep. Beyond decreasing our waistline and promoting overall health, the link between physical activity and improved sleep is undeniable.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Ho, ho, ho – the holidays are here!

For most people, the holidays have a negative impact on their efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. For one, it means lots and lots of unhealthy foods, buffets and alcohol. Secondly, it means that all of us have a little less time in our already busy schedules to hit the gym. As a result, many of us tend to gain weight during the holidays.

But here’s a quick fix that not only prevent holiday weight gain – but actually cause you to lose weight. Yes, lose weight during the holidays. It’s called high intensity interval training – and it will absolutely rock your world.

Consider this: A recent study led by Jason Talanian in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that subjects who completed just seven sessions of high intensity interval training over the course of two weeks boosted their aerobic capacity by 13 percent and increased fat burning capacity by 36 percent. In a separate study that followed participants for 15 weeks, researchers discovered that the high intensity interval training group experienced 9 times as much fat loss as those performing regular cardio.

While regular cardio burns calories during the exercise, high intensity interval training actually boosts your metabolism and causes more calories to be burned all day long. Even while you’re watching TV. Or standing in line at the buffet.

I bet I have your attention now!

With a typical cardio program, participants run at a set speed and intensity for the duration of their workout. We’ve all seen people spending 30 minutes (or even more!) walking endlessly on the treadmill or peddling on the bike. While it’s better than sitting on the couch, the benefits for this type of cardio training (called endurance training) are fairly limited – especially when compared to high intensity interval training.

High intensity interval training sessions are much shorter. In essence, it involves alternating very intense exercise with moderate intensity exercise or active rest. While it can come in a variety of forms, I prefer performing my intervals on the treadmill. I sprint as fast as I can for 60 seconds, and then jog for 90 seconds. I do this for 15 minutes, and it absolutely kicks my butt. You can do it on the bike, elliptical – or even at home without any equipment. Try doing some vigorous bodyweight exercises like burpees or push-ups for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. Keep repeating this for 10 or 15 minutes.

So why isn’t high intensity interval training more popular than it is? Well, it’s because most people don’t understand how effective it is. It’s got to be the best kept fitness secret ever. Moreover, it’s challenging. It’s easy to walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes; the same can’t be said for 15 minutes of high intensity interval training. It’s hard work! But it’s totally worth it.

High intensity interval training is great for the holidays because it’s such a fast workout. Though we’re all strapped for time during the holidays, all of us can set aside 10 minutes for a good, quick and effective workout. Give it a try – and let me know what you think!

Group Fitness Classes Vs. Individual Training.

Dear Davey,

For the last 2 months I have been working out through class exercise groups and have had great results. Currently I do 3 days of spin class for cardio and 3 days of BodyPump for strength training. I love my classes, but I am starting to plateau. Is it time to break away from the class atmosphere and start my own individual workout routine?


Hey Kevin,

As you’ve discovered, group fitness classes are great. I like group classes for a number of reasons:

  1. They are fun!
  2. The instructor pushes you.
  3. You learn new exercises.
  4. You can socialize and make friends.
  5. They’re great at building confidence and skill for beginners.
  6. They hold you to a regular schedule.
  7. The instructor can teach proper technique.

But for more advanced exercisers, it’s often advantageous to focus the bulk of your workout on individual training. I, for example, take a group class or two per week – but most of my training is individual.


As an exerciser, you have individual goals. If you’ve never taken the time to actually articulate and write down those goals, it’s definitely something that I’d recommend. When you’re in a group class, each person in that class also has a set of goals; these goals may or may not be in alignment with what you’re looking to achieve. Moreover, each person is operating from a different level of fitness – and each person has their own set of health issues or complications. Considering all this, the instructor will put together a very general fitness program, but it’s not necessarily the most effective program to deliver on your goals.

The BodyPump class, for example, may be focused on muscle endurance – and you may be looking to build muscle size, specifically in your biceps. It’s very easy to achieve this in an individual setting, but it’s not something you’ll get in a group setting. Or, perhaps, you have a specific muscular imbalance that needs to be addressed. It’s unlikely to be corrected through a group class.

