He Found Fitness After Fighting Cancer

Functional Aging

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  1. He Found Fitness After Fighting Cancer

    Todd Allen and his wife took a European trip seven years ago.

    He felt terrible by the time they got home.

    Blood tests revealed cancer. Stage 4. Bone marrow.

    Todd underwent 18 months of chemotherapy and had knee and hip surgery.

    Never much for exercise, Todd then made a decision: “After the recovery, I said I gotta get my act together.”

    “I’ve been a gym rat ever since,” Todd, now 65. Now, with a healthy prognosis, he wakes up early each morning to lift weights, runs stairs, and do other physical activity. “I look better now than I ever have in my life.”

    The Research on Exercise and Cancer

    Research proves that exercise is good for our health at any age. Experts say it also helps prevent cancer and lower its risk of recurring. And regular exercise benefits cancer survivors the same way it helps the general population – by reducing obesity and blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and more.

    Strength training is essential to help maintain muscle and bone density. People generally lose muscle mass with age, and cancer exacerbates the decline.

    The National Cancer Institute shares robust data about how exercise can reduce the risk of certain cancers:

    • Breast cancer by 20 to 80 percent
    • Endometrial cancer by 20 to 40 percent
    • Colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent

    The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia issued formal guidelines recommending exercise as a part of treatment for all cancer patients. It said:

    • Exercise should be a part of standard care for cancer patients to fight the disease and the side effects of treatment.
    • Treatment teams should promote physical activity so patients meet exercise guidelines.
    • Patients should be referred to an exercise physiologist or physical therapist.

    “If we could turn the benefits of exercise into a pill, it would be demanded by patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidized by the government,” said Dr. Prue Cormie, author of the organization’s report. “It would be seen as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment.”

    A healthy lifestyle should include exercise – which also helps limit other factors like obesity and blood pressure before and after cancer.

    After treatment, exercise helps restore self-esteem and a sense of control, which cancer strips from patients, says Andrea Leonard, founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. “Teaching them to regain control empowers them, increases esteem and confidence, and takes them from victim to survivor.”
    ‘Let’s Get Some Life While We’re Here

    For Todd Allen, working out at the gym brings him the variety, social interaction, and mental health benefits he craves.

    “I love the comradery,” he says. “You have to show up, or you get razzed. That’s key for consistency.”

    With his health now solid and his outlook bright, Todd is committed to enjoying every day.

    “Let’s get some life while we’re here,” he says. “I’m going to hold onto this thing for as long as possible.”

    If you want to lower your risk of a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer while building a camaraderie with like-minded peers, Your Personal Best Training Studio is for you. Our team of functional aging specialists will assist you with your health and fitness goals. Try our 21-Day Strength and Longevity Program to get guaranteed results.

  2. Healthy Recipe, Chinese-Style Hand-Shredded Chicken

    Boneless skinless chicken breasts are versatile, high-protein, low-fat, and convenient to use, but they can quickly turn dry and tasteless if overcooked. This recipe, slightly adapted from one in “The Walks of Life,” relies on a simple poaching method that ensures tender, juicy, aromatic results. Once cooled, the chicken is shredded and dressed in a light soy-based dressing loaded with garlic and ginger (chilies if you like heat), then tossed with red onion slices, cilantro leaves, and toasted sesame seeds — a delightful, low-fuss way to ring in the Chinese New Year (January 22) or to whip up for a healthy entree any day or night. Serves 4. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett

    For the chicken: 

    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (brought to room temperature 1-2 hours before cooking)
    • 6 cups water
    • 3 thin slices of ginger
    • 1 scallion, halved crosswise

    For the sauce: 

    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (white parts only)
    • 1 heaping tablespoon garlic (3-4 cloves)
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 1 or 2 fresh Thai bird’s-eye chilies or a pinch of dried chile flakes (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
    • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (or white rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar)
    • 1 ½ teaspoons oyster sauce
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
    • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

    For serving:

    • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    • Fine sea salt to taste


