Over 50 Fitness: One exercise workout

So as someone who has been pursuing fitness for decades I have, for the most part achieved it. I am pretty lean, good cardio and fairly flexible. I am not a pro athlete, not even an amateur one but for my age 52 I’m doing pretty good. Now this has taken a lot of dedication from me to achieve and sustain. You can find several posts on my blog pertaining to my fitness journey For example So I am at the point now where the hardest work is done, I now need to maintain what I have accomplished and work on future goals.

Part of what I am working on now is maximizing gym efficiency. One of the ways you can get a great work out is, timed workouts. You don’t do less you do it faster. So instead of staring at your phone for 5 minutes between sets you take shorter breaks and get the same work out done faster.

Now the title of the blog post is “one exercise workout” so the other thing I am working on is what is one exercise I can do that will hit all the areas I want? To be blunt it doesn’t exist but there are a couple that hit several, we call those compound exercises. Now there is another category of exercises that combine several compound exercises into one, those are Olympic lifts.

Yes, these are the lifts done in the traditional Olympics. There is one exercise the combines, a deadlift, squat and military press it’s called “The Clean and Jerk”. This is an advanced movement and it is one of the staples moves of the CrossFit community. Here is a video that shows you how to do the lift properly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HyWjAk7fhY

Pressing a weight over your head is empowering

Note the motion of pulling the weight to the chest and squatting. This is an extreme movement and you should approach this with high caution. This is a power move, you are pulling and squatting within seconds of one another. This movement in of itself is a high injury risk movement. You should not be doing this as a beginner and when you do attempt it, you should do so with an extremely light weight to ensure you have the form correct.

The pressing over the head is also an advanced movement because you have to thrust to push this up and that force comes from either your hips glutes or exclusive deltoids until your triceps are engaged. The whole movement itself is seconds, you don’t spend a lot of time with the bar on your chest here. You also have to disengage from the movement in a controlled manner to get the bar back on the ground.

Now watch the video a few times, this is a lot of movement. The only body part not completely engaged here is your pectoral muscle group (chest) but it does participate in the upward press movement albeit minimally. This exercise really engages your core as you have to stabilize this weight and CONTROL it throughout the movement. This is the secret of the clean and jerk and why you can use this one exercise to get a great work out.

The work out? Simple:

  1. Your warm up – Stretches, treadmill etc. You want to come into this exercise warm with beads of sweat almost ready to begin. Blood should be flowing here, you should have engaged your cardio system to increase your heart rate. I stretch then get on the treadmill and do a few wind sprints (I run as fast as I can for 30 seconds) with walking in between sprints. So 3 30 second wind sprints with a 3 min walk between sprints. Adjust according to your fitness level.
  2. The clean and jerk – I put on a weight that allows me to do 8-10 reps the final 3 should be challenging. I do 5 sets of this with a reasonable break in between. Your done after the 5th set. Count your reps here. If you hit 50 reps total go up in weight 5-10 pounds.

Now this exercise if done with a moderate weight is going to ramp up your cardio. This is no joke, it takes your entire body force to rip that weight off the ground, squat it, then press it over your head. You rarely (if ever) see people in gyms doing this exercise, unless you are a cross fitter. Cross fitters do this because their goal is train efficiently and quickly. I personally can’t recommend CrossFit for those over 50, its extremely taxing.

That said, if you want a one exercise workout? Trying the Clean and Jerk. When I do this workout cycle I do it Tuesdays and Saturdays and Thursdays I do some chest work and treadmill. I change my workouts every 60 days and I have about 8 workout programs I do now. This one I dislike the most, but is the one I normally get the best results from.

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Over 50 Fitness: 90 days – 90 reps every 48 hours

So if you frequent my blog you know that I dedicate a portion of my writing to my personal fitness journey. This in a lot of ways is a huge NO NO for blogging as every advice article I read says “you have to create a niche to write about”. I am all over the place of course but its authentic. Like most people I have multiple facets of my life so I write about most of them here. The fitness aspect is one that I take very seriously and honestly more people should be passionate about fitness. The positive effects are astounding.

So what is the “90 days – 90 reps every 48 hours” thing? I normally do this in the winter when many people who train do a “bulk” cycle. I don’t want to get into the semantics of training jargon but to be clear, this isn’t a cutting phase (fat reduction) its overall foundation building and readjustment. When you are over 50 you have to reset your body often, particularly if you lift weights. Weight training, with moderate to heavy loads creates a lot of impact on the body.

