Vision 2030

I spent yesterday wandering around bogs, scree and talus. Good times!

Something I do well is back-fit a future goal on top of my present reality. It helps me stay the course.


As you age, what’s it going to be like? I have coached some very special older folks, and paid attention. Here’s what I’m expecting.

  • More time but less energy — the energy “step down” from 45 onwards was a surprise — the fact that it was happening before I saw it, is something I remind myself as I head towards 60.
  • You are going to want to delay the inevitable physical decline — there is a lot of good news here — if you start building your physical reserve then you can push the decline WAY WAY out. I’ve been fortunate to watch athletes manage themselves from 60 to 70 and beyond.

The key recommendation for you, if you plan to live past 60 then start strength training now, just a little.

When I was a speedy young man, there was a controversy about strength training. As a coach, I’d be asked “where I stood on the topic.” Sitting here a couple decades down the track, it makes no sense that smart people argued passionately against strength training.

There is a guaranteed large future payoff when you create a strength reserve – against aging, against illness and against injury => aging, illness, injury => unless you’re taken out in an accident, these events are absolutely certain for your future self.

That’s the physical.


For the mental, I see two components:

  • Humility & Patience – a useful combination if one desires to be seen as a wise old man!
  • Kindness (towards the ugly) – consider it self-love for my future self ūüėČ

I have a vision for what I’d like to be doing. My daily writing project during the first 20 weeks of COVID was a test run. It went well.

By the way, you can create a personal niche, while learning about favorite topics. The game plan: one classic book per week and choose the best idea inside. Cap yourself at ~450 words for a summary that includes three personal examples. Do that every week for two years. ~45,000 words across 100 good ideas.

A friend sent me Stray Reflections, which gave me the above idea and reminded me… don’t be put off by a lack of experience, rather, make a daily habit of doing what it takes.


How will I know I’ve succeeded? Well, success doesn’t matter.

Freedom matters. Not being owned matters. Personal safety matters. Being engaged in working towards mastery, matters.

I’ve done so much and it’s all in the past. None of my success has stuck with me. If you are a striver then I’m a voice from your future. What stands out in memory are my setbacks and errors. They motivate me to avoid repeating mistakes and iterate towards better. A feeling of moving towards better matters.

That said, via Stray Reflections, I came across an article that resonated. The author shared that success is what lasts beyond the grave.

Beyond the grave is a sentiment I felt strongly immediately after our third child was born. In 2012, I spent a month writing my kids a book. Now that they are older, I give my kids myself, rather than my work.

In sharing myself, I offer an ethical framework through which my kids can navigate the world.


Quick update on what happens when thousands of college kids arrive in your zip code.

Athletes in the time of COVID


My current strength coach has a saying that goes like this, “I don’t train individuals. I lay out what is required to achieve the goal.”

I used to say something similar about the World Ironman Champs, “Kona doesn’t care about your schedule.”

As an under-40 athlete, the recipe for success was clear => large doses of specific training load with recovery enhanced by life simplification.

Eat, sleep, train, repeat.

While we do that, we pay attention to the unforced errors and weed those habits out of your life.


Years ago this was our set up => 9-week camp => SwimBikeRun the USA, every_single_meter! That’s my buddy, Clas, on the VasaTrainer. There was a perfectly acceptable lake just out of the frame. He was put off by the dead trees sticking up out of the water and the nuclear power plant just around the corner…

Well, the events are gone, and going to stay gone, for a while.

Your status quo => of preparing for your next big thing => is gone.

The removal of the end-goal, provides an opportunity to think in terms of years, rather than months and seasons.

Getting yourself really fit to cyber-race a stranger with a hacked powermeter… might not be the best use of your time.

Two things for you…



You can’t train a muscle fibre you don’t have.

For the next year (at least), there is ZERO penalty for putting on size, boosting immune function and getting strong.

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere then I doubt you’ll need to do much race specific training until the Spring of 2021. There aren’t going to be any races.

Back in the day, I’d be tempted to avoid my Max Strength phases because they would screw up my sport-specific numbers and leave my legs feeling flat.

These days my heavy days are a lot of fun. My endurance load is reduced due to COVID and it’s nice to work my way through a long session with decent rest.

The anaerobic stimulation, combined with reduced chronic-aerobic beatdown, has my hormonal profile (expressed through mood and sex drive) feeling great.

