Where For Art Thou?

Art suffers the minute you start getting paid for it. I consider myself an artist. I’m a musician, a writer, a vlogger, a comedian, a graphic designer and a video producer. Among other things. I have produced videos, web sites and written, recorded and performed music for corporate America.

The most enjoyable part of my journey was the struggle, trying to get the C-Suite to listen to my ideas. In October of 2002, I was summoned to headquarters in Boston a.k.a “The Ranch” ostensibly to show them how I was killing my numbers by shooting Cardiolite™ patient education videos for my customers. I thought this should be part of our business model and I wanted to share.

What they really wanted me back for, was to tell me to smarten up and get back to work, like everybody else. I was totally naive, but my naivete paid off. When they saw the potential in a Spanish version of which would soon to be known as “Taking The Test”, Peter Card, V.P. of Global Marketing, pushed me into the corner and told me I had to move in house…. immediately.

That day started a ten year run that had me behind the wheel of every major ongoing campaign in the company. I built a video production studio for every facet of internal communication and fed digital signage screens all over the site.

I produced a viral marketing campaign called “Outbreak” of all things to start a conversation with customers without throwing up all over ourselves by talking about product. Which is commonplace today. They thought I was Satan.

The Luddites came at me full force. Eyes rolled at meetings, subjects were quickly changed and on March 14, 2008, in frustration, I resigned. I walked away from big bucks and a cozy, boring, future.

On March 15, I became a consultant. 🙂

Then, everything changed. My ideas had more weight. My demands were met. My influence grew. And my enemies list quadrupled. The people I used to report to were making half of what I was taking down and it wasn’t sitting well.

Pretty soon everything I did was scrutinized. Every invoice questioned and I had to endure long editing sessions with people who couldn’t use a crayon. It was wearing me down.

Then things got repetitive, stale, and safe. Everything an artist tries to avoid. I was micromanaged into a zombie state until it ended in 2012.

In 2016, the things that got me through those long edits, international travel, bad hotels, missing equipment, nightmare shoots, non paying clients and shitheads who think they’re Otto Preminger, Ambien, Xanax, Soma and Tramadol, finally caught up with me.

I surrendered my whipped, whimpering and willing ass to the VA in Bedford Ma. for detoxification. I’ve been clean, sober and incredibly fit for four years.

But I have the creative bug again. I’m going to get out there and go for broke. This time a lot older and a little wiser. I am starting up a Youtube Channel called “Enlightened Rogue Fitness” to share my fitness journey and impart all the valuable knowledge I have gained as a fitness professional.

Art might suffer but not at my hands.  🙂

 

 

Cognitive Dieting

I recently dropped 28 pounds in exactly 8 weeks. What is interesting about this particular span of time is that I did it with virtually no nightly running of any kind.

Being a prolific runner for more than two years, I would normally run 5 miles every night. But I had to sideline my nocturnal activity to pursue a pay check. Actually, two pay checks, I was banging out double shifts at two different jobs.

The only cardio I got was the bike ride between the two locations.

This forced to me give serious thought to how I would nourish myself during a 16 hour day. I landed heavily on a high protein approach.

My meals consisted mostly of tuna, chicken, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, black beans and frozen spinach. I kept walnuts, string cheese and protein bars in my knapsack for emergencies. Emergencies hardly ever arose.

Because I increased my protein intake to one gram for every pound of body weight.

And I didn’t do, ugh, portion control.

My energy levels remained constant throughout my long day. I worked hard and I slept hard. I felt great.

I also didn’t listen to that “slow metabolism because of aging” baloney. I’m 74, and my metabolism is a furnace.

The takeaway here is losing weight is a head game.

You can watch that lady in the leotard tell you how she dropped tons of weight and lost 9 inches by dancing to videos on her TV set, but she is leaving out the mental end. The cognitive end. The most important end.

I tell clients when they sit down to a meal, to eat their protein first. By itself. This will allow you to out think that ravenous voice in your head that tells you to start stuffing your face.

Which is why I call my approach “cognitive.” Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life. It is in direct contrast to emotional processes.

Like emotional hunger. Or the lies you tell yourself.

Emotional hunger tells you that you’re hungry when you’re bored. It tells you that you’re being deprived when you’re not.

It tells you you have to eat something soon or you will perish.

In my eight weeks I felt absolutely no hunger or deprivation whatsoever.

I lost body fat, not muscle, because protein is muscle sparing and hard to digest. It creates a “thermic” effect which ramps up your metabolism and keeps the fat burning process going.

If you want to slim down, avoid disease, live a quality life and not spend your social security check on medications and Medicare deductibles, use your head.

Always. 🙂

Making it personal:

“Bob, we understand that the current situation has made it almost impossible for you to hit your projected sales forecast for 2020, so we have decided to cut your territory expectations by 50%” said no sales manager ever.

I predict at some point, sales people are going to have to learn how to independently produce and deliver approved content like we did 20 years ago. (Yes, 20 years ago)

Delivering content using the face of the representative, allows the customer to feel they still have that trust and connection with a human. Their human. The one they might not see every day, but the one they trust as the face of the company.

The one they sign the annual agreement with. People do business with people. Still.

I’m not talking about a forced, stuttering, awkward, hostage tape the likes of which you see on Youtube, I’m talking about compelling, convincing and professional looking information that when projected properly, will drive sales and educate your customer base.

I can help. Just sayin’.

Workin’ It!

