Fit at 50 – Fuel and Nutrition is often claimed by many knowledgeable health and fitness experts to be the most important factor in weight management success. And if you’ve strived for quality size or the sought-after shredded look, you’ll know it’s a difficult sentiment to argue with.
While the assigning of values can be problematic when assessing important fitness factors
in that those factors deemed lower in the pecking (or peaking) order may not be given due respect, it remains an indisputable fact that nutrition (including supplementation) can make or break training success.
Try grinding out an hour of intensive lifting without the requisite training fuel in the form of quality carbs. You’ll falter pretty fast. And don’t expect to recover from an arduous session without the quality post-training protein needed to translate reps into results (ALLMAX ISOFLEX works perfect in this instance).
It seems the harder we train and the greater the urgency to drop those last pounds of fat, the more central nutrition becomes. Like training itself, the best way to gauge nutritional effectiveness is through the careful observation and intelligent implementation of what works best in a given situation.
While individual differences can factor heavily into nutritional planning, there remain certain key strategies that will work for almost anyone provided consistency, discipline and enthusiasm are maintained throughout. This third installment in the ALLMAX Nutrition Fit at 50 series continues to draw from the body transformation success of fitness devotee Sean Haralson to provide living proof of what can be accomplished when
nutrition is approached with consistency, discipline and enthusiasm
The insights to follow will arm you with the information you need to achieve your best shape at an age where most have resigned themselves to a life of physical mediocrity. There is no need to live your life in the slow lane, with excess fat weighing you down and weak muscles making even routine tasks an arduous undertaking. Get your nutrition in order and go from average to unstoppable. Let Sean show you the way.
It can be argued that the older we get, the more we must adhere to a diet packed with quality nutrients. Due to the inevitable age-related reduction in metabolic efficiency and loss of lean muscle tissue there is a greater need to provide the raw materials for growth minus foods which may further compromise our bodies. Thus, one must be singularly dedicated to ensuring the right nutrients are eaten at the right times. It’s not always easy but it can be made to work. Let’s see how Sean does it.
“Nutrition is probably one of the most important aspects when achieving your fitness goals,” says Sean. “It’s also the one of the things that people find most difficult to stick to and tend to fall off the wagon with as we age. It requires preparation, discipline, and control over your eating habits. As I get older, I find that my food quality, quantity, and the specific macros consumed have all changed. As I get older I have noticed that the way my body processes foods and the types of food eaten affect my metabolism, which requires attention and keeping track of. In other words,
if I don’t watch my daily diet I can really pack on the weight, or should I say fat
“It’s amazing how quickly we can lose the physique we worked so hard for. This happens a lot around the notorious holiday season. But all this requires is a little preparation ahead of time and a lot of self-control when walking by all those holiday dessert platters. But it’s not just during the holidays when you’re going to find yourself tempted by certain foods. I think as long as you have self-control and include the things you want in moderation, your diet will be more pleasurable than cutting yourself off from all the things you crave. Finding balance is the key.”
While enjoying the occasional treat may be a sensible strategy when endeavouring to eliminate excess adipose, there remains a fine line between occasional and excessive. Making the distinction can save you much distress when striving for maximum definition. The same applies when adding quality size. How does Sean have his cake and eat it too while still maintaining his phenomenal physique at age 50?
I’m a routine person so once I commit to losing or gaining weight, I can stay on track pretty easy
I love pizza, burgers, and donuts as much as everyone else. If I want them, I have them, but only in moderation. If I want donuts, I’ll get one or two and then the cravings are gone. But I won’t ever go off my diet on a non-training day. If I eat it, I use it as fuel in the gym. I won’t ever eat junk and then go relax on the sofa. I use it like a reward. In the early days of dieting I would do the food binge thing. I’ve blown up 10-15 lbs after a show. But now I eat whatever I want within reason after a show. Then get right back to eating clean to avoid gaining too much weight.”
