A Fairwell To Legs…

Seventeen years ago next week, I experienced two words that would change my life forever; parachute malfunction.

The Lincoln Sport Parachute Club in Weeping Water, NE. This is where it all went down. And when say, "went down", I mean went down much faster than expected...

During my recovery from the accident I wrote a book entitled, Gravity Works.  It was a summary of the events that lead up to my little mishap in the sky.  I put it  the book on ice because honestly,  it sucks.  That said, here is an excerpt from chapter 7:

“I hit the ground like a just clobbered Floyd Paterson, and rebounded with the approximate coherency of Floyd the barber.  I had two distinct thoughts during my first conscious moment on the ground.  I began picking pieces of the damp soil from between my teeth and my mind focused on an evening news segment I had seen a couple days prior.  It was footage of professional football player, Dennis Byrd, walking with his wife along the rim of their country home outside of Tulsa.”

More of this chapter to follow in next weekend’s column.  And for now, there is this from Shinedown.  Peace… 

Scale Back The Use Of It…

Ike Ike baby; who your scale tries to be...

Weight A Minute, Somebody’s Lookin’ To Get Slapped

The bathroom scale is like an abusive spouse; it will tell you something wonderful every so often to keep you attached.  When you’re least expecting it though, it might slap you into next week – just for being there, regardless of your good intentions. Like a spouse abused, a person will cringe, duck their head, and go back for more – every day.  Like any abusive relationship, this dysfunction is born of incompatibility.  Perhaps a separation might be in order…

A Tool, A Weapon, A Reminder

At the request of a client, I recently purchased a scale for my studio. I had lived without a scale for years because knowing my bodyweight has not been of consequence to me.  I can still wear the same jeans I wore in high school, I can run faster than my kid, and on a clear day I can still see my abs – so the scale has nothing to offer me. Still, I conceded my client’s request because I felt the scale might be an effective tool in her weight-loss project. It turned out not be useful, and the scale was soon put under a rack of dumbbells in my studio to gather dust.  A forgotten scale is like a forgotten land mine – watch out where you step.

Depression in sepia...

I paid nearly $200 for my scale and believe it to be accurate.  Aesthetically pleasing, my scale has lots of chrome and a sort of art-deco look to it, despite the digital display. My scale caught my eye quite a bit in the beginning. We were near each other for hours at a time, and it constantly winked at me.  Still, I resisted the temptation to step upon it – I need not know.

 The Slip

After 6 months of spending all day in the same room with my shiny scale, it got the better of me.  One afternoon I gave in to temptation and took a bite from this chrome apple in my Garden Of Eatin’; 172 lbs.  I thought nothing of it because the last time I had been on a scale nearly a year earlier I was… 172 lbs. See, no need for a scale.

 A couple of days had passed and I decided to step on my scale again – to confirm my 172 lbs. Oops; 176lbs. Wow!  What a fat tub lard I turned out to be. Four pounds in two days… sad.   

 Since I could think of no significant departures from my systematic eating and exercise behaviors that might have caused this weight gain, I decided a little more cardio would be in order until I arrive back to 172 lbs.  I made no eating changes – simply chose to earn my way back to 172 lbs. by burning some calories.

 Three days later I stepped on my scale once again; 169 lbs. Yeah me!  A little extra cardio served me well. Seven pounds down in three days – all was well again.  This meant I could eat a bit more to get back to 172. Carne asada burrito with extra guacamole, here I come…

Oh the goodness of my once-monthly carne burro... Thank you Robertito's!

…and there I went; 175 lbs. the next day.  Came and went for three or four days in this fashion; more food/less food, more cardio/less cardio, more bodyweight/less bodyweight. Then it hit me – I was caught in the deadly rip-current of scale ebb and flow. And I thought this only happened to the weak. 

 To reason my way out of this, and to support my commitment to a non-scale way of life, I conducted a non-scientific experiment yesterday.  I chose to weigh myself 5 times throughout the course of an average day in my so-called fitness life. Here are the results:

 6:00am, post 30 minutes of (hard) cardio on an empty stomach: 171

10:00am, after 1 full breakfast, and a mid-morning snack: 174

2:00pm, after lunch, and a light afternoon snack: 173

5:00pm, prior to dinner, but after 2 44 ounce cups of coffee: 176

9:00pm, after a 60 minute strength workout: 173

 In a single day I gained and lost a total of 10 lbs. – fluids mostly, and digesting foods. Sweat lost from hard exercise = weight lost. Forty-four ounce cup of coffee, two times = weight gained. Food in and food released = pounds gained and pounds released.

