Tag Archives: nutrition

Men’s Health : A Decade by Decade Primer

Shawna and her best Man Magnus

You want to live a long and happy life? Live right by the decade you are in!

Happy Father’s Day to each and every one of you!

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed a wonderful day that was all about YOU!

How appropriate to reach out to you now with a new post this month, because not only is June representative of Father’s Day, it just so happens to be Men’s Health Month too! All the more reason to devote some time to reach out to all of you at HeadsUp Dad!

There’s an expression that says: “You are only as old as the Man you feel”. Wouldn’t you agree that a man’s quality of life is determined by how healthy he feels? At least that was the comment I received recently from both my father and my brother. They went on further to say that ultimate health to them does not mean resembling “The Rock” or simply exuding a fantastic physical shape, but that health is far more all encompassing than that. Feeling vital and virile is about a lot of things—maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, supplementing smartly, being active with lots of stamina and putting in a good performance. Being fully engaged at work while also having the energy left over at the end of the day to make a meaningful contribution to your family life and certainly to exude a sense of self confidence through good times and bad. Wow—that’s not a lot to expect is it? Is it? How insightful. It got me thinking. We expect a lot out of you guys, not just in your youth, but throughout your whole life, so are you going to be man enough from here to eternity or what?

Kidding aside, the more I thought more about it, the more it occurred to me that life happens in fairly broad stages—doesn’t it? Decade by decade, your life, the demands placed on you and your own personal needs evolve.The roaring twenties so to speak, the thriving thirties, the “making it all happen” forties and the disease fighting fifties and so on. In order to sustain a long and healthy life, it might be worth at taking a look at what is really ideal for a man to concentrate on within each decade, so you can be your best and perform at optimum health, no matter what your age. Ready?

The Roaring Twenties:
For you guys in your twenties, savor the decade! You’re most likely very active, busy and full of energy, so feed the need. This is the time when you can generally out eat your older brethren and not see an ounce of evidence! You can afford slightly higher calorie/fat foods like nuts/seeds, cheeses, dried fruit and egg yolks with the exception of highly processed and deep fried foods of course. More calories doesn’t mean poor calories. You will also need more lean protein like chicken, lean meat, seafood, eggs and beans. And seeing as heart disease begins early, I would encourage eating fatty fish like salmon at least once or twice a week! Its a terrific source of Omega 3’s (Essential Fatty Acids) that are good for the brain, your heart and the prostate.

 

Thriving in your thirties:
Now that real life comes along in the thirties, a home, career and family probably eat up your daily agenda and you’re less likely to be throwing a football with your buddies in your not so spare time. So if you find that your activity has slowed down a little bit, remember that your appetite surely hasn’t! In order for you to keep your pant buttons from popping off, I suggest getting in the habit of eating more often. Instead of eating big, gorging meals a few times a day, consider about 4 or 5 healthy smaller ones. Less is really more.

 

Fab Forties
In your forties, you’re still feeling young and fantastic as you’re able to keep all of your plates in the air, but you also may notice that your health care practitioner is beginning to discuss your longevity and how to begin to pave the way to good heart health, strong bone density, hormonal health etc. Perhaps making a concerted effort to eat more soluble fiber is a good start such as peas, potatoes, apples and brown rice. Fiber acts like a sponge in the body and likes to soak up cholesterol. Your forties is the time to take heart disease seriously, especially of it runs in your family. So work your way up to 35mg/day of soluble fiber and consider adding Vitamin D to your daily supplement arsenal to encourage bone growth, strengthen immunity and improve circulation. Also, really try to work out hard with a well designed exercise program at least 3 times a week.

 

Fighting fifties:
Being in your fifties is about disease busting! Noshing on antioxidants such as colorful veggies and consuming plenty of blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries is a great way to add disease fighting antioxidants to your body. Be sure to cut down on sugar and fat and to remain as active as possible.

