The author at 64, Florida high school reunion. Julia Hubbel. Yes, I still fill out this dress the same way four years later.
You can't be 62.
You're absolutely right. I'm not 62. I'm 68.
I love comments like that. One Newsbreak reader put the above title comment on an article I published about doing 120 men's pushups yesterday morning, just as I began my 68th birthday celebration. Look, I get that a lot.
I can't count the number of times I've walked into a doctor's office, doc has his nose in the paperwork, sees female, age 67, looks up and sees me, and waits for my mother (who is long dead, thanks for asking) to show upbehind me, on a walker.
One of the reasons I blog about fitness after fifty is, well, my photos are pretty clear. I've been body building for 47 years. Beat obesity 34 years ago. I've been in the neighborhood of 125 lbs ever since.
My resting pulse is around 48. My body fat is close to 9%.
And kindly, I work my ever-loving patootie off to get these results.
While I'd love to sell you a program to look like this at 68, I wouldn't insult your intelligence.
This is a photo of me at 53. Julia Hubbel
This photo was taken before I got into adventure travel at 60. That year I threw myself heart and soul into training to climb Kilimanjaro. By the time I stood atop that mountain on November 18, 2013, I had turned myself into a machine. Never looked back and never stopped training hard. My face, which is now sculpted- as it should be- by Arctic ocean winds, the dry deserts of Egypt, mountain climbs and extreme horse rides all over the world, no longer has this dewy look.
I don't care. Because the stories I can tell as a result of the last fifteen years are far more interesting to me than vacuous beauty, what little of it I might have once possessed.
People are always and forever demanding the "secrets." How I keep the weight off. How I got my guns. How I do this or that or the other.
Secrets? Okay, full disclosure, here's what I looked like at 32:
The author giving a speech in Australia, 1987. Julia Hubbel
I was 205 lbs. So yeah, I get what it's like to fight that battle.
As for secrets?
Okay. Here are a few:
1. I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. I quit a five-pack-a day smoking habit at nineteen. All she wrote. Never drank. Booze took two family members. Life is way too short to shorten it further with substance abuse.
2. I eat with real gusto, mostly plants, no junk or processed foods. I do not indulge in sugar any more outside a bit of honey. My sweets are berries and fruits. I survived forty years of eating disorders. I'm fortunate to be alive and I LOVE good food. Food that fuels. Lots of water. No juices. No protein drinks, no special supplements. Good food, good fuel, lots of water. This is NOT hard.
3. I am dedicated gym pig. Under quarantine when I couldn't train, I set up my basement with weights, an elliptical, a training bike, a weight bench and a TV for kick boxing and yoga. I am down there several times a day, and when it's not raining, I am out running the trails nearby. I hike, bike, ride horses, skydive, scuba, kayak, river raft, bungee jump, cycle, anything but winter sports. I've been known to fly ultralights but that license expired.
4. Every year I learn a new sport. Last year it was trail running on very steep, rocky ground. Scared me to death. That's why I did it. I'd taken a seriously bad header down the side of a big mountain just outside Lalibela, Ethiopia, and landed on very sharp volcanic rocks on my knee. The ONLY way to beat that fear back is to get right back on the mountain and Bloody. Well. TRAIN.
Secrets? Hardly. I do what the research and science says to do. Nothing more, nothing less. I keep up on the latest, don't buy into stupid fads and trends (keto, paleo, the snail anus diet). I focus on plenty of sleep, leap out of bed at 3 am and do pullups on the bar across the bedroom door, and head to the kitchen for green tea.
As I write this, my lunch is a big salad with blueberries, chicken, celery, hard boiled eggs, and wild rice, apple or pear for dessert, green tea. This is what works for me. I have no idea what's going to work for you. That's your job to find out, just as it was mine to find out what worked for me.
The author at 62 in Peru, with a horse owner Julia Hubbel
The other secret? I populate my world with people who live all out. Who work hard and play hard and live to the edge. People who don't whine and don't play the victim card and who aren't looking for a savior to make their lives easier. Who don't buy into the aging nonsense and who don't have time to worry about a wrinkle. We are all of us living and laughing too hard making wrinkles to worry about them.
I did 120 pushups yesterday morning because they are hard.
Each of us is gifted with a body, with a specific kind of shape, bones and genetic structure. My family was heavy and wide, the females on Dad's side. Suffice it to say that to get here took monumental effort. I've had some minor nip and tuck done, mostly to rid myself of my mother's jowls when I turned 52. I am utterly unapologetic about that. But as for the shape I'm in, no silicone implant, no magic pill can give me the incredible strength and endurance- and yes, those guns- that I have earned through decades of hard work, discipline, effort and body care.
Because I live alone, I am the one who gets to move the furniture, stack the wood, haul stuff here and there. I love being strong enough to do that.
So yes. I can't be 62. I'm 68. Darn right I am.
And the way I see it, there is no reason on earth that many more of us can't reach our sixties and beyond in superb health as well.
That's why I do what I do. I want you to have as many options as you possibly can as you age.
The author, Svalbard Islands, at 64. Julia Hubbel
There is no fate but what we make, says the movie. I agree. I dunno about you, but I gotta get busy. I'll be 69 my next birthday. Lotta world to see between now and then, Covid allowing.
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