You know the guy in your office, that guy who’s pushing his 40s and yet gets mistaken for being in his late 20s? The one that your jealous co-workers call ‘so lucky’ for not miraculously gaining weight as soon as he hit the big 3-0? What’s his secret? Godly genetics? Maybe…. But more likely the answer is just an all-round healthy lifestyle of a good diet and exercise.
WHAT? I can hear your collective gasps now… I thought you guys were going to give me the SECRET SHORTCUT to being young and healthy forever and ever!
Sorry guys, but there are no short cuts in life.
First, let’s take a look at the most common things that cause premature aging and physical dysfunction. In no particular order they are:
- Poor Diet – The modern American diet is absolutely chock full of processed foods, excessive carbs and sugar, with little regard for achieving a proper balance of macronutrients. Such foods are typically also calorie-dense (while also simultaneously offering poor nutritional value) leading to unhealthy weight gain (barely any of such weight gained will be muscle). And surprisingly, even those ladies who keep their lunch to a nice salad can often be seen throwing back a frothy Starbucks Frappuccino, with little realization that such drinks can contain up to 1,000 calories! Yes, you read that right!
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption – Stressful corporate job? Blow off some steam after work with your co-workers by kicking back with some cold brews! And make that double on the weekends! Well they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing! It’s amazing to me how many people have no idea just how many calories those drinks they pour down their throats actually have.
- Smoking cigarettes- But smoking cigarettes help me lose weight!!! I can hear the cries of a thousand skinny girls now. Guess what honey, cigarettes have a devastating effect on your skin and teeth, and while you may remain skinny, you will definitely be unhealthy (no need to go into the health effects of cigarettes here, they are widely known, even to smokers) and its effects on your skin and teeth WILL make you look older.
- Lack of exercise- I don’t have time to exercise! Make time, or suffer the consequences. While with a good diet you can definitely be at a healthy weight, a lack of exercise WILL lead to physical dysfunction and premature aging that may not be externally visible, but will have negative effects on your health nonetheless.
Now that we’ve gotten the ‘do nots’ out of the way, let’s take a brief look at what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
- Healthy Diet- This will be covered in detail in future articles, but the basic gist is this: minimal processed foods, as MINIMAL sugar as possible (pro-tip: cut out your caloric drinks! Stick to water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea. If you still have a sweet tooth, use stevia instead) with the right balance of macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. As a general rule we recommend a 40/40/20 split between the three (Yes, we are aware of low-carb or ketogenic diets, which we fully support). A high intake of vegetables will support the proper micronutrient intake; of course these can also be made up for with vitamin supplements. If you don’t get enough protein from your diet, e.g. if you’re vegetarian, you can supplement with whey protein; you can check out this site for a good review of cheap protein powder brands.
- Adequate Exercise- No, taking the stairs two storeys up instead of taking the elevator doesn’t cut it. We recommend a basic heavy barbell routine (for BOTH genders), in order to build strong tendons, joints, and muscles (this is crucial to prevent osteoporosis as you age) as well as standard long slow cardio.
This is the basic gist of ‘anti-aging’. No there is no secret, just dedication and commitment. In future posts, we will go beyond the basics and give more details on how to go about achieving this.