Plan B

Or, what to do when you don’t inherit incredible genetics.

I was getting a mani/pedi the other day when a woman sat down in the pedi seat next to me. She was somewhat trim but had aged, as in, aged poorly. I guessed her to be late 50’s/early 60’s (but admittedly I really suck at guessing ages.) Anyways. She had kind of  a too much sun, too many shmokes skin thing going on and her face looked pretty tired. She was nice and friendly though and polite. I like polite. The employees at this particular shop know I have a black iron gym and know I train and one girl brought it up. The nice woman next to me says, ‘Oh, I’m too old for that.’ I said Black Iron training is certainly not for everyone but age is not a factor. Then I asked how old she was. 44. W!T!Ffffff!!!! When asked, I told her I’ll be 47 on Sunday. I honestly don’t think she believed me. Not because I’m anything special, but maybe just because she has aged SO poorly.

It got me thinkin about my genes. See, I have pretty crappy genes. Though my biological mother died at 21 in a car wreck, and though I believe she was very beautiful, she was on a crappy Hawaiian diet where  at some point that rice and sugar extravaganza would have caught up to her. It caught up to my tutu who slowly lost limbs to Diabetes. I have relatives who struggle with weight and I’m one of them. I’ve said it before many times, I’m a fat kid just staving off obesity (although Weight Watchers says I’m a fatty. F*k them.)


Fast forward to an awesome German dinner me and Bigg ate last night. A new place has opened up and we loved it. A comfortable German bier hall feeling with excellent food. Yeah ‘tosa. We talked about whether food or strength training will impact someones aging more. I vote food. Food is by far the determining factor as to how our body functions. We can strength train, but if we destroy our body later in the day with food, what’s the point? Sure, we’re strong (kind of.) But we are fighting chronic inflammation and we already know what that does for us. Nothing good. The clock is ticking on the inflammed, quicker than the rest of us. Unless we have a sleeping Aneurysm, than we’re screwed.

Moving on.

I noticed a picture of Sophia Loren (I know, I’m skipping around a lot, stay with me) on my throwing pal’s FB page (Herro Mona!) with a saying that she owes her looks to spaghetti or something . Ok, first off, I’ve always admired Sophia Loren’s look. My mother has a cousin who was a stunt double for Sophia Loren and looked uncannily just like her only stronger. It was SO glamorous having that in our family tree. She has aged so incredibly that I’d love to know her secret and no, I’m not believing spaghetti is one of them. So I googled for a picture of she and her mother. Ohhhhhhhhh. Rog. Check it out. Spaghetti didn’t build those looks, mommy did. Genetics, she haz them.

SO, bringing it all in. What do we do when we don’t have genetics giving us a helping hand in this aging thing. I mean, we want to age right? Or else we’re dead, and then I can’t rant and rave so, ya that sucks. I don’t have the Sophia Loren genetics, no offense Barbara Jean and Edward. Somewhere in my history I had a somewhat natural athlete, to them I say THANK YOU! Somewhere in my history I had a really confrontational, stern relative; okay, it was my Tutu. She was the shit, or so I’m told. I have some of her roughness. But I don’t have the genetics of longevity, I’ve already outlived my birth parents by over 25 and 6 years.

On to Plan B, taking care of myself. And no, I don’t mean eating leaves and running. I eat meat, lots of it. More carbs these days than I have for a long time but if the bodybuilder coach I have says I can then I’m on it. I train, as in strength train. And although I do push myself as much as I believe I can recover from (nightmares from 10×10 are still frequent), I don’t train like an asshole constantly driving myself into the ground. I lay out a plan, follow it, adjust as necessary as life determines. I follow one program, I don’t jump because something different has worked for someone else and then add in a few other things that I read someone else did, etc. I don’t allow someone to sell me a “random works” program. I do most things I can to be good to my body.

Lucky for me, Plan B also includes my lifestyle. I’m back up north where I belong in a great town with my guy. He is also committed to be strong and as healthy as Strongman can be (most days;) I am afforded the ability to sleep well, eat well, and train well. Believe me, I am thankful for that every day. I’ve been in situations where non of those things were happening. My time in Texas aged me, poorly. I was constantly stressed, constantly broke, constantly running, and seemingly constantly failing. The relationships I made there are treasured, everything else can pound sand (well, except the BBQ. Gawd I miss the BBQ.) I was aging quickly and poorly. That was scary for me. But then my Strongman swooped in and saved me (I totally just pictured Johnny Weissmuller.) Literally. Saved me.

There’s always a Plan B available, we may just need to start looking for it and who knows, maybe IT will find US.

I admit, I get a bit nostalgic around my birthday. There’s been a bunch, hopefully there’ll be a bunch more. Hopefully I’ll still be in the gym for all of them to come. For now, that’s Plan B. Those of you who get Plan A, I hate you. Nahhhhh, not really. Heh. Life is good, Plan B is pretty damn good.

ON that note, my pal Big Daddy O’Neill posted an old video of Clint Walker this morning which basically said everything I had already typed out. So I’m stealing it, thanks Big Daddy!

He’s awfully hunky.

Sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got and 50% what people think you’ve got.

Sophia Loren

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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