Tag Archive: alcohol



A rather significant portion of men over 40 is on some form of anti-depressant medication…so let’s discuss in this article what you can do as an over 40 male to avoid this trap which is destroying many lives out there.

Click here to watch video “Dealing with depression – for the over 40 guy”

Pressure from family, work and life is ever rising in the race to make more and more money. Time is at a premium and the first thing sacrificed is nearly always looking after our bodies. Then add unhealthy eating and the use of alcohol/smoking to the mix and this becomes the perfect recipe for impending disaster waiting to go off like a time-bomb. The first signals we get about impending doom is when depression strikes. This is screaming at you that something is seriously wrong. But what do we do? We grab at pills just to medicate the symptom ignoring the fact that this was a signal screaming at full pitch at us. But our hectic 21 century lives have made us deaf to this voice of our body…we just throw down more and more pills to numb us more and more until the time-bomb eventually explodes and destroys everything in its path creating pain and suffering for all we loved and cared about. Sounds melodramatic? Maybe, but the sad part is that this is very true!

I’ve come very close to this point in my life. I’ve learned how to avoid it and thought I would share with you my approach on how to handle depression when you are an older guy.

 

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They key to good mental health for the over 40 guy, starts with a fit body. This is the biggest single contributor to good mental health. We were not created to be sedentary beings and inactivity brings about a lack of all the hormones we require for a healthy mind. These feel-good and uplifting hormones are only released through physical activity and some only through intense physical activity. This can make us feel on top of this world! Without these hormones depression is a given. But the problem is that, when we are in that dark place of depression, the hardest thing is to gather the motivation to get ourselves to the gym. So, what do I do? This is something I have addressed in various of my videos. For me getting to gym and working out is elevated to the same priority as getting to work in the morning. If I do not have a sick certificate I get to work and I GET TO GYM. You do not have an option to not go to work if you’re depressed or not feeling like it! The exact (!) same apply to my gym. It is not a matter off whether I feel like it or whether I am down or not in the mood or not motivated! I just get in the car, drive to gym, put on my workout clothes and my headphones, select my Spotify playlist “GERTFITNESS WORKOUT #1” and start doing my first set. And then the next set and the next. And man, many times I have found that, that was one of my best workouts. And I ALWAYS walk out there positive and feeling great because I have done what I need to do to get my brain filled with the much needed hormones to lift my mood and give me a positive frame of mind. Off course I could have stayed at home feeling sorry for myself because of my depressive state but now I feel positive and uplifted. Nothing comes close to lifting your frame of mind to a positive state like a good intense workout. The key to it all is to elevate your training’s priority setting to the same as that of your job’s priority. It is NOT an option to bail out unless you have a sick certificate.

Want my training and diet approach customised for you? You can signup here: https://gertlouw.com/my-transformation-secrets/

Note here: Inspiring tunes can make an incredible difference to help you endure an intense workout when you struggling with a depressive frame of mind. Do not underestimate the power of music. I have created my Spotify playlist specifically for this purpose. (You can find it on Spotify by just searching “GertFITNESS WORKOUT #1”. I have made it a collaborative playlist so if there is a rocking tune you think should belong in this playlist please feel free to add it!)

 

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Now just to remind you, I have reason more than most to be depressed. Nearly died at 40 and given a bad prognosis for my future health. Then at 46 I nearly lost my business. And at 53 an even closer call with death with near complete liver failure as result of drinking dirty water, keeping me for long in hospital and out of gym for a full 12 months seeing all my hard work on my body of the past 13 years going to waste and pretty much had to start over at age 54. This is much reason to be depressed…believe me. But having a system in place where the priority I allocate to gym is non-negotiable and not depending on mood or frame of mind or whether I feel like it, means I get to gym for a great workout and every-time the resultant feel-good hormonal release prevents me from slipping into a depressive state. If it was not for this non-negotiable gym rule I would have been in a serious depressive state.

You don’t “need” motivation. You simply need to put in place this non-negotiable workout rule and elevate working out to the same priority level as rocking up for your job. EXACTLY THE SAME. You only miss your workout if you miss your job that day!

 

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Then off course there are other smaller things I put in place to keep the darkness of depression from engulfing me.

