By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
August 7, 2016
I admit, Jon usually let’s me have free range on this blog. It’s a pretty sweet deal we have, for I provide the content and he provides the workout guidance. It’s been a pretty good set-up because just like clock-work when I put together a workout, I am always forgetting to do some kind of overhead exercises. I’m not gonna lie, I hate doing anything with the overhead because those type of exercises always make me feel inadequate. I have been getting better at them, which is why I will be attempting some heavier weights on my overhead presses soon. But I ultimately tried to do something interesting this past Saturday, mainly because I haven’t done it in a while. I decided to work on the dreaded hang clean-front squat-overhead press combo. If anything, I managed to do a pretty good job with it, even though it was exposed that I am starting to pronate on my right side again while dipping into the squat portion. This has been an issue for me since the beginning of my time with Parsons Training. From the bad right ankle, to the aggravated achilles tendon to the problematic IT band…my right side has been a mess. It also cross referenced into the chiropractic side as well, when my hips were leaning heavily on the right side as opposed to a more even set-up. Of course, this was a result of my old job where I really relied on my right side in regards to loading and packing and such. Fortunately, Jon came up with some good advice and told me to start working on balance and stability again, which was a lot of the things that Hannah had me do when she trained me for a short time a couple months ago. Either way, that is the kind of advice I often times need when it comes to training and such.
Anyway, Jon wanted me to start a series of new blogs that I would focus on from time to time, not only helping in the usual media and public relations focus of the company, but also reiterate the philosophy of the company. So, let me put on my horrible beret, get some thick rimmed glasses and see if I can grow a funky mustache (okay, the mustache thing may need to be fake…I literally cannot grow one for the life of me, such like my inability to grow a beard). Naturally, I would like to take on subjects that are running rampant across the fitness blogosphere, the sort of ideas that are not necessarily individually based in scientific study. For example, they will be massive, all encompassing ideas that will need multiple ideas and sources to sort of support. You know, actual journalism, not the click-bait garbage that we see everyday littered on our Facebook feeds and Twitter threads (seriously, some one needs to create an app to filter out all that crap). So today, I’m gonna start with one that I witness just about every day, one that sort of makes me glad I decided to start my journey right now as opposed to the pre-destined timeline that I originally thought of (like I would magically be able to stop eating pizza and other assorted junk food at the age of 50….what a weird and pathetic idea that was….glad I did not wait for that after all). Anyway, you are never to old to start getting yourself healthy.
I’ve pointed out many time throughout the life of this blog that as one gets older, you cannot afford to start slowing down. One of the main problems we see with the older generations, especially the Baby Boomers, is they become content with the idea they will be in poor health, that it is some sort of rite that will afflict them all. You would think the richest generation over the last 100 years would be thinking about their health in a more positive way. But instead, we see people focusing heavily on rich foods, believing the idea of pills and vitamins are a norm. “Our lives have been successful and lived, so we might as well drop our cares away and live the way we want!” That sounds like “YOLO” for the older generation, believing that death is coming soon so you might as well do what ever you want…by hastening Death’s immortal visit by watching TV all day and shoving the worst kind of food imagined in your face? Or to be respectful of other religions, drifting into Valhalla, riding Charon’s boat down the Styx, reaching your personal nirvana or finding yourself on your own personal planet. Personally, I don’t want to live like that. When I was angry and numb and wishing an early death due to a broken heart, mind, body and self esteem…this seemed great. So the new direction I have taken myself is a much better one, even if it is still difficult and harrowing for me much of the time. I love the idea of being healthier and fit. Sure, I have traded in some of my bad eating habits for slight bouts of body dysmorphia and fitness envy, I would rather battle these feeling with weight lifting rather than battle feelings by gorging as much pizza as I can. I don’t know how much damage I ultimately caused on my body during my 13 years of bad diet, binging and poor choices, but at least I have a steadfast desire to live again. That is the idea of youth I guess, where the perspective changes so dramatically due to the fact you might have to live another 50 years or so. Personally, this mentality is not something reserved for a younger person, but should also be held tightly and dearly by the older generations as well.
