Admiral Still 2_9 23Do you struggle with basic, everyday life movements–getting in and out of the car, carrying groceries, doing yard-work, picking up your grandkids? Meet retired Navy Admiral, Bill Center. He would never have imagined at age 63, he wouldn’t be able to command his own body to get up from the floor. His humbling predicament didn’t happen overnight. Get inspired by Bill’s story of finding new motivation and realizing it wasn’t too late to make a comeback.

“Realizing it was possible to reverse my decline was hugely motivating.”

– the Admiral

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UPDATE: Three years ago, I had recovered my health and fitness to the point I actually felt like going back to work. In the weeks and months that followed, I increased my workload until it negatively impacted my ability to maintain my health and fitness. I teach “The Graduate Seminar in U.S. Foreign Policy” at the Evans School of Public Affairs and “The Global Business Forum” at the Foster School of Business. I also lecture in various leadership and negotiations classes. Now I’m trying to find the right balance – cutting back on work and increasing my focus on fitness. I still need a bit less work (and work-related stress) and more time for fitness.

My goal for the year ahead is to find a sustainable balance of work and fitness. Speaking of “encouragement” … I should add that one of the biggest sources of encouragement for me is having people come up to me and say that I inspired them to work to regain their own fitness. That helps keep me on track. Thanks for encouraging me to “go public.” Turns out, it has helped me a lot.

ADVICE: In the past three years – at age 65, 66, and 67 – I learned (or re-learned) the following additional lessons.

1. After you have worked hard to regain your fitness, you cannot relax or revert to old habits. You have to work just as hard – every day – to maintain your fitness as you did to regain it in the first place. I was under the mistaken belief that I could ease up a bit once I reached my goals. The result was that I lost quite a bit of ground before I got back on the right track.

2. It was even more difficult to lose the weight and get back into shape the second time around. Fortunately, I knew what to do and how to go about it, and I did not have as much weight to lose and was not in such bad shape as I was when I launched my first recovery effort.

3. I always heard “stress” was a factor. I’m not certain I was convinced. I may have believed I was “immune” to stress. I track my weight and blood pressure every day. After doing that for nearly a decade I can now see clearly that when my stress levels are high my weight goes up and my blood pressure goes up (to an unhealthy level). The good news is that – for me at least – exercise is a great “stress reliever.” I also look for other ways of reducing stress in my daily life. It’s an important factor in helping me maintain my desired level of fitness.

4. I finally outfitted a CrossFit gym in my own home so I would have less excuse not to get a good, full work-out every two or three days. This has been huge for me. Early morning workouts suit me best.

5. When I tried to increase my workouts to one per day, my body could not handle it. I really need at least one full day between hard workouts for my body to recover.

6. It’s worth the effort!

Admiral on rower

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