The medical markers for my family (the LeDucs) is low HDL (healthy cholesterol). In 1991, my dad blew a hole in his heart the size of a dime–he was not supposed to make it off the table, but they patched him together. In July of that same year, my oldest brother Jim had a massive stroke on a softball field. He slipped into a coma and went to be with the Lord a day later, at the ripe old age of 46. That same September (still 1991) my mother really couldn’t handle the stress of losing her son (what the doctor called “Cardio Genic Shock”) and she also went to be with the Lord. Needless to say, 1991 was tough, losing 40% of my immediate family.
Some years later, my other brother Jeff had a heart attack at 42, but survived. Not for long though, when he was 54 he suffered another one and was off to be with the Lord. Shortly after, my dad (who was living with my brother at the time of his death) gave into sadness, depression, and old age, and also passed away.
Even though I’ve been very active since 1991 doing multiple marathons and CrossFit; I still ended up a few years later in the hospital, getting a stent in my right coronary artery. Genetics aside, I’m the sole person in charge of my health and I wasn’t ready to see my family just yet, so that prompted me to change my life.
In October of this year, on my 60th birthday, I challenged myself to do the 60 at 60 at AFS–my own idea. Sixty consecutive days starting with the first weight loss solution class and sixty Burpees. I would do my first twenty days with C-level exercises (geared toward beginners), progressing to twenty days of B’s (intermediate), and ending with twenty days of A’s (advanced). Then, just to complete the cycle, on the last day my grand finale would be sixty Burpees. I told Mike (AFS owner) it was something he could do that would be challenging for us “Old Farts”–so I became the guinea pig. The idea came from wanting to create more discipline and consistency with a routine that would get me away from work, off the couch, and away from computer devices every day. After the sixty days, I planned to add running into the mix to get outside once in awhile.
After each WLS class I asked the instructor to grade me on my performance. Jen and Chris stepped right up and loved challenging me to push myself. The scores are based on form, pace, and transitions (3 is good, 2 is fair, 1 is bad). I got one perfect score doing C’s, which has been the only one so far! I guess I was in worse shape than just being short, overweight, and bald haha…
Form, pace and transitions with good coaching has been great. No injuries is amazing! Diligence and discipline to care for yourself day in and day out is the lesson. 60 days in a row may not be the best program and it may be foolish (we will see what the blood work looks like and what the cardiologist says), but it beats the heck out of doing nothing!
This has been a very humbling experience, but at the same time I feel like a million bucks. I haven’t gotten hurt; I’m even (finally) listening to my trainer Carli and logging my food. While I have not received any 3/3s on my daily grades, I want all to know that I appreciate the thoughtful process and time that each practitioner goes through to score me (at my request) at the end of each class. Those scores are really motivating. Nathan said to me (of course he had to squat down to say it since he’s 6’7), “Wrap your brain around the pain and let’s get through this!”
I embarked on this journey to clean up how I exercise, since I seemed to have become stagnant and was breaking down from the aging process. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I could break through my own barriers of family history and my own personal pity parties. I wasn’t listening to the staff, I wasn’t food logging, and not concentrating when I was there working out, which is why I wanted to get daily performance grades. The staff at AFS has tried and tried to fix me since I started with them, but when that big 6-0 came around I was finally ready.
Take Home Message
I wanted AFS to be the place for the aging–and it is. I want everyone to enjoy the experiences that I’ve enjoyed with AFS–and you will!
If you are over 60 (or not) do something for yourself each and every day, seek advice, and share with others that aren’t as fortunate as you.
At 60 years old, I am committed to good health. I am thankful for the good health that I have, (considering the abuse that I put my body through in art school in the 70’s 😉 ), the encouragement of good friends, and the great advice of the professionals at AFS.
Thank you AFS staff and practitioners for the support, encouragement, and great conversations about life, sports, and fitness. I want to give thanks to my wonderful wife, Julaine, for all of the support along this journey. You are all wonderful people and have helped change my life for the better!
[actionbutton color=”#ff4301″ link=”https://4afsfit.com/weight-loss/”]More info on John’s program[/actionbutton]