Anyone who follows me knows I have been on an insane work schedule since the beginning of the year. I have two full time jobs, connected by 90 minutes of bike time. I don’t have a car.

Both jobs have me on my feet and moving every minute. Some days are absolutely grueling.

I run five miles, four nights a week, I train with heavy weights and I eat like a foot soldier.

In 2021, I will be 75 years old.

And I am thriving.

I will be considered elderly and “ready to go” on every actuarial table in the insurance industry.

But don’t say it to my face, I might laugh in yours.

Every year I feel better about my life, my body and my overall health. I train, therefore I am. I work my body so it can work for me. The goal is to have a young man’s body and an old man’s wisdom.

And I have it because I work it. The body craves labor. It craves movement and it craves resistance. We were born to struggle. When we don’t, we atrophy. We shrivel up and go away.

I ain’t goin’ nowhere.  🙂

The harder I work it, the better I eat, drink, sleep, think and feel.

We are guilty of lending credence to the “crapshoot: mentality that is laying waste to our senior population.

That notion is filling our assisted living facilities, our nursing homes and our hospitals with souls in disrepair.

We are under the false assumption that a long, healthy life is “luck of the draw.” There’s some truth there, but mostly, it’s bullshit!

I am enjoying the robust health that has eluded me for years because I am….workin’ it. Hard!

You should, too. Your body will love you for it.

 

 

The Shift

We will not be back from this world wide shift in your lifetime. It’s time to rethink our approach to business communication. If you’re shy, this could be hell.

I just dropped a bundle on new video equipment. And I know to use it. I spent twenty years in corporate America creating content for all aspects of business. Now, the world has irrevocably changed and online communication is the currency you will need to survive.

We are all siloed now and looking for ways to influence each other. And I will be influencing. I buried my passion for online communication 4 years ago when my personal life came crashing down on top of me.

I was married, had a booming multimedia business and my health. I lost all three. I did exemplary work but I could no longer look at it. My heart was broken.

I created content for sales, marketing, manufacturing, HR and handled all executive communication. I coached CEO’s on how to deliver impactful messages from a teleprompter.

I streamed company meetings from a laptop around the world, ten years ago. I put video online while everyone else was e-mailing powerpoints.

We are in a tectonic shift. Everything we knew and relied on as far as communication goes, is out the window. Working from home is no longer a perquisite, it’s a must.

Moving hearts and minds in two dimensions is an art form and my specialty. I’ve been at it for years.

Through music, comedy, writing, graphic design, digital signage, video production, sales, marketing and even personal training and nutrition.

I go for reaction, and I usually get it.

No more navel gazing for me. The world just handed me an opportunity and I will gratefully take it.

I will no longer stand on the sidelines. I know how to get attention and I can help any business break through the clutter.

I am an idea generating dynamo looking for a place to detonate.

If your business needs help getting seen and heard, reach out. It’s what I do.

Make a joyful noise.  🙂

You can’t outrun a cheeseburger!

The quickest way to total fitness is nutrition. No matter what anyone tells you about running, jumping, cycling and all manner of flopping around, it won’t mean a thing if you can’t manage what goes down your gullet.

The other critical piece is accountability. In 1999, I hired Mr. Universe, Lance Dreher, to train me. I was in incredible shape after only four weeks. The key was diet and because I was being held accountable.

I can’t stress the importance of accountability enough. I wasn’t going to pay someone to watch me fail. So every week and every weigh in, I was on the money. Uh, my money.

The exercise piece of the program paled in comparison to the individualized meal plan I received. (And still have) The takeaway is: get your nutrition down. Avoid all the fad diets and lean heavily on protein. It is muscle sparing and has a thermic effect that will burn calories for hours.

Take in 30 grams as soon as you get up. It will rev your engine and start burning calories for the day. It will leave you sated and alert as protein synthesis takes place. You will not feel groggy, I promise.

I have started and stumbled on my fitness journey more times than I care to remember, and I hope this information will help you avoid my mistakes.

We will all emerge from this current situation changed forever, wouldn’t it be nice to get a healthier, more muscular body out of the deal?

Artful Resignation

I know how to work. I know how to get the job done. I know how to get along with others. I know how to show up with a smile every day and produce. I know how to contribute.

I also know how to quit. And you should too. Done correctly, you will be asked to stay and even be offered more money. Like me…..today. 🙂

It will also highlight their faulty management choices.

A good resignation lets them know you have limits. It lets them know they can’t just foist any dickhead from accounting on you as a manager because they have no career path for him.

It gives them a preview of what life will be like without your smiling, agreeable, flexible, hard working, team playing, ass.

But you gotta be good. You have to make yourself valuable. Every day. You gotta drink a little Kool-Aid, you gotta pitch in.

Sometimes, you have to take one for the Gipper, but it’s for the greater good.

You want them to smile and breath a sigh of relief when they see you every morning. On time.

You gotta play the game to get the payoff. And if you’re good, you’ll get one.

Or else it will be, “Don’t let the door hit ya, where the Good Lord split ya.” when you pull the plug.

Can’t have that, can we?

Seeking Discomfort

My motives are always in question. Why do I put myself in such physical and emotional duress? I leap at any chance to fail in front of friends, family and the world. The bigger the venue, the better.

To take the stage, I have passed blood, been covered in flop sweat, received stinging rebukes, lost money, pride and future opportunities and still my ears prick up and my heart races at the whiff of another chance to expose myself to the world for the fool that I am.

