Exercising After 50

In the last 4 years it has been challenging.

Things changed after I turned 52. That’s when my personal trainer at the gym had the foresight to create next-level workout routines for me.

With her help I started lifting weights for 30 to 40 minutes 2x per week.

I could no longer workout at the gym for 50 minutes 3x per week.

I’m the proudest of this achievement:

In January 2014 I could dead lift with the trap bar 205 pounds.

That was impressive considering I’m only 5 feet tall and weighed 120 pounds at the time.

After I turned 52 my former female trainer took a different approach to create workout routines I could do in my living room.

See the Home Gym category for information and sample exercise plans.

My current trainer is a guy I’ve worked with for over one year so far. He’s an exceptional trainer just like the old trainer was.

For the holidays I gave my trainer a $50 bill.

The gym I go to attracts hardcore fitness buffs. The trainers I work with create Upper and Lower Body routines for me to do that I can do on my own. Every 6 or 7 weeks I meet with the trainer to get a new routine.

The trainers respect and are impressed that I have the ability to lift weights on my own every week.

No trainer has been upset that I don’t pay them to train me in one-on-one sessions every week.

It’s not only that I couldn’t afford to do that. It’s that the gym gets crowded. You’re crunched together sweating. It can be hard to find room on the mat or a machine that is free.

It was auspicious that I hard started exercising at home in May 2019.

In March 2020 when New York City shut down the gyms closed. My gym didn’t open again until early September.

Since September I have lifted weights every week. Either 1x per week or 2x per week. I haven’t missed a week of exercising.

In the coming blog entry I want to give readers a shot in the arm of confidence about getting fitter as you get older.

My experience could be empowering.

How to Reset

I’m going to reset in a slow and steady fashion.

Tweaking things a little that have gotten out of hand–like eating Christmas cookies on Saturday : )

The Changeology book 90-day action plan has always worked for me with the 5 steps you execute one after the other.

Focusing on one or two habits at a time to change is the difference.

My goal is to return to eating organic raspberries and blackberries. To add in having organic green apple slices with unsweetened almond butter.

Just nix having bananas. They are high in sugar.

Not all fruit and vegetables are created equal. White food isn’t healthful. Cauliflower is the exception to this rule.

My goal this week is to start to reset my routine.

To this end I bought from Macy’s a gold-and-white striped small bowl with black letters inside that shout: Happy Everything!

To make eating berries a cheerful experience.

As well as changing up what I’ve been eating I’m continuing to modify my workout routines.

More in the coming blog entry about changing how I exercised post-50.

Using My Experience to Empower Readers

It’s January and too often people join a gym exercise madly for 2 months then quit when they don’t see progress.

The fixation on weight loss disturbs me. The fact is that when a person adopts consistent healthy habits permanently they will naturally lose weight.

Without having to go on a restrictive diet or any kind of “diet” written about in the plethora of diet books published every year like clockwork.

I’m compelled to write about my experience to empower readers. I lost 15 pounds and that hadn’t been my goal.

My goal was to eat more healthful food and continue to lift weights 2x per week as often as I could.

Would you like to know how I lost 15 pounds without even trying to?

I’m 55 years old and living in menopause. Yet I haven’t gained weight.

What I propose is a simple plan. It might not be easy to adopt at first if a person is totally out of shape.

Only it will work especially for those of us who are older.

Should you want to dive right into the details you can buy the Frank Lipman, M.D. book The New Rules of Aging Well.

Before I checked out of the library this book I had already been doing the things Dr. Lipman advised us older folk to do.

A preview of what I’ve done over the years:

Have yogurt only 2 or 3 times a week.

Stop eating meat of any kind that comes from a CAFO.

Not eat a lot of food every day.

Engage in intermittent fasting: have dinner between 6:00-7:30 p.m. Wait 16 hours to eat again when I’m at home the next day. Scramble eggs for breakfast after this fast.

Have only 2 meals a day every so often.

Make my “3 square meals” small ones.

Cut out eating granola and grains.

