#oldguyslifttoo – Consarn It!

Those of you who follow me on other social media (yeah, both of you) may have noticed that I usually tag any remotely fitness related post first with #oldguyslifttoo. Though it clearly hasn’t caught on I’m trying to make a point with that hashtag.

Youth and Fitness

It doesn’t take much observation to realize that in our culture and society fitness and athletic activities are the province of the young. In mo and t pro sports you’re finished before 40. A quick look through Instagram and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of posts, pictures, selfies, swolfies, and not so random flexing poses of young men (and a few women) in front of bathroom mirrors. Each who seems fully dedicated to their particular workout, diet and intent on spreading their knowledge and enthusiasm to the world. Or at least get a date. Maybe both, I’m not sure, and I’m not criticizing this in the least. If it motivates anyone towards physical fitness I’m for it. Heck, if I had the abs and biceps of some of these guys I’d be right there in front of my mirror with my phone snapping a picture too.

Old = Inactive?

But, you don’t see so much from older people. Go to a gym, again filled with folks under 40. Now I’m sure that there are a lot of reasons for this. The usual being other priorities. Career, family, etc. But, these reasons don’t explain all the middle-age men and women out there who have just stopped moving. The kids are out of the house, but instead of using the time gained from no longer running mom’s transit service they have doubled down on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and the like. Then complain that they hurt all the time or don’t have energy.

Time for a Change

It’s time to change this folks. The benefits of daily exercise are well documented. Both men and women at any age can increase strength and improve quality of life with a moderate program of walking and weightlifting. Barring an underlying medical condition (and hey, I’m pooping into a plastic bag as I type this so I know about underlying conditions) you can stall father time. You may never have 20 inch arms or buns of steel again but you can keep your bones strong and muscles firm well into old age.

Which, for all you teens out there, doesn’t start at 30.

So, I’m proud to be an old guy who lifts, too. I hope you’ll join me.

And whoknows, maybe senior citizen swolfies will catch on too!



Fitness Quest: The Fatness is Starting to Go Away…But Not Quickly

I made a couple discoveries in the gym today, both welcome!

First, I had been fretting about this pain in my elbow (Golfer’s Elbow I think) and wondering how I could work my arms if I couldn’t bend them. So I’ve been concentrating on other lifts the past couple of weeks, legs (squats, calf raises, etc.) and some presses as that movement didn’t seem to bother my arms. But today I played around a little more and found out that I can do hammer curls without pain in my arm. So, that’s what I’ll be doing for arms for a while to directly hit the biceps. The good news is that the pain is getting less each day so  I hope to be back at full strength soon.

Also, in more good news I noticed today in the mirror that if I hit just the right light and squint that there is a hint of a bulge coming back to my biceps – and more than a few veins are appearing when I’m lifting. Gotta love lower body fat – but I have a long way to go still!

So, I was motivated enough to finally do what I’ve seen all over Instagram, Facebook, etc. I took a quick selfie in the locker room mirror. Nothing unclothed (sorry ladies) but a quick side shot to see how I look without my inner filter. Not quite as bad as I used too – my rear seems to actually be vanishing and my stomach is flatter than I thought. I just can’t sit down and need to always maintain strict posture to keep appearances up.

In terms of diet I’ve made some changes. As I mentioned earlier I’ve been frustrated that the weight and fat doesn’t really seem to be coming off. So, I’ve been doing a much better job on searching out and eating more nutritional foods (in other words avoid the drive-thru) and I did start taking a fish oil supplement again along with my prescribed iron and calcium. I’ll be adding a multi-vitamin again as well making sure that I have folic acid in it – which helps with iron absorption.

Oh, and I took my second dose of Humira this week. Feeling good still – just got to keep working on the looking good part.


Side view of me on March 26, 2015.
Side view of me on March 26, 2015.

Crohn’s Update: Humira

Well, after what seems like years (it’s only been weeks) I’m finally on Humira (adalimumab). You may remember that after finally having my Crohn’s re-diagnosed my doctor thought it would be best to put me on some new medication in an effort to avoid surgery in my future. I was, of course, all for this.

However, I didn’t realize what it took to get the medicine that I was prescribed and now have a better appreciation of what some friends and family have been complaining about. Because of the expense of Humira my insurance company had to pre-approve me getting it (despite the prescription). Then once it was approved the prescription had to go through a specialty pharmacy because it needs to be kept refrigerated. So, I can’t get this picked up at the local Walgreen’s I have to call in each month to have it shipped to me (not a huge problem, but not what I’m used to). Then there is this entire “support” team to monitor me while I take it. An “ambassador” to check up on me every couple weeks, a nurse to train me on how to take the injections, and others. I think I understand why it costs so much.

The good news is that I took my first dose yesterday. I start with 4 doses the first day, then two weeks later I take 2 doses, and then 1 dose every other week from then on. Not a bad schedule as far as life-long medicines go (if not life-long than at least until something better comes along). And the injector “pen” that I use really does make the injection fairly painlessly.

I did have a slight headache yesterday and some muscle soreness (among the least of the side effects) but those seem to have passed. But I noticed something else odd today…I couldn’t feel my insides. There were no odd rumblings, no twinges of pain every couple of hours, no after lunch ‘bloat.’ I don’t know how quickly this stuff is supposed to work and it’s possible that some of the effects may only be of the placebo variety but still – I think that this may be the start of something good.

