Friday, October 31, 2008

A Conversation


One of my best friends from High School (Norman) has been trying to get healthy and fit as he approaches 50. He's seen the amazing results that many of you have had and wanted to get his whole family involved. I thought it would be interesting for you to peek inside my e-mail to see a typical exchange between two old friends. You'll notice that my advice didn't sink in very well and sometimes people have to "do it" their way before they commit to the real deal. Like many e-mail exchanges, start at the bottom of the page and work your way up.

PS ~ Gerry McDougall was my football coach in high school


I think it's great that Donna is down in weight, but statistics and research shows that skinny people are just as likely to get sick and injured as over weight folk if they don't exercise and eat plenty of "healthy" food. Weight Lose through "food-only-diets" causes "Bounce Back" (returned weight gain) 90% of the time after 2 to 5 years. These people often become trapped in a meal plan that isn't realistic in the real world. When I travel all over the country talking with people the emphasis is always health and strength as we age, NOT using temporary diets that cause more problems down the road. Living a healthy life and losing weight with Weight Watchers aren't the same thing. I certainly don't want to rain on Donna's parade but I've been at this for 25 years now and I've seen and heard it all thousands of times. All diets work, as long as you continue to use them. Very few people do.


On Oct 31, 2008, at 8:03 AM, Norman wrote:
God it took almost a month to answer this email…….thanks for the advice and feedback…Donna has completed her 5th week at weight watchers and is down 14 lbs as of today…this is a flipppin’ miracle and thanks again for helping jump start this………..still no luck convincing her to do ladies pushups, but a great start……congratulations on your status as an Olympian… should tell Gerry McDougall

From: Horton Tony
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 2:50 PM
To: Norman
Subject: Re: Donna and Fitness


Nice to hear from you old friend. Also glad to hear that the family is taking care of their health from the inside out. This stuff pays off. I won a gold medal (in the 50 to 54 year old category) in 20 foot rope climbing at a senior Olympics this past Sunday. I was beating guys half my age in overall time. Weird, but very fun. I would have beaten the 1976 me easily. I tell you this partly because resistance and flexibility exercises are truly the fountain of youth. Study after study shows that cardio programs are just a small piece to the overall fitness puzzle. Several new studies are saying that as we get older we need less cardio and more residence exercise for bone density and connective tissue strength. Cardio is awesome for burning calories during exercise and also great for heart and lung strength. It also keeps your head on straight by releasing, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine into the brain. The problem is that cardio by itself can lead to joint injury, back problems and range-of-motion issues. Weight training and any kind of resistance movements (as with yoga) helps balance, coordination and burns calories for over 12 hours a day. That soreness is calories burning and muscles reshaping.

Hope this helps.


On Oct 1, 2008, at 8:59 AM, Norman Beretta wrote:


Just a quick note to say thanks for the Power 90 CD you sent along a few months back…When we got it, Donna taped up the calendar and stared at it for about 3 months, I think trying to get through the DECIDE stage….Melissa (my 12 year old tennis player) and I have used the CD several times in conjunction with my usual workouts and her on going fitness…10 days ago Donnna went to weight watchers and has been very COMMITTED to it…she has dropped 8 lbs and continues her eklliptical training…can’t get her to understand and embrace the muscle confusion yet, but wanted you to know that even though she isn’t doing Power 90, I think it represented the push she needed to attack this her own way…I hope and pray for the day she decides to do some muscle work in addition to the cardio, but it’s a good start……..hope all’s well……thanks again



CT Olson said...

Your advice jibes with something I heard from a police trainer friend - that as we age, muscle loss is one of the key contributors to health issues including injuries. In fact among the three - "cardio", strength training and flexibility cardio was last in the priority order which surprised me. The idea is that balance and range of motion is effected first. I think the emphasis on heart disease makes people believe doing cardiovascular training should be #1 but it's only a part of the puzzle as you suggest.

Rae said...

What I appreciate about your advice is that you don't let the "good enough for now" get in the way of what's best for someone. Is it good that she's losing weight? Sure, for now. Is it the best solution to go this route for her in the long run? I hope it doesn't eat her alive. I begged a friend of mine to stop Jenny Craig as the weekly weigh-ins were causing her to link her worth and value to a number on the scale. If her weight was down, she was a good person and all is well. If the weight went get the picture. Personally, I think those programs are very dangerous because over time, associating a number on a scale with one's self-image leads to just about every eating disorder around. Again, just a personal opinion.

Which brings me to how grateful I am to hear someone say that the best way to tackle this, and over time the ONLY way to tackle this, is to emphasize total fitness over the course of time. Flexibility and hitting the weights in addition to the cardio. I've followed your programs verbatim for 8 months now, I've never injured myself. This is not normal for me!(I'm a clutz!) LOL.

Given that this gal apparently has some good examples of healthy living in the house, I do hope she won't have to hit rock bottom prior to re-thinking her strategy with respect to a healthy lifestyle. Besides, who wants to hand WW money forever? That's the bean counter in me talkin'!

nick from ny said...

Hey Tony,

Isn't it an awfully good feeling to help out an old friend?-:) I know that some of my old high school buddies out there can use some fitness counseling, but unfortunately aren't there yet. A little too much outside influence going on, I would presume.

Anyway, I like to read about fitness from all around the world, and I found an interesting article from a noted German online magazine that basically stated that we only need to perform a cardio-based exercise (e.g., running) every other day. The article went on to say that 3 km (1.25 miles) of running under 27 minutes for men and 30 minutes for women at 65%-85% of max. heart rate was enough to strengthen the immune system and keep our muscles strong. If this is true, I really hope the new guy in office this year will reintroduce gym class into the all the public schools. The future of the world is at stake--our kids are the future.

Anonymous said...

That is so true about empasising weight training, and it being the key to fitness. Before I did P90X I was going to the gym 6 days a week, logging and hour of cardio and maybe 20-30 minutes of low intesity weight training. I lost a little weight, but anytime I stopped working out it came right back. I was wasting my life in the gym with no results. When I bought P90X I was worried by the lack of "cardio" but once I started it I realized that I have been doing it wrong all these years. weight training is the key, and would tell my friends to try it out, but for some reason women still have this idea that they will bulk up...that myth needs to come to an end!

Anonymous said...

The reason I love P90X and the your other programs - when done properly, weight training is cardio training.