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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Most, If Not All, Is Better At 40

Kitschy and True
"Pay no attention those who come flying out of the gates after college and grad school...If your intentions are true and you work, in your 40's it will pay off in spiritual gold."- Camille Paglia


You gotta wonder about an age in life where being an asshole is generally regarded as an asset.

Yes, there are plenty of 40 and 50 year olds who pride themselves on being a son-of-a-bitch. But clearly we understand that it's probably about erectile dysfunction.

20 and 30 year olds earn their stripes by being "no nonsense." Or "nipping things in the bud." It's great to be respected by the other copywriters, but making a point of "not taking shit from anyone", we know, doesn't make for happy times.

Frankly, I say: more nonsense. A little excess in the 20's and 30's- no nipping anything.

You play your cards right and you can have it all at both 20 and 40.

A few thoughts of what is better at 40...

At 50, you're on your own.


There was that time in our thirties where we went back to gym and hopped on the stationary bike for 40 then 50 and then 90 minutes. We did the circuit of weights, twice. High reps.

We went in the locker room, peeled off the sweaty clothes and said "Yah!" when we had lost four pounds! Then, we lost twenty! We got in shape for summer. And then, the next winter we looked in the mirror after a shower and nearly cried at the sight.

"Why does this happen? I work and work and work; I put in so many hours and it just doesn't come off?"

You look through the Adidas Shoe Box at the polaroids of you flexing after a set of curls, or with your girlfriends in your first bikini and sigh: "Ah, I guess I'm not sixteen anymore..."

No, you're not. But unlearn all the crap from the past twenty-some years and go back to basics.

First off: Don't do any workout that could (or should) be done reading Redbook.

What sixteen year old does an hour and a half at fifty percent on the stairmaster?  You didn't have time for  two and half hours of leisurely, low-intensity peddling; you were getting picked up in fifteen minutes, so you did a quick hundred push-up, sprayed yourself with Polo and were out the door.

That black and white instructional poster that came with weight set had it right.

Personal Trainers who specialize in workouts for 40 and up, say: Powerlifts- bench, squat, clean and jerk.

And not light, either. Heavy is better.

And not high reps. 5 sets of 5.

And if lifting's not your thing, sprint work.

It's said the perfect workout for building muscle in 40 (and up) year olds is: 8 30-second sprints with two minute breaks in-between. So: Sprint half the high school track, and then walk a lap. 8 times. Three days a week.

Like the hundred push-ups, or the workout with the thigh-master, it takes about twenty minutes.

It works at 40 because the energy spent in muscle recruitment for the explosion and then in the healing of the ripped muscle, coupled with the calories expended on the natural changes in your body (just like the changes at 16), burns fat and leaves you with lean muscle.

You ate. You drank. And because you hit it hard for a short period, you stayed lean and got muscular. Draining that testosterone doing low-intensity marathon workout is just masochistic. And it doesn't work as well as the twenty minute workout.

You might be more capable of having that 16 year old body at 42 than you think.


I find myself getting choked up at least twice a morning while I scan the radio on my way to work. It happened today with "Lido Shuffle": Man, what was my problem with Boz Scaggs? His name? A silly album cover? The fact my somewhat faggy seventh grade music teacher in between playing "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder professed to love him?

And didn't I catch myself not so long ago joining Joe Jackson in lamenting "Always somethin' breakin' us in two"? I knew back then that "Look Sharp" was one of the finest albums of the time, but Mr. Jackson had to pay because he'd provided the score for the douchey guy with the moppy hair and zipper jacket to make out with my crush at the high school dance.

And you know, so what if their fan base sat on hoods of cars and picked fights in the high school lot, Van Halen, I realize, is much more than just muscle music.

This comes with living a bit: Being a teacher myself that students might find somewhat faggy and worthy of occasional mockery (inside sources told me I'm called "Lighthouse" because of a small bright bald patch on the rear of my head);  myself being a moppy haired douche who took a make-out session or two for granted on several occasions; living through several more heartbreaks; and spending a good portion of my late teen's and twenties, working towards the hood-of-the-car-muscle-thing, I am more accepting; I can look beyond the petty differences and finally, at 40, enjoy the music for what it is.

I hate no one anymore.

Well, actually, I gotta say I tried with Deadheads. Sorry. But I was driving the PCH a while back and some dick in a jeep blaring a live "Sugar Magnolia" ruined it. He looked like the over-privileged assholes from towns like Wellesley who always liked it and were in denial of how rich they are; who, like the kids from Beverly Hills 90210, call their friends' parents by their first name. I don't care that the cover of "Women Are Smarter" rocks, I'll get my fix from Harry Belafonte's version...

Yes: It's better at 40 because you can contradict yourself in the same sub-section and roll out of it with but a simple justification:

At 40, you are more accepting but have keener eye and stronger intolerance for what was always bullshit.


At 33, drinking and dropping your pants at your 15th high school reunion is generally met with: " Oh God, that is getting soooo old...hasn't he grown up" and "It's so least at 20 it was something worth looking at."

But, put that bit aside for nearly a decade, and then resurrect it at the 25th and it's "He's an F'n riot!" "Oh man, still crazy after all these years...!" and "It's so good to be around somebody who still wants to have a good time!"

With balance (and some genetic luck), the drink won't have a grip on you. And when it's due time to be  a pant-dropping buffoon, you'll be able to summon that part of you to yours and everyone else's delight.


Less is more.


  1. Paul should i lift in my adidas or my pumas??....