Sunday, August 17, 2008

My New Address

The Gray Iron Fitness blog has moved. Blogger has been great, and I appreciate the many friends who have written kind words and added me to their lists.

The move is a practical one because I have opened a new enlarged fitness web site ( My blog and the Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter are a part of the new web site.

Please take a look at the new blog site here. The orange XML/RSS sign-up button is in the left-hand column.

Best regards to all.


Gray Iron Fitness

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Good Questions from the UK

To: Gray Iron

Thanks for your latest newsletter - I always look forward to it.

Perhaps in a future issue you could consider recovery. I train Monday Wednesday Friday - why? Tradition. Occasionally I train Monday and Thursday having read about the importance of recovery, and some even recommend seven to ten days between training.
Any observations you may have would be interesting.

I see that Ellington Darden also recommends 15-20 reps for older trainers, but why?


Leo T.

LF: Thanks for the kind words.

There are successful coaches and trainers who advocate widely different approaches to training, including intensity and frequency. This probably sounds trite, but you have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you.

Personally, I like a six-days-per-week structure. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do 30 minutes of weights followed by 15 minutes of Graded Exercise Protocol (GXP) cardio on a stationary bike. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I walk 30 minutes or more in the hills. Since I never train to failure in any workout, and my workouts are brief, the short recovery time works for me. I have a simple rule about this: If I am still tired after having a good night's sleep, I'm probably doing too much. I'm 71 years old.

I think it is Clarence Bass (a senior and champion bodybuilder) who does a couple of days of hard training, and then waits a week before training again (Check his web site to be sure I have it right). On the other hand, Matt Furey, who uses body weight exercises exclusively, trains daily. But I think some days are light and others are intense.

I have to admit that I haven't read any of Ellington Darden's books, but I know he is a respected trainer. I'm not sure what ages he means when he refers to "older" trainees. Fifteen to 20 reps may sound high, but I would imagine he is telling seniors they are better off not making maximum efforts with heavy weights for low reps. If that is his reasoning, I agree. As you know, blood pressure goes sky-high during such all out efforts, which is probably not a good thing for us older folks.

Less is more -- except when it comes to reps.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What is a Senior, Anyway?

Since my web site and newsletters are designed as services to people over age 50, the following “Dear Abby” item from today’s newspaper caught my eye.

A reader writes Abby: “Could you please tell me at what age can a person claim to be a senior citizen?”

(I’ve often wondered that, too. -LF)

Abby answers: “I have known some people in their 20s who were ‘older’ than many vibrant people in their 80s. Years ago, individuals were considered to be seniors at 65. But then AARP began soliciting people at age 50.

“The specific age to qualify for senior-hood isn’t carved in granite — as you will find in various restaurants and movie theaters.”


When I was in my 50s, I sure didn’t think of myself as a senior. Still, after age 50 it is time to recognize that some physical activities ought to be moderated, or there’s a price to be paid later. That doesn’t mean you should baby yourself. But it does mean that overuse injuries are more likely, and they won’t heal as fast as when you were younger.

As the saying goes, workouts should be “age appropriate.”