A conversation I had with a few people after the Spartan Race last weekend had me thinking about how many times I hear people use their age as an excuse for many things. I will start with my personal example and then it will be time to look in the mirror and not just see yourself but dig deep to see if you fell into the ” I’m too old for…”. Fact of the matter is age is just a number but far too often we hide behind it and cheat ourselves out of great experiences and healthier, happier life.
Let me bring you back to my 20’s. Aside from my wedding day,the birth of my 2 beautiful children and establishing my broadcast career and community work there is little for me to be proud and happy for. I was a diet disaster, did little to no exercise and never felt like doing anything but order out, watch TV and chill. I would often be mistaken for someone in his mid-to late 30’s when I was in my mid-20’s. Fat, out of shape and convinced this was who Dan is. I tried a few fad diets and some running before I hit 30 and did well for a bit but always stopped. The fad diets frustrated me and the running was tough on my knees being that I was 350lbs.
Now into my 30’s I had to do something! I tried a 6 month program which had me eating plenty of protein powder based “food” and little to no exercise. I made it to the end and lost 95lbs. I looked alright but some of that 95lbs was muscle and I was thinner but weak as sh*t! When I started to train I could barely move any weight and got knocked on my a$$ more times than I care to remember playing hockey. Problem was I did not learn new eating habits or change my lifestyle, I had just put it on hold for 6 months. I ended up gaining back 100lbs! Again, I was beginning to accept this is who I was and now in my mid-30’s it was time to just deal with it.
Then at 34 when my son Max brought home that stick drawing of his dad with a huge ball for a belly on it, I knew right then, it was time to really kick this into high gear if I wanted to be around for my kids and actually be involved in their lives not just watching from the sidelines. The rest of the story is well documented in this blog so I will not revisit it, you can go back and read older posts.
The point I am making is this. Your age is not an obstacle, it is a number. Back when hunter gatherers roamed the earth they didn’t celebrate birthdays and think they were getting older and their “time” is coming soon. They lived each year trying to get better and be smarter hunters, using the experience and knowledge they gained to be smarter, stronger, faster, better. What the hell happened to us when it’s okay to state your age as a valid reason for not being able to do something. It has ZERO to do with your age but everything with how you chose to live your life. It was the foods you ate, the physical activity you did or did not do, the company you chose to keep, your true level of happiness.
It is never too late to try to right the ship and make a better life for yourself. I have done just that and nevermind being healthier… I have NEVER been this happy. As I said to a few friends and in my blog last week. I will do and accomplish more between 35 and 50 than I did in my supposed prime of 20 to 35. I stopped the excuses and took charge of my life and well-being.
Take a look in the mirror, do an honest evaluation of yourself for you. It’s easy to find things you can change right away that will have a direct impact and your overall health and happiness. Stop using your age as an excuse, instead draw on that experience to make smart decisions. We are supposed to get better with age. My father used to say to me “you’ll be crippled by the time you’re 50 lifting all that weight”. It is quite the contrary. When I am fifty after a lifetime of weight training I will be stronger than those who choose to “get old and frail”. I will be taking the stairs at the mall, I will go hiking, run a 5k or more, go skiing, play hockey and most importantly be around for my kids wedding, play with my grandkids and still be able to “get it up”. Yes I just said that!
So when your next birthday comes up the goal is to be stronger, healthier and happier than last year. Use that day to evaluate some of the decisions you made the past year. Let’s get stronger, wiser and happier and healthier not “older” as the years go by. Remember, 23-33-43-53-63-73-83-93 are all numbers. How you choose to live out those numbers starts now. Make the right choices.
After passing up the opportunity to run it the Spartan Race last year I was quick to register for this year’s at Camp Fortune in Gatineau. One of the reasons I train so hard is to tackle fun and interesting challenges now and then. This one was totally worth it! It challenged me to the core and was the most fun I have had in a while despite the heat and HILLS!!!
I have been weightlifting exclusively for close to 3 months now and it showed on Sunday. Strength was not an issue however endurance was a factor. My legs held up fine on the hills but I had to stop and catch my breath. Overall at 37 years of age and weighing in around 275 I was pleased with how it all shook down. Huge thanks to my Spartan sisters Connie, Mel and Becky for doing it with me the entire way. Having the small group stick together was really fun and helped push past some of the gruelling hill moments since they got steeper as the race went on. Despite tweaking my half of a bicep left in my left arm on the rope ladder, it was an injury free day with little to no soreness after.
