Why do you want to hire a coach? Do you have the right mindset going into hiring one? This blog post highlights a very real problem in the coach/client relationship, so before you hire someone…read this.Read More
By: Joe Fleming, co-founder of Vive Health
For many of us, pain is a part of everyday life, whether due to a fitness injury like shin splints, or a chronic condition like arthritis. Because we all live such busy lives, we understandably want the pain to go away as quickly as possible and there are plenty of opioid painkillers that will do just that.
Unfortunately, these pills often come at a great price... and not just in terms of money. They are extremely addictive. It is easy to get hooked and almost impossible to quit. Even worse, opioids are often gateway drugs to heroin or something even worse. At some point, the cost simply becomes too high.
The good news is that there are a number of natural remedies that can either eliminate pain altogether, when coupled with time and some other things, or at least greatly reduce our pain pill consumption.
Most people know arthritis is chronic, degenerative, and incurable. In other words, the underlying condition is always there, usually gets worse, and never gets better. As a result, many people think that prescription painkillers are the only way to get through the day. However, in many cases, that’s simply not true.
People successfully dealt with arthritis pain long before prescription painkillers came along, and what worked then will work today. Some ideas include:
Weight Loss: Obesity worsens arthritis in the ankles, knees, and other joints in the lower extremities, simply because of the extra pressure and stress. Even just ten pounds should make a noticeable difference.
Exercise: Somewhat similarly, exercise increases flexibility and muscle mass, thus reducing discomfort. Targeted exercise usually improves arthritis not only in the legs, but in other parts of the body as well.
Yoga: In addition to physical exercise, yoga provides a few minutes of quiet meditation. There is considerable evidence that meditation decreases pain, if for no other reason than you are thinking about something else for a period of time.
Dietary Supplements: Turmeric, a common Indian spice, reduces joint inflammation. Other proven supplements include S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), fish oil and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).
Depending on the individual, these techniques may make a night and day difference or they may not have any effect at all. However, nearly everyone sees enough improvement to either reduce the use of prescription pain pills or replace them with analgesics, like Motrin.
While back pain is usually curable, that cure may entail spinal fusion surgery or some other radical procedure. So, for many people, the goal is pain management, as it is with arthritis sufferers.
Exercise is usually the best way to address back pain, and there are a number of activities and stretches that may work well. Alternating hot and cold therapy, with a heat pad and ice pack, is also effective in many cases. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has also shown to help reduce low back pain.
These injuries are usually quite painful but easily curable. In the instance of fitness injury, pain-masking opioids may be an even worse idea than normal, because people might feel better before they actually are and re-injure themselves. The RICE method is usually a great approach immediately after a fitness injury.
Rest: Talk to a doctor or trainer about how long you need to walk on crutches, wear a boot, or otherwise avoid using the muscle.
Ice: Twenty minutes of cold therapy not only reduces swelling, but also reduces discomfort.
Compression: An ACE Bandage will do in a pinch to decrease inflammation, but a specially-designed wrap, like a calf shin support, will usually help people get better faster.
Elevation: Keep the injured muscle above your heart.
About halfway through the recovery process for a fitness-related injury, cross-training is probably okay, to stay fit and help ease injury-related depression. But be sure you talk to a doctor or therapist first.
The bottom line is that there are options other than addictive painkillers to decrease the discomfort associated with many everyday illnesses and injuries.
(1) A. Cassoobhoy. (December 15, 2015). What is low back pain? WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-low-back-pain-overview
Am I becoming a fashion blogger now? I don't know. With a company like the one you're about to meet on here, which combines the beauty of nature with functionality, I could be convinced. Maybe with this post will push me in that direction! It's my site. I can do what I want. ;)
But back to the thing we're all here for: JORD is a company that produces wood watches that are truly unique. Offering both a men's shop and a women's shop, JORD uses 13 different wood types (alone and in combination, depending on the design) to create timeless time keepers. They even fully expose the availability and sustainability of each of the materials they use. This transparency with their customers is a huge bonus, in my opinion. Their site elaborates on each type of wood used, explaining the grain and weight as well as the sustainability rating according to two different environmental associations.
While most types of wood used by JORD are considered sustainable by both metrics, some types of wood (such as the zebrawood used to make my watch) is noted when there is a conflict in the ratings. In the case of zebrawood, the CITES Appendices do not list it as an issue but the IUCN Red List notes that it is vulnerable in its natural habitat. While it may not be ideal to use much longer because of its precarious environment shrinkage, I really appreciate that JORD is honest with the status of this specific wood. It allows for ethical purchasing.
