Men's Fitness Over 50 Crash Test Dummy
I am the crash test dummy for men's fitness over 50, sharing what works and what does not so you know exactly how to get fit in body, mind, and spirit. Even if you are over 50 years old.
Maybe you're tired of reading in magazines how a celebrity or other stars got ripped or lost weight. So was I and I could not believe that losing weight and staying fit is so complicated.
At the age of 55, I embarked on a journey that I thought was impossible. For many years I needed to achieve a weight loss of nearly 100 pounds to get down to an ideal weight.
My doctor said that my heart health and long term health and fitness was at stake. But, I had no clue how to go about it.
I didn't have the resources for a personal trainer and chef. But, I found that it can be done.
One important objective of the Hashi Mashi plan is to improve the fitness level of men over 50. I felt very invisible at the height of my obesity and depression, and I imagine others struggle with the same.
It is Not the Dark Side of the Moon
When I turned 50, a once good friend told me that he was not as keen to hang out with me since I was now on the ‘other' side.
It took me a few moments till I realized that he was abandoning me due to the fear of being reminded of his own mortality because I was now closer to the other side by virtue of hitting the age of 50.
I was already in a dark place, attempting to recover from divorce, family estrangements, career loss, and identity crisis.
The last thing I needed was another reminder that I was now a member of a different group of humanity, those closer to the other side.
The last thing I ever expected was to have any interest or belief that I could get fit over 50 since I had not been in any type of reasonable shape for decades.
I sunk deeper into depression after losing my best friend of the prior six years to my birthday.
At that time in the spring of 2012, I hovered between 275 pounds at my worst and 250 pounds at my best.
My pants size was a 42-inch waist that should have been a 50 inch to comfortably fit my real 50-inch waist and avoid the dreaded overhang and extra-large size shirts and sweaters to hide the dreaded overhang.
I had been living alone in a studio for pretty much an entire decade and the visibility of being able to see my feet when standing was declining with each passing year as I dove into more vanilla heath bar crunch Ben & Jerry's to make me feel better.
I was battling depression, obesity, and anxiety which if I am not mistaken can also be symbolized by the acronym DOA or dead on arrival.
I did feel dead and this additional loss of my good friend because I had reached the dark side of the moon just compounded my loneliness, vulnerabilities and frankly, fear of never being able to participate in society again.
Is Fitness Over 50 Impossible?
The last thing that I imagined back then was that I could ever get more fit over 50.
In addition, I had no clue that getting fit over 50 would actually spill over in improvements to my state of mind and general spirit.
One evening as I was sitting and finishing off a second blueberry muffin at a corner deli in the City at midnight, I started to cry inside and practically outside.
Five years had already passed since hitting 50, I was now 55, life had become even more lonely, I had gotten fatter and more depressed.
It was not a pretty scene.
My mind was full of many resentments at how I believed other people should be treating me and I realized that I treat myself even worse.
While how other people think of me and react to me is not in my control, surely stuffing more muffins into a hole in my face is!
I am no doctor and do not pretend to be one, but I reasoned, what could I do to get more fit over 50, the dreaded 50 that sealed my isolation?
I thought of the too many diet books that I had read so when I said that I am the crash test dummy of getting fit over 50 or for that matter for any age, I was not kidding!
I started my life off, my first memory of a meal was a weight watcher pizza, an English muffin, ketchup, American cheese, and some oregano.
My parents were on weight watchers as long as I could remember and so was I from a young age, always being referred to as chunky, husky and pudgy.
My pants not fitting me was nothing new.
There were too many debates among the diet experts for me to ever feel confident that I was doing the right thing, but for sure I knew that fitness over 50 would remain a dream if I kept eating blueberry muffins at midnight.
I figured that the least I could do was what most of the experts seemed to agree on; eat vegetables, fruits, some legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains and tubers like potatoes.
I knew that fat and animal products were under debate as well as processed grains.
I made up my mind, while sitting in the deli with my distended stomach, that I will focus on eating real food and avoid processed food.