Let me give you a quick rundown:

  1. The first thing any guy suffering from depression should do is to get his blood testosterone levels checked by a Urologist. You must ensure that your levels are healthy. If not you MUST go on TRT therapy. Low test levels in males WILL result in severe depressive states and many other health risks. TRT therapy plays a definite role in a positive mindset in a man.
  2. Alcohol is glue for depression! Thinking you need an unwinding glass of wine after a hectic day is only a good idea if you are faaaaar from a depressive state. Otherwise it will have the opposite effect and pull you much quicker into depression. Plus, that glass of alcohol will most certainly mean you will miss your workout session as well. Plus, the alcohol is not doing you any good with your body fat levels meaning more negative thought patterns because you are missing your goal with loosing body fat. Thus if red lights are flickering because of a lingering depression, steer CLEAR from alcohol. Any overuse of any stimulant (including caffeine), should be avoided because that will result in a “valley” mood (after the peak) which will elevate a depressive state.
  3. You cannot expect your brain chemicals to be healthy when feeding your body junk! Your 2nd line of action after getting yourself regularly to gym is sorting out your diet. Lots of fresh veggies, fresh fruit, moderate carbs and fat free protein with some good oils (virgin olive, coconut, peanut butter, etc…) and no carbonated drinks! A good sample diet to start is here: https://gertlouw.com/2017/09/08/free-cutting-building-diets-for-a-ripped-muscled-physique/
  4. Gert Louw BLACK SHIRT.JPGSerious emotional issues are your worst enemy in your fight against depression. I know life is not easy. Divorce, death of a loved one, serious sickness, retrenchment, financial trouble, all is very real and all can destroys lives. But all of this can also bring out the best in you. It can let you rise up and become a hero and role model that many people can look up to and not just transform your life but even those around you. Or it can mean you become just another statistic of a person absorbed by severe depression. It is all in how you decide to handle what you are facing. This is your time now, to rise up and become that person you have dreamed off, to be the best version of you ever, to be the hero and role model everyone is looking at for inspiration. No, it is not easy. Nothing worth in life is EVER easy…but it is always a 1000 times over worth it.
  5. Off course I use some basic supplements for a healthy and positive mind. They are:

Vitamin B12 injection once a month for optimal nerve system functioning (read this link on a vitamin B12 study regarding its use as an anti-depressant): American Journal of Psychiatry)

5-HTP – natural option for upping serotonin levels.

Vitamin D –a deficiency in vitamin D will feel very much like depression.

Last but not least…and I know many will shrug this off. But, I find my greatest comfort in my faith following Jesus Christ. If there ever was someone that walked this earth that was the epitome for living the great adventure of life positively, being kind and caring and depression free, then it was the example Jesus Christ showed us. So, you might think this is opium for the masses stuff…but boy what opium it is! This alone has the ability to transform many aspects of your life and keep you depression free with a lust for life. Ask me…I know!

So guys, whatever you are facing, there are always choices we can make on how we going to deal with this. In each of us there is greatness, that is the way God created us. This is your time to look into yourself and unlock that greatness. Depression is just an alarm bell…listen to the alarm clock and change what needs to be changed.

May your journey be blessed.

Gert Louw

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Over 40 training and joint pain – what to do?

Click here to watch video “Over 40 Ultimate guide for dealing with join pains”

This is very familiar territory for every over 40 guy. We nearly all struggle with joint and tendon pains.

Some of us accept defeat and enter potbelly territory. Well if are you like me, then we refuse to accept even the word “defeat”. It is not in our vocabulary.

But we cannot ignore the aches and pains. So how do we deal with it?

First, the fact is, it IS good, very good, for the over 40 body to be involved in resistance training. That has been proven beyond any doubt by many science studies.

We must just find a way of dealing with the “problem” and not too simply, give up! Dealing with it involves wisdom and quite a few things that we need to do to effectively relief the pain.

Before we start discussing what must be done, remember – NEVER train through pain. You will make whatever the problem is MUCH worse. As you get older you will have to regularly change your exercises and even your whole workout approach and regimen to periodically side-step pains and aches in tendons, joints and back. This is a given. BUT…never, ever, stop training because of pain…adapt and change. Always keep training with what you can do, even if it means a total different temporary training approach.

