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Looking for the summer Bod

Every Trick in the Book | Summer Body

Lockdowns, gyms closed, drinking more, cold weather, excuses? Not in the best shape but summer is coming? That's pretty much me. I need every trick in the book to get back into shape for Summer. So, Dad Bod to Summer bod? 

Easy 

In no particular order, here are some ideas to bring you back to that desirable hunk you once were. These are based on studies, my own experience in Ironman and half Ironman prep, a wider group of 25 part-time athletes in the range 48 - 59 years old, and split into things that make a difference and things you can do to motivate yourself.

Good luck.

Ratings are out of 10. "Impact", is our view on how effective this is, "Effort", is the amount of time to prepare and then get out there, not the actual exercise, and "Cost" is the cost of set-up, equipment purchase, etc.

Old Bull Summer Body Activities

 

Summer Body Preparation

1. Red wine vinegar

I do this. My tummy feels less bloated, but the weight side is harder to formally measure as it is not done in isolation. By hey, marginal gains and you need every trick in the book right?

The acetic acid in red wine vinegar may "support" weight loss. It reduces fat storage and increases weight burning, and reduces appetite amongst other things. It keeps the food in your tummy longer and delays the release of ghrelin, a hunger hormone. It also has a number of other benefits, but the key acetic acid research includes 2 studies, one large of 175 people and the other 39 people to support the above. 

Beware though, you run the risk of taking the enamel off your teeth, so dilute it with water and rinse afterward. Taste is pretty average when mixed with water.

If used over several years it can impact the digestive system. There is about 5-8% acetic acid by volume in red wine vinegar. 

Impact : 3/10

Effort : 1/10

Cost : 2/10 ($3-4 for a bottle)

How much : Tablespoon a day with water before meals

Risk of injury : 3/10 (Teeth)

Old Bull View : Yes. Maybe marginal gains but I need all the help I can get. Cost-effective and cheap and has other benefits.

2. Running

Yes, running, not walking, and don't roll your eyes because this is so Captain Obvious. You need to burn calories to lose weight. More calories than you are taking in.

Running is the winner of the "I was wondering how to burn the most calories in an hour" competition. The bonus is, you probably already own all the gear. 

What worked for me was instead of trying to fit in a 5K run here and a 10K run there. Try to at least 3 - 4 days a week. Pick a short distance to start. I started on 3K. Let your body get fit. Walk if you have to but commit to it. Mix it up by distance and speed.

Impact : 9/10

Effort : 6/10 

Cost : 1/10 (You should already own all the gear)

How much : Pick a distance. even 1k. Then commit to running that every day even if you walk some in the beginning. 1K should be around 6 mins and 3K up to 20 mins so don't say you don't have enough time. Cut the "Babes of Instagram" browsing time, easy.

Risk of injury : 5/10 Shoes, running surface, injury, and getting run over while crossing a road can all impact this. Ideally have more than one pair of shoes, make sure the shoes work for you, and mix it up when it comes to surfaces, i.e. try some trail running as well and look left and right before crossing the road. 

Old Bull View : Yes. It's harder than you think. Don't be too ambitious, build up.

3. Nutrition (9 kg in 30 days)

Another Captain Obvious. This is critical. You can't outrun your nutrition, but you also don't have to starve.

Simple rules for daily nutrition and do this 6 days with 1 day off, to remind your body of your old lifestyle. Time Ferriss wrote a great book called the 4-hour body and in this book, he refers to the Slow Carb diet. How to lose 9kg in 30 days.

I did it and I did. Loved the day off as well. You can either find and read his 4HB book here or broadly follow the below. What enjoyed about the 4-hour body book was the detailed and facinating research done to justify each recommendation. 

  • No sugar, not even in fruit
  • No dairy
  • No white food, think bread, pasta, and rice other than Cauliflower
  • 5 Almonds a day
  • Coke Zero and Diet coke OK
  • A glass of red wine a night OK
  • Vegetables OK
  • Limit olive oils
  • No fried food
  • Black coffee and tea
  • Protein powder within 30 minutes of waking

Reduce carbs or portion sizes. If you must eat carbs, try using a side plate to serve your meal on, it just fits less, and don't forget your body needs protein.

