Modifying Your Training as You Age…

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Question: I’m quickly approaching 50 and I seem to be losing the battle of the bulge around my waistline. I have worked out consistently for the last 20 years but now it’s tough to train. Any advice for us older guys to keep us in shape?
Answer: At 50 you’ve put a lot of mileage on your body and by now you probably have some aches and pains that you deal with daily. Mentally, you have even more mileage which makes it difficult to go to the gym and train with the intensity necessary to merit physical changes. To really get physical you have to be focused and that’s why I referenced the mental fatigue. Many of the guys your age are tired at the beginning of the day and by the end of the day the couch looks better than the gym when most of those who even go to train, get time to train.
To successfully train making physical changes requires mental changes first. Go back to basics and mentally rehearse your workout for a few minutes. See clearly in your mind what you want to accomplish that day. Set a concrete goal not just to get in better shape. Write down those goals like “I will lose 4 inches off of my waist by November.” If that’s not enough to motivate you then shoot for the stars, then even if you miss you’ll hit the moon. One of our guys here at Body Unlimited decided to train for his first bodybuilding show at age 59. He won! The best part is that he’s in the best shape of his life.
In the gym you may have to make adjustments as well. Stop trying to move the weight you used 25 years ago. Occasionally, you can go there but primarily stay with weight that you can use for 8 to 12 reps. Slow your rep speed by a second to really feel the muscles working. Make an effort to feel the stretch and contraction of each rep not just moving a weight to reach a designated number. This allows you to ease the stress on your joints. Make sure you warm up. Most of us ignored the warm-up phase of training when we were younger but now light, full contractions building to heavier sets prepare your muscles and tendons for action without as much pain. Incorporate a day of each week in your training for high intensity giant sets. These shock your muscles with a different style of training and research shows it tends to excite growth hormone release in your body.
To paraphrase Albert Einstein who said insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. You can’t continue to train the way you always have to get different results because your body has changed as you have aged.
However, because you have trained for years your body has aged at a slower rate than someone who does not exercise. Find something to shoot for and modify your workouts a bit and you should be able to beat the bulge.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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