 For the example cited above, I will always suggest that should one choose to use a scale as a tool with their weight-loss effort, one should weigh his or her self no more than every 3-5 weeks, allowing enough time between weigh-ins to demonstrate legitimate fat-loss – separate and distinct from the 10 pounds which can be gained and lost by the actions of living normal day.

 Utility With Responsibility

I will concede to my friend Dr. J that a scale can be a sound tool to monitor weight-loss, or to monitor one’s healthy bodyweight.  But the effectiveness of the scale as a tool is directly tied to the responsibility of its use, and the understanding of its power to corrupt good intentions.  I suggest that if you use your scale regularly, yet fear the experience of the bitch-slap each morning, make one of the following changes:

1)      Put a renewed, more serious effort into improving your fitness lifestyle, possibly even recruiting the services of a fitness or nutrition professional, thus giving the scale a better chance to make you smile.

2)      Lower your expectations.

3)      Throw away your scale.

Depressed each morning...? Place your scale here....

No Weigh Or The Highweigh

My experience yesterday reminded me how deceiving the scale can be. This is simply a non-scientific reminder that even an educated and disciplined fitness enthusiast can fall victim to that sinister device.  When it comes to monitoring weight-loss, the scale might be a good tool, though I suggest two better tools to emphaszie; eat well and move. Be well.  rc

Ike Turner And The Bottoms Of Your Feet…

This week’s tease: 

 “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

 My post this weekend might dispel that ideal…

 Tune in this weekend for a post from the past — updated!  rc

Pow, right in the kisser....!!!

The Battlefield; The 11th Question…

 “I was dead for 14 billion years before I was born. So when I die again, I should be quite adept.”  Richard Dawkins

Missiles In A Large, Empty Space

A battlefield exists, different than any you can imagine. It’s a place of infinite space, with everywhere to run, and nowhere to hide. It’s a theater where an ongoing battle takes place between the opposing forces of ability and reason, and where the tenets of can versus should attack each other daily, unprovokedThese opposing sides of a single concept, take orders from one leader – instructing both camps to fully leverage their potential against the other. The battleground I speak of…?  You guessed it – it’s all in my head.

What the inside of my head looks like...

This battle between ability and reason, reaches for a clear answer to one simple question: just because somebody can do something in exercise or fitness, does it mean that they should? 

To be born at born at all, is to have been automatically assigned a death sentence.  To be born American, might expedite that sentence.  Me

Can Vs. Should

There are many methods, trends, and agendas offered by many practitioners in fitness.  Who’s to say what’s wrong in exercise, or what’s right? Just because a 73 year old woman can bench press 90 pounds, does it mean she should?

Before that question can be answered though, the question might also be raised: What might be the consequence of that action?

Question further: Could it adversely affect her health or quality of life?

Further still: Could it benefit her? 

One more question: If the 73 year old woman can bench press 90 pounds without a consequence and chooses not to, is that choice wrong as well?

That was a sample inquiry, but the ideology behind it can apply to everyone who exercises regularly, within any genre of fitness.  One has to exercise supreme honesty to benefit from this approach.

My 30 years experience in exercise and fitness has taught me that nobody has clear answers, but the wisest and most cultured fitness enthusiast, is the one who asks the most mindful questions...

Framing Your Fitness

Fitness, is a word which has been hijacked and transmogrified over recent decades by varying factions from reasonable to bad intent, each wanting to wholly own the term and use the lure and the promise of that term to promote (usually) for-profit agendas – not necessarily consistent with what true fitness might be.  Me  

Here are 10 lesser questions to consider first, before you sign on to work with a trainer, or subscribe to a particular style of exercise:

  1. What is it you are trying to accomplish?
  2. What is the risk involved with your long-term and short-term health?
  3. Is your goal achievable?
  4. If it is achievable, is it realistic for you and your circumstance?
  5. How long will it take you to achieve your goal?
  6. How much time do you have to dedicate to this endeavor?
  7. Do you have the financial means to achieve this?
  8. What gets sacrificed along the way; family, work, friends, other hobbies, etc.?
  9. Will the results be worth the sacrifice, the investment of your time, and the investment of your money?
  10. Who are you really doing it for?

