Since the summer after my senior year of high school I’ve had people tell me the following:
- When you get to college you’ll gain weight (the “Freshman 15”) because you’ll always be drinking
- When you get to grad school you’ll gain weight because you’ll always be studying
- When you graduate you’ll gain weight because you’ll always be working
- When you take this sales job, you’ll gain weight because you’ll always be traveling
- When you take this management job, you’ll gain weight because you’ll always be sitting
- When you get to 25…or 30…you’ll gain weight because your metabolism starts slowing
Fortunately, I’ve never gained weight. Now I’m 32 and I sometimes hear the following:
- When you get to 35…40…45…50…(you know the rest)
Want to know the truth? From a health and fitness perspective, two primary things decline with age:
- After the ages of 25-30 (studies are conflicted), you’ll lose 0.5-1% of muscle mass each year
- Your body doesn’t recover as quickly from intense workouts. Endurance is not affected (or is affected very little)
I’ll be the first to admit that there are certain things we cannot do as we age. Case in point – waaaaaay back in the day I LOVED McDonald’s, and I would always get the same thing – Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Supersized Fries, Large Chocolate Shake. And I would go play a basketball game afterwards!
If I tried to do that now you’d have to roll me onto the court
(not that I ever would try that now)
But in the case of losing muscle mass with age, this is measured by taking muscle biopsy samples of the same person doing the same thing over and over across time.
What happens if you continue challenging your body throughout the aging process?
I’m fortunate to have worked with a large clientele of people over 40. All of them are getting better with age…and all of them will CONTINUE to get better. Heck, if they can put up with me for long enough, they’ll probably still be getting better…even into their 50’s!
I swore 2013 was going to be the year of me ‘keepin’ it real’ (even more so than last year). If you’re reading this post saying, “but Scott, you just don’t know what it’s like,” you right – I don’t. I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know where you are and I haven’t been where you’ve been.
But here’s what I do know:
The average American gains about 1 pound per year. And most don’t gain it because of aging – they gain it because of their own CHOICES. They are more sedentary. They move less. They watch too much TV. They eat more. Their foods are too processed. They drink more. They exercise less.
Most people gain weight because of their own choices. It has little to do with aging.
Every single person reading this needs to know that you CAN get better with age and continuous improvement is not only possible, it’s probable, if you manipulate a small number of easily manageable variables…notably exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress. I’ve seen it happen before and I will help others do it again.
But it starts by keepin’ it real – with yourself. If you’ve been using age as a crutch for your own unhealthy lifestyle circumstances, please stop. Immediately. Step up and be held accountable. Flip the switch. Make it happen. You deserve better and you are capable of much, much more.
To a happier, healthier, fitter, more fulfilling 2013.
P.S. If you’re wondering where to go from here to find the “healthy fountain of youth,” good starting points would be to read (or re-read) the posts on effective strength training, weight loss secrets, and positive attitude.