Jack Lalanne performed incredible feats of fitness as he got older. When he was 70, he towed 70 row boats 1 mile while shackled in both hands and feet. That is crazy! That is inspiring! That wasn't the only feat he completed; he repeated some of the same feats as he got older, except he made them more difficult! I watched an interview he did at 95 and he said he still lifted weights and swam daily. He was living a physical life that I was very interested in, so I took a page from his life.
I do not work out 2 hours per day. I don't have the time for that, but I can set challenging goals for myself to achieve. Since my 54th birthday, I have tried to set a high bar for myself. I challenge myself to do something I can't normally do. I have performed bike rides, pull-ups, push-ups, and several other challenges that were very difficult for me. This year is no different. I turn 62 on November 17, 2022, and I will try to perform 2000 chin-ups. I plan to accomplish 6.5 per minute and be done in 5 hours or so. I have never tried anything like this, but I feel confident that I have trained well enough.
Why? Why do I do these things?
1. I want to amaze my children and grandchildren. I want to leave a legacy of doing hard things in every area of life. These physical challenges are mental almost as much as they are physical. I want them to be inspired and know that you can attain incredible physical prous as you age.
2. I want to inspire people to get and stay fit. I was never an athlete. I was too weak, slow, and small to play any sport in high school. I joined the gymnastics team, and it turns out that those guys are super strong. I never competed. So if I can do it, anyone can do it. I look pretty good for a guy in his 60s, but that is not my jam. My point is that we can stay active, fit, and vital for our entire life! I am inspired by many senior athletes I have watched, and I hope I inspire people.
3. Mental toughness is real. You don't need David Goggins cursing at you to get pumped up and become mentally tough. (Although I like Goggins) I hope people see that I am not "naturally gifted" for these feats, but I must train and work hard to finish. The mental element must be there during training days and on the day of my event. I hope people will take a page from my playbook and toughen up, especially as they get older. I pray they would reject the aging norm and continue pushing their bodies to perform.
4. I want to continue to convince myself that I can do it. I want to live in a can-do state of mind in every area of life. I prove to myself every year that I can accomplish hard things if I work hard.
When I accomplish the 2000 pull-ups, I won't be a better person. My marriage won't be any better. My finances will not be in better shape. However, I will be different. I will know that I can do hard things. Those hard physical things "leak" into the other areas of life like relationships and emotional regulation. It signals that I can do things I didn't think I could. It teaches me that if I choose to do it and use my effort and strength, I can accomplish very difficult things in every area of life. You don't have to do 2000 chin-ups, but I challenge you to do something. Create a goal of something you cannot do right now. Make it hard to attain. Then go for it! You have to stay mentally tough, but if you put the work in, you will cross that finish line.
There is one more thing I would like to say before ending. God. God is the one who empowers me in everything that I do. He gave me the abilities that I need to cultivate. He gave me a body that I need to cooperate with so it functions maximally. God strengthens me when I don't want to keep going. My endurance is from Him. This is not a mere human effort that will accomplish this and any other feat. It is the blessing of God on my effort. Oh, by the way, He gave me everything I needed to make that effort. So number 5 on my list is I want to glorify God with the amazing resources He has given me.