Only after these questions have been answered, can a form begin to take shape with one’s fitness structure. With these answers can come the framework of all that you might become. Still, there looms that other question, the 11th question: Just because somebody can do something in exercise and fitness, does it mean that they should?

Me, Over-Thinking All Of This – Again

Ultimately, the answer to this question is unattainable. However, I believe that asking this question can evoke a new perspective on the values, as well as the consequences of exercise – and make no mistake, there are consequences with exercise.

Most adults who take to exercise for the first time offer me this simple statement; “I want to look and feel better”. Good reason enough I suppose and it is probably be best left at that. However, I have always suggested people new to exercise contemplate the 10 questions above before they begin. As I grow older though, the 11th question has eclipsed the other 10; Just because somebody can do something in exercise and fitness, does it mean that they should?

In my life I have trained as a springboard diver, a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, a cyclist, and a sprinter. I have run every race from a 5K to a marathon – because I could and because I wanted to. Still, does that mean I should have?

Long Beach 1/2 marathon -- because I wanted to, I guess...

And even if there is an answer to that question in the short term, it is likely that time will change that answer. As we grow older, the term fitness is likely to mean different things at different stages of one’s life.

I do believe this, and perhaps this is as close to an answer as I will ever offer to myself on the question: If I can, if I want to, if I don’t sacrifice too much to achieve it, if I feel there is some benefit, and my health won’t be adversely affected, then just maybe I should – but maybe not.  Be well.  rc

Blue Zone Thoughts…

So for over a year I have been using this forum to share my thoughts on what I feel fitness might be, and just as importantly, what it might not be.  I have shared my evolving values, based on my changing experiences in my so-called fitness life

This blog has not been a platform where I have shared very much information from beyond my own head.  I am making an exception today.  I would like to share this lecture from Blue Zone authority, Dan Buettner.  It’s just under 20 minutes long, and well worth the time you will invest in watching it.

As we all believe our fitness lives are so important, this is a great reminder that just living a balanced life might minimize our dependency on what we call fitness.  This is not a case against mindful eating or exercise, but it does demonstrate that what we think of as fitness is not necessarily going help us live longer.

I was reminded of two Roy-memes as I watched this:

1) The car with most and hardest miles on it will likely good to the junkyard first.

2) Animals with faster metabolisms live relatively shorter lives.

Just some food for thought and discussion.  roy  (please be patient for the video below to show up in your browser — it’s a slow load.

I Like My Lettuce Rare…

Chef In A Hardhat

To succeed in a fitness lifestyle is to live a life of consistent ritual.  The most fulfilling ritual I enjoy from week to week is, not my runs, not my bike rides, not even my strength training sessions.  The most meaningful ritual I observe with regard to my fitness is the building of my salads. I say “building”, because it is a legitimate construct for me, and I am the general contractor.  This time of year, I am very busy building a lot of salads.   

Like all contractors, my product is the sum of an idea, some organization, available materials, and labor.  Since I am building on behalf of myself, there is never a need for a blueprint, just the idea – executed with organization and careful craftsmanship.  I often improvise the design as the plan in my head changes to accommodate a mood, a need, or even to accommodate a shortage of some materials by favoring others.  My salads are free-form structures.  

Say hello to my little grill. All salad proteins begin here...

Building Materials; If It Grows Or If It Goes, It’s A Potential Material  

Like all builders, I use many subcontractors in my salad building; those people who grow my lettuce for me, my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.  I have subs processing goat and feta cheeses on my behalf, as well as other subs distilling my vinegar and extracting my olive oil. Trust, I pay them well for their services.  And yes, the grocery is much more like a lumber yard to me during salad building season – seems like I am on a supply run nearly every day for one of my new-builds.  

Lettuce of many forms, onion, pepper, tomato, nuts, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli, and artichoke hearts are all would-be candidates for any salad project.  Cut up slices of apple, cracker bits, grapes, and even dollops of peanut butter might end up in one of my projects.  Not every material makes it into each new build; my style of architecture varies with my mood.  

I always select a protein to be included in each project; these are the rebar that help reinforce the structure.  Chicken is most often used because of its low cost and availability.  But there are other proteins used on occasion; thinly cut slices of beef, lamb, or chicken sausage.  Sea scallops, shrimp, and even small torn pieces of jerky can contribute to the unique architecture of my salads.  

