Friday, March 7, 2008


I’ll admit that I have been a bit like a rudderless ship when it comes to zeroing in on an exercise philosophy lately. Historically I have been a sports participant and have done things to directly help me in those sports (running and cycling in particular). I’ve never had “getting fit” as a goal. I guess that since tracking the process of “getting fit” is the stated purpose of this blog, it would probably be helpful if I figure out what exactly I want to accomplish.

The whole notion of being fit is open to interpretation. There’s an interesting piece in the free edition of The Crossfit Journal where they question a magazine anointing triathlete Mark Allen as the fittest of the fit. It’s because Allen doesn’t fit their definition of fit which they describe as the following:

"There are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power,coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills."

I’ve mentioned elsewhere how I’m impressed by Mark Twight and his “disciples” at Gym Jones. They are very clear about the purpose behind their training (quoting their website):

"The training here is not a sport itself. Timed workouts are used to measure increased or decreased fitness on a given day, within the limitations of the gym. Gym-specific fitness means little. Survival, overcoming genuine hardship, and improved sport performance mean something. Gym Jones only exists to support these outcomes. Increased sport and work capacity results from hard work done by the athletes themselves. Fighters beaten, contests won, missions accomplished, summits reached, and records surpassed result from the specific, technical skill of the protagonists. The role of the gym is supporting."

So what are my fitness goals? What do I hope to accomplish? I’ll start by listing some of the things that are NOT my goals (although some of these were at some time).

1. Qualify for the Boston Marathon
2. Cycle 100 miles in under five hours
3. Squat 500 pounds
4. Break 40 minutes in a 10K
5. Compete in a “World’s Strongest Man” competition
6. Climb any peak higher than Stone Mountain
7. Swim the English Channel

Here’s some of the things I would like to be able to do.

1. Pick up the morning paper without uttering old man noises.
2. Put the box of Christmas decorations on an eye-level shelf in the garage
3. Get out of my recliner without uttering old man noises.
4. Maintain a 90mph club head speed drive with my driver for as long as I can
5. Be able to tee up my golf ball without making old man noises
6. Get my golf ball out of the cup without having to resort to a suction cup on my putter (or making old man noises)
7. Stay competitive with my grandson in mailbox sprints

So I’m not going to climb mountains or fight in a cage like the Gym Jones guys, or set a record for doing “Fran” like the Crossfit folks. I just want to maintain my health, remain active well into old age, and continue to participate in activities I love to do. So I will continue to borrow ideas from Crossfit, Gym Jones, and the like; however, my main prescription will be Mark Sisson’s advice to do a mixture of low-intensity aerobics, mixed with some interval work and resistance training. I think it’s the right path towards achieving a goal not listed above—shooting my age in golf.

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