Goodbye Bowflex, Hello Calisthenics

The last time I posted to this blog was way back in May. Yes, it has been a busy summer for sure and certain changes that I am making in different area’s of my life.

If you read many of my previous posts about Type II Diabetes and the battles and struggles I face each day with trying to keep my blood sugar in check, you have to know that I am still fighting that battle. I started eating a “Whole 30” diet and began a heavy lifting workout routine in the Spring. Although my diet is still geared in the direction of the whole 30, the weight lifting routine is changing. I worked my way up to a 410 lb. bench press while all other exercises increased in weight also. At 56 years old my body was looking more like that of a younger athlete. I am absolutely proud of this achievement, yet discouraged as well. While my pride was moving me right along each day catching yet another glimpse in the mirror of my increased progress, inside my body was going through hell dealing with all of the muscle damage each day. This is a natural cycle and the way muscle increases in size, but at 56 the inflammation was doing nothing but keeping my blood sugar in an up spiral. It seemed that no matter what I did to try to manage my weight lifting sessions to something more moderate, it was my pride that kept moving me forward to lifting heavier and heavier weight.

Last week I made the critical decision to remove the Bowflex Machine from my life. Yes, I did it. I posted an ad on a local neighborhood site and sold it. I figured that sometimes it just makes sense to remove those things from my life that stand in the way to a real solution of dealing with T2D. I have worked with that bowflex for almost 3 years now and twice purchased sets of additional 100 lbs. of weight bars for it. I have probably spent thousands of hours with it and letting it go was not easy, but I did it.

This doesn’t in any way mean that I am giving up on exercise of course. No, not at all. I am now spending a little more time focusing on walking on my treadmill and soon will be re-learning those things that I was taught so long ago – Calisthenics. I will be working with nothing but my own body weight and setting up a schedule of natural exercises that will be slightly challenging in measure yet not enough to cause problems with inflammation. These are the same exercises we all performed in High School during our warmup sessions in gym. For me it was these exercises and stretching I performed before any athletic event I was part of.

Another reason for this change is geared more towards the future. At my age the levels of testosterone my body has is certainly different from when I was 30 years old and no matter how much I progressed in weight lifting my body will plateau at one point. Body building is an art form for the younger man. For the older you either reach a point where you can no longer move forward or start taking hormone replacement drugs. I don’t like taking drugs, so it’s time for me to get out of the game.

As my career life moves forward I know that soon I will come to the age of retirement. There are dreams I have and things I want to do like traveling in a motorhome across the country. Not full time, but maybe just for a few months at a time. The area’s I dream of visiting don’t always have a gym and the one’s that do are expensive. With T2D it will always be important to work my body in a way that maintains my health. Calisthenics can be performed anywhere. It is the perfect platform to create a routine of exercises that I can perform both in my garage or at a campground nested in bosom of nature. The treadmill will be replaced with early morning walks and hikes through an environment that yearns for my presence.

Working the body with little to no exercise equipment also is in align with my spirit of minimalism. The less we own the happier we become. However it doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain things that I will need while in my current environment. Yes, the fact is that I still live in a region where it rains close to 9 months out of the year. It is for this reason that I am constantly creating an environment in my own garage which is geared towards a place I can feel comfort in a simple exercise regimen. Recently I decided to cover the concrete floor in the garage with inexpensive laminent flooring which I found at Home Depot on sale. I also purchased a Power Tower which will allow me to imitate many of the exercises I would perform at an outside playground right in the comfort of my garage. I am also eyeing large calisthenic posters which describe all of the exercises I will be performing but only placed them on my wish list on amazon because they are a little pricy.

As we grow older changes seem to come to us more rapidly and the one thing we can always depend on is change itself. We have two choices: 1. Get stuck, 2. Learn to adapt. Adaptation is one of the hardest things in life to deal with as it seams that we are always targeting getting into that comfort zone and once we find it, it becomes difficult to leave it. Learning to embrace these changes and finding the ability to slightly tweak life with a few minor adjustments is the key to staying on a positive path.


About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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22 Responses to Goodbye Bowflex, Hello Calisthenics

  1. Kim Smyth says:

    You look fantastic Billy! Keep up the good work, and I hear people have good results with yoga…I really need to get back into that myself!

  2. I was also going to say have you tried yoga? Its works with nothing but your own body, make it as strong or as gentle as you need, good for the mind, always more to discover.

  3. scrapstitching says:

    I have done two Whole30s and am still rather paleo-ish, and have also changed my basic exercising. I have type 2 and for the past three weeks, I’ve been following decent eating (including an occasional intentional cheat with resultant higher readings) and have started walking again. I lift light weights, nothing like a body builder would do, and have learned that every other day is enough. I’m learning to listen to my recently-turned-62 body and am respecting it probably more than ever before. The problem with my diabetes is that I never really felt it. BUT! Now that I’ve taken control of my input and movement, I do feel the positive results. I appreciate your concept of exercising simpler. Congrats on your decision to move onto something more suited for you.

  4. geekkat says:

    You look great!! Glad to hear you are ok. As others have is a great exercise! It uses your body and calms your mind.

  5. Ariane says:

    glad you’re back at blogging 👍🏼

  6. Cara says:

    Glad to see your blog… #GetStuck #Adapt was an important message.

  7. hsampson says:

    Welcome back Billy! You look as sharp as ever! Nice to see you back here! I cannot wait to read more of your posts!

  8. Next on the cover of Men’s Health? You look great. If your testosterone is low, you would feel better on it, less tired, and would put muscle on more easily. Low testosterone also causes and worsens type 2 diabetes in men. I’m on testosterone myself, as I’m on oestrogen only HRT. I feel less anxious on it, more positive, have more muscle and the downsides are a greater appetite and worse acne. Don’t write it off without knowing your level/considering the benefits.

    • It does scare me a bit as I always worry about side effects. Although I can feel my reduction, all tests point in the directions of my testosterone exactly where it should be at my age. I suppose I am having difficulties with the fact that I am aging.

  9. dfolstad58 says:

    Good post, clear thinking and subtly giving readers a takeaway for themselves, living simply and healthier by willingness to plan and execute changes in lifestyle. I did. What about mental challenges? How do you stimulate those cells?

  10. gitfitsite says:

    Good to see you blogging again, missed your posts.

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