ASK MEN’S HEALTH
Can I make myself into
more of a glass-half-full
kind of guy? WILL, SAVANNAH, GA
We’re bullish on your chances. In fact, all that
may be standing in your way is DNA. Genes
account for roughly half of the difference in
people’s happiness levels, while life circumstances determine another 10 percent, says
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California at
Riverside and the author of The How of Happiness. “You can influence that remaining 40
percent by what you do and how you think—
that is, your intentional activities and strategies.” Use these tips from Lyubomirsky to
upend your outlook: ( 1) Keep a best-possible-self journal: Spend 15 minutes a week thinking
about the life you desire. Imagine yourself a
decade from now and choose a single aspect
of your life to focus on, such as family, career,
interests, and health. ( 2) Set subgoals: Break
those long-term objectives into manageable
chunks and write them down. Mapping your
path gives you positive direction. ( 3) Overcome
dark moods: If you have a pessimistic thought,
try recalling a past challenge that you conquered. Amplify those good vibes by keeping
visual reminders—a glowing e-mail from your
boss, a printout of a good lipid profile, or
a photograph from a race you completed.
What’s the fastest way
to big biceps?
ANDY, HAMP TON, NH
Some guys swear by preacher curls. We
think they must’ve had divine intervention.
The problem with preachers is that they limit
the amount of weight you can pile on your
biceps, says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance. His pick?
The cable row. “It allows you to lift serious
weight—upwards of 100 pounds—and it
smokes your biceps because they help pull
the weight to your chest.” Gentilcore recommends doing cable rows twice a week, alternating your sets. On the first day, perform
2 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions; this forges
endurance and muscle definition. On the
second day, do 3 or 4 heavier sets of 4 to 6
reps; this builds size and strength.
I snore a lot. Does that
mean I’ll develop sleep
apnea? JOEY, ROCHESTER, N Y
Sawing wood isn’t a good sign, but it doesn’t
mean you’re building a coffin. Johns Hopkins
University research reveals that snorers are
nearly three times as likely as nonsnorers
to develop sleep apnea. “Snoring is the vibration of something in the back of your upper
airway—your tongue, tonsils, or soft palate—
that makes breathing difficult,” says W. Christopher Winter, M. D., MH’s sleep advisor and
medical director of the sleep medicine center
of Martha Jefferson Hospital in Virginia. “Sleep
apnea is when your air way isn’t just narrowed—
it’s blocked by these tissues.” The two most
important factors influencing whether snoring
progresses to apnea are your body mass index
and your age, according to a study in the
European Respiratory Journal. The researchers found that snorers who had a 1.2-point
body mass increase over 5 years experienced
a sevenfold increase in apnea severity. Our
advice: Have a checkup with an otolaryngologist, who can detect the cause of your snoring,
run a test for sleep apnea in the office, and
suggest aids to help you sleep on your side;
Dr. Winter recommends the Rematee Anti-Snore T-Shirt ($85, antisnoreshirt.com).
THE CABLE RO W
Attach a bar handle to a cable row machine
and sit with your feet braced and knees
slightly bent. Using an underhand grip, grab
the bar with your arms extended. Keep your
back straight and squeeze your shoulder
blades together as you pull the bar toward
your upper abs. Return to the starting
position. That’s 1 rep.
have been adding to table salt since the 1920s.
Should I switch from
table to sea salt? JIM, AVON, IL
Your tastebuds will appreciate sea salt’s sharp
flavor and crunchy crystals, but your thyroid
gland will notice something missing. Sea salt
contains about 40 percent sodium, just like
Morton’s finest, but it usually lacks the essen-
tial nutrient iodine, which most manufacturers
“Low levels of iodine are associated with thyroid-
related issues, including mental fatigue and
weight gain,” says Sara Blackburn, D. Sc., R. D., a clini-
cal associate professor of nutrition at Indiana
University. To hit your quota, aim for 150 micro-
grams a day; a quarter teaspoon of iodized salt
contains about 95 micrograms. To lick this nutri-
tion-versus-flavor dilemma, use standard salt
on the table and save the sea salt for sprinkling
on grilled fish, meat, and vegetables just before
serving. It also kicks up the flavor of chocolate
ice cream. The Guy Gourmet’s pick: Maldon Sea
Salt ($11, williams-sonoma.com).
Have a question no one else can answer?
Ask at MensHealth.com/experts.
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