Cook my own dinners more often every week.

Change the frequency and duration of my workout routines. Lift weights in my living room. Use lower weight and higher reps for each exercise.

Have the cannoli on New Year’s Eve because I’m not perfect : )

Portable Snacks – Part Two

The Hope hummus and organic carrot sticks shown are sold on FreshDirect.

I buy this brand because it doesn’t contain natural flavor as an ingredient like other hummus does.

The term natural flavor is a euphenism for chemicals whose real names the government doesn’t require to be listed on the nutrition label.

So rest assured if you’re consuming food and drink products with “natural flavor” you’re loading your body up with chemicals.

At times I do buy and use a product that has natural flavor. Only not as an every week occurrence. Not as an every few weeks occurrence.

FreshDirect sells their own brand of vegetable stock that doesn’t contain natural flavor like every other boxed vegetable stock brand does.

So I buy 2 containers of the FreshDirect vegetable stock as a time.

The combo shown above is the perfect 3:00 p.m. snack when you’re at an office job or other job where you can store things in a refrigerator.

Portable Snacks – Part One

The first photo is of the box the stainless steel containers with silicon lids were packaged in. The last photo is of the “trail mix” I created in the portable tin.

The cashews, coconut chips, and chocolate chips are sold on FreshDirect.

The mini chips list cane sugar as the first ingredient so should be eaten in moderation.

Otherwise once or twice a week it could be okay to make this trail mix to take on the go.

I’ll post a carnival of portable snacks blog entries today. The next one is a far better option than a candy bar.

The Tavva stainless steel containers are sold on Amazon.

Minus the mini chips cashews and coconut chips are fine on their own.

Feeding the Hungry

The NY Common Pantry sent me a tax receipt letter for $270 in donations to this nonprofit in 2020.

The meals I bought for people in need I hadn’t realized would total over $200 in 7 months.

I did this via “buying” two $5 donations when I ordered groceries via FreshDirect each week. One $5 donation provides 4 pantry meals for a person in need.

Beto O’Rourke in the article I link to at the end of this blog entry wrote with two other authors that expanding and fortifying the food stamps / SNAP benefits program is cost-effective.

Whereas forcing people to use food pantries is wasteful.

O’Rourke and the two other authors’ rationale for the beauty of the SNAP program makes perfect sense to me.

For now I’m OK with donating money for meals to NY Common Pantry.

It’s because in our right-wing political climate nothing has been “right” in terms of fostering social justice.

50 million Americans are estimated to live with food insecurity.

Since Mr. Toupee (my nickname for the former president) and his ilk were keen only to tamp down on programs that benefit citizens in economic need I think my funding of the food bank is an OK stopgap measure for now.

I had no idea that my weekly donations would add up so high so quickly.

In the time of the pandemic I’ve had a refrigerator bursting with food.

I’m able-bodied and strong enough to have carried home from a market 50-pound bags of groceries when I couldn’t get an online food delivery.

Now that LL Cool Joe (my nickname for Joe Biden) takes office I pray that real lasting effective change comes to our country.

No American should go hungry. No American should live in poverty.

The article about the rationale of expanding the SNAP benefits is here:

Food Stamp / Snap Benefits Article

Happy New Cheer

Happy Season. Happy New Cheer in the coming year.

In the week ahead I’m going to write blog entries about portable healthful snacks you can take with you.

I’ll refer to where you can buy the containers to use.

Hint: refrain from using plastic containers. Glass and food-grade stainless steel are better options. For the planet and for your health.

I’m excited that 2021 arrives soon. With it the opportunity to chart a new course.

Keep wearing your face covering when you go outside your house or apartment. Even when walking down the hall to the compactor chute.

The coronavirus is out to infect as many people as possible.

Should you feel unwell and not know if it’s a cold or something else: get tested for COVID-19 to rule out that you’ve been infected.

Stay 6 feet away from others even with your mask on.

In time when the spring returns we will be closer to the time when life returns to normal.

It will take time to get there. This has been an extraordinary year. Not in a good way.

