Get Better with Age – 4 Tips for Mature Lifters
Turning 50 can be a bit daunting, with most people thinking it’s a sign for you to slow down and take a few steps back. However, the fact of the matter is: if you’re in your 50s and started your journey towards fitness, or have been at it for a while, you deserve an extra feather in your hat.
If you’ve been wondering how to meet your goals as a mature lifter, you might be surprised to know that training for older athletes is largely the same as for their younger counterparts. You just need to understand some basic things about how your strength potential and nutritional needs change.
As we get older, many of us view strength training as a young person’s game. It might seem like there’s too much risk and not enough reward. The fact of the matter is- there’s far more of the latter than the former.
Building and maintaining muscle mass and strength is one of the absolute best things you can do to boost your quality of life. It’s no coincidence that studies have shown muscle mass to be a better predictor of lifespan than the ever-popular BMI.
Here are our top tips for mature lifters:
1. Learn to balance needs with wants
Most older lifters desire to be noteworthy after years of training. The desire to be remarkable is completely healthy, and it can fuel you through those tough workouts; however, the training it requires for you to achieve your greatness doesn’t always lead to the best possible health in later years. So, if you want to be great and healthy, you’ll need to balance these two somewhat conflicting goals.
One way to balance them, is to engage in sports or activities that fit your body type and physical attributes while entertaining new possibilities to keep yourself challenged during physical training.
2. Training economy
When it comes to fitness—and this especially holds true as you get older—you need to consider possible costs and benefits when planning your training activities. Costs are paid not just in time and energy, but often in injury risk and time away from other life pursuits.
Here are just a few examples to stimulate your thinking:
– If you have lower-back issues, front squat variations might be a better way to improve leg strength than barbell squats.
– Doing a relatively high number of reps with correspondingly lower weight might be a better way to gain muscle than doing lower reps with more weight.
– If you need better cardio-respiratory endurance, maybe jogging isn’t the best tool for the job. Opt for the bike or elliptical instead.
Now that training economy has become more of a priority, identifying workouts that require less effort, but yield a greater outcome, become pivotal to achieving your goals. When time and energy are limited, you’ll know what to skip without significant consequences.
3. Eat More Protein
As we age, the anabolic effects of training and nutrition become less and less potent, so you’ll need to do more in order to get less. In particular, the effects of protein intake on muscle protein synthesis dwindle with time. We also tolerate carbohydrates less than we did when we were younger. These two conclusions argue for budgeting some of those carb calories toward protein.
4. You Can’t Cheat the System!
The older you get, the more the “minor details” really matter. things like meal frequency, thorough warm ups, adequate sleep, and stress management. You can definitely “cheat the system” on many of these items when you’re younger, but you don’t have that luxury later in life.
So, if you want to be a top-notch lifter at 50, 60, or beyond, there’s a price to pay for hard work and personal discipline. You will, however, reap the benefits.
With that said, you can’t let things drift away from you anymore like you could in your 20s. It’s time to get to work!