The Romantic Laborer At Work  

Not just the contractor, I am also the laborer – and that’s the best job on Earth.  If I could build salads for a living I would.  Few things are as romantic to me as the tactile act of slicing vegetables.  Running a sharp knife through the austere exterior of an onion or tomato, only to see it open up into a vivid presentation of geometry, so pleases my eyes that I am always disappointed to stop.  Slicing and cutting vegetables is like taking sacrament to me – honoring all the backs and all the hands which brought these vegetables this far.  

For me, nothin' but pure love for tomatoes...

I cut all my materials in advance of the build, and lay them out on the countertop so I can identify, and easily grab those which I will need next.  Quartered tomatoes rest beside thinly sliced red onion, as rings of bell pepper might sit beside some cashews or just-grilled carne asada.  Lettuce of several colors and families intermingle, and wait for the nod.  Each group of building materials is divided into thirds.   

Though I am capable of building any size salad, from a single-story flat to salad skyscrapers, I most often build the three-story salad; the best size for my needs.  I build my salads slowly, in three symmetrical layers.  A layer is built; perhaps some lettuce, red onion, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato, cashews, a protein, and maybe some feta.  Next comes layer two – just as symmetrical, and then layer three, all done in equal portion.  It’s a very simple build.  

Grilled-seared sea scallops in there. The bummer was that all I had that day for the foundatin was iceberg lettuce. Still, mmmmmm, grrrrr...

The Finish Work  

Dressings are used, but used sparingly.  The main finish work on the salads I build are seasonings and spices.  I am particularly fond of California style garlic salt, or Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt; these enhance all the flavors of the materials used.  A little dressing goes a long way when the spices are laid correctly.  I am a fan of Greek style dressing, but have come to appreciate using fresh salsa as a salad dressing – low in calories, high flavor, and great for helping keep vienal and arterial walls clean.  

Before a long bike ride, I will allow myself some dressing and some asiago cheese. 20-mile ride, and that dressing is history...

Why This Essay Should Be Shared…  

…because there is an absolute joy in preparing, and partaking in such a healthy meal.  A great salad is a functional, aesthetically pleasing form of fitness fuel.  No rich entrée, no casserole, stew, pizza or pasta dish I have ever built has so compelled me to just stare it before eating.  Building and enjoying a colorful salad is an act of self-respect, and is the single best way I know to connect my body to my day.  These summer months truly are the salad days.  That said, in Winter, I do build a pretty mean pot of chili!  Be well.  rc  

A salad that I got subbed out; Thank you Fallbrook Cafe for making the best pre-fab salad on the planet...

Salad days…

Some thoughts and music in advance of this wekends essay.

Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.
–  Hippocrates

The greatest delight the fileds and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.  I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them.
–   Ralph Waldo Emerson

One onion might make me cry, but any vegetable can meake me smile

Game off… Game on…

The End, Almost

Last week I drove from San Diego to visit my father who resides in Las Vegas, at an elderly care facility.  That 4-hour drive through the desert is always unmatched contemplative time for me.  No radio, no i-pod, just me and the 10,000 or so other Roys in my head, hurling rocks at one-another in an attempt to work out the problems within.  On this drive, the voices were in a rare harmony, all suggesting that writing this blog might be nearing an end.   

San Bernardino Mountains; I-15 from the driver's seat...

I decided that I would write one final column, and let this part of my life come to a close.  I have been writing about fitness, in the form of newsletters, several websites, and some occasional newspaper pieces, for nearly 10 years.  In that time I have written nearly 300 columns, 83of those columns are available on this blog.

Recently it has become harder to find fresh subject material which I feel is relevant, and harder still to work that subject matter into creations with an agreeable flow.  Add to that, that I’m not sure anyone is listening, and even less sure that my message even matters.  The desire to invest time in writing about that which may not be heard, and might not matter, had begun to fade.

Innate Passion

When I was 16 years old, I sat with my father in the Holly Inn restaurant in Denver, and told him I was going to be the Beatles of exercise.  When he was done laughing he began talk of law school.  I am not the Beatles of exercise.  I’m much more like a pretty good garage band of fitness – and that’s okay; my gigs have been fun, and the tips have been meaningful, if not large. 