    1. Prepare the chicken: In a medium pot, combine the water, ginger, and halved scallion and bring it to a boil.
    2. Completely submerge the chicken into the water and allow it to return to a boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
    3. Turn off the heat and allow it to continue to steep in the hot liquid, untouched, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set it beside the sink.
    4.   Check the chicken for doneness by piercing the thickest part of the meat with a sharp skewer to see if the juices run clear. If not, leave it in the water for 5 more minutes, then check again.
    5. Transfer the chicken to the ice bath for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle, then shred the meat and transfer it to a serving plate. (Reserve the flavorful broth, if desired, for cooking jasmine rice or other uses.)
    6. Make the sauce: In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, ginger, and chilies (if using). Mix in the soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and sugar. Heat the neutral oil in a wok or small saucepan until shimmering, and carefully pour the aromatics into the bowl.
    7. To serve: Toss the chicken in the sauce, along with the onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt. Serve cold or at room temperature.

    Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

  3. Healthy Recipe, Scallops with Spicy Beans

    You don’t need a culinary diploma to achieve beautifully seared, restaurant-quality sea scallops on your own stovetop. A good, heavy skillet (not nonstick), a watchful eye, and a few simple tricks are really all you need to pull off this impressive-seeming feat. And these days, the individually flash-frozen scallops available in your supermarket freezer case can taste as tender and sweet as the ones fresh off the boat.

    Scallops are a low-fat, nutrient-loaded source of protein that plays well with numerous flavor combos. This fast one-skillet meal, adapted from Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy,” is a keeper — full of tang, spice, and vitamin C. Canned white beans, tossed in the sizzling skillet for a few minutes before serving, supply a starchy component that melds deliciously with the other ingredients. You can easily reduce the number of scallops if you’re only cooking for two — but go ahead and use the whole can of beans. Any leftovers can be mixed with the other ingredients for a salad the next day. Serves 4. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett


    • 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and thinly sliced
    • 2 tangerines or small oranges, peeled, thinly sliced, and seeds removed
    • 1 small jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat)
    • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
    • 2 medium limes, 1 juiced (about 2 tablespoons), and 1 cut in wedges for serving
    • 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 ½ pounds sea scallops, thawed according to package directions if frozen, tough side muscles removed
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 teaspoons Aleppo-style pepper or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
    • Tender cilantro leaves and stems for garnish
    • Corn tortillas or rice for serving, optional


    1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatillos, tangerines, and chile. Shallot, lime juice, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil; season with ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste) and several grindings of black pepper and set aside.
    2. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season them lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
    3. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillets (not nonstick), heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, and press them lightly with a fish spatula for good contact with the skillet. Sear on both sides until deeply browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
    4. Transfer the scallops to a large plate or serving platter. Without wiping out the skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the beans and the pepper flakes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges.
    5. Cook, shaking the skillet occasionally until the beans have absorbed the seasoned juices in the pan, about 3 or 4 minutes.
    6. Transfer the tomatillos and citrus to a large serving platter, top with the beans and scallops, and garnish with cilantro. Drizzle with a little more oil before serving. Serve with tortillas or rice if desired.

    Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

  4. Start Exercising Now: Busy Times Can Be the Best

    “I don’t have time.”

    “I’m too busy.”

    “Maybe later when there’s not so much going on.”

    We hear this throughout the year. “I don’t have time” is why people don’t exercise.

    Believe it or not, the holidays could be the PERFECT time to start working out for many of you.

    “It’s so easy to say you’re too busy during the holidays, so you’ll wait until the new year,” says longtime fitness coach and entrepreneur Rick Mayo.

    “Flip the script and do it now,” Rick says. “Use this as an opportunity more than an obstacle to say, ‘I’m going to work out during the holidays, and this will pay massive dividends in the future,’ because there are going to be other seasons of life that are busy.”

    Plus, exercise helps you manage stress. And you’ll be ahead of the New Year’s Resolution rush!

    Rick has two other suggestions we like for making it through this hectic time:

    1. Move your body more every day. Get up and walk, dance… whatever. “Don’t overthink it. It doesn’t have to be quantified. Just move.”
    2. Prioritize protein. Focus on protein first, which helps you feel full and keeps your energy levels sustained. Then add vegetables on the side. Don’t head into a meal hungry when you’re likely to go for high-carb sides and drinks.

