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Reader’s write #1: Sharperatio

Hi Mark,

I’m 51-years-old and have lived in Tokyo for about five years. I am very interested in fitness and my goal is to lose fat. I’m 5-10 and 205 pounds. I started working out after the CEO of my company warned me that my health was visibly deteriorating. My family has a history of diabetes and I suffer from allergies and asthma from time to time. I also had back surgery when I was young to remove herniated discs causing sciatica, so I avoid heavy Olympic power-lifting moves to prevent any recurrence.

Because of my age, I work out every other day, alternating between strength and cardio. I try to avoid overly processed foods and stick with mostly Asian cuisine. My supplements include a multivitamin, additional vitamin C and fish oil capsules.

My strength training consists of:

-Bodyweight exercises. Squats, boot-strappers, pushups, pullups, planks.

-Free weights. Deadlifts, squats, bench press, rows, military press.

Both methods are performed in high-intensity circuits with little rest breaks between exercises and sets.

My cardio workouts are:

-100-yard sprints on flat grass fields or on a very steep hill behind Tokyo’s Midtown project.

-16-Kg kettlebell high-rep swings and snatches followed by skipping rope between sets (DOE Manmaker, etc.)

-Tabata intervals (thrusters, medicine ball slams, rope skipping, rowing and stationary bike).

I try to keep each workout under one hour in duration, so I can spend more time with my family, and because of my long working hours. I read and use several web sites to help plan my workouts:

I respect the conditioning aspects of MMA fighters. I believe they are on the cutting edge of fitness. They have to risk everything in the ring or hexagon, and must fully involve themselves in strength, cardio and nutrition to survive.

Visually, I’ve seen positive changes in my body composition over the past year using the strategies I’ve outlined, but not many changes in overall weight. In fact if I stop working out, my weight drops to 200 pounds. I used to do slow long-distance jogging but went to all-out sprints starting in November after observing that many middle-aged men who do marathons and triathlons don’t look well, and many are actually fat.

More importantly, I have been blessed with a 2-year-old son and I have committed myself to getting into the best shape possible, and keeping that way, so I can see him grow up to be a young man, and maybe be, if I’m lucky, able to participate in his active fitness lifestyle when he’s in his 20s and I’m in my 70s.

I would appreciate input from you and your readers. I’ve been following your blog for about two months. Thanks.


About Marc

international businessman and consultant, life coach, world traveler and wandering mystic who loves keeping fit and is endlessly learning how to lead a healthy life.

5 responses to “Reader’s write #1: Sharperatio

  1. markeu

    You have nailed a point here on the site, which is the concept of balance in life and sustaining strength: how to find it, how to maintain it. Doing too much of one thing or other can only be detrimental to your health and sense of well being, and its all too easy here in Japan to become one of the many who let themselves go.
    My hat is off to you for your obvious level of self discipline and unwillingness to quit.

    I think that you are obviously listening to your body and making adjustments accordingly, which is the soundest long term strategy you can make. As for comments and suggestions, I will leave the floor open!


  2. Pingback: Reader's write #1: Sharperatio « Kettlebell Japan | Medicine Ball Workouts | Ball Medicine

  3. Jan Kaszuba ⋅

    You’re an inspiration. My Dad is 56 and I wish he was like you. So many middle aged western or Japanese are so unhealthy and stubborn. They need to channel that stubborness the same way that you have.

    Congratulations on your son and good luck with your training and life.

  4. Rannoch

    Great effort! It takes time and effort to come up with a strategy that covers all the bases efficiently and effectively.

    You seem to have a good foundation and are certainly using great sources for material. If I were to make one observation, I’d suggest that you look to decrease the work out time to 45 minutes max.

    For anyone who is no longer bullet proof (30 years plus) recovery becomes absolutely key. Every training session causes micro trauma, couple that with the natural downward slide of the aging body and you are heading into deep water.

    I would look to perform three sessions per week (anything else should be considered recuperative). Each session should comprise of a mobility warm up, dynamic movement drills followed by intervals. Intervals should include active rest periods that allow you to keep moving whilst dropping the heart rate. The entire process should be performed mindfully, this is key to wringing out every last drop of benefit.

    Grade the sessions Light, moderate and hard. The light session is all about technique, practice and perfect movement. (as we age we have less margin for error and nothing is worse than injury to stop you in your tracks) The moderate session should be challenging but leave you refreshed. The hard session should be the shortest in duration but the toughest in terms of effort, though you should be feeling fine 20 minutes after you’ve finished.

    As we age we need a training practice that encourages better movement, superior performance. the focus must be on natural, uninhibited movement. So don’t worry about the weight on the bar or the time on the clock.

    If you’ve not got a Gymboss, pick one up, it will radically change your training. I’m happy to help you implement the kind of interval training that will sky rocket your performance.

    Less is more but only when you do it right!


  5. Rannoch ⋅

    Intensity is key. We can play with the variables. The one factor we don’t want to alter is intensity. That one session per week where we go for broke should be a max effort. But we have to temper that exceptional performance with formidable technique.

    Warriors of a certain maturity cannot afford to remove themselves from battle because of an error of judgment.

    As for rest. It is your friend. Your progress is a direct reflection of the recovery you receive.

    All in all it’s a balancing act. But if you listen to your body you’ll naturally move towards a sustainable practice.

    As a final note, every so often I take a couple of weeks off. I make sure I get plenty of deep rest and relaxed movement. the pay off is I come back energized, stronger and ready to kick things up gear.

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