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ASSESSING OURSELVES PHYSICALLY

SOME DIFFERENTIATIONS

Assessing the status of our bodies can have different meanings to several categories of people, such as:

  • Bodybuilders, either professionals or amateur contest entrants. They may work out for several hours per day and eat with extreme care. Sculpting their bodies is their life’s work. Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others became movie stars. Actually, Sean Connery was a bodybuilder before he became James Bond in the movies. I personally can’t relate to the traditions of constant muscle building, shaving my body hair and practicing posing for hours. That said, I admire the emphasis on good health and maximum body development. I have worked out with bodybuilders, though nobody famous. In general, I have found many to be very congenial and quite willing to impart helpful advice…and others not so much
  • Those who work out for better athletic function and to look better as well. This is a very large group, to which I can most easily relate. See my prior article on football great Luke Kuechly, here. Suffice it to say that Luke worked out for function. Tennis players spend a lot of time on improving their weaknesses, as do all athletes. But they also budget time to maintain their strengths. In my opinion, it is not disgustingly narcissistic to simply want to improve our posture, muscularity and general appearance. In my experience, females seem better entrenched in appearance maintenance and improvement than men. If true, more power to them!
  • Those who are seeking a quick solution. I cannot relate at all to these people, though they may represent the largest of my groups. There is no magic elixir for looking better physically, at least to my knowledge. It takes motivation, perseverance and know-how. There are crash diets, “Cool Sculpting” to release fat and new remedies that tell us to stop exercising, eat all we want and become thin overnight. Let’s not sacrifice our health, nor should we allow our intelligence to be insulted. .

The man below needs some “meat on his bones” or maybe he has recently lost 80 pounds and is reviewing his progress. He seems to need chest and arm development. His serratus anterior muscles are showing through quite well.

This woman seems quite pleased with her appearance!

The woman below is studiously checking herself out.

GETTING PERSONAL

After more than 100 articles on fitness and related topics, I had never posted a picture of myself. Maybe I was reluctant to reveal my age, which is 78.

I wasn’t interested in posing and didn’t know the techniques. One critic said that I should have smiled.

My muscle mass and definition have definitely diminished since my earlier years. My most critical assessment is that my external obliques, or “love handles”, are poking out on both sides of my waist. Also, my calves are looking quite thin.

Noticeable changes have recently become more difficult because of a rotator cuff injury, which precludes heavier workouts.

I am reasonably happy with my front abdominals, but I may need to lose about 10 pounds to achieve a “6 pack”.

I currently work out every morning except on Sundays. I alternate the following programs:

  • Monday / Wednesday / Friday – a 30-minute treadmill workout, increasing the speed every minute from 2 mph to almost 5 mph (plus 4 brief sets for my neck)
  • Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday – 12 stretching sets for rehab of my right shoulder area, 2 sets of 100 seated twists for my external obliques, 2 sets of 30 reps of V-ups for my abdominals, 2 sets of 70 reps of heel raises for my calves, 4 isometric holds for my chest, 4 isometric holds for my biceps, 2 isometric holds for my back, 1 set of 30 reps with resistance cords for my back and 1 set of 40 reps with resistance cords for my triceps

The isometrics are done to ease the stress on my right shoulder, which seems a good temporary solution.  I am experimenting with holds of 30 seconds to a minute, which leaves muscles trembling. The twists are done by looking straight ahead as I twist my waist as far as possible right and left. The heel raises for my calves are done by placing my hands on a wall from about 4 feet away and by keeping the stress on my gastrocnemius (calf) muscle for the 70 reps. Calves are not easy to develop and depend largely on genetics.

I am 5’10” and weigh 184 – 188.

RESOURCES

Bullworker is my source for all the isometric tools that I use. The Steel Bow and Bow Classic are my favorites. You may employ isotonic movements, isometrics or a combination of both with these products. Compelling advantages offered by Bullworker include:

  • Training manuals for all of their items
  • Free participation in a Facebook group, where Q and A is available, as well as motivation and inspiration from peers.

Check out the Bullworker site and product information here. For a 5% discount on any item, use the coupon code Hat5

Dick’s Sporting Goods is the largest sporting goods merchant in the United States. I have bought from them for decades and have always been impressed by their inventory, product quality and service to customers. Currently, they are offering discounts on all cardio equipment – treadmills, bikes, etc. – and promotions throughout their Online inventory. The link below will give you access to their lines.

Save Up To 50% On This Week’s Deals at Dick’s Sporting Goods

CONCLUDING

This post has been an attempt to suggest that we may want to take a critical look at our shape, with a view to tailor our workout programs to accomplish needed changes by reasonable methods. There are specific movements and tools to help with this.

This is not to propose that we become obsessed with our physical appearance and spend hours in front of mirrors.

Body issues are abundant. We live in a society that constantly promotes standards that can be unrealistic. Poor body images may promote unhealthy eating and a general surrender to unhealthy peer pressures.

It is even possible to have a very attractive physique or figure and still struggle with a poor body image.

So…..let’s be reasonable and prudent, as we work out and schedule our meals.

I can say this with full conviction – we can drastically change our bodies and improve our physical appearance at any age.

Please leave any comments or questions in the “Comments” box below. Or e-mail me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Be well and safe!

Richard

6 Comments

  1. Hi Richard! I would like to arrive at your age and be as fit as you are. This is a big encouragement.

    I have liked the idea of tailoring our workout. We should be critical and see what areas we need to train more and which we can train a bit less. I hadn’t thought in this but I’ll start to make a list. Thanks!

  2. Working out at home is good if you are motivated or have a work out partner or a personal trainer come over. It takes a great deal of discipline and commitment to be able to do these things all by yourself in the house all the time. Working out at a gym alongside others should be a good idea but for those who love to keep to themselves it is definitely not. I guess this is why the demand for personal trainers is on the increase. Thanks very much for this wonderful and insightful article. 

    • Sami, my preference is to start and finish my workouts every morning before I eat breakfast. After 60 years of working out, I am happy enough without a companion at this time. To each his own and thanks for your comment…Richard

  3. Thanks for sharing your more personal information. I think we all understand the importance of some form of exercise to keep our bodies more flexible, so some of the stiffness in our joints is relieved. I think about balance and muscle strength that help avoid falling. Thank you for a view into your routine. We all need a regimen, regardless of age. Glad you posted your picture. Inspirational for those of us who have trouble getting started!

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