    Why wait for the New Year’s when you can start now and have a strong foundation going into the new year? Our 21-Day Strength and Longevity program is a great way to get started.

    Simple steps to success lead to happy holidays!


  5. Bust The Myths About Active Aging

    Ever heard someone say something like this? “Oh, he’s a very handsome man for his age.”

    What about: “I don’t like waiting on old people because they’re so tight with their money.”

    These are all part of the persistent myths attached to people over 50. But like many myths, they’re wrong for the millions and millions of active agers who are fit and determined to enjoy life as long as possible.

    We’re here to help you do the same. So, let’s shake off some nonsense today!

    Focus on Function, Not Age

    Cody Sipe, a professor and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, fights ageism and focuses on functional ability rather than someone’s age.

    He points out a few of the common false myths.

    • Older people should never lift weights. In fact, not only can most mature people lift weights, but they should lift weights. Strength training builds muscle mass, which we lose as we age. And it protects bone health.
    • Walking is good enough. Walking and jogging are excellent first steps – but we must do more. That includes strength, cardio endurance, balance, and mobility.
    • You’ll hurt yourself if you exercise. Wrong, Sitting around the house all day is more dangerous than moving your body with purpose.

    Marketing Misses the Boat

    Marketing guru Jeff Weiss of Age of Majority has myths about “active aging.” All kinds of industries are missing out on the economic power of this demographic, to everyone’s harm.

    Here are a few. Which ones ring a bell?

    Myth: Getting older is depressing, and you have nothing to live for.
    Truth: Consumers are happiest between 65 and 79. Active agers have the time, money, and desire to explore their sense of adventure.

    Myth: Seniors don’t have money to spend.
    Truth: Consumers over 55 control 70 percent of all wealth and account for 40 percent of consumer spending.

    Myth: People are necessarily frail as they get older.
    Truth: Exercise keeps us strong and limber throughout the stages of life.

    Myth: Everyone longs to look younger.
    Truth: People over 50, 60, and 70 who exercise feel better about their appearance than people 18 to 34.

    Myth: Targeting older consumers could alienate younger ones.
    Truth: Nonsense. Innovative businesses (like us!) engage in this lucrative market without worrying about alienating younger folks.

    Myth: Active Agers are no longer productive in the workplace.
    Truth: There is virtually no correlation between age and job performance.

    Myth: Older consumers still rely heavily on traditional media when making purchasing decisions.
    Truth: They use multiple digital and traditional channels on their “customer journeys.”

    Myth: Oh, to Be Young Again…
    Truth: Active agers embrace who they have become and are not longing to revisit their youth.

    What myths annoy you the most? Which are still holding you back?

    Don’t let annoying myths hold you back. Try our 21-Day Strength and Longevity Program, where our expert coaches can provide the truth and help you reach your fitness goals.

  6. Staying Strong for Life’s Challenges

    Ricky Banks is a walking advertisement for fitness over 50 – which makes sense because he owns a successful gym and turned 57 this year.

    But it’s true now more than ever after a near-fatal medical emergency this year. Doctors and Ricky believe his healthy lifestyle helped him survive the loss of blood, the s

    surgery, and the medically induced coma of his ordeal.

    “The doctor said my health level, my fitness level, had a lot to do with my survival and recovery – my heart rate, my blood pressure, not being obese,” Ricky recalls. “I do believe that played a major role in it.”

    Ricky’s right. And anyone over 50 should take this as another reason why you need to stay in good physical condition by exercising and eating right.

    Being fit improves your chances of surviving health scares and complications that are common after age 50 or so. If you want to bounce back from surgery – or avoid complications from a wicked virus-like Covid-19 – your chances go up exponentially if you stay at a healthy weight, keep your blood pressure where it should be, eat right, and exercise.

    A Simple Way of Putting It

    You don’t have to be as muscular as Ricky for these benefits to help you before, during, and after surgery or other medical challenges, even one as unexpected as what happened to him. The same is true for more common over-50 procedures like joint replacements.

    “Better fitness levels reduce complications when having an operation,” as just one medical organization, the National Health Service of Scotland, explains. “This is because your body can cope better with the stress of the operation. In turn, this improves your chances of avoiding complications, allowing you to leave the hospital and return to your normal quality of life more quickly.