Because it makes me uncomfortable.

I constantly seek discomfort. Because I know the value of discomfort. Discomfort develops us.

We were born in discomfort.

I train my body when my body doesn’t feel like it. I run when I can walk, walk when I can ride. I practice difficult piano passages until my hands hurt.

I lift heavy weights, train like a dog and live like a Spartan. It can be very uncomfortable.

Never live your life untested, or you will never reach your potential. You will never know what you’re capable of.

As my mother told me once, “Life is like Las Vegas, no balls, no blue chips.”

Seek discomfort before it seeks you. 🙂

 

 

Trying Too Hard

These are my own personal views, your “smileage” may vary.

If you try too hard, at anything, you will never be surprised and delighted. When I was asked to front the Skidder Munroe Band, I was surprised and delighted. When I was given a million dollar radiopharmaceutical sales territory while only possessing a GED, I was surprised and delighted.

Likewise, when I was asked to come in house and start a video production unit, I was more than surprised and completely over the moon.

I work with a very talented guy who is on a fast track to a nervous breakdown. He’s trying to move ahead in his career but is being thwarted by clueless management and a growing enemies list. His frustration is palpable.

He broods, he paces, he daydreams and he suffers, because things aren’t going his way.

Been there, done that.

To me, life is like a Chinese finger puzzle, the more you struggle, the more you get stuck.

When you grind away and think you got it coming, it usually doesn’t come. And if it does, you don’t savor it, because you think you had it coming.

Endless suffering.

I remember the story about an erstwhile comic who saw Rodney Dangerfield sitting at the bar and went over to tell him how much he idolized him. Instead of grace, he got venom. Rodney went off in a rage of expletives about how he should have made it sooner but those motherfuckers made him suffer. How no one appreciated his incredible talent back then. How he was forced to play all those dingy shit holes for years because he got “No respect.”

He died miserable, and in his own mind, disrespected.

When you work hard at the things you enjoy working hard at, things happen. In their own time.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Enjoy the struggle.

 

 

 

Tough day at the office.

 

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve looked in the mirror and thought I might be getting too lean.

Yesterday, I left my house on my bike at 4:45 am and returned in a wobbly state at 9:45 pm.

I was out cold by 10:10.

Someone called in sick at Lowe’s at the last moment yesterday and they asked (begged) me to stay. Luckily, I had the day off from my cheese mongering job at Fry’s.

Of my two jobs, Lowe’s is clearly the most intense. It is “slam bam” from opening to close. It is hard, mentally and physically challenging work.

Yesterday was a Saturday, D-Day in the home improvement world. It feels like being a floor trader on Wall Street. With your mouth covered.

It is noise, lines and confusion most of the day. The masks are a blight.

All communication is urgently muffled and humping five gallon paint buckets while not receiving enough oxygen through a piece of cloth is hard on the body.

It lasted for 16 hours.

When I rolled my bike out into the warm Arizona night at the end of the day, I was not looking forward to the extra 40 minute aerobic bonus. But it was exhilarating.

There is no way my 74 year old carcass could have withstood such a pounding if I didn’t train and feed my body correctly. No way.

I feel great this morning and I feel I’m ready to do it all over again. After a healthy breakfast and a brief but intense workout, of course.

As I’m fond of saying, aging is not for the faint of heart. The ability to move around this earth unencumbered is a gift.

And if you’re there for for your body, it will be there for you. Left unattended and untrained, it will atrophy and wither and leave withering pain in its wake.

Ask me how I know. 🙂

The “ship” has sailed.

In the short time that I worked for LA Fitness, the only topic of conversation in their 900 facilities was “ships” or memberships.

“Ships” was the only thing that mattered. You could use any tactic you could dream up as along as you got your target to sign on the dotted line.

As you can imagine, the resolution filled month of January meant the start of a windfall and the fish would come to you. No one cared whether the “shipee” showed up or not after that. Until next January. And so it would go…..until now.

Gold’s Gym just took the first step in a domino effect that will will affect commercial gyms all over the world…forever. They filed for Chapter 11.

I can’t see how we can safely come out of this situation for years, even decades.

This game is changed.

So now we have to come to terms with our physical health independently. We need to know how to train our bodies with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. At home.

All of this information of course, is on line but in clumps of hype, fear mongering, misinformation and lies.

Most of the cringe inducing pap I see is targeted at loosening the grip on your wallet, and tightening the grip on your monthly budget.

Chemically enhanced athletes are telling us how to achieve results like theirs by hawking sugary drinks with fancy names and meal plans they use on every client.

I said all that to say this: It’s time to focus inward and pull the responsibility of a healthy body and mind back to where it belongs…to us.

I became a personal trainer at the age of 70, after a personal fall from grace and a lengthy rehab. I was an overstuffed 230 pounds with a hot liver and a cold outlook. So I know personally what it takes to come back from the dead.

I left my gym more than a year ago and I never looked back. I work out in the garage where my car used to be.

I run, bike and walk everywhere and have the body, the stamina and the resilience of an adolescent. I’m 74.

I have lots of tips and tricks to share and I’m more than willing to put it out there for you to incorporate into your life.

But understand this first: physical fitness is a head game. Your success depends on what’s between your ears. The brain is your most important body part.

If you come at this logically, you will succeed.

You ready?

I love trouble….

If you manage a sales territory, have a customer base that needs constant care and feeding and you think they will hang in with you because you have the best product, the best service and the lowest prices, you are smoking your lunch.

