with Robert Bicknell
In some ways, I have to laugh when I read some of the golf stories on the web. Are the writers really that much behind the times that they have only just noticed that Rory McIlroy has been hitting the gym religiously?
They actually ran an item with Rory, in the gym, with his shirt off, demonstrating key exercises that he uses to keep in shape and, of course, to improve his golf game.
Tiger Woods was a gym rat far before McIlroy even graduated high school and, if you really want to get into it, the legendary South African tour star, Gary Player, set the standard for keeping in shape.
For a long time, the philosophy was that lifting weights would hurt your game because you would "bulk up" and lose your flexibility. As you can imagine, this gave a lot of weekend players an excuse to avoid the gym and spend more time hoisting beers.
The fact of the matter is that weightlifting can and does help your game. Personally speaking, since I started lifting six months ago, I have added 20 yards to my irons and I gotta tell ya, hitting 190 yard 6-irons is a hell of an ego boost. I figure that if I keep it up, in a few more months, 200 yards would not be out of reach.
The trick is to balance the work outs with stretching sessions. With many places like California Fitness and Star Fitness available, you can take stretching classes or, even better, yoga.
Stop laughing. I used to think yoga was for sissies too until California Fitness made me take a few classes as part of my indoctrination and I gotta tell you it's a work out that hits your entire body. Sure, the first session is uncomfortable, but you feel much better very quickly.
Combine yoga / stretching with pumping a bit of iron and you'll see a difference pretty quickly. Now then since we're on the subject of fitness, let's talk a little about diets.
Most people eat poorly. Even with a million dollars in the bank, they still eat poorly. Imagine purchasing a Bentley automobile then filling the petrol tank with low quality fuel. The expensive car wouldn't perform like an expensive car, would it?
The same goes for your body. It too is a machine and needs high quality fuel. The problem is that many people don't really know what they are eating. Just because the box says it's healthy doesn't make it so. Much of the so-called healthy foods contain a lot of sugar, salt and hidden calories. Most people don't eat enough vegetables and fruit. This is a huge mistake.
For those of you looking to lose weight, let me give you a simple lesson: burn more calories than you take in. Very simple. If you do that, you lose weight. You don't have to starve yourself as that is counterproductive, but just limit your calorie intake. Don't reach for that chocolate cake dessert. Have a banana or apple instead. Starving yourself causes the body to try and compensate. That's why most diets fail. The body is trying to replace what it lost.
But if you do it slowly and correctly, the body doesn't react poorly and the weight stays off.
Nowadays, you can get high-quality protein powders made from whey that act as an excellent meal replacements and have very little fat. For example, I eat five meals per day. Three are solid food and the other two are protein shakes. I do not overload my plate when I eat because I just want to keep my furnace burning and not overload it. Huge meals are hard to digest and what the body doesn't use turns to fat, so keeping it reasonable makes more sense.
The single best exercise in the world is swimming and the second best is walking. Please notice I didn't say jogging because that can ruin your knees and feet pretty quickly, especially for older guys. Best bet is to hit the treadmill for 30 -60 minutes. Start slowly and work your way up to a good session.
While we cannot stop the aging process, there is no reason to "act" old. Take care of yourself and there is very little you cannot do.
If I can do it, so can you. — VNS