Playing With Weight(s)

Have you ever tried playing a tennis match with 5 pound ankle weights attached to your body?  Well, I think most of us virtually do that every time we walk onto the court.

How Much Weight?

In order to improve court movement, I HAVE played with ankle weights attached; and you can really feel the dramatic impact.  But I would venture a guess that the average club tennis player is carrying at least 10 extra pounds of body weight around with them every day.

I was too.  My normal body weight for most of my adult life at 5’ 10” (now an inch shorter) was about 165 pounds, give or take a couple each way.  But in the last year or so, I have dropped about 10-12 pounds to be at the low 150’s; and I can really feel the difference on the court.

When you combine the lower weight with my two-year-old metal hip replacement, friends have told me that I am moving better now than several years ago.

How To Do It?

For me, it was not any “name brand” special diet.  It was just two things: eliminating alcohol and smaller meal portions.  DeDe and I both normally take home half of restaurant sized dinners (and have another meal the next night).  So it was just a gradual process.

And I remind myself of my old “Five W’s of Happiness”:

  1. Weather
  2. Wife/Family/Friends
  3. Work (paid or volunteer)
  4. Wallet
  5. And, Weight/Workout

I believe, if you get three out of five of these as “positives,” you will “have a good day!”

How about YOU … carrying extra weight or have you lost it?

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!

12 thoughts on “Playing With Weight(s)

  1. Congratulations George on making positive changes in lifestyle – For me, good weight effects come with eating last meal earlier so sleeping with less digestion working, portion control (hardest part for me – always ate as much as I wanted with no weight gain downside until got into 50’s), some activity in the late afternoon/early evening (walking, leisurely bike ride, something involving moving, not sitting in chair).
    The no alcohol part you mentioned makes the later in the day activity more likely. The daily options we choose from have an inevitable cumulative effect. Good luck to us all in making positive decisions and acting on them.

    Winder, Congrats on being our Sunday First Responder! There is also the Fasting craze going around; and just by natural body patterns, we typically finish dinner/dessert by 7 pm and i have breakfast around 8 am … which leads to 13 hours without eating. Not quite the full “Intermittent Fasting,” but close. thanks, george

  2. For me, losing weight is easy – but expensive. The key to my weight lose is moving. Not moving, as in running around more. Moving as in packing up your house, moving, and then unpacking. I lose about 10 pounds every time we go through a move, and we’re in the middle of one right now. Between packing up boxes, going through your house and figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of, skipping a meal here and there, and generally just the stress of selling your home and finding a new one I easily lose at least 10 pounds without even trying. We’ve currently got 3 houses – anyone want to buy one?

    Terry, that is one of the most taxing activities … and i hope to NEVER have to do it again! Good luck. george

  3. Sorry, I’m not much help here. The last thing I need to do is lose weight!! I do hear from others that losing a few pounds does help their movement.

    Steve, actually thought about you (and your crazy 124 pound weight) as i wrote this! How is Jersey? george

  4. Hi George,
    It’s David Parker, Palm Beach Florida, full knee and shoulder replacement last year. I have been playing since December 2019 and now as permitted due to Covid. I am back to “full strength” in the sense that I have no fear running for short balls or lobs. My serve is painless and coming back. Just need to hit 1,000 more serves and I’ll be there.
    For any of your fellow readers who are contemplating surgery, if it is your last choice and have tried all else, don’t hesitate. But like anything else regarding your health, research, research, research before making a decision. I went with a highly recommended surgeon who only performed knee and shoulder surgeries. He did NOT do hips. Most of his patients were athletes including many NFL, MMA fighters, soccer players and of course tennis players. Chrissy Everett sees him as his office is across the street from her teaching club in Boca Raton. He does not use the robotic method though he did early on in his career. He found it too limiting once he actually opened up the knee/shoulder and was able to see all the surrounding tissues. If anyone wants his info let me know.

