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VietNamNews

Teed Off (Mar 29, 2015)

Update: March, 30/2015 - 17:25

with Robert Bicknell

The golf magazines have been touting Rory McIlroy's "chiseled physique" which is a result of his workouts in the gym. In one photo, they practically gushed over him dead-lifting 190lbs.

Are they serious? Has fitness in the US gone south so badly that 190lbs is an achievement?

OK, for comparison, I' 57 years old and I warm up at 190 lbs and finish at around 300 lbs, but have been known to push it to 400 lbs (on a machine - free weight is 250 or so). This is NOT an achievement, nor is it bragging (Shaddap Joe) because other guys in the gym push through 600 lbs regularly. I don't bother to try because I have the legs of an anorexic roadrunner. Yes, legs day in the gym is NOT my favourite.

To put this in even more perspective, Gary Player used to squat 375 lbs and did so the night before winning the US Open. Just for the record, squats activate your glutes. Tiger Woods please take note.

Normally, I would take great delight in lighting up Rory McIlroy on something like this, but the truth is that he has little control over what a magazine will write or gush over, and more importantly, I fully support his idea of adding fitness to his regimen.

I have said for a long time -- if you want to improve your golf, get into the gym once in a while.

You don't have to hit it as hard as I do, because we probably have very different goals. In my case, longer drives and irons is an added benefit, but my main goal is simply to get healthy and live long enough to see my 10 year old daughter graduate college and get married before I kick the bucket.

Hmm, so let me amend my statement to "if you want to improve your quality of life - get into the gym more than once in a while."

One big difference between when I first arrived in Vietnam in 1992 and today is that you didn't see many really fat people back then. Most Vietnamese (both adults and kids) were pretty healthy. They rode bicycles everywhere, ate healthy meals and were breathing clean air.

Fast forward and today you see a LOT of fat kids. The only exercise they get is playing with their iPads, sending text messages, video games or pushing their motorbike to the petrol station when it runs out. They eat Western fast food - KFC, McD's, Pizza Hut, they devour cakes and pastries by the ton, and if they have to run it's only because someone is trying to steal their Samsung Galaxy.

Kids need fitness even more than the adults.

But we also need to get something straight, parents scheduling kids' activities to the point of insanity -- even when it includes badminton, swimming or football, is actually negating the benefits of physical activity due to the increased stress they put on the kid.

I never thought I would EVER see a 12 year old kid suffering from burn-out, but I have and still cannot believe it. During golf lessons, the kid shuffles along like a 60 year old man rather than a pre-teenager.

Crazy. Look, we all want our kids to excel in school and my daughter gets extra homework and tutoring like every other kid in Asia, but she also has time to relax and play. There has to be a balance.

When I was growing up, we had the "President's Council on Physical Fitness" and, if I remember correctly quite a few big names in sports had been spokespersons, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The catch phrase of the time was "A healthy body and a healthy mind."

As corny as it sounds, those words make perfect sense. Your brain cannot operate at peak efficiency if it is always starved for oxygen, if your blood is slow and sluggish and your muscles weak.

Older golfers should focus more on treadmill, bicycle. Cardio is important. Some small weightlifting is excellent for older adults too. No need to kick it hard.

Paul Levesque (aka "Triple H" in WWE) says that you need to train for the sport you're in, not the sport you wish you were in. So, in other words, if you're a golfer, you train for strength and speed, not power and mass. — VNS

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