 

Six Oh! Oh My!
In your sixties and beyond, now your body really begins to tally the score. It takes a good look at how well you have taken care to preserve the temple in your earlier years. My best advice would be to wrap up all of the decades into one big healthy bow. Embrace active living, eat lean proteins daily to help counter losses in muscle mass, keep an antioxidant rich diet that is very low in fat and sugar and eat plenty of fiber every day.

 

As you can see, each life stage has its own nutritional emphasis. No matter what age group you are in, start now to make some healthy changes so you can cruise through each decade with strength and vigor.

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions. Your comments and concerns are always welcome—and I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time: eat well, stay fit.

SH

 

Tips to help your kids to the head of the class

Greetings my favorite Dads!

I sincerely hope that you have each enjoyed a fabulous Holiday season and are looking forward to a happy and healthy New Year!

You guys are typically the first on my mind when it comes to the various materials I compile to discuss on my blogs, and I know that we have extensively looked into proper supplementation for you as vital, healthy men! But I’d like to change gears and help educate you on what I feel are the ideal nutrients for your growing child! There are four that I believe are critical, not only for their well being but for their academic performance too!

Learning takes energy. Today’s lifestyles are on the fast track. Your child hits the books in the classroom, attends extra curricular activities right afterwards and has nightly homework. Like you, this hectic schedule can make a daily proper diet rather restrictive and sometimes close to impossible. What we do know as health professionals in the field is that poor nutrition accompanied by a lack of essential vitamins and minerals can seriously impede your child’s performance and productivity.

Incorporating more of the following nutrients into your child’s daily meals and snacks will help propel your favorite student to the head of class and feeling extra confident in their chosen activities.


B VITAMINS:

balance the mind and body by encouraging proper brain function, enhancing the immune system, supporting the nervous system and maintaining muscle tone. Whole grains, eggs and plenty of vegetables are great sources of B vitamins

CITRUS BIOFLAVANOIDS:
help build flexibility and fight infection by enhancing our immune system and maintaining proper hormone production. Encourage your children to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, tomato, peppers, mangoes and cantaloupe

VITAMIN D:
helps promote the development of healthy bones and teeth, aids thyroid function and improves circulation and immunity. Think of low fat dairy products, eggs, fish and some fortified cereals and beverages. Don’t forget green vegetables too and at least 20 minutes of daily sunshine exposure as much as possible especially in the Winter months!

IRON:
we wouldn’t have healthy blood or muscle tissue without iron. Nor would we have adequate energy production or a strong immune system. Look for terrific iron sources in eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and enriched breads and cereals. Legumes and nuts and seeds are also good sources. Taking extra vitamin C with iron rich foods really increases its absorption. So offer a glass of OJ to wash down their iron rich meal or snack.

ADEQUATE PROTEIN:
comprised of different amino acids, proteins are the basic elements of all of our bodily tissues. Hormones and enzymes are also composed of protein. We need good lean protein intake for muscle growth and repair. Nourish your child with low fat dairy products, lean meats, nut butters or low fat peanut butter, eggs and fish.

I am definitely not opposed to also supplementing your child’s diet with a high potency, high quality multivitamin and mineral designed especially for kids for extra assurance for good health. I am here for you guys and welcome any questions you may have in this area if you are in need of some more detailed information and direction.

Cheers to a tremendous 2011! Stay tuned, as there is a lot more expert advice on deck for you as you embark on your leanest and healthiest new year yet! I sincerely look forward to being a reliable and dependable confidante on your journey to improved health and fitness. Please reach out and say hello, I’d enjoy getting to know you better!

Until then, train hard, eat smart and be happy!

SH

Vitamins and Supplements for Optimal Health and Vitality

Optimal Health and Vitality

photo courtesy of Peter Argue

Are you looking to optimize your Health and Vitality?

I’m sure you have heard it. There are those that believe that taking any extra nutritional supplement is a very quick way to flush down expensive urine, and that all that our bodies nutritional requirements can come from the food we eat.