My goal was to finish and I did that. My goal was to have fun and I did that. Would I do it again? Fikkin right I would. It surprised me how much I LOVED crawling through the mud under barbed wire and walking through waist deep water and swimming through at 10 foot culvert with just enough space to poke your head above water to breathe. All challenges you don’t encounter everyday but create such an addictive adrenaline rush. At the strength based obstacles like climbing a hill carrying a tire, shouldering a cinder block for a lap and pulling a concrete brick up with a rope were a breeze. The hills are what got me. The highlight for me was running over the Spartan at the end.
As I look back on the past few years of my life and how I have changed, not just my eating habits, but overall lifestyle I realized I will do more between the age of 35 and 50 than I did between the age of 20 and 35. On my resume the past three years includes a Spartan Race, a Strongman competition and a small triathlon (200m swim, 10K bike and 2.5K run) plus a bunch of 5K runs. Prior to that on the athletic side are no events!!!!
I feel more like I am living life to the fullest and the little dude who got me on this path when he drew me as a stick man with a belly 4 years ago told me this just the other day “Papa, I want to be just like you when I get older”…so I ask him why? “Because your cool and strong”. In my son’s honest eyes I have gone from a big bellied dad to a cool strong one in 4 years. I look at my overall life on the social and personal side, not physical, and realize how much happier I am now compared to then. I have become a good example for my children and see them at the gym now enjoying themselves and taking on challenges.
Another big reason for all the positive change comes from my life partner, my wife Celine. You can say “here he goes again” but it cannot be said enough how much I appreciate her love, support and encouragement on this journey I have taken. She was the one who nudged me in this direction and has been behind me 100% ever since.
Funny how one challenging race on a Sunday in July makes you reflect on life overall and helps you appreciate all you have now, and have to look forward to.
So go for it and take some chances. I have and am better off for them. My story is not all rosy, there have been bumps in the road for sure, but I closed those door quickly and moved on. Some were harder to close but by surrounding myself with positive and supportive people from friends to family and co-workers I have seen what can and will be.
I also need to mention Tyler, Josee and Kyle here. Tyler started off as my trainer, became my friend and now is both friend and mentor and has been clear about how to get anywhere in the fitness industry without candy coating things and being brutally honest when he knew it was not what I wanted to hear. If he ever candy coats something for me I will know he is lying. Josee has inspired me by her journey as a coach and how she left a good job to follow her passion. She committed herself to her work and never looked back. Watching her succeed and to watch her coach and listen to her speak about anything from technique to Paleo lets you know quick this chick knows her sh*t. Kyle has been great to help with explaining and understanding technique and always has time for questions and then takes time to answer them. I hear him in my head every time I clean!!! His fun-loving attitude and intensity reminds me to always keep it fun but focused. I am glad to be part of the team and contribute in my way now as well.
There are many others who inspire and motivate me each day without even knowing it and I thank you all.
This wasn’t supposed to be about who inspires and blah, blah blah, but when I start typing I write what comes to mind. Sorry for the rambling but it happens sometime.
Live life, take chances, do something that scares you, write someone who inspires you a note, smile, be happy with you and make time for yourself each day.
Bottom line…BE GREAT!
This is the post when all of you who read this and get curious step up to the plate. I have spent the last four years of my life on a Quest For Fitness and have realized that this “quest” never ends. There is always something new to learn, try, read, educate and on and on. There is no finish line to this journey which is what drives me everyday to learn new stuff to be a better man, husband, father, friend and coach.
I have left the office behind and now do what I love. There are some exciting programs emerging from Caveman Strong that I am excited to be part of and will share more as they develop.
In the meantime, I am now offering personal training with a very flexible schedule. I am accepting private clients as well as small groups up to four people. (could be slightly more depending on situation). So, get off the fence, couch, chair whatever and get in touch with me to start the new healthy lifestyle. I have been coaching the Foundation class for almost a year and all who come through and give their all have gotten stronger, leaner, more flexible and happier with themselves overall. If you want to see what else I’ve been up to in terms of coaching credentials check out the “About Me” section of my blog.
We will train with various styles from Olympic Lifting to Power Lifting, Kettlebells, plyometrics, gymnastics and a few other surprises.
I have a Foundation Program starting next Monday, July 11th and there is still some room left. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613.360.7373.
My goal is to help people, not just get in shape, but be happy with themselves and find new limits to what they think they are capable of. My classes work hard, get results but most importantly we have FUN! If it’s not fun, what’s the point.
If you are hesitant to jump in alone, convince or friend or two, maybe some co-workers. Get the office involved in something together. I will come to you if there is room at work for a good brisk workout. We are only limited by our creativity and desire.
Call me today and let’s get this show on the road.