Fit Over 50
Meet Jim Schmitt, a 61-year-old Triathlete

8505115_mThere are few races more extreme than triathlons. One could argue, however, that a 12-hour mountain bike race might fit the bill. Meet Mr. Jim Schmitt, a 61-year-old gentleman who does both. In this blog, Jim shares his views on fitness as well as the experiences he has had as an active person with a busy schedule.

Mr. Schmitt, could you tell us your age and a little more about what you do?

I am 61 years-old, married with a 14-year-old son, and currently work two jobs. I am a Dispatch Manager during the week and Motorcycle Instructor on the weekend. I compete in Sprint triathlons and a 12-race mountain bike series (each race is one hour).

How long have you been riding bikes?

I have been riding bicycles and motorcycles all my life. I have been actively competing in mountain bike races for about five years.

What do you think you can attribute to your healthy and active longevity?

Diet, exercise, and rest. Look forward to challenges and be optimistic.

What type of workout or stretching regimen do you do?

I walk and stretch for 15 minutes before running, bicycling or weightlifting. I do a one-day-on, one-day-off program and always mix it up (running/weightlifting, bicycling/running, bicycling/weightlifting).

31558480_mIs there a particular exercise or movement or set of movements that you could recommend to those that want to get into better shape and maybe don’t know where to start?

Start by walking on grass or dirt surfaces first while mixing in asphalt (easy on the joints). Take a break every 5 or 10 minutes and stretch or do some mild resistance moves. I like push-ups, squats or lunges and tai chi movements. Learn to breathe properly during all forms of exercise.

What about diet? Are there particular things you eat (or avoid) to maintain your physicality?

I like the Mediterranean-style of diet. I rarely eat red meat, stay away from fried foods, and keep simple sugars to a minimum. Protein supplements are helpful for recovery

What advice would you give someone over the age of 55 who would like to get into organized sports?

Do some 5k walk/run events. Start out slowly and understand that resting is as important as the workout. Aches, pains, and small injuries come with the turf so know how to deal with them, they rarely last.

A lot is made of people’s morning routines to set the tone for a successful day.  Do you have any morning rituals or could you tell us what the first 60-90 minutes of your day look like on an ideal day?

I always have a small bowl of hot oatmeal with ground flaxseed and fruit as my first meal of the day. At this time I have vitamins and a glucosamine supplement, and then it’s a 5-10 mile bicycle ride to the gym, 15-30 minutes on a treadmill and 20-30 minutes with weightlifting.

Any other parting words of advice for our audience?

Any and all exercise benefits the body. As we get older we want to keep our energy levels up. This is what exercise, diet and rest do for us. We have to be role models for our kids, right? Work on having a reliable training partner or group this makes it more fun!

As always, please consult a physician before trying any new diets or workout routines.