Real Health and Fitness

I’m moving past the days of wanting the big impressive beach body muscles and am starting to concentrate on long term heath, fitness and strength. I put in the time years ago to have a basically fit body, so now that the hard work is done, I can just maintain. But then again as the years pile up, it I’m finding that it takes more and more work to just maintain. I don’t recover like I used to (never had that day after sore period until recently), It takes more work to do what I used to be able to do in less time, and once I build up to a set of something (pushups, situps, pullups), if I take a few days off from doing those sets, I lose a huge number of repetitions. That is frustrating, but like I said, what I’m  concentrating on now is more for the longer term benefits.

I try and do something active every day. While at work I have the luxury to go outside and shoot baskets a couple times a day for five minutes or so at a time to break up the office work, but it also gets my heart rate up, and keeps the hand-eye coordination going. Lateral footwork is also a very good asset to have, so I play with that out on the blacktop too. Nothing really strenuous, but after work maybe once a week Ill run a 10 or 15 minute drill that really gets the sweat pouring, knees aching and mind going. Lots of concentration while doing physical stuff is good too.

I’ll ride my big goofy bike with the family once in a while and keep it in a high gear to give the legs a little bit of a burn.

I have a pullup bar in a doorway to the bottom floor of my house, so I do as many as I can do when ever I’m down there. It takes less than twenty seconds when I’m checking the fire or changing the laundry. I can spare twenty seconds.

I am not a runner, I always have done it, but Ive never really liked it. I run a couple of miles every few days. I stopped timing myself and now just go for as long as I can go. Ive started to work on speeding it up just to keep things challenging, but the whole point is that some a-hole said that running is good for you, so I run.

For years Ive heard how fun climbing ropes are and I never really understood it.  I had never free climbed a rope so I didn’t know where that was coming from a while ago in my shop at work our guys put a 1 inch thick rope up into the rafters and when they were done with it, they left it in place. I went back and looked at it and said, “hey, maybe I’ll climb this thing.” Its only up about 16 feet and I got up and down it just fine. In fact I did it three times that first day. Then the next day I did it three more times. Then the third day I wanted to die. I figured it was an all arm, peck, and shoulder deal, but my freaking abs and core hurt like they haven’t in years. Now THAT is a quick killer ‘workout’.

What Ive really come to understand is how much nutrition plays into all this as I get older. Anymore, I am in tune with my body. I know what I need before or after I start feeling all crappy. If Ive eaten too much (which for me is any) sugar, my body feels terrible. Ive gotten into drinking light/diet V8 type juice for the daily fruit and veggie requirements it provides. I just chug it out of the bottle in the morning or afternoon and it helps to keep the hunger at bay until meal time or so I don’t snack on the crap food that is in the house. I pretend to watch my carbohydrate intake but I love bread and pasta so that one kind of gets overlooked. But I do try and buy the breads and dairy’s with the fewest carbs. Compare yogurts some time and you’d be amazed at the varying differences. Any one ‘thing’ needs to be under 25 carbs for me to feel ok about eating it. (subtract fiber from carbs and that’s your total cabs).

During the summer I try to eat a sugary fruit like a peach as a post dinner snack instead of a traditional desert.

My coffee creamer is fat free. Not a huge thing but every little bit… although there are some studies that show that fat free is actually worse than reduced fat in terms of dairy stuff due to the preservatives. Whatever. I’m sure there is a study out there that says broccoli causes cancer. Its still better to do something than nothing.

I eat something in the morning because if I don’t I start to not feel good by 10 or 11 and by lunch, I just want to go buy a big grease ball of a burger. Same deal in the early afternoon or by the time I get home I’m ready to eat a whole bag of chips or some other junk I don’t really want or need. Plus I’m told I get cranky when I get hungry.

I bake or BBQ stuff that people would usually fry. After cutting out most all fried food for a while, having some makes me feel terrible. Not sick, but you can tell you just ate a bunch of non-nutritious crap. I still eat a couple fries or whatever, but it is easy to not over indulge for me these days when I used to be able to pack them away. I also had the metabolism of an 17 year old for a lot of years. I’m finally not 17 anymore.

I workout so I can maybe not eat as good as I should all the time. I eat right to feel good. Like I said, I’m not in a build muscle or lose fat phase, I’m in a maintenance state. As an aside, when I am doing both the workouts – mostly running – and watching the food, I lose a bunch of weight I wasn’t expecting to or even wanting to. That little combination is a better fat shredder than every diet pill, green vegetable or big workout routine could ever be on their own.

Its not easy sometimes but it really is not all that hard either. None of this stuff came right away or all at the same time, and it is really not that drastic. I still get cravings and indulge in some foods, but I try and watch my portions and not just binge when I do get a craving. It doesn’t cost anymore to not buy the cheap processed food. It has been a gradual, easy change, and I just plain feel better for it.

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