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Archive for the 'Age Related' Category

Age vs. Calisthenics

The video below comes from a 45 year old man who contacted me last week about a recent article. It was within that entry where I discussed the importance of patience and consistency. The man seen below subscribes to a similar philosophy. He recognizes that true fitness does not entail a 30 day transformation, but instead is a lifelong journey.

He mentioned that he has only trained with calisthenics for two years. He opted for this style of exercise because it is fun yet difficult, and can be performed almost anywhere. He continued by stating that it may take over three years to achieve a full planche that will last but a few seconds. He is not intimidated by the challenge, but instead welcomes it. He truly embraces the grind.

In his own words,

The joy of this process is the constant battle with myself and this growth is the true reward…

Based on what can be seen above, there is no denying his growth. What this 40+ year old man has accomplished in less than 2 years of calisthenic training is incredible. He has literally surpassed countless fitness professionals who make a living out of marketing much more complex programs to the masses. And he did so without any elaborate equipment. The bulk of his routine does not require anything but the ground or a bar. He has become his own gym. He could go anywhere in the world and achieve a quality workout.

It is this type of story that truly deserves more universal attention. If we ever wish to develop a more healthy and active population, we need to stop complicating the simple task of exercise. So while some may grow tired of me preaching the potential of simplicity, I would rather be a broken record than one that blurts out nonsense and deception. I could scream all day about simplicity and consistency and I’d still be a faint whisper in an industry that is built around meaningless noise. More and more fitness professionals seem to be less concerned with health and fitness and instead focused solely on dollars and cents.

Fortunately, there are still some who are able to see through the deception. The man above is as good an example as any. He is an inspiration on many levels. Not only has he defied age, he has done so with nothing but his own body. His training success is not dependent on anything but his own willingness to get up and move. He alone accepts the responsibility of what he will or will not become. His future lies solely in his own hands.

Many in this world could learn and benefit from this man’s example.


A man is not old as long as he is seeking something. – Jean Rostand


70 Years Old, Still Going Strong

Below is a video of a 70 year old bodybuilder with a physique that would be impressive on a man half his age. The clip is well worth a look, not only to see how incredible this man performs for his age, but also to hear his thoughts about life and training.

There is so much to like about this man’s philosophy and achievements. For starters, he didn’t begin lifting until age 44. Meanwhile, I regularly receive emails from men in their 30s who are already complaining about old age. Sonny hadn’t even started at that point in his life. Even at age 44, he walked into the gym without knowing anything about lifting.

And to the younger readers of the site who may not know, we didn’t have the internet 27 years ago. Sonny couldn’t hop online to read the latest training research. It is safe to say that he learned his lessons in the gym. He paid his dues through hard and consistent work and the results are obvious.

It is also nice to see a man his age who trains as a bodybuilder. I’m sure we’ve all seen gurus today who make a point to regularly bash bodybuilding and anything related to it. I can only imagine the comments that they would make if the video above was of a 30 year old man. I’m sure they would be nitpicking his exercise selection and use of a machines.

Now take a moment to think about these modern age gurus. How many of them will perform at Sonny’s level when they reach age 70? Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing the number will be slim. That alone speaks volumes.

And I don’t say this to suggest that everyone should train as a bodybuilder. Personally, I have no interest in bodybuilding. I’m not ignorant enough to believe that there is only one correct way to train however. As I’ve said before, almost anything works if the individual is willing to work and is consistent with his efforts.

Think back to a recent entry that I shared about older athletes who perform bodyweight exercise (see here). From a training standpoint, these men have very little in common with Sonny. The common link is that Sonny and these men all perform at a level that is light years ahead of their peers.

While fitness gurus in today’s era battle it out over who is right and who is wrong, these men prove that there are many ways to skin a cat. There is no single, best course of action that all must follow. It is possible to become stronger and better conditioned with countless approaches. Often times the deciding factor is not the routine that is followed but rather how the individual approaches the routine. How much effort is he willing to give?

I may sound like a broken record, but it is worth repeating. How you do what you do matters more than what you do. Countless real world examples validate this simple, yet often overlooked fact. Don’t get lost in paralysis by analysis. Find something that you enjoy and pursue it with relentless passion. The results will follow.


All the so-called “secrets of success” will not work unless you do.


Inspiring Exercise Display

It was many years ago that I began sharing inspirational stories to this blog. Many people visit the site for that reason alone. They stop by for a quick dose of inspiration whenever a pick-me-up is needed. As a result, I am often asked what is my favorite story. And while it’s virtually impossible to single out a favorite, I won’t hesitate to nominate the following video as a contender.

What you will see within is an 81 year old man (Fedor Aleksejevich Hasjanov) who performs at a level that most healthy adults could only dream of achieving. The strength, flexibility, and athleticism that Fedor displays is mind-boggling. When I first watched the video, I almost didn’t think it was real. I was waiting for a younger man to pull off his mask.

