Backwash!

Ever meet anyone who wasn’t desirous of losing weight? Me, neither.

Whether it’s a shedding a few pounds, or the equivalent of another human being, everyone will pay at least some attention to anyone manning a flip chart, wearing a sleeveless jersey, and using the term “macronutrients.”

To say that the people who regurgitate incorrect nutritional misinformation are dangerous, is an understatement.

My obnoxious personality has cursed me with the type of curiosity that has led me down a path of confusion, despair and at least an extra twenty pounds.

I’ve tried everything, folks.

With disastrous results.

In four years I’ve lost 60 pounds but gained tons of experience. I’ve been rode hard and put up wet.

Because I was desperate and easily impressed. Don’t be like me.

I watch in horror as these “entrepreneurs” take the digital stage uneducated, uninformed and unabated. They pass on remnants of what they pick up from YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Sometimes, what they leave out, is just as dangerous as what they put in. Oy!

But they know where the money is. In your wallet.

Coming from a comedic background, the only positive thing I can say is, they’re pulling it off with a straight face.

The mispronunciations themselves can induce gales of laughter.

But it’s a dangerous game they’re playing with your health and your money.

Caveat Empty.

Tabula Rasa

Tabula rasa is Latin for blank slate. Each day, when I wake up in such incredible health and good fortune, I pinch myself black and blue. I remind myself that we are all dying by the minute.

And every day is a blank canvas for me to doodle on. And I do, with reckless abandon.

Being a student of life, I believe that all my recent troubles have focused me. Benefited me. I have been deceived, divorced, detoxed and double crossed. No doubt.

But I am active and engaged in this life and not fretting or planning for either damnation or paradise in the next. There is too much to do here.

On my journey I seek to find some meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence. Not truth, not justice, not God. Just meaning.

I strive every day in all my activities, to never be considered harmless or irrelevant. Because I’m not. I will not be tread upon.

I live in a controlled, violent and ready state. Ready for anything. My upbringing was tough but loving.

I came from good stock. I have been in war, in jail and in government custody. I have been on my high horse, and I have been on my knees. I have had everything and  then…nothing.

For all that, I was prepared by my circumstances. And I have loved every minute.

I start every day like it’s brand new. Because it is. Yesterday is a toilet flush. I live in stoical acceptance of this life and will give as good as I get.

Tomorrow, I will again pick up my palette and make my big, broad strokes on the sprawling empty canvas that has been provided me.

I hope you will too.

Bonjour.

 

 

 

Sustainability:

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with myself lately. On March 1, I tipped the scales at 208 lbs. I was not unhappy at that weight.

I was carrying a lot of muscle, my clothes were tight in the right places and I was hitting my cardiovascular peak.

My blood pressure (116 over 68) and blood work, was spot on.

I felt powerful.

But I had had a pair of 33 inch pants in the closet that were calling my name. And who doesn’t want to see their abs?

You might think at almost 75 years old, abs might be an impossibility, but you would be wrong. 🙂

I just stepped off the scale at a lean, mean, 175 lbs. Haven’t seen that number since my cocaine days.

Here’s the take away: I didn’t diet. I didn’t suffer. I didn’t deprive. I didn’t weigh myself every ten minutes. I didn’t get neurotic.

I simply found great tasting, low calorie and healthy  alternatives to what was putting weight on me in the first place.

I had a plan. I took my time. I was good to myself. You need to be good to yourself, because you’re all you got.

Deprivation causes relapse and failure. Don’t ask me how I know.

If you don’t educate yourself about your own body and what it takes to live optimally,  none of your weight loss efforts will be sustainable. Sustainability is key. Fitness is a long game.

You in?

Step right into our Junior Moose department:

I had a friend who I met 40 years ago. He was in such good shape he forced me to buy a pair of sneakers. Just by being the hunk that he was. Woman went mental over him.

Besides being a chick magnet, he was also a track star at the time. You know, the kind you love to hate.

