So, let’s say you’re a man or woman over 40 and you haven’t played a sport in years or never did. You can’t lose that middle aged spread and really want to tone up and look and feel better. Most of us will look to our local gym for the solution. This usually happens when we finally respond to one of the hundreds of glossy coupons that jam up our mail boxes each day luring us in with free trial memberships.
If you are closer to 50 like me, or older you may have experienced our modern fitness industry generally telling us to be “good little middle aged people and to do as we are told.” We are introduced to a really hot 25 year old trainer who will basically baby sit us for $80.00 per hour of training. They have us balancing on Bosu balls with 5 and 10 pound dumbbells and introduce us to all of the comfortable, futuristic, isolating fitness machines. We are led into non-impact step classes and the cool looking cardio equipment to walk or run while we watch our favorite television shows. We are often surrounded by other “ageing and physically challenged” people who are just like us.
I have personally experienced these condescending attitudes. They are not only patronizing, but are dead wrong when it comes to getting us as healthy and fit as possible. Most of the trainers at these gyms will steer us away from low repetition, free weight dead-lifts, squats, presses and other useful exercises. Nope, for us it’s out to the “fitness pasture”. We just need to accept it and to move on gracefully into the autumn of our lives. It’s like we’re in some kind of “fitness daycare”. Gyms are the only place I can think of where a CEO or neurosurgeon can get told what to do by high school drop-out who completed a 1 day personal training certificate.
It’s obvious from the rising statistics on obesity and ill-health that what the fitness industry is offering is simply not working. So here’s my question; what if we went about this in an entirely different way? What if we dared to ask what the fastest, strongest most “in-shape” humans on the planet are doing? That is, how did the best athletes in the world get into their peak physical conditions? What if we then boldly applied the same elite athletic methods?
Imagine if, even in your 40’s 50’s and 60’s you could get into not just “really good shape”, but quite possibly the best shape you’ve ever been in your life. That is, stronger, faster, and slimmer than you’ve ever been, even when younger?
How could this be possible? The main reason is that most of us have never been exposed to the advanced methods that the top Olympians and pro-athletes use to get so strong and fast. This begs the question though – why would I want to train like a pro-athlete if I’m 51 years old, I work at a desk all day and the only sport I play is some pick up slow pitch every summer? I understand completely and the reason why is simple – RESULTS! The end game is not to make an Olympic team or the Pittsburg Steelers. Rather, it is to get into fantastic shape as quickly as possible and with the smallest investment in time.
Again, the numbers show clearly that the fitness industry, for whatever reason is failing us miserably. Typical big gyms generally offer us watered down bodybuilding routines on isolating fitness and cardio machines along with various fitness classes. Please compare any results you may have had using those methods with the benefits obtained by applying the best principles known for dramatically improving human speed, strength, and power. Following an athletic power and strength training regimen will deliver the following list of great advantages:
- Fastest and most effective way to build new muscle
- Develops the most speed
- Builds the most physical strength
- Best methods for strengthening bones
- Best methods for building tendon and ligament strength
- Best methods to build powers of concentration
- Maximal hormonal response (testosterone, human growth hormone, etc)
- Most effective methods to transfer for use in sports, work and life in general
- Best way to strengthen the body overall to prevent physical injury
- Shortest workouts (usually under 45 minutes and actual training time “under tension” is well under 5 minutes)
- Least number of workouts per week – 2 or 3 are just fine
- Most pronounced fat loss due to highest increase in resting metabolic rate
You will simply not receive all of these amazing results sitting in the comfortable machines or using the cardio equipment at your local gym.
At the gym I go to www.fortisfitness.ca we teach 68 year old grandmothers (and everyone else) how to do free weight dead-lifts, full squats, bench presses, standing presses and all of their derivative exercises. They’re dragging sleds, their pushing prowlers. They are hauling heavy chains, balancing on gymnastics rings, swinging kettlebells and lifting in power racks!
Do we use the same volume as pro athletes? Nope. Do we use the same intensities and loads? No way. Make no mistake though, the methods are elite and the progressions are there to be taken. The reason we can do this is that most of these methods are scalable. The ones that aren’t can be progressed to as we get increasingly lean, strong and fast.
One of the most common questions we get is “Hey…am I supposed to be getting THIS strong?” The answer is “Yup…absolutely, and you know what those rising numbers in strength mean? They prove that you have more functional, fat burning muscle.” It’s amazing how -given a responsible diet – empirical improvements in physical strength tend to correspond directly to visible fat loss and improvements in appearance.
I still hear concerns regarding the safety of applying these methods to folks my age and older. I believe one of the best ways to allay these fears is by explaining the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) principle. That is, the body adapts to reasonable, progressive stresses that are placed upon it. Dr. Mel Siff describes this principle more specifically with regard to plyometrics, “joints subjected to heavy impact are relatively free from osteoarthritis in old age and that those subjected to much lower loading experience a greater incidence of osteoarthritis” he continues “it appears that the cartilages of joints subjected to regular impulsive loading with relatively high contact stresses is mechanically much stiffer and better adapted to withstand the exceptional loading of running and jumping than the softer cartilage associated with low loading” (Siff, Supertraining, 2004)
To anyone trying to get into shape, I strongly suggest looking into the best, most proven methods available. Even though they are rather esoteric to the public in general, please don’t be intimidated. Do a little research and find a responsible, functional strength training gym or training center where they understand and practice these principles. Further, these methods are completely scalable, exhilarating and the costs of time and effort are highly outweighed by the great results. I can promise you that the dramatic positive changes will be well worth your efforts. And if you’re looking for a weight loss dietto go with an elite exercise program, please take a moment to check out the eco-diet athttp://www.eco-diet.com It’s designed to go hand-in-hand with an exercise program that will have you feeling better than you have in years.