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How to Train Hard and Live Life After 35
I am enjoying training more now at 42-years-old than ever in my life. For some reason, when people reach the mid-mark of 35, they think that all of their dreams are no longer attainable. My question is: why?
Sure now we have families, bills, and careers, so things are a little more challenging. That makes things more fun. Life is nothing but a chess match with thousands of moves to make. You just have to sit back, analyze the board, calculate the risk, and make your move!
As we speak, one of my best friends, Kristi Mason is in Veterinarian School at 42-years-old. Most people would tell her that she’s too old. She doesn’t care! She is more passionate about animals than anyone that I have ever known. She will be a great Vet, and now she is on her way.
Was it easy? No! It took her five years just to take the credits that she lacked, apply for school, and get accepted. She had to work full-time during the process. She was also saving money and cutting expenses, so she would be in a financial position to attend school. It was a process, but she had a dream, made a goal, formulated a plan, and carried it out. Kristi did it, and so can you.
When it comes to training hard, it’s the same process. It’s never too late to have a dream, set some goals, and go to work. Sure there will be obstacles. Overcome them! If you don’t have the time, get up earlier. If you can’t afford the gym, stop eating out. If you want it bad enough, you can do it.
My goal is to be as strong as possible at 42-years-old. Here were my goals starting a year ago:
Clean & Jerk 150k/330lb
Back Squat 550lb
Bench Press 350lb
I surpassed all of these earlier this year, and now my maxes are as follows:
Clean & Jerk 166k/365lb
Back Squat 293k/645lb
Bench Press 395lb
Now my goals are as follows:
Clean & Jerk 182k/400lb
Bench Press 405lb
Will I stop after this? I just don’t know. As long as I am having fun, I will continue to dream bigger, set goals, and carry out plans. Here are the keys to strength training, as you get older:
1. High frequency, high intensity, and lower volume workouts tend to work best. I am able to go heavy and train often, but the volume is lower. I am slowly increasing volume with low intensity down sets, and/or increased warm up sets and exercises.
2. Squat and Overhead Squat Every Day are essential. This one change has been all the difference. These are the two movements required for me to perform Olympic weightlifting at a high level. The more that I have done each has led directly to improved mobility, and stabilized positions.
3. High rep bodyweight movements to strengthen ligaments, tendons, and joints. High Rep Walking lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups have been a huge part of keeping me injury free. The lunges especially have worked wonders for my knees and hips. Ligaments and tendons strengthen through high reps mainly, so these high rep movements are crucial for injury prevention during these heavy squat sessions.
4. Sleep is crucial. 7-9 hours is optimal for recovery. When I cut those hours short, I immediately take a hit in my strength and mobility.
5. Mobility and stretching sessions are mandatory. I focus on mobility exercises and stretching that is specific to my needs. Hips and quads are my trouble spots, so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning sessions are dedicated to mobility and stretching.
6. Sports Medicine is a crucial. Dr. Gray is my Chiropractor. He has been, since 2003. He specializes in A.R.T., Graston, K-Laser, and many other modalities that he uses to keep athletes like me in top condition. I recommend searching until you find the perfect practicioner for you.
7. Train around athletes that are likeminded! I coach the best team on earth as far as I am concerned. Most of my boys and girls are young with an average age of 19. They are all tenacious, focused, and driven. Being around them keeps my mind young, and this is my real secret. The atmosphere in my gym is so amazing that I can’t help but train hard.
If you are in a gym full of people that are negative, I suggest that you make a change right away. If the athletes are always making excuses for failure, find a place where they don’t. This is my best advice for success in anything that you do. If you want to crush life, surround yourself with people that want to crush life equally as much.
8. Listen to your body! Learn to auto-regulate! I don’t try to hit all-time PRs every day. For example, if I am feeling beat up, I will go for a long pause in Squat instead of a true max. I will focus on mobility and position instead of total weight. Also if I want to hit a big back squat on Tuesday, I will go for a 5 count paused front squat on Monday with limited down sets. That will just prime me to kill it the next day.
9. Never stop learning! I have learned so much in the last year that has made training more efficient with less pain. For example, I just learned last week that performing elevated hip thrusts before squatting sets the hip in a more neutral position. This will lessen any anterior hip pain, and will prime the hips to fire better.
I want all of you to know this one thing: never stop dreaming! The second you stop dreaming is the moment you start dying! Dreaming, planning, and working hard to reach your goals is the essence of being alive. This applies to family, fitness, work, and religion. We should always be trying to improve in all aspects.
My training improvements make me feel young again. I am able to perform athletic feats that I haven’t performed in over 15 years. It is like turning back the clock! I am applying the same drive to all aspects of my life, and I am getting the same results in all aspects. I wish the same for all of you.