Fortunately, it is real and Fedor Aleksejevich Hasjanov is a true inspiration. His display is also a reminder that it is possible to perform at a high level with minimal equipment. The bulk of his routine could be performed almost anywhere. He certainly does not need a state of the art facility to maintain health and fitness.

What a breath of fresh air it is to see an 81 year old perform at this level with nothing but a few bars and a kettlebell. It is this type of story that deserves to go viral. The rest of the world needs to be clued in on the fact that it is possible to get in shape with little or nothing.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that fitness would become such an overpriced hustle. Meanwhile, there are senior citizens in the Ukraine who must laugh at the infomercial products that bring in millions of dollars each year. Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing Fedor didn’t need any bogus tools, a weekend certification, or the latest supplement stack to achieve what he has. Instead, it appears that he works hard with the basics and is clearly a product of consistency. He prioritizes his training and has done so for years. There is no 30 day program that is going to produce this type of result.

It all boils down to hard work and consistency. Unfortunately, you won’t find those ingredients at the supplement store. You need to make your own.


Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity. – Plato


Grand Master Jhoon Rhee

In the video below, you will see a brief demonstration from Jhoon Rhee on his 80th birthday. If you aren’t familiar with Jhoon Rhee, he’s known by the martial arts community as the Father of American Taekwondo. He introduced the style to the United States upon his arrival in the 1950s.

As for his birthday demonstration, the video is worthy of a discussion for a few reasons. First and foremost, it is amazing to see an 80 year old man perform at his level. There is no denying his mental acuity and physical ability. He is light years ahead of his peers, not to mention many who are a fraction of his age.

Unfortunately, yet to no surprise, I have seen several comments online about his pushup form. And it is that type of comment that I’ve always struggled to understand. Not only does Jhoon Rhee remain capable at 80 years old, he’s still trying to motivate and inspire others to become more active. Who cares if his technique does not meet your criteria for a perfect pushup? When did pushups become an athletic event that are scored by a panel of judges? If Rhee’s version of a pushup is what helps him remain active, who are we to suggest otherwise?

Shouldn’t we applaud the individual who makes adjustments based on individual factors such as ability? Jhoon Rhee has been involved in martial arts for longer than most of us have been alive. For twenty year old keyboard warriors who’ve never accomplished anything to criticize him is beyond pathetic.

Personally, I’ve never been one to care much about exercise form as long as what you are doing isn’t dangerous and apt to cause injury. Exercise is not an event. We use exercise to feel and/or perform better. If an exercise helps you in either regard, who cares if it is performed according to someone else’s definition of proper form. Speaking for myself, if you perform an exercise differently than me, I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me and I won’t lose sleep over it. I’m just happy that you are doing something. Like it or not, we are still part of the same minority in that we choose to exercise. Rather than fighting with each other about how to perform an exercise, why not focus that energy elsewhere and instead get someone who does nothing to do something.

As I’ve said before (see video below), pick people up rather than putting them down.

Hats off to Jhoon Rhee for continuing to stay active and motivate others at 80+. I hope to someday reach my 80′s and still be able to perform pushups. If I make it to that day, you are welcome to criticize my pushup form as much as you’d like. I just can’t promise that I’ll have enough interest to respond.


The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. – William James


Tara Scott – A Testament To Consistency

Tara Scott is the epitome of exercise consistency and simplicity. I first learned of Tara after reading about an exercise streak of hers that spanned over two years. At the time, she was around 40 years old and had trained 766 consecutive days. Tara is now 46 years old and has extended that streak to an amazing 2700 days. For those who may not have a calculator handy, that’s over 7 years.

As for her approach to exercise, here is a quote taken from a previous entry:

Some days I go light, others heavy, and then others somewhere in between.

Tara describes her workouts as playouts. She subscribes to the philosophy that fun is fundamental. She enjoys the work so naturally looks forward to using her body each day. She often trains outside mixing calisthenics with tools such as kettlebells, sandbags, sledgehammers, and more. As for the results, you can see a brief sampling below.

First, you’ll see a casual pistol squat walk that she performs with ease.


She’s also clearly well developed throughout the upper body and core as evident below.


So in summary, we have a woman who is 46 years old with the strength, body control, and ability to humble many half her age. And what I enjoy even more than her ability is that her training is clearly rooted in simplicity. She thrives on the basics. She can turn any open space into a fully functional gym. Let’s also reiterate that Tara enjoys what she does. She is the perfect counter to anyone who suggests that workouts must feel miserable to be effective. If Tara felt miserable each day, there is no way she would continue for 2700 consecutive days.

When you enjoy what you do, you’ll be more eager to do it. And for those who still doubt the potential of a simplistic routine, Tara Scott is yet another example that proves otherwise.


Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals. – Jim Rohn



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