Friday Fitness Fulminations.

Let’s start off the links with someone new. From Maggie’s Farm. Because I think this is only half right. As an aside, I think the crossfit definition from Glassman is only half right as well.

I know that few of our fitness buff readers follow the Maggie’s excellent fitness protocol, but that’s fine. Whatever makes ya miserable and stressed while doing, but glad you did afterwards.

(Readers know, ad nauseum, that we recommend 2 days of heavy weights, 2 days of pure cardio, 2 days of calisthenics, and a day of some recreational sports or hiking, etc. We feel road-running is hell on joints.)

Gotta move, every day, with effort. Alternative is decay. Just our opinion, though.

My “cardio”- dedicated days (about 2-2 1/2 hrs/wk) include random mixtures of HIIT and “long, slow” recovery. To avoid boredom, I mix it up a lot with elliptical, treadmill runs, jump rope, rower sprints, stair machine, etc. The episodic intensity is what makes it all time-effective. I do not swim because pools gross me out.

What’s missing?

Firstly, diet. You need to avoid that sugar. As much as possible — particularly on stressful weeks. Yes, virginia, alcohol is metabolised into carbohydrates. You need to eat unrefined: nuts, meat, vegetables… and foods that don’s stress you out. One mistake I made as a kid — running high mileage — was I ate every form of fast food available. Then worried about chronic inflammation and injury.

Secondly. Take a day off. Completely. Not recreational sports. Not even watching sports. Sleep in. Go to church if it’s a Sunday. Have a leisurely meal with family. You will work better with a day of rest.

Thirdly, cardiovascular exercise is slower than you think. It is a Heart Rate no faster than 180 minus age. It is being able to talk during it. This should be a variety of exercises, including running on whatever surfaces you can find, walking, swimming, cycling… and I would suggest you don’t do that in the gym.

Fourthly, mix HIIT and weights on your gym days. Better still, decrease the intensity by scaling CrossFit.

However, Glassman was right in that you should try new sports. For the enjoyment, for the team work. Mark Sisson plays frisbee, Vox Day still plays soccer. I prefer hikes. Crossfit is not really a sport. Sport, however, has a risk of injury. Better, as you get older, to avoid that — leave your ego at the door.

Onto other things: Kea hates this, but is true. Lifting heavy matters for us oldsters.

Lifting as heavy as you can as safely as you can is essential for healthy longevity. That’s why I put it first in the list today. It’s that important.

For one, lean muscle mass is one of the strongest predictors of resistance to mortality. The more muscle a person has (and the stronger they are), the longer they’ll live—all else being equal. That’s true in both men and women.

One reason is that the stronger you are, the more capable you are. You’re better at taking care of yourself, standing up from chairs, ascending stairs, and maintaining basic functionality as you age.

Another reason is that increased lean mass means greater tissue reserve—you have more organ and muscle to lose as you age, so that when aging-related muscle loss sets in, you have longer to go before it gets serious. And that’s not even a guarantee that you’ll lose any. As long as you’re still lifting heavy things, you probably won’t lose much muscle, if any. Remember: the average old person studied in these papers isn’t doing any kind of strength training at all.

Mark Sisson

Progress this week was again mixed. We have had one set of parents with us over last weekend, and we are spending time with the other side of the family this long weekend. The weather has been very bad, limiting walks. But we are slowly getting there.

Weka Kea
Change this week -0.7 kg 0.0 kg
Change since baseline (August 12) -8.1 kg -7.6 kg
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2 years ago

Having had to drop out of the game completely for a few years and then getting back into CF… that first year, the first six months, was life-changing. I could do the things! Put the 65lb dog in the car? K. Carry groceries easily? K.

I talk to older ladies at the gym, and my mom. They tell me it takes mere days to lose ground after 70. And they’re all mad about it. BUT – if they keep up, they get to be in a much healthier place. But preaching to the choir, I love weights. HIIT and cardio? Eh.