A small increase in lean body mass can result in a large improvement in the way you feel inside your body. I’m up ~4% and feel gigantic!


Universal gyms have come a long way since the 80s. The gear in this photo was 2/3rds the price of solar panels, and a similar monthly savings when my wife dropped her pilates membership. I’m told it’s called a Megaformer.

Be wary of becoming a single-plane athlete.

I’ve set a lifetime annual record for indoor training and I’m 18 weeks into this journey.

You need to be thinking forward to this winter, when flu season returns. If you spend your days bouncing between a treadmill and an indoor trainer then you’re going to lose athleticism.

This loss of multi-plane function will leave you exposed to injury – as you age… as you return to normal training.

So consider… how best to develop my agility?

Answering that question, in a way that challenges your neuromuscular system, will be time well spent. It’s also going to give you something where you can experience improvement.

Getting better at something will perk you up.

We could all use a perk up!

Life Lessons From Sport

Some folks do better with exercise => some parents too!

I’ve been working on my Athlete’s Journey essay for a month.

It’s become a never-ending project because I keep coming up with new ideas to share with you.


So let’s step back and think about the essential message.

Assume you are graduating from High School, virtually.

What can I share with you about sport?

As an adult:

  • The pursuit of sport opens your field of potential partners => this isn’t just about sex. Across all fields, all cultures – athletic people are considered desirable.
  • Structured training crowds out bad habits. Take a look around and you’ll see people getting themselves into difficulties that wouldn’t happen if they were pursuing an athletic lifestyle.
  • The challenges of athletic training will surface your self-defeating habits. Over a few seasons, it’s certain that you will see your process fail. Process failure is a low-stakes way to get to know yourself.
  • The stress of competition gives you a non-lethal environment to practice coping skills.

Better opportunities, an ability to see my process break down, a non-lethal field of play for high stakes and less space for getting myself into trouble.

All good.


While you are young… find your people.

You don’t get to choose your family. You do get to choose your friends, coaches and mentors.

You are likely to have more flexibility to move around within your athletic life than your academic (working) life.

Great people are out there, to help you become who you’d like to be.


Now, somewhere down the athletic track – decades before the rest of your life starts to decline – you’ll have another opportunity => to begin the transition from Fitness to Function.

What I mean is, you might take a look around and say to yourself, “what am I really up to here?”

In answering this question, I cycled through a process of dig in, quit and adapt. I’m still working through it.

By answering this question, as it relates to your sport, you’ll set the scene for addressing a deeper question of meaning within your life.

Navigating athletic “aging” can be seen as a practice to prepare you for another journey that will likely begin 20 years later, the transition out of middle age and into elderhood.

Getting Back To Cycling

From days gone by => Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia. Married, no kids, scared of Queensland traffic!

Yesterday was 60 days in a row of riding and I wanted to jot down some notes.

The last time I got back in bike shape I was in my early-40s with only one kid and no lockdown restrictions.

Times have changed!


Another blast from the past => as an elite athlete, physiological testing helped me get the most out of my training. This one was during blood lactate testing in NZ.

At the start of May, I’d been locked down since March 13th and was injured from my run program. Early in our lockdown, my wife ordered a Peloton spin bike. I decided to try it out.

May 8th was my first ride. I immediately enjoyed the format – music with no cars. I also liked the fact that my public health authority couldn’t take away my ability to ride indoors!

It’s been a fun progression:

  • May 13th => 20-minute best effort ride (222w, 152 bpm)
  • June 25th, held 221w for 75 minutes at 137bpm
  • 1st week of July held 230w for an hour at 139bpm

I’m at ~3 watts per kilo in my “peppy aerobic zone” – that’s good enough. I’m pleased how it worked out.


A proud moment from my athletic career. Being hung on the Wall of Fame in Dr John Hellemans office. There are a lot of VERY good athletes on that wall! John cared enough to teach an arrogant, but passionate, stranger about exercise physiology and coaching. I learned so much from him.

Here’s my training protocol, you don’t need a Peloton. You do need a bike, a trainer, a heart rate monitor and a power meter.

Ride twice most days, mainly endurance. First ride is done before my kids wake up. I enjoy a cup of coffee then get rolling.

