At your age….

Standing on the 8th tee of a recent twilight golf event, Jimmy, a fireman six months from retirement , who has been caddying at the club for about 20 years, remarked that I was in good shape. That’s great. I thanked him and asked what he meant, not sure quite how he was able to get to this conclusion. Hey, he said, at your age, if you haven’t got a belly, you’re ahead of the game. Ahh!

I was immediately struck by the fact there could be some benefits to aging. Are we, on average, beginning to fall apart in our mid-fifties? Losing sight of our toes as we weigh ourselves; balancing the occasional attempt at physical exertion against the risk of a heart attack, torn ACL or other mileage-related physical ailment?

Look around you next time you go to Walmart. Review the number of diet emails that go into your spam folder. Look at the guys on the commercials – the kids on the commercials. Look at the parents carrying excess weight and the children with them. Are they genetic time bombs primed to go off in thirty years, or is this all avoidable?

I know this is a little obsessive. I agree. It’s one of the consequences of being a chubby kid, constantly feeling on the verge of gaining girth through lack of willpower or insufficient exercise. I know that some have a really hard time with weight; their best efforts sabotaged by a mysteriously slow metabolism. If you lose weight, you’re doomed to gain it back and more. Go paleo. Dump sugar. Avoid carbs. Peanuts only. Fruit and veg may not be as good as you think: hidden sugars; pesticides. It’s complicated.

Back to the benefits of aging. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that, if you’re focused on improving your overall fitness as you get into your 40s and 50s, you are going to have a huge advantage vs. your peer group. Go to your doctor and mention an ache or pain and dare to ask if there is anything you can do. Ehh! At your age, what do you expect. I am wondering why my knee gets a little swollen after two solid days of powder and bumps, some pickup basketball? Ehh. At your age, what do you expect? We could take a look, but honestly, what are we going to do? If you were in your twenties, maybe… This is not so original. Louis CK did a skit on this.

I am not sleeping so well. My IT band is tight. My lower back gets sore. My posture is bad. My hips are tight. My neck seems to be in a bad position. I feel tired when I wake up. Fill in the blank. Your mileage may differ. Injured myself at Pilates, Yoga, Crossfit.

So, for anyone that has an interest, my recommendation is a program called Turbulence Training or Home Workout Revolution. You can check out the whole background at and are the specific sites. There is a lot of video and written content for $47 per program. Great value. All levels. I have been using it for about 3 years. Probably feel in the best shape ever – this from someone who spent 25 years running 30-50 miles a week, frequently sidelined by overuse injuries. 30 minutes, 3 days per week. I admit, I fill in the days in between – I told you I was obsessive.

Thanks to Jimmy for this post.

What is Core Metabolic?

I have spent 30 years exercising essentially the same way: high dosage of aerobic with varying levels of intensity. Running, biking, swimming. Very little flexibility; very little strength training. All of it took a lot of time and produced very little change.

We exercise to look good, feel good, stay alive as long as possible and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We may have some specific goals related to a sport we love to play. We have bought machines, gym memberships, hired trainers, watched videos. We have injured ourselves, rehabilitated our aging bodies and eventually come to wonder if we are on the right path.

Some have tried P90x, Cross Fit and Insanity. All favorites of orthopedic surgeons – they drive lots of business.

I tried something called Turbulence Training. The founder, Craig Ballantyne, promotes a lot of exercise programs that require high intensity (graduated depending on ability and fitness level), very little rest between exercises and work a lot of different muscle groups. You spend 30-40 minutes, 3 times per week and keep somewhat active on the other days (walking etc).  That is core metabolic.

You don’t need much equipment. He provides follow along videos. It builds overall core strength and, if you want to, muscle mass in targeted areas.

There are enough programs that you can switch it up every month or 3 months and the connection with the network of fitness trainers he connects with will give you lots of new programs if you want to buy them.

Programs tend to run about $30-40 for a decent selection of programs that can last you a long time. Cheap compared to one session with a live trainer.

It all works. I recommend it without reservation. Oh, and he has some great stuff for when you are traveling and need to work in something to avoid feeling dreadful.