    David, sounds like great results! thanks, george

  5. Interesting photo, George. I’ve been playing singles with some guys who are 15-20 years younger. Foot speed is a major differential. I’ve therefore suggested a horse racing-style handicapping system — adding half a pound per year of youthful advantage. No takers so far. Maybe I should lose some weight instead.

    Joe, 🙂 george

  6. I’m one of those who has always been skinny. I was 6 foot tall, and in my prime, got up to 155 pounds. Now I’m 90, down to 5 foot 10, and 140 pounds. I constantly try to gain weight and eat 3 big meals a day. People hate to see me eat in a restaurant where I always have a dessert and also eat half or more of my wife’s dessert. Would appreciate anyone’s advice on how to gain some weight.

    Dick, If you stopped beating younger guys in singles, you could gain some weight! George

  7. George, I have never played a tennis match with ankle weights, but I have used them at times doing drills and exercises. A good way to build strength in the legs and hips. I keep my weight down by burning a lot of calories on court through playing matches, drills, and teaching tennis on a regular schedule. For me,
    strength and flexibility training are important to keep my body in tune for playing tennis on a regular basis. Also, good footwork and movement is a big priority in my routine. The bad news is as we age, we gain fat and lose muscle. The good news is we can maintain our strength–we just have to work a little harder at it, especially after an injury or surgery. So, our diet plays a big part in the equation of maintaining proper weight. Being disciplined is the key. I avoid all fried, processed, and fatty foods. I enjoy a variety of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and lean cuts of meats. I’ve increased my protein intake by drinking different blends of smoothies. Just staying hydrated throughout the day is important. Whether it be maintaining one’s weight, rehabbing an injury, or tennis
    improvement, we need to set realistic goals to be self disciplined in staying healthy throughout our lives. Especially now.

    Glenn, “discipline” is surely the key; and “better late than never”! thanks, george

  8. Love the 5 W’s. I’m curious about the last W. If you are playing 5 days a week.
    Do players do workouts on playing days or off days or not at all and let tennis and stretching be their workout?

    Tom, since i play six days a week, i am not good at cross training; but i still do daily stretching and strength exercises three times a week. George

  9. Dick Eitel,
    The biggest problem with not gaining weight is loss of muscle mass as we get older. Therefore, the only way to gain some weight is my adding strength/resistance training 1-2 times a week. Doesn’t have to be heavy weights, even body weight will work, but must be some resistance – 8-10 dumbbells.

    Larry, i have been told that you cannot build any muscle mass after a certain age. Is that true? Thanks, george

  10. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass

    Attached is an article from Harvard telling how to restore lost muscle mass in the elderly and to help prevent it from happening in the first place.
    Although muscle loss is not 100% preventable in the elderly, it can be diminished with proper exercise and diet.

    Doc, thanks for the link. Here are two key points i grabbed: the best means to build muscle mass, no matter your age, is progressive resistance training (PRT), says Dr. Storer. With PRT, you gradually amp up your workout volume—weight, reps, and sets—as your strength and endurance improve.

    Your diet also plays a role in building muscle mass. Protein is the king of muscle food. The body breaks it down into amino acids, which it uses to build muscle. However, older men often experience a phenomenon called anabolic resistance, which lowers their bodies’ ability to break down and synthesize protein.
    Therefore, as with PRT, if you are older, you need more.

    thanks, george

  11. very good thoughts and comments. For me, keeping muscle mass……………well, how about just getting a muscle somewhere……………has been an issue for many years. Ideas on diet is helpful.

  12. I recently realized the work I had done on the elliptical trainer was a poor source of preparation for playing tennis. My common sense must have escaped me because tennis is obviously a full weight bearing form of exercise and the elliptical trainer provides only a modest level of weight bearing training. Switching to street, track, and treadmill run/walking has given me a far better level of weight bearing fitness and has benefited my tennis. I guess it can be easy to convince ourselves “easier” fitness work is more beneficial than it actually is.

    Kent, “No pain, no gain”? thanks, george

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