If the transition from group classes to individual training seems scary or overwhelming, I recommend giving yourself the gift of a personal trainer. Even if you book a handful of sessions, the trainer will be able to put together a great workout program for you and show you how proper technique. Or, you can always download my Ultimate Guide to Working Out to create a custom workout program around your goals.

I’m not trying to discount group classes; they can be a wonderful and very effective – especially for beginners. But for more advanced exercisers, focusing on individual training will provide the best results.


4 Worst Holiday Foods EVER! [Video]

While it’s no secret that many holiday foods deserve to be on the “naughty” list, these four deserve special recognition for their belly-bursting calorie and fat content.

Spoiler alert: If you like eggnog, you may not want to watch this video!

Check out the video via my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel. And, if you’re not already subscribed to my fitness channel, click here to make it happen!

Skinny is Overrated.

Where's the beef?

If you pick up an issue of Vogue or Cosmo, you’ll instantly be bombarded with images of stick-thin models – many of whom are photoshopped beyond recognition. The message behind these images is pretty clear: Skinny is attractive.

When this message is internalized, it is expressed through unhealthy fad diets and eating disorders in both women and men. I, for example, spent the better part of my middle school years obsessively counting calories and living with anorexia. I wanted to be attractive, and so skinny was my goal.

The other day, I came across a shocking piece of data. When it comes to adult video content, the volume of searches for overweight women are four times greater than the volume of searches for their skinnier counterparts. In other words, there may a disconnect between what people actually desire and what we think people desire.

While it’s easy to read too much into a single piece of data, it can help us rethink the notion that skinny is the only form of sexy. Curves are beautiful, too – and, according to the data, there are a lot of people that would agree.

Rather than spend our energy transforming our bodies for the desires someone else, perhaps it’s wiser to transform our bodies for the benefit ourselves. Indeed, eating nourishing foods and honoring your body with exercise and movement will change the way that you look, but it will also improve the quality and length of your life. You may even be able to use the experience, as I have, to build a stronger and more loving relationship with your body.

Today, my goal isn’t skinny… it’s healthy. It’s less about looking a certain way and more about living a certain way.

Does P90X Work? [Study]

Bring it: Does P90X really work?

Since 2004, more than 3 million copies of workout program P90X have been sold. For about 0, you get a series of DVDs and enroll in a 90-day boot camp with celebrity fitness trainer, Tony Horton.

While P90X does have its devout followers, there have been no published studies about the program’s effectiveness. That is, until the American Council on Exercise enlisted the help of a research team from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse led by John Porcari, Ph.D. and Joel Woldt, M.S for a study.

The researchers recruited a number of healthy participants and, after establishing baselines, put these individuals through the P90X program. After several weeks of testing and data collection, researchers crunched the numbers.

Noteworthy findings:

  • Male subjects burned 441 to 699 calories per workout.
  • Female subjects burned 302 to 544 calories.
  • Male heart rate was 67 to 83% of HRmax.
  • Female heart rate was 65 to 88% of HRmax.
  • Male VO2max values were between 45 percent and 70 percent.
  • Female VO2max value were between 45 percent and 80 percent.

What does it all mean? Based on the data, researchers concluded that P90X workouts meet or exceed the industry standards for losing weight and improving cardiorespiratory fitness. In other words: If you do the P90X workouts regularly and to the best of your ability – and combine the program with a healthy diet – you’ll definitely get results.

Of course, there’s no magic to it. Central to the P90x program is what marketers call “muscle confusion.” To exercise scientists, this term is better known as daily undulating periodization. It involves changing up workouts regularly so that the body doesn’t have time to adapt, become overly efficient at the exercise being performed and experience plateaued results. To achieve this “muscle confusion,” the P90X workouts involve switching between a number of different exercises. If you don’t use P90X, you can take advantage of daily undulating periodization by regularly introducing new exercises into your workout program. Beyond getting better results, you’ll also notice that it helps prevent gym boredom.

While we’re on the subject of workout programs, I can’t pass up the opportunity to plug my Jock Workout. Like P90X, you’ll cycle through various strength-training and cardiovascular exercises that will build muscle and burn fat – at less than half the price. Tony Horton, eat your heart out.

What do you think of P90X? Have you tried it? Did you experience results?

Does Running on a Treadmill Burn More Calories than Outside?

Studies show that there may be a slight caloric advantage to outside running.

