With Age Comes Wisdom…..

Or so they say….

gettingoldStoled it from Bluemoonblog

Now that I’ve been on this earth for a third of a decade I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two.

So in honor of getting old(er) here’s some things I think I’ve learned about my fitness:

1. I can’t do at 33 what I could do at 23.

My workouts even 2 years ago were much “more” than they are today.

More volume, more intensity….more of everything.

What I’ve learned is that my recovery just isn’t what it used to be and I need to be more mindful of that.

I used to feel “beat up” most of the week.

Despite less sleep and a boatload more stressors, backing off a little has helped my recovery immensely.

I don’t feel like I was hit by a freight train 3-4 days every week.

Sometimes, less is more.

1A. The number of “All Out” sets is now inversely related to the amount of assistance work.

It used to be; 3 All out, top end sets and I still did a ton of  accessory work afterwards.

Sometimes I’d do 3-4, RM top end, All Out sets and I would  still do a ton of accessory work afterward.

I didn’t really take into consideration how hard those heavy, multiple rep 3-5+RM sets are (yes, I would adjust the weights as I fatigued), especially if you do a few in a workout.

Now it goes more like:

  • 0 “RM” Sets = 100% Accessory Work
  • 1 “RM” Set = 80% Accessory Work
  • 2 “RM” Sets = 50-60% Accessory Work
  • 3 “RM” Sets = 25-40% Accessory Work

Those top end sets just take too much out of me to keep pushing.

Plus, I feel like, after 3 All Out sets, I’m not getting much out of anything else except tired and probably maybe hurt.

2. I won’t do at 33 what I would at 23.

Back Then: Crazy workouts, feeling like [email protected] going into a workout, nutting up to get that extra rep?

Not always, but really damn frequent.

Get hurt?

Well, [email protected] happens, take a PTO day, miss work and be back at it in few more.

Drive yourself into the ground and feel like [email protected] for a couple of days?

F-it, I’ll sleep it off this weekend.

Today: Staying away from hurt is priority #1, excessive fatigue #2 (which leads to #1).

That extra rep when I’m shaking like Mike J. Fox I’m having a seizure…not gonna happen.

Feeling that little twinge in the back?

On to the easy stuff….

There is a little voice that runs through my head constantly,

” Go Ahead, hurt yourself, the bills keep coming!”

It’s actually a rather loud and expressive voice.

Car payments, mortgages and bills really change your risk appraisal.

Self Preservation is of a MUCH higher priority now……..

Simple Risk vs. Reward.

3. More Bodybuilder Style Workouts

For the longest time I was doing what would best be described as “powerlifter style” workouts.

The volume was moderate but the intensity, especially the number of 90+% sets was pretty high.

This resulted in a lot of fatigue and consistently being “beat up”.

Like I said, I just can’t recover like I used to so something had to change.

Now my volume is probably as high or higher than it’s ever been, but the number of high intensity (90%+ sets) is MUCH lower.

Volume= Weight x Number of Total Repetitions Lifted

Dan John said it best (this is a total paraphrase):

“As we age the importance of hypertrophy training increases”

I’ve come to agree with this more and more.

The loads are slightly lighter, the reps per set are higher and the stress on the joints is less and the recovery is easier.

Plus you’re gonna look better naked add some muscle and still gain and/ or maintain strength.

4. Or Really 3B. More Single Joint Exercises

Biceps Curls, Lateral Raises and Triceps Pressdowns..

Didn’t do them for a loooooooooooong time. (And if you only train 1-2 times a week, still probably not the best use of time).

But I train 4 times a week, so including them doesn’t take away from the training of the “Big Rocks” in the program.

BigRocksLast2From Dean Somersets most excellent blog

Lets face it: I can get all three sets of bi curls I’m gonna do DONE in the time it takes me to rest, set up, complete at recover from a single set of heavy benches.

Plus, I think these have helped build up and strengthen some weak areas (my elbows and shoulders def. feel better) and I’ve come to believe they help play a crucial role for long-term injury prevention.

5. No More Grinding out Deadlifts

This doesn’t mean they have to fly up…

Slow is ok…But the hard, long, grinding sets and reps that lasted forever

This is awesome…but I’m not grinding like that anymore…

I never got anything out of that [email protected], except jacked up.

It used to be, if it was loaded, it was lifted.

Now it’s more like,

“Don’t be a jackoff”.

The Risk just ain’t worth the Reward anymore….

6. Or 5A. Train in a More “Back Friendly” Manner.

No more grinding deadlifts and not going for broke all the time squatting helps, but the biggest change has been with the bench press.

I do fewer 90+% bench press sets and I set up differently on bench presses of 85% and below.

Essentially, I use less arch whenever possible, unlocking the low back and “flattening out”.

This includes floor pressing more often and BEFORE i get “arched out”.

My shoulders are still packed and hips are still tight, but the arch and stress on the low back is much less.

