Project 2020: Designing the Healthy Middle Age Man

Project Brief and Goals

In 2009 I was in peak health, but after 16 years of having fun in the middle of the triathlon pack, I became burned out on weekly training schedules and took most of the next decade off except for some random running, hiking, and skiing. It was an enjoyable break, but I have added more than a few pounds and have picked up too many lifestyle habits of the Sedentary.

It’s time to get back on the saddle: drop the fat, rebuild my fitness and along the journey, put in place long-term healthy habits.

“You get the first 40 years free and then you have to pay attention. Whatever you do at 40 determines what you can do at 80 and beyond.”

Lew Hollander, age 89 (as of 9/2019). Nano-physicist and once the world’s oldest Ironman finisher with over 2,000 race finishes, 58 IM finishes, with a first Ironman at age 55

I’m now 48 years old and I need to start paying attention. I’m giving myself a year to get it all done. Introducing Project 2020: Designing The Healthy Middle Age Man. 

Theme 1: Input Goals–Develop consistently great daily health and fitness habits

I’m going to have to change some habits in order to achieve my health goals, but I also want to put in place some daily actions to maintain long term.

  • Daily physical activity and training (endurance, strength, mobility, general movement)
  • Excellent nutrition (quality, quantity, and hydration)
  • Excellent sleep hygiene
  • Excellent daily logistics
  • Relax, master how to unwind each day
  • Regular adventures, big and small

Theme 2: Output Goals–Be healthy, happy, and lean 

As of October 2019, I’m 70 lbs/32 kgs over my ideal weight. Daily mojo has definitely decreased, most training sessions are frustrating, my blood pressure is too high, and my sleep quality has suffered.  Luckily I don’t have any chronic injuries, and I’d like to keep it that way for a long, long time.

  • Weigh about 175 lbs/79 kgs and increase current lean body mass a bit
  • Have basic biomarkers in “excellent” status, (blood pressure, blood measures, body tape measures, resting heart rate)
  • High daily mojo
  • Great sleep
  • Remain injury free

Theme 3: The races

I’ve raced distances from 5K to Ironman, but likely never to my potential due to inconsistent training frequency and from executing just enough volume to get comfortably through the distance while having fun (also known as Lazy Athlete Syndrome™).  I don’t expect to reach levels of performance that would have been possible 15 years ago, but given my mediocre results, I think I can beat some of my previous PRs in the next 18 months.

  • Sub 40:00 10k (previous 10k in 56:30, PB 41:30). I think I can ultimately finish sub 40:00, but sub 50:00 is a reasonable achievement for 2019
  • Prepare for a return to triathlon in 2020. Races and distances are TBD
  • About a 3:20 marathon in 2020 (PB = 3:09, last one in about 3:25, 10 years ago)

I won’t be doing this alone…I’m lucky to be coached by Will Newbery at 9 Endurance based in the UK and to have great support and motivation from my partner Emily.

Next: Creating The Strategy