The 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

ned-overendNed Overend is a legend in endurance sports. And, at age 61 he keeps on competing at an amazingly high level.

Here is a list of some of his accomplishments over the years: 1) 6 time NORBA U.S. Mountain Biking Champion in the late 80s and early 90s. 2) UCI World Mountain Biking Champion in 1990. 3) 2 time XTERRA World Champion in 1998 and 1999. 4) UCI Masters Cyclecross World Champion in 2012. 5) 2015 USA Cycling National Fat Bike Champion.

Earlier this year Outside Magazine did a profile of Overend that is worth a read. If you are short for time, however, one key aspect of the piece was Overend’s list of the 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness.

10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

  1. Mix it up – Cross train with other activities aside from your main focus. Do different things in different seasons like switching to snow shoeing in the winter from running.
  2. Make fitness fun – Avoid too much structure in your schedule. Give yourself permission to have fun.
  3. Never lose fitness – It is much harder to get your fitness back as you get older so don’t lose it.
  4. Pay attention to potential injuries – If you notice a pain somewhere, don’t ignore it. Slow down or take the day off and go get a massage.
  5. Recover harder then you train – High intensity workouts are still good but high intensity recovery needs to follow.
  6. Understand the science – Understand what your body is going through and why.
  7. Know your gear – If you want to stay competitive and not get hurt, you need to understand your gear, you need to maintain it and you need to replace it when it is unsafe or worn down.
  8. Stay positive – Getting older brings new challenges so stay positive and don’t give up.
  9. Be in control – Losing control often leads to injury and you can’t afford injuries and lay offs as much when you are older.
  10. Focus on yourself – Compete with yourself more and with others less. We are all in different situations, with more or less time to train and different genetics.

If all of this sounds familiar it is because Overend subscribes to the training tenets of coach Joe Friel.

“Ned lives what I preach,” says Joe Friel, 72, masters coach and author of Fast After 50. “He’s always been a fan of short workouts with high intensity.” Whittled down, the recipe for success as a geezer is this: 1) Decrease volume and increase intensity. 2) Recover, recover, recover. 3) Don’t stop training, ever; you can retain much of your VO2 max as you age, but once you lose it, it’s a lot harder to get it back. “When you’re 60, you can’t take a month off at the end of the season, have a good time like younger athletes can,” Friel says. “There’s an accelerated loss of fitness. Take Greg LeMond, for example—he just quit. Hung it up. Ned never did that.”

There is more on Joe Friel here in another BoomerangFit post.

What do you do to stay fit after 50?

How Do You Stay Fast After 50?

Advice from Legendary Coach Joe Friel

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-3-02-03-pmIs it possible to stay fast or even increase your speed or fitness after turning 50? America’s leading endurance coach, Joe Friel, has a book out that answers that question with a resounding yes. The way you go about it though may surprise you.

Drawing from the most current research on aging and sports performance, Friel shows how athletes can race strong and stay healthy well past age 50.

Friel’s latest book, Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life, synthesis what Friel has learned over the past 50+ years as an athlete and a coach. “The book came out of my personal experience. It was me trying to give myself a birthday present, trying to understand what happens when you turn 50 or more, what happens in your life athletically. So the book was a birthday present to me and ended up being, as far as I know, the only book written on this topic based on the research.”

The book, published by VeloPress, presents guidelines for high-intensity workouts, focused strength training, recovery, cross-training, and nutrition for high performance:

  • How the body’s response to training changes with age
  • How to adapt your training plan and avoid overtraining
  • How to shed body fat and regain muscle density
  • How to create a progressive plan for training, recovery and competition
  • Workout guidelines, field tests, and intensity measurement

More Recovery

“Probably the first thing the aging athlete discovers is the fact that they don’t recover as fast as they did when they were younger. There is something about my body that is not responding like it did a few years ago. So, that’s the starting point for most athletes in understanding that they are becoming old is they just don’t bounce back anymore.”

“The older you get the more you have to focus your whole concept of training around recovery instead of focusing more on high quality workouts which is going to be done anyway. You need to give a lot of thought on how am I going to make sure I will recover so that I can do the next hard work out after this one. In the book I offer suggestions for the athlete to start including more recovery days between hard workouts as opposed to just one.”

More Sleep

“Another one of the key issues that I had with my clients was that typically none were getting enough sleep. How I determine if you get enough sleep is if you use an alarm to wake up in the morning. It’s an artificial waking mechanism which means you just interrupted your sleep and we need to get to the point where you don’t have alarms. The key point is when you go to bed not when you wake up. Sleep is recovery so as you get older sleep becomes more and more important.”

