In today's July 15, 2011 newsletter . . .

  • Was Tony Soprano Right?

  • A CrossFit Style Workout

Was Tony Soprano Right?

To impress three young ladies over drinks, Paulie Walnuts and a mob associate were telling tough guy stories about the old days as Tony sat silent. Paulie said, “You’ve been awful quiet, T. Is somethin’ wrong?”

“’Remember when’ stories are the lowest kind of conversation,” Tony said, as he got up to dance with one of the ladies. There’s truth in that. Most of the time young people aren’t interested in hearing about “the way things used to be.” And if you insist on history lessons and reliving old times you get labeled an old coot.

The unfortunate part is that some practices actually were better in times past. Take for example working out with training partners. I don’t know when training partners fell out of favor, but you don’t see as much of it in gyms today.

Of course it used to be that most gyms were independently owned and the actual owner would get you started with a routine. Once you got acclimated, you would usually buddy-up with someone. The two of you would spot each other, count reps, and give encouragement. The only personal trainers in those days were the gym owners themselves.

For real muscle building, having two training partners is even better than having one. Generally, the timing and rest between sets is almost perfect when three people exercise in consecutive order. And for squats and bench exercises, it is ideal having a spotter at each end of the bar.

I have nothing against personal trainers (I’ve done some of it myself). Many are excellent, and there are people who will not exercise at all without a trainer to direct them. However, employing someone to work with you three days per week is expensive. Most of the time, you and your training partner can figure things out for yourselves, once you learn the fundamentals. You can always arrange for periodic consultations with a personal trainer if further guidance is needed.

Please don’t call me an old coot. But if you find a training partner with similar objectives and a compatible attitude, I think you’ll like it and realize that trainees in the old days got more than a few things right.

Note, however, that having an effective training partner arrangement means actually working out together, not standing around shooting the breeze.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells

A CrossFit Style Workout

CrossFit offers different online workouts every day, called WODs (Workout of the Day). Many, in my opinion, are too severe for boomers and seniors, though I think CrossFit does have scaled down programs for older people.

Sometimes for variety I’ll take a WOD and tailor it to fit what I’m looking for. The following is one example:

CrossFit sometimes takes two exercises and has their followers do them in consecutive sets of 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3 reps. The idea is to start a stopwatch and see how long it takes to complete all the sets. Those in top shape can make it a gut busting challenge by going as fast as possible. Beginners can do the workout by taking adequate rest between sets. Either way, it’s kind of fun.

Here’s an exercise suggestion that I did recently. Alternate Alligator push-ups with Horizontal pull-ups. Start your watch and go: Do 21 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3. Your totals will be 84 reps of each exercise. Note how long it takes you. Write it down and try to improve your time the next time you do the workout.

Have fun.

Find Alligator push-ups and Horizontal pull-ups.

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Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women

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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

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The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you. Your comments and questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter