The Ageless Athlete

Post by Mark Ehnis

I recently attended a seminar in Indianapolis and heard some of the most intelligent minds in the strength and conditioning industry give presentations on various topics. Everything from new thoughts on core training, to nutrition and fat loss, to Olympic lifting for athletes, and energy system training of an MMA fighter. There were also a few other talks mixed in. I got some new information from these talks that I will apply immediately to training my athletes.

Mike Robertson of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training (IFAST) hosted the seminar and also presented
However, one of my biggest take-a ways from this information-packed day wasn’t from a speaker, but from another attendee in the crowd.
This gentleman sat in front of me and we got to talking in-between each presenter. He was very friendly and seemed eager to learn. This guy flew in from Oklahoma for a one-day seminar- talk about investing in your knowledge. He must have been between 50 or 60 years old, he might have been older but it appeared that he took very good care of himself. I discussed the opening of PowerStrength with him and he talked about early retirement for himself. As I sat and listened, I could tell that this guy knew what he was doing and that early retirement didn’t just happen by accident for him- he worked hard, had a plan, and hustled to reach this goal.
So why was this guy at the same seminar as I was? He didn’t own a gym or coach. So I straight up asked him. He replied with that he was there to learn some training tips for himself. Now how many “old” people do you know that get plane ticket to attend a one-day seminar to learn for themselves how to exercise better? I tipped my hat immediately to this man as soon as he said that.
Steve (that was his name) then went on to explain how he also runs a website for the older population that focuses on exercise and being an “ageless athlete.” He said, “I played sports until my mid-20s, then got a job and life got in the way. This happens to everyone. But I enjoyed being an athlete so why does this have to change? Exercise and training is now my sport and I’m still an athlete.”  He was exactly right and this got me thinking.

The ageless athlete- tell her she’s too old and she’ll throw heavy things at your face!
In college I took for granted all the intramural sports and pick-up basketball games that I was constantly participating in. I’m sure looking back everyone could say the same. To this day the only thing that has stayed constant has been my training and being in the gym every day. Lifting is now my sport. Speaking to the post-college crowd, if you go about it the right way, lifting could become your “sport” as well.
Just because you may be slowing down a little bit physically, you have kids, you’re always at the office, energy is low and you never seem to have time for anything, doesn’t mean you have to give up what you enjoy(ed) doing. Getting to the gym 3 times per week shouldn’t be boring or viewed as a chore. You once were a stud athlete and part of a team, what changed? Who says you’re washed-up and can’t enjoy those same thrills?
The first thing you must do is tell yourself, “I ain’t too old for this shit” (Lethal Weapon anyone?). Next, find a gym that fits your needs and lets you be an athlete again. Try getting around people a little younger age-wise- they will energize you. This happens to me when I get around my middle school athletes, and I’m only 24. Most importantly, find yourself some ‘teammates’. These will be your training partners. You should care about their training and goals as much as you do your own. This could be anywhere from 1-6 people- large enough so the energy is always there but small enough to form a tight-knit group. Hold one another accountable and don’t let each other miss sessions or slack. Remember back to high school. Would you let your teammate slack off and make excuses? Hell no! So don’t let it happen now.

Riggs and Murtaugh were old but still effective

Each training session is viewed as practice. If you aren’t competing in powerlifting or bodybuilding you will never have a ‘game day’ unless you set a date as a group. This could be a test day or a challenge day. Test each other on the exercises you’ve been doing or design a race or an obstacle course for your team to complete. The goal is to organize something that you can compete in. Afterwards, throw a party or a BBQ in celebration of your victory.
Just because life seems to be getting in the way and you’re not as young as you once were, doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you enjoyed for the better part of your life- being an athlete. I know powerlifters who form a ‘team’ to train together. These guys are between 30-50 years old but they all make time to train and pull each other along. Everybody spots and encourages and everyone benefits. It truly is a team.

West Michigan Power- ageless strength
I’m still young but my days as an organized athlete are pretty much over. One of the reasons I started PowerStrength was to give guys like me, and other ex-athletes, a place to come and be apart of a team atmosphere. The style of training we do is perfect for getting the competitive juices flowing and getting as close to those ‘in-game’ jitters as possible. Old or young. Male or female. The doors are always open for new teammates to join.
Here is a link to Steve’s website Ageless-Athletics