You have to cycle out of this after 50 from time to time otherwise you will be inflamed, injured and run down. So I do the following workouts, usually Dec – Feb:

Lifting Heavy over 50 requires breaks to let your body recover

Warm up: 20-30 min walk on the treadmill – This just gets my hips and lower back engaged and begins to cardio process. You can stretch here if you want, but stretching isn’t absolutely necessary here, this is not a high impact work out.

Air squats: You’re doing your normal squat set up here, no bar no weight. You can use a bar if you want but no more than that. Start your squats, ideally you can do 30 in a row no break. These are “quick” they are normal squats no weight. If you need to stop fine, but the goal is 30 air squats in a row, that’s the set.

Pushups: You finished the squats you should be sweating, if you aren’t you are in better shape than I am. Pushups next, you use whatever hand placement you want. Same deal, 30 reps.

Pull ups: Last but not least pull ups. Ideally a wide grip but you adjust the grip as you need to but keep and OVERHAND grip, underhand puts a lot of pressure on the biceps. These will be hard, use assistance here. Bands, or pull up machines are fine. If you can’t do pull ups, do lat pull downs but you want to eventually get to pull-ups.

Do the 90 reps quickly without sacrificing form, for the cardio effect. Now you have just completed a full body work out that should have minimal impact on your joints. Are you sweating? Are you exhausted? Yes? Great do it again in 48 hours. If that was a breeze increase the reps to 50. If it’s still not enough for you add in “dips” after pull ups. This is a very basic workout, some might say to simple. Believe me it works.

IF you are out of shape and looking to get into shape quickly do this for 90 days. I guarantee you will see good results. This work out engages your entire muscular system you should make very good gains here. If you are already training (not working out, training) then this workout might not be great for you, it actually might be your warm up (lol) for the vast majority this will hit all the right areas and is simple and efficient. Give it a shot let me know how it goes.

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3 simple commitments to your health that will help you lose weight

So my personal health journey has been a long running aside to this blog. I post on it from time to time but the blog itself isn’t specifically a health blog. Since the pandemic started I have lost and kept off roughly 30 pounds (this fluctuates believe me). Now I was never obese but as I turned 50 a few years ago I really took stock of how I was feeling. When I was in my 20’s I was actually in great shape, yes I had abs you could see.

Here I am 3 decades later and that wasn’t the case. I had a “great” dad bod. Meaning I worked out I have a good amount of muscle but I carried a spare tire. Now I am down to approx. 215 my highest weight if I recall correctly was 247 or 254 I can’t remember. For context at 23 I was 187. You can’t see my abs now, I still have fat but I feel much better. So how I have kept it off is making small commitments to my health.

Maybe instead of Coffee with cream & sugar its time for Tea?

I have found “resolutions” or huge life changes are often recipes for failure. It’s the small changes that really add up and over time help you keep weight off which is the hardest trick to pull off in the weight loss journey. So what are 3 simple commitments? Let’s take a look.

  1. Consistent Sleep schedule: Sleep is critical for so many health outcomes we can’t possibly do it justice here. The simple commitment? Go to bed at the same time every night. I don’t care if its 9PM or 1AM, its creating a consistent schedule that your body wants. Now if you can go to bed earlier great but THE SAME TIME every night is the goal here.
  2. Less sugar: Sugar is hastening your bodies demise. I can’t be any more blunt than that, and yes that includes all sweeteners. Let’s be clear here, some sugar is okay. Sugar in everything is not. Sweeteners in food are artificial most of the time and have a dramatic impact on the base components of the food and how your body processes what you have eaten. I don’t care where you find it, but in your food consumption right now there is hidden sugars, start cutting some of it out.
  3. Your face: caring for your face is critical to physical health. When you look in the mirror if you don’t like what you see you will be unhappy and food is a great place to find imagined happiness. Keep your teeth clean, use moisturizer, keep your beard trimmed, eyebrows neat, be honest about the amount of makeup you use. If you are happy with your face you will generally be happier and that leads to many positive outcomes.

Notice I didn’t mention exercise here. This is a given, you have to do it. I’m not going to preach to you about exercise at length, but I will say that if you aren’t exercising regularly the 3 tips above will not be as potent.

You have to take care of yourself. I am 52 and I am looking back at all of you 40,30 and 20 somethings and telling you it gets harder. Start your work now, it’s like planting a garden. The seeds you sow now means you will reap a harvest later.

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