Day 199: I’m an Elder Trainer

Calm down, Dad. Anyone over 65 is considered elderly (citation: World Health Organization.) I know you watch IFC and can set up a wireless network, but age is age. That means I had to set the max heart rate on the elliptical machine to 135 which is also reachable by using a can opener. He was excited that the Yankees were on the TV in front of us and said, “I could do this for 9 innings.” Cut to 45 seconds later, “I think I’m getting tired too fast.” His heart rate was up to 141 after 3 minutes. I was wearing headphones so I had to give him a hand motion to slow down. He didn’t catch on, so he did a sarcastic hand motion back and nearly fell off. He regained his balance, slowed down a little, fixed his attitude if I promised not to blog about it.

20 minutes of cardio and no paramedics. Over to the mat to work on balance. Gotta keep it simple. A 67 year-old man who hasn’t really pushed himself in a decade is like a giant baby bird – you have to hold him gently and hand feed him sunflower seeds. He’s fragile, but not quite as fragile as he thinks he is. There’s a fear that kicks in with age. When you’re 18, you don’t think about pushing yourself too hard and dying. After the age of 35, that’s a thought that’s pretty much with you all the time. I told him “Your body is a reflection of how demanding you are on it.” Then I punched myself in the face. I hope that is enough of an apology to my readers.You all know I’m better than that statement.

On the mat we did a little planking – not the stupid Facebook craze that makes me glad I’m middle aged – the core exersize of simply holding yourself in a push-up position. He did very well. First try he lasted 15 seconds, then 20, then 30 seconds. I’m still in my plank. 4.5 hours and counting. He needed to rest but I told him that we had to “push past the concept of his own limits.” After that, I punched myself for the second time. I’ve never trained anyone before, so I figured I would just repeat all the crap I hear Jillian Michels say on The Biggest Loser. It was working. I could see it in his eyes. He believed in his body for the first time in years. I had visions of us both in hooded sweatshirts working-out in a meat freezer and racing up the steps of the Philadelphia court house ending it all with a triumphant hug followed by an awkward smile. Please let a son dream.

From the mat we headed over to the assisted pull-up machine. Unfortunately, it was a bit much for the older Good, so we hit a machine that does basically the same thing. I set it for 40 lbs and he cruised through 12 reps like it was nothing. He wanted to do more. “Easy there… we have plenty more to do.” He’s so adorably eager to please me. I think he got a little mad because following that we had a short argument about the difference between a rep and a set. I won easily.

A few sets of leg presses coupled with various concerns/complaints about the well-being of his knees, and we were off to the showers.

“Good work-out.” “Yea, good one.”

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

2 comments On Day 199: I’m an Elder Trainer

  • Totally made me LOL ~twice~. Thanks for punching yourself in the face to maintain your integrity.

  • Actually made my eyes start to water — started laughing when Dad almost fell off the elliptical machine whilst trying to make a sarcastic gesture, progressed to laughing out loud at the first punch in the face, couldn't stop laughing after the second punch in the face. Still chuckling.

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