6A: Or 5B. Stopped Arching so Damn Hard and Focused on Bracing:

I used to be an,

“Arch up as hard as you can guy”.

Then I got educated.

“Arching” is all good….if, you’re a 300lbs+ powerlifter with the mobility of the Tin Man. <—-click that for an awesome video that explains this perfectly.

I’m pretty mobile and only about 205-210lbs (on a fat day).

This meant when I arched hard, I was hanging off my lower back.

lordosis1In retrospect, this put a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress on the hard structures of my lumbar spine.

Now I focus on “bracing” locking the ribcage in place, creating a tight “corset” core and maintaining a neutral spine.

7. Mobility is Just as Important as Anything and Everything Else.

I’ve always been pretty flexible and used a pretty solid range of motion when I lifted, so I never had any mobility issues.

So I used to just kinda be like….

Ahh, Ummm,

Mobility is important for thee, not for me.

But that has changed.

Maybe just getting old(er) or maybe too much time writing this nonsense, either way, I’m a LOT tighter than I used to be especially if I skip my SMR (self myofasical release), stretching and dedicated mobility work.

If I do those things…I’m good to go.

Amazing, I know.

8. Miss Workouts, it’s OK

I used to NEVER miss a workout.

Tired, in pain, feeling off, overworked, stressed, Zombie Apocalypse etc…

Still trained.

At one point I went over an entire year without missing a training session.

There were plenty of times I’d force myself into a [email protected] workout that I knew would suck azz and then beat myself up over it cause it sucked.

I would have been better served to take a day and recover fully for the next time, but that was for Puzzzays…

And people who make consistent, injury free, progress….

I still try to sweat everyday, but there are times when things come up and workouts have to be modified/ changed/put off.

I don’t sweat that shizzznits anymore.

Those missed days kinda work as unplanned deload days and I think actually contribute to me having better training sessions on a more consistent basis.

9.  Just Get in What You Can, When You Can.

I used to be crazy about,

“I need time X,Y,Z to get my workout in”

Have a kid and a growing business (thank you to my clients, I love you all like a fat kid loves cake, and I do love cake)

You’ll learn what Time Constraint means.

An increased client load and family time (AKA. occupying Brynn so my wife can catch her breath), client wants to reschedule to my only open slot today and I wanted to lifted during that hour….

Ohh well.

workouts gotta be modified and changed…….


time for that

Only have 30 minutes?

Try doing workouts that require minimal changing of weights, pair two exercises or focus on only one exercise, work up to a heavy 10, 5, 3RM and call it a day.

Something like:

Squat 225lbs for as many reps as possible in that 30…..

Break out the TRX.

Swing a kettlebell for 100, 200, 300 reps.

Try a body weight circuit.

Pair pushups and pullups for as many reps as possible.

Are any of these great corner-stone workouts of a thought out, periodized training program?


But they’re better than sitting on the couch doing nothing but becoming a brain-dead zombie.

Hell, go hard for 10 minutes, and you just did more than 99% of the population today.

Just try not to make this a habit…..or an excuse.

10. Cardio…..Just Bite the Bullet

Cardio sucks….it’s not fun.

cardioYeah, I just used the same meme twice. Bloodandiron315

Here’s the thing,

It’s beneficial and sometimes you just need to take your medicine.

Cardiac development is CRUCIAL for recovery and your health.

This means at rep 8 of a 10RM Squat set, you’ll be able to breathe and make it to rep 10 and you might actually be able to do something else in the gym that day also. <—-after peeling yourself off the floor.

BTW: Randomly running Sprints, Swinging ropes, Kettlebell swings etc. Doesn’t count as cardiac development.

The way these modalities are used tends to stress the wrong part of the heart (myocardium) unless you’re staying in a certain heart rate (130-150bpm), but lets face it when we do these things we’re usually going ballzz out, blow past 150bpm and get the wrong adaptations….

And that’s fine, it’s just not cardiac development.

A Word On Birthdays:

I used to get pissed about birthdays.

As a former athlete it meant I was losing my athleticism, 27 really sucked cause that’s the age Charlie Francis used as a cutoff for his trainee’s.

At 27 he would literally throw you off the team, you were on the physiological decline.

But when I look around and take a quick appraisal of myself physically/ medically I actually feel pretty damn great.

I might not be at my best ever but I look at some of my contemporaries, 30 somethings, and it’s pretty damn frightening.

Constant health, physical and medical issues.

I know 30 somethings on cholesterol, diabetes, heart and blood pressure meds.

They weren’t born this way.

They BECAME this…..after only 30 some years, only a third of life.

What are you going to do with the next 2/3?

Pain, lethargy, constant sickness, young and sick is becoming the new norm.

This is a sad reality.

Fact is:

I’m ahead of the curve.

Go me.

So birthdays have a new meaning.

Life isn’t about events that happen to us but instead the meaning we give those events. – Tony Robbins

So here’s the meaning I give to you birthdays.

F-YOU Reaper, I Won, Yet Again…….Suck it!



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About Roy:

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