But vitamins and minerals are essential to life, and if we are not getting at least the recommended daily allowance of these micronutrients, our immunity and vitality is definitely compromised. Busy lives, high stress, illnesses, medications, poor diet and lifestyle habits or ANY one of the above can wreak havoc on our body systems. Therefore, let’s be safe, and add a few key supplements to your good health arsenal. Alongside a proper diet, exercise and a positive attitude, here are my recommendations. And please know, that the following supplements are generally extremely safe, but with any new addition to your daily regimen, always check with your physician to make sure there aren’t any contraindications to your present health profile.

Consider adding these top supplements to your daily diet:

A good quality men’s multi vitamin and mineral

Taking a daily multi is a good way to help reduce your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and even stroke. A multi can help slow down the aging process, increase energy and boost the immune system. When you look for the men’s multi that best suits your needs, consider your age and overall level of health, and look for one with little or no iron. Men are at an increased risk of heart disease if/when they take too much iron. Centrum Silver is a good bet because it’s totally free of iron. And please remember to take your daily mutli after a big meal. Without a lot of food, a multi vitamin can nauseate you.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s):

Omega 3-6-9 are called essential fatty acids because our bodies do not produce them, so we have to supply them. A good blend of “good fats” is integral for health as they help restore energy, aid in healthy hormonal balance (keeping a healthy level of testosterone is vital for optimal health), maintain good cardiovascular health and have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. And they also have an anti-inflammatory response in most of our body systems and especially aid in better joint health. Find a supplement that combines all 3 of the EFA’s so that you are assured a good combination of each. I like Udo’s Oil. This can be found in any good nutrition store.

Boron:

Take boron to protect your prostate. Most men do not get enough of this mineral. Not only does it fight cancer, it can improve memory and concentration too! With as little as 3mg a day, your prostate health can be protected. It’s a tough little mineral to find, but I know that GNC carries it. And if by chance you can’t find it, eat raisins and almonds and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods contain lots of boron.

Next week, I am going to change my emphasis from supplements for health to supplements for performance and muscular repair. I’ll offer tons of insight for increased muscle mass and lowered body fat.

Got questions or concerns about vitamins and supplements and your health??

Post your questions right here and I’ll do my best to get right back to you here in the Fitness Lab at HeadsUp Dad!

Shawna L. Marshall B.A.,BKin.,H.D

Three Easy Steps to Put Your Fitness Routine in Gear!

Spring has sprung!
and with it, come the shorts, t-shirts and the bulges that have taken over since last summer…

Do you want to get fit and in better shape but are not sure where to start?
I’m not only an experienced, professional trainer, I am also a sister and a friend to a few good men, and I have to say that I am increasingly aware of what a busy dad contends with on a daily basis. With all of the demands that you guys juggle each day, its no wonder all aspects of your well being feel depleted. It takes a lot of energy to be the modern professional, a husband, dad, coach, disciplinarian, appeaser and your average household handyman. I’m sure plenty of you dads out there want to get in better shape just to be able to handle it all!

Lucky you—it’s my pleasure to help you get back in the game of fitness!

Let’s face it, without a strong, healthy body and a confident and happy mind, you won’t be able to put your best foot forward. It’s very important that you do what it takes to be your best at work, at home and with the kids! The key to our longevity is due much less to our genetics and more about how we take care of ourselves right?
So, my best advice to get you up and moving and feeling better involve a few easy “starter tips.”
These tips will help sway your scale in the right direction and help build a stronger you:

First; try a carbohydrate-cycled diet.

Alternate between days of low carb (intake is below 50g/day) and moderate carb intake (times 1.5 with your bodyweight to get your approximate daily grams) to maintain your muscle and lessen your level of fat. Cycle the starchy carbohydrates only, and include as many fruits and vegetables as possible.

Second; Plan to weight train three times a week and “superset” your weight exercises.

Super setting means performing two exercises back-to back without rest in-between. A good way to do this technique is by super setting opposite muscle groups like chest and back, and your arm muscles like biceps and triceps. I assure you, you’ll burn more calories in less time!

And lastly; just MOVE!

Get outside, walk or jog whatever you want at least 3 times a week at a moderate intensity for over 30 minutes. Include the dog, kids and/or your significant other. Exercising together is a great way to increase fitness and family fun!

So what are you waiting for?