The company strives to promote their own creativity, drive, and desire to make their time count through the watches they produce. Though there are several series of watch designs to choose from, the nature of wood means that each timepiece will still turn out different from all the others. It's kind of like people - we may have similar interests, jobs, hobbies, lives. But each of us is still "cut from our part of the cloth." And that's what JORD wants to represent.
Let's talk about the watch I went with. The Reece Series Zebrawood & Emerald combined several of my favorite things, making it catch my eye right away:
- The watch face is my favorite color of all-time, a deep teal
- The texture of zebrawood ensures that each watch is truly unique, with telltale lines more visible than other woods running through the grain to identify that it is truly authentic
- A clever thread of maple running through the band to help the zebrawood patterns stand out even more
- A square face that veers from the traditional circular shape without getting "too crazy"
- A combination of modernity, elegance, and fun that seems to sum me up pretty well! (Though I don't know how elegant I am most of the time...)
When I first received my watch, I truly didn't know what to expect as far as wearing it goes. I wasn't a watch-wearer until recently, and it's usually a fitness tracker/stopwatch to use while I'm working. But going out in a sporty watch while wearing a sundress just doesn't seem like I know what I'm doing, ya know?
Yeah, This watch is definitely upping the class in my life.
An extra piece of specialty that JORD adds to each of their watches is the packaging they come in. I don't think I've ever seen such class and care go into the simple way a product is carried, and it seemed like a piece of art just to witness the box each watch comes in. This is just another example of how well JORD takes care to exemplify art and class in everything they do. It's a point proven about the company's values.
That's absolutely the definition of elegance.
Well... now that I've shown off my own watch enough, how about your own chance at getting a killer discount for your own? Click here to enter a giveaway for $100 on the JORD store. Everyone who enters will automatically receive a unique code for $25 JORD store credit, so even if you don't get the grand prize you'll still be snagging a deal! Your unique style can only be highlighted by these unique timepieces. Go ahead and enter that giveaway to support this awesome and beautiful company.
By: Aron James
For men who want to take care of their skin, it can be somewhat daunting to walk through the beauty aisle at your local grocery store while attempting to find the product that is just right for you. While certain skin creams can help to improve skin blemishes and other skin-related problems, one of the most overlooked (yet utterly important) parts of skin care is what you eat.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on high end skin creams, cleansers and exfoliants, you might very well be able to get rid of those excess pimples and oily skin simply by avoiding that mid-afternoon stop at the local fast food joint. Choosing to eat a diet that is rich in natural, wholesome and organic foods is one of the best ways to improve the skin on any man's face. Below I offer three food hacks that will help improve your overall skin health while helping you avoid breaking the bank on expensive skin care treatment products.
Eat a Diet Rich in Antioxidants
Even if you are not a nutritionist, chances are that you have heard of antioxidants. It may seem like every other week you read a newspaper article or post on Facebook about some type of food that is high in antioxidants and thus great for your health. Antioxidants, among other health benefits, help to slow the process of aging.
One recent study titled Diet in Dermatology: Present Perspectives (1), concludes that foods that are high in antioxidants have a high photo-protective potential, which is a fancy way of saying that these foods will help protect your skin from signs of premature aging caused by exposure to the sun and other elements. So, be sure to add an extra cup of blueberries (high in antioxidants) to your cereal in the morning, and don´t worry about eating that dark chocolate bar as it has high levels of flavonoids, a potent antioxidant.
Eat a Well-Rounded Diet
While this should be common sense for anyone, nutritional deficiencies that come up because we have been avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to several skin health problems. For men who consider skin care an essential part of their grooming regime, you might want to spend more time in the produce section of your local supermarket. Or better yet, visit your local farmers market to find fresh, wholesome, organic produce that will give you the vitamins and minerals your skin needs to stay healthy.
Trade Out Sugar for Honey
Too much sugar is never a good thing for your teeth, your blood sugar levels, or for your skin. By using honey to sweeten your morning coffee, you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants. The high level of magnesium in honey is also essential for good skin health. Real men should be concerned about protecting their skin. Whether you are spending time in the wilderness to embolden your prepper mentality or simply want to look good for a first date, these three changes to your diet will help keep your skin looking young and refreshed.
About the Author
Aron James is the founder of StubblePatrol.com. Stubble Patrol is a site on male grooming. He loves to write about his personal experiences.
