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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #188. Longevity and a Happy Life
October 01, 2016

October 1, 2016

In this newsletter . . .

A Secret to Longevity and Happy Life

Can Strength Athletes Thrive on a Vegetarian Diet?

A Secret to Longevity and Happy Life

A couple of years ago I watched a TV sports special, it may have been Bryant Gumbel's show, where two old hall-of-fame athletes talked about their lives and aging. They were basketball great, Bill Russell, and football star, Jim Brown. Russell was 78 at the time and Brown was 76, which happened to be my age, too.

The two men seemed mentally sharp, but sports had left marks on them physically. Their conversation was interesting and funny, just two friends talking who had at one time performed at the highest level of sport. Now in their senior years, neither had anything more to prove, nor any inclination to one-up the other. It was good, honest talk.

Later, I read a magazine Q&A column with Jim Brown in which he was asked about the key to healthy aging. His answer was short: He said you have to stay relevant. Being an old guy myself, I think I understand what he meant.

Unless you have an interest(s) that captures your spirit and devotion, retirement can mean a steady downward slide. As my father used to say: "Life really changes once you are 'out of the harness.'" (Being from Montana, dad appreciated a good country metaphor.)

If you’re a young senior in your fifties, you may not yet realize the importance of having retirement interests. But in time you will. Those of us in our sixties and beyond know exactly what I mean.

If you’re approaching retirement, give thought to what you will do with your time when you are “out of the harness.” The earlier you take it into consideration, the better. I have a few thoughts of my own on how to make the most of it. You can find them here. Please take a look. Because Jim Brown has it exactly right: You have to stay relevant.

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Can Srength Athletes Thrive on a Vegetarian Diet?

The question about weight training and vegetarians comes up often. But before going any further, I want to explain that I am not a vegan or vegetarian, and I'm not trying to convert anyone. However, if I didn’t eat fish, I’d be classified as a lacto-ovo vegetarian (vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs). By choice, I do not eat beef, poultry, bacon or ham.

Ethics, religion, or health concerns are the usual reasons people give for choosing to be vegetarian. I have my own reasons. But my purpose here is a narrow one. It is to answer the question: Can a serious weight trainee get enough protein and sufficient micronutrients on a vegetarian diet? The great strength athlete and former (pre-steroid) Mr. America, Roy Hilligenn, is one example of a super strong man who did not eat meat. There are many others.

So the answer is a definite yes. There are plenty of strong men and women who prefer the vegetarian lifestyle and claim to function better following it. Yet this does not mean that you cannot have a healthful diet that includes lean meat. It is a matter of personal choice. Though I personally choose not to eat beef, for example, it has been pointed out to me that grass-fed beef contains healthier fat than meat from so-called factory farmed cattle.

So a well-balanced vegetarian diet is a healthful diet, but so is a well-balanced diet that includes lean meat from grass fed animals. The key, in either dietary practice, is well-balanced. Human beings, including strength athletes, have the ability to function quite well eating many different combinations of foods. Still, most doctors today are in agreement that fruits and vegetables should play a major role (the so-called Mediterranean style diet) in everyone's diet, and often they do not.

If you would like to know more about a vegetarian diet and some well known vegetarian athletes, please go here.

For general nutrition guidelines, go here.

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A Related Subject Note: Often news about nutrition studies indicate many nutrition supplements are worthless, and some perhaps even contribute to acquiring diseases they are supposed to protect against. As usual, other studies contradict the findings. What should we believe? My own personal view regarding supplements is here.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

Newsletter Policy

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. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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