Joint pain (and tendon pain) is not just simply a result of training heavy. MANY factors play a role.

Let’s go through the list of the things you need to do to relief/avoid tendon/joint pain:

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TRAINING

  1. You must have a cutting (lighter weights, higher reps per set) and building (lower reps with higher weights) phase in place to allow regular “rest” periods for the tendons/joints. Phase lengths should be roughly 3 months each.
  2. Consider training lighter for a 6-month to a year period if you struggle with a serious tendon/joint issue.
  3. Very important – never bend your hand upward or downward when lifting, but keep it all times in a straight line with the for-arm. Bending the hand during heavy lifting places undue strain on the elbow via strained tendons. Keeping the hand straight keep all tendons at equal strain.
  4. Bench pressing should be performed with the overhand position with bar resting on the thumb area (bottom) of the palm so that there is no pressure on the wrist. (The place where the bar lies on the hand must be in a straight line with the whole arm to ensure that no strain is on wrist.)
  5. Use special straps to relief strain on the wrist. I will show example in the video. A simple strap fastened around the wrist with a rubber palm grip which can be wrapped around heavy weights. This allows for near zero strain on the wrist joint. This is especially helpful with pull ups, shrugs and nearly all back and upper body exercises.

 

LIFESTYLE

  1. Yip you guessed it…NO SMOKING! Smoking makes the whole body functioning less optimally. It affects nearly everything in the body from the brain to the skin to the lungs to pains and aches that get much worse because of the smoking.
  2. The same goes for drinking. Light drinking (4 glasses wine per week) is max. But even for some this proves to be too much and result in joint pain. In quite a few cases people had to completely stop drinking alcohol in an attempt to get rid of the joint pains.
  3. Too little sleeping. Your body needs time to heal and repair. Too little sleeping rob it of this time. A good (6-8hrs) night rest will go a long way to help the body function optimally.

 

EATING

Our eating habits have a much bigger role to play in joint pain than you might think.

  1. Ensure that you drink enough filtered water per day (3L-6L). This helps washing out the toxins from the body. More toxins = more joint pain.
  2. Enough good oils. Apart from the fact that good oils (omega 3 & 6: peanut butter, olive oil, avocado, coconut) are critical for a healthy functioning hormonal system, it is also very important to help ease joint pain. Cutting out all good oils/fat from your diet will aggravate joint pain and result in low testosterone levels.
  3. You must ensure the body is in an alkaline environment with a PH of roughly 7. The more acidic the body gets, the more joint pain will be experienced, full stop. There are enough serious science studies to back this up. There are also many other advantages when you keep the body in an alkaline state. It has been proven to lessen your risk for cancer and supports a stronger immune system amongst others. On the next page there is a list of ALKALINE and ACIDIC foods to help you adjusting your diet. (A good starting point – lemon juice every morning and evening and cutting out wine and fizzy drinks. MANY people have gotten rid of their joints pains by simply changing their diet to a more alkaline one.)

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SUPPLEMENTS (natural)

  1. CQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10). This has been proven by various science studies to be a potent long term pain combatant. However, as with most natural approaches, this only starts working after more than 1 month of continuous usage. [I take 300mg in morning and 300mg at night.]
  2. Even more potent than CQ10, MSM (METHYLSULPHONYLMETHANE) has helped many people changing their lives. It is not a wonder pill but with long term use can significantly ease joint pain. Effective results only achieved after about 3-4 months of continuous use. [I take 400mg morning and 400mg evening]
  3. The 3rd one, eish…this took me some time to support it’s use – CANNABIS oil. I am old school and anything drug-related, even for medical reasons is pretty much “no-go” territory for me. This one took some serious mind changing for me. Eventually I just could not ignore study after study that supported various benefits of CANNABIS OIL. The oil, which contains a higher ratio CBD to THD, is rather harmless when compared to the psychotropic effects of smoking cannabis. It is the THD that result in all this bad effects and the oil has a CBD/THD blend of about 85/15 in most cases which make it mostly harmless. Even here in South Africa the studies are nearly concluded and it looks like we are mere months away from Cannabis Oil being available over the counter for medical purposes. Apart from lowering blood pressure, combating nausea, helping with sleep and fighting cancer, it is actually a potent pain relief substance. 250-raw-cbdAfter about 3 weeks use the body reach a saturation point and then the real pain relieving properties kicks in. If you can get past the mind barrier of taking something that is closely drug related then this could have a drastic positive pain relief impact. And believe me it is not so easy getting past this “mind barrier” for us older folks…but it can be done…I took the plunge. The end result for me – less pain and drastic better sleeping at night. Also drastically lower blood pressure. [I take 1 drop morning, 1 drop afternoon and 5 drops before bed]. Cannabis oil (CBD/THD) has some very interesting medical applications. Some of the claims the cannabis groupies make is not backed up at all by science but some actually are, especially with the latest studies. I think this warrant a future article to give some more insight into this new emerging product (emerging…well at least in the medical mainstream community that is!).

