Keith Mohr: Starting A Fitness Transformation at Age 50
When Keith Mohr recently turned 50, he looked in the mirror, hated what he saw, and decided to change. Keith shares his post-50 fitness journey with bestMastersFitness.com.
Q: Tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.
A: Right now, I am concentrating on gaining strength and continuing to shed fat through a combination of burst cardio and resistance training. My goal is to pitch in a senior league baseball game this spring. I pitched in high school and college, and high on my bucket list is striking someone out in a real game! Glory Days! I just have to get that feeling one more time before I depart this planet!
Q: Why the interest in this area?
A: I turned 50 on April 25 and was overweight (220 at 5’10”), tired, and lethargic. I realized if I did not turn it around, I’ll probably have a heart attack and kick the bucket. You see, heart disease runs in my family. My grandfather died of sudden cardiac arrest at 72. My dad had quadruple bypass surgery at age 66 saving his life. He’s now 78 and still kicking (that’s a miracle in itself!)
I had never exercised, and never lifted weights, even when I was active as a teenager and young adult. After I gave up playing baseball in my early 20’s, I played keyboards in a rock band, drank too much and did drugs. After that, I became a recording studio producer and started an internet-based business for musicians and bands in 1997. I would sit in one spot for at least 12 hours per day, drank too much sweet tea, and ate bad food. I’m surprised I didn’t die from inactivity. And like I wrote earlier, I turned the big 5-0h crap and saw the writing on my tombstone. I suppose you could say I made the decision to live.
Q: How do you stay in shape for your activities?
A: Again, my goal is to be fit enough to pitch in a game, which requires strong legs, core, and of course a strong arm. So, this is what I am concentrating on. When I started working out July 1, 2012, I had a 44” waist, 33% body fat, and had -0- muscle tone. I also found out my testosterone level was very low, under 200. In May 2012, I began receiving 200 mg of testosterone via injection weekly. For 2 months, I did not feel much difference. But then I started working out with a personal trainer and started eating clean and juicing. It was then I started feeling better, and the weight started coming off. I also noticed I was starting to see muscle tone coming back in my arms, chest and legs. I was recently tested again, and my level was 1560. Time to back off on the “T” a bit:) Crazy things start happening to your body when you are full of testosterone, mostly good things:)
Q: Tell us about your workouts. What do you do? How often?
A: I hit the gym 6 days a week. Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays are arms and core. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays are legs and abs. I do about 20 minutes of interval/burst cardio every day, either on the bike or rowing machine. I mix it up, so I do a variety of activity. The gym I go to, “Prairie Life Fitness” has Cybex and TechnoGym machines, along with dumbells, barbells, and all the regular equipment a gym has.
When I first started out in my fitness journey, I worked with a personal trainer who had me on a P90X/Insanity type of program that really kicked my butt. I did this for 2 months, from July to Sept 2012. I then switched to the gym and put together a circuit on the machines. On January 1, 2013 I introduced bench press, dumbbells and more traditional body building activities. I wanted to take it slow and build up some strength before diving into the heavier weights.
I’m in no hurry at this point, because at 50, you can overdo it and hurt yourself if you rush it and are not careful. I’m thrilled with my progress thus far, and I can see changes in my body that I thought I would never see. It amazes me how fast my body has responded to exercise and testosterone therapy. I can actually see my abs, and my arms and legs are really looking good!
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated?
A: Easy.. I don’t want to die young:) Plus, I am curious.. I wonder what I will look like in a year of working out. I’ll probably never look like you John, but I can still look good! I have an entrepreneurial spirit to me, and I like to see progress. Curiosity is what drives people like me!
Q: What is your biggest personal challenge to achieving and maintaining fitness over 50? How do you overcome that challenge?
A: I really haven’t had a challenge so far because I am just a little over 6 months into my fitness journey. But here is what I know: There are 2 words, “ideal” and “value.” An ideal is something you wish would happen, but you are unsure how to make it happen, or you are not willing to work at making it happen. A value is something you are willing to work at to make happen. I remember looking at my body in the mirror before I started my fitness journey, wishing I would look better and feeling terrible because I had let myself get to that point. However, at that time, I was not doing what needed to be done to get there because I simply did not want to work at it and had given up hope I could change my eating habits and get disciplined.
