Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting Older Is Not For The Meek

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

“Okay—so I have fielded (or rather not fielded) a few questions on what to do when exercises become painful or age and injuries make workouts more hazardous than helpful. The answer is—adjust! Note the biggest implication of adjusting is that you are not STOPPING! So, when I was in College I would go to morning swim practice (4-5000yds), lunch hour weight training, afternoon practice (6-8000yds) then two hours of rugby practice. In the Teams we PT’ed at least 3 hours a day, and then spent 4-6 hours training which was always with full kit. Now I am an old retired guy with a broken neck (well it was broken and now has a plate where a disc used to be), compressed/fractured lumbar vertebra, a leg that does its own thing every once in a while, etc etc. AND----I no longer get paid to PT and I no longer have world class therapeutic doctors at my beckon call. So what is a boy to do?

Well, it sure as heck is no longer 13000 yds of swimming and two hours of running from wrestling match to wrestling match---but I don’t have to do that any longer. What I have to do is---or rather what I want to do, is be able to take my shirt off at the beach and not terrify small children (or any lady over the age of 20 J). I want to be able to toss logs onto the sawbuck and run a chainsaw 4-6 hours a day. I want to be able surf cast for a hour (face it, surfcasting gives way to beer drinking in an hour—no sense in working up to 2 hours). I want to be able to keep making money as an underwear model. And I never ever want to get beaten by Alden in a four mile run or a 500 yd swim. So the point is, I have neither the need nor the inclination to be in the shape I was in as an active duty Navy SEAL---my body can’t cash the check and I don’t have the time to do it. But I don’t want to be a lard-ass either; and I think that is where a lot of people make a disastrous mistake. “If I can’t be the stud I once was/if I can’t be the strongest guy in the gym/if I don’t want to give up 20oz ribeyes/if can’t run a marathon/blah/blah/blah then there is no sense in my doing anything.”

Adjust your goals---I never want to be the strongest guy in the gym (which is good on account of I am not) because I don’t have the time. What I do want to do is be able to press my body weight 5 times. So I do two things, I work at lifting 250 three times and I don’t let my body weight get much over 220. If I run more than five miles, my back goes into conniptions for days---so, I only run more than five miles two or three times a year when I feel like kicking myself in the testicles—but I have taking up bicycling which I can do for hours at a time (and to the tavern and back---incentive!) I use the Perfect Pushup so I can get the results I want without having to put my shoulders through thousands of reps—Mr. Penny I am not.

Okay, so the salient point is that getting older is not for the meek. That means that you may have to change your goals or your opinion of what being in shape means to you---that doesn’t mean you should stop. My view of the perfect line is that it is about fitness but also about understanding and setting up a fitness lifestyle that works for you. Sure, I want to be able to swim a 500 in under five minutes again but it ain’t going to happen. From April to November I swim just about every day though—and people frequently ask—“OH, as a Navy SEAL how far do you swim?” My reply is “Sometimes I am happy to just float.”

Oh, and for those of you wondering, the modeling calls have trailed off a bit of late guess it is time to shift to the long-john market.


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business that seeks to employ the highly trained and motivated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for work in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---knowing the hollowness and lack of joy some returning veterans experience daily, Tom has said, "If things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline".

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership and team building, often as a motivational speaker, in addition to being an expert consultant to the entertainment industry. The YouTube clip shows some recent work for a production company.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Longtime “on-line” coach for Team Perfect, Tom blogs monthly on Charlie Mike.


Anonymous said...

There needs to be more people like Lt. Rancich in the world.

Thank you, Hero! You are the best!
I always look forward to your posts. Your writing and your book are works of genius.

Navy SEALs are such phenomenal people. Seriously, guys, he's just pretending about his "own" fitness to help others. Himself, he can do it all.

I thought of a way of alternating a fitness plan according to what doctors say is what the body wants but they also said something like, Chopin did something like that where he wrote a piece where it keeps changing and no one can play it.

Joe G. said...

Tom Rancich - Wow. Just saw your Web site for the first time. You guys are like gods to those of us who never served. I wasn't even a Boy Scout. God bless you.

My dad was a DV of WWII. He died in 1986.

We four kids all got free college tuition -- the GI Bill -- and I had a cousin who razzed me about it. One day I got up the courage to say, "Look, I'll trade your father's health for my dad's condition -- then I'll get a job and work my way through school (his daddy had bought him everything he ever owned). That was the end of that argument, although we've always been like brothers and always will be.

My father was army, but somehow I've been inspired by the navy since I was a teenager. I think this must have been due to having another cousin who married a navy fighter pilot. He graduated from Annapolis and promptly crashed an F-14 on a training run - safely ejecting himself and I guess one other guy. I can't remember it all. This was c. 1979.

You guys inspire the heck out of us. If you only knew.

Donna Mc said...

Hey, Tom, thanks once again for your gentle but effective kicks in my overly generous butt. :)