There’s no doubt about it: Treadmill running is convenient. Rain, sleet, snow or shine – treadmill runners are untouched by weather conditions (unless, of course, you lose power). But for people looking to lose weight, how does the calorie burn of treadmills compare to running outside?

There have been a number of studies comparing treadmill running to outside running. The studies generally find outdoor running to be slightly advantageous when it comes to calories, though the extent of this advantage varies by speed. For individuals running between 5 and 9 miles per hour, running outside burns somewhere between 0% and 5% more calories. For individuals running at 10 miles per hour and above, running outside burns up to 10% more calories.

If you burn 400 calories inside, it would likely require an additional 0 – 40 calories (depending on your speed) to replicate the same workout outside. All in all, the difference is quite slight – but even small changes add up over time.

Treadmill running burns fewer calories because it’s easier. For one, the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. When you run outside, you must propel your body forward to move. Moreover, when you run outside, you experience wind resistance – a condition that isn’t replicated with treadmill running. To account for these differences and better simulate outdoors running (especially if you are training for an outdoor running event), many people add a 1% to 2% incline on the treadmill.

The bottom line: Regardless of calories, select the type of training that works best for you, your schedule and your personality. Treadmill running isn’t for everyone; many people find it monotonousness and mind-numbing. Likewise, people with joint issues may prefer the extra cushion provided by treadmill running. Whether you do it outside or indoors, running can be a great way to get your cardiovascular exercise.

How to Eat Healthy at Thanksgiving: 11 Tips!

Dear Davey,

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I could really use some help to eat healthier. Too many temptations like stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes and pie! Any words of wisdom?


Hey Colin,

Thanks for the email; it’s certainly timely given that we’re entering the holiday season full of hustle, bustle and unhealthy food choices.

First things first, remember that Thanksgiving only comes once a year. While eating healthy is important, one meal isn’t going to make or break your diet. A nutritious diet is really about the bigger picture and the patterns or trends in your life. The bowl of ice cream you eat before bed each night, for example, will have a much larger impact. In other words, don’t sweat one meal too much – and keep things in perspective.

Having said that, here are a few tips that you can use at Thanksgiving – or any other holiday meal – to make smarter, wiser choices:

  1. Just take a small scoop of cranberry sauce. It’s loaded with sugar and can have 300 calories per half cup.
  2. Remove the skin. While the skin adds great flavor and is a nice treat for special occasions, it does contain extra calories and fat – and is usually coated in butter.
  3. Go light on the gravy. Gravy, depending on how it is prepared, can be loaded in fat, calories and tons of sodium. Just use a touch of it.
  4. Eat before dinner. Have a healthy lunch before going to Thanksgiving dinner so that you’re not hungry. This will help prevent overeating.
  5. Opt for healthy sides. Instead of going for buttery, cheesy or creamy sides, go for steamed vegetables and smarter choices.
  6. Save your calories for the dinner. Appetizers, munchies and finger foods are notoriously high in calories and unhealthy fat. Moreover, they’re not filling. Save your calories for the main course.
  7. Drink lots of water. Water boosts your metabolism and helps you feel full. And it’s definitely a much wiser choice than eggnog.
  8. Use a small plate. Studies show that if we use a small plate, we eat less. Moreover, wait 15 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes time to feel full.
  9. Talk! Instead of chowing down, take time to talk with your friends and family. By eating slower, you give your body time to digest and feel full – thereby lessen the likelihood of overeating.
  10. Have a few bites of dessert. If you have room, just take a few bites of the dessert options. It will satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulging. And if you’re full, take your dessert to go rather than cramming it down.
  11. Don’t feel guilty. Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and if you eat a lot – so be it. All of us occasionally indulge and it’s part of creating balance in your diet. Don’t feel guilty about it – as such guilt often manifests itself as additional overeating.

As we give thanks, remember to express gratitude to your body for all that it does. One of the best ways to express that gratitude is by making decisions that honor your body – like going to the gym or exercising. Perhaps Thanksgiving can mark a new (or renewed) commitment to your body’s health.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Davey Wavey

P.S. If you have a question to ask Davey Wavey, email me. And for additional nutrition guidance, download Davey Wavey’s Eating for Fitness program.

Multigrain Vs. Whole Wheat Bread.