Everyone can be had. Every loyal customer can be lured away by some desperate, scheming, competitor.

You will suffer the “I love you buts… that comes when they give you the jilt. (You know the look)

If it’s not your inside coach at the account, it will be some bean counter who only knows you from a spreadsheet.

You will sit at the edge of your bed in the dark and kiss your bonus, your status and that silly reward trip they give you at the end of the year good bye.

You will suffer in silence as your legend runs down your leg.

Unless….. you get the opportunity to roll around in the dirt with them. It can come in the form of a service failure, an unpopular price increase or a product recall. The worse, the better.

Now you gotta fight. Your back will be up against the wall as your territory goes into its death throes. The stage will go dark.

It happened to me with a large hospital group. They were planning to dump us in the dark of night for lower pricing. It had been in the works for months.

Now I had to put up, or shut up. I made blistering presentations that looked like the closing scene in “And Justice For All.”

It was all opportunity…. and my big mouth.

I got the chance to remind them who grew their business, who drove and delivered their product through the night (almost got fired for that one). All the education I brought in, all the venues I hosted.

I even fought my own company on their behalf.

I risked it all and told them to go and experience what they would be missing. I even extolled the virtues of the company culture from which I sprang.

The one that gave a lowly dock worker a chance to manage a huge geography despite his lack of formal training because of his customer focus.

That’s why I love trouble. You should too. You should plan for it and suck the life out of every opportunity to remind your customers what you do for them every day.

Things that wouldn’t have ordinarily come up in day to day conversation. My battles reverberated through Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

It’s a huge opportunity to show how good you are and why they are fortunate to be doing business with you. I bear many scars but I have never lost a battle.

So dig in and get your ammo ready. Keep lists of all the things you do for them. Set up quarterly meeting to toot your horn and educate them.

And when you get your clusterfuck, thank your lucky stars.

Because after the smoke clears, you and your customer will be closer than ever. They will have seen a side of you they never saw before.

Experience the joy of battle because nobody gets a medal in peace time. But you do get your mettle tested.

Yeah, T-R-O-U-B-L-E with a capital T.

Morons For Money

Fitness pros usually start out on Youtube disseminating valuable information. Until they start repeating themselves. Then, to keeping getting paid by Google for the number of views and subscribers on their channel, they have to revisit their previous information and nuance it.

They pose hypotheticals, attack other fitness pros, gossip and outright lie to sell a product they are whoring (like BCAA’s) and descend into moron territory.

What usually happens is, in frustration, they have a meltdown on camera, say a bunch of ridiculous things, scream, yell, foam at the mouth and in an act of total, hasty indiscretion, load it up to Youtube.

Well, who doesn’t want to watch that? The next day, Bozo sees his numbers, his viewers and his subscribers go up and his bank account gets a big pump.

This is where he decides to change his business plan.

He goes dark and turns into a freak show with no more valuable fitness information and starts talking about the problem he’s having with his girlfriend, his erectile dysfunction from steroids and the price of growth hormone.

There’s plenty of that stuff on Hulu so….

La Vida Loca

I have lived in luxury, war, debt, desperation, detox, detention, depression and divorce. I have had nothing and I have had everything. I have lived in squalor. I have lived in captivity. I have lived in jeopardy. I have lived in good times and I have lived in bad. But there is one place I will not live…. in fear. Yes, there is clear and present danger but I will not let it hobble me.

I am the grateful beneficiary of a full life. I have built it up and let it wash away. I did everything I wasn’t supposed to do and I’m still here. I burned the candle at both ends and in the middle. I have flourished beyond my capabilities. My mother taught me to live fully and leave no regret. I leave none.

So whatever happens to me during this current calamity, happens. I leave nothing on the table. If I survive, it will be on to the next thing.  I’m goin’ anyway and now is as good a time as any. No fear. No regrets.  Ta ta. 🙂

 

 

 

 

How to #$#@% your business.

I finally find a job I can stand. It’s eight up and four-oh. I like the people I work with, my manager calls me by my first name, and I have finally come to grips with the terms and function of my role.

I think to myself, “I can do this indefinitely.”

Then, one morning, the cute little HR rep with the high voice taps me on the shoulder and says she wants to introduce me to someone.

I quickly look past her to see this round shouldered lost soul with a pot belly, bad posture and an ill fitting white shirt.

Maybe he’s looking for directions?

She quickly assumes the “boxing ref” position to get us face to face as she breaks the news that this will be my new manager.

I am suddenly underwhelmed as this lump of disheveled humanity fills my eyeballs.

What have we got here? The next logical progression of the Peter Principle?

His eyes are darting around the room as she tells him how lucky he is to have such a strong team player like me.

His body language tells me I am the only thing standing between him and his next cheeseburger.

At this point, I think we’re losing him. He seems to be enduring the introduction as his lifeless arms just hang there.

He is missing in action. His discomfort is palpable. His chest has slid into his drawers.

He mumbles something incoherent but I don’t lean in to listen, because… I don’t care.

As I gaze at his fat, clammy hand, I thank the current epidemic that I don’t have to shake it.

Yet another HR lab experiment gone awry.

Why do they do this?

Now where did I put my square one?

I go back to work and start to plan my exit. I am so outta here. There is no way, I tell myself.

Now I hate everybody because they’re making me quit a job I could finally stand.