The reasons for eating smart are as many and varied as the countless fitness-minded folk who work daily to transform their physiques for the better. Whether it’s to lose fat, gain muscle, optimize performance, everything in between, or, ideally, all of the above,
there can be no shortcuts when it comes to consuming quality food
For Sean, getting his nutrition on point requires a gradual process of adjustment. By gradually eliminating the foods that are working against you and incorporating those that will help you to achieve your specific goals, you’ll stand a better chance of adhering to your plan over the long term.
Similarly, when it comes to gaining muscle and dropping fat for maximum size and shreds specifically, the gradual approach is best. The more manageable, enjoyable and ultimately achievable the process is, the easier it will be to continue to goal completion. Here’s how Sean schedules his nutrition for both the cutting and bulking phases of his bodybuilding regimen.
When I’m looking at reaching goals for myself
say it’s dropping weight for a show or gaining size, I’ll take it slow. If I have to lose 30lbs, I’ll break it into six separate goals to be achieved in 5lb increments. Losing 30lbs can be very overwhelming and a little intimidating, not to mention you are forced to watch the scale move at a snail’s pace. I get pretty excited every time I reach one of those 5lb goals. You feel like you’ve achieved something. This helps motivate me to keep grinding.”
“In the same way, if your goal is to gain weight, your goal might be to achieve, let’s say, 2-3 lbs at a time. You can also use this method for strength training, whenever you’re looking to increase your poundages. You may want to squat three or four plates but in the beginning you may only be able to lift one per side. But, over time, your strength will increase in small increments, and you’ll be able to lift more weight. This is extremely motivating.”
So how exactly does Sean structure his shredding and bulking phases?
Actually, I keep it pretty simple
If I’m trying to get lean, I slowly reduce my protein and carbs 1oz at a time. If I’m trying to gain weight, I increase them. My biggest asset is the mirror. The scale is not our friend, (laughs). I use the scale when I’m leaning out, and log it weekly just to see what my weight is compared to how I look in the mirror. Stepping on the scale every day will drive you insane, and it will cause you to make drastic changes that aren’t needed. My weight can change 3-4 lbs based on the previous day’s water intake alone.”
But many people use the scale to assess body transformation progress. Might they be unwittingly sabotaging their results?
“The scale is just a tool to make sure you haven’t stalled. People see the scale not moving and think the answer is to eat less food. This will ruin you every time. My main tool in losing or gaining is the mirror. How we look to ourselves is the most important thing.”
You might have guessed by now that Sean is not overly scientific when it comes to peeling off the pounds and peaking to perfection. Yet, at an age where most will simply throw in the towel and settle for a life of ever-increasing love handles, he maintains a physique that anyone, at any age, would be proud of. His secret: to keep it simple and basic.
“Let’s first look at the type of foods I typically eat daily, and then we’ll look at the proportions I eat. I try to keep it pretty simple and basic.”
For protein I stick to egg whites
chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, salmon, any white fish, and Protein Powders from ALLMAX Nutrition.
For carbs I tend to stick to oatmeal
white rice, sweet potatoes and yams, sometimes wheat pasta, and CARBION from ALLMAX Nutrition.
For fats I like using fresh ground peanut butter, raw unsalted nuts, and avocado
“These are the foods that work for me and I never really get tired of eating them as long as I have several hot sauces on hand. Finding the foods that work for your body takes a little work and insight into the way different foods affect your body.”
“I honestly don’t keep track of my macros. All my meals are 5-6oz. of protein, with carbs mainly around workouts. Carbs are typically 3-6oz, depending on the day. If I’m carb cycling, on the days my carbs are lower I increase my fat. I love peanut butter and raw unsalted nuts.”
“Once you find foods that complement your goals and your aging body it will make reaching your specific targets that much easier. For those of you that are going to have issues with your diet, try not to binge eat, but rather treat yourself in moderation. You have to be realistic about your goals and the time it’s going to take to achieve them.”
30-40 minutes fasted cardio
- One cup of egg whites
- ¾ cup of gluten free oatmeal
- 1 tbsp. of natural, unsalted peanut butter
“If I put berries in my oatmeal, I’ll also add one whole egg to my egg whites.”