Endurance ride => the basic Peloton format…

  • Three song warm-up
    • Song 1 just spin, build cadence and power into Zone 2/Steady
    • Song 2 insert 4×30 seconds, spin-ups (cadence ~110 rpm) with power not more than Zone 3/Mod-hard
    • Song 3 split in half – Zone 2, Zone 3
  • Endurance set, alternate by song Zone 3 / Zone 2 => 20-45 minutes based on time available.
  • Spin your HR under 100bpm when you’re done

That session is the bulk of my bike training, it works great and will continue to work great. Even more important, I’m having fun.

You can see everything I do on Strava => weights/strength/hills and a lot of “low” HR endurance.

If you go the Peloton route then they have an intro to power module (here’s their power FAQ).


Friday the 13th, March 2009, Kitt Peak, Ajo Highway, Arizona => 40 years old, one of the first times I can remember stopping (mid climb) to take a picture!

Bonus tips:

  • The target power zone sets the MINIMUM for your workout target – put a floor on work – if you can’t hit your endurance zones, or if your HR pops, then your zones are set too high. Upward zone creep is common across all ability levels!
  • Heart rate zone sets the MAXIMUM for your workout – put a ceiling on stress – once warmed up, I give myself permission to push the watts up a bit, so long as my HR stays in my target zone. When I consistently generate higher level power, on lower level HR, I know it’s time to retest my zones.
  • Climbing/Big Gear workouts are a great way to rack up Threshold Watts (Z4) at Mod-Hard Heart Rates (Z3). Example here.
  • My toughest workouts are crisscross sessions – about an hour a week – warm-up and power is going over/under FTP with recoveries in Zone 3/Mod-Hard. Example here.
  • Traditional Spin Classes are done for variety, as a pep rally and to build quickness/cadence. Quickness is key as we age. This skill was tough when I started – it came back fast.
  • Being able to use Peloton to create a “proper” program was a surprise – I thought it was all spin classes and high intensity. Guess I am a bit out of date.
  • The 20-minute benchmarking test is a “nice” session in itself – kinda hurts at the end. You don’t need, or want, to be doing much truly tough stuff in 2020. There are many better places for you to put your energy.
  • Peloton has world class coaches – Alex Toussaint leaves me feeling cheerful every_single_time I do one of his classes. Throughout lockdown, I was laughing out loud with his classes. Laughter is good medicine.
  • Lift weights – moving your power zones up won’t improve your life. Getting stronger will improve your life.

A fun memory => at the end of a 12-day training camp in the Rockies, we did a handicapped TT up Mt Evans (28-mile climb that tops out above 14,000 feet). We adjusted times based on rider/bike weight. Someone noticed I was pounding fluids at the back of the line and we had to redo the weigh-in! This is my buddy Clas, he was training for Zofingen Duathlon so running 2x per day as well as all the cycling we did (over 100,000 feet of vertical). Needless to say, his legs were less than snappy. It was the only time in my life when I could beat him in a sprint!

Clas and me, later, riding into the clouds! The top 14 miles of the climb are closed to traffic this summer. If you ride then pack top/bottom shell and a very warm jacket. Also beware of the dreaded downhill-bonk!

Some specific thoughts on intensity.

  • When you’re training with power, you can track total work measured in kilojoules (KJ). If you’re a time-limited athlete (running home school, working, cleaning your house…) then KJs are worth noting.
  • You’ll quickly see that highly intense workouts have a poor KJ-to-Fatigue ratio. You get a lot of fatigue without much work being done.
  • You might think intensity is a good deal. It’s not. It’s an awful deal because highly intense workouts are stressful and stress makes you eat / crave sugar. Bad deal all around => you can easily gain fat while exercising often and feeling tired. Lose-Lose.
  • The Win-Win is a cardio program that adds energy to your overall life and helps guide your body composition, an endurance-based program.
  • Once your endurance is well established 6-18 months, it only takes a bit of tough stuff to get your numbers to bounce.
  • Your overall program needs to keep you under your sugar threshold. Cravings, and bingeing, are signs of depletion and excess stress.

Aim for a protocol you can do every day for 15 weeks.

Challenge yourself to eliminate the habits that screw up tomorrow’s training.

Keep it simple and repeat the week.

Embrace Small Failures

Yesterday, wasn’t a chair-in-the-shower workout but I did need a chair in the kitchen to cook breakfast.

It’s been over a year since I read Professor G’s book (The Algebra of Happiness). I’ve been working on his advice to Embrace Small Failures.

