J. D. Pendry
I used to finish my run, which usually lasted anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on how bad I got lost, and end up in the gym at Fort Myer.† I needed to do strength training too and I preferred the Nautilus machines for that.† PT started for me at 0500 and usually finished around 0700.
As soon as I entered the gym each morning, my eyes were drawn toward the treadmills, stair climbers, stationary bikes and other such machines.† Thatís where Iíd see Blimpie.† Blimpie was a blivit.† A blivit, in case youíre wondering, is ten pounds of stuff crammed into a five-pound bag.† Blimpieís five-pound bag was usually fluorescent spandex.† Blimpie would also be equipped with the necessary equipment including a designer water bottle, Walkman, matching sweatbands on wrists and head, and very stylish running shoes (with no dirt on them).† As I would take in the room, Iíd see many red faced, sweating, grunting individuals working hard at maintaining their fitness.† Oblivious to all of this, Blimpie would be setting a blistering two miles per hour pace on the treadmill while popping chewing gum and flipping through the pages of a magazine.† Blimpie never missed a day at the gym and when I left Fort Myer, Blimpie was still a blivit.
As Iíd make my way around the Nautilus circuit, Iíd occasionally take a glimpse over into the free weight room.† Thatís where the for real iron pumping, mega supplement eating, great big old body builders hung out.† Many of them could bench press a small car, but couldnít run a quarter of a mile if their lives depended on it.† Looking around, Iíd always see him right there in front of the mirrors, least wise the part of the mirrors that werenít filled with a flexing hulk.† He looked like a Praying Mantis in a weight belt.† Heíd be right there in front of those mirrors, huffing and puffing with his cheeks all pooched out trying to curl dumbbells bigger than his thigh.† Praying Mantis was there every single day and he never got any bigger.
When youíre doing your physical training, itís a great time to contemplate things.† I used to think for example, wouldnít it make more sense if Blimpie moved into the weight room and Praying Mantis came out to the treadmill?† Then Iíd think that maybe when Praying Mantis looks into that mirror he doesnít see the same thing the rest of us see Ė maybe he sees a hulk.† And maybe Blimpie doesnít see a blivit Ė who knows?† It just always seemed to me that a person should do physically what theyíre tailor made to do.† If youíre built like a distance runner be a distance runner.† If you can find anyone out there who still knows me, heíll be happy to tell you that I never took my own advice either.† Which, following a jaunt around the neighborhood, brings me to the point of my babbling.† What kind of PT is best for you?† And in my case best for fogies.
I remember days when physical fitness training for me was racquetball, softball, flag football and beer.† As I matured (watch it Sam), I tried to turn a nose guardís body into a distance runner.† A habit I was never able to overcome until a while after I left the Army.† And only then, after a doctor was kind enough to inform me that all the years of pounding the pavement had practically ground into oblivion some important body parts Iíd need later on.† That is if I wanted to continue walking upright.† He agreed with me that continuing an exercise program that lasted for the rest of my life was important, but that I really needed one that extended the use of my body parts instead of destroying them.† This ultimatum of sorts set me on the quest for the best fogie PT program.† So for you almost codgers who are fast approaching the retirement zone let me share with you what Iíve learned.
Moosehead and golf is not necessarily a good plan.† For golf to be beneficial, one needs to do it almost daily.† Then he or she needs to walk, not ride the cart, and avoid that break after the ninth hole and the girl who rides around the course selling Moosehead.† So if you have four or five hours to invest each day, plus the patience, skill and cash it takes to support the golf habit it could work for you.† But only, if you avoid the cigars and adult beverages.
You cannot eat like you run for an hour each day, when you no longer run for an hour each day.† Unless you want to change your name to Blimpie, which is what I nearly had to do.† What I used to cram into my body in order to have the energy required to support my physical activities was the culprit.† We used to call it carbing up or carbo-loading.† What Iíve learned is that carbohydrates are another way to say sugar, which translates into lard that accumulates in massive clumps around your middle.† The first fogie adjustment I had to make was to consciously reduce the amount of carbohydrates I consumed.† If youíre interested, you can eat all the meat, cheese, eggs, and green vegetables you want without the fear of extra lard.† I discovered that if I can keep my carb count at less than 100 for the day, my trousers still fit.† Before you eat that bag of chips, read the label.† With the exception of cashews, you can also eat all of the nuts you want and pork skins are the snack food of choice if youíre counting carbs.† If you decide to go with zero carbs per day, which you can do without ever being hungry, youíll lose much weight but, check with your doc before you try any new and drastic diet plans.
I tried several things for exercise.† Walking was not a good replacement for me, because of the amount of running I did before.† I never felt like I was benefiting from it, although the experts say that walking is excellent.† I always had the urge to break into a run.† I absolutely refused to try Tae-bo or any other of those other gee-whiz video taped exercise programs.† Over time, and through trial and error, hereís the fogie program thatís working for me.
In my garage, I have a treadmill, some dumbbells a bench and a mat.† A good treadmill is important, especially if you have some old impact injuries.† Make sure that if you buy your own, it has a shock absorption capability.† In other words, ensure thereís a little spring to it when you step on it.† My fogie routine consists of stretching the major parts, turning on the oldies radio station and getting on the treadmill.† When I get on the treadmill, itís with a five-pound dumbbell in each hand.† I donít walk very fast during this part, usually around 4 mph or just a little less.† While walking, I do various things with the dumbbells all of which match the rate of my walking pace.† Iíll do bicep curls, pectoral presses, throw punches, do lateral raises or whatever comes to mind as long as it equals constant motion for the dumbbells and the feet.† You macho men are thinking five pounds, what good is that?† After 30 or 40 minutes, youíll be able to answer that one for your self.† After a while, Iíll toss the dumbbells aside and jog for a couple of miles.† I stay on the treadmill for at least one hour.† Following the treadmill, I do some dumbbell work on the bench Ė the standard stuff, bench press, etc.† Then I hit the mat for some sit-ups, stretch again and itís done.† This is it, my fogie PT plan, 4 to 5 times a week.
Iím approaching the half-century mark and they tell me everything is down hill from there.† I just want to make my downhill slope as gentle as possible.† Who knows, I could drop dead tomorrow, but if I do, at least Iíll still fit into my blues.† What are you going to do when you turn into a geezer?† Itís a question worth contemplating now.