 

MEDICATION

This is a territory you want to avoid. Yes, you can take anti-inflammatory meds, but this is hard on kidneys/liver/stomach and definitely NOT a long term solution.

The last resort and sometimes a necessary route is arthritis medication. There are various types depending on the severity and type of arthritis. A well know anabolic steroid, Deca-Durabolin, is known for its anti-arthritis / joint pain properties. But only your health care provider can do the necessary blood test to determine the problem and plan of action.

However most of the time if you take the points above about training, lifestyle, diet and supplementation seriously enough then you can have pain free over 40+ workouts.

Interested in my customized transformation system for the over 40 guy? Have a look here:  https://gertlouw.com/my-transformation-secrets/

Happy training everybody!

Cheers

Gert Louw

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Diet is for LOSERS!


Diet is for losers!

I’ve seen this happening over and over…The latest diet book hit the shelves, everyone is raving about it. My wife and her friends is part of the crowd and decided to jump in.

She and her friends lose a fair amount of weight. Happy faces, goal reached…

But so they think…

Life returns to normal and so the eating does too. No need to diet anymore, they have reached their goal. In any case one can only continue for so long on the diet…

One year later and the crowd is each 20kg heavier than before they started with the previous diet. So it goes on…and year after year the diets come and go and every year they end 20kg heavier than the year before.

 

No matter how good that diet is, it is still a diet which means a short-term solution. That short-term solution, year after year, wreak havoc on your metabolism and literally train your body in a complete negative fashion about fat-loss.

And every year it becomes more and more difficult to get that fat off…

Year after year your metabolism is slowing down and due to the strict diet interruptions your body thinks it must add-on as much fat to cope with these “starvation” periods.

This is as true for guys as it is for girls

 

Once your body is trained in such a negative way…it is gonna take some time to straight things out and reverse that process. By time I mean anything from 6-9 months.

And that is why most people later give totally up with dieting because nothing is working anymore even when they try it for months! And so they become…MASSIVE!

At long last it look like my wifes eyes has opened and she is done with dieting. She now start seeing the logic behind a lifestyle change.

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What is a lifestyle change?

We’ll it is a lot of things but for this discussion I will focus on the eating aspect.

A lifestyle eating plan is NOT a diet. It is an eating regimen you will follow day in day out, year in year out…

You can change this regimen but it will always adhere to the same basic principles.

 

Those basic principles are:

  1. You MUST eat every 3-4 hours.
  2. You MUST always eat SMALL meals.
  3. Every meal MUST contain a clean protein source (fat-less) with little carbohydrates (preferably in the form of lots of veggies)
  4. At least 2L water per day.
  5. No smoking and very little alcohol.
  6. Potent multivitamin every day.
  7. Cheating once a week with only one meal and do NOT stuff yourself even with the cheat meal.

 

Let’s look at the first principle: “You MUST eat every 3-4 hours.”

The bottom line is, your body is designed to be fed every 3-4 hours. The western 3 time a day eating habit is NOT good for the body. Your whole system works near perfect when fed every 3-4 hours. It keeps your blood sugar levels stable and is perfect for feeding muscle for growth and speed up a fat-loss environment.