These days, I am doing what’s needed to be done, and I am looking pretty good! I have a ways to go, but I have seen huge changes to my body. And I’m happy about it! I enjoy going to the gym and seeing the same faces working hard in their fitness journey. It motivates me!
Q: How do you approach diet and nutrition? What are your meals like? What kind of supplements do you take, if any?
A: Here’s where I made huge changes.
Before I started my fitness journey, and actually for many years previous, I had terrible eating habits. Most days, I would not eat breakfast and would dive right into work. Hours would go by, and I would skip lunch, or I would eat at a restaurant and order high fat/calorie food. For dinner, I would pig out and eat large portions. In the evenings, I would snack on chips and have a few beers.
There was also a time in my life where I would work late into the night in my recording studio, and snack the entire the time on chips. I would then sleep in the next day until noon. Not very good habits. No wonder I felt bad and looked terrible.
When I started working out, I cut out processed food, bread, white rice, beer, sugar, eating at restaurants. I read information online to educate myself on the foods to stay away from and the foods to eat to lose weight. Nowadays, I start each day with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel-cut oats, with a tablespoon on Nutiva extra-virgin coconut oil mixed in. I cook it in a rice cooker, and it’s ready when I get up, at 8am. I spoon in some chia seeds, ground flax seed, add in banana, strawberries, or blueberries. On top, I throw some chopped raw almonds and drizzle some pure maple syrup. What a great way to start my day!
I also drink 2 large glasses of water before eating. Snack is usually something like raw almonds, or walnuts, or a green drink of kale, spinach, sweet potato. I also make and drink 1 large glass of fresh juiced carrots, Granny Smith apples, and fresh ginger. I love our Breville juicer!
I usually work out about 3PM. Before I work out, I’ll snack on celery with almond butter. I also drink 20 ounces of water with Modern BCAA and another 20 ounces during my workout. It seems to give me an extra kick. After my workout, I drink a BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder chocolate milkshake, with almond milk and a banana.
Q: Have you overcome injuries and/or surgeries? What were they? How did you overcome them?
A: I have nagging rotator cuff pain in my right shoulder that happened this spring when I stupidly tried to snag a line drive hit up the middle during a softball game. I jumped up to my left and stretched out my right arm and felt something pop. Since then.. it hurts. I’m a bit afraid to go get it checked out, because I’m pretty sure it’s a tear. I keep hoping I will work it out but most days, it hurts, and at night I can barely sleep on my right side. Fortunately, I am left handed, so I can still throw just fine.
I also have some knee pain in my left knee, but that seems to be working itself out. I think I did this when locking my legs during leg presses. I’m pressing 300 pounds, and I read it’s best not to lock your knees with that much weight. It feels good on my back though! Other than that, I feel great!
Q: Do you have a target weight and/or body fat level you maintain? What is it? How do you achieve it?
A: Currently, I am at about 195. I really thought I would weigh less at this point, but I learned muscle weighs more than fat. So, I bet I have lost about 40 pounds of fat, and gained about 20 pounds of muscle. I look completely different than before I started my fitness journey. I am currently at about 17% body fat, which is amazing, because I was at 33%! I have lost about 10 inches on my waist, so all my old pants fall off of me these days! I would like to get to about 180 pounds, but I have a feeling if I keep lifitng weights, I won’t get there, because of muscle gain. My body fat should continue to decline, because I am still eating clean and continuing to work out hard.
Q: What are your health and fitness goals for the future?
A: To continue taking good care of myself and working out. It’s become a lifestyle for me, and I look forward to it. I can’t wait to see how I look at the 1 year mark on July 1, 2013! Thank you John for your website and information, and for your personal encouragement. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my fitness journey with your audience! Ya’ll keep up the excellent faith-work!
For more information on getting into the very best shape of your life after age 50, check out BestFit50