Building a healthy, strong body doesn’t just happen over night! You need to empower yourself by setting realistic goals and begin with the good old fashioned basics. Clean up your diet, move some iron and get your heart pumping. I’ll be here with you along the way, and I’ll check in often to see how you are doing.

Stay tuned because next time, I will share the 3 most common fitness myths with you!

I’m simply determined to get you started off on the right foot!

Got questions? Comments? Specific requests?

Post a comment here and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Shawna L. Marshall B.A.,BKin.,H.D

Welcome to the Fitness Lab at HeadsUpDad

Hey guys!

Welcome to Headsup Dad, the latest and greatest online community of highly engaged and active dads! My name is Shawna Hamilton, and I run the FitnessLab here at Headsup Dad HQ.

Because our daily lives are typically very busy, it is easy to sympathize and to understand how getting in shape and staying fit may have slipped to the lower end of our priority list. In addition, our hectic pace begins racing even more with the introduction of kids and modern family life. I totally get it. But it is still no excuse for not making your personal fitness an important goal!

As you achieve improved health in both mind and body, you’ll notice how much better you are at addressing the myriad of challenges facing your life as a busy and active dad. Chances are, if you are reading this, you know this already and are wanting to learn how to do more. And how to do it more efficiently.

Rest assured, you’re in good hands my friends. It is my purpose to be here to help you.

Here within the pages of the FitnessLab,  I will be offering you expert guidance, opinions, critique and advice about overall health and wellness, with a specific focus on physical fitness. In fact, I will aim to cover all aspects of health. Including workout tips and tricks, diet and nutrition inclusive of vitamins and minerals and other supplements geared towards men’s health. You can believe that if its related to health and fitness, you’ll find it here.

So please join me in the FitnessLab, lets have some fun, get in shape and look good and feel better. If a healthy, engaged and active fatherhood is what you’re after, it all starts here!

I look forward to addressing your qualms and queries and also to kicking your butt!

Hello and Welcome!

Thanks for stopping by. We are really glad you are here and want you to know it.

If you are looking for a place to learn and grow as a person, a parent, a spouse, a partner, an employee, an entrepreneur or global citizen, you have come to the right place. HeadsUp Dad is here here for you.

Heads Up Dad is a support community for highly engaged and active Dads, wherever they may be. A resource pool of useful tools, interactive content, articles of interest and other illuminating stuff all designed to make the world a better place by helping Dads and Dads to be learn, grow and become the best we want to be.

Traditional Family dynamics have been changing over the years— so much so that modern day Fathers are increasingly evolving in their roles from traditional hunters and gatherers to become stay at home nurturers when the kids get sick, caregivers, support workers, cooks, cleaners, shuttlebus drivers, psycho-therapists, guidance counsellors and still, the charismatic and larger than life hero who is supposed to go out every day, change the world and bring home a paycheque.

To address the myriad of challenges facing Highly Engaged and Active Dads, this community was created to tap into the power of community and help us work together and collaborate to become the best each of us can be in all of our roles, whatever they may be.

This blog, and the new website (currently in development) will feature user generated content developed by a wide range of people from all walks of life and all corners of the world. Content will include useful tips and advice on everything from health and wellness to global awareness, environmental stewardship, money, relationships, education, music, arts and crafts, activities to do with your kids on a rainy day and everything in between.

Once we are up to speed, the site will offer expert opinion and critique offered by a unique panel of experts on everything from parenting a newborn to saving for your kids education, navigating the stormy seas of parenting alone, relationships, separation and divorce and more. There are features that allow users to tune in and watch video blogs hosted by parenting experts, contribute and share their own stories, adventures, parenting tips, ideas, photos, video and other content with family, friends and others within the community. It truly will become a one stop shop for everything a modern Dad needs to know about surviving and thriving as a Father, a spouse or a single Dad and raise kids successfully from conception to college and beyond.

If there is something you would like to talk about or a question, or a problem you would like to float to the community for discovery and exploration, go for it. Post a comment and let yourself be heard.

Go ahead, it is safe, secure, and you are among friends.