A Life regimenDr. Jeffry Life's prescription for a healthy and buff midlife and beyond:
Workout: Life recommends at least three weight and four cardio sessions per week: "Do some exercise you enjoy doing -- not something that you dread -- then push it. Work really hard at finding your comfort zone -- and stay out of it." Do aerobics with hard intervals, and push weights to failure (the point where you can push no more). If any exercise gets too easy, up the intensity and the weight; the harder you work, the more fat you burn all day long. (Body fat is taboo in Life's regimen because adipose tissue contains an enzyme, aromatase, that can break down testosterone.) Merely walking and doing a few reps won't cut it. Finally, to stay excited, try something new once in a while -- like karate.
Diet: Life eats five or six small meals a day. He avoids high-glycemic foods such as white rice, processed flour, white rice, pasta and bread. He eats no fried food and minimal potatoes, sticking to low-glycemic carbs, including all vegetables and fruit except for sugary ones like pineapple; occasionally, he eats yams and brown rice. He recommends eating protein with every meal but minimizing saturated-fat-laden protein such as red meat, dairy products and egg yolks if you have a family history of heart disease. Another recommendation: Drink plenty of water.
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Hormones: Life recommends checking your hormone, cholesterol and insulin levels every five years, ideally starting in your 20s. Declines in testosterone and human growth hormone come naturally with aging, and most doctors are content to leave it at that. Life, however, suggests finding an aggressive doctor whose advice goes beyond "exercise and eat better." Although most cases of low human growth hormone can be addressed through diet and hard training, he says, low testosterone usually requires a chemical solution, either in the form of a shot in the butt every two weeks or a daily patch or gel. Overall strategy: The first thing Life does with a new client is sit down and set goals for weight and exercise. Start by taking exact measurements of your body fat and weight.
"Take a 'before' photo -- just like 'The Challenge,' " Life says, referring to a contest he entered. "It'll make you look forward to taking the 'after.' "
-- Roy M. Wallack