1. K H Basavaraj, C Seemanthini, R Rashmi(2010, Jul-Sep). Diet in Dermatology: Present Perspectives. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965901/
2. n.a. (2017). Men health care - cosmetic surgeries for better skin. Mash Men. Retrieved from: http://www.mashmen.com/2015/11/17/men-health-cosmetic-surgeries/
This is a guest post courtesy of Needak Rebounder for Flabs to Fitness.
The Glycemic Index is a valuable tool that has become a staple concept within health and fitness circles. When used intelligently and responsibly, the glycemic index can be used as a powerful mechanism for improving health, reducing the risk of certain diseases and reaching healthy weight goals.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index - commonly referred to as “GI” - is a scale that ranks the way different carbohydrate foods affect your blood glucose (also known as “blood sugar”). The GI is represented as a number, with the highest value being 100 which is equivalent to pure glucose and corresponds to the effect pure glucose would have on blood glucose levels. So, if you were to consume a tablespoon of glucose, or sugar, you can imagine the effect it would have on your body: your blood sugar level would rise very fast seeing as glucose does not need to be broken down by your digestive system. You might feel hyperactive, jittery or a suddenly energetic. The glucose would cause a very rapid and high rise to your blood glucose level.
The higher the GI of a particular food, the more rapidly it is digested and absorbed by your body and the more dramatically it increases your blood sugar. Foods that are low GI foods take longer to digest and absorb, which creates a gradual increase to blood sugar.
In other words, low GI foods release the energy content of food slowly and steadily over a longer period of time unlike high GI foods, which provide quick-release energy within a shorter time span.
Can low GI diets help with weight loss?
One of the most significant and noticeable effects of low GI foods is their effect on appetite. Due to their slow digestion, low GI foods last longer in your system and therefore keep you satiated for a greater period of time. By steadily releasing energy to your body, you feel full for longer and experience hunger pangs less often than on high GI foods. Therefore, when it comes to weight loss and weight management, the natural hunger-suppressing quality of low GI foods means you can stick to a healthy diet more easily and focus on feeding your body only as much as it needs.
Research also shows that low GI foods encourage your body to burn stored fat and assists in lowering cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels.
What are examples of low GI foods?
Generally, carbohydrate foods are divided into three GI categories:
Low GI: 1 to 55
Medium GI: 56 to 69
High GI: 70 and higher
When we talk about low GI foods, we refer to foods that are within the 1-55 GI range. Below are some examples of low GI foods – as you will see, there are plenty of different foods that fall within the low GI range. Creating your own low GI diet is not difficult when you know what to choose from!
Cereals: oat bran; rolled oats; natural muesli; porridge.
Breads: soya and linseed; wholegrain pumpernickel; heavy mixed grain; whole wheat; sourdough rye; sourdough wheat.
Vegetables: frozen green peas; frozen sweet corn; carrots; eggplant/aubergine; broccoli; cauliflower; cabbage; mushrooms; tomatoes; chillies; lettuce; green beans; red peppers; onions; yams; sweet potatoes.
Fruits: cherries; plums; grapefruit; peaches; apples; pears; dried apricots; grapes; coconut; coconut milk; kiwi fruit; oranges; strawberries; prunes.
Legumes (Beans): kidney beans (canned); butter beans; chick peas; haricot/navy beans; red lentils; green lentils; pinto beans; black eyed beans; yellow split peas.
Grains: brown rice; pearl barley; buckwheat; white long grain rice; spaghetti.
Eating low GI foods does not mean you need to forego your tastebuds or flavourful foods. There are plenty of delicious low GI recipes easily found through Google. The Glycemic Index Foundation is a good place to start – they provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes that all look tantalizing and many of them take less that 20 minutes to whip up!
Are there any benefits to consuming high and medium GI foods?
High/medium GI whole foods such as bananas, pineapples, watermelon and dates are advantageous sources of quick energy for times when your body requires rapid fuel replenishment. For example, after performing a rigorous workout it’s important to refuel your body so that your muscles can properly recover and rebuild. In such instances, eating a natural high/medium GI food in order to provide your body some immediate sustenance until your next meal can assist with muscle recovery.
Other health benefits of low GI diets:
There is a significant body of clinical research which describe various health benefits of maintaining a low GI diet. One of the most notable areas of research is the effect low GI diets can have in reducing the risk of diabetes. High GI diets create unhealthy surges to insulin levels. If you maintain a high GI diet for long enough, your body develops insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. Conversely, low GI foods do not spike your insulin levels and assists your body in maintain proper regulation of insulin and blood glucose levels. Proper Low GI diets can also help with managing and improving diabetes symptoms by improving blood glucose levels, reducing insulin resistance and improving blood cholesterol levels.
