If you follow my Instagram (@thatcoo) you’ll notice few pictures of me in large groups or social settings. I don’t enjoy groups or social stuff — I’m not good at it and I’m more comfortable in a small circle or by myself. My wife, a bonafide social expert, has had to endure a lot over the years and she’s a champ for tolerating my ambivalence.
At a recent social setting, people were talking about exercise and one turned to me and said, “well, you’re just really lucky to be in the shape you’re in, must be nice to have it so easy and not have to work hard for it.” There I was, being trolled while with a group of adults drinking and I wasn’t drinking.
Three years ago I was what would be termed as ‘sedentary’. My workouts were weightlifting sessions about once or twice a month. My cholesterol and blood pressure were through the roof with my socialized medicine doctor freaking out because I refused to take any medication. I was overweight at 184 lbs. (really over fat) with a bodyfat percentage of 23%. I was 48, out of shape, tired, sick, stressed and everything hurt. Embarrassing with a background in fitness and having built or renovated over 20 fitness areas in my career. I did a Spartan Sprint race at AT&T Park with my daughter and wanted to die.
After the soreness subsided I walked into Walnut Creek CrossFit. Intimidated by the banging, loud music, varied movements (just like everyone else) — I was accustomed to the mirrored, air-conditioned, quiet and everyone plugged into headphones environments that I’d been building. A turning point in my life. I’d found the formula that would work for me.
I work my butt off. I give up a lot of things I really, really enjoy — wine, amber beers, Cap’n Crunch cereal, lots of ice cream and a ton of refined carbohydrates. I wake up too sore to move some days because at 51 we just don’t recover like we did when we were young. And I keep going, up at 4:30 AM, workout done by 6:00 AM during the week. I workout in my garage some evenings and weekends. Discipline and motivation.
I do it for independence. I tell myself that every workout will add a day of independence when I’m older, another day of not being a burden, another day to enjoy my wife and daughters, another day if I have to fight a disease or illness, another day.
Today, I’m 51 years old and I weigh 191 lbs., the most I’ve ever weighed BUT I’m at 15.9% bodyfat. Cholesterol and blood pressure below what is normal. Nothing has been lucky or easy.
So, to the critics and trolls, I simply say, “thank you”. Then quickly whisper to my wife, “ready to go honey?”
Let me know how I can help you. Is it going to be one day or day one?
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