I’m sure you have all been anticipating this, since the release of Part 1 of the “10 Rapid-Fire Tips To Getting People in Shape Over 40” last week. I wanted to break this article down, to give you the chance to really take in these points. Training once you hit 40 gets hard, fast. Your body can struggle. Your mind can waver. But I want to make sure you know that you can still hit it as hard as the young bucks. I want to leave you with the desire to get some.
6) Some days are just going to be less than stellar.
Sometimes, it just ain’t gonna happen! The drive that pushes us is the same drive that can push us way too close to injury.
Come to the gym and feel this way, or see your client feels this way?
Then you need to autoregulate (remember that word, it will serve you well).
Either do as I suggested above and turn it on its head or work simply on your client’s mobility, prehab or some easy, weak point training. Or do some moderate intensity interval work… MAF training…
Just be fully prepared to throw the plan go out the window.
Stopping clients from banging their head on their own ceiling is one of the many things that make a great coach. Have you heard the quote “leave a couple in the tank”? Well, now you understand why.
7) Scrap a recovery workout.
If you want a recovery workout, eat some more protein and sleep an extra hour.
Training and recovery are massively dependent on genetics.
Even more so when the client is over 40. Bigger thicker set people can train forever… Slighter more ectomorph (often) taller clients with the metabolisms of battleships (err, me) need to have close attention paid to their recovery. And as we age, ‘hard’ training needs to be cut back to see the results.
I shall tell you what I do when I’m burnt out…. I try and get a nap and eat some more protein. It doesn’t need to be a cheat meal… I just take a day off and eat more quality food.
This is especially important for younger trainers training people who are much older… It’s harder to imagine the fatigue levels when you haven’t experienced them.
8) Use the sauna/steam room.
It’s good for you. It feels great. Makes you live longer and less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. It makes you look better, clears toxins and metals from your body and has an effect similar to a walk for your cardiovascular system, so let them know.
If you listen to Dr Rhonda Patrick’s work on sauna therapy and heat reactive proteins, its mind blowing. In the same way that cold therapy (see anything by Wim Hof) has its benefits.
A simple protocol for most is to sit in the sauna, fighting the anxiety for as long as you can stand it, then stagger out and blast yourself with a cold shower. Yes, that really is it. For the most part, they are free and who doesn’t want to live longer.
9) Yoga gurus need their inner meathead like meatheads need the warrior pose.
It’s all about balance.
If you can’t put your shoes on when you get up and sitting on the toilet after training legs make your hamstrings scream for a week, then there is a serious need for mobility. It should be a daily practice that narrows down over time. If you have a client that rolls out of bed and can hit an ass to grass squat… You’re doing just fine.
Really, the less time it takes to get properly mobile and activated the better. Then we can spend more time improving.
At the same time. If you can fold yourself into a box like a contortionist then you are just as likely to injure yourself. A lack of rigidity, strength and stable joints is not going to keep you in the fight.
Yin and yang.
The trick is to narrow down the amount of mobility needed in the warm-up by implementing daily practice during the day. Add some soft tissue work, some hip and pec and quad stretches. Band pull-aparts and glute bridges. Stay loose and mobile, slowly working at changing the shape of the fascia, and increasing the end range of motion on a permanent basis.
Then when we’re in the gym we can warm up faster and spend our precious time laying down foundations for something special.
10) Change does not need to be every 3 weeks.
It seems a harsh truth, but most of you are not really that advanced. Skills can take between 3 and 6 months to learn. I know we are always looking to change the mesocycles. But if I have an adult trainee who says they want to hit a muscle-up – we’re not to go from 3 pull-ups to a muscle-up in 3 weeks. Strength is a skill. In training 40-plus clients I would recommend taking closer to 3-month blocks to focus on skills. Really go at it. Get someone really strong, or perfect an advanced bodyweight movement. Work on developing strength and power, or focus on really tying in a waist and making legs more slender. And NOT all at the same time.
Clear the training ADHD to one side. There will always be exceptions. But are you better than last year? No? Why?
You can have waves and cycles to your heart’s content, but if they have goals, you will help them achieve them by actually getting them to stick to the game plan. There is nothing better than actually achieving something to make someone believe in the process… Not just the doldrums of ever fancier variants of GPP.
Author - Fletcher Dalrymple - Personal Trainer & Mentor
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