Time is relentless, it is unforgiving and it stops for no one. As we, the good guys age, the bad guys remain young and virile.
Father Time Cares Not
There is nothing you can do to stop Father Time. It doesn’t mean you give in or give up. Our culture has forgone a degree of toughness. Being tough is often viewed as weak. The hell with that, being tough means you are hardened by adversity. There is nothing good in being soft, being weak or being frail. Recognize these are all target indicators to a seasoned criminal. At some point we need to put the tactical significance of being tough aside and look at the big picture. Yes, the chances of you being involved in a violent crime is possible, but not very probable. Adhere to some common sense safety measures and you reduce the risk even more. What is constantly in our face is our health.
Peak Physical Fitness
As I reach a half century and look back over my life I realize I’m very lucky. Or, how I took a lot calculated risks that paid off. What did not hurt in any way was having a high level of physical fitness. It is no secret the special operations community places a premium on being in peak physical fitness. Yes, we want to be able to crush our enemy. The life is hard and the fitter you are, the better able to handle the high mileage you endure. I am grateful for this experience because it gave me a great appreciate for not just the results, but the journey. These days I work out at a high level, but I am smarter and better educated. My number one goal is injury prevention, followed with increased quality of life. I firmly believe the healthier your are, the better life you will live.
Take the First Step
It is not easy, but the longest step in your journey is the first one. You have to commit to a lifestyle of improved health. Everything is on the table. From what you eat, to how you sleep, to how you workout and how you recover. Eating for optimized performance is easy. Eat whole foods. Choose performance over convenience. I am a carnivore, I eat a lot of meat. I opt to ingest a higher protein and fat content, going light on carbohydrates. Believe me, I know how challenging this lifestyle is having to make it work on the road for so many years. If I can do it on the road, it is achievable. If you don’t know how to cook healthy meals made of whole foods you are behind the power curve.
Sleep is a Priority
I have lived a hard life where sleep was a luxury. It made me appreciate the challenges of a good nights rest. A hectic lifestyle with a lot of demands does not make it easy. You need to recognize without quality sleep you are operating at suboptimal levels at best. Believe me, I have seen the effects of chronic sleep deprivation and it is a killer. Take it seriously. Develop a bed time routine, a schedule. Make it as important as the sleep you crave. Make your room dark, put your electronics in a different room, invest in a white noise maker or ear plugs. Your bedtime routine is not the only one, you need a morning routine to balance it out. Get out of bed with a purpose. Start your day with a little “me” time like reading, stretching or one of my favorites…dry fire practice.
Lift Heavy Shit
When it comes to working out there is a workout theory around every corner. Here is what I know. Moving heavy weights, through full range of motion with adequate recovery is good for you. I don’t care what program you follow, they are all a process and you have to trust the process. If you are going to do something, stick to it for at least six months. Have a way to measure your progress. When folks ask what I do as part of my workout I tell them it is simple, but not easy. I workout four times a week. My workouts generally consist of a strength and a metabolic conditioning component. Most days consist of a good warmup and lots of mobility. If I could tell 30 year old Jeff to start stretching it would have been some great advise. Along with getting in the elevator with Cindy Crawford, but that’s another story. I love strength training and it fluctuates from power lifting to Olympic lifting to body weight movements or combinations off all. When it comes to the METCON they usually consist of intensity or volume. I am fond of light weight rehearsals to best prepare my CNS for the challenges and feel it pays off.
The Mighty 200
I put a lot more stock in recovery these days. Since I workout four times a week I am very aware of how my body feels. Not every day will produce no personal records, but I go into each workout with purpose. The key to a healthier lifestyle is consistency. I have about 200 good workout per year excluding holidays and vacations…even though I workout during those events. That means each time I walk into the gym I have to realize I’m not going to get this time back. I have to make the most out of it, do my best towards achieving 200 good workouts per year. When I look at it in these terms it allows me to focus on the task at hand and put forth my best effort. Looking as these 200 workouts puts recovery into a better perspective, without it I wouldn’t be able to achieve the gains.
Nobody said life would be easy and getting old is not for the faint at heart. You have to be committed to a healthy lifestyle; one where you are a harder target as well a great grandparent.