Okay, it’s time to talk about strength and fitness. I don’t mean simply looking in the mirror and being impressed (or depressed) by the specimen staring back at you, but actually feeling great and performing at one’s peak.
Here’s what I have found after working out for the past fifty years. Yes, that’s 5-0! I actually began my journey when my Dad bought me a workout bench and a 110 lb weight set at Sears & Roebuck on my fourteenth birthday. I was preparing for the high school football season and wanted to excel. To this day, I am convinced weight training helped me become a better, stronger, more confident and more effective player and person than I would have been otherwise. I still have the original equipment in my basement. In fact, I just used it yesterday! It’s a bit worn and showing its age… some would say like its owner! Over the years, I have collected an assortment of other equipment. No matter what you have for equipment, here’s what I recommend to maintain (or to rediscover!) your youth at any age.
15 Tips to Maintain to Your Fitness at Any Age
- Keeping a journal is essential. If you don’t establish a baseline of your strength and stamina levels when you begin, you won’t know if you are actually making progress. Track these gains with a chart that can be easily tailored using a simple spreadsheet to match your specific routine.
- Establishing realistic but challenging goals. Write them down. Remember these are your goals not those of someone else.
- You can attend a gym or fitness center or you can work out in your own place. I have done both over the years but always prefer working out in my own place. Regardless of where you decide to train, make it as easy as possible for you to establish this as a habit. Eliminate all obstacles. Create a routine to avoid simple excuses and rationalization for why you cannot do it. Do not believe that willpower alone will suffice.
- Making progress is easy when just beginning, during high school and college and through one’s mid thirties. During these years, you will experience obvious results quite rapidly. However, even later in life regardless of age, one can always get strong. It’s never too late.
- Proper amounts of rest and recovery between workouts are essential. Sleeping while being grounded to the earth’s energy has been shown to transfer beneficial electrons from the earth to your body.
- Simple acquisition of muscle mass can be costly both to develop and to maintain. Look for strength gains, not necessarily muscle bulk, as genetics and testosterone levels play a significant role in actual muscle size.
- For general strength gains, work the big muscles of the lower and upper body (glutes, quads/hams, pectorals, lats, traps, deltoids, triceps, biceps) to exhaustion once or twice per week using compound exercises when possible. This entire workout can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. Use a high-intensity, slow workout routine to protect joints, avoid the use of momentum while bringing muscles to exhaustive failure. Over time, you will begin to attain your full genetic potential. A great book to read on this topic is Body by Science by Doug McGuff, M.D.
- On off days from strength training, do speed training 3 times per week (15-20 minutes per session). I use my rebounder (cellerciser) for many of the moves and it also provides for a great way to warm up your muscles. After a two-minute warm-up, look for a full out effort for 30 seconds per exercise with a 60 to 90 second rest in between. Do a total of 8 exercises. I do things like sprinting in place, squat jumps, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, planks, etc.
- Plan on no more than a total of 1 to 2 hours each week of combined strength and speed training as discussed above. Mix in some enjoyable but brisk walking/hiking in nature (bare feet on the beach is super if you have access). Other great activities include skating, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, bicycling, cross-country skiing, etc. Try to soak up the sun responsibly and breathe fresh air.
- Having a partner or friend to share in the fun and to encourage and challenge each other makes for a bonding opportunity and a beneficial social encounter as well. Regardless, be true to yourself and complete your routine with or without someone else.
- Illness, injury or other life events will occasionally get in the way. However, don’t let missing a workout or two derail you from attaining your goals.
- Keep your diet clean. Don’t overeat and stay away from simple carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and excessive amounts of protein. Eat nutrient dense whole foods from local and organic sources whenever possible while avoiding all processed items including soft drinks. Weight maintenance will be much easier with this approach. Concern yourself less with calories and more with proper nutrients. Start your dietary education journey with great books such as Nourishing Traditions and Perfect Health Diet and expand your knowledge from there. Supplement and heal with pure superfood-based supplememts. Some great supplements for energy, anti-oxidant support and anti-aging potency include Astaxanthin and Resveratrol.
- Drink the purest water you can find.
- Work out several hours after a meal but not when you are over hungry.
- Find a time of day that works well for you. For me, I prefer the morning before eating anything for my speed training. I may drink a small glass of purified water with lemon juice before and during the workout. For heavy weight training, I prefer late mornings before lunch or late afternoons before dinner.
Remember, when you feel good anything seems possible. Incorporating a very manageable workout routine is a huge lifestyle boost. It will make you mentally sharper while improving your confidence and self-esteem. It will enable you to do everything with more enjoyment and less effort. It will assist you in participating in activities throughout your life that are both fun and invigorating. You will be a happier parent, grandparent, spouse or friend by being actively engaged.
Enjoy and stick with it…it’s a lifestyle that you will be thrilled with adopting.
I’ll check back with you to see how you’re doing before another fifty years are in the rearview mirror!