How many people will you have to piss off to live long and die hard?

Posted by Al Boyle
On July 23, 2023

In my first newsletter, I encouraged you to question what you think you know about health, fitness, and longevity so you can live long and die hard.

There are two main reasons to consider doing this:

  1. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.
  2. Some of your beliefs may stem from it.

What’s not as easy to reconcile is, some of the misinformation may have come from those closest to you. 😱

In my family, there’s a history of back problems. Not naming names, just saying I’m not the only one who’s dealt with them. That knowledge could lead me to believe it runs in our family and to believe others when they float the possibility.

Could it be true? Sure. Do I believe it’s true? I’m skeptical.

What if my back problems arose from improper weight training because I never engaged with a personal trainer to ensure proper form? I just imitated what others were doing and looked at pictures in books. That’s how this 6′ 1″, 140-pound freshman skyrocketed to a hulking 155-pound high school graduate.

People told me I was strong for my size, which was a kind way of telling me they’d be relieved to meet me in a dark alley.

I went twenty-one years between herniating two disks and needing back surgery. During those twenty-one years, I was earning two black belts and strength training, the latter with “smart” precautions in the earliest years like avoiding squats altogether.

Slow clap. Personal trainer of the year, right there. Maybe I could’ve also performed agility drills in quicksand or worked my arms on separate days (and please don’t tell me separate arm days is a thing).

Twenty-one years.

So, if bad backs run in my family, and it only gets worse as you get older, how did I avoid surgery for so long?

I believe staying active with my misguided regimen was far, far better than sitting home and popping ibuprofen. And my doctors agree.

Further to the point: When I had my first surgery, my medical team told me the average person needs a cleanup procedure within five years. I went thirteen years.

What do I believe did me in? A training technique issue, the absence of balance in my workouts, or both. Once I had surgery, I believe I overestimated my weakened disk’s ability to handle the load. And I’ll likely never know the truth because I won’t be pushing myself the same way I once did.

My body just sent me a telepathic GOOD! It barked it at me… a lot of history there.

No one knows everything, and even experts can disagree with each other. Be as prepared to be humbled as you are to be humble.

Generational and societal influences can bring emotional baggage to the equation. They can also be your greatest source of support.

Just remember – it’s not a rite of passage to repeat your ancestors’ mistakes. I’d love to think yours would be as indignant as mine if you knew better or could’ve known better, yet you made the mistake, anyway. People can believe some dubious things.

Vet the information you’re going to trust. And that includes mine: I’m learning as I go and sharing what I learn. And unlearn, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Let’s help each other, pull for each other, and hold each other accountable. Because If your journey’s anything like mine, the more you investigate, the more eye-opening and fascinating it becomes.

You be you. You only get to live one life, and your future self thanks you for making this investment.

Let’s go disrupt some patterns and change history for the better.



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