Even pros do this after they hit 30

shutterstock_146352269I’m not giving away any trade secrets here…okay maybe I am – but it is for the greater good, so I am sure it’s fine.

As much as we think nothing has changed since we hit 30, a lot has changed, we are less tolerant.  I don’t mean tolerant from a patience perspective (although for some of us that is true too), but I mean tolerant from a physical perspective.

Perhaps a better term is resiliant.  We can’t take as much punishment and we don’t bounce back as quickly.  This leads many of you to make one of these two mistakes.

Mistake #1

You decide to go to battle with your body — you vow to work it into submission.

Afterall, you used to be able to INSERT ACTION (squat, bench, run, sprint, juke and jive or throw) INSERT QUALIFIER (315lbs, 17km, a 0.42 flat, 28m – whatever – and just for the record, you aren’t fooling anyone with your over exaggerated numbers which were really closer to 215lbs, 5km, 0.62 flat and 18m).

You will never cheat, trick or bully your body into doing it by force.

Just so you know.  If you want to spend hour after hour with your local physiotherapist and explain week after week how you thought somehow it would be different this time you tried to play 4 squash matches on Tuesday and Wednesday night or how you felt SO good that you just wanted to see how your body would feel on a long run – – then keep going pal.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some of my best friends are physios – literally.  And I love talking shop with PT extraordinaire Brian Gastaldi – but you might rather spend your time, energy and money actually doing your sport or activity of choice and not rehabbing.

Mistake #2

You come to the realization that exercise is somehow dangerous and you better find safer ways to train – like those machines at the gym that make it safe for you because the machine stabilizes the weight.

You won’t be putting any stress on your rotator cuff or your back because the machine only targets your big muscles, you know, the ones you can see in the mirror.

PLUS – while I am sitting on that machine at the big box gym I can also catch up on my Real Wives of the NHL viewing – double bonus.  Yeah, I love working out!

So let’s stop you from making both of those mistakes and get you pointed in the right direction.

First off, understand this:

shutterstock_208209736You will never be 20 year old varsity athlete again… but you can make huge gains AND you still have that athlete buried inside.  You actually can have your greatest successes as an adult athlete – like our World Champion Dragon Boaters – Wendy, Gail-Lynn, Bekka and Brian!

I remember when I got back into X-C skiing after my varsity career at Western wrapped up.  We used to chug along for 3-hour skis as our second workout of the day.  So I popped on my skis and took off at what would have been an easy pace.  Doubt I even made it to the 1km mark before my arms completely tied up with fatigue and my lower back was tied into about 27 knots.

The lesson – we were not born with that natural capacity – we were born with the dedication to practice and train day after day and week after week, which is how we built that capacity.

So that is rule number one, you need to be consistent, but that does not mean 7 days per week.

I think three times per week is a good target to start, but be consistent.  So you must decide to be unstoppable.  You are off to Hawaii for two weeks? Awesome, but you don’t get a free pass to skip your workouts for those two weeks in lieu of “doing a lot of walking and we went in the water almost every day and one day we walked up a volcano” – um NO.

Intensity is your friend.

The 30+ athlete (weekend warrior) is notorious for taking off on a sprint and tearing their hamstring, achilles, quad, you name it.  So what is the knee jerk reaction – holy crap, that is dangerous, better not do that, better just do my 40-minutes of cardio to burn off those extra pounds someone stuck to my belly while I was sleeping.

HUGE mistake.

Again, don’t get me wrong.  I am not telling you to go dig out your spikes from OFSAA 1992 and hit the track.  But please, for the love of Vanilla Ice please stop it with the steady state cardio.  Join the Interval revolution (that fit people have been doing since about 2008).

Yes, you will have trouble watching TV while you do this one because it is HARD – but on the up side you can get the same amount of work and way more benefit in about half the time.

You need to keep the intensity and drop the volume.  Your body needs less of a beat down as you get older.  When you were young, you could do almost anything and get stronger and faster, even when you were doing the wrong things, you still saw results.

You won’t get away with that anymore.

So what should you do?

shutterstock_113293717Stop doing what you used to do.  Take a strategic approach.  With our Master’s training groups at RevCon we still use a periodized training program, just like our pro and elite athletes use, but we adjust the volume and the impact to suit the needs of our Master’s athletes.

An 18 year old OHL hockey player is going to be smashed up against the boards by a 210lbs monster who is trying to hurt him – they need to train for that.  A beer league player does not need to train for that.  See where it is important to weigh the risk and the reward?

In general we follow a flow like this…

Mobility work – you are not stiff because you are over 30, you are stiff because you don’t move very much anymore.  You sit at work, in the car, at home – you aren’t playing pick up football or road hockey with your friends.  Heck, you probably don’t even shovel your own snow (snowblowers don’t count) or weed your own garden anymore.

– we spend about 20-minutes on mobility, movement pattern training and balance

Strength and Power – we typically structure this portion so there is an element of cardio training as well – so that could be a circuit or including sprints on the bike, slideboard, jump rope, agility ladder or micro hurdles within the strength portion.

The emphasis is on ground based training – we don’t even have machines at RevCon – where you need to stabilize your torso while generating force or power.  But make sure your form is perfect, doing these exercises with improper form will either reinforce compensatory patterns or increase your risk of injury.

– we spend 20-25 minutes on this 

shutterstock_208209736Stamina -keep it fresh – do some partner relays, timed interval circuits like heavy bag, front plank, rope wave, squat and hold, TRX Row and sled push for 30 seconds at each station with 10 seconds to move to the next exercise.  Make sure you give rest between circuits (2-minutes or so) to allow for recovery, so you can push hard on each and every exercise – – that intensity is what will give you back your athletic swagger.

– we spend 15-20 minutes on this

So there is a formula that will help you re-discover your inner athlete.  Even if you feel good now, there is nothing like the confidence of being in athlete form – knowing you could easily keep up on a challenging hike or bust out a couple of chin ups to show your spouse that you still got it 🙂

Enjoy the journey back.


PS – won’t hurt when you hit the beach in Hawaii the next time in your swim trunks or bathing suit either 🙂

PPS – if you want to see for yourself how we bring back your inner athlete at RevCon I am giving away a 90 day all-inclusive training programCLICK HERE (if you have a high school athlete in your house, they can join too)