My body is a little tired and achy. I lifted heavy yesterday and my 55 year old joints are not too happy with me this morning. The will is there but sometimes the body does not comply. Lifting and getting back into shape, in your 50s, is a cautionary tale filled with hard, uncomfortable truths and disappointments, coupled with small gains and wins. What used to work for me in my 20s, 30s, and 40s does not work now. It does not help that my job requires me to sit at a desk all day. That reminds me, it is time for my hourly 2 minute exercise routine so my sedentary lifestyle does not kill me.
Keeping healthy in my 50s is actually a 2nd job. I find that I am spending at least 3 hours a day doing some type of exercise. Let’s be honest about my intentions. Yes, I want to be healthy but my main motivation is purely for vanity’s sake. Any health benefit would be a side effect to the main goal and that is to shed the dad bod and attempt to regain some semblance of the man I used to look like back in my youth, Andy Garcia. Ha ha.
I started a year ago. I invested in building a garage gym and over a duration of about 6 months I was able to assemble an adequate amount of equipment that fulfilled my needs. I joined 50+ fitness groups for advice and tips. I watched umpteen amounts of YouTube videos on exercises for guys my age. I researched and purchased supplements including protein powder and creatine. I was now well on my way to transforming into the Adonis I have planned to be and it should only take about 4 or 5 months, tops. I can’t wait to do the before and after pics.
Fast forward a year later and my grand transformation is more of a small gain coupled with large frustration. Gaining muscle and losing fat, in your 50s, is hard AF. When I was 35, I worked out daily, ate moderately well, made exponential gains, and lost a bucket of fat, all at the same time. I looked great! At 55, it is a series of small gains pit marked by annoying injuries that create long periods of recovery. I thought I could reduce caloric intake, chug creatine, and just work out and I will be well on my way. I have made strength and size gains, that I am happy about, but have not lost one inch in my gut. How the hell is that happening? I have reduced my calorie intake to almost 1400 calories a day and I am burning way more calories than I was before. Why do I look like a buff Budha? What worked then is not working now and that sucks.
No, what is happening now, thanks to my wife and her discipline not my perceived motivation, is I now must do a combination of walking and jogging, 3+ miles a day. She is killing it, by the way. I cannot keep up with her with her multiple workouts a day. She is a machine. Anyway, I now must get up off my ass every hour to do a series of jumping jacks, pushups, and squats, every 2 minutes, because my sedentary lifestyle, as I am told, is the worst killer of gains. I am still lifting in the garage but with various exercises that will not make my tendons scream at me. I am eating only at specific times of the day as I am finding out that blood sugar and insulin levels are now a thing. I am just beginning to attempt to take on what is called Macros, which requires me to weigh my food. Yeah, good luck weighing the chips and salsa at Jardin Corona Mexican restaurant. We are easing into HIIT and all at the same time I still need to lift heavy because my old school twenty something ego will not let go of the gym.
The biggest challenge with all of this is enjoying life. I enjoy weekly date night with my wife which includes exploring new bars and restaurants. I enjoy Sunday family dinners and impromptu trips to get ice cream or some treat with my boys. I LIKE TACOS! This is friggin hard.
I look at Andy Garcia now and think, he still looks pretty good, or does he?