Sunday, February 24, 2008

How I stay healthy

Okay, so I'm not the most healthy person on the planet, but I do okay. Some folks have asked me for details on what products I use as far as supplements and protein shakes. All of this comes from my personal trainer, but I think it's good advice.

I take a supplement daily called Living Multi by Garden of Life. It's not cheap, but shopping around online and/or using places like The Vitamin Shoppe and their rewards stuff can help. The hard part about it is that you have to take 6-9 pills per day, and it's better to spread them out. Many folks believe that multi-vitamins and the like aren't much use since your body has trouble processing the good stuff out all at one time, so that's why I think this stuff is better in that you can spread it out. The downside is that it is easy to forget to take it that often. It also makes your pee green.

On days I work out (which is usually Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), my breakfast is a Balance Gold protein bar followed by a protein shake. Balance bars can usually be found at better grocery stores (like Harris Teeter) for about a dollar and a half. You can find them online for less than a dollar a bar at (or at least I have in the past). The shake I use is from Beverly International and is their Muscle Provider (chocolate). I do two servings per day. It tastes much better to me to mix with water using a blender. Just shaking it gives a much different effect. I also blend in almost a full scoop of Super Seed fiber from Garden of Life. That helps slow your absorption of the protein shake and thus gives you a longer energy boost.

For post workout recovery, I have a double serving of Cytofuse Advanced Muscle Regenerator. I like both Rasberry Lemonade and their Watermelon flavor. I have enough chocolate with the Beverly shake.

I also do a daily probiotic from Garden of Life called Primal Defense. In addition to that, I take a couple capsules of fish oils called Ultimate Omega by Nordic Naturals. I should definitely eat better than I do, too. I notice a big difference in my weight if I can cut out sugar. You'd be amazed how much it helps to do nothing more than go straight water instead of drinking soda, sweet tea, etc. I don't believe in diet drinks since you're just replacing sugar with chemicals.

I also like to try to get rid of sweet snacks in favor of things like good old fashioned fruit. Keep fresh bananas, apples, or whatever your favorite fruits are. In moderation, having a variety of unsalted nuts is a decent thing. Making your own trail mix type stuff using nuts and raisins and other healthier snack type things is great. Heck, throwing in a SMALL amount of M&Ms in the mix as a bonus won't kill you and can help with the sweet tooth. It's not horrible to also use prepackaged items like Nature Valley Trail Mix bars. Just check the label on those type things...many have a healthy appearance and then have partially hydrogenated oils and sugar and all sorts of annoying things added.

Even when dieting, one important thing to remember is that if you're hungry, EAT. Not eating when hungry can be just as bad as over eating. Not eating slows your metabolism and thus doesn't allow your body to properly process your food when you do eat. It's better to get in a habit of eating healthy when you are hungry than trying to just limit yourself to big healthy meals at meal time.

Another tip that's been helpful for me (at times, but not always!) is to try to limit yourself to "bad" meals once a week. Make the bad meal a treat. Do the massive burger and fries at your favorite greasy spoon ONLY once per week. It's a treat, it won't kill you, and you'll likely do it much less often that way.

If you have trouble motivating yourself to exercise (who doesn't?), join a gym and do exercise CLASSES. Why? If for no other reason than you have to schedule them. Go for the INCONVENIENT type of setup where you have to schedule something and can't just go "whenever." Whenever never comes. Monday at 7pm comes every week. So does Tuesday at 7pm. Etc. I find that now that I schedule my workouts, I feel like I'm letting myself and my trainer down if I can't make it. So I go even when I don't really feel like it, and I make the best of it.

Like Nike says, Just Do It.

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