Truthfully, no matter how old you are, fitness should always be a priority in your life. Truth be told, I have seen so many good reasons to be this way. One great thing about working out during the times I do work out is seeing the older clients at Parsons kick butt in the gym. I never really got a glimpse of this during my time at Chuze. From the usual perpetrators that I see like Jim from Raytheon (who always gets me Chipotle! hehe) and Cindy, who may be the second fittest 60+ year old woman I have seen there (the most fit being my own mother. Yup, got to play favorites!). These people are all in their so-called “wind down” years, where the final stages of their lives are approaching and retirement is and or will be upon them. I’m especially proud of both my parents, my father especially. He has gotten to the point where he no longer looks like the broken down old man he started out as a couple years before. Heck, he just turned 70 and rather than slowing down, he is lifting heavier weights than before, consistently killing it in his yard work duties and even became the Grand Knight of his Knights of Columbus chapter. I would like to think the changes in his diet and workout regimen have inspired these activity changes in him, giving him more confidence, strength and energy. If anything, these are the kind of examples society needs to keep hammering into the minds of our elders.
I pointed out once about the end of life struggles a great many elderly people face in our country. While the average life expectancy is a shade under 80 years, it was estimated that most people will struggle through the last five years of their life on average. That means you will be sick, unhealthy, hoping you survive a complicated surgery or whatever the issue in your life might be. With those numbers in mind, do you really want to be part of that statistic? It’s worse if you reside in the Deep South, where the life expectancy drops and the years of “poor health” reaches seven or eight years. It become even worse when economics is thrown into the equation. I’m not saying that exercise and diet will be the end all of your issues, for sometimes exposure or just bad genetics can get in the way, but it still begins with you and how you go about your business. A couple weeks ago, I cited a study that men who took care of themselves better lived longer under natural causes. A couple years back, I cited a study that women should strive to stay healthy and have a continuous health regimen. Not because some misogynistic group of doctors believed this, but because it will help counter the struggles of menopause and create better heart health in addition to lowering the chance of breast cancer.
This mentality is more important than ever now, mainly because of the deluge of elderly that will be retiring within the next 15 years. If anything, all personal trainers and aspiring personal trainers should stay on top of the needs for the elderly and such…because just think of the potential. Personally, this is something we need to start promoting throughout the country, not because it might be construed as cool, but it might start a new wave of thinking. Let’s face it, the competitive nature of society will predict this…none of us want to be considered “less” than our elderly. We are taught to respect the older generations, but do we really want to be unhealthier than them? Do you want to end up on a Youtube video where some old tough guy that never stopped being healthy and boxed constantly can whoop your ass with a few punches while wearing no head gear? I sure as hell don’t! I want to be equal if not better. I want to be of a generation that sets an example health wise, whether it be through diet and exercise or through the resistance of unnecessary trinkets that add nothing to our lives. Fortunately for me, I have run into some really good examples during my short fitness journey, and while I am struggling with my weight and my body shape, it is comforting to know that I have started a path as a younger man, and ultimately, maintain as an older one.
It won’t all be roses and well laid paths. Like with everything in life, there will be moments where you have some misgivings about what you are doing. You might think “I used to be so much stronger” than what you are right now. I had a real “mind fuck” a couple days ago when I saw a photo of myself when I was roughly 17. I was pretty darn lean, with a perfect neck (I have a real fetish about thin necks…don’t ask) and a lean face. I was a little depressed about that photo, because I realize if I had not become so delighted with freedom and the pleasure of food, I might not be too far from what I used to be. But I can’t dwell too much on the past, because in spite of what I used to look like, I still remember the fact I misgivings about my body. It helped me realize that this struggle I have with myself might take even longer and might require more work from me. I will admit, I am scared of this prospect and it makes me cringe a little knowing how much is needed, but at least I am on the right track. So regardless of your age, just remember that you are never too late to start….ever.
Check out my YouTube Blog as well!:
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.