    “Keeping an active lifestyle is good for your general health, and if you are normally an active person, it is important to keep that up before your operation.

    “People who have low activity levels can improve their fitness within as little as four weeks by taking regular exercise.”

    Ricky’s amazing story

    Ricky woke up distressed about 2 a.m., passed blood in his urine, and was rushed to a hospital, passing out before he arrived.

    His old problem of bleeding ulcers had returned with a vengeance. Doctors used more than 2 dozen pints of blood and put him into a coma to find the source of the bleeding and stop it.

    They gave Ricky 50-50 odds of surviving.

    But because of Ricky’s heart health, weight, and fitness level, he pulled through.

    Now, four months later, Rickey is back in good health, preparing to open a second location of his gym, and grateful that his latest chapter is proving inspirational for others.

    “People say, ‘Ricky, you look like you haven’t been through anything,’” he says. “This has made me appreciate my body and how I take care of it. I tell people, ‘I understand, you’ve got to live your life. But be responsible.’”


  7. But Not Your Need for Exercise


    The Coronavirus Crisis Is Changing Plenty – But Not Your Need for Exercise

    People all over the world are having to make sacrifices because of the coronavirus. In just a few short days, the pandemic became the latest “new normal” affecting everything in our lives.

    But here’s one thing it doesn’t change: You still need to exercise on a regular basis.

    Move your body every day. “Social distancing” is not an excuse to eat Oreos on the couch and watch Netflix. This will all end someday, and you don’t want to be out of shape when that happens.

    You also must continue to eat right, try to get proper sleep, and hydrate.

    As you know, coronavirus has forced the closings of countless businesses, schools, entertainment facilities, restaurants, bars and, in many locations, gyms. New restrictions seem to come out each day.

    As of right now, YOUR PERSONAL BEST TRAINING STUDIO is still open. We are continuing class as usual. We are also offering ZOOM online classes virtually for precautionary measures. So our clients have these two options depending on their preference.

    Taking care of yourself is still important, maybe more so now than before. Remember, people over 60 are among those at higher risk of coronavirus infection. Take precautions to limit potential exposure. Talk to your doctor if you have medical questions.


    A Reminder Why Exercise Is Crucial – Regardless

    Exercise is crucial to healthy living after age 50. There is no asterisk (*) for periods of public health crises.

    So, here are a few of the top reasons you must keep moving every day.

    1. Exercise keeps you physically healthy and strong. It improves your balance and stamina. And it prevents the loss of muscle and bone, which happens as we age unless we fight back with fitness.
    2. Exercise alleviates stress. And we’re all under more of it right now than normal. Sitting on the couch does absolutely nothing to help.
    3. Exercise improves your mood, mental focus and memory.
    4. It also fights depression, which could become more of a problem if this crisis continues for long.
    5. It improves blood pressure and it limits the risk of diabetes, cancer and other diseases.

    If You Go…

    If you go to a gym or studio:

    • Wash your hands before and after exercise.
    • Use hand sanitizer.
    • Wipe down equipment before and after use.
    • Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze.
    • Keep a 6-foot distance as much as possible.

    Don’t go if you have any symptoms. Stay home. Consult your physician.

    Your gym, studio or trainer should let you know about alternatives – online workouts, classes via Zoom or Skype, etc.

    Ask them. Email, text, phone… read their websites… do something to find out if you don’t hear from them directly.

    They’re here to help, even if their doors can’t be open.

    If you need more information feel free to give us a call at 361-857-5087

    Links to help you stay informed:

    A fun list of songs to sing while washing your hands

  8. Fitness At Home

    30 Jumping Jacks

    5 Pushups

    25 High Knees

    7 Burpees

    10 Crunches

    5 Pushups

    10 Crunches

    7 Squats

    5 Pushups

    7 Squats

    30 Jumping Jacks

    1 Minute Wall Sit

    25 High Knees

    Repeat 3 – 5 Times for Maximum Results

    Printable Workout Here

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Your Personal Best Location
Your Personal Best Training Studio
Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087 info@ypbtrainingstudio.com