While we know that whole wheat bread is much healthier for us than white bread, how do multigrain options measure up?

First things first, the terms “whole wheat” or “whole grain” are very specific. As the Nutrition Diva writes:

Whole grain products contain all the parts of the grain: the germ, which is rich in essential fatty acids and b-vitamins; the endosperm, which is mostly starch; and the bran, which, of course, is high in fiber. In products made with refined grains, on the other hand, most of the germ and bran have been removed, leaving the starchy endosperm, which is the least nutritious part of the grain.

The term “multigrain,” on the other hand, simply means that a variety of different grains were used. And many (if not all) of those grains may be refined – and thus, much less nutritious. To know for sure, simply examine the ingredients on the packaging. Look for the word “whole” before the grains listed to get a better idea of the nutritional value.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to include bread as part of your healthy diet, opt for whole wheat. While multigrain bread may sound appealing, unless it’s made with whole grains, it can have the same nutritional value as white bread.

Holiday Fitness Tip: Just Say “No.”

Carlos Freire: Someone to whom I'd definitely say "yes."

I’m a big fan of saying “YES!” to life. But that doesn’t mean saying “yes!” to everything that comes along with it. It’s important to be the best version of yourself – and that doesn’t happen when you’re over-committed and stretched too thin.

With the holidays around the corner, striking a balance and keeping yourself prioritized can be a real challenge. But to that end, saying “no” can be a powerful way to make everything a little easier.

Diane Petrella, a friend of mine who happens to be a spiritual weight release coach (check out the wonderful resource that is Diane’s website), recently touched on the topic in one of her newsletters:

As simplistic as this may sound, putting yourself first this holiday season, and always, ensures that you remain happy, healthy and strong.

I’m not referring to a self-righteous, entitled sense of doing for yourself at the expense of anyone else. I’m referring to valuing the importance of honoring your needs. When you adopt this attitude, you not only have the energy and happiness to fuel yourself, you’re better able to be there for others.

Saying “no” gets easier with practice – and it need not be rude or abrasive. Just politely decline any requests that don’t serve your highest good, and know that your decision is in the best interest of everyone.

The fitness and nutrition implication is a strong one. Diane writes:

When you put yourself first by learning to say “no” and setting loving boundaries on your time and responsibilities, you honor your needs. And when you honor your needs, you’re less apt to feel resentment, frustration and anger which often triggers emotional eating.

As the holiday season quickly approaches – and as our schedules get all the tighter – put the power of “no” to work for you. By doing so, you’ll have the energy and balance to navigate this holiday season with ease and grace.

New Study: Single People Weigh Less.

A new study provides evidence for the "fat and happy" phenomenon.

You’ve probably heard the expression “fat and happy” to describe people in long-term relationships.

The idea is pretty simple: Because these individuals are no longer on the dating market, their outward appearance becomes less important. They’ve found a mate, and so they don’t think twice about eating the extra slice of pizza or cake. Eventually, those calories and pounds add up. At least, that’s the theory.

According to Thomas Klein, a German professor who studies the link between happiness and body weight, it’s true. Klein’s researchers studied 2,000 people between the ages of 16 and 55 and found that single people, on average, weighed less than their committed counterparts. Klein concluded: “In a happy partnership, people tend to get fat.”

Researchers also discovered that when one partner abruptly loses weight, it can be an indication that he or she is readying themselves for the dating market – and preparing to end the existing relationship. Of course, this isn’t always the case; a renewed interest in fitness can be influenced by a number of factors.

For me, the takeaway is that many of us need to rethink fitness.

Yes, exercise and nutrition can transform your body in a way that others may find attractive. But the more important reasons to exercise – like increased energy, improved overall health, disease prevention, longevity, better sleep, etc. – run much deeper.

There’s nothing wrong with exercising to look good, but the superficial benefits of exercise pale in comparison to the real ways that it can transform your life.

Does Exercising Hungry Burn More Fat?

Fuel your body to get the most out of your workouts.

You’ve probably heard the claim: If you exercise while hungry, your body will burn more fat. But is it true?

The theory behind this is pretty simple. If you exercise while hungry, your body will dip into fat stores for fuel – instead of just using the carbohydrates readily available from a pre-workout meal. It seems to make sense – but how does it measure up?

