New Rules for Fitness Over 40 and 50+
I am in my 5th decade on this Earth and have learned a few things in regards to my own training as well as those around me who are also aging and still training hard. Each decade, you will notice changes especially as you approach 30.
In your 30s, you need more time to recover, hang overs hurt more, and you can no longer outwork your diet. In your 40s, all the above still applies, just worse, injuries from 20-25 years before tend to resurface or at least the aches from them remind you of your active past. However, if you make a few changes in your 40s, you can actually start to see results of still training smarter and even feel better than you did in your 30s. The good news is that it is NOT over just because you are getting older.
My questions to you are:
Are you over 40 years old with a burning desire to get started again and progressively build up your fitness from beginner to advanced levels? Do you want to be who you were yesterday (20 years ago) and not have to be in pain or experiencing the pain of injury or failing?
Step 1: Treat Yourself Like a Beginner - Drop what you're doing and read this tactical fitness article about the New Rules For The Person Over 40 right now!
Step 2: Get all the details you need in the four part series Tactical Fitness 40+. on how you can easily be who you were yesterday ...
What is Tactical Fitness? Primarily the fitness required to get into and remain in the military, police, fire fighter, EMT services. The goal of tactical fitness is to create a strong and capable body to save yourself and others in an emergency situation. But we all should be strong and capable enough to save ourselves and others in such situations (accidents, fire, storms, etc). Be an asset in an emergency situation. Do you need to be saved? Or can you take care of yourself and your loved ones?
Think about it...Your Fitness is THAT Important Still...
The following rules are part of the programming used in the 52 week – four part training series: Tactical Fitness 40+. From Rebuilding the Foundation to getting Ready to Compete, and being an above average fitness level after 40, this series uses the following rules religiously.
Even well into your 50-60s, you can still do advanced level workouts with these rules, just make sure you actively pursue recovery methods like eating well, sleeping, hydrating, breathing deeply, taking rest days, as well as the following NEW RULES:
NEW RULES for Fitness Over 40 - Now 50+:
You can no longer out work your diet – Focus on smaller portions, avoid junk food, sugar, even decreasing / eliminating sugar, do not avoid fruits /vegetables as these are good carbs that are high in nutrients you need for energy and recovery, and drink more water. This one takes discipline as the old habits of eating like we were highly active 20-year olds is a tough one to break, even if you are still highly active after 40 years old.
Run every OTHER day - add non impact cardio – Unless you are still competing in races or under 200 lbs. of body weight, consider running every OTHER day instead of daily or 5-6 times a week. Replace some of the running days with non-impact cardio options (bike, row, elliptical, swim) on the days in between running days. You can still train hard 5-6 days a week, just give your body a break from the impact by doing challenging non-impact options. You can build up distance or speed as you prefer on your running days to help you maintain abilities in many tactical professions, keep weight down, especially if still taking military fitness tests.
When running fast (sprinting) it is good to remember - 80% is the new 100%. Pulled hamstrings, blown achilles tendons, torn hip flexors have a higher percentage of occurring if you go all out. Proper warmup is always required when pushing your speed limits and sometimes that takes longer than we are willing to give.
See related article on Hating Running for 35 Years - Lessons Learned
Lift But Differently - If you are an easy gainer and can quickly get strong and bulky with a lift cycle, you can still lift, but make sure you follow lift cycles with a good amount of cardio (run, bike, elliptical, swim). If you can keep off the extra weight that comes with increased strength during lift cycles, your next cycle of cardio / calisthenics (periodization) will be much easier. Face it - losing weight is tough after 40. Running heavy is even tougher.
- GAME CHANGER - Add a mobility day each week – This one is actually life changing for me personally and allows me to be pain free even after 50 years old while still training with a group of 20 year old tactical athlete students (spec ops level). You can either replace a typical challenging workout with this mobility or add it to a day off each week. It is simple but effective. See routine options below:
Repeat 5 times
Bike, elliptical, row, or swim 5 minutes
Foam roll, stretch, car buffer massage 5 minutes
Regardless of your goals, the mobility day added to mid to late week will enhance the later workouts of the week or weekend and help you walk out of the gym feeling no pain! If you feel you need it, do the mobility day two times in a week.
Learn how to foam roll, stretch daily, car buffer – That is right! A car buffer (small hand car buffer made by Ryobi for $30 at Home Depot) is what I use to get a deep vibration that is soothing to the muscles. This must be an orbital / vibrating car buffer not a rotary (spinning) car buffer. Apply to joints, muscles, lower back for near immediate soothing effects. But stretching and a foam roller should be the mandatory parts of this rule – DAILY.
- New tools for becoming more mobile and in less pain:
- In conclusion, LOSE WEIGHT my final piece of advice is to get lighter – try not to gain too much weight, even during heavy lifting cycles. It is easy to gain a pound or two a year and in 5-10 years “suddenly” be 10-20 pounds overweight. Being lighter is just easier to move, less pressure on your joints, and typically means you have a healthy fat to body mass ratio. I have found that the heavier I am the worse my blood screening numbers are and it hurts more to run.
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