Those fucks! There is no way they don’t know what they’re doing.

You can’t spend more than a minute in a room with a mouth breather like that and not realize that he can’t relate to other humans.

What a kick in the chops.

After an hour, I start thinking, “Why should I quit? I was here first. This guy is not gonna make it, so why panic? Yeah, fuck them. I’m gonna keep showing up and get my money. I’m gonna play stupid, drag everything out. I will start conserving my energy for my other job.”

Yeah, rope-a- dope. That’s the ticket.

This is what happens when companies promote some technically proficient geek to the role of managing humans. WTF? There is obviously not enough oxygen getting into that back office.

HR, if you have made personnel changes and you start to see productivity drop, people leave and communication all but disappears, you have only yourself to blame.

If you want to recover, put Dipshit back in the dark room with the rest of the mushrooms and find managers with people skills.

People who care, people who can communicate and people who can remember someone’s first name.

People who can wish you a “Good Morning” without it sounding like Tourette’s.

Until then….suffer!

Stinky Old Me!

My ticket to show business.

In 1975, I had been playing guitar for nearly three years. I went mad for it and played every spare second. A kid I worked with at the restaurant played bass for a local show band based in Waltham. He was the one that first plopped a guitar in my lap a few years earlier.

He said the band was looking for a guitar player and asked if I would audition. Having never auditioned before, I said sure.

The audition took place in a rehearsal space in Fresh Pond, where one of the rooms was filled with equipment owned by a little know band named “Boston.”

After I turned up, tuned up and plugged in, they handed me some lead sheets and started the count.

In short order, I decimated “I Got The Music In Me, “Loving You” by Minnie Ripperton and Honky Tonk Women.” Bruuuttalll!.

Another one of my patented “all balls, no brains” moves. Mercifully, after an hour, they called the session and we all stood in a circle to discuss ….moi.

At first, they were kind. Kind of. Then, when they got comfortable from passing the Jose Cuervo and a big fat joint, they let me have it. Both barrels.

They were killing themselves laughing at how bad I sucked. They even made fun of my guitar.

There were gales of laughter at my expense. But no applause.

They wanted to know where I even got the balls to show up. The reviews kept pouring in.

But I just told them how great I thought they were and if they ever needed a roadie, please call me.

After a few months, after my ego sufficiently recovered, and thinking of the future, I purchased this Kustom PA system. Nobody had a PA system in those days.

You get where I’m going here?

When word got out that I owned a PA system, my phone started ringing. My friends from the show band were one of the first to call. Seems they missed me.  🙂

Long story a little bit shorter, I grudgingly became a member of that band and I got to learn the ropes from the ground up. Not only did I play guitar, I picked up keyboards, started singing and ended up fronting the band.

Were they using me? Hell yeah!

Was I using them? Hahahahahahaah!

 

Am I Delusional?

Maybe. I’ve been beating my chest for the last four years about how I regained my health, my strength and my vitality by training my body, feeding myself correctly and educating myself on all things physical.

I put an enormous amount of effort into getting certified as a personal trainer and delving into nutrition, weight loss, and senior fitness.

At 74, I consider myself an elder athlete with absolutely no restrictions and minimum medications.

I take Flomax for an enlarged prostate (normal for most older men) and low dose Losartan for blood pressure. 50 mg puts my blood pressure at 100 over 65. Not too shabby for a so-called declining geezer.

Now the delusional part: Do I think I will come down with the virus? No. Do I think if I do come down with it, I will survive it? Yes. Am I delusional? Of course, but I like my odds.

I like my odds because I am in peak condition not just for my age, but for anybody’s age.

I learned after years of traumatizing and poisoning myself, that with proper care and feeding your body will always welcome your prodigal self back.

With open arms.

No one knows what the future holds but one thing is sure – our herd will get picked off and it’s a safe bet that the weaker, less conditioned and malnourished will be impacted.

These are the times that challenge our physicality and our grit. It is impacting our finances and the means by which we make a living. You can’t work if you’re not healthy.

Once this is over, as I’m sure it will be, we must remember that a long, healthy life isn’t a “crap shoot” as I often hear.

Certainly, life is unpredictable but we don’t need to exacerbate it by simply doing nothing to bolster our health and strengthen our bodies. No train, no gain.

Our responsibility to ourselves, our families and our Maker, should be to always take good care of the gifts we are walking around in, so we might survive and thrive in times like these.

My advice? Get delusional.

The Bob and Weave:

Total fitness requires access and proximity. Now that the current dilemma is driving us inward, this is the time to discuss why we might benefit and become even more fit by working out at home. At this time, serious consideration should be given to setting up our home gyms permanently.

One of the largest concerns we have is blocking out time. Seeing that “place” has already been ruled out and time always seems to be an issue, I have a solution: What I do is “weave” my workouts into my daily schedule. As I’m getting ready for work, I will do some jumping jacks in between making lunch and laying my clothes out.

If I’m watching TV, I will “hit the deck” and do crunches, push-ups and hamstring stretches. I will weave some dips, curls and air squats into my routine in no particular order just to shake things up. The body will always respond better when you throw it some curve balls. It works!

Your workout doesn’t have to be blocked out, driven to, or paid for in a monthly subscription. Most of you have seen my sparse gym setup, complete with cables, dumbbells and dipping bars. This is the most effective way I have found to keep my aging carcass bouncing around. So remember, you don’t have to go anywhere or set aside a time block to be fit beyond your wildest, all you gotta do is “Bob and weave.”