We need to do more than pray for change. We must act to make the changes.

As Michael Jackson sang in “Man in the Mirror”:

To change the world you first have to change yourself.

This is something I’m committed to doing.

“Peace on Earth” rings hollow to me as a holiday sentiment.

In my own life I seek to bring peace and harmony in my interactions with others.

To serve the greater good.

Now more than ever living solely for self-gain is not the right way to live.

Let’s celebrate each other and our individuality as the clock ticks towards 12:00 on January 1, 2021.

A better day is coming for us all. I firmly believe this.

2021 Winter Lower Body Routine

Dumbbell front squat (Holding DB at chest level; feet shoulder width; back straight; chest up) 3 sets x 12 reps x 15 lbs

Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (hamstrings) ( Slight bend in knee; hips back; back straight) 3 sets x 12 reps x 2 DB 8-10 lbs

Supported modified donkey kick (kick one side at a time; 1 second pause; squeeze glutes) 3 sets x 15 reps

Curtsy lunges (Lunge back slightly off behind working leg) 10 lunges each side x 5-8 lbs

Calf raises 3 sets x 15 reps x 5-8 lbs

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Mountain climbers (20-30 secs)

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Standard ab V-ups (3 sets x 15 reps)

Side-to-side jumps (30 jumps)

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Alternating leg tucks (3 x 15)

2021 Winter Upper Body Routine

My trainer at the gym wrote a new routine for me to do. This is auspicious because New York City might shut down again. The number of coronavirus infections is rising here.

You can click on my Home Gym category link to bring up the prior workout routines. There I also have blog entries that talk about how to do the routines.

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Push-ups (One set standard push-up; sets 2 & 3 modified on knees) (As many as possible)

Kettlebell underhand row (3 sets x 12-15 reps; 15 lbs)

Dumbbell curl (Standing up against door; keep elbows back) 3 sets x 12-15 reps x 10 lbs

dumbbell tricep kickbacks (Holding on to coffee table; keep elbows up; extend forearms back) 3 sets x 12 reps x 5-8 lbs

Kettlebell upright row (raise elbows above shoulders) 3 sets x 15 reps x 10-15 lbs

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Jumping jacks (30)

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Bicycles abs (16-20)

Medicine ball slams straight (20 throws)

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Alternating leg raises (16-20)

Healing through Meaning

In the last blog entry I referred to logotherapy a modality that focuses on healing through meaning.

In any internet search you’ll hit on the quote: “You’re possessed with a power bigger than the pain.”

In my life I fix 36 as the magic number. It’s the year I decided to become a mental health activist.

My goal was to turn my pain into a thing of beauty for other people. To spread the gospel that people could recover.

Healing through meaning sums up how exactly a person can recover.

Everyone deserves to live a life of meaning and purpose no matter how great their challenge is or whether their illness is chronic or not.

Amidst the struggle finding meaning in what’s going on might be hard.

Decades later I know I’m a better person today for having gone through what I did when I was younger.

How to find meaning and purpose in your life:

It comes down to engaging in rituals often termed self-care that make you feel good.

In being who you are not who others want you to be.

In looking in the mirror and shouting: “Hello, Beautiful!”

Who knows why you and I have to bear whatever burden we’re going through.

The holiday season is here. A time when a lot of us feel sad not cheerful.

What’s powering me through this time is going easier on myself. I changed the dining table decor to the winter tablescape.

In December out comes the holiday dinnerware I bought in Crate and Barrel. Hot cocoa is my go-to drink.

I’ve begun wearing eyeshadow every day. Applying moisturizer at night as well as in the morning.

Little things like these are what I call taking “bite-size chunks.”

Now is not the time to bite off more than you can chew. Not when you’re going through a hard time.

Healing through finding things that give your life meaning and purpose can make all the difference.

As hard as it can be to find the time to take care of yourself I say:

Just Do It. Set the table with the holiday dinnerware. Cook a meal for yourself on the days that you’re able.

Do what gives you joy. Always.