Thursday, August 1, 2019

Coach, How You Stay So Fit and Trim?

July Muscle Up A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Back in the 80s when David Letterman was hitting his stride at NBC, he did a bit in one of his monologues about the content of the tabloid papers in grocery store checkout lines; My Wife Left Me for Bigfoot, Martian Babies Ate My Cat, things like that. The example he cited that stuck with me all these years was, Lose Weight Without Diet or Exercise, which he observed, "Well, that leaves disease."


So the title to this post is a question I actually never get asked. (Probably because I am 62 years old,  thus largely invisible and nobody cares. Just the facts. ma'am.) Regardless I would like to share what I have been doing for a while now. Because I care. Most of the time.

Due to the evil chronic ailments of vasculitis and osteoarthritis, I am somewhat limited in my choices of exercise, so I rely largely on my nutrition to stay lean(er). The vasculitis makes me tired (unpredictably, off and on) and the hip arthritis makes big, compound movements (like walking, running, deadlifting, squatting etc) not only painful but in some cases impossible to do safely. You don't miss that hip hinge until its gone. So I do what I can with what's left.


I don't have a regular exercise program anymore,  but I do try to do a "little something" every day. Over the winter I was getting in on average a half hour a day on the Zero Runner, but it started to tie up my hips, so I've laid off. The last month or so I have taken up Kinstretch at Barbell Strategy and then throughout the week will practice those stretches in the pool and hot tub. The buoyancy helps me get into better, more productive stretching postures. Kinstretch is tough work, but it's good.

Occasionally, when I feel mischievous, I will set up daily goals over a month's time. In the past I've done a minimum of 10 minutes of kettlebell snatches or long cycle clean and jerk everyday without setting the bell down. I mentioned the Zero Runner above, that was a little bit every day (between 20 minutes and 2 hours). Most recently, July, was One Muscle Up Every Day which I was able to pull off for the most part. There were a few days I had to miss because of scheduling, but I did extra muscle ups to make up. So, 31 days and 31 muscle ups. Then I might do some pullups, pushups, evil wheel etc. Maybe I'll do two MUs a day in August. Recently I shortened the stride length on my ElliptiGO and it is less painful to ride now, so maybe hit that on a daily basis now too.

Here is my diet of late (and yes, my medical team is aware and on board):

Breakfast: 2 Cups of Coffee with Heavy Cream

Mid-morning Snack: Coffee, black usually

Lunch (between 11 am and 2 pm): Meat, fish, poultry, organ meats if available, eggs. I eat until I am just a little too full then stop.

Dinner: a glass or two of red wine or a shot or two of tequila

Snack: Before bedtime, if I am super hungry I'll have some chicken breast or boiled shrimp.

Pretty much just carnivore since January. I like the organic avocado mayo and cooking oil, so I use that from time to time. No cheese, no vegetables, no grains, no bread, no cereals etc.  Salt is about the only spice I use. So you could say I am carnivore, keto and intermittent fasting. I am trying to stay between 66 and 68 kgs body weight and this strategy works. (5 years ago I was 91kg)

This is partly an experiment in "lazy" weight management (to go along with our "Lazy Strength" training philosophy at Barbell Strategy) but I am also thinking of the one meal a day side effect-calorie restriction - as a lazy way to create more mitochondria, lower free radical production, increase autophagy and improve cellular stress resistance. Since inflammation of the blood vessels is the hallmark of vascultis, besides being consistent with my medication, I am thinking about my current eating as a way to keep that inflammation tamped down.

So far, so good.

Guest Post: Brandon Hudgins, Exercising and Vasculitis

I met Brandon, if I recall correctly, in the fall of 2011 when he and Addie Bracy, her brother Ian, and Brie Felnagle all came out to Boulder for an altitude training camp stint. They were training "low" in Boulder and sleeping/recovering at higher altitude in Nederland and used the facility I was based in at the time for weight training. We all stayed in touch via Facebook when they went back home.

Which was how, several years later, I learned that Brandon had been dealing with a rare and incurable autoimmune disorder called Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, formerly known as Wegener's), a form of a larger classification of diseases known as vasculitis. Despite being put through the wringer, (you can buy his book and read about his journey) he has been able to continue training and racing and uses his elite athlete status as a platform to raise awareness as spokesperson for the Vasculitis Foundation.

Ironically, about six months after I donated to Brandon's organization, Victory Over Vasculitis Christmas Day 2017 to be exact, I came down with what I thought was a bad cold, but a few months later the bridge of my nose collapsed and I started losing my hearing. Yep, I had come down with Wegener's. So far, my symptoms have remained localized to upper respiratory issues, my treatments have been conservative and I seem to be responding well and through it all Brandon has been a great source of information, support and encouragement.

Here is a slide presentation Brandon put together on the importance of exercise and its positive effects on folks suffering with this disease. I watched it last night during his Going the Distance Live podcast which he does on Facebook Live most Wednesday evenings. Even a little bit of moving around helps, so do what you can!