What Do You Eat

“Nutrition can become somewhat like religion. We have these strong beliefs because it has been beaten in to us since late 1970s that you need to eat a high carbohydrate diet. Otherwise you you won’t be able to train hard and are going to die of heart disease and cancer and all these other problems. That’s just the way we’re supposed to do it.  It is kind of ordained that we are supposed to eat a high carb diet.”

“Only in the last, 5 or 8 years has it been questioned, so now we’re starting to see more research on the topic. We’re starting to see good athletes who are abandoning the concept of eating constant carbohydrates and are depending more on fat and protein. If you’re in your 50’s and you weigh more than you think you should weigh or want to weigh, its likely you have some insulin resistance and if you do have that then you probably shouldn’t be eating many carbs.”

Friel actually wrote a book about this with Professor Loren Cordain called The Paleo Diet for Athletes. There is also more information on this in an earlier post called Why Do We Get Fat As We Get Older?

Less Time Off

Finally, between finishing the book and the publication at age 70, Joe had a nasty training accident. Joe was not able to train for an extended period of time and learned a new lesson: “What I discovered was basically that the older you are the less you can afford to miss training for long periods of time. You lose fitness very rapidly at this age and take much longer to come back.”

Joe Friel

Joe Friel has trained endurance athletes since 1980. His clients are elite amateur and professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes, and duathletes. They come from all corners of the globe and include American and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian. Friel is also still a competitive age-group athlete in his 70s.

He is the author of ten books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. He holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified Elite-level coach, and is a founder and past Chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.

Friel has also been active in business as a founder of Training Peaks (, a web-based software company, and TrainingBible Coaching (

What’s Next for Joe?

“I’m still writing, I just finished totally rewriting one of the first books I wrote back in the nineties which was called “The Triathletes Training Bible.” I came to realize that in the 17 years since I wrote that book it has become outdated. I threw the entire manuscript away and just rewrote the entire book from scratch and that will be out this fall (2016).”

Boomerangfit interviewed Joe Friel via Skype from his home in the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, AZ.

Why do we get fatter as we get older?

And how to avoid it...

Why we get fat as we age

Why we get fat as we age?

It almost seems inevitable. As we get older we all seem to gain weight. When is the last time you ran into an old friend or acquaintance and remarked that they weighed less than when you last saw them?

This age driven weight gain isn’t inevitable. It is actually rather easily addressed.

First as we get older we believe that we can’t do as much as we used to so we slow down our activity. This simply burns fewer calories. Instead, we should go out of our way to continue to move as much as possible. Walk, take the stairs, do something to stay active throughout the day and keep moving.

Also, our muscles will begin to deteriorate as we age mostly because we become less active. So once in awhile say once a week it is okay to lift something heavy and/or do something fast. Find a big rock or a bucket of small rocks and pick it up and down. Squat. Walk around with it. Find a hill and run up it slightly faster than you would normally jog.

Second, as we get older our bodies seem to be less able to handle carbohydrates as well as when we were younger. If you have extra fat on your body now it is a good bet that you are becoming what is called insulin resistant. This means your body has dealt with so many carbs over your lifetime that the sensitive signaling system for noticing carbohydrates in the blood stream and clearing them out using the hormone insulin has gotten less sensitive. Your body demands more and more insulin to clear out the same carbs and carbs are more likely to be turned directly into fat.

What do you do? Eat fewer carbs especially processed carbs and added sugars. Eat more fats especially in fish and avocados and nuts and eat more protein instead.

Keep moving as you get older. There is nothing stopping you. And eat fewer carbs especially heavily processed carbohydrates and added sugar.

The Meaning of Life

Are you risking too much or too little?

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.03.14 PMIn a great video called Never Stop, sponsored by The North Face, Jimmy Chin ponders the meaning of life. Jimmy Chin is an excellent skier, climber and photographer. Somehow Chin caught the skiing and climbing bug despite growing up in Mankato, MN and attending  Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I also went to Carleton and can attest to the lack of any hills or mountains in Minnesota.

Now Chin is a North Face sponsored athlete who among many other accomplishments has climbed to the top of Everest and then skied down. You read that right. He has had photos published in Outside Magazine and National Geographic and also recently produced, directed, shot and starred in a stunning film called Meru, about his climb with two friends to the top of a foreboding peak in the Karakoram mountains between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. This film won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and is definitely worth watching.