Counting calories, the MyFitnessPal App App is great for this, can help if you want to track intake. Largish old bulls make should need around 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day. Deficits generally help lose weight. Food diaries can be motivational and interesting to see what you are taking in and the punishment your body is going through as a result.

Impact : 10/10

Effort : 9/10

Cost : 1/10 (Potentially save money)

Risk of injury : 1/10   

Old Bull View : Yes. Done this and it works. Can make you more grumpy though.

4. Fasting

Intermittent fasting. Could be a daily 16-hour fast or 5:2 where you go hard 2 days a week. Personally, I found a daily 16-hour fast easier to manage, cutting out the morning snacking and I felt less hungry at lunchtime and less bloated having managed the morning hunger feelings. Also easier to manage when working normal office hours and taking 1-2 days a week off.

Fasting for a day or with very minimal calorie intake I found really challenging and became an unpleasant individual to be around. But if the shoe fits...

Get a fasting app. I use the Fastic App and it works well, Helps manage the time and for some strange reason, I felt more accountable to an app rather than just me. You can drink black tea and coffee, no sugar, and obviously water while you fast.

Reduced intake can mean reduced nutrients and protein. make sure you keep your protein up or risk the loss of muscle mass

Impact : 6/10

Effort : 6/10

Cost : 1/10 (if you pay for an App)

How much : At least 5, maybe 6 days a week

Risk of injury : 1/10  

Old Bull View : Yes, daily fast worked for us, even on days with exercise

5. Workouts (Not just any exercises)

Not all exercises are born equal. Men tend to ignore this. Doctors tell you to take it easy and quite frankly workout sessions can be often hard and unpleasant. So the range is from CrossFit to a short stroll. If you are 50+, resistance training i.e. weights are critical to maintain and even maybe grow your muscle mass.

HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) sessions are also good for cardio and good for speed. So a combination to build and retain muscle mass combined with HIIT sessions is a great mix. As they say, if you want to run fast you need to run fast.

Using your muscles, different muscles, and pushing it 1 - 2 times a week is great, but maybe not for new starters or expect some injuries. I use this App to do timed sessions. This means setting up 40 seconds on 10 seconds off for 10 - 12 exercises and then 3 sets of 10 focusing each group on the lower body, upper body, and arms as an example and, 2 mins rest between sets.

Impact :7/10

Effort : 6/10 

Cost : 4/10 (Gym membership, weights, trainer, etc.)

How much : 1 - 2 times a week

Risk of injury : 6/10  

Old Bull View : Once you get fitter, can hold a 5K run together, and want to improve HIIT sessions are great. I do weights training twice a week which works for me 45 mins a session over lunch. Easier doing this during lockdown.

6. Cycling

On-road or mountain biking. Riding your E-bike doesn't count, but I like your thinking. Cycling is a little easier on the body than running on average unless you fall off but means more equipment and cost, and more time, think early mornings to avoid traffic. There is also the fact that early morning Tradies and MAMILs (Middle-aged men in lycra) don't mix well at the best of times.

The potential for small injury, more regularly, is there on the mountain bike. When it comes to road biking, while there is a lower risk, when it does happen, it can be pretty serious. Access to trails or reasonable roads you can ride on should also be considered carefully.

The upside is, there is a great social aspect to this and get used to using WhatsApp if you start cycling.

Impact : 8/10

Effort : 8/10 

Cost : 8/10 (Bike, clothes, shoes, lights, and the list goes on)

How much : 3-5 times a week

Risk of injury : 7/10  

Old Bull View : Yes, great to get out and get out with others. Distances and hill efforts ultimately determine its effectiveness.

7. Drinking water before meals

Drinking water helps with weight loss. Water can also help boost metabolism by up to 30% which means burning more calories with no calories in.

Drinking half a liter of water before a meal helps reduce calorie intake and increases weight loss by a massive 44% over those who didn't. This was in a study of middle-aged males over a 12-week period. The study is here. We are not sure beer has the same effect.   

Impact : 5/10

Effort : 1/10 (remembering to do this is the first challenge)  

Cost : 1/10 

How much : 500ml before dinner

Risk of injury : 1/10  

Old Bull View : No, but why wouldn't you?

8. Protein shakes

I won't labour this; we sell Old Bull protein and we do so because we know how important it is for over-fifties and middle age athletes to get enough protein and the impact on protein intakes of modern lifestyles and age.

