Short. Sweet. Immediately applicable. Sometimes it's fun to drop the heavy scientific jargon and endless explications and just deliver the bare factoids and helpful tips. So let's do it!
1 – For Healthy Joints, Consume More Fish and Less Vitamin C
Are your joints nagging you after years under the iron? You may want to consider a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement and fish oils, all of which have at least some research suggesting benefits regarding cartilage. I always keep fish oil capsules on hand and get in about 3 grams of EPA/DHA per day.
Also, new research suggests that long term overuse of vitamin C may be a culprit, or at least contributor, to osteoarthritis, so be careful there. For more info on the possible drawbacks of getting too much C, see my article here.
2 – Try Protein + Caffeine for Pre-Cardio Fuel
Should morning cardio be performed on an empty stomach or not? Well, here's what I like to do: Add a half-scoop of protein to a cup of java an hour before mild to moderate morning cardio. This will help you attack stored fat directly, before the lingering protective effects of insulin get involved.
The small amount of protein (about ten grams) may actually help combat cortisol (a potential morning problem especially when coffee is involved) and preserve muscle mass without jacking your insulin too high.
3 – Embrace the Broccoli
If you're scared of cancer, try cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. These vegetables contain phytochemicals called indoles, which are no joke when it comes to combating cancer risks.
Besides, all these veggies are great (but admittedly gassy) additions to lower-carb dinners and a physique-conscious lifestyle.
4 – Buy Frozen Berries and Eat A Lot of Them
Frozen berries can be found year-round in discount grocers, are loaded with recovery-bolstering anti-oxidants and don't really differ from fresh berries in nutritional value. As a bonus, they can cool a steaming bowl of hot oatmeal in about 30 seconds. What are you waiting for?
5 – Look at Your Arms to Evaluate Your Diet
Stubbornly small upper arms? Maybe it's your diet. The upper arm has long been a gross indicator of overall nutritional status and is even checked in some clinical settings to assess dietary adequacy!
Think about it. Your arms don't bear your body weight all day. That relative lack of muscle-protective stimulus risks pipe cleaner status during aggressive dieting. Some guys really benefit from a scheduled week of more liberal, muscle-filling carbs scheduled every 6-8 weeks during calorie-restrictive or low-carb dieting.
6 – Plan Your Cardio Ahead
Many people find themselves stagnated after a few weeks of starting cardio and dietary fat loss efforts. This may be due in part to falling leptin and thyroid (T3) crushing your metabolism. One approach to getting out of the rut is to plan ahead for that ever-slowing metabolic rate.
Schedule in 15 additional minutes of cardio every four weeks. You might want to try starting at 30 minutes of treadmill, then 45 minutes, then 60 minutes and even one last jump to 75 minutes for serious situations like competition.
Beware of getting too lean and rebounding, however. No one needs to yo-yo diet for something frivolous and temporary like spring break!
7 – Add Pineapple to Your Chicken!
Sick and tired of chicken breasts? Me too. Here's a ridiculously fast fix for that plain dry hunk of meat: Buy a can of pineapple rings in light syrup (or their own juice) and slap one onto your grilled chicken. Place the whole deal on a 100% whole wheat bun and you're good to go. The moisture and flavor added by the pineapple are surprisingly powerful!
To perk up the color, sprinkle the meat with parsley flakes. It sounds, er, fruity, but presentation really helps dietary compliance.
Keep It Simple
Try a few of these simple tips out and let me know how they worked for you!