Stamina

It’s 4:00 am and I have a long, back to back work day ahead of me. I’m bouncing around my kitchen prepping multiple lunches, healthy snacks, packing a change of clothes and slamming black coffee.

All the while weaving in body weight exercises and some hamstring stretches.

I feel like I was born ready.

Yesterday, I clocked 15 hours of hectic retail work over two jobs and connected them with 90 minutes of highway bike time. That takes stamina. Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. Stamina is what I talk about with anyone who will listen.

We all think we might slide comfortably into the ether when we retire, but now, life has thrown us yet another curve ball and all bets are off.

Most of us might have to seriously hustle. Again.

This wasn’t in the plan.

Now we need the physical and mental resources to just….survive.

The case I am making is that even in our retirement years our bodies still respond to fitness training. We can still gain and maintain attractive bodies well into our later years.

There is no way I could have met the demands of a day like yesterday if I wasn’t fit.

And I have another one just like it in front of me today.

I am 74 years old and arguably in the best shape of my life and I did it through consistent training and attention to diet.

And I’m thrilled with the results I’m seeing and feeling.

My point? I ain’t over. It’s never never gonna be over and it’s never too late to pull yourself together physically and mentally.

I don’t hear no fat lady singing, do you? 🙂

Crashing Through Crapulence

Think of something like a food, a habit, or a vice that you really enjoy in this life, but is keeping you from achieving your long sought after goals.

Now think of never doing it again. That sad, lonely feeling in the pit of your stomach is familiar to all of us. It feels like losing a loved one.

This is the feeling that traps us. It paints a picture of loneliness and deprivation with plenty of void mixed in. You begin to think of things that are gonna start to suck immediately.

This is an aberration.

I have had to withdraw from things that were holding me back on more occasions than I care think about. But I will for the sake of this conversation.

I have been hooked on cigarettes, dope, alcohol, prescription meds, loose women and ice cream.

Every time I committed myself to breaking free and was victorious, a whole new world opened for me.

Example: Fat, drug addled alcoholic, to multi-certified personal trainer. (You can’t make this up.)

The point of this message is if you really want to make a big change, don’t spend your time grieving and imagining life without, focus on the all the good things that will naturally occur in your life because you got rid of those distractions.

Personal victories change you…forever.

So many wonderful, unexpected things happen when you finally take the leap.

You’re the boss.

Trust me.

Sitting This One Out

 
 

My mother always told me to live my life to the fullest so I would never have any regrets, especially at the point of death. I listened.

I didn’t marry and settle down until I was 55, providing me ample time to shame, embarrass and exhaust myself. Over the years, I got myself expelled, incarcerated, drafted, detoxed and divorced.

I also jumped a lot of bones. 🙂

In my life, I never missed an opportunity to exhibit my foolishness. I have stepped on stage ill prepared, too high and too cocky. It showed.

I pissed through my life savings and drew the scrutiny of the IRS, Visa, Master Card and American Express.

In 1990, I moved to Arizona by myself and sold nuclear medicine on nothing more than a GED. I always found myself in the deep end of the pool and seemed to perform swimmingly.

So now that we are besieged with uncertainty, anxiety and fear, I will have none of it. I’m not suicidal, but I will not do this dance. Whatever happens, happens. I’ve been through too much and too little.

The excitement, travails and near death experiences of my life have left me satiated at this table.

I can’t think of any page I haven’t turned. In short… I’m good.

That being said, I will not mask up or contain myself unless ordered to do so. My current two jobs put me right on the firing line and I won’t quit until they do.

My thinking is, if I am in danger of losing my life, especially at my age, now is as good a time as any. My upper lip is stiff and I am ready for anything.

No regrets.

Sorry, not sorry……

This is why people like me are a disaster for the economy:
We don’t drive, we bike or walk everywhere.
We don’t buy cars or take loans
We don’t buy car insurance
We don’t buy fuel
We don’t pay for servicing or repairs
We don’t pay excise tax
We don’t pay for parking
We don’t become obese and tax the medical system
We never get sick
We don’t buy prescription drugs
We don’t go to hospitals or clinics
We don’t pay doctors or insurance companies
We are a nightmare for the GDP
Truth is, healthy people are not needed in this economy.
And that’s just…too bad.

Shock Your Doctor!

* I am not a doctor but I have been protocolized into the CVS Hall of Fame. I was on 15 orange bottles for ten years. It didn’t have to be that way. These are my opinions only.

You want more headroom? You want to live out these years productively? Take more responsibility for your health and fitness. Read the manual. Get a personal trainer for 30 days. Have them do a squat assessment on you to see if you have any alignment issues. Your body is one big kinetic chain. Weakness in the hip can cause problems all over your body. Feet, knees, low back and shoulders.

Stay away from chiropractors. When I was having serious head pain (from statins) I went to one who almost took my head off. On one visit I told him that neck snap thing he was performing was killing me for two days after my visit. He listened intently, nodded in agreement, told me to lay down and then he snapped my fucking neck again. ??!!

Walk everywhere, use a fitness tracker. Take one week out of your life and track your calories. Use My Fitness Pal . Find your basal metabolic rate with this free calculator. Your BMR is what it takes to keep your lights on. Your weight times 10 is a good rule of thumb. Then figure out your activity level using the free calculator. Then you will have a good idea what your maintenance calories are.