A reminder to reach for a better version of myself

Historically, my training has been where I expose myself to the risk of failure. As the kids have become more self-sufficient, I’ve had space to bring some athletic challenges back into my life.

Challenging myself at 51 is a whole lot different than going big in my 30s.

I’ve been using Mountain Tactical out of Jackson, WY.

I first came across MTI a decade ago when a friend used them. I remember thinking, “no way I could do that.”

For what it’s worth, I had the exact same reaction the first time I heard about Ultraman Hawaii, no way I could do that.”

I won Ultraman three years later.

Day 3, Ultraman Hawaii, 52.4 miles in the lava fields

Each module from Mountain Tactical had me wondering, “am I going to be able to get through this?”

My latest was a 10-week training program with 5 workouts per week => 50 sessions total.

Lots has changed between the start of the block and the finish.

The biggest change had nothing to do with sport, it was a gradual shift from “temporary” shelter-in-place orders to an ongoing you-must-stay-in-your-home-to-be-a-good-person vibe. Depending on your peers & politics, your mileage may vary.

Back in March, I looked ahead to Session #50. I thought it was a type-o:

When I first used an 80-pound bag for the getups, I’d get pinned (for a while!) before figuring out how to get back up. There’s no prescribed way to get up, so I took relief in my struggles.

The plyometrics were more psychological than physical => a lot of post-workout soreness and a lurking fear of tearing tissue. Once I realized I could keep plugging along, it was a mental game of persisting.

If you’ve ever done step-ups then you probably noticed it is the “down” not the “up” that causes problems. Thousands of step-downs nearly gave me an overuse injury, but I never quite got there.

All in all, a perfectly set plan.

Cheap thrills with my fan pointing up for step-ups

There were a lot of small failures in the last ten weeks, not all athletic:

  • My psoas getting so tight I thought I was a hip replacement candidate!
  • My right calf blowing out
  • Losing patience with the kids

Overcoming the failures provides a deeper appreciation of the victories.

Find the win.


I did a Q&A with Andy on athletic transitions, lockdown and other topics.

Athletic Beyond 45

2020-02-02 13.12.35Middle age is going better than I expected.

Why?

Because choices that made sense when I was younger have been replaced by a lifestyle that’s a better fit for where I want to take myself.

Let’s run though the major adjustments.

+++

You might not want what you think you want: athletics is the best way I have found to keep myself engaged and apply energy. Look around and you can see plenty of examples of middle aged men getting themselves into trouble by not managing their energy.

So I will sign up for a race to keep myself out of trouble? Not so fast…

  • Engaging in athletic competition is different from being athletic.
  • Fit for competition is not fit for an engaged life with meaning.
  • To be the sort of father/husband I want to be, I need to avoid athletic competition.

The requirements of racing well, and my competitive peers, exert an inevitable pull on my life. A pull I enjoy but one that takes me away from where I want to be in 5-10 years time.

There are different ways to define excellence and the traits that ring most true to me don’t have a clock attached to them.

2020-02-04 19.10.10

The most specific component of race fitness is the least valuable to my wife and kids. 

In your mid-40s you will notice a change in how you respond to training. Specifically, sustained tempo is a lot more fatiguing. This intensive-endurance pace is a core part of training for performance.

As a middle-aged athlete sustained tempo will gobble up your energy and leave you spent for other aspects of your life. If you are in the clutch of negative addictions then this can be a very good choice to make! However, you will have nothing left towards building a life that your future self will value.

This reality was tough for me to face. I know how valuable tempo training is to athletic performance. It was made easier by stopping racing, and reminding myself that I didn’t want the family lives, and marriages, of my competition.

Letting go of deep fatigue enabled me to re-establish consistency, which was being shot to pieces by minor injuries, slow recovery, illnesses and low motivation => all of which stemmed from giving myself more load than I could absorb.

+++

About those injuries… stop hurting yourself.

Somewhere in my recent past, I realized I was constantly managing low-grade calf injuries. At the time, I wasn’t training for a race, or even doing much mileage. There was no reason to endure the constant setbacks.

You’re likely to have similar moments and the performance gurus will encourage you to grind through. I’d encourage you to pause and ask yourself three questions:

  1. Where is this likely to take me? Elective orthopedic surgery?
  2. What is my goal here? Alienate my spouse and estrange myself from my kids?
  3. Is there a better way to achieve my goal? Or perhaps a better goal to achieve!

