I don’t feel old, however recently I’ve noticed a lot of grey hair appearing on my head….. Holy crap I’m 40!
I might not be as lean as I was at 25, but as far as training capacity, energy levels, overall health, and mental maturity is concerned I may as well still be a teenager.
Turning 40 was a pain free experience, there was a lot of nice wine, some even nicer friends, and the Italian county side. During this milestone when people globally were making fun of my age I did what all just turned 40-year-old trainers do. I worked on a fitness and nutrition plan to take me through the next 40 years with style.
What I thought was important
- Feel good when I wake up - (the occasional hangover aside)
- Enjoy more super early morning motorbike rides
- Be fit enough to participate in any physical activity I choose - beat the 20 year olds on Saturday stair sprints, thrash a mountain bike, shoosh down a piste, or run Mac Ritchie and keep up with Chapman
- Have a good amount of energy - not have to be in bed by 7pm every night, though I do like to sleep early :-)
- Not get fat / Be happy with how I look
- Keep or improve what little intelligence I have left
My plan of attack
Lift some heavy things:
On of my favorite uncles ‘Lefty’ once said ‘you guys might not be too bright but you can sure lift heavy things’.
I’ve always liked weight training, I find it relaxes me. Some people find nirvana chanting ohm in a yoga class, I feel all Zen when I’m deadlifting.
Lifting is going to keep my aged metabolism buzzing, helping me stay leanish….. It will keep my joints well supported so I can keep stupidly active and stave off the muscle wastage associated with the passing of time.
Do I have to change the way I lift? No. I will continue to deadlift, power clean, push press, bench, chin, squat, dip and do pushups.
And I’ll always lift as heavy as possible, for me this is means lifting the maximum I can do on a given day, with good form, and no ‘bad’ pain.
Redline my system every now and again
I’m pretty much anti-long distance cardio, I think running a marathon is a horrible way to get fit, and the research supports my view, apparently marathon training stresses your heart and joints (who would have thought), on top of that I really don’t want to look like a marathon runner.
I do however want to look and perform like a sprinter and that’s the perfect activity for an old guy like me.
Sprinting keeps my metabolism revving helping me stay lean, it will also boost my GH levels, and high GH has a whole host of anti-aging benefits.
I will keep jogging at least once a week, at a sensible distance of 10km, like weight training, I also find jogging very meditative and it helps burn a few extra calories at the same time.
Keep my bendiness
Luckily, being in the gym all day, I’m moving around, demonstrating exercises and rolling out, this helps keep me reasonably supple. I do however consider a weekly yoga class the best way to keep mobile for now and in the future – especially when it is on the helipad of the Swiss Hotel.
I really think yoga is great, sure I completely disagree with the instructors when it comes to nutrition and as a general rule (you should never generalize) randomly mobilizing joints on a group of people is a recipe (vegan type recipe) for disaster. With that said a good yogi will take your restricted joints to a range you didn’t think possible, helping you move as nature intended, and minimizing joint pain and discomfort. I do also enjoy how calm a good class can make me feel (important for the older grumpy types).
The real anti-aging supplement - Food
Food is a contentious topic, people have far too many emotions attached and there is way too much corporate money involved for there to ever be an absolute.
Until I know better my anti-aging diet will be:
Based on vegetables – Organic where possible, getting the bulk of my nutrients from green leafy and colourful vegetables. I will also eat some potatoes, starchy, and root vegetables.
Free range animals– Grass fed beef, wild caught fish, pastured pork and poultry, they’re good for you, and choosing free range helps support traditional farming, making the world a better place.
Avoid snacking as much as possible – I like to have a break between meals, and generally try to skip breakfast, it’s good for keeping me young (autophagy) and eating less seems to help keep me lean (big surprise, especially with dietitians world wide telling us to snack frequently for weight loss)
Sleep in a cave
I will try harder to avoid using any screens close to bed time (I’m getting better) and not have any light source that could interfere with a sound nights sleep, night masks might seem like the perfect solution but our skin is also photo-sensitive.
This might seem a little over the top (I tape over the green light on the air-conditioning unit) but night is when all the action happens, and I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking, growth hormone (GH) release, I mentioned it before, it’s the hormone responsible for keeping me young. A good nights sleep will not only help improve GH Levels, it will help with cognitive function, muscle tissue repair (don’t want to waste all those workouts) and boost my immune system.
This might not seem like something that a personal trainer would include in their bucket list for future health, but the body works as a system and our mind is the mission control center.
Learning new things plays a big part in keeping the brain strong so my focus will be on language and furthering my academic qualifications.
With language my plan is to stay slightly ahead of the Deevys' during our weekly Chinese lessons – To do this I will continue to practice Mandarin with gusto while the Deevys’ do responsible things like raise a child.
And hopefully I will manage to complete the ‘Master of Science’ application in full the second time round. The National Technical University of Singapore was probably correct in rejecting me if I can’t even get their application form right.
It ain't rocket science
So that's the plan, I will let you know in 40 years time if I got it right.
See you in the gym