Meet Paul. “Share Your Story” Giveaway Winner!

We recently ran a contest & giveaway where we invited you to share your “Fit After Fifty” stories—and we loved hearing what you have to say! After filtering through the submissions, we chose Paul Beals as the winner. We were so inspired by the changes he’s made in his life that have caused other wonderful changes in his health. (We also thought his unique fitness activity was pretty cool!)

Here’s the story he shared with us:

“I am 56 years old in November this year. 5 years ago I was 105 kg. This weekend I was 88 kg. A lot of the weight I have lost was water retention due to me having a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. Other of it was due to inactivity… also due to the heart condition, I guess. I also liked my beer then and used to drink at least one or two cans a day—possibly the cause of the heart condition! I had also been a smoker until 2006 when my youngest son Jonty was born. As soon as my condition had been diagnosed and treated I immediately felt a hundred times better! My cardiologist also told me that I must not drink any more alcohol and I have not touched a drop since August 2011. It was at this time that I started walking, and I enrolled on a number of charity walks for heart charities like BHF and Heart Research. Last year I did a run/walk half marathon—in bare feet! This year I am currently running about 10K a week training for a 10K barefoot run on 4th May. I have not felt this fit since I was in my twenties and my particular joy is being able to walk, run and play outdoors with my eight year old son.”

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Finding out about a heart condition is no easy news—and changing your whole lifestyle to help fix that condition is no easy feat! From quitting alcohol & smoking, to getting active and all the way to running a half marathon… BAREFOOT… Paul is an inspiration to all of us! We also love that he took the motivation from having a son, and translated it into making a difference in others’ lives by walking & running for charities.

Thanks to all who entered—and thanks to Paul for sharing your story with us! We’re about to launch another contest that invites you to share your story—so stay tuned into our social media channels!

Boston to Boulder: A 140 Day Challenge

It was March 11 and all I could think about was what shade of green I’d wear for St. Patrick’s Day the next Monday. Green tie? Oh Yeah. Green shirt? Maybe not. Shamrock undershorts? I wouldn’t tell. But for that day, it was bright safety yellow as Daylight Savings time robbed me of the sun on my morning 10k at 5:30 a.m. The blinking green headlamp was as close to festive colors as I could muster. Dodging the black ice that seems to indicate eternal winter, I muddled my way to a sunrise finish an hour later. A nice treat to a frozen good morning.

Walking my cool down… funny point, eh? I wiped the frost off my 2013 Boston Marathon hat.  Staring at it in my hands, I focused on the date printed on the brim: April 15, 2013. The last time I wore the very same hat, I was smiling at the Boston Marathon finish line at 2:45 or so in the afternoon. A few minutes ahead of my “bet I can finish before 3 o’clock” promise to my 15-year-old son. The cold of the marathon day, like the morning of March 11, created a wonderful to be alive rush.

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 1.54.41 PMMy mind went back to posing for a photo with my wife only yards from the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line….Boom! “What the—?” Terror was in the air. On the ground. In front of me. Calm and chaos. Frozen for real. The Boston police officer carefully walked over to me. Politely, he asked if my hotel was nearby. When I answered, “Yes”, he then requested I move towards it as bad things could still happen. Then, “Boom” number-two. Time to listen. The tiredness of a sub-4 marathon finish time immediately left me. I was surprised to see I even had adrenaline left in me.

I stare at the hat once again as the sun came up on the morning of March 11. Clenched in my hand, I walked alone. Only 30 more days until I wear my Boston Marathon 2014 hat. Yes I will be glad to change hats… but not glad to erase memories that only make me stronger. And yes, I’ll tip my hat where the two bomb explosions occurred in front of the Atlantic Fish Company and Marathon Sports on Boylston Street before crossing the 2014 Boston Marathon finish line again.

Follow Brian on his 140 day challenge between the 2014 Boston Marathon and the 2014 Boulder, CO Ironman on Twitter @PivotCEO or www.Pivot.com.

A Bonus, and How to Live Life to the Fullest

By Brian Carroll

It’s 5:40 am. It’s dark. It’s New England. It’s cold. Make that… real cold. 12 degrees. And yes, it’s still dark. The driveway of the local YMCA is near empty. Spin class in 5 minutes. Why? Taking my center bike in a room of half-asleep spinners, I pause for a look around. Most are over 50. I’m 51. Seems right to me. Who else but a hearty New Englander hell-bent on wellness is going to drag themselves into the spin den? Anything to fight Father Time. Yes, even in 12 degrees.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carroll.

Photo courtesy of Brian Carroll.

The crowd motivates me into a bike mount. My feet lock in. My legs begin to turn, driving the life into me. Jill, the ink-laced instructor cranks today’s favorite rock ballads into the stair climb of heart rate elevation. I’m doing this for me. Or is it for my wife? My kids? My job? My friends? I want to share my life with those I love. Yeah, this motivation fills my legs while the rock n roll fills my ears. I’m spinning. I’m alive.

I’m also tired 55 minutes later.

Back to a resting heart rate an hour or so later, a smile from ear to ear fills my face as I sit in one of my Pivot® Life Insurance executive staff meetings at 8:00 am. I watch the coffee cups go up and down. The staff is trying to wake up. Each lift of hand to caffeine-starved mouth reminds me of each leg lift I did only a short time before. Did I hit 105 rpms of the spin wheel? Or was it 85 rpms? I think it was both at different times.