In my case, I replaced the running with hiking and functional strength training. I can do these before my family wakes up or alongside my family. My best athletic memories of my 50s are shared experiences, in nature, with my family.

With a young wife, and three kids, I’m slowly filling the state of Colorado with happy thoughts. When I’m 70, they can carry the backpack!

2020-02-06 19.03.33

Reality is enough for me. If you’re tempted to use drugs then something needs to change.

Shooting your knee up like an NFL lineman, boosting your hormonal profile to beat an athlete who’s spouse just walked out the door, taking health risks to train alongside college kids…

  1. Where is this likely to take me?
  2. What is my goal here?
  3. Is there a better way to achieve my goal?

A focus on athleticism puts me in a continual state of rehabilitation from the process of aging naturally => functional strength, quickness, range of motion and extensive endurance.

Being freed from external requirements lets me do the right thing for my health, year round.

  • Place a demand on yourself, then recover while working on a project that benefits your larger life.
  • While expanding your life beyond athletics, remove whatever screws up your sleep patterns. My 4:30am wake-up makes poor choices obvious, immediately.

This approach will enhance your biochemistry naturally and not mask errors.

To learn by iteration, it is essential to physically experience my mistakes.

+++

Victory and Vanity

How are you going to feed that part of your personality that craves recognition, thrives in adversity and wishes to dominate others?

Can you see your desires? Have you considered what is driving your desires?

You might simply be over-scheduled and seeking socially acceptable personal space.

It’s worth looking deeper.

When I looked deeply everything was there, positive and negative. There are many ways to spin our motivators.

Recognition can come from my children, who are hardwired to be impressed by me. I look pretty jacked to a seven-year old.

Personal growth through facing adversity can come from the final few reps of a set (or simply getting out of bed some mornings). My endurance mantra… many people would like the ability to do this right now.

Domination is a tricky one, especially when surrounded by women and children. At my best, I turn it inwards and seek to overcome my negative traits, specifically my urge to resort to force, rather than skillful engagement.

We often let each other off by saying things like.. “everyone is different”, or “you need to find your own way.” I disagree. We are very, very similar within our cultures and wired to follow social proof.

If you want to change your motivation then change your location.

I’m parked in the fittest zipcode in America, training in nature, with a young family, thinking daily about a handful of men who are presenting their best selves to the world.

2020-02-01 08.45.45

Finally, remove the friction between your current habits and the life you want to lead.

I have a home gym, I wake up at 4:30am and there aren’t any email/social apps on my phone.

I created a situation where there was nothing for me to do between 5 and 6am in the morning.

So I write, or train => activities that leave me satisfied in hindsight and help my future self.

Making My Life Work Better

2019-11-27 16.58.34You’ll find a lot on my site about strength training. It’s a habit that’s served me well for 25+ years.

This year saw some changes. I went stale in my tried-and-tested program. I recognized my mojo was flat and wasn’t making much progress.

A few years back, a friend had done a backcountry ski program with Mountain Tactical. So I bought the latest version of that program, got to work and learned a few things. Currently, I’m using their in-season ski maintenance program. I’ll skip observations about the plans themselves and focus on general points that might apply to you.

How am I allocating my time and where is that likely to take me? Athletics, relationships, every single thing.

What is the purpose of your protocol? These days: (a) enough stress to get the benefits of exercise (cognitive & mood); (b) vanity; and (c) maintain my ability to ski & hike at a very high level.

With the MTI program, the sessions were so challenging that I needed to drop all other exercise. Dropping supplemental training probably seems obvious but, in my demographic, it’s common for people to do 1-2 extra sessions per day, and still think they are not doing enough!

The results were great. Even the nights with total exhaustion were “fun” => they made me feel like I was doing something.

Giving myself a full 24-hours to recover between sessions boosted my recovery AND reduced the mental stress of having to grind out a lower quality session when tired. It reminded me of my single-sport focus periods when I was an elite triathlete.

Within my training, I made a big demand on myself (for about an hour, 3-4x per week) then backed way off for the rest of the day. If you are finding, like I was, that all your sessions are blending into mediocre performance, with limited gains, then this tactic might help.

Seems obvious but it takes a lot of courage (for a compulsive exerciser) to back off. For example, I have a fear of weight gain and can use cardio to enable excessive eating.