Yes, it can be cumbersome to eat so often but the fast solution to that is protein shakes. Make sure it has no carbohydrates but a clean, preferably slow release protein matrix. Slow is better because it keeps the releasing of the protein stable over a long time and does not flush the body with too much protein at one time. Together with a shake you can eat a few veggies or instead a fruit with not too much fruit sugar (bananas and mango’s = no-no).

You will have nearly no cravings anymore because your body is fed the way it was designed to need food. You should not feel hungry at all. (Although initially if u were used to high volumes food it might be a bit of a problem and you might need a craving suppressant to help you through the initial period.)

You can carry a shaker and small container with the protein powder with you. To mix and eat takes you 3 minutes…there is NO excuse for not taking such a meal no matter how busy you are.

 

Principle two: “You MUST always eat SMALL meals.”

Small means a fist size protein with two fist size portion veggies or if rice/pasta, just one fist size.

Your body does not need more than this every 3-4 hours unless you partake in strenuous training (Then refer to my training eating regimen in my first blog post.).

Small also means your stomach will literally start to shrink. Yes, without loosing any fat the tummy will already be smaller just because of the stomach that shrinked.

Your body will also start to use the food more efficiently. You will feel less bloated and will have less constipation.

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Principle three: “Every meal MUST contain a clean protein source (fat-less) with little carbohydrates (preferably in the form of lots of veggies).

Clean protein means NO FAT. Before preparing chicken, get rid of the skin and any visible fat. Any meat with any visible fat is completely out. The only red meat you should eat is fillet.

Fatless pork and of course fish is also great clean protein sources.

Protein uptake is more efficiently when the meal is combined with some sort of carbohydrate. But rather try to eat a fair portion of veggies (2 fist, maybe even 3 fist sizes) instead of rice/pasta. Bread should be avoided. Rice crackers and provita will be better choices. If you have to eat bread, then low GI.

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Principle four: “At least 2L water per day.”

Yes, you might get the a frequent toilet routine the first week or so, but when your body is used to it, it will be near normal.

Water assist in flushing the bad stuff out of your body. It also assists with the metabolism of fat and as such will literally help with your fat-loss process.

Water has a multitude of beneficial aspects and you CANNOT expect a successful lifestyle change without at least 2L water per day. Less than 2L will also severely hamper your fatloss efforts.

Note: People training vigorously will obviously need higher amounts of water.

 

Principle five: “No smoking and very little alcohol.”

No lifestyle change can be made when any form of addictive substance is abused. Social drugs are COMPLETELY out. You cannot make a successful lifestyle change and think you can continue smoking. I am not gonna give you the ins and outs about smoking here…It is very well-known and available on the internet. Drinking more tha n one to two glasses per week will make you struggle to lose fat. Alcohol is a fat magnet! Especially for guys struggling to lose fat around the waist.

No serious fitness enthusiast or bodybuilder smoke, drink…it simply goes against everything that fitness stands for. Get rid of it!

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Principle six: “Potent multivitamin every day.”

No matter how balanced you eat, you will struggle to supply the body with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs, especially when training hard.

It is rather crucial that you use a very potent multi vitamin daily, It helps the body to function optimally. And an optimal body makes it easier to get rid of fat, regenerate exercise damaged tissue and help keep the body healthy. It is proven over and over by serious athletes that a potent multi vitamin is very important.

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Principle seven: “Cheating once a week with only one meal and do NOT stuff yourself even with the cheat meal.”

Once a week with one meal you can cheat…not more than that.

Plus after that cheat you must NOT feel stuffed. NEVER ever must you stuff yourself.

Eat what you want during this cheat but one or maybe two portions. After this cheat it must be a full 6 days before you are allowed to cheat again.

 

These are just core principles of eating correctly for a lifestyle change. There are many other smaller points of note…but don’t concern yourself from the start with too much info. The smaller your steps the better you can climb the ladder…the bigger the leaps the harder you fall.

Every week or so educate and learn more about healthy eating for fitness enthusiasts and climb the ladder step by step.

Just by following these basic principles you will have nearly and 80% success eating correctly. Make it simple and make it easy.

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Wish you all MUCH success!

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