Giving Father Time a defiant, two-fisted, middle finger salute

So I turned 54 on Saturday.  Thanks to all of you who sent me email and social media birthday wishes.  

Fifty-friggin’-four.  Where does the time go?  

November is of course when the temperature drops (even in Texas, lol…), and football season begins to really heat up.  It’s shocking to realize that it’s been over 32 years since I last strapped on the shoulder pads and helmet.  Yet in my mind’s eye, it was just yesterday.

The thing is, I still feel just as vibrant and able.  It’s a delusion, of course.  To give or receive a hit – not to mention a game, or a season’s worth – would wreck me now.  And I’m still shocked at the speed of the game.  Something you just can’t fully appreciate until your down on the field.  It is a not-so-subltle reminder though, that your time with certain things has passed.  

I’m doing pretty good “for my age”, though.  Whatever that means.  For me, it means comparing myself against my former me.  I actually think, though, that being a well-muscled, lean-mean-fightin‘- machine it’s just what bodies do when they’re properly fed and watered, given the proper environment for their niche.  

And maybe I have an advantage over others because I’ve never *not* been healthy.  When I was young and didn’t know any better, healthy was just a consequence of being an active kid with parents who cared about me getting plenty of sleep, exploring the woods to his heart’s (and dog’s) content, exposing him to a variety of sports and eating properly.  In that sense, I was very lucky.   

But I picked up the ball from there.  Why, I don’t know. I’ve just always been fascinated by engaging this world with one’s own body.  I seriously think it’s another form of minimalism.  What can I do with just this?

So while my friends were into cars, and “things”, I was into how much I could lift and how fast I could run.  Could I climb that? Can I jump over this?

By the summer of ’76 I was a lanky, long-haired, 12-year-old who had built a pretty impressive resume on the football fields, tracks, and kickboxing rings around south Texas.  I saw Pumping Iron on a black-and-white TV, and read Arnold’s rant on white sugar being death.  I rode my bike to see the first Rocky and immediately began doing one-arm push-ups and chugging raw eggs when I got home.  I wanted to move to Philly.  My mom wasn’t thrilled about the raw egg thing, but figured it would just be a phase.

It wasn’t.

I watched Bruce Jenner win the ’76 Olympic decathlon and I wanted nothing more than to be just like him.  In the football off-season, of course.  Because in football terms, I saw myself as the next manifestation of Ken Stabler.  And since the summer Olympics were done before the football training camps began…

So it’s been a very cool, long and (knock on wood), healthy ride.  Like everyone else who walks this earth, I don’t know when it will end.  I’ll just make the most of it while I’m here.  

And when it does end, I intend it to be like an Acapulco cliff dive into the great beyond rather than a slow, miserable wade into the abyss.

So today I’m back in the gym, and back on the fixed-speed bike.  Back to the entrepreneurial hustle.  Comparing the me of today vs the me of yesterday.  Hell, I might even grow my hair long again.  And maybe a beard.  

Just like Kenny Stabler.

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –


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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.


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