I am awake. I’ve lived a day of life and I have the rest of the day as a bonus. A bonus for enduring what anyone else my age knows all too well is important – how to live life to the fullest.

And yes, my caffeine at the staff meeting tasted a bit better.

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Talk About Your Journey for a Healthy Lifestyle!

As a part of the Fit After Fifty Team, I naturally spend a good portion of my time in conversations with people about health, fitness, and staying motivated. Every now and then, I come across a story that reinvigorates my personal motivation to continue striving to help more people seek to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Recently one of those stories made it back to me from my husband, Tim, and I wanted to share it with you!

Quote-006Tim was taking a certification course recently. During the course he was driving Eric, the instructor, to and from his hotel each day. During those drives, they talked a lot about diet & exercise—primarily Tim recommended a few books and resources & discussed his own experience with different diets & exercises. About six weeks later, Tim received an email from Eric detailing his successes in the diet/exercise arena. This is what he wrote:

“I wanted to send a thank you for recommending the 3 books on diet. I read all three and am applying what I learned. I have lost 20 pounds since… and am doing very well with my blood sugar tests. I am usually under 100 even after eating… My doctor couldn’t believe my blood sugar numbers!” Read more

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Fit After 50: Why It’s Important to Me

by Alison McIrvin

As I was nearing the end of my 40s, naturally I found myself contemplating what my life would look like in my 50s, where I saw myself at that point at age 48, and where I wanted to be in terms of my overall health and fitness and the rich life I envisioned for myself.

Photo courtesy Alison McIrvin.

Photo courtesy Alison McIrvin.

Fitness had always been a part of my life starting with competitive sports in high school and college. I always knew an active lifestyle was important to me. However, as I hit my late 20s and was having babies, it became more and more difficult to guard my workout routine and do a good job of meal planning for not only my little ones, but my changing nutritional needs. It was too easy to push my workout to “tomorrow” when someone else’s needs or calendar was calling.

I made it through my 30s and 40s with reasonably decent fitness, but I always felt the perfectionist pressure I had on myself to maintain the same level of competitive fitness in my college years. I tended toward an all or nothing approach and would be hard on myself if I was unable to workout for 2 hrs 4 days a week with a perfect balance of cardio and weight training.  It not only was not realistic with 5 little ones and a home to care for, but that expectation held me back from attaining more realistic goals. Read more

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Fit After Fifty Stories: Alan & Bonnie (Plus a Healthy Recipe!)

Let’s face it, who hasn’t struggled at one time or another to make healthy choices?!  “Tomorrow, I’ll stop getting a triple venti, extra whip caramel Frappuccino.” Or “I really deserve that extra hour of sleep, so I’ll try to run later.” As the saying goes, old habits die hard, and it takes an effort to choose a healthier option.

Fitness makes everything better, in our experience. And lots of fit 50+ year olds have agreed. When you decide to change your life with fitness and a better diet, you will find that you have more energy and flexibility, a better mood, and even increased libido. A fit, healthy lifestyle also results in less pain, a longer life, and a better life overall.

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Alan and Bonnie Cashman sat down with us to share their experience with getting fit after age 50. Alan used to ask waiters to have his salads ‘well-dressed’, but not anymore… He has since taken the steps in diet and exercise to become fit after fifty with his wife Bonnie. They personally challenge you to try it for yourself. Read more

How Gordon Turned Hope Into Motivation and Results

The Admiral and Gordon Newell

Before: The Admiral and Gordon

Looking back it seemed that my fitness took care of itself. I had no plan. I didn’t make myself go to the gym or invest in a personal trainer. But now I was in my late 50’s with my doctor telling me I’d have to lose weight just to be considered fat. I lacked energy, motivation, and self-respect. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a person I refused to believe was me. I was fit. I was in good shape. I had abs. But that was back then. Read more

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Put Your Fitness Goals In Writing

fitness goals in writing

I am the worst when it comes to writing things down. My office at Fit After Fifty is awash in papers, from receipts to unread magazines to paper scraps with phone numbers and no name. It is a wonder I get anything done.

Unsurprisingly, I have not committed to any of my fitness goals in writing. Read more

Stories Are Meant To Be Shared.

stories are meant to be shared

“My father was overweight and smoked camel cigarettes. He had a stroke when he was 56 years old. He was an invalid for the next six years until he passed away. What I experienced during those years made me promise to myself that I would never get like that and would be able to run up a flight of stairs when I was reached his age and beyond. I turned 70 this year. I’m happy to report, I’ve not only kept my promise, but I am more active than ever.

“We’re all both students and teachers – we can benefit from each others’ experiences and the stories that demonstrate how we evolved into who we are today.”

– Tony Whatley, Founder of Fit After Fifty

Read more

“Walkies” FAIL: Humorous Exercise Story

Humorous Exercise Stories

Do you have a humorous exercise story? We at Fit After Fifty love to hear it! Anything about exercise that makes us laugh can only help to keep us moving.

To get the ball rolling, here’s Terry’s story. OK, it wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s good for a chuckle now that the pain has subsided. Read more