back in the 1950s and ‘60s the medical profession was telling us that after age forty you shouldn’t exercise anymore. They said it was too much strain on the heart. In other words, you were expected to just admit defeat gracefully and that was that! However as we have seen there are proffesional atheletes that totally debunk that idea, although not many still perform at the highest level it is still possible.
For me, the most important thing to realize was that I may feel like a young, but my body doesn’t. Sometimes you wake up stiff sometimes and often have to hobble around the room for a minute until things start to loosen up. whilst going hard, I can’t go hard every day like I used to. For example I will likely have two hard workouts with the remainder being far more moderate, as I simply can’t withstand so many hard sessions. ln other words the recovery is slower from my training sessions.
Rebalancing the Body
After every hard session, regardless of age, the body needs to rebalance itself. It does this through food and sleep. Training for most people generally falls either early in the day before work or later after work. In both cases it is important to get a decent meal in post training. It won’t kill you if you don’t do it, but by the end of the week the benefits from quickly refuelling your body can be felt. Ideally you want to get a protein based shake or a nice balanced meal of protein and carbohydrates in within 30-60 mins of your training session.
As you get older one of two things happens. Either you realize you can’t get away with poor choices anymore and that a fast-food meal makes you feel horrible for days. Or, you realize having a six-pack isn’t as important to you as having a glass of wine with dinner each night and enjoying some of the less health conscious and tastier options out there. But if you want to keep seeing results past forty you’re going to need to make good food choices more often than not.
Managing time,sleep and food
Food is like the petrol our body needs to keep running. The better the quality of fuel we put in, the faster and longer we can rev the engine. Sleep is maintenance for the body. Forgoing sleep to watch TV or stay out late will halt your progress faster than anything else I can think of. One of the problems about passing forty is that often by this stage we have serious jobs that may require working outside normal hours, or having kids to organise!
Most people’s time management skills are awful. They waste time on unimportant things, watch too much TV, and don’t prioritize looking after themselves by getting to bed early. While life is never perfect and there will be situations (particularly for those with kids) that require changing your schedule on the fly, getting people used to your routine is essential. l personally find reading and having a carmomile tea before going to bed help me switch off and get to sleep better. That may make me seem like an old man, but if you want to have enough energy to train well the next day, then you must get enough sleep. For me, l can manage on a solid 6-7 hours of sleep per night but everyone is different.
Balancing Training sessions
After food and sleep comes balancing the hard work in your training versus the easy work. lf you look at the hard sessions you’ll see why they’re called easy. A hard day may look like this:
Morning – 60 min hill running , first 20 mins easy pace, second 20 mins at 70%, third 20 mins 85% plus
Afternoon/evening- Bodyweight resistance , squat jumps, jumping lunges,iceskaters, burpies, squat thrusts, chin ups, press ups, bear crawls, tricep dips 1min on each exercise then repeat 3 times
After a day like that you’ll find you wake up the next day stiff and tired. That’s actually my current Friday workout, which means that Saturday has to be “easy.” In this context easy doesn’t refer to actually taking it easy, but in deliberately choosing activities that won’t put as much stress on the body as the day before. A typical Saturday looks like this:
Morning – Easy flat run of 40 min at a comfortable pace
Afternoon/evening – Strength session, predominantly upper body, 8-12 reps each of all upper body areas.
If you hold back on this second day and compare it to the first, you’ll see a big difference. A flat, easy run is refreshing after the pain of the hill run the day before. A strength workout that is mostly smaller muscle groups and confined to the upper body is far easier than a full body workout.
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