Project 2018: 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 the next half 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 87 (as of 1/2018). Nano-physicist and world’s oldest Ironman finisher with over 2,000 race finishes, 58 IM finishes, with a first Ironman at age 55

I’ll be 47 years old this year and I need to start paying attention. I’m giving myself the next year to get it all done–introducing Project 2018: Designing The Healthy Middle Age Man. 

Challenge 1: As of January, 2018, I’m 30 lbs/13 kgs over my weight from just a few years ago and 65 lbs/29 kgs over my race weight.  Daily mojo has definitely decreased, most training sessions are frustrating, my blood pressure and triglycerides have increased, 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.

Goal 1: Be healthy, fit, and lean 

  • Weigh less than 175 lbs/79 kgs (@ 6’0″, 182 cm) and maintain lean mass
  • High daily mojo
  • Have basic biomarkers in “excellent” status
  • Sufficient and high quality sleep
  • High daily activity and whole-body training
  • Remain injury free and have a full range of motion

Challenge 2: I’m going to have to change some habits in order to achieve my health goals for this year, but I also want to put in place some daily activities that I can maintain long term.

Goal 2: Develop long-term daily healthy habits

  • High daily activity
  • High nutritional quality and control quantity
  • Adequate hydration
  • High daily movement
  • Regular strength and endurance training
  • Regular mobility work
  • Regular adventures
  • Daily comfort zone challenges
  • Regular early bedtime
  • Limit red wine
  • Daily evening unwind
  • Next day prep

Challenge 3: I’ve raced distances from 5K to Ironman, but 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. 

Goal 3: Return to the races & personal challenges

And 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