As years went by, he let himself go. He gained about sixty pounds in fits and starts. As in, nothing fit, once he started eating.

A girl he was actually engaged to once didn’t even recognize him at a mall. Like two years later.

One day my friend goes to the doctor because he can’t seem to get out of his own way. He had a beauty in his hot tub late one night and he couldn’t pull his own uh, weight. (Cough)

So he panics and ends up in the waiting room the next day. Wouldn’t you?

His doc gets a look at his testosterone levels and tells him maybe he should stop by the dress shop on his way home. The doc tells my friend that his wife has more testosterone than he does.

They put him on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and it ain’t helping. Because now he’s obese. He looks like he should be strumming a ukulele at a luau.

He’s so fat you can’t tell if his eyes are open and the back of his neck looks like a pack of Fenway Franks. If you bring up sex, he changes the subject.

I said all that to say this: fat causes an increase in estrogen, which causes a reduction in testosterone. That ain’t good fellas. We lose enough just getting older.

And as you know, life don’t get no easier.

So you have two options: either start training to lose weight and add some muscle, or go get your nails done.

It’s your call, sweetie. 🙂

I Provide Solutions

I never felt totally comfortable after I passed this personal training certification exam more than two years ago. The one right here, the one that I refuse to re-certify.

Sure, I was happy I passed it after nine months of banging my head on a computer screen and humping a forty pound book around, but I remember sitting in my car that day thinking, “Now, what am I gonna do?”

Because for two years I watched “would be” fitness coaches staring at the TV while their marks pushed through their halfhearted paces.

There was plenty of improper exercise form and absolutely never a word about diet or nutrition.

I watched trainers standing around all day waiting for clients who never showed, clients who never paid, and results that never materialized.

I would see these rest room attendants shooting the shit ad nauseam about politics, the little league and last night’s sitcoms. No thank you. I don’t have the time for that. I don’t have the patience for that.

What I do have is knowledge. What I do have is experience. What I do have is results.

Four years ago I had to surrender my 230 pound, nearly dead body to the Veteran’s Administration Rehab Facility to wean me off alcohol and prescription medications.

I lost everything: my business, my home, my marriage and even my will to live. I was 70 years old.

In insurance parlance, I was totaled.

So I had to start my fitness journey in a deficit. At less than zero. I had screaming high blood pressure, a hot liver and a cold chance in hell at survival.

There was nowhere to go but up….or straight down.

Every day I set my mind to getting stronger. To learning more about how to live without orange bottles. To learning how to feed myself correctly so I could lose fat and retain whatever muscle tissue was still clinging to my battered frame.

I’m down 55 pounds since that fateful day at rehab. I’m clean, sober and strong. I am now what I call an elder athlete. I can give as good as I get in any situation.

I rebuilt myself from the ground up and I can help you do the same. I teach resistance training, nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness. I also know a lot about addiction and depression. First hand.

These are my hot button, high passion issues.

But remember, I’m not your valet, I’m your advisor. I provide solutions. I have answers. I have a plan. I can get you out of your situation because I’ve been there. I’ve suffered, recovered and learned.

I know how to do this. I’ve been training since Vietnam. I can give you the tools to change your body and your life.

To succeed in these later years, you need to be effective, to be effective you need to be healthy and strong.

For you to be healthy and strong, we need to talk.

So lets.

Phytness: My Recipe For Health

I have written about everything but my bowel habits (but I wouldn’t rule it out.) As someone who has always had a large collection of orange prescription bottles within arm’s length, I find it almost incredible that I have been illness and symptom free for almost four years.

I haven’t had as much as a stuffy nose, a scratchy throat, an upset stomach or a headache. Headache intensity used to be how I gauged my day.

In this time, amazingly, I haven’t come down with any type of stress related illness. And if you think the threat of jail, homelessness, bad credit, detox, divorce and the IRS aren’t stress inducers, I beg you to reconsider.

