Why did I start a blog and why did I call it BoomerangFit?
In March of 2013 I turned 50 years old. I felt like crap. I was overweight. And, I just wasn’t very happy with myself. So, was hitting 50 the beginning of the end or could I try to get back to the fitness and health that I had enjoyed before in my twenties or even thirties? Could I get to peak fitness in my 50s and continue to push myself in mind and body or should I acquiesce to what most people see as the inevitable?
Wikipedia (I know it isn’t always right but close enough for this) says that the post World II baby boom in the United States lasted from approximately 1946 to 1964. I was born in 1963, so I guess I qualify even if only barely. This means that I represent the end of the boom, the last of the so-called Baby Boomers to enter the 5th decade of life while the first boomers are nearing 70. So has the huge population bubble worked its way through the world like a giant bump in the belly of a snake that is now nearing the end of the track or is it possible for us to still have an impact and reach new heights and goals. I have decided that it is possible to continue to succeed and continue to drive towards new accomplishments. Later, when I decided to start a blog because so many people were asking me what I was doing to lose weight, get fit, etc. it occurred to me that Baby Boomers could, like a boomerang, return to the health and fitness they had enjoyed earlier in life so what better name for the blog than BoomerangFit or Boomerangfit.com.
To start this journey, I read a lot of books and tried many diet and fitness fads, advice, etc without much success. Many of the blogs, podcasts and books that I consumed were focused on younger people, more athletic people, women only, etc. None of them really spoke to me. Finally, I came across a book by Rich Roll called Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. Rich was a great high school and college swimmer who came on tough times with addiction and depression. Rich then hit bottom and worked his way back up to a new life through diet, lifestyle and triathlon. Rich also goes on to become a Vegan. Finding Ultra is a great inspirational read and reading it was the beginning of getting back to when I was strong. Actually, I listened to the audio book that was read by Rich himself. Coming off the high of the book, I started experimenting with becoming a Vegan and started training less in the gym and doing more cycling and running. Unfortunately, the Vegan diet wasn’t working for me. I lost some weight but didn’t feel that great. So I moved on. Also if your note listening to audio books or podcasts when you have down time like driving or exercising, you should try it.
Desperate for more information on how to improve my life, I started to listen to Rich Roll’s podcast as well. Rich has a great podcast that I recommend and it is called appropriately the Rich Roll Podcast. One day, Rich interviewed his neighbor and fellow ultra-sports enthusiast, Vinnie Tortorich. Vinnie is a personal trainer to the stars and quite a character in his own right. He has conquered cancer and has followed a somewhat different path to a new life than Rich. Vinnie’s mantra is No Sugar No Grains or NSNG. For a long list of reasons, he chose to cut out added sugar and grains from his diet and found that he easily lost weight while still maintaining his energy. I tried this approach and also easily lost 20 lbs (I still have more to go) and continue with this approach today. To me, Vinnie’s approach is very reasonable as it focuses on some key points i.e. sugar is bad and grains turn into sugar but then from there it can be very customizable by each individual. Although his this new nutrition approach seemed to work, however, the long distance ultra-athlete lifestyle wasn’t for me. I didn’t really have the time or the correct body type to excel in this area.
Vinnie also has a podcast that spends a lot of time talking about this lifestyle approach. Take note that Vinnie and his podcast co-host Anna Vocino also engage in a lot of explicit and raucous humor mixed in with the nutrition and exercise advice. Additionally, Vinnie has just published his own book with Dean Lorey called Fitness Confidential that is a great overview of this approach as well as some inspirational stories from his life.
It turns out, believe it or not, that all people are different. Some people react to sugar, wheat, dairy, peanuts, soy, corn in many different ways. Some people are allergic to these types of substances, others react with digestive problems or energy loss and others have no issues. So, why not customize how you eat and by extension how you live based on who you are and not based on what some guru, author, neighbor or in-law have done. The problem is that it can cost a lot of money to generate somewhat questionable results with fancy tests on what you can and cannot tolerate. Also, this journey is about more than just what you eat, it is also about how you think and feel, how you exercise and maybe, most importantly, how you sleep. And, throw in on top of it all that the 50+ year old body is just different, you have quite the challenge to get back what you had. Luckily there is another cheaper and easier way to get started and that is the path that I have chosen. Please stay tuned to this space for more information on how you too can Get Back To When You Once Were Strong.
What has your experience been with fitness, health and energy as you have entered your 50s and beyond? Have you found ways to avoid the symptoms of what is commonly thought of as aging?