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15 Things Any Fit Man Can Do

 

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Jack LaLanne

 

Sharing an elevator with strangers can be an intimate experience. Over time you start to notice things about the people you see often. Here are three mid-life ‘elevator men’ I’ve come to know. Perhaps you know them, too?

  • The muscle-bound man with the gym bag who always takes the elevator for three floors. The stairwell is right next door.
  • The lean runner, still in his Nike trainers, who tows a normal-sized laptop in a little wheeled suitcase.
  • Or, the talkative man who enjoys the many weight-loss compliments he gets. He’s probably 45, but he shuffles like he’s much older.

These guys are committed to health goals. They aim for — and attain — a hard-sought number (reps, distance, body weight). We admire their fortitude and perseverance — they seem almost obsessed about it. Sad thing is, though they hit their target, they are missing a pretty big point.

That point is about the total package. My elevator men fixated solely on a number and forgot the ultimate goals of fitness and health.  What good is sliding into smaller pants if you can’t walk very far? Where’s the point of attaining long distance legs if you have the upper body strength of a woman? So what if you can lift six 45-lb plates on a barbell? You get winded climbing a few stairs!

It’s almost as if my elevator men became invalids, strong-weak men who lost basic functionality. They struggle at ALL the things their bodies were designed to do. I would say they are crippled.

Men are a collection of muscle, tendon and bone. We’re springs, motors and a nice chemical battery. Nature designed us to pursue, climb, forage, carry heavy things, crouch, hide, dance and protect … until we die. We’re not meant to taper off after 25. We serve an active purpose. Our modern bodies should be pure potential energy, ready to do anything.

The point of a good fitness plan is maintain ability long after youth. A fit man in his fifties can do the same things he did in his twenties if he aimed for doing instead of a number. A fit man avoids serious injury when he falls. He’ll advance into old age with strength and poise, and he’s less likely to get serious illness later.  He can do most anything at the time he must do it. He’s ready and able; he doesn’t need a new program.

Tracking to a single number distracts him from a long view. A fat man in his forties may have normal ‘numbers’ and think he’s fine. No need to exercise. This same fat man, now in his fifties, has a good chance of getting diabetes. It’s too late in his sixties when he faces amputations and internal ‘ectomies.’

As I’ve pointed out in a previous blog post, a lifetime commitment to strenuous exercise is what men must make. Don’t be a ‘numbers man.’

 

From 1940s body builder to pulling rowboats behind him at 70, LaLanne never succumbed to the false assumption that getting old means getting weak.

 

Be like your great-grandfather. Be Thag The Cave Man. Be Odysseus. Be Jack LaLanne.  Don’t be Richard Simmons.

Here’s a list of things any fit man can do, even those in their fifties. How many can you do?

  1. Climb over a six-foot fence without a ladder.
  2. Swim one length underwater at the high-school swimming pool. Do it without coming up for air. EXTRA CREDIT: swim back again, all in the same breath.
  3. Climb a large tree more than halfway up. You must pull yourself into the tree – no ladder.
  4. Dress yourself standing up (including socks, underwear and shoes) in the middle of the floor. You may not lean against the wall or touch any surface.
  5. Hoist a sixty-pound bag (salt, fertilizer, sand…) from the ground up to your shoulders. Walk the length of your street and back without setting the bag down.
  6. Mow a suburban lawn on a hot summer day using an old-fashioned, reel-type lawnmower.
  7. Ride a bicycle for four hours straight with one short break halfway.
  8. Do a cartwheel.
  9. Stand on your toes for ten minutes.
  10. Chase an active ten-year-old boy around the yard. Tag him.
  11. Jump rope for ten minutes.
  12. Do a headstand.
  13. Climb up and down ten flights of office building stairs, ten times, in 30 minutes.
  14. Carry another man your height for fifty paces.
  15. Swim across a small lake.

 

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Me, trekking in Nepal

 

I’m glad you got your cholesterol down. It’s awesome that you burned 1000 calories on the treadmill. We’re impressed you threw out your fat pants.

Now, go climb a tree!

 

10 Waistline Tips For Younger Men

Waistsize

Yes, I buy my clothes from Target

Okay, you’re in your prime: you have a (mostly) good head of hair, the zits are gone and your clothes look good on you. But maybe your pants are feeling a little tight. Or, you look at your father and worry that you’ll get an Extendo-Gut like he has.

The twenties is the time of life when the flab creeps under man’s belt, fills out his face and makes him soft-looking. Oh, it won’t happen quickly – just a few lbs a year – but when you’re 30, you may be overweight with man boobs, squishy arms and experience the possibility you’ll never see your Little Buddy again. Modern life does that.

I’m in my fifties now. I decided in my twenties to keep a masculine silhouette. I wanted to move like a young man when I was an old man, to avoid old-age disease and look better than the middle-aged men I knew. 