So what does Jimmy Chin think about the meaning of life:

“I guess I have always been driven to see what happens if I really throw myself at something. I learned early on that unless you really do that you will never find out. And, I think that would be really sad if I didn’t ever find my true potential. In a way, this is almost like the meaning of life. Finding a purpose and then pushing yourself in that space no matter what it is.”

“There are two great risks in life: risking too much and risking too little. The one that scares me the most is risking too little because you are given this great opportunity and you should make the post of it.”

This sounds a lot like the Ancient Greek concept of Arete. According to Wikipedia, “Arete is frequently associated with bravery, but more often with effectiveness. The man or woman of Arete is a person of the highest effectiveness; they use all their faculties—strength, bravery and wit—to achieve real results” or perhaps we could call it reaching their potential.

Are you reaching your potential? Are you throwing yourself at anything? Are you risking too much or too little?


Why Watching the Olympics Can Make You Fat

Full disclosure: I love the Olympics and watch as much as I can every two years.

It is very motivating to see how a strong work ethic, some talent and focused training can createScreen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.39.45 AM such incredible performances. Especially good are the stories of athletes inspired to become Olympians by watching the Olympics at an early age. The Daily Mail has an article about Joseph Schooling, a young boy from Singapore, who met his idol Michael Phelps at 14 years old and then went on to beat him in the 100m Butterfly in Rio eight years later. Amazing stuff.

The inevitable stories of athletes over-coming challenges to get to the Olympics are great as well.  Today’s NY Times has a story about how an American High Jumper once had to live in her car.  Even Ryan Lochte and his stupid antics can’t tarnish this great institution.

So what’s the problem? It’s the advertising. Envision that we have millions of people watching the Olympics perhaps being inspired to seek a Gold Medal or perhaps just inspired to get off the couch and stop playing videos games to take a swim or a jog around the block.  But then, what do they see in between the games? Advertising for huge amounts of Sugar. Sugar that will inevitably make them fat and sick.

The three major advertisers that I remember seeing most are Coca Cola, PowerAde and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. In March 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake (approximately 12 teaspoons. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

You read that right. A single can of Coca Cola contains approximately 3/4 of the daily sugar intake recommended by the WHO and 50% more than what they recommend for added health benefits. A 20 ounce PowerAde, owned by Coca Cola, has 7 teaspoons of sugar almost as much as a can of Coke. While admittedly a bigger portion, this is the typical size of sports drink that you see people drinking. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have 8 grams of Sugar or 2 teaspoons per Cup or 4 teaspoons in a typical package of 2 cups. By the way, the Peanut Butter cups were being pitched by Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn.

What’s the message we are sending? If you work hard and stay focused you too can become an Olympian. But in the meantime, eat a whole bunch of sugar and get fat and sick. Don’t worry though because these great athletes you are watching are telling you it is okay.


Is Chocolate Milk Really A Great Recovery Drink?

The Tour De France and USA Swimming seem to say yes...

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.26.13 PMThe Tour De France came to its exiting finish today in France. Britian’s Chris Froome won his third Tour. If you watched this year you would have probably seen multiple commercials touting Chocolate Milk as a great recovery drink for athletes. Believe it or not it is actually the official recovery drink of USA Swimming.

Is this really true. Well, milk is not a bad choice as long as you are not lactose intolerant. However, it is the chocolate part that is the problem.

All chocolate milk can be a bit different based on what you use for milk (1%, 2%, whole milk) and what you use for flavoring. Since TruMoo Chocolate Milk touts USA Swimming on their website, let’s use them as a representative of the beverage.

The ingredients found in one (1) cup of TruMoo Chocolate Milk include Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Cocoa, Corn Starch (more Sugar), Salt, Carrageenen (a questionable filler) and then some natural flavors and added vitamins.

There are 18 grams of Sugar which equates to over 4 teaspoons of Sugar in this cup of chocolate milk! This is in one (1) cup remember and a TruMoo bottle actually contains 12 oz.  So, in a typical bottle of TruMoo Chocolate Milk we find 27 grams of sugar or almost 6 teaspoons. This is approximately what the World Health Organization recommends that an adult consume in an entire day. Chocolate Milk is providing as much sugar as you should be consuming in an entire day in one bottle. Doesn’t sound like a great thing to be drinking to recover from exercise.

