Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Staying motivated on the other side of the hill - By Dave Yarnell

It occurred to me that there has been one on-going theme rattling around the old skull of late, and that there just could be a few others out there struggling with it, too.

Do you also get bent out of shape when those people from AARP send you membership applications? How dare they imply that I have reached that point? It will be years before that R word even crosses my mind. Especially considering the social security administration will likely move that carrot on a stick known as the minimum retirement age out of my grasp just as I think I might be able to latch onto it. But I digress. The AARP are not the only ones trying to tell me something these days. Various joints and tendons, along with some other tissues that have a slight resemblance to something I used to call muscles all chime in, usually with complaints and a generally poor attitude towards any movement that brings discomfort, of which there seems to be an ever growing number.

Wah, wah, wah; get over it, I keep telling these whiny and uncooperative members of my body. But alas, mere words fail to convince these unruly ingrates. Just because I have been subjecting them to moving through various planes of motion while simultaneously attempting to defy the laws of gravity, slamming them into parked cars, terra firma and other unforgiving objects for the last 40 plus years is no reason to cop an attitude now…is it?

Well, O.K., maybe some liniment applied before torture sessions and a little more effort on flexibility would be a nice gesture. But if this beat up old machine thinks it is going to get to sit back and be content to remember the glory days, it has another thing coming. Certainly not when plenty of other machines with at least as much or even far more mileage are still out there running strong.

So it simply becomes a matter of mind over matter. After all, the machine does not seem to realize that all this is for its own good. To allow too much rest would just invite more rust. Leave things have their own way, and sooner or later they will just refuse to respond at all. The term “over the hill “is a relative one. One person’s so- called over the hill is another’s starting point. If you follow my Forgotten Strength Secrets Facebook page, you are aware that I celebrate and strongly encourage the senior iron-heads out there, many of whom are well past my age and are refusing to make excuses about whatever they can’t do. Sure, realistically as we age, that list continues to grow, but you just can’t give in and let the “can’t” side win. Focus on what you still can do, perhaps even try to push that envelope a little, and you just might surprise yourself in a positive way. I offer my own situation as an example, not that I am doing anything spectacular in any way, mind you. After limping around for quite a while, while still involved in competitive deadlifting and squatting in 2014, I finally broke down and went to the doctor for a checkup and diagnosis, and was not tremendously surprised to learn that I had a pretty bad case of arthritis in my left hip, not to mention a bit of a disc issue in the lower spine. I was told a hip replacement was pretty much inevitable, but that I could try therapy and/or cortico-steroids to “buy some time” So, I took some oral cortico steroids which basically did nada. I then went the therapy route, which did offer a bit of relief after a while, but certainly nothing miraculous. This was roughly 16 months ago. Since then, I have given up on heavy squatting and deadlifting totally, and am concentrating on upper body strength, and trying to keep the lower body as flexible and resilient as possible, mostly by lots of time on the recumbent bike.

My mileage, resistance level and pace have been slowly but surely getting better, so I am happy with the progress. I have to admit, it does tick me off when I first get on the bike, have been pedaling for  15 or 20 seconds and I hit the program button and the stupid thing flashes “start pedaling”. Really? So, I am coming to grips with the idea of the hip replacement thing, but at the moment am trying the latest hi-tech hyaluronic acid supplement that has been getting good press in the iron community. I still hit the gym 2-3 times a week. Yes, I really miss the heavy deadlifts, which were my favorite for decades. Perhaps the heavy pulls and I will get re-acquainted again down the road; perhaps not. Soon to be 56, I am a long way from tossing in the towel. So if you catch me limping past you at the gym, stop and share your war stories. I am hoping to compete again this May in my club’s Pennsylvania state championship contest, bench press only, and wearing a single ply shirt at that. The shoulders are not thrilled with this notion, but I will do my best to keep them in line. In conclusion, I can only say never give up, never surrender. Oh, and if I smell funny, that will likely be Tiger Balm.

Dave's Website
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