Don’t live your life from his or her prescription pad. Don’t take their exercise or nutrition advice as gospel. Doctors get about four hours of nutritional training out of eight years of education. Medicine is a business. Don’t forget that. My doc was the pamphlet queen of Massachusetts. She was also obese.

If they get you on a prescription, they own you. You will be managed by the numbers. They follow protocols. They need you in their practice. They will tell you that age is the culprit and you need to be managed into acceptance. Uh, I don’t think so.

I am 74 years old and just jumped off my blood pressure medication. If you are over 65 and are getting pilloried with prescriptions, you need to think seriously about holding up your end of the bargain.

The less you see of your local pharmacist the better off you will be. Take it from me.

Just sayin’.

 

 

 

I Was My First Client

All the benefits from getting certified as a personal trainer at 70 years old went directly to me. I shaved almost fifty pounds off my tired, bloated, frame, added pounds of muscle, got off of statins, dropped my blood pressure, lost my aches and pains and attained athlete status at the ripe old age of 74.

I have not been sick even one day in four years. Not even a sniffle.

In 2016, at the VA rehab, while detoxing off of alcohol and Xanax, they told me I was a ticking time bomb and I better be using my walker in the hallways. I was high risk. I felt defeated.

Now, I’m an Elder Athlete!

I run five miles every night, lift weights and ride a bike a total of 80 minutes every day back and forth to work. I have never experienced such health and wellness.

And every morning I love what I see in the mirror. You can’t put a price on that.

It’s there for all of us. The medical community tells us to brace ourselves for illness and physical breakdown. They’re just following med school protocol.

When I had head pain from statins at 52, the doc told me this was par for the course. Nothing is further from the truth. Use it or lose it.

I’m using it and I’m damn sure not gonna lose it. We’re made for the long haul, don’t let ’em shit ya!

Get out there!

 

He Lives…..

 

 

I posted this a month ago and took it down for fear he was somehow be keeping track of me. That day more than 50 years ago is still a vivid memory because I really thought he was gonna off me the day before we left Vietnam. I made a lot of people laugh with this story and some day I’m sure I’ll pay. But not today.  🙂

No shit! He lives…
I’m not gonna say his name (because I’m still terrified of him) but when I was in Vietnam with him I witnessed something extremely embarrassing happen to him in a Vietnamese bar. We were in this local village the day before we were leaving the country when it happened. I didn’t think I was gonna leave Vietnam alive because I witnessed it. Arrrgghh!

Just as a little back story, this was a very tough guy. Anybody that had hung out with him in those days had missing front teeth. He was extremely violent and unpredictable but he let me live because I always made him laugh. But not this day. He said, “O’Hearn, I can’t let you live because I’ll end up in one of your stories. I’ll have to kill you.” He kept saying it all day.

I believed every word he said because we were all packing in those days. It took me all day to calm him down. (Which took the equivalent of a trash bag full of weed.)

We left on the same flight the next day and for 19 hours he threatened me with every nasty death scenario he could think of if I ever opened my mouth. That was a long flight.

30 days later, I end up at Fort Hood, Texas for just a couple of months before my time was up. I meet a guy at the PX who was in the same unit with us over there and he invites me over for barbecue with more guys and their wives from our old unit.

Well, everyone loved to hear my stories and I couldn’t hold back on my buddy. I had them laughing so hard one guy almost caught fire off the grill. The wives were howling like banshees. Me and my big mouth.

Their eyes were wide with a mix of laughter and terror because they knew him. Some were even his victims. I’m thinking, “Fuck him, I’ll never see him again.”

So the very day I was getting on the bus for the Dallas airport to go home, a car goes whizzing by us with you-know-who’s scary face out the window screaming like a siren “OOOOhhheeaarnnnn! You guessed it. He knew! They must have told him.

It was my worst nightmare. He was really gonna kill me now. I got back to Boston safely and successfully drank it out of my mind. Until now.

Today is the first time I’ve seen his mug in more than 50 years. I will not sleep tonight. I’m sure of it.

Good night Pete, please forgive me.

“It’s not about you, Bob”

His name was Chip and he was the newly ordained chairman of the Dupont Safety Committee in the year of Our Lord 2000. The same year I got tapped to manage the committee from the field. Not good news for me.

The safety committee was like jury duty on Quaaludes. It would sputter on in futility and whimper into the next year until the next set of victims got drafted. Dupont used to insure themselves so it was all they ever talked about. Getting the news that you were inducted into the safety committee was like having a death in the family.

This guy Chip could aggravate a bowling ball so I was not looking forward to this experience. There were ten of us on the team with me in the lead from the field. After the first conference call everyone panicked. No one had a clue on how to proceed.

The Chipster had no bright ideas either and decided to lean on us for a path forward. You could call it a threat. My mother used to say I would always survive because I knew how to entertain myself.

So I did.

I bought a police uniform, changed my name to “Officer Eyeon”, put up a web site called “Eye On Safety” and put out a newsletter by the same name. Then recorded 10 songs which I put out on 3,000 CDs and made two music videos. $$$$$$$$$

At the national sales meeting I performed “Keep Your Eye On Safety” with the team holding branded steering wheels. (That tape is out there somewhere.)

Then I designed 400 “Eye On Safety” coffee cups which even went out to customers. It cost them a fortune. (They won’t call me again, I thought) That’s when Chip told me after all the attention the safety committee got that year, that I wasn’t much of a team player. To which I pled, “Guilty.”