Each one of us has blindspots. Mine are range of motion, quickness and coordination => fundamental components of high-level skiing. The program I bought contained box jumps, lateral jumps, side-to-side jumps, dynamic lunges, stretching and body-weight hip extension exercises. The act of seeking help gave me a nudge to do things I’d skip on my own. This works in our larger lives:

  1. Notice when your protocol stops working
  2. Seek expert advice
  3. Trim non-essential components

As an elite athlete, my “recovery” included 12-15 weekly hours of easy cardio. Easy cardio isn’t easy but that’s a different topic!

My easy-training hours have been replaced with walking, time with my wife and housework. This shift makes it easier (and more likely) to succeed within my larger life, which aims at a world-class marriage, thinking better and educating my kids.

What I value is reflected in where I allocate my time.

Attention Is Expensive

2019-10-18 07.31.22Let’s start with a story.

When I was younger, I never let a lack of knowledge prevent me from confidently sharing my theories about anything (this remains a weakness, BTW).

One day, I was holding forth and my buddy Jeff (board-certified orthopedic surgeon) chuckled and said, “I would call what you just said G-medicine.”

Later on, he took me aside and said, “Buddy, you know there’s a reason we go to med-school.”

He left it at that, which was a wise way to deal with an over-confident guy, who’s outside his field of competence.


I had some follow up questions about fasting and optimizing for one-rep max.

To address tactics, I need to step back and explain strategy.


Body, mind and spirit => What are you trying to achieve?

You need to know because attention, effort, willpower and thought are expensive.

So fasting, one-rep max, wherever you are focusing…

What is your payoff from your protocol?

Effort is expensive. Spend it wisely.


2019-11-02 06.03.09-1My philosophy is:

  1. Know your goal
  2. Keep the protocol simple
  3. Access believable people to tell you what’s required
  4. Use simple benchmarks
  5. Use habit energy to make life flow on autopilot

My protocol…

  1. No Zeros => remove days where I don’t train
  2. Get Outside the box and into nature => even if the box is a Gulfstream, or a boardroom, it remains a cubicle
  3. Seek Mastery => surfing, moguls, powder, swimming, sailing => moments of flow await!

Be honest with yourself. Is your physical life where you want it to be?

  • Work before work rate => Develop work-capacity before you do work-rate training. One-rep max is a “work-rate” benchmark¬†that is certain to decline over time.
  • Don’t fool yourself => nobody fasts for health & longevity => we are either looking for an easy way to lose weight, or creating caloric “space” for binges.

Simple metrics let you create the habits that enable larger projects. Looking backwards over the last year:

  • < 10 zeros (days without exercise)
  • 15th year of stable body weight
  • 200+ days on trails or snow
  • 350+ days awake before 5am

I know I could be more, too much time is wasted on my smartphone.

I must remember that life is empty without connection. So be open to change based on painful feedback from my closest relationships => my wife and kids are brutally honest with me!


Higher Order Effects

I have empty space in my life so I can reflect on where my actions are likely to take me.

  • I have an addictive personality in a family tree with mental illness, addicts and eating disorders. Kinda indicates caution with self-starvation! Respect your history.
  • Be cautious with putting pressure on your spinal column, heavy lifts and explosive movements. Powerlifting injures can be for life. Respect reality.

Where are you likely to go with your protocol? You OK with that?

What’s the worst that can happen? You OK with that?


Fragilities

What is going to derail you?

My depression triggers are: poor nutrition, irregular sleep, alcohol, missed endorphins and excessive fatigue.

My entire life is a positive-feedback loop designed to keep me rolling.

Much of my “not do” advice is related to the risk of ruin. My depression triggers are defined as fun by my peers.

I need to be OK with saying “no” because…¬†Depression isn’t fun.


Nature Has Useful Information, even if unpleasant

As you age it will be tempting to access Big Pharma to fool yourself, particularly if your self image is wrapped up in physical performance.

Before you act, consider…

What’s your competitive advantage? I think better, and choose slower, at 50 than 28. Taking myself to 11 with testosterone would GREATLY increase my error rate, across all domains. Not worth it.

My competitive advantage is taking the best ideas and integrating them via new habit creation. I can do this until I die.

Fatigue is information that guides me away from physical ruin => my mojo feels like it’s a tenth of where I was at 40, but my life is better because I am a better person.

