Physical Fitness and Weight Loss at 69 - Part II

on getting older Oct 06, 2022
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Now for the fitness part. 

This post is # 2 in my fitness journey.  If you haven't read #1, you can find it here:

Watch some older people walk:  they shuffle, or their steps really aren’t steps at all; they’re merely shifting weight from one foot to the other.  This is the result of muscles not being worked – they tighten and contract.  I am determined not to be that guy!

Overall, I am blessed with great health.  My blood chemistry is good, and I really don’t have a lot of bad health history in my family.  Dad didn’t quite make it to 80 and died from Alzheimer’s complications.  His mother, my grandmother, didn’t quite make it to 100.  My mother is in her mid-90’s.  So I’m hoping for another 25 active, productive years.

Active and Productive

Note the adjectives:  active and productive.  Riding around the Villages in a golf cart is my idea of purgatory.  But if that’s what you want then enjoy.  Since I've accumulated more life experiences and wisdom now than ever before, these should be the most productive years of my life, as my reasoning goes.  I just need my body to keep up with my mind. 

As I mentioned, I’ve been aware of a physical slow down for a year or two, but it is only this year when I took action.  What finally clicked?  The vision.  Jonathan and I have a definite vision for CameronDowning – and to achieve that vision takes focus, dedication, and hard work.  And to do hard work means I have to have the physical and mental capacity for it.  Which means I needed to make some changes. 

I needed to make some changes

The linking is linear:  I have goals.  To achieve the goals I have to live long enough.  To live long enough I need to keep my body and mind strong and healthy.  Which means I need to stretch both mentally and physically.  Which means study of new topics to stretch the mind, and weight loss and exercise to strengthen the body.  All of which I enjoy tremendously.  What’s coming down the pike in terms of blockchain and other new technologies will be utterly transformative in ways we can’t even see today.  Case in point:  What did you phone do 10 years ago?  What does it do now?  Could you even have anticipated what it does now?  It is an exciting time to be alive!

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always enjoyed working out, and have maintained my gym membership throughout the years.  It was the European Health Spa in Connecticut, which was bought by Bally, and now is LA Fitness, paid for by the Silver Sneakers program of my Medicare Advantage provider.  I am aware that stronger muscles burn more calories at a resting state, so another path to take on the weight loss journey is to build stronger muscles.  Once again, to YouTube I go.  And what do I see but all these videos of impossibly fit and muscular young men who aren’t speaking to me. 

My exercise protocol

But I found one, Mario Tomic, who makes lots of sense.  His thesis:  to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit.  To lose faster, build more muscle.  To do that, use strength training, meaning fewer reps and progressively harder reps.  Don’t do a lot of cardio when trying to lose fat, as it causes the body to store fat since it is burning so much off.  Instead, walk.  And walk I do.  Mario recommends 8K – 10K steps per day on average.  (I hit 18K steps once in New York City – my personal best, and man, was I ever worn out!)  There are so many other great benefits of walking – mulling things over, listening to beautiful music, listening to a teaching podcast, etc. 

If I were lifting to get cut or to bulk up, I’d use entirely different routines, and these are most of what I’ve encountered on YouTube. 

So I’m doing on average 2 good weight workouts per week, and at least one yoga class, and walking on the off days.  I’m convinced that stretching is a big part of it, because that keeps one nimble.  I don’t want to be that guy who sits on the floor to play with his grandchildren and then wonders if he’ll be able to get back up again unaided.  And since there is a gym in my office building lobby, and yoga is offered there Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30, I have no excuse.  Yoga is absolute torture.  I stretch stuff I didn't even know I had.  But after several sessions, I really did begin to feel so much better!  

Good habits

Now what’s needed is the good habits.  Discipline builds good habits.  And the first discipline is learning to say No!  No! to consuming bad food, no! to time wasters, no! to toxic people and no! to anything that will detract from my achieving my objectives.  Saying No! opens up space to build the good habits – the walking and weightlifting.  Once a habit is established, then the discipline is no longer needed.

Honestly, there’s nothing here that I didn’t know 25 years ago.  So what happened?  I wish I could tell you.  At 44 I was consumed with raising my children, trying to be a good husband, paying the mortgage, and so on.  Like many other husbands and fathers.  I just didn’t give place for the exercise.  There wasn’t time.  But there’s always time – it is a matter of priorities and saying No!  But back then, it sure didn’t seem like it. 

A healthy and sustainable lifestyle

At this point it is all about creating a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.  The weight is coming off, and over the next several months I’ll get down to goal.  I’m starting to see some muscle definition again.  I’m just now becoming too thin for my 38” waist trousers, and can nearly get into some of the 36” trousers.  Meanwhile, I’m sleeping less, and feeling awake and ready to go in the mornings.  It is wonderful to feel like its is wonderful to be alive!

I promise updates

I promise periodic updates.  I've really put myself out there with all this, so I'm holding myself accountable to my readers and listeners.  But the thing is - the results are here!  Not the full results I'm targeting, but some of them - enough of them that I do not want to go back to old behaviors.  A doughnut isn't a huge temptation, because I perceive it as a choice that is not consistent with my goals, so therefore off limits.  Much as people who eat vegan, or even kosher diets - I see some foods as simply off limits because they are not what's best for me.  And I want what's best - I want to function at a high level, and continue to do so for years to come.  

Best to all,

--Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

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