Eat whole grains, tubers, vegetables, fruits, nuts, even eggs, and fish once in a while and avoid the obvious junk which is manufactured in a plant and the not so obvious like highly processed bread.
How Complicated is Getting Fit After 50?
I sure thought fitness at any age was complicated, especially to get fit over 50.
To my surprise, within three months of starting Hashi Mashi, I was already down 30 pounds which seemed absolutely impossible.
Six months after having begun to eat real food and avoid everything else, along with doing just a few core resistance training exercises like deadlifts, squats, and pushups, my 50-inch waist was all of a sudden 32 inches.
How was that possible?
I felt so much better, looked different, could finally wear clothing without the dreaded overhang and had not counted one calorie, point or portion size.
I just ate when hungry.
The answer is that getting fit over 50 is not that complicated, just as fitness at any age is probably not that complicated either.
We have made it complicated because we are accustomed to eating food that never existed in nature and is a processed creation of sugar, hydrogenated fat, salt, color, and slick packaging.
Sharing What Works
I started Hashimashi.com because I wanted to share what I experienced with others who are in the same battle for health.
By the end of 10 months, I had lost 75 pounds and my whole life started to change for the better.
The physical changes on the outside also affected how I was handling depression on the inside.
While depression does not just disappear, getting fit has made depression more manageable.
I began to socialize more, leave my apartment, meet new people and friends that did not avoid me because I had crossed over to what he referred to as the dark side.
I had a new lease on life and I want to share this with anyone else who is interested in men's health or fitness in general, for themselves, their kids or parents.
As you can tell, I am not just interested in the fitness of the body, but in fact, I am more interested in the fitness of mind and being able to battle the fire breathing dragon of depression.
I know that it is much easier to deal with depression when you are in better physical shape.
Now, whatever your interests are in fitness over 50, I am going to tell you everything that you need to know in this one article.
Fit over 50 is not impossible and it is easier to attain than you might think.
My objective is to help you or someone that you love to get fit over 50 in a steady and easy way, no gimmicks, drugs, surgery is necessary. Nothing beyond what any average person can do, even a crash test dummy like myself.
The Foundation of an Effective Fitness Program
To get fit over 50 or achieve fitness at any age, my eye-opening experience has been that real food is the foundation.
You really do not need to do much else other than eat real food that exists on the earth, especially food that grows from the ground and on trees.
It has only been when I have made vegetables the main fare that my body changed faster than I have ever experienced.
- Hashi Mashi Omelette – vegetables such as onion, garlic, tomato, spinach sauteed in extra virgin olive oil with 2 or 3 organic eggs, sometimes I have the yolk and sometimes not, but the most important thing is to have the vegetables.
I like to add to this dish some olives, avocado and a little hummus or chickpeas for flavor.
- The fruits of your choice with some nuts like walnuts or almonds.
- I prefer to use fruits and nuts for a snack and vegetable-based meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- If I am stuck and do not have vegetables, fruits, nuts or eggs, then I would go for a bowl of old fashioned oatmeal.
- A snack can be any fruit or berries and/or nuts.
- Plain yogurt would not be the worst choice in case you do not have fruit or nuts with you.
- Simple means banana and walnuts, apple and almond, a plain yogurt with strawberries, easy.
- Keep it simple, a bowl of black bean soup or
- chicken and broccoli or
- tuna fish salad made with vegetables like onion, tomato, spinach, olives, and pickles.
Snack can be any fruit or berries and/or nuts. Plain yogurt would not be the worst choice in case you do not have fruit or nuts with you. Simple means banana and walnuts, apple and almond, plain yogurt with strawberries, easy.
- Again, keep it simple, some vegetable like;
- broccoli, eggplant or okra,
- and wild salmon or chicken or lamb.
- If you are vegetarian then go for lentils, beans, tofu, nut butter or veggie burger.
Real food is going to make the real difference.
You do not need to count calories or count points or measure portion sizes. Eat when you are hungry and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day with water and add a lemon to it when you have the chance.
Eat real food and you are going to start to see your real physique.
Even better, you will start to see your real face, yes, believe it or not, your face might look totally different after enough time eating real food.
