Expect the Best

Expect the Best: Body, Mind, and Soul

Dr. Craig von BuseckBy Dr. Craig von Buseck11 Minutes

On November 14, 2009, Dr. Tom Thompson kicked his way into the record books. At age 61, he became the oldest football player in NCAA history and the oldest NCAA football player to score a point when he kicked the point after touchdown in the game between Austin College and Trinity University.

Thompson wrote his name in the record books, then went on to literally write the book on motivation for older adults who are approaching their golden years, as well as anyone seeking a career change, to seize their future with both hands. Thompson detailed his remarkable accomplishments in his motivational and autobiographical book, Kick Start: A Story of Overcoming Life’s Obstacles to Inspire You to Kick Start Your Future, which he co-wrote with Alice Sullivan from Carpenter’s Son Publishing. Thompson has expanded on his research in his most recent book, Get a Kick Out of Life: Expect the Best of Your Body, Mind, and Soul at Any Age, co-written with Christopher P. Neck, (Mastering Self Leadership), along with Alice Sullivan (Kick Start), from Clovercroft Publishing.

Craig von Buseck: Tom you are here with one of your co-writers, Alice Sullivan. How did the two of you come together for this project?

Tom Thompson: Alice was introduced to me a number of years ago to work with me on my autobiography, Kick Start. She’s really more like family now.

CVB: What made you decide to write Get a Kick Out of Life?

Tom: It goes back to my decision to go back to college and to try to make the football team in my early 60s. In 2007, there was a 59-year-old man named Mike Flynt who went back to college to play football his senior year, after having been kicked off the team in his youth. In speaking with another writer I said, “You know, even though I have a terminal degree, I might have eligibility. What do you think of me going back to college to make the football team as a kicker?” He said, “sure,” because it wasn’t him!

So any time I’m writing a book, Alice is my co-author.

CVB: So tell me about the message of this particular book.

Tom: This book gives the reader a different way of thinking about important aspects of life, like setting goals, for example. Instead of the stereotypical “bucket list” goal, we encourage people to have a “quality of life” goal. A “bucket list” goal just applies to an individual checking something off a list. A “quality of life” goal includes many people, it enhances all of their lives, and it continues on past the event.

We encourage people to break these goals down into body, mind, and spirit. One of the ways you enjoy your life is by being in good physical condition.

The original Greek word for “fit” is “useful.” It’s not that you’re big and strong and look good. Just by maintaining a good fitness level, you’re going to be able to handle life in better terms.

There are two variables that will allow for long-term behavioral change. The first one is you have to change the way you think. The second one is you have to submit your will to that new way of thinking.

This is more of a “how” book, as opposed to a “why” book. You can go to church and know the “why” of loving your neighbor, but the rub is the “how.” Craig may do it different than Alice, and Alice does it different than Tom. So we wanted to give a large presentation so people can figure out for themselves the “how” piece. That is what we felt was important.

CVB: So break it down for me. What are some of the specific “hows” that you deal with in the book? Life is busy. Our schedules are full and so this has to be a lifestyle change.

Tom: It is! And then there is the question, “how do you do that?” One of the things we bring forward in this book is what we call “the ten-minute method.” If you’ve never done anything before in the realm of the physical, we suggest you go to a fitness center and find any piece of cardio-vascular equipment – a treadmill, or an exercise bike – get on it for just 10 minutes, get off, and then go home. Do that every day, Monday through Friday, for just two weeks. At the end of that two weeks, you begin to add a minute each time you go. When you get up to 30 minutes, you hold that.

After you become comfortable with the cardio equipment, you start to introduce the strength and conditioning equipment. We suggest you do only six exercises – not to where you are dragging a leg back to your car after working out. You want to be in a place of health, rather than striving to get big and strong.

The strength and conditioning helps with your metabolism. A lot of issues that people have with their weight is metabolically-driven. Every person has a different metabolism, so one diet doesn’t work for all people. You’ve got to find what works for you.

Another thing that people struggle with is how they look. There are three body types: carrot, apple, or pear. What we have to do as individuals is accept the body type God gave us. As we age, our metabolism slows, so as early as age 34 and as late as age 36, you’re gonna have a metabolic shift from which you never recover. Things begin to slow

At age 32 when you are playing softball and you slide into second base and hurt a muscle, it would take three days to heal. After the metabolic wall you hit, it takes 3 weeks to heal. We have another shift at 40, and another at 45, and another at 50. After 50 we have shifts every three years – 53, 56, and 59. At 59 it shifts every two years.

What is tied to your slowing metabolism is your immune system. As people age they get sick more often. It’s tied to the fact that your immune system isn’t firing as well as it should. But if the metabolism is cared for, then the immune system is as well.

In addition to showing people how to set realistic goals, the other part that we show in the book is how do people enhance their soul? If you get those three things in balance, then your life is better.

We encourage people to find a personal trainer to help you determine your fitness goals.

Alice Sullivan: And to make sure those goals are realistic.

Tom. Yes. If you don’t set realistic fitness goals, then this transformation is not going to last. Generally, we found that many people quit after 8 weeks. Whereas if you change the way you think about fitness, you will treat the decision better.

One of the things we talk about in previous books is that business people will set schedules. They will write who their appointment is with. If it is a financial meeting, they will make those as a priority. Dr. Kenneth Cooper is considered the father of aerobics in this country, so I write his name in my schedule book. I would never miss an appointment with Dr. Cooper. So I go to the gym and work out at the time that I allocated to spend time with Dr. Cooper. It’s a psychological benefit, but it can work.

CVB: What is next for you?

Tom: Alice and I are working on another book and I recently sold the rights to Kick Start to a filmmaker, so they’re going to make a movie from my book. Alice is working on the screenplay.

CVB: Tell me about the screenplay.

Alice: We are keeping the book’s foundation. The main story will remain the same. But in order to translate that to the big screen we are trying to determine which scenes need to be embellished a little bit more and which scenes we need to go into depth to create the drama and the emotional connection with the audience. There is another screenwriter and we are brainstorming on various scenes.

To learn more about Dr. Tom Thompson visit 91kick.com.

Order a copy of Get a Kick Out of Life: Expect the Best of Your Body, Mind, and Soul at Any Age by Dr. Emmett C. (Tom) Thompson II and Christopher P. Neck