Given all the evidence supporting the benefits of low GI foods, it makes a great deal of sense to switch to a predominantly low GI diet. Low GI diets can markedly assist with reaching and maintaining healthy weight and significantly lessen the the risk of developing serious diseases. Furthermore, combining regular exercise activities with a predominantly low GI diet can maximise weight loss and promote overall well-being. And you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with strenuous high impact or heavy duty exercises or heavy duty exercise to maintain good health. There are numerous low impact options such as walking, rebounding, swimming, strength training which you can tailor to fit your individual needs and requirements.
Needak Rebounder is an official retailer of the bestselling rebounder in the world. Their fitness device is focused on alternate forms of in-home cardiovascular health, and their blog features many articles which focus on this and how it relates to the sport of rebounding. Visit Needak.com if you are interested in exploring the Needak Rebounder and the revolutionary sport of rebounding.
Food quality is a hot topic right now.
Well, well, well. We meet this subject again.
If you've been following my Instagram, Facebook, or this website for any length of time now then you're already acquainted with my strong bias in support of producing food at only the highest sustainable quality.
However, I will do my best to push that aside and do an objective report on how the food in Italy has affected my body over the past 7 weeks.
This is usually referred to as an "n=1 study," since I am only testing it on myself.
These are usually super effective for people trying to figure things out for themselves and their health, because I am in my body and only I am in tune with that enough to feel what it feels and see how it is being affected: by clothes fitting a certain way or how heavily I'm breathing after certain activities.
So that being established, this is going to be a compilation of how I've felt with this drastic diet change while in Florence for the summer.
What is different in Italy?
The diet change I'm referring to is this: at home, I eat primal (no legumes, only rice sometimes if grains are consumed, no processed sugar, moderate dairy, LOTS of veggies, high protein, a little bit of fruit, lots of healthy fats).
Here, I've pretty much only stayed away from gluten and soy because they really bother me.
Pizza and pasta and gelato and milk chocolate that exists without soy lechitin as an emulsifier here have been very present in my body.
I will place here that there are also other variables.
One is that I've walked at least 5 miles a day, usually more.
My workout routine went from lifting 5-6 days a week plus at least 4 cardio sessions on top of that to 3-5 HIIT & body weight workout sessions per week, not lasting longer than 45 minutes.
So, I will do my best to explain what happened as a result of that. But first, I think a little Italian food history is in order.
Italian food quality
In the Italian cooking class I took the first week I was here, the chef got on his soapbox for a few minutes.
He talked about how when the US really started pumping GMOs and hormones into their food, Italy went the opposite route.
He explained the laws here are really in favor of organic produce, grass-fed and free-range meats, and full-fat foods without the sugar added to reduce it.
I decided to do a little poking around on the interwebs and found some cool stuff in these regards.
For instance, Italy not only rejected the idea of GMOs when they first became popular in the US, they still stringently fight against them.
As recently as 2015, the country opted to reject 8 strands of GMOs that the EU was promoting for its countries (1).
In 1993, the year before the first GMOs hit grocery stores in the US (2), Italy was not super focused on organic farming, either.
They were pretty exclusive to small northern markets near the farms that produced them.
However, as the "organic" title began implying the meaning that a product was also "non-GMO," it seems that my chef was right about Italians' push back against GMOs.
Production of organic produce increased 200% between 1997-1999, with production still increasing yearly, though not necessarily at that high a rate each year (3).
But don't they love their sugar?
After hearing the chef & reading those things about Italy's unique perspective on food production, I was more confused about this place than ever.
If you've ever been to Italy, you know they love their sugar.
Gelato or a granite (basically a slush) for breakfast is the thing to do in Sicily, and up north it's not much better with sugared tarts or croissants paired with your sugared-down cappuccino first thing in the morning.
Pizza or a bread-heavy sandwich for lunch.
Gelato as a cool afternoon snack, followed by a 3-course dinner of pasta, meat & veggies, and dessert. Oh, and always wine.
The realization that the people are very concerned about food quality & sourcing here was interesting to me.
I've crusaded against processed sugar for the past 2 years and haven't consumed any other than the tiny bit in dark chocolate back home.
So the fact that the sugar capital of the world cares about quality means maybe our idea of "quality" is skewed.
I was even more interested to see if the fact that even though there is a lot of white cane sugar in Italian food, high fructose corn syrup is rarely used.
In fact, the population in Italy consumes less than 1 pound of it per person per year (4). Compare that to the 35 pounds per year the average American takes in (5)!
Okay, enough of the research.