A new report in Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at the data and concluded that the body burns the same amount of fat regardless of hunger. However, the report also found that you’re more likely to lose muscle when exercising in a depleted state.

Moreover, I suspect that hungry exercisers won’t have the energy to really push their workout and to increase intensity. When I’m hungry, I don’t have the energy needed to power through my sets and reps – and by cutting down on my workout, I cut down on my results.

It’s important to provide your body with the fuel it needs. You wouldn’t take a road trip without fuel in your car, and neither should you hit the gym while hungry. Even eating a banana an hour before working out can help give your body some quick fuel.

Bottom line: Don’t exercise hungry.

Davey Wavey is Officially YouTube’s Next Trainer!

It’s official: YouTube has announced 16 channels to include in their YouTube Next Trainer program – and I’m excited to share that Davey Wavey Fitness is one of them!

The Next Trainer Program was created to help content creators like myself supercharge our careers. As an official Next Trainer participant, I’ll be completing a 12-week virtual course moderated by featured mentors including Billy Blanks, DeStorm, and Julie DelaBarre. In addition, I’ll receive $15,000 in new equipment and promotions. (By the way, it’s already spent on new lighting!)

I’ve always enjoyed working one on one with clients; it’s personal and intensely rewarding. But the amount of change you’re able to affect is always limited by the hours in a day. You can only do so much. With YouTube, on the other hand, my ability to help people transform their lives through love, exercise and nutrition is increased exponentially. The sky is the limit!

And so I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of YouTube’s Next Trainer program and to take my fitness work to the next level. I’m going to soak up everything that I learn like a sponge, and share the fruits my labor right here with you.

Thank you for being a part of this. And make sure you’re subscribed to my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel for continued updates.

SlimCado vs. Avocado.

The SlimCado: Lite on fat - but also flavor.

The other day, I noticed something peculiar at my grocery store. It was a giant green fruit that looked equal parts avocado and dinosaur egg. I was intrigued by the label which read: “SlimCado – half the fat and a third less calories than avocados!”

For people counting calories or concerned with fat, could this be a dream come true? Truth be told, the fat in avocados is good fat – but even so, I’m certain that the fruit’s savvy marketing will resonate with some shoppers. So I decided to purchase a SlimCado to see how it stacks up.

SlimCados are actually a West Indian variety of avocados that are often grown in Florida. Weighing in at up to two pounds, the large fruit has a glossy green skin and looks quite similar to the more traditional Hass varieties (albeit much larger). Despite having 50% less fat and 35% fewer calories than the avocados we know and love, SlimCados aren’t skimpy on other nutritional content; they are a great source of vitamin E, fiber, B-vitamins, potassium, zinc, and monounsaturated fat.

Unfortunately, my praise of the SlimCado must end there. Beyond nutritional content, taste is an important consideration – and that’s exactly where the SlimCado falls short. Instead of being delicious and flavorful, the SlimCado’s flesh tastes watered-down. Not only does it have half the fat, it has half the flavor.

Having said that, the SlimCado may work for recipes wherein avocado isn’t a primary ingredient. Some people enjoy avocados in their smoothies, for example, and the SlimCado may be well-suited for the task. But when it comes to mixing up some guacamole, you’ll definitely notice the difference.

If the fat or calories are important to you, then you’re better off using half a serving of Hass avocado than a full serving of the SlimCado.

Have you ever tried a Slimcado? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

How to Overcome the Fear of Fitness Failure.

When I work with clients or talk to people about their fitness goals, many express a fear of failure. For some people, it seems easier to do nothing than invest time at the gym and risk falling short.

To those who fear fitness failure, I have two points.

First, I like to remind my clients that it’s important to ‘fail’ at least half of your fitness goals. If you’re achieving everything you’ve set out to achieve, then I’d suggest that you’re not aiming high enough.

Secondly, maybe ‘fail’ isn’t the right word. As personal growth guru Dr. Wayne Dyer points out, there’s no such thing as failure:

Failing is a judgment that we humans place on a given action. Rather than judgment, substitute this attitude: You cannot fail, you can only produce results. Then the most important question to ask yourself is, “What do you do with the results you produce?” It is better to jump in and experience life than to stand on the sidelines fearing that something might go wrong.

