The Need For PT

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Some days I modify my route just for unpredictability, but most days on my lunch walk I go by a public transportation hub in my city. There are often armed DHS agents there, along with local cops.

Today when I saw the group, all duded-up in their tac vests with plastic pistols, I said to myself, “Ah, there’s a fat-ass Fed.” Then I said, “Why, there’s fat-ass number two, and look, there’s fat-ass number three” (who was a local cop trying to elbow in on the yammering-and-yakking session with the DHS boys, none of whom were doing anything of value for their pay).  Uh huh, mama makes some good biscuits and gravy, doesn’t she?  Yea, I like the biscuits and gravy too, but it doesn’t like me so much any more.  A half dozen FedGov employees doing absolutely nothing, with a couple of local *.gov employees doing absolutely nothing.  Welcome to America.  It sounds like communism, yes?

Anyway, we can be better than that, regardless of age. The days that I could eat anything and do nothing and get away with it are long gone.  As a general rule, I go on a three mile walk every day at lunch.  In the afternoon, I climb fifteen flights of stairs.  In the evenings after work (three or four days a week) I go the gym and lift weights and do resistance work, and before that I might climb another 35-50 flights on the stair machine.  After dinner at night, I take the dogs on another 1.5-2 mile walk.

As a general rule I do my own yard work rather than pay somebody to do it (or leave it undone, which is the second worst option since entropy always increases). On the weekends I always try to do some sort of more extreme workout like hike with weight on our many mountains in the area, or better yet, ride some single track at Dupont, Lake James or Bent Creek.  Going down the mountains is exhilarating.  To go down, you have to go up, which is exquisitely difficult.  It’s always a thigh burner and lung scorcher.  And I make sure it hurts, and try to keep going when the lactic acid is screaming to stop.

I’ve cut carbs a good bit, and reintegrated (good) fat to my diet, along with high protein intake and protein shakes, and try to stick with steamed vegetables. I almost never eat bread any more, and I’ve cut my dairy intake to almost nothing (except for the whey in the shakes).  Lactose is sugar and will add belly fat faster than anything else you do except maybe eating potato chips or ice cream and apple pie.

Belly fat is a killer. It leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, reduced testosterone and loss of sex drive.  Get rid of it.  You don’t need it for anything.  It’s your enemy.  It’s your enemy because if you are 40-60 years old, you’re at your peak income-earning potential.  Your family needs you.

And your family needs you to protect them. If you’re weak and become easily winded, you can’t fight.  You may as well sell all of your weapons to me.  So am I some sort of physical specimen?  No, I’m a 58 year old man with asthma and RA.

I have RA so severely that the knuckles on my right hand are swollen enough from joint scarring to cause me to get rid of all of my cheap plastic pistols that have double-stack mags. I can’t grip them correctly, I just don’t get good purchase.  Every handgun in my safe now is a single stack 1911, which fits perfectly and holds well with my deformed hand (except for wheel guns or my FN5.7, which is also an internal hammer gun).  Every handgun I own now is a hammer gun.  Honestly, getting rid of the scratchy, crinkly, cheap-ass rubber-band feel of the striker fired handguns is probably the best outcome of having RA.

So again, I’m not a physical specimen. Believe me when I say that if I can do this, you can too.  We need to be better than those fat-ass DHS boys.  There are some of you who don’t need to hear this.  You get your PT by chasing Elk around Montana with guns.  Goody for you, not all of us can live in Montana.  Besides, you can do that all day long and if you eat Mama’s gravy and biscuits and drink beer at night, you may still have a gut.

One final word about recovery. In order to recover from this kind of exercise, you need good and protracted sleep.  Don’t be fooled by the supermen, the special operators, into thinking that long duration endurance runs or no sleep is actually a good thing.  My former Marine also did that sort of thing when he went for days without sleep in Iraq, or put on 120 pound kit and “humped” 20 miles in 110 degree heat.  He’s now healthier, leaner and in better shape than he was in the Marine Corps.

According to studies, “just as there are things men can do to boost levels, there are activities that lower testosterone scores. Endurance exercises, such as marathon training or cycling long distances, can lower levels, as can stress. Dr. Bhasin said that the kind of training endured by special armed forces — tough exercise, lack of sleep and food — can cause testosterone to drop to the levels of men who have been castrated — lower than 50 (ng/dL).”