I figured out how to avoid a thick waist and I want to share my tips with you. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Be thin. Seriously. Start out thin and you can maintain; try to reduce and you’ll fail. There, I said it: you cannot lose weight and keep it off. In all my years I have seen maybe a handful of guys lose weight permanently. 

    Your real goal is to stay where you are and keep from gaining. If you are ten lbs heavier now than you want to be, just accept that’s where you will stay. Your body has adjusted to the extra weight; in fact, it wants it to stay. That’s the way human physiology is; it hoards man-lard for tough times.

  2. Exercise a lot. You need at least 200 minutes a week of sweaty, heart-pounding, continuous exercise for the rest of your life. Each block must be at least 20 minutes long and you should split it at least over four days each week. Allow one non-exercise day.

    Golfing isn’t this kind of exercise. Brisk walking won’t do anything at all. That’s what they tell old people to do because that’s all they can do. Look, we’re designed to run after deer, throw spears and heave boulders, all day, every day. Get Cro-Magnon!

  3. No Beer. Sorry, but this has to be said. Beer makes men fat. Period. If you want alcohol, drink a glass of wine or a single mixed drink. Young-You may burn off beer calories now, but the Older-You won’t.

  4. No dieting. This also makes men fat. The seesaw of weight-loss plans will make you unhappy. Fatter, too, because your body will think it’s starving; it will work even harder to store calories for you.

  5. No fake foods. No supplements. No sports drinks. No crap from GNC or the kiosk inside the gym. Your body won’t know what to do with it. It’s really fertilizer for people. Think I’m kidding? What’s that grayish metallic residue at the bottom of the glass?

  6. Wear a belt. Don’t use a weight scale.  Set the notch to where you are now; that is your new life-goal. You and I both know how easy it is to trick the scale. But the belt never lies.

  7. Mix up your exercise.  Do weights, the sweaty stuff and yoga. Weights improve your muscle-to-jiggly fat ratio, and they make you leaner and more resilient. As far as I am concerned, bigger biceps are merely a byproduct of weight training, not the main purpose. Yoga is important for balance and being limber.

    I’ve seen weight lifters who groan getting out of a chair. I’ve seen runners who can’t carry a bag of groceries. You’re not meant to be a One Trick Pony. Be an all-rounder.

  8. Be consistent. Yeah, yeah. You MUST make exercise a routine, something you must do and feel bad about missing. Of all my tips, this may be the most important – and the hardest to attain.

  9. Come from a skinny family. Okay, I’m being flippant — a little. Genetics does play a role, but it’s not the major one. But you must honestly assess how you were brought up and what kind of life habits you picked up from your family. Discard the bad ones right now.

  10. Eat out rarely…  eat home-cooked food …  at regular times. Restaurant food will plump you up in no time. Learn to cook. Live by yourself? Then get this book: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It has simple recipes of easy, delicious meals.

 

The Ten Commandments For Fitness Centers

Public gyms and fitness centers have a unique culture and mode of operation. You can always tell long-time gym rats from newbies because the fitness veterans NEVER make any of these mistakes, below.

I.     Thou Shall Not Stink.  Do you clear the weight room when you enter it? Never have neighbors on the treadmill? BO and yellow armpits have no place in the gym. And a special addendum for the morning crew: brush your teeth before coming to work out. Your death-breath forms a cloud around you.

II.     Thou Shall Not Leave Thy Foul, Skanky And Inside-Out Underwear On The Locker Room Floor.

III.     Watch Not The Food Network During A Cardio Session. What are you doing?!!! Watch Emeril make artichoke-chevre cheese dip and you’ll run home and eat all those paltry 200 calories you just worked off – and more.

IV.     What Are You Doing In There? Wait, don’t tell us. Just hurry up, please, and hose the walls down before you come out. Thank you very much.

V.     Disdain Personal Trainers; They Are The Chiropractors Of Fitness. Their real goal is to keep you coming back while you make little progress. Truly fit people never use trainers because they know you can’t outsource your will; 90% of fitness is in your mind.

VI.     Touch Not The Video Or Audio Controls. Just try switching to ESPN when the 10:00 AM mommies are bouncing on their bosu balls. See what happens.

VII.     Thou Shall NOT Pray. Hey, see that person hovering in the background? It’s someone waiting to use that equipment while you seek the seventh level of consciousness.

VIII.    Wear Only Modest, Loose-Fitting Clothing…  Unless You Have A Really, Really Good Body. Our opinion, not yours.

IX.     Pick Up Thy Crap. And put it back where it belongs. If you can hoist six 45 lb plates above your chest, you can take them off and put them back on the rack. No, the 120 lb woman waiting to use the bench right behind doesn’t appreciate you leaving it “set up” for her.

Men, ‘Crap’ means ‘gym bag.’ Almost all gyms have a sign telling you NOT to bring a gym purse onto the floor. Yes, it’s a purse.

X.     Thou Shall Not Have False Gods Before You. Get real; you will never go from a 44-inch waist to a 32 ever again. You will always have cellulite. If there never was a six-pack, then there never will be one.