But investing all this time in writing, as a part of being a pretty good garage band of fitness, has taken me away (some) from the teaching and practicing of what I like to call, daily action.  So the writing, I had decided, was going to come to end – at least for a while.

The garage where the garage band plays...

Las Vegas, Cigarette Smoke Cohesion, And A Nursing Home Patio

It should not be a surprise that when I left Las Vegas after visiting my dad, I smelled like cigarette smoke.  Everything and everyone in Las Vegas smells like cigarette smoke – that smoke is the very fiber of that city.  What is surprising is where I picked up some of that cigarette smoke – at the nursing home where my father lives!  And no, it was not the staff who had smoked me out, it was the residents.  I spent the afternoon on a patio surrounded by obese, chain smoking elderly people, in motorized scooters, lighting up and bantering to one another about the woes of aging and ill health.  It was not a sight for kids.

Cigarettes are nothing more the a shoehorn for a coffin... Or, Benson & Hedging your bets...

A Trick Not Turned, Turned Into A Fitness-Tip Treat

Fast forward 6 hours: As I was waiting for my hotel room to be prepared, I stood in the casino/lobby of the hotel wishing I was anywhere else.  Leaning against a bar, trying to be invisible, I listened to a Fleetwood Mac tribute band sounding so bad I wanted to jab my ears with a salt encrusted ice-pick.  A woman bumped me from behind and then softly spoke,

“Hi, I’m Ariel.  For $100 I will be your best friend for the rest of the night, and I mean your best friend.”

 I have to admit that Aerial had compelling eyes – cute even.  What was less compelling was that at about 5’ tall, she might have weighed 200 lbs, and was stuffed into the clothing of a 10-year old Oompa Loompa.  Worse yet, were all the scabs which covered her forearms – eclipsing all those elegant tattoos.

In a quick and clever moment, I responded to Ariel by offering her this,

“Thanks Aerial, but if you step outside this situation, you will be quick to realize that if this would-be relationship between you and I would take place tonight, you should be the one scratching the check.”

As always, I was in a sleeveless t-shirt in my ongoing gun show.  Aerial laughed at my glib comment, grabbed my arm, and then began asking about toning and shaping her arms – and her butt.  I gave her a few tips, answered some questions, spent a few minute discussing dietary concerns, she thanked me and we parted ways.

Palace Station, Las Vegas. Station? Yes. Palace? Perhaps to Ariel and those like her, but not me...

Lessons Learned From Motorized Scooters To A Stalky Whore

Smoking obese geriatrics in motorized scooters, and a rotund prostitute with a sense of humor seeking toning and shaping advice – and I thought I had run out of fresh things to write about…  Yes, I will keep writing because the world needs me, even if they don’t know it yet.

I could write endlessly about the ABC’s of exercise; sets, reps, protein, cardio protocols, etc.  That’s not my cup of meat.  There are 10,000 people already doing it, and though I know I can do it better than most, that isn’t the side of fitness that interests me any longer.  

Frick!!! Even my voices are hearing voices...

I will continue to seek out and find new subject matter, and fresh ways to present it.  I will strive to be unique and contemplative in matters of fitness, and attempt to illuminate areas and ideals untouched.  Though it may be less often, I will strive for at least 2-3 per month, and more as I am so inspired. 

Between geriatric smokers, scooting and complaining of ill health, and a chubby hooker wanting to tone up, all I could contemplate while driving home was my next workout.  Be well – and be on the lookout, because I ain’t done yet.  rc

A footnote of sorts:  My father is not one the smokers.  Though he doesn’t walk anymore, he is sharp as a tack, mean as a snake, and at his core –is  good as gold.

Four themes; one conclusion…

Question:  What do these four things have in common?

1) Obese geriatric smokers on motorized scooters

 2) A pudgy prostitute named Ariel, with kind eyes, scabs on her arms, dressed like an Oompa Loompa, and seeking free advice

3) A u-turn made on an important decision in my life

4) A man who I love very much


Answer:  You will be reading about all of them, right here, this weekend.
Captain Allen A. Cohen… still going strong

“Say goodbye to everyone you have ever known

You are not gonna see them ever again
I can’t shake this feeling I’ve got
My dirty hands
Have I been in the wars?
The saddest thing that I’d ever seen
Were smokers outside the hospital doors “

Change: Strength, Strength, And The Difference Between The Two

Pound Control To Major Tom

I enjoy being strong.  I love that in the 15 times I have moved my residence in my adult life, with each new move involving increasingly greater quantities of crap, I have acted as my own moving crew.  I can count on one hand, the number of instances when I have required help moving an object from one home to another.  This includes furniture, appliances, overloaded boxes of books, and those dreaded potted trees.  Yes, I love being strong, and it has served me well through all of my moves – and beyond.