Let the games begin.

Let’s be honest. If we were serious about our health and fitness we wouldn’t be waiting until New Years to take action. You’re thinking after all the sloth, lethargy and bad food choices you’ve been making, the least you can do is hand over a chunk of money to someone who will gladly make you feel all sorts of unpleasantness for 6- 12 weeks.

You’ll show you, won’t you? To atone for your sins, you think you have to sweat and suffer. But here’s the reality, the experience you are having right now is not sustainable. Because it doesn’t feel good.

Actually, it’s torture, because you let yourself go and your body is in agony from lack of use and nutritious food choices.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Every year I see the cattle call go out to the guilt ridden silent partners of the big box gym down the street. New Years is their Christmas and your guilt is a gift from you.

Let’s start now and follow exercise and meal plans that are sustainable. Your body is very intelligent and doesn’t have to be tortured. It gets it, OK?

You don’t have to get breathless and possibly injured to see results. We’re talking about lifestyle changes, not boot camp. It all starts and ends with awareness.

Move more and make better food choices all year and you won’t be suffering with the rest of the victims who have to go to bed without dinner tonight.  🙂

 

“Well, Exclu-u-ude Me!

You read “Fit Over 40”, “Fit Over Fifty” you ever see anything about being fit over 60? Or God forbid, 70? No, because you young pups think we’re over.

You think we’re just waiting for the ward nurse or the Grim Reaper.

You are always talking about how how hard is to train and gain muscle in your 40’s and 50’s.

There are a lot of guys my age and younger who know how train and get results even in their 70’s. I’m one of them.

You are under the false assumption that our testosterone levels are down around our ankles and we have nothing left to discuss.

And you would be wrong. I see articles and videos on line about men in their thirties and forties consoling each other about low testosterone levels and how hard is to train.

I know what the cure is and it ain’t laying at the bottom of a syringe.

I love how you think 40 years old is “getting up there.” You have no idea.

Did you ever stop to think that while you were being conjured up at the drive-in we were being physically trained to fight a war?

We got our butts kicked all day every day and we flourished.

A lot of us are in great physical condition today on account of it. Being in the military was the greatest honor I have ever experienced. It should be mandatory.

At 74, I am a friggin’ athlete. An elder athlete. I have no restrictions and no limits. I can out run, out fight and out fuck guys half my age. I am fully present and accounted for.

So the next time you want to have a discussion about training in later life, don’t exclude my generation. We are still at it.

And still getting results.

Thank you.  🙂

Offensive Language

What I got from my rough and tumble life over the last three years: Never wake up on defense.

Step on the gas and don’t let up. Get momentum on your side.

When I open my eyes at 1:00 am, it’s on. I immediately go on the offense. I don’t ponder, I act.

I don’t question my existence or my circumstance.

I don’t roll the dice and I don’t ask for anything.

The goal is to seize the moment. There are no weeny words spoken, no prayers for help and none expected.

I don’t do doubt, uncertainty, or WTF! I don’t do defense. In defense you’re a sitting duck.

There is simply no time. Not at this stage of the game. I strike first and ask questions later.

I breath words like move, seize, strike, push, and focus into my waking reality.

I don’t use ..if…hope, mercy, maybe or perchance. I don’t play odds.

I know exactly where I am and what I’m supposed to do. It’s all offense, no defense all the time.

The day is yours for the taking. Seize it!  Stay off the defense and you’ll survive the day.

You just need to use a little offensive language.

 

Well, alright, alright, alright.

Puffery. That’s what these poison purveyors are pushing on us. They’re saying the stuff they put out is harmless and they’re just trying to help us have a good time.

Mc Donald’s puts out a bullshit loss leader of a salad  to make you think they’re listening, while your kids are gaining new fat cells gobbling down Happy Meals.

Here we have Matthew McConaughey trying to tell us how brilliant the drinkers of Wild Turkey Bourbon liquor are. Now that’s acting. Alright, alright alright.

Budweiser wants you think you can’t have a good time watching football, throwing a party or having sex without them.

Coca cola is the largest advertising buyer on the planet. When I go to the supermarket at 5:00 am, there are at least 6 coke employees re-stocking shelves to beat the band while store employees with knee pads are interrupting every aisle replenishing the chips, dips and candies.

Meanwhile, you hear a Twinkies trailer humping the back of the building. You think these companies aren’t factoring in legalized marijuana in their five year plans? Munchies by proxie.

What’s the big deal? People should be allowed to drink and eat responsibly, right? Not while Madison Avenue has a pulse.

We all have choices but that shouldn’t be an excuse for these companies to get away with the kind of puffery they’re inflicting on us.

Remember the senate investigation of 20 cigarette manufacturers who all swore cigarettes were harmless? Remember the Marlboro man?

From my daily observations at the supermarket, almost every shopping cart I see matches the physical appearance and condition of the owner. I can look in the cart and make a diagnosis.

We are physical disasters on the way to happen. The last well proportioned female I saw in this town was……12 years old.

In 2030, 50% of Americans will be obese. It will be a disaster. You will have to know someone to get a hospital bed.

Fat acceptance is already accepted. They are calling it “Healthy at any size.” The photos are garish.

Fact: If your BMI is 30 and above, you are considered obese. If you are obese, you are sick. You are not well. Period. No sugar coating, obviously.

They keep puffin’ and we keep stuffin’ that muffin. And I am done huffin’.

Well, alright, alright alright.