Big Steve had huge arms – about 20 inches at the biceps. He had always been well proportioned and muscular but there was that one-year when his body seemed to explode. This was the early-80’s. Those of us at the gym knew that he had to have had some chemical assistance. It didn’t matter. He moved to the elite level in the local bodybuilding circles. He had hopes of taking it to the national stage.
On one of the slower days at the gym, a few of us sat around and talked about the world of competitive bodybuilding. I had competed in a few contests and did well enough to compete in Vegas in the “couples” section (that’s me with hair in the photo). I was tiny compared to these other guys. They saw that I worked hard and none of them ever tried to pressure me into using steroids. I was in law school after all, and was going to make my mark in the legal field instead of on the posing dais.
It seems that Big Steve (and a couple of others at the gym) were using ridiculously high levels of oral anabolics. These were even more dangerous than the injectable steroids. Someone asked him why he would take such crazy chances with his health. Wasn’t he afraid of dying in his 20’s from a heart attack, a stroke, or his muscles exploding out of his skin? Steve gave a quick laugh and said the only thing he cared about was that they “bury me massive.”
Knowing What You Want
You had to respect a guy who was clear about what he wanted.
I’m not sure what happened to Steve. I don’t know whether he got his wish or revisited his goals.
My health and fitness goals have evolved. I still have one eye on aesthetics when I train. I have to maintain a certain level of sexiness so my wife doesn’t leave me. But I have other concerns that are even more pressing.
Staying Out Of The Home
In my mind, I’m still in my 20’s but I have too many people reminding me that I’ve been here for more than half a century. I think I told you this before but I’m not relying on any of my children to look after me when I hit an age that most people would consider “old.” I have a pretty good idea of the strength and movement markers that will allow me to remain independent. I’ve written about them here but let me know if you want more information on staying strong for longevity purposes.
There’s also stuff going on inside that we need to pay attention to. I measure my heart rate variability (HRV) every morning to determine my level of activity for that day. I try to take my blood pressure regularly. I meditate and listen to binaural beats (ask me next time we talk). My blood pressure is pretty good although I’d like to lower it down a few points to get in optimal territory.
Another thing I pay attention to is my blood sugar levels and my insulin sensitivity. You are insulin sensitive when your body needs only a relatively small amount of insulin to reduce elevated glucose levels. This is a good thing.
Insulin resistance is associated with obesity and non-alcohol fatty liver disease(NAFLD). It is also strongly connected to dementia. You can test your insulin sensitivity by testing your blood glucose levels. Let me remind you, I’M NOT A DOCTOR. What I’m laying out for you is how I am bio-hacking my life.
I tested it yesterday shortly after waking up. This is called fasting glucose. It was over 100. Most doctors would tell you that a 100 fasting level is nothing to worry about. A clear picture of the implications is also complicated by the fact that if you eat pretty low carb as I do, you can have paradoxically high glucose levels.
So I have a choice. I can flex in the mirror and be happy that I have to buy new pants because my waist is a little smaller. Or, I can pay attention to the research that shows that even if you’re blood sugar is just high normal, it can still be predictive of an up to 30% greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s.
- ONE glass of wine (at most) each evening. Alcohol can have a negative impact on insulin function.
- I’m going to slightly increase my carbs but keep them below 150 grams.
- I’m going to add another 30-45 minutes of walking to my routine.
- I’m going to increase my sleep by 30 minutes.
- Take more regular glucose readings. These will be post-prandial as this is a more accurate measure than a fasted reading or an A1c test.
- I’m going to bring my omega-6:omega-3 ratio closer to 5:1, which means more fatty fish and paying more attention to my cooking oil which can increase the omega-6 levels.
- I’m going to supplement with Berberine. This supplement not only helps blood sugar control but it improves liver health. I’m excited about this one.
My guess is that these measures will also have a positive impact on my body composition and strength. That’s not why I’m doing it. I’m sharing this because I want you to take more responsibility for your health, too. Don’t ever take what I say at face value. Please understand that where you get your health and fitness information may be the biggest factor in evolutionary selection in the near future. I can only tell you that I do my homework even if it’s just in pursuit of my n=1 experiment.
I don’t care that you’re younger than me. After all, Bernadette and I might need you to take care of us one day.
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