What did my time here teach me?
The first week, I was in full "vacation mode." Eating out for almost every meal, gelato at least once a day, and skipping breakfast.
I didn't work out because at that point I was allowing a week off since my training was vigorous for a solid 4 months leading up to coming here.
Plus, I wasn't sure if I was going to join the local gym or not and wanted to check it out before "settling" for using the staircase in the hallway to our apartment. It's 98 steps, by the way.
The second week, I could feel it.
My normally-low-carb body was in full revolt with bloating and breakouts galore.
The reintroduction of excessive white sugar was definitely the culprit, in my opinion.
Because of these crappy feelings, I began inventing HIIT workouts on the stairs and turning it into my little gym.
I went to the local market and got fresh, preservative-free cheeses & meats and lots of produce.
Another great thing on the produce: Italians are snobs about eating in-season.
So a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of peaches was €2 since they're a summer fruit, whereas apples were closer to €5 per kilogram.
Still way cheaper than America for ANYTHING organic, in-season or not. But it's cool to see that most farmers refuse to even sell things that aren't in-season.
Cooking the freshest in-season produce
Cooking for myself definitely helped.
I made sure to remember probiotics and prebiotics daily, only discoverable here in the form of full-fat yogurt and the tub of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides I brought along with me (thanks, Sarah!).
I still ate out plenty of times, mind you.
Lots of GF pizza. And gelato was still a very regular occurrence.
But here's the interesting part: those HIIT sessions invigorated me. Walking everywhere rarely felt like a chore. I began loving the constant movement.
I ate until I was full, and then some.
If I was exhausted from visiting 2 museums and rehearsing Shakespeare and writing too much all in one day, I let myself not worry about missing a workout.
This resulted in the 3-5 times a week exercise schedule.
Sure, I lost some muscle since I wasn't lifting weights like back home.
But my core is much stronger now from the functional nature of the workouts I've been doing. My acne went away and the bloating reduced.
My clothes still fit, so I haven't gained that much weight, if any.
I'm actually scared the number went down because of muscle loss... I was very hypertrophic from over-training when I got here.
My abs are hiding a little more than my first week, but honestly not as much as I'd expected.
And you know what?
My mental state is better than ever.
I love the routine I've got at home: I kick ass on a primal diet there. But I needed this break more than I knew.
Italy taught me how to enjoy dessert again without guilt.
But I strongly feel that the simplicity, care, and quality put into food production in this country made all the difference between how I do feel and how crappy I would be feeling if I ate like this regularly at home.
I've eaten like this before in the States.
It's called the no-diet plan.
Or if you're on one, IIFYM.
And I was always depleted, constantly had cravings, and got irritable very easily. My brain got foggy.
Maybe because I was eating pounds of HFCS without meaning to. Maybe because I wasn't exercising for stimulation and health.
But whatever it was, I've never felt this good on a lifestyle considered so "unhealthy" back home.
Here, I've filled a journal and written more than 30 letters just on this trip.
Again, I credit the food quality and lack of hormones, GMOs, and preservatives.
I'm luckily very in tune with my body and am a hippie snob with chemicals as a result.
But you can take from my n=1 experience what you will. :)
(1) Tropia, C. (September 28, 2015). "No a 8 produtti ogm, l'Italia contro l'Ue." il Salvagente Test. Retrieved from https://www.testmagazine.it/2015/09/18/no-a-8-prodotti-ogm-litalia-contro-lue/2714/?v=cd32106bcb6d
(2) Shireen. (March 10, 2013). "GMO timeline: a history of genetically-modified foods." GMO Inside Blog. Retrieved from http://gmoinside.org/gmo-timeline-a-history-genetically-modified-foods/
(3) n.a. n.d. "Italy." FAO Corporate Document Repository. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y1669e/y1669e0a.htm
(4) n.a. (December 4, 2012). "Countries with the greatest use of high-fructose corn syrup also have more diabetes." Yahoo! News. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/news/countries-greatest-high-fructose-corn-syrup-more-diabetes-182823674.html?ref=gs
(5) Gucciardi, A. (June 2, 2012). "Americans eat 35 lbs of 'stupidity' linked high fructose corn syrup on average." Natural Society. Retrieved from http://naturalsociety.com/americans-eat-35-lbs-high-fructose-corn-syrup-average/
(6) n.a. n.d. "home." Pranzo Fresh Italian Food to go. Retrieved from http://www.pranzo.uk
(7) n.a. (2016). "Our passion." Gelato Giuliana. Retrieved from http://www.gelatogiuliana.com