Monday, July 16, 2018

The Fountain of Youth, Part One - John McCallum (1968)

Taken From This Issue (October 1968) 

The Fountain of Youth, Part One
by John McCallum (1968)

While the youngsters are bulking up their arms this month, let's have a word with the most neglected man in weight training. I'm referring to Daddy-O. The gentleman over fifty years of age. The senior citizen who wants to improve his strength and health and roll back the years a decade or two, but isn't sure how to go about it.

And it's no wonder he's in doubt. At least 99% of all weightlifting's instructional data is aimed at the young man. And there's nothing really wrong with this. Some fine, result producing systems have emerged from this mass of information. The only one who's suffered so far has been dear old dad. He's not interest in physique contests, or at least he shouldn't be, and contest type training isn't suited for him anyway. It doesn't answer his physical needs.

And what are his physical needs? Youth. Youth is the answer. Youthful heart, youthful lungs, youthful mind, youthful everything. The old lady may not let him chase girls up and down the beach, but at least he should feel like it; and if the old dragon ever stays home, he should be physically capable of doing it.

And how to reach this happy state of affairs? You can sum it up in one word. Conditioning! Not peaked biceps. Not high pecs. Not cuts, nor sep, nor def, nor anything else. Just conditioning. Conditioning, proper conditioning, will add years to your life and life to your years. It'll put snap and zing in your arteries and give you a heart like a teenage boy. It'll hand you the most priceless gift of all -- youth.

Don't confuse muscles with condition. It's possible to have big muscles and not be in condition at all. It's possible to have big muscles and not be in condition at all.

A friend of mine is fifty-four. I watched him work out one time. He did flying exercises on a flat bench for twenty minutes and then started concentration curls. After ten minutes of curls, I spoke to him.

"Alan," I said. "What are you doing?"

He gave me a puzzled look. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

"It looks like you're pumping up your biceps."

"I am," he said.


"Why? Why does anyone pump up their biceps?"

"Well," I said. "The kids do it to get bigger arms. But I don't know why you're doing it."

"To get big arms," he said.

"You already got big arms."

"All right, then. To get them bigger."

"Al," I said. "You're nuts. You got big arms, big chest, big shoulders, big everything including a big gut. At your age you should be working to get into condition."

"Condition?" he said. "I'm in terrific condition." He flexed his arms. "Look."

"That's not condition," I said. "How far can you run?"

"How would I know?"

"What would you guess?"

"I dunno," he said. "Couple of miles, maybe."

"Baloney," I said. "You couldn't make it around the block."

He didn't agree, so next evening we met at the track. It was a nice cool evening and I said I'd run with him.

It's a quarter mile track. Halfway round, he sounded like a Yangtze River gunboat, and at the three-quarter mark he gave up. He waddled off the track and collapsed on the grass.

"Good grief," he gasped.

"You all right?" I asked.

He was gulping air like a fish out of water.

"You better go home now," I said.

He sat up. His face was beet red.

"C'mon," I said. "Let's get out of here. If you drop dead, the cops might figure it's my fault."

He got up finally and I walked him to his car.

"Al," I said. "You better give a little thought to what I said about conditioning if you plan to start any long novels. You're a walking heart attack."

He had his breath back. "I hate to admit it," he muttered, "but you may be right."

If you think I'm right, we'll get on with it. We'll work out a conditioning program that'll bounce you into shape real fast. It'll add twenty useful years to your life, and pour more pep and vigor into your working parts than you'd believe possible.

Ponce de Leon spent most of his life searching for a mythical fountain of Youth. You can discover your fountain of youth, the real one, simply by reading and putting the following into practice.

Remember -- the secret of regaining and maintaining your youth is conditioning. Conditioning from the inside out. Training your cardio-vascular system as hard as Mr. Big trains his biceps. That's what keeps you young.

We're going to be pressed for space this month, so we'll have to go more deeply into the whys and wherefores some other time. If you'll take my word for it now, we'll carry on.

There should be four distinct segments to your conditioning program. Each segment is as follows:

(a) nutrition,
(b) weight training
(c) vigorous social activities, and
(d) running.

Let's take them one at a time. We'll start with nutrition.

If you're over fifty and you're serious about your health and condition, then you better start paying attention to your diet. The kids may get away with gastronomical murder but it doesn't mean you can.

I watched my daughter's boyfriend eat a brick of ice cream one time. He smothered it with strawberry jam and washed the whole mess down with three cokes.

"Marvin," I said. "That's more sugar than I'd eat in a year."

He smacked his lips. "Delicious," he said. "Whyn't ya try her, dad?" 

"You're out of your tree," I said. "If I ate all that garbage I'd gain twelve pounds and my liver'd fall out."

He licked off the spoon. "Course," he said, "let's not forget I'm a growing boy."

"Marvin," I said. "You're a bloody garbage can."

He looked hurt.

"But I envy you," I said.

You can envy the kids too if you want, but don't try to eat like them.

the old saying that you are what you eat is never truer than when you reach middle age. And if you really want to look young, feel young, be young, then don't forget it.

Diet for the man over fifty isn't a complicated process. You don't have to be finicky about it, just be sensible.

To start with, and this is very important, eliminate all the junk food from your diet. All the gooey cookies and cakes and candies and soft drinks and sugar and processed grains and so on. Eliminate them completely. They're junk and you don't need them.

Don't just cut down on that kind of crap. Stop eating it, period. Bob Hoffman used to say that enough leaks would sink the biggest ship, so quit letting your youth leak away by crummy eating habits.

Slash your carbohydrate intake to the bone at the same time. They don't do much for you except make you fat anyway.

The bulk of your diet should consist of protein foods, preferably from animal sources. Meat, milk, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, etc. This is the stuff you should be living on. Round it out with fresh fruits in small amounts and preferably raw.

Supplements should play a large part in your diet. You should be absolutely saturated with protein, vitamins, etc. Anything less isn't good enough for the kind of results you want, and it's impossible to get this kind of nourishment without supplements.

One final word of diet advice. Keep the amounts of food you eat down to a reasonable level. Don't overeat. If you do, you'll ruin the whole deal. 
We're out of space. Start cleaning up your diet, and we'll get at the next segment of your rejuvenation program as soon as we can.

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