I was on the phone with my buddy, AJ Roberts, a former world record holder in Powerlifting while he was a member at Westside Barbell, aka The Strongest Gym in the World.
We were talking training, life, business, the usual.....
We got to the training talk and I mentioned something about how I feel and he said, "Oh man, you're already playing that age card!"
He was right.
I was 38 or 39 at the time and I made up some poor excuse about training, how I feel because of my age and then proceeded to blame it on my age.
AJ's response to my playing the "age card" along with my little slip up pissed me off and motivated me to get stronger. Ever heard the saying "Pissed off for greatness"? Well, that's me. Still chasing that Gold Medal in any and all areas of my life.
After that conversation with AJ, I was motivated to make each and every training session count for something.
And, more importantly, I became more aware of my self limited beliefs regarding training, getting stronger and getting older.
For myself, I realized that hearing someone calling me out is what inspires me. 1 of MANY things that inspires me. I leverage it all and find ways to be inspired by words. It keeps me going.
I take self inventory and get to work. Extreme Ownership. You're only as strong as you EARN. NOT as strong as you WANT to be, as STRONG as you EARN.
And, the opposite is also true. If you're weak, it's nobody's fault but your own. Do the work. You're not too busy, too old, etc.
Rather than letting age work against me, as society tries to convince you that getting older means we ALL must become XYZ, I refuse to be lumped into the category of "every one else".
There have been a few things that have changed for me as I get older....
From my early 20s until around age 26, 27 I was good with getting in 3 and maybe 4 heavy workouts a week. Sometimes I would do other training on my non lifting days but that wasn't all too common. Maybe some Mountain Biking once a week during the warm weather months but not much else besides lifting.
As I reached my late 20s (28 and older) and through my mid 30s I began realizing that I needed more frequent workouts to continue making progress and to simply feel good about myself. I also couldn't take breaks. A week off wasn't good anymore. A few days off here and again, all good. Anything more, no good.
The less I trained the heavier everything felt for me once I hit age 35.
Take 2 or 3 weeks off from a deadlift and suddenly that bar feels heavier than normal in your hands.
The lessons here as I got to my late 30s:
- Train frequently to make progress. Even with moderate weights, hit the big lifts more frequently. Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Pull Ups. Grease the Groove is great here.
- Training does not and should not always be in the gym. Extra calisthenics from your local playground, your garage or at home is great. Outdoor activities like biking, running, swimming, etc help you raise your overall fitness levels.
- Some of the strongest people I've known always had manual labor jobs. They would train in the evenings after a long, hard day of work. MANY do not have manual labor jobs so build them into your workouts with farmer walks, sledge hammer work, carrying odd objects and more.
These strong guys coming from manual labor work inspired me to respect simple exercises and even doing yard work. I used to mow the lawn with ankle weights and a weight vest.
Today I no longer mow the lawn, but I do find ways to train in ways that mimic manual labor.
I will often have at least 1 if not 2 sessions a week that are based around farmer walk / odd object carry variations coupled with sleds. I will sneak in some small accessory work on these days as well.
For example, this past Thursday I wanted to train hard yet not interfere with my plans for my birthday workout which was going to be tough on the legs and back.
So I did 5 or 6 rounds of:
A) Keg or Farmer Walk w/ Kettlebells
B) Sled Drags / Sled Pushes
C) Kettlebell Side & Rear Delt Raises
This workout looks extremely simple on paper but it's what MANY lifters and athletes need. A dummy proof workout that raises GPP [General Physical Preparation].
As this farm boy style workout goes on and on the mental toughness factor comes into play. I recommend you also perform a workout like the above at least 1 x week. You can go for 5 - 10 rounds or you can go for max work under a specific time frame such as 15 - 30 minutes. Choose the level appropriate for your goals.
The day after this farm boy style workout was my 40th birthday and I hit this workout which was high volume and a much needed wake up call as I haven't been hitting enough volume work.
Here's my 40th Birthday Workout:
- Box Squats 4 x 10 @ 225 lbs
2A) Deadlifts 8 x 5 reps @ 225 lbs
2B) Push Ups 40 lbs 4 x 10 reps
3A) Trap Bar Deadlift 4 x 10 @ 225 lbs
3B) Dips 4 x 10 reps
4) Back Extensions 4 x 10 reps @ 40 lbs
High rep work on the big lifts is not something I normally do and I prefer to advocate that style of training only to advanced lifters. Beginners have a tough time maintaining technique and discipline under fatigue of higher reps when squatting or deadlifting.
If you're ready, give a test to the higher reps on squats and deads. You will feel the effect. If it challenges you, do it. Never run from the challenge, always chase the challenge. You're welcome.
As I am now part of the 40 and over club, the realization is how fast time flies.
My kids who were so small just yesterday are like little adults already. My early 20s seemed like yesterday and being an "adult" seemed like it was nowhere in sight.
Attack every day and live life on your OWN terms. Find a way to make it happen. The most successful people make it happen, the least successful people make excuses. It's up to you.
Time flies and I ain't got time to be weak. Neither do you. Train hard and Train Often.
The STRONG Life is the BEST Life.
Drop your comments / questions below.
Live The Code 365,