I Feel Old!!!

I get it! I feel old sometimes, too. I broke my rib in a soccer game in July and I am still not feeling normal. As a matter of fact, since then, I’ve had a cascade of issues all related to a single injury. I found that as I age if I don’t allow time for healing and recovery I can’t return to training without re-injuring myself. I also found that unless I”m willing to follow the guidelines of recovery, nutrition, and sleep and then I train hard, I run into injury.  

I can’t compete with someone younger, faster, and stronger. Does that mean I shut it down? No. I can still train alongside the coaches in our gym, all of whom are younger, faster, stronger, and more athletic than I am. I just no longer have to win! I had to learn to be ok with that. If I go into a workout trying to lift heavier, run faster, or do more reps than someone else I will either get injured or I’ll be asleep before dinner starts and I usually can’t walk the next two days. Understand your limits and push them, but push them in realistic ways. 

If my nutrition and sleep is off, if I have a couple days of eating out or not eating the way I'm used to, not only do I feel like crap, but my workouts are affected. Likewise with sleep, if I stay up late or I get interrupted sleep, I’m slow, lethargic, and low energy. Training in this state used to be ok. I could just muster up the intensity somehow. Now, if I try to train in a poorly rested state or when my nutrition is off, I know that if I overdo it on those days, it leads to injury. So, I’ve learned to take it down on those days. Lower the load on my squats or do less distance on the run. When I do this, I actually feel better the next day. Go figure!

I now have to pick and choose what I do for heavy. It’s been tough because the guy next to me is usually lifting more weight, but I know that heavier load back squats don’t work for me. So if I just focus on myself and do a lighter load with more reps, I still get sore.  Plus, I’ve identified the strength activities that do work for me to go heavy. These are the ones that I can still handle heavy loads on, and that’s important for the hormonal response I get, but they are low risk when it comes to injury. My strength workouts used to be heavy back squats and heavy deadlifts. I’ve learned to diversify some of those lifts so that I am not getting injured, and the higher risk more complex activities have become lighter loads at higher volumes. Seems to be working just fine!

Overall, the basics of fitness still apply as you age.

  • Challenge yourself and continue to strive to be better! Once you stop doing this and you are no longer challenged, your fitness will plateau. The key is to challenge yourself in the right way. It’s more individualized now that I’m older. 

  • Listen to your body. I have to stop and pay attention a lot more now to see how I feel and not be afraid to change things up mid workout if they aren’t working.  

  • Get out of breath! I still need to find ways to get out of breath. It might look different than 10 years ago, but the key is to find ways to bring intensity into your workouts in a way that works for you.  

  • Do your thing! I love training with other athletes, especially those that are faster and stronger. I don’t need to compete against them but I do use them as motivation. 

  • Strength matters! At my age, the last thing I can give up on is strength work. I have to find ways to make it work which means lower loads on some activities and higher loads on others. The fastest thing to go at my age is muscle mass and muscle tone. I don’t care to look frail and weak, nor do I care to have my metabolism plumet.  

As you age, does your exercise program take all these factors into account?

Maybe I can help!

See you in the gym,