My quest for strength began as a bodybuilding teenager in the 1970s.  Really my quest was for cute girls by way of a better looking body; my new strength would just be a functional by-product of that quest.  Over the years I would gain a lot of strength and learn to enjoy it, and even exploit it at times.  Strong became my synonym for control; the ability to control my body in a time of genuine need. 

Trying hard at 13...

A Slow Transition

At some point, after years of eating countless egg whites, after thousands of squats and bench presses performed, it occurred to me; I was never going to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. And even if I were to become the next him, how long could I sustain all that meat upon my bones?  It was this tipping point, when I chose to accept that I was no longer a bodybuilder.  Rather, I began to classify myself as a fitness enthusiast.  This “tipping point” however, was really an arc 20 years in the making.

Was still trying at 47...

Bodybuilding, Growth, And Sustainable Fitness

Bodybuilding is not necessarily fitness, and fitness is not necessarily bodybuilding.  Though the concept of fitness and the act of bodybuilding have many common threads and similar requirements, one need only to Google the term, dead bodybuilder to appreciate some possible disconnects between the two. 

This is not to suggest that all bodybuilders are on a road to early death.  It is more an illumination on what goes wrong when things are taken to extremes.  I eventually came to see bodybuilding, at least in the hardcore sense, as extreme and not sustainable.  Fitness, I came to reason through this 20-year arc, could be sustainable for a lifetime.

The brothers, Mentzer. Pro bodybuilding's two-dead-young-bodybuilders-for-the-price-of-one scenario...

Greed For Life

I’m not much for letting go.  That is, once I take possession of something, I will relinquish it only to that force which can pry it away from me.  This personality defect has forged a supreme decision making value within me; I pursue only that which I believe I can keep forever, and I avoid anything which I feel I might be able to obtain, but not hold on to.  Fortunately, my fitness – my ability to control my body in a time of need, falls into the former.  Bodybuilding fell into the latter and was very hard to let go.  Despite leaving the concept of bodybuilding behind, as well as the gym-strength which went with it, I have managed to keep my everyday-life strength as a fitness enthusiast.   

Strength & Control, In And Out Of The Gym

At one point in my mid-twenties, I bench pressed nearly 400 pounds, did squats with 500+, and even did bicep curls on occasion with 135 pounds. Because of this strength, I was a lead player in many of the gyms I frequented. And despite the popular edict to the contrary, all that gym strength did translate very well outside the gym; moving dressers, sofas, and the like.

Today I seldom put more than 150 pounds on the bench press, squat with my bodyweight plus maybe an extra hundred or so pounds, and I do bicep curls with the equvialnt weight of a small Pug in each hand.  Still, I move dressers, sofas, and the like just as well today as I did in my Hercules days.  My strength outside the gym is as good as ever.  This strength has little to do with how much weight I lift, and much more to do with how well I lift it

Hard Words Which Contradict Prior Hard Words

I would destroy Stephen Hawking in a cage match, and only the village idiot would bet against me.  Still, my contributions to mankind have been weak by comparison.  What I do have though, what I can offer is my strength.  And while I may not be able to solve the problems of the world, I relish being able walk a flight of stairs with my bike in one hand and a 25 pound back pack in the other.  More to the point, when a client recently fell in my studio, I was grateful I could help him back to his feet.   

To many, physical strength doesn’t seem to matter much – it’s an afterthought, something to be considered or even (occasionally) addressed in order to placate inadequate feelings of one’s lack of conditioning.  Okay, so here come my hard words:  So long as we are able to do so, developing and maintaining our physical strength is our responsibility. 

Owning one’s physical strength benefits us, not just as individuals in the case of carrying one’s own bike, but in many other ways.  Cultivating and sustaining our strength may not be helping mankind on a Stephen Hawking level, but can help on a level which is much more local and much more personal; such as helping up a fallen spouse, or helping someone less able move one of those dreaded potted trees.  Be well, be able.  rc