Health and preparedness……..

push ups.....lots of push ups

Over the past few months I have been taking health and exercise much more seriously.  Sylvester Stallone wrote a fitness book several years ago and in it he made a statement – Once you hit age 40 it is decision time. After age 40 things can go downhill pretty fast.

I am 42.

In a survival situation good overall health could provide the edge needed. Many armchair preppers out there stock up on some extra food, have the shotgun in the closet, and have a backpack in the trunk and feel they are ready. Try putting that backpack on and carrying that shotgun and some ammo a few miles walking AND running.

It’s not easy.

For the past few decades I have participated in several martial arts and weightlifting on and off. I always figured I was in decent shape and if needed I could walk/run and do what was needed. I was wrong. Several months ago I decided at the age of 42 to take my health more serious and signed up to do Crossfit.

push ups.....lots of push ups

Crossfit is likely unlike anything you have ever done unless you actually have done it. It is sorta like P90X if you are familiar with it. Basically Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program which combines weightlifting, cardio, and gymnastics(exercises like push ups, sit ups, dips).

Crossfit is very intense and requires enormous effort. I quickly found out in my very first workout that I was neither in shape nor could perform much strenuous exercising for any length of time. My first workout resulted in my not being able to drive home and my throwing up on the side of the street. It was a wake up call and a slap of reality right across my face (and the rest of my body). Wanna know how long my first workout lasted? A little over 8 minutes. OK, stop laughing!! Really – until you try it you just won’t understand.

I have been doing Crossfit now for several months and it is amazing how much further I can run and weight I can lift…..all done faster and in combinations.

My favorite exercise.......dips.

Crossfit IS for just about everyone of all ages. Everything can be scaled to your abilities.

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Diet is another area which I have improved and continue to do so. I have focused on trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and lean meats. I cut out soft drinks all together and now drink water almost exclusively. Monday thru Friday my diet is pretty decent while I splurge a bit on the weekends.

I continue to work on improving my daily diet.

In summary – I am stronger than I have ever been. I can run further faster than ever in my life. I am becoming more agile and flexible. Still need to drop about 15 pounds though 🙁 .

Take care all –

Rourke


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17 Comments

  1. My wife did X-fit for two years. She had a better body than when she was 25. (she’s 58) Unfortunatly, it was 35 miles away and not cheap to do. Now that we are not making as much and gas is $4/gal, she had to quit. The best thing about X-fit is the way it keeps you motivated. You CANNOT do it by yourself.

    • So right TexasScout –

      The atmosphere at Crossfit is truly unique and motivational. P90X I think is a decent substitute if you can motivate yourself to do it.

      Rourke

  2. I too worry about my health . I am currently 46 and will be 47 next month I need to loose 50 pounds . I have started working out at the gym at least 3 days a week and taking a stretch –n-flex class at least once a week and I am becoming stronger .I wish you good luck in all that you do and thanks for making us all think .
    Robert W

  3. Thanks for the inspiration! At the age of 45 I’m just starting down the same path you are on. I had a similar eye opening experience 3 weeks ago! Funny how age can sneak up on you when you’re all involved in the day to day issues of living! I’m not the young’un I used to be. I have to work harder now, and be smarter about how I take care of myself!

    Again, thanks for the inspiration!

    Mark

    • Navy91 –

      Good luck man. It is tough. As I type this I just got back from Crossfit – 3 very tough days in a row.

      You have to start somewhere and after a few weeks to a few months you can be proud of your progress.

      Take care – Rourke

  4. Rourke – Keep up the good work on the exercise and diet. The work in establishing a healthy lifestyle and diet now will reap rewards in your 50s and 60s and beyond.

    One advantage to cutting back on red meats is that you are preparing your palate for a time when there may not be a stocked grocery store where you can purchase fresh meat. Using meat as a condiment can become a habit for life. If you have not seen it, take a peak at “Forks Over Knives” which is available for streaming on Netflix.

    Gaye

  5. Congratulations Rourke. I completely agree that we need exercise and get fit – and the older we grow the more important it is. I have a two pronged approach – diet and exercise and I’m slowly improving. It is even worse if you have a range of chronic medical conditions. These health issues have made me continue to look far and wide for what I can do to improve my health and I’ve tried lots of diets. I went vegetarian for a year but continued a downward spiral. The only time I’ve improved health is when I’ve done some version of the paleo /primal/ Atkins diet. At 60 I was getting unstable on my feet and had around 4 auto-immune diseases plus osteoarthritis. Reluctantly I went back on a paleo diet and as long as I stick to that the weight comes off and my health improves. Its even more important the more physical activity I do as inflammation makes muscle pain much worse. Last year I took up karate and still have problems with the muscle pain though now I do it 3 times a week. It used to take a full week to recover from each session with painkillers for the first two or three days after it. Now at least I can largely keep up with the youngsters (teens and twenty year old males) which is pretty good for a 61 year old woman – I’m much fitter and no longer unstable on my feet. But I could never do it if I gave up on the paleo diet as grains and legumes set off the various autoimmune diseases I have and make my muscles hurt like hell. It comes down to what works.

    • Harriet –

      The Paleo diet is very popular among Crossfit atheletes. I am looking into it now.

      Thanks and take care – Rourke

  6. Rourke,

    Can you maybe post more about this (Crossfit)? Perhaps make this a once a week update on your progress along with some tips. I don’t exercise as much as a 49 year old should (although I do get a martial arts workout every so often with Squid). Maybe even some links on where we can learn more?

    I know this isn’t a physical fitness blog (thank goodness or I never would have found you) but fitness and exercise are things I believe get overlooked amongst the prepper community.

    By the way…you don’t have to give up drinking beer do you? 🙂

    In Liberty,
    Zoomie

  7. Way to go Rourke. Sticking with a diet and workout plan is super hard. I’m a big fan of small changes that I know I can live with for the long term. For instance, changing brands or grocery stores. I do most of my shopping at Trader Joes now, a west coast health food store. Well, healthier at least.

    I too drink mostly water, what a huge pay off that is. A typical can of pop/soda has 100-150 empty calories in it. I personally do all my work outs at home, it works for me. I’m not a believer that people have to have a gym membership. There is a lot that can be done at home with none to some simple equipment.

    • Rock –

      While I am in no way a Crossfit expert – the research I have done and conversations with coaches/trainers tell me that the way to get ready for Crossfit is to do….Crossfit. One of the biggest myths of Crossfit is you can’t do it unless you are an elite athlete. One of the great things in my box (they do not call it a “gym”) is the trainers scale down or scale up workouts to your ability.

      Rourke

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