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.

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.

Guaranteed Way to Succeed

It is simple but not easy!

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 10.28.14 AMThere is a Japanese proverb that states “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

To me this probably the key to accomplishing anything. Some people might use a different saying such as “If at first, you don’t succeed, try try again.”

Either way, the point is don’t give up. The problem here is that this is a lot harder than it looks for two main reasons in my view:

One: giving up is harder than not giving up. Not giving up requires gumption or stick-to-itiveness or sisu (if you are Finnish) or Grit or whatever you want to call it. There is a great book out on this subject called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth that is definitely worth a read or a listen if you want to understand how to get better at not giving up.

Two: the other aspect of giving up refers to what you are not giving up on. At some point it might be worth giving up on a secondary goal or a “means” goal in order to continue being focused on a primary goal or an “end” goal. For example, if my end goal is to travel more, I could get there in many different ways. I could become a travel agent. I could create a job for myself that allows me to be paid to travel like a travel writer or I could build something and sell it for a great value and then travel whenever I want. Each of these means goals gets me to the same end of traveling more. However, I may want to give up on becoming a travel agent someday if I come across a great opportunity to be a travel writer now but I would never give up on the goal of traveling more. Does this make sense? It is also very important to pick the right end goals based on your own vision. There is a great book that walks you through this process called The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani.

So, what do you need to know to succeed at any goal.

  1. Pick an End Goal that is meaningful and aligned with your passion, principles and vision and never give up on this.
  2. Pick a Means Goal to get you to the End goal. These can change based on experience and circumstances.
  3. Figure out what you need to do every day to reach the above goals.
  4. Do these things every day.
  5. Don’t stop!

What kind of experiences have you have with goals and not giving up?


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.





Team Boomerangfit to climb Mt Baker to Raise $$ for CureAlzheimers

Sunset at Mt Baker

Sunset at Mt Baker

Boomerangfit is a group of Baby Boomers committed to returning to the fitness we once had in our 20s and 30s. There is no reason we need to succumb to the “normal” ramifications of age if we eat right, move, exercise, sleep, laugh and enjoy life.  Additionally, we are committed to physical challenges that stretch our limits as well as help us raise money to for CureAlzheimers. Last year we focused on Spartan Obstacle races and this July we are climbing Mt Baker with the professional support of Alpine Ascents in Seattle. In the Cascade Mountains north of Seattle, Mt Baker stands 10,781 feet tall and our goal is to raise $1 per foot or $10,781 for the CureAlzheimers Fund. Click HERE if you would like to help.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a horrific fate for anyone and I know this first hand because my grandmother, my mother, my aunt as well as several neighbors and friends have either died from or are now suffering from this horrible disease.

Today, 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease.  Payments for care in 2012 were estimated to be $200 billion. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050 and most likely bankrupt the healthcare system as we know it.

Since its founding, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has contributed more than $28,300,000 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.

So please click HERE and help us make this terrible disease a thing of the past.

Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for Your Life

Is standing the new smoking and what can you do about it


My standing desk setup.

With apologies to Bob Marley, it is becoming more and more apparent that you not only need to stand up for your rights but also now for your life. Recent research is showing that sitting all day long is creating a host of problems from impairing your mobility to driving metabolic disease and cancer.

So what can you do about? Well, stand up. Not all day long and not beyond the point where you can keep good posture. Be comfortable as much as you can and then adapt and extend the time. In order to do this you can simply start by getting up once an hour and stretching or resetting your body. Chris Johnson, a pretty well known Physical Therapist, has posted a video of a great way to reset your body throughout the day HERE.

Once you have gotten used to that, you may want to take things to the next level and get a standing desk. This can be as simple as piling some boxes on your desk to bring your laptop up to the right level for standing or you can buy a standing desk for anywhere from about $50 up to several thousand.  HERE is a link to the Ergotron standing desk that I use that is in the picture above. For some really cool higher end standing desks and other furniture, Martin Keen, best known as the designer who founded Keen Shoes, has a great new company called Focal Upright.

Finally, if you want more information on the problems sitting is causing and how you can address the issues, there is a new book called Deskbound – Sitting is the New Smoking, by Physical Therapist Kelly Starrett. The book is available through Amazon HERE and more information about Kelly and his other programs is available on his website MobilityWod.

So do it now, stand up, walk around and stretch.

Alzheimer’s Can Happen to Anyone

Triathlon Cofounder Jack Johnstone Dies of Alzheimer's

All America Swimmer and co-founder of the Triathlon

All America Swimmer and co-founder of the Triathlon, Jack Johnstone

The world’s of triathlon and Alzheimer’s came crashing together yesterday when Jack Johnstone, the co-founder of the triathlon, died after battling Alzheimer’s since 2013.