Drinking a protein shake within 30 minutes of waking up, and then before or after exercise is ideal. You can read more on protein intake here. 

Impact : 5/10

Effort : 2/10  

Cost : 4/10 

How much : Within 30 minutes of waking or before, or after exercise. Understand your protein needs first.

Risk of injury : 1/10   

Old Bull View : Yes, as you age this is key. We do this, in fact, we thought it was so important we found the best fit protein for middle-aged men and started a business around it.

9. Sleep

Sleep is important to reset every night. A study found that when dieters reduced sleep over 14 days, their fat loss was reduced by 55%. They also felt hungrier and less satisfied. So 7 - 9 hours a night, and you can read the "Sleep More, Weigh Less" supporting article from WebMD here.

Impact: 6/10

Effort : 6/10  

Cost : 1/10 

How much : 7 - 9 hours a night

Risk of injury : 1/10   

Old Bull View : Yes, and you will feel the difference. Booze, large meals and prostate glands however don't always help.

10. Meditating

If you can meditate, great. You need a quiet place for around 3 to 10 minutes. Sit or lie down and meditate. Mindfulness sessions help manage eating habits and even how you feel about your weight. There are a lot of meditation Apps out there and anecdotally have many friends who swear by them. So if it is or maybe your thing, here is some info for starters. 

Impact: 5/10

Effort : 4/10  

Cost : 1/10 

How much : 3 - 10 minutes

Risk of injury : 1/10   

Old Bull View : No, haven't tried it but heard a lot of good things. I have the concentration span of a goldfish. never gonna work for me.

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Motivational gifts

Motivation

A. Training & fitness tracker Apps

Downloading a diet, or fitness app is a step. Keep in mind, you then have to use it to get the benefit. If you are committed, know what you need to do, and have good willpower you are probably fine. I'm not big on apps but have a lot of mates who are, many of whom use and have had success with the Noom app. I tried it and got the shits with some AI telling me what to do and trying to be my friend, and it gets expensive once the free trial is up.

Other training apps worth looking at with some free options are the Nike App and the Peloton App

Impact on motivation: 3/10

Effort : 2/10 (You still actually have to do stuff)

Cost : 3/10 (Few are free, most have a free trial and then you pay)

Old Bull View : I use Strava, Garmin Connect, and Zwift. For the rest, nothing a pen and paper or a spreadsheet can't solve. But if it works for you, great.


B. Enter something

Find an event, a run, cycle, swim, whatever, and pay the money. I need a mission for training, events provide just that. Just ensure it is a big enough goal to warrant your training attention and that you have enough time to train. The benefit of entering an event includes:

  • Creating training focus
  • Driving this training to a timeline
  • facilitating training with others
  • Motivating you to get moving
  • The test to see how well you trained

Cancel culture hasn't helped events in recent times. I still haven't done a70:3 Ironman I entered in 2019. This has now been rescheduled to 2022, and I wonder if that will even happen then. 

Impact on motivation: 5/10

Effort : 4/10 (But you actually need to train and do it) 

Cost : 5/10 (Travel and accommodation can make this even more if required)

How much : Try plan 3 - 6 months max out

Old Bull View : Yes, Harder to train without a clear objective sometimes. Usually helps motivate to train and follow a program.


C. Buy something

Get motivated with the purchase of some gear. New bike, new running shoes, water bottle, etc. Works for some people, especially those who love shopping or researching, and yes if you have spent some money, you are likely to feel guilty if you don't use it. 

If you did want to do this, some exercise and sweat-friendly earphones are a great reward. Bluetooth is essential and ideally wired not in-ear. The wire can be a pain but if someone calls it's easier to hold the microphone closer to your mouth so they can actually hear you rather than the birds singing. I have used Powerbeats for years and while they do hold up well when sweated on, they are a tad pricey. Use QANTAS points if you have them, as I have in the past. But the quality is there. I find Apple ear pods can fall out and crack easily when bouncing down a footpath, but the sound is there. Just don't try to take a call outside with the ambient noise. 

Whatever you do. Do NOT buy an armband phone holder or risk a life of ridicule and being called "Armband" at the pub. If you need something I have used Spibelts for years but generally just put the phone in my pocket.

