Why in the world do we need another online community? There is literally a group out there for everything. There are groups for people who lift, groups for people who run, and groups for people who lift the people that run. I mean seriously, what’s missing?
This is our Genesis story.
It all started around my 50th birthday. I had just completed what was possibly my greatest athletic accomplishment: joining the Lift Heavy Run Long 50/400 Club. Membership into this group requires deadlifting 400 pounds and running a 50 mile race all within the same seasonal period. I’m standing at the end of that accomplishment asking what was next? What did I want to do for the rest of my life? A bit dramatic I know, but I had come to understand that life was like a long race. If you run too hard in the beginning, you won’t have any kick left at the end. For me, I knew that I wanted to have enough kick left to really enjoy the rest of my days.
So there I was searching for articles and information on longevity for the aging athlete. Most of what I found was data on how fasting and time restricted eating was good for adding years to your life. This was all fine and true with a lot of science based research to back this up but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. More importantly, it’s not what my family and friends are looking for in terms of health advice. We are all looking to have better years and starving ourselves to have a longer life is not part of that plan.
That’s where I found Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, who is a board-certified Osteopathic Family Practice physician with a research fellowship in Nutritional Science and Geriatrics at Washington University in St. Louis. It was during her time observing geriatric patients when she realized that frailty was the enemy of the aging. She came up with the idea that muscle was actually the organ of longevity. WebMD supports this by saying ”at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you'll still have some muscle loss. “ (sited Jul 30, 2018). The beginning of frailty starts in our 30’s and it’s a fight that we will all find ourselves in weather we choose it or not.
If maintaining muscle mass and staying active would fight frailty then we would really have something to lengthen our years of quality activity. At this time I also discovered the difference between lifespan and healthspan. Lifespan is obviously how long we live and healthspan is the length of time in one's life during which an individual is in reasonably good health. The average lifespan in our county ranges in the upper 70’s while the average healthspan ranges in the lower 60’s. That’s where I found my new mission to focus on helping my family and friends lengthen their healthspan above all other fitness pursuits.
I would like to share a story to help drive this healthspan point home:
Years ago I had the privilege of visiting with my wife’s grandfather on his 100th birthday. He was always adventurous, but due to frailty he was cooped up in assisted living but his mind was still 100% on point. I asked him on that day, “Gramps, how does it feel to be 100’? He said, “I wish I would have stopped around 86. That would have been a better time to go.” When I asked why 86 he told me for the last 14 years he hadn’t been able to do what he wanted to do or be around the people he wanted to be around. He had outlived his friends and two wives. That’s why I believe that healthspan and not lifespan should be the target.
I have made it my mission to focus on helping myself, my family and friends lengthen their health span above all other fitness pursuits, and I would like to help you do the same. While I recognize that not everyone is going to have identical motivations that I have, I also know that 100% of the population that has the privilege to grow old will at some point outlive their health span. We have a certain degree of choice as to how we will age, and I choose to fight the frailty that will rob me of my vitality. I hope you will join me.
How will we accomplish this you ask? Together while having fun! I have many great memories that included hard training, great people and fun times. We’ll collaborate, sharing the best ideas for staying active and eating well, and we’ll do this all under the overarching idea of having fun. Finding enjoyable fitness pursuits also increases program adherence, which is the most important part.
This group is for people of all ages - especially those in their 30s and beyond. It is for those who have a zeal for living and not just existing. It will include contributors, consumers, and those that just want to learn. My vision is that those who care about creating a long and full healthspan will learn some of the best and most sustainable nutrition and training practices for people at all levels. My vision is also that members of this group will improve their own journey, and share it with their friends and aging parents. My ultimate hope is that everyone chooses to live a life overflowing.