Stay focused on eating real food when you are hungry and you will begin to see your real body and your real face over time. Believe it or not, if you just change from processed food to real food, you are going to see great results.
During the whole time that my body was changing, I did little to no cardio, except for walking. I did a minimum of strength training with pushups, deadlifts, and squats.
That is it. The basics of getting men's fitness over 50 and fitness at any age. Eat nutritious food, the best that you can get.
Now after spending months if not years on transitioning from processed to real food, I have a warning for you. Do your best to never touch the processed food again. I made the mistake and doing so set me back months.
My guess is that like me, you might have a real weakness for processed food like Oreos, snickers, bread, pasta, m&m's, chips, pretzels, and ice cream. We all grew up on these fast foods, at least I did (plus Swanson's frozen chicken) and I have discovered that I cannot easily just have one cookie.
Believe me, I have tried and failed, so once you make the switch, stay there. If you do fall off the wagon, just get back on.
I know that there are many out there who say that you can and even should do one cheat meal a week and if that works for you, great, but unless it is your wedding, birthday or anniversary, the warning stays in place, keep it real, otherwise you might find yourself losing your fitness over 50 gains that you worked so hard for.
This is all that you need to know about what food you need to eat. If you have other questions, feel free to contact me by email and let me know what your favorite foods are and I will help you design a meal plan.
Strength Training Made Easy
Here, I am going to give you three basic strength training tips for building muscle which will further help the transformation of your body and mind:
Start a pushup program. Start with one if you have to and build up from there gradually. Do pushups on the days when you do upper body workout, I will write a bit more about that shortly. So, for example, I like to do 3 upper body workouts a week and 3 lower body workouts a week, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for upper body and Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the lower body.
On Sunday, Tuesday and thursday I do pushups. When I first began, I did one pushup because that is all I could do. Now I do five sets of pushups, usually starting with 40 and decreasing each set by 5 pushups, so the pushup workout would look like this:
a grand total of 175 pushups for the day. I do the pushups throughout the day on upper body days. There are days when I am weaker or I am heavier and I cannot do 40 pushups straight, on days like those I settle for whatever I can do.
I try to hit a minimum of 100 pushups on upper body day, but the key is to not give up and stop doing any pushups cause you just don't feel like it or have some other type of excuse.
What can I say, do you think I ever believed that I would start doing squats at the age of 55? Yea, neither did I! But I did and the experience has made me a believer.
Instead of going to the gym to do wrist curls or bicep curls, why not use the time there for the most full body movements that you do? Squats and deadlifts are for lower body days, which for me is usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For squats, I like to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions and gradually increase the weight. Do not worry, if you never did squats before, you are not going to be able to walk the first week or so after starting your squat program.
As with deadlifts, you must make sure to use proper form for squats, deadlifts and pushups. If you cannot use any weight, then just do squats with no weights. Once you get stronger, start to add weight gradually.
I will be adding additional links for all of the Hashi Mashi Basics to this post, so stay tuned and come back again for more posts about fit over 50 workouts, schedules and proper form.
The deadlift is one of the best exercises that you can do and it will work most of the muscles of your body. As with squats, make sure that you are warmed up and make sure to use proper form. Between pushups, squats, and deadlifts, you will start to build some real functional muscle.
I like to do squats and deadlifts on the same day. I do 5 sets of 1 rep deadlifts or 1 set of 5 rep deadlifts immediately after finishing my squat workout.
Come back again for more fit over 50 deadlift workout resources.
I am trying to get the information on the site better organized so this might take some time!
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
Upper body stretches
Pushups – Start with the max number of pushups that you can do and then add enough sets of pushups to get up to 100.
Shoulder Press – 5 sets of 5 repetitions
Dumbbell Rows – 5 sets of 5 repetitions
Bench Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
Pullups – 5 sets of 5 reps
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Lower body stretches
Leg Curls – 5 sets of 5 reps
Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
Deadlifts – 5 sets of 1 rep , for example, deadlift 135lbs for 1 rep, then 140lbs, then 145lbs, 155lbs and 165lbs
Leg Extension – 5 sets of 5 reps