Impact on motivation: 5/10

Effort : 3/10 (But you actually need to train and do it) 

Cost : 7/10 

How much : About $200 - $300 excluding travel & accommodation

Old Bull View : Helps with motivation. If you need it a smallish price to pay to get you moving and healthy.


D. Buy "ambition" sized clothes

Buy a shirt, pants, or even exercise gear that is the size you want to get to, as a reward.

Or you could just set fire to your cash. Worst idea ever. I would probably forget I had bought it. Having loose fitting clothes as you lose weight is a big enough reward. 

Impact on motivation: 1/10

Effort : 3/10  

Cost : 5/10 

How much : Don't do it

Risk of injury : 8/10 (When your partner finds out you have pissed away dollars on something that doesn't fit.  

Old Bull View : Send us the money rather


E. Buy a multisport watch

You absolutely should get a multi-sport watch. These are phenomenal, the tech is amazing, and can track everything from sleep to exercise, daily steps as well as things like VO2 max and lactate threshold. They can also manage training programs and most will sync to Strava and various other devices.

What gets measured gets done. While the  Apple Watch is great, it is more of a "health" watch in my view. Multi-sport watches are tough and exercise-focused. 

I have owned many sports watches since the early 2000s including Nike, Polar and, Garmin. I currently use a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. It does everything I need  and is tough as nails, I mountain bike, run, do ocean swims, and do cardio workouts with it and it still looks like new.

The feature I love is Garmin Pay, so I can buy a coffee after a cycle or run without needing to carry a card. But they are expensive and some might even consider them overpriced. DC rainmaker does excellent reviews on these, I would suggest considering the following and these are the links to the DC rainmaker detailed reviews. Garmin Fenix 6 series, Polar, who in recent years have come back with a decent range after being out in the wilderness for a while. The Polar Vantage is reviewed here. Wahoo, famous for smart trainers and bike computers, has the Wahoo Rival.

Impact on motivation: 6/10

Effort : 5/10  

Cost : 8/10 

Old Bull View : You need one, you just don't know it yet

F. Buy a scale. Weigh everyday

What gets measured gets done. if you are serious about weight loss get a scale. I used Qantas points and got a Garmin Index Smart scale. It updates automatically to Garmin Connect. probably wouldn't buy one again, read the reviews and they are true, it drops profiles so I have to keep on setting these up which is a pain. Also battled to connect and set up the rest of the family profiles. 

Before this I had a Withings Smart scale for years, it worked well just lost some of the connectors and the software couldn't upgrade. But worked really well and would consider it when the Garmin irritates me enough. 

Impact on motivation: 5/10

Effort : 5/10   

Cost : 5/10 

How much : Weigh at the same time every morning when on a weight-loss mission

Old Bull View : Yes, start to track overtime


G. Self talk

This is called self-motivation. Go to sayings or quotes, maybe from your dad or famous people. Things to remind you to keep going when your resolve starts to shake.

For example, the human body rates self-preservation very highly. When you exercise, especially for longer periods the brain comes up with phenomenal excuses to stop. My favourite is when I suddenly start to have thoughts about old injuries and how they could re-occur. These usually start after an hour and I know how to recognise them for what they are.

When you get these thoughts you are not even close to done, most likely at around 60-70% of what you are capable of. The body just likes to preserve whatever it can.

If you can't convince yourself, this might be the only solution left for you this summer. (8 tricks to looking slimmer in a swimsuit)

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 You can find Part I which is the intro to Summer Body Contruction podcast here or go straight to part II below. All Old Bull health Jem & Donny Podcasts can be found here.

 

 

 

Conclusion

There is no magic here. Find motivation, move more, and put the right things into your body. Apparently you can drink beer. Then look good on the beach in summer, take your shirt off at the pub and live longer. 

The graph below is a loose interpretation of the above, mapping effort and cost with the size of the circle showing impact. So Low, effort, low-cost left-hand bottom quadrant with the largest possible circle. After that, it moves to motivation and passion.

Result mapping

You can check out our Old Bull Protein here. Whey Protein Isolate (95%) pure, high in leucine for muscle maintenance, no sugar added, and all-natural vanilla flavour in monthly use 1KG pouch including scoop.

Old Bull Protein Details

 

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