An All-American swimmer, Johnstone took up running later in life and, in San Diego in 1977 with his friend Don Shanahan, started the sport of Triathlon. Now nearly 40 years later, triathlon has millions of participants in the U.S. alone and is an Olympic sport.

Today, 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, up to 16 million will have the disease.  Payments for care in 2012 were estimated to be $200 billion. Without a cure, these figures will nearly triple by the year 2050.  Aside from the horror of living with this disease or caring for people with it, we simply can’t afford this disease to continue to grow. Our healthcare system will go bankrupt.

If you are an athlete contemplating your 2016 goals and challenges, I urge you to consider combining these activities with raising money to cure Alzheimer’s. I lost my grandmother and my mother to this disease and my Aunt is now struggling with it as well. My brother and I are currently planning to climb Mt Baker in 2016 to raise money for CureAlzheimer’s. This mountain, out in the Northern Cascades in Washington state stands 10,781 feet tall so our fundraising goal will be $10,781.  If you would like to raise money through your active efforts this year or simply donate to our efforts, please click HERE

Book Review: The Natural Method Translated by Philippe Til

Georges Hébert's Practical Guide to Physical Education

“Being Strong to Be Useful.”

The Natural Method

This is the motto of Georges Hébert. Hébert was a French Naval Officer before the First World War. In 1902, he was stationed in St. Pierre, Martinique when the island was hit by a disastrous volcanic eruption. Although Hébert managed to help hundreds of people survive, he was struck by how many people died needlessly because they were not physically fit enough to escape. 

Upon returning to France, Hébert convinced the French Navy the allow him to teach French recruits a more natural method of physical fitness so that they could be more fit for the purpose of their jobs. Hébert later wrote down his Natural Method. For those of us who don’t read French, these writings have been translated by Philippe Til, a French personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur based in Los Angeles as The Natural Method, George’s Hébert’s Practical Guide to Physical Education.  

Hébert has also been very influential on more modern training modalities such as Parkour and Erwin Le Corre’s MovNat.  One could also argue that the recent sport of Obstacle Course Racing like Spartan Race is based on the teachings of Hébert.  Hébert is also mentioned in Christopher McDougall’s new book Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance. This book is also worth a read and will be reviewed here soon. 

Get Off the Couch and Move

The gist of of the book is that the due to the “advent of technological comforts, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle resulting in a regression of our physical fitness paired with the removal of humans from the food chain, the need for fitness on a daily basis is gone.” Scary considering that this was written 100 years ago and the problems seem the same. Hébert basically goes on to say that you don’t need to join a gym or buy a device or DVD from a TV commercial to get fit. You just need to move naturally, walk, run, swim, climb, throw things, lift heavy things occasionally and learn how to defend yourself. 

The Fitness Pyramid

Fitness is a essentially a pyramid. At the base is breathing and circulation. Hébert refers to the Hygienic Effect that is “produced more specifically by the exercises that activate breathing and circulation.” This seems to be similar to the focus on breathing in many fitness systems such as yoga and kettle bell programs such as StrongFirst

The next level of the pyramid is the “Aesthetic Effect…produced by the exercises that develop the muscular system, which remedy poor shoulder position, expand the rib cage and bring the spinal curve back to its optimal alignment.” This is essentially a focus on what we might call mobility and alignment and is in response to all of the time modern man spends sitting on their butts. This is where the Functional Movement System (FMS) would play today. On this level, you focus on basic body movements such as the movements that can be found in Original Strength, as well as balance and hanging. 

The next level up on the pyramid would be the Functional Aspect where the functional movements of marching, walking, running, swimming, climbing, lifting, throwing and defensive tactics come into play.  You don’t need to go to the gym however. Go for a run or walk, do body weight exercises like push ups, pull ups, burpees, lunges and squats. Jump up onto things. Hang from bars on the local playground. Get out of the gym with their machines and limited movement and return to the movement your body has always been programmed to enjoy. 

Lastly, in the pyramid of fitness comes sports specific movements such as baseball, football, soccer, ultimate frisbee or whatever strikes your fancy.  These movements are now learned on top of the base of breathing, circulation, mobility and alignment and functional strength. This means that you will be much more efficient in your sports movements and much less likely to get hurt. 

Get Outside and Enjoy

So, in the spirit of Hébert, go out for a run or a walk, jump up onto something, hang from something or lift something heavy or at least read what he has to say. Reclaim the fitness and health that you were designed to enjoy. 

Do you belong to a gym or do you find ways to exercise outside and using your body the way it was meant to work?