Old Guys In The Gym
I’m not exactly old yet, but old enough to find myself in far too many gym conversations discussing how working out is not as easy as it used to be.
Sometimes, the conversation is about how our bodies don’t heal like they used to. Sometimes, it’s about the how proper form has become a far greater focus that it used to be. The most popular dialogue that middle-aged guys engage in is about going “high-rep”, how we no longer try to lift as much as possible and how we now lift to stay in shape.
Granted, not lifting as heavy as possible is not completely by choice. We just can’t. Okay, just maybe I could if I completely dedicated my life to lifting again. If I sacrificed being lean for eating as much as possible and not worrying about body fat. If I put my kid’s needs on the back-burner while I strived to achieve a goal that nobody in the world could give .2 cents about.
In my early twenties, it all made sense. I could eat 9000 calories a day, gain very little fat and lots of strength and size in a relatively short period. What wasn’t to enjoy about lifting and eating?
It really is about staying in shape now. No longer in search of hero-worship, the middle-aged guy is just wanting to be healthy and look good. It’s actually a nice place to arrive after spending years in the gym feeling like your in competition with every other 20-something.
I’m not sure everyone felt that way, but I knew a lot of body builders and I knew myself so I know there were a lot that felt that way.
Working Out At 40
Just like anything in life, working out post 40 and achieving spectacular results is all about attitude. It’s true that it’s all a bit harder and joints hurt a bit more but experience offers the great advantage of achieving results without being in constant pain.
I see far too many guys my age that have given up on diet and in talking to them, they just seem okay to admit that “it’s the way it is now”.
I still remember working out at 20 and having a discussion with my best friend, Paul, that we were going to continue working out into old age. That time is getting too close too fast, but the attitude remains. I’m proud to say we’re both still hard at it with no plans to stop anytime soon.
I don’t care to be the strongest guy in the gym anymore but I love ripping my shirt off and seeing less fat than the 25 year-old power-lifter getting dressed next to me (okay so maybe the competitive edge hasn’t completely left.. but maybe that’s a good thing).
Being lean is a powerful feeling! It’s as euphoric as the days when I was squatting over 600 lbs. I never thought it would be, but being in shape feels great at any age.
This post is just to say that if you’re getting older and finding fewer reasons to work out and/or eat right, run from that attitude while you still can (If you can’t run, walk fast). It’s okay to acknowledge and talk about a little joint pain but don’t let those conversations change your mentality and keep you from achieving what’s possible for you to achieve. There’s still every opportunity to achieve your every goal in the gym and have the body you always dreamed of. I find that pretty exciting to realize as a middle-aged guy.
The reality is that at any age, it’s mostly a matter of diet and it’s about getting to the gym 3X a week. Believe and achieve.