Dyer then goes on to cite the example of a child learning to walk. Inevitably, the child will fall down many times as he or she discovers how to use their muscles and balance. These falls aren’t failures; they’re learning experiences.

Indeed, you may go to the gym with the goal of losing 20 pounds over the next three months. Maybe you’ll only lose 10. Or maybe you’ll gain 5. Rather than considering this a failure, view this as an important result. And then do something with the result. You know that you’ll need to change some of the variables – like the exercises performed, gym frequency, duration of exercise, diet, etc.

Learn from your results, and then evolve accordingly.

Study: More Testosterone, Less Muscle Loss.

Need a testosterone boost? This picture should do the trick.

Need even more encouragement to be a dirty old man? Probably not. But in case you do, a new study has found that men with higher testosterone levels experienced less muscle loss due to aging.

As we grow into our senior years, we tend to lose muscle. This muscle loss is greater in men than in women, and it’s often associated with falls, fractures and mobility limitations. Because of this, it’s important to retain as much muscle as possible during the aging process. Obviously, exercise plays a crucial role in this – but, according to the study, testosterone levels also play a factor.

For the study, researchers used data from 1,183 men ages 65 and older over the course of 4.5 years. Erin LeBlanc, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, OR and lead author of the study, concluded:

The amount of testosterone men have in their bodies may contribute to how much muscle and strength they lose as they get older. Our study adds evidence to the growing body of literature that suggest higher levels of endogenous testosterone may be favorably associated with some key components of healthy aging in men.

Of course, the research isn’t entirely unsurprising. It’s a hypothesis most of us would assume given the well-documented connection between testosterone and muscle growth.

Want more testosterone in your life? The following testosterone-boosting tips will allegedly do the trick for people of all ages, though I can’t vouch for the scientific validity:

  1. Strength train. Yup, lift things up and put them down.
  2. Get adequate sleep and rest between workouts.
  3. Eat nuts. The monounsaturated fat in nuts is believed to increase testosterone.
  4. Have sex. Even getting an increase can increase testosterone.
  5. Avoid stress.

The bottom line: Now you have yet another reason to cultivate your inner dirty old man.

3 Best Leg Stretches for Runners.

If, like me, you spend a lot of time running, you’ve probably noticed tightness in your legs. Runners have notoriously tight leg muscles – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

In fact, if – through stretching – you’re able to increase your flexibility, you’ll likely see improved results on the treadmill or track. With an improved range of motion, you’ll take longer strides!

There are any number of great leg stretches, but I put together this video with three of my favorites. Just make sure you warm up before trying any of these at home; warmed up muscles stretch better and more safely.

Fitness Advice for Older Adults.

Dear Davey,

I am a 63 year old male that started exercising about a year ago. I use a treadmill for an hour a day, five days a week. This amounts to about 3 miles a day. I have increased the elevation to 2 – 2.5 and increased the speed to 3 mph. Is this sufficient for someone my age?


Dear Doug,

While the amount of time you spend at the gym is certainly sufficient for great results (regardless of age), you’ll need to modify the exercises that you’re performing.

Right now, your routine focuses exclusively on cardio at the expense of strength training. Strength training is crucial – and this is especially true for aging populations. As we get older, we tend to lose our muscle mass. This muscular degeneration, in turn, limits the activities in which we’re able to engage and further slows metabolism.

By engaging in strength training, you can stop and reverse muscle loss. If you plan on spending an hour at the gym, ensure that you’re spending at least half of that time lifting weights or using the weight machines. Maintaining (or even building) muscle will greatly improve your quality of life and enhance your results.

Moreover, I remind clients that 45 – 60 minutes of cardio is the absolute maximum limit. Around and after that point, the body releases a stress hormone called Cortisol that retains belly fat. Too much cardio isn’t a good thing.

The ideal speed and incline of the treadmill is different for different people, and it depends on your goals. If you’re looking to reduce fat, it’s best to alternate between a medium and high intensity pace using a strategy called interval training. If you’re just looking to maintain general health, it’s fine to keep at a steady pace and incline – but both the speed and incline will be different for different people. You may be able to progress beyond 3 mph, or you may not. If you feel unsafe at faster speeds, keep adding to the treadmill’s incline to increase intensity.

And, of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before developing an exercise regime.

Davey Wavey