Unless I get lymphoma (another rare side effect). That would be bad…


Fitness Quest: Looking Into the New Year

Well, back to work today and back to the normal routine. . At first I was worried I didn’t get done everything I wanted to get done during my holiday, but I did get to spend quality time with family, establish some new healthy habits (another 10,000+ steps today – a six day streak) and cleared my head about a few things. So I guess all in all not a bad holiday break.

Looking forward into the New Year I have quite a bit to keep working on. My diet needs to be cleaner, leaner and more “natural” and by that I mean I need to prepare more of my own food and eat out less. It’s just healthier in general and I think with Crohn’s the closer you can get to natural foods the better anyway. A friend sent me an article on one woman’s experience of going Vegan with Crohn’s and it worked well for her. I don’t see myself going that far, or even vegetarian, but I do see more leafy greens, veggies in general, and raw fruits in my diet.

I’ve started working more on cardio fitness for many reasons. One, I’d like to live well into old age. Two, it’s easier to finish 5Ks when you are not gasping for breath.

I’ll be hitting the weights again. I’m not getting any younger and my body seems to remind me of that each day in new and interesting ways. Plus, I kind of like the feeling of my sleeves being just a little snug…

Creatively, so much to finish. Ditto concerning my professional life as well. All in all, another typical year but this time with an atypical outcome!


Should old acquaintance be forgot…A Year in Review

It is customary, it seems, at this time of year to take some time to reflect on the previous year and to make plans for the next. And though it may seem cliche I do have to say what a difference a year makes.

2014 started out without much hope or promise. Yes, my family and I tried to celebrate as best we could that New Year’s Eve but the reality was we were going through the motions since the day before we had just buried Dad. Our lives, like anyone else who has suffered major loss, will never be the same. Then the weather seemed to go crazy on us and the snow just kept falling. I work at a college and for the first time since I had started there we had multiple snow days – there was not one week in January were we worked the full week in fact. Though we all like an occasional snow day, it was getting ridiculous and creating more stress knowing that nothing was getting done (and still being held responsible for this by our customers even though they too could not get out any more than we could).

Spring brought hope and some relief. It was my niece’s final season with the University of Michigan Softball Team. Though they played well and fought their way to another Big 10 championship the NCAA crown eluded them. Still a great season by any measure, but a little heartbreaking as well as we knew that we would never get to cheer Caitlin on to a Women’s World Series Championship (which, come to think of it, most families never do get to do for their players).

I lost a close election in my theatre group and for the first time in well over a decade I found myself not on the board (I was off the board for a year by choice during this time though). I was okay with this, because that’s how elections go, and I had plenty of other things to keep me busy (the Community Theatre Association of Michigan board of directors, Masons, Church) and frankly could use the free time. Still, it felt odd.

The summer was okay, but nothing special until July when I attended a play writing workshop offered by CTAM and conducted by playwright Jim Henry . This was the creative spark that I needed to get writing again. I was enthused about my off stage work again and currently gave two plays which I’m working on with the goal of getting paid to have at least one play produced this year (a rather ambitious goal actually, but I’m going for it).

The summer was unusual in that I didn’t even get on a roller coaster – and I love roller coasters – until the fall this year. The good news however,  was that my Crohn’s was pretty much inactive (yes, there was the occasional flare-up but nothing out of the ordinary).

Then in the late fall my world began to shift. Things weren’t going so well at work (declining enrollment at the college among other issues), but things were going well with my professional association, acting, playwriting, and other aspects of my life. I left the CTAM board (term limits you know) and even more time became available to me. Then I went to see a new doctor and he said, “I’m not sure you have Crohn’s.” You can read more about this in earlier blogs but the effect of suddenly not having the thing which, for better or for worse, had defined me for nearly thirty years was surprising. I felt liberated and then happy. For the better part of November when someone asked me how I was doing I would respond with “I’m unreasonably happy.” I can only attribute my good mood to the idea that I might not have Crohn’s. I was no longer a slave to a daily pill. Of course, I knew that there was still something wrong but I think I actually had hope that something could be done and I might get better.

Of course, there have been tests and now the doctor is 95% sure I have Crohn’s but we need yet another test to get a biopsy. And he seems to be hinting, strongly, that surgery is probably in my near future – if they can actually find the fistula and Crohn’s which the CT Scan indicates is there. But, again, I’m not upset by this. I’m actually still hopeful that something can be done.

So, I’m ending this year I think on a high note. My faith in God has been restored. I like blogging and finding a new community of fellow “Chronies” as well as a new audience. . My Facebook “Get Fit and Healthy” group seems to be thriving with new members who are embracing the idea that we are all more successful together and put up with some of my random posts which do not interest them (but of course, interest me). I’m committed to getting healthier than I’ve been for several years in terms of weight and muscle tone. Things are getting better at work, because I have very supportive bosses and staff, and I’m developing other avenues to explore which may allow me at some point to be less dependent on a “regular” job in the future or at the very least provide a few extra dollars (the threat of layoff is very real this coming year). And most importantly, in many ways I’m closer to my family, including cousins, than I’ve ever been even if we are separated by miles.

Loss is always painful and some losses we never recover from. But, even in loss there is something to be gained, even if it takes a while.

And I think that this is the lesson for me from 2014.

May you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year – onward to 2015!