5 key strategies for age athletes

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Trained after 50 should be the same as you train (or practice) in 20 years. You just need to understand how your strengths and your nutritional needs change.

Authors: Charles Steyli

As we get older, strength training is beginning to seem like a game for the young. There is a feeling that there are too many risks and not enough returns. Plus, nobody likes to start from the very beginning.

As for risks and rewards, the second is much more than the first. The development and maintenance of muscle mass and strength is one of the best strategies for improving the quality of life at any age. It's not a coincidence that according to research, muscle mass is a more accurate predictor of life expectancy than such a popular BMI.

Without too much modesty, I say that weight training allowed me to be in the best form in my life at the age of 55 years. Of course, with some things had to accept, but nothing wrong with that. Fortunately, for the most part, the training of age athletes is identical to the training of young rivals. In fact, the basic principles of the training process remain unchanged. The key differences are at the starting point and the speed of progress.

On the other hand, many intangible trifles need to be taken into account if you want to do things right and for a long time. And in order to clarify, I will say that you must strive for both the first and the second!

1. Learn to synchronize wishes and needs

Many of us, age athletes, are still in decent or even excellent shape, at least in the context of the type of activity that we like most. But each of us has an irresistible desire to stand out from the crowd. Actually, in this situation, I usually use the word "cool". Perhaps your goal is a chic physique, or you want to be very strong, or strive for high positions in the rating in any sport. The bottom line is that we want to stand out. And in the case that we have chosen, we want to be gorgeous.

You can not doubt, the desire to be extraordinary is absolutely normal thing, which can feed you with energy for all these exhausting trainings. But training that leads to greatness and glory does not always promote health in the long run. It turns out that if you want to be on top and stay healthy, you will have to synchronize these two in some way conflicting goals.

A good way to bring everything to a common denominator is to choose the kind of sport or occupation that fits your constitution and individual physique. In recent years I somehow neglected this recommendation, taking part in weightlifting and powerlifting competitions after 40 and even after 50 years, although both sports are not suitable for a person with an 185 cm, weight of 90 kg and relatively poor mobility in the joints.

Until now, I was lucky, and I was more or less successful, especially in powerlifting. But I was always open to new opportunities, allowing me to challenge myself and expand the horizons of the training process. You must also follow a broad view and treat everything without prejudice.

2. Economics of training: think like an accountant

To my clients I say this: "Whenever you take the bar, you pay some price. Whether this is useful or not is another matter. "

When it comes to fitness – and with age it becomes more than obvious – you have to carefully calculate the potential price and possible benefits when planning your workouts. The price has to be paid not only in the form of time and energy expended, but often also in the form of a risk of injury, time taken away from other life goals, and wear and tear of the musculoskeletal system (ODD) in the future.

Ideally, you want to pay for achieving goals reduced, not full cost. Here are just some examples of how to develop a similar way of thinking:

  • If you have problems with the lower back, front squats are an exercise "at a discount" for the development of leg strength, which is "cheaper" than classic sit-ups with a barbell on the back.

The bottom line is that the older you are, the higher the value of a rational economy of training. Remember the Pareto principle: where are the 20 percent of investments that will be able to give 80 percent of profits? Find them and direct the maximum effort in the right direction. When time and effort are limited, you need to know what things can be abandoned without any serious consequences.

3. Find and pull the weakest links

The physical form is determined by a variety of adaptive mechanisms and abilities of the organism. All of them have the property to decline with age and / or because of inactivity, but they deteriorate at different rates. For example, it is relatively easy to remain strong in adulthood, but not always this can be said about mobility, endurance or peak power.

Here is a simple question that will help you focus on this topic: what could you easily do in 18 years, which you can not just play today? Run? Jump? To throw or catch a ball? Get up off the floor? Touch the toes? See your toes?

Whatever option you choose, it points to physical abilities that have deteriorated markedly over the years.

The various physical indicators that make up the overall picture of the physical form are like woven webs. The development of one quality affects the development potential of all others. Physical abilities are similar to strands of spider web; You can not touch one strand without disturbing all the other strings.

With age, the anabolic effect of exercise and nutrition is becoming less and less powerful. Therefore, if you want to stay in the game, you need to do more to get less. In particular, the effect of protein intake on the synthesis of muscle proteins decreases in adulthood. And we recycle carbohydrates is not as effective as in youth. These findings suggest that it is worthwhile to turn the diet back to carbohydrates and face to the protein.

Dr. Lane Norton cites the following recommended norms for daily protein intake depending on age:

  • Up to 18 years: 1,2-1,6 grams per 1 kg body weight

It may seem that eating so much protein per day is not so easy, but sports nutrition greatly simplifies this task.

5. Do not be afraid to be a generalist

Young sportsmen usually start to engage in several sports at once. They can go to the section on football, swimming, gymnastics or athletics. You can imagine this as an upper, or wide, part of an hourglass.

Only with the years when they become teenagers or out of adolescence, depends on the sport, specialization begins that helps them to succeed in the chosen sport discipline. Imagine this stage of becoming an athlete in the form of a "neck" of an hourglass.

When you enter the era of adulthood, I recommend going back to the strategy of broad specialization. Imagine that you are 25 years old, and you need 20 minutes to run 1,5 kilometers. By any standards this is useless time, but the good news for 25-year-olds is that at this age the situation is quite easy to fix. On the other hand, if you are 55 years old, and you are running 1,5 km for 20 minutes, improving the result turns into a real battle. It may very well be that you will never run 1,5 kilometers for a good time.

To find a solution to the problem, do not bother your head against the wall – it's best to look for something that you are able to do. Regardless of the sport discipline you choose, you should strive to improve the whole range of physical characteristics even if they are not directly related to the sport or activity that you love. The good news is that as soon as training becomes a habit, it does not take too much effort to just support it.

Here is a practical advice how to make sure that your physical form does not deteriorate with age. Find a measurable way to assess the current level of muscle strength, aerobic endurance, body composition and mobility of ODA. For example, to evaluate these four parameters, you can select a deadlift, run for 2 kilometers, two-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DRA), and a functional estimation of movements (FOD).

Then draw a conditional "line on the sand" for each indicator: the level below which you can not go down. For me it's a deadline with 225 kg, but remember that I'm a competing powerlifter. For you it can be something completely different. For example, lifting your own weight on 5 repetitions, and when the task seems simple, lifting a one and a half weight. Then two of their own scales. The principle you understand.

There are no absolutely correct or incorrect methods in this question. The bottom line is that you need to determine the personal standards of physical development that are important to you, and then work on improving the weakest aspects.

The older you become, the more noticeable is the role of all sorts of "trifles": the frequency of meals, careful workouts, full sleep and the ability to cope with stress. In youth, you can "deceive the system" on many issues, but in adulthood you can not afford such a luxury.

So, if you want to be cool at 50, 60 years and at a more mature age, you will have to pay the price in the form of hard work and strict self-discipline. But the reward is worth it. The only negative point? You can not start everything on its own, as it could be done in 20 years. It's time to get down to work seriously!

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