September 12, 2016

This is 40

"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." - Andrew Carnegie

As I've hinted many times in this blog, I don't care for big talk. I appreciate big action. I'm turned on by hard work, passion, energy, effort.

I loathe laziness and entitlement, which seem to go hand in hand.

Quit reading if you feel the world owes you something. This message isn't for you.

But if you're on the fence about making a change, taking a risk, trying something different... please let me encourage you. After all, unsolicited advice from a non-expert is what today's Internet is all about.

The picture on the right was snapped mid-run on my 40th birthday. My 20-year-old body is long gone, but I'm okay with that. For 40, I'm doing alright.

There are plenty of 40-year-olds in far better shape. And I'm fine with that. This isn't a comparison game.

This is me. Justen Overlander. A guy who loves ice cream, Mountain Dew, and chocolate-covered espresso beans. I have Osgood Schlatter Disease in my knees, chronic back pain, a surgically repaired arm that's worse now than before the surgery, and asthma. Oh, and three high energy kids.

I have plenty of excuses to sit on the couch. To crash early. To recharge my batteries in a catatonic state with reruns mumbling in the background.

But that's not me. And I don't want it to be you.

I can hear the rumblings already. You think I have a better metabolism. You think I have more time. You think I'm genetically predisposed to have a leaner body mass. Or you think I should spend a few more months working out before offering fitness advice.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Maybe.

Metabolism is changeable. Don't believe me? Google it.

You're too busy? Cut something out. Quit Facebook a day or two a week. Skip the reruns once in a while. One trick I do, as a huge sports fan, is I DVR games so I can skip all commercials and much of the time between plays. I can watch a 3-hour football game in an hour and a half, if that.

Now... genetics. Yes, they play a part. It sucks. If obesity runs in your family, you have a bigger (no pun intended) challenge. But here's the thing... my family history is not lean, muscular creatures, as you can tell by looking at me. I have a bigger frame and a propensity to carry extra wait in my waist. Look at the bottom of my picture up there. Doesn't it look like my butt starts just below my rib cage? I hate it. And I don't know if the next five pounds I'm trying to lose is going to get rid of it or not.

Ugh. This isn't about me. This is about motivating somebody, somewhere who needs to get back on the healthy track.

So here are three tips from a dude that's doing okay, but still needs to do better (the tips are for me, too):

1) Stop eating when you're satisfied. Simple enough, right? Yet in today's world where super-sizing is expected and large portions are the norm, it's way too easy to overeat. Nowhere is this more challenging than on the set of most film and television productions in L.A. Man, the food! I'll blog about that one day (after we've all lost a few pounds, of course).

2) Drink more water. At home I have a glass of ice water with me always. Literally always. If you don't know how important water is in dieting, please Google it. One thing I'm trying to do more when I crave Mountain Dew is take a big swig of water. Usually it satisfies me enough to resist the soda. At least momentarily. Hey, it's not a magical elixir, but it's the single most important dietary supplement there is. Thank you, God.

3) Stop saying you're too busy. Seriously. No matter how busy you are, you are going to feel doubly busy when your state of mind dwells on it. I feel very blessed that I have so much to do. I love what I do. Acting, writing, spending time with my family, volunteering... heck, I even tolerate L.A. traffic because I love podcasts and audio books. I don't have much of what I would call free-time. Even when I'm watching a movie or a television show, I'm studying it. I only read books for education, encouragement, or potential screenplay adaptation potential. And I love it. I don't need free-time. I don't want free-time. I want to keep working hard. Making time for exercise is part of that.

I get it. You're scoffing at my words. You think I'm stretching the truth. You think I'm delusional. So be it. I just hope and pray that there's a purpose behind this writing, and this blog in general, and that it inspires somebody along the way.

Just in case my mediocre words and nearly adequate picture don't inspire, I decided to check in with my friend, John Hennigan, who's slightly more fit than I. Slightly.

You may know him as Johnny Nitro or John Morrison from WWE or Johnny Mundo from Lucha Underground. I just know him as a heck of a guy with incredible God-given talent and dedication. When his self-produced parkour action/comedy, Boone the Bounty Hunter, comes out, I'll be bragging it up big time. Such a fun movie!

Anyway, I asked John for his number one fitness tip, and he summed it up in one word: motivation. He elaborated, "If you don't have specific goals in mind when you get out of bed, you're going to be less productive than you could be. If you don't have goals in mind before you get to the gym, you're wasting your time. Find your purpose. Train to meet it. That's where motivation comes from."

I'll never look like John. Few will. But he hits the nail on the head when he talks about motivation. That's one thing that can't be taught. I don't know how to instill motivation into a person who lacks it. The knowledge we have about health and the dangers of obesity should be motivation enough to establish some sort of workout regiment and healthy eating plan. Right?

The satisfaction of a giant bowl of ice cream every night should not outweigh the importance of taking care of your body. Our bodies are temples, a fabulous gift from God. When I give my kids a new toy for Christmas, I expect them to take care of it, not treat it harshly. God expects the same in the way we treat our bodies.

Ugh. I know I ughed earlier, but I need to again. Ugh. This writing, read in the wrong tone, could come across the wrong way. I sure hope it's not received as a pat on my own back at the expense of folks who struggle with something that I've never really struggled with. I take that back... I actually do struggle with my body. If I quit running and ate and drank all I wanted to, I'd have 20 extra pounds of flub in no time flat. I really don't have a magical metabolism. At least not naturally.

What I wanted to do with this blog entry... what weighed on my heart (again, no pun intended)... was to just send encouragement. Not to 22-year-old gym rats that still have time on their sides, but to people like me who are climbing in age and maybe can't get away with our former eating and activity habits.

If this encouraged you, great. If not, just move along. I'll start blogging about some actual Hollywood stuff one of these days. That'll be fun. Maybe.

But I hope my heart is evident in this blog. I want the best for those around me.

Now, if you're looking for something a little more intense... if John's picture inspires you more than mine (I know it's such a close call), take a look at Out of Your Mind Fitness ( It's a fitness program designed by John Hennigan and fitness trainer, Jeff Carrier.

When the motivation hits me (i.e. when I land a role that requires it), I would love to get into some more intense training like Out of Your Mind Fitness. For now, I'll settle for my hilly Santa Clarita runs and one Mountain Dew per week. Okay, two.

Oh, and for the record, John Hennigan is three years younger than I am. Wait'll you hit 40, Johnny. See what gravity has in store for your B cups.