  1. On May 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    I can’t “point” a double stack either on account of my first three digits on my right hand lost at sea on a September halibut opener on the Gulf of Alaska back in the ’80’s. I have enough of my trigger finger, just past the middle knuckle to reach and squeeze the trigger. Not all handguns fit…most don’t. My pinky and my thumb are the only full digits on my right hand. 1911 ‘s fit perfect on account of their skinny I get it.

    Sorry about your RA. I’m 63 and I am still blessed with strength with no known maladies. My PT is daily because all my work is strenuous and outside. I still choke the salmon, fell the trees for winter heat, split the wood with maul and axe, plant 10 acres in potatoes, kale, broccoli, cabbage, carrots. I plant three high tunnels, in March, (30’x70’ heated and cooled) in tomatoes, cukes, pickles, zucchini, squash, green beans and sweet peas. We have long days in summer up here. Right now our days are 17+ hours and we still have a month to go for summer solstice. We gain about 7 mins a day.

    I no longer long-line. No more high seas fishing. Two-plus decades of Alaska commercial fishing is no more. Only inshore/beach gillnetting salmon for subsistence.

    My testosterone score must be fine because I have two biological children ages 6 and 8.

    And when fall is upon us, its berry picking and moose/caribou season.

    God bless Herschel. I can tell you are a good man. I read your blog regularly. You would be a good fit for Alaska.

  2. On May 23, 2018 at 8:59 am, SGT.BAG said:

    Unhook from cyberspace and live in meat space. Harden your heart, your mind and your body.

    Exactly 2 months ago I was backpacking South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails at the Grand Canyon with my daughters. 17.3 miles round trip in 2 days with an elevation loss/gain of 4500 ft and I am almost 58.

    You are truly on your own and NOBODY is coming to save you…..grow a pair, Ladies.

  3. On May 23, 2018 at 9:04 am, Capitalist Eric said:

    I’m 51, suffering from severe arthritis in both knees. I am avoiding going under the knife for knee replacement surgery, but my PT program was exacerbating the situation.

    I took a gamble, bought a supplement called “joint formula” from the store. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, nor do I make any claim as to the value or credibility of infowars. But I CAN attest to the effectiveness of their “joint formula,” and suggest you try it for your hands. You might be surprised… in my case, this is the first time in… at least a year, where I’ve been able to take stairs without suffering and using hand-rails.

    As to PT, I started getting back into a year ago, as I gathered survival/shtf gear and weapons. Takeaways? First, your PT program will never match the weight of all the crap you need to carry. So you have to push yourself harder, and train honestly. Next, seriously consider what you *must have in your kit, and shed weight wherever possible. Another point, start dynamic firearms training (versus static, from-a-bench) stooting. Accurately shooting your AR is simple when you’re using a bipod and bags, on a bech, but a very different story when you’re wearing a backpack with 30# of gear, a plate carrier and youve got a high pulse and breathing rate from running with all that stuff. Finally, recognizing that you’re not a young buck anymore is important, to learning what you CAN realistically do, physically. If, like me, you can’t run, try to find supplements to help alleviate the symptoms (and have a years supply at all times), and try to develop solutions to accommodate your issue.

    The ONLY way to learn what you’re capable of- and even push those limits- is to get off your butt and DO something. Inertia, for the coming festivities, is quite dangerous, may be fatal. IMHO.

  4. On May 23, 2018 at 9:28 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Alaskan

    Re: “God bless Herschel. I can tell you are a good man. I read your blog regularly. You would be a good fit for Alaska.”

    Dang, man – you sound like one tough son-of-a-gun. You’re awesome! Salutes and tributes, man, salutes and tributes. You’re an inspiration!

  5. On May 23, 2018 at 9:33 am, Herschel Smith said:


    In a different life, God gives me the chance to live in Alaska and do what you do. Alas, it’s not to be.

    If I’m ever up your way, I’ll stop by and you can take me into the bush for a hunting trip.

  6. On May 23, 2018 at 9:36 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re:”Exactly 2 months ago I was backpacking South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails at the Grand Canyon with my daughters. 17.3 miles round trip in 2 days with an elevation loss/gain of 4500 ft and I am almost 58.”

    I’ll make you laugh. Back in the day (1980s), my older brother and I hiked the Grand Canyon. We made to the bottom in pretty good time, and thought we were pretty hot stuff.

    Along comes this – ahem – less-than-young female Park Ranger; turns out she lives in the bottom of the canyon pretty much year-round. After we visit a while, she informs us: “We, sorry to run off, but I’ve to make to the top – I’ve got a date,” and off she goes. Turns out she could beat our time for the journey – while climbing!