Some of my meals depended solely on my ability to find change in my couch cushions. I couldn’t even afford to feed my dog. Any one of these life changing events could provide a cancer diagnosis.

Still….I thrive.

Lack of sleep will make you sick also. I used to groan myself awake to go for a run just to quell the demons. Little did I know how healthy I was making my poor, beleaguered self.  I lifted weights, rode a bike for 22 miles every morning and ate sparingly…because I had no food or money.

Turns out I was on the right path. Whether I knew it or not.

Exercise begets fitness, fitness begets health. No other way to say it. When you’re walking around with extra weight, live a sedentary lifestyle, (as I did) and let your musculature atrophy, you are opening yourself up to a whole gamut of illness and disease.

If you are retirement age and looking forward to “the good years” I will tell you this, youth is wasted on the young.

You heard that right, “youth is wasted on the young.”

When we are young and dumb, everything works but we don’t know how to use it. Now that we have gained all this worldly wisdom and know how to use it, things start falling apart because of age and all the troubles that come with it.

Your health is failing, your ability to move independently disappears, your doctor is counting on you to get his kids through college and you just started on Zoloft.

I will tell you from first hand experience, it doesn’t have to be this way. Eat less, move more and progressively overload your muscles and watch the head fog disappear.

You will sleep better, feel better and enjoy the years you have worked so hard for.

Now, about my bowel habits…..  🙂

Metabolic Sprinkling

Trying to carve out an hour or so of your busy day to exercise your body can seem futile at times. Especially when you have two jobs like me. Here’s what I do: I sprinkle. I sprinkle running, walking, squatting, lifting and stretching all through my day. Wherever I can fit it in. Because, in the end, it’s all cumulative. It doesn’t matter whether I do it in one hour or 24, as long as I do it.

There’s also N.E.A.T. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting.

Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic (heat) actions that culminate in an individual’s daily NEAT. Get a fitness tracker and increase your awareness of how much ground you cover in your normal day.

You’ll be surprised at how much you’re moving.

In short, it all adds up in your TDEE, Total Daily Energy Expenditure and will go a long way in keeping you fit and lean.

Sprinkling will also remind you to walk more, take the stairs and shake that thang. 🙂

My advice, do more sprinkling and keep it NEAT.

Blind Dieting

Let’s face it, most of us have no idea what we’re doing when we go on a diet to lose weight. Even if you hire a trainer or coach, it will be hit or miss until they can figure out what is, or isn’t, working.

And you will be coughing up the do-re-mi until they do.

Most of us know more about our cars than we do about our bodies. We don’t know what our BMR (basal metabolic rate) is, which is what it takes to keep you breathing.

We don’t have any idea what our TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is, and we certainly have no clue what our maintenance calories are.

This is why it’s worth taking a week or so out of your life to track your calories to see what is required to keep you lean and healthy and to maintain homeostasis.

For instance, I weigh 180 pounds, work out regularly and run every night. My BMR is 1602 and my maintenance calories are 2736.

If I eat above that number consistently, I gain weight. Below that number, I lose weight.

I know that because for 6 months last year, I tracked everything I ate and all my activities. Then I divided up my macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) into an optimal plan for what I wanted to achieve. It was a revelation.

I could see clearly where I was headed. For once.

As a coach, I should know how to do this so I can help my clients. It helps.

Below is a Calorie Intake Calculator to help you figure out where you are as far as maintenance calories. Once you see where you are, you can act accordingly.

Start reading labels, weighing portions (it’s not as bad as you think) and tracking your activities using a Fitbit or Apple Watch.

For once, you will know what a serving is (or isn’t). You will know what 4 ounces looks like and what a cup looks like. Your eyes will be opened.

This could change your life by getting the results that have always eluded you.

Scroll down and enter your stats and when it comes to activity levels, be as accurate as possible.

I hope this will give you a good idea of where you should be as far as daily calorie intake and how to achieve a caloric deficit.

Then you can take your blinders off.  🙂

Calorie Intake Calculator

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.