Once again, overriding nature greatly increases my risk of injury. Injury can be the first step on a downward spiral towards depression/ruin. Not worth it.

Surprisingly, getting physically worse isn’t worse.


Anyhow, lots here.

When it comes to positive change: set a low bar, and do it daily.

I live near a cemetery, which helps me remember my expected value is negative infinity.

Death is an outstanding reason to be true to yourself.

Vision Sixty

2019-08-20 07.58.18Seven years ago, I asked my smartest pals to share their experiences with sabbaticals. It was a very useful exercise. Rather than a sharp, and sudden, sabbatical, I made a choice to change slowly. I gradually shrank my working life and replaced it with more family engagement.

Over the last year, I’ve been tapping my supervet buddies in a similar exercise. I am asking about their 50s => any lessons, any tips, how’d you find it?

2019-08-20 06.26.25The answers have been all over the map.

  • Everything gets easier
  • Worst decade of my life
  • Best years of my life

ZERO consistency in what people say, but clear themes when I look at what they actually do. They keep on, keeping on.

Despite what we tell ourselves, there is little practical decline through 60. Obviously, I’d be miles behind my 37-year old self in any sort of race. However, even in my sedentary pals, it’s more of a “slowing down” than a decline (in function). I saw this in the supervet athletes I coached. A clear, annual, decline didn’t start to happen until ~70 years old.

In comparing me-with-me, there’s very little lifestyle change forced upon us. The changes are more about coming to terms with “less.” Less vision, less skin tone, less aerobic capacity, less recovery capacity…

Middle age struggles tie back to seeking “more” => relationships, heart problems, injuries, dissatisfactions… the damage comes from the stresses of striving.

My happiest older pals have found a way to come to terms with what they have, and what they’re not going to have.

2019-08-20 08.53.10-1

If “more” is going to challenge you then it will be obvious (injuries, depression, a-fib, drama, binging, addiction).

I like to remind myself, “Reality is enough.”

My mind is ALWAYS spinning ideas for more. I pay close attention to how “more” makes me feel – exhausted, neglecting my family, worried I’m going to get caught out.

2019-08-17 09.20.59Get your winning done early and pay attention each time you taste a lack of satisfaction after striving.

Look deeper into your drive, passions and interests => what lies beneath your compulsions?

For example, I like spending time in forests – my speed of movement through the forest is something I track, but has no impact on my satisfaction.

What’s your gig? My gig is sharing a connection to nature with people I love.

The “lack” is deeper than the “more” we seek. I had to back off to find out that satisfaction was behind me.

2019-08-15 17.22.14How would you describe your desired outcome over the next 5-10 years?

Active, polite, easy-going, positive. These are the traits of my older pals that I enjoy spending time alongside.

Strength & Training Strategy at 50

2019-07-07 09.01.30Strength gives me better choices.

Specifically:

  1. Maintain muscle mass
  2. Challenge my connective tissue
  3. Strengthen my shoulder complex (to survive my inevitable crashes)
  4. Get the bio-chemical benefits from working large muscle groups anaerobically

2019-07-07 08.45.03

My base period needs to be longer: I was very consistent with strength maintenance across the ski season. As a result, I lost less strength than prior years. However, I was WORKED at the end of the season and my mojo stayed flat for a long time when I returned to more focused strength training.

Two, maybe three, “good” sessions per week: At 50, I go flat quickly! I need to be humble with the load I put into myself.

I split upper and lower body days: in order to do quality exercises, and recover, I split my workouts across the week:

  • Monday/Thursday – lower body
  • Tuesday/Friday – upper body
  • Wednesday/Saturday – plyo (~7 minutes total per day)

Very little sustained intensity: I lose a lot when I get sick and can’t train. Put another way, my ability to go training¬†is more important than my training ability. A calendar of events would certainly push me to do more (likely for less benefit).

I go to the gym to be around people (even if I don’t speak to them!): the core of my program has been the same for 20 years. It would be easy to set it up in my garage. However, part of my “feel better” seems to come from the gym process. The most time-efficient setup isn’t always best.

My aerobic goal is “about an hour, every day.” I’ll go longer when I can hike trails with my wife or son. I do a bunch of walking on top of the aerobic exercise.

Learning to navigate the physical decline of middle age is a benefit of middle age.

The days that start with training are clearly better.

Pay attention to better.

2019-07-07 08.54.56