What is age, really?
My husband posted a video yesterday to facebook of a 63kg, 40-yr old woman who just bench pressed 325 lbs…more than most well-trained men can even do!
At the age of FORTY, this woman is accomplishing great things. I’m not even 30 yet, and I’m bewildered.
Let me ask you, how does knowing that this 40 yr. old woman has accomplished something so awesome make you feel deep down inside?
Do you feel astounded?
Do you feel regret, or perhaps jealousy that you yourself haven’t been able to accomplish such a feat?
Do you feel a sense of doubt? – “I’ll never be able to do something like that!”
Do you feel offended…that I’m here rambling on about age and what people can do and what not, and I’m still in my 20’s?
Do you feel a sense of…hope? A sense of…”wow, this woman set a goal and accomplished something, so why can I at least give it a shot and see how far I can go?”
Are You Really Too Old to Start Weightlifting?
For this short mini post of today, I just want to mention what age really means to me, and why I’m glad I got into weightlifting when I did…even though I’m one of the older in my weight class competing at these national competitions every year and I know if I started when I was much younger that I would be much more developed. This is NOT a sciency article about the physical adaptations of your body with strength training and age, or about length of recovery…etc. There’s plenty of posts out there for masters weightlifters. Here’s a book by Catalyst Athletics.
Let’s talk about the motivational and inspirational stuff.
Yes, and no. It IS a number…but it’s not a number that defines X, Y, and Z about who you are and WHAT you do specifically.
Age IS a measurement…of how long your body has spent doing the exact same stuff for the last X amount of years.
AGE is an accumulation of ALL of the time that you have done the same repetitive activities, whatever ways of eating, number of minutes you’ve spent sitting, standing, running, lifting (or not lifting), talking with people, sleeping, working, reading, walking, cooking, sitting on the floor, sitting in a chair, sitting in a car…
So, in all of that time, think of what your body has become used to because of the amount of seconds, minutes, hours, and days accumulated doing those same exact same things?
And we wonder why, as we get older, why our bodies will “not do things as they used to”?
Because we spend so much time doing activities or being in the positions that are NOT what we want to be able to do.
For these athletes who seem to accomplish such amazing feats