Additionally the intake of all of this excess sugar creates a massive influx of insulin and inflammation both of which are not a great idea for post exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, “The bolus of blood sugar that accompanies a meal or snack of highly refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, French fries, sugar-laden soda, etc.) increases levels of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.”

Finally, back to that pesky Carrageenen. This filler also seems to be linked to excess inflammation in the body. 

Great. Give me a bottle of refined sugar that ramps up insulin and inflammation just when my body doesn’t need it.

So what do you drink to recover? Try water. If you have been exercising for more than about 2 hours find a drink that provides electrolytes and some protein without all of the sugar.

How about you. What do you drink after a workout?


Why these rocks motivate me more than anything else

Rocks. Volcanic Rocks. I picked up these rocks while sitting at the side of the volcanic crater near the top of Mt. Baker in the Northern Cascades in Washington State. So why do they motivate me?

Volcanic Rocks from Mt. Baker

Volcanic rocks from Mt Baker

I picked up these rocks while sitting and waiting for my team to go up to the summit of Mt. Baker  and come back while I stayed behind because my legs were cramping and I was exhausted. While sitting there, I thought that I must be dehydrated or reacting badly to the altitude, or maybe just unlucky or as my kind guide said “having a bad day”. But then I realized that there were really only two reasons for not making it to the top. 1) Mental – I was not strong enough mentally and could have prepared better through visualization, meditation or any of the other various ways you can get mentally stronger; and 2) Physical – even though I worked out hard and frequently and tried to do what the AlpineAscents guides told me, I didn’t do enough.

There is one rock by the way next to my bed and one next to my desk just so I don’t forget.

Volcanic crater near the top of Mt Baker

Volcanic crater near the top of Mt Baker

PS. Another thing I learned climbing Mt. Baker is that you can never have too many gallon Ziploc bags.

PSS. If you are considering giving climbing a mountain a shot but want to do it in a controlled and safe way, I would highly recommend calling AlpineAscents International in Seattle. Let me know if you need any more information about Mt Baker or climbing in general.

So what motivates you every day?


Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.

Getting Baby Boomers Moving Again

More Press for BoomerangFit

BoomerangFit is again profiled in the local southeaster Massachusetts press. This time the story was in Sippican Week. The article talks about how we are focused on motivating Baby Boomers and those close enough in agMassasoit State Park 5k 2016 e not to give in to the “inevitable” post 50s decline. You can stay mobile and active after 50 with some people committing to getting back to the shape they were in back in college. It is important to stay motivated, to keep moving and to continue to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.


Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.

Outrunning, Out-Climbing Alzheimer’s

Boomerangfit in the News!

Boomerangfit and our upcoming climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the CureAlzheimer’s Fund got some press this week in The Wanderer in southeastern MassArizona Spartan Raceachusetts.

In the article, Jean Perry writes about why we started BoomerangFit. First of all to motivate Baby Boomers to keep focused on staying active and attempting new challenges as we age while at the same time raising money to cure one of the diseases that will do the most damage to our generation: Alzheimer’s.


Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.


Drop 35 Pounds in 4 Months

And be better at your job too

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 9.11.27 AM

Keith Krach (via Business Insider)

Losing 35 pounds in 4 months is pretty impressive. It sounds like it could be the title of a late night infomercial, but it isn’t.

This great feat was accomplished by Keith Krach, the CEO of tech company Docusign, and was highlighted recently in an article in Business Insider – Why the CEO of this $3 billion startup just dropped 35 points in 4 months.

What was more interesting is why he did it. “Krach says there wasn’t any clear motivation aside from an open-ended commitment he’d made with his two sons that he’d get in his best physical shape since college before the age of 60.”

This is a commitment we should all be making and is the commitment that is essentially at the crux of BoomerangFit. Lets all commit to ourselves, our families and our friends to get in the best physical shape that we have been in since college before we turn 60 or just pick and age that works for you. This is a fabulous goal and is more doable than most people think.

“Krach’s weight-loss regimen comprised of a strict low-carb/high-protein diet and a daily workout program that involved heavy lifting.”

After losing the weight Krach said that he could “narrow down the benefits to the following three reasons: high energy level, better sleep, and an improved clarity of thinking.”

What commitment will you make to yourself?


Please consider sponsoring BoomerangFit’s climb of Mt Baker to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund by clicking HERE. Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $38,000,000 to research, and its funded initiatives have been responsible for a number of key breakthroughs. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports some of the best scientific minds in the field of Alzheimer’s research. Fully 100 percent of funds raised by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund go directly to research—the Board of Directors covers all overhead expenses.