  7. On May 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm, Bill Robbins said:

    The 1911 pressure is pretty intense out there.

  8. On May 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm, JoeFour said:

    I’d recommend all of post-50 / 60 year old men look into TRT — testosterone replacement therapy. I’ve been on TRT for 10 plus years and can honestly say it changed my life dramatically for the better. IMO, TRT makes “growing-old-as-gracefully-as-possible” both a reasonable expectation and an obtainable goal. Its not magic but combined with weight training and aerobic exercise its as close to magic as you can get.

  9. On May 23, 2018 at 4:25 pm, scott s. said:

    JoeFour, just remember that TRT is banned in and out of competition and it’s almost impossible to get a TUE. Of course most of us couldn’t give a rat’s-ass about WADA rules, but there are those who compete in Masters competitions.

  10. On May 24, 2018 at 8:33 am, Jeb said:

    I’m 56, former Marine 03. Someone wrote about Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails in GC. Me too. I just did Rim to Rim to Rim, about 48 miles in one shot. Took me 22 hrs. I stopped running about a year ago and do nothing but hike with a heavy pack and resistance (kettlebells and free weights). I also do intermittent fasting, no more breakfast and fast from dinner to dinner every other day. I keep my range time up as well, I’m brining my SOCOM 16 and Glock 29 to the outdoor range later today. YOU HAVE TO KEEP MOVING! (and shooting) .

  11. On May 24, 2018 at 8:34 am, RM said:

    Herschel, I went on a strict Keto diet for six weeks. I kept my carbs at under 10 grams per day. After day three, my asthma improved by 99%. For the first time in decades, I could breath free and clear. I went from using a rescue inhaler 3 to 7 times a day to almost never having to use it. What a blessing. After 4 months on Keto I lost 35 lbs of fat since Keto switches your body from fat storing mode to fat burning mode. I found out after I started Keto that many people experience a significant lessening of asthma symptoms due to the lessening of inflammation brought about by the Keto diet. I have also read some people have experienced relief from arthritis problems and other inflammation based medical problems using Keto. I feel so good I will never go back to a high carb diet. I’m keeping my carbs these days under 20 grams per day and making sure to keep my PT going. Trust in The Lord and keep your powder dry.

  12. On May 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm, Prepperdaddy said:

    RM – I can attest to your story on the Keto diet. I started about 3 months ago when my A1C, type 2 diabetes, hit 8. Been going up for years. At last Dr. visit A1C was down to 6.3 and i have stopped taking meds. As of now I have lost 31 pounds, when I started I was 337 pounds. I try to eat no more then 50 carbs a day and am workjng on getting that down to 20.

  13. On May 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm, shane said:

    2 hour gym work out twice a week, get a kick out of kids 1/3rd my age (63) wide eyed as I knock out a set of 55 lb weighted chin-ups or 450 lb leg press. 4 times a week also take hour brisk walk with 36 lb pack for 3.5 miles, all strict aerobic via calm nose breathing. Not interested in stress of running, just re-building aerobic under a load to go longer/further/easier. Fan of IF and low carb, high protein, modest fat. So far, so good, actually, in some ways, approaching best condition of my life…

  14. On May 24, 2018 at 4:18 pm, shane said:

    Regarding keto low carb curing a lot of ills, great 2017 documentary on netflix and elsewhere entitled; “The Magic Pill”, well worth seeing…

  15. On May 25, 2018 at 9:47 pm, Patrice Stanton said:

    Just finished watching “The Magic Pill,” on YT for free here ( Very worthwhile. Hadn’t heard of it before, so thanks, Shane.

  16. On May 26, 2018 at 8:29 am, Talktome said:

    Glad low/no carb is getting a mention. All carbs are sugar, as far as your body is concerned. Sugars acidify your body – bad, and cause inflammation – also bad. I went carb free last year for 6weeks. Dropped 21 lbs and knees stopped hurting (they always hurt going up/down stairs) after 3 weeks. Btw, no expertise was involved in the weight loss, this was strictly a diet change. I’m starting up again and planning things out to make the first few weeks of carb withdrawal (this is why most can’t stick to no carb diets) easier.

    I’m curious about testosterone supplements, besides the trt, anyone have recommendations to boost testosterone?

  17. On May 30, 2018 at 11:52 pm, BRVTVS said:

    Some research suggests that probiotics may help RA.

  18. On July 19, 2018 at 1:27 am, BRVTVS said:

    @ Herschel

    A new study is out suggesting the value of oral baking soda for RA.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Personal and was published May 22nd, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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