“On lower carb days I’ll combine two scoops of ALLMAX ISOFLEX and 1 tbsp. of natural unsalted peanut butter with ice and blend.”
- Protein: 5-6oz
- Carbs: 4-6oz.
“I usually try to work out between meals two and three, keeping most of my carbs around my workouts. I don’t require too many carbs as I get older, so this works well for me.”
- Protein: 5-6oz
- Carbs: 4-6oz
Meals 4 and 5
- 5-6oz of protein, and 1 cup of veggies, or two cups of salad
- 2 scoops of ALLMAX HEXAPRO before bed
This is pretty much what works for me daily
Fit at 50 – Fuel and Nutrition, the key is to drink approximately 1.5–2 gallons of water daily, which includes protein shakes, pre-workouts, intra-workout drinks, coffee, etc. The more water I drink, the less water retention I experience. So the more water you drink, the less water you will hold. Try to drink most your water during the day, and taper off closer to the evening. You don’t want to spend the night using the bathroom repeatedly.”
Note: specific protein and carb sources are selected from Sean’s daily food choices (outlined above)
The biggest barrier to body transformation success is also its most important variable: nutrition. Despite the many benefits to be derived from consistently eating well (a great physique being just one incentive), most people struggle to stay on track. Whether through sheer boredom or years of bad eating, many cannot quit piling in the junk. However, the good news is you do not have to eliminate your favorite nutritional treats entirely. But you must keep them under strict control and incorporate them judiciously if you wish to say goodbye to your love handles and hello to your abs. So how does Sean stay on track?
Don’t get me wrong. I love burgers, pizza, and donuts just as much as the next person, as mentioned before
The trick is moderation and discipline. Treating yourself here and there will hopefully keep you from straying too far from your diet. You have to learn balance with food and training. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from your mistakes. Reaching your fitness goals should be a fun journey. But you also have to be realistic and give yourself the time and the tools to reach them.”
Personally, if I get bored with grilled chicken I will move to shredded chicken done in the pressure cooker. With fish, I might do homemade salsa, avocado, and include a different number of hot sauces as long as they are low in water-retaining sodium. My body tends to hold water very easily. It could be because of age, or, more likely, years spent competing on a low-sodium diet. I may change my carbs or veggies too for variety: white rice, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat pasta. Changing your food combinations in different meals helps. If I get tired of chicken and white rice, I’ll change to sweet potatoes. Eating clean with variety is possible and it does help you to stay on track.”
Sean believes the bodybuilding success he has achieved is primarily a result of proper eating. He feels there is no bigger factor in body transformation success. And before you throw up your hands in despair and rush back to the all you can eat buffet, disillusioned with your lack of rapid progress despite several months spent grinding it out, bear in mind that the kinds of results displayed by Sean can take many years.
Like most things worth having in life, a healthy, good looking and optimally performing physique takes time to achieve
Fit at 50 – Fuel and Nutrition, it’s all about the journey. Stay disciplined and the results will come. And they’ll stay with you longer if you’re willing to overcome the struggle of adjusting to what at first may appear to be an untenable task.
And if you think getting in top shape is simply not worth the trouble, consider the fact that clean eating will instantly improve mental clarity, mood, your attitude to life, and even your sleeping patterns. These benefits alone are worth sacrificing your usual intake of fatty, sugary fare.
“No matter how hard you work out, or how much time you spend doing cardio, nothing will be a bigger factor in reaching your fitness goals than your diet,” says Sean.
Once you learn how to manage your diet, the rest will come easy
“Upon cleaning up my diet, I notice my weight will drop, the detail in my muscles will begin to appear, and I’ll have more energy and feel better. I also notice my sleep patterns improve. I always tell people in the beginning to not focus on which way the scale moves. I ask them to answer these questions: how do your clothes fit? How do you look in the mirror? How are your energy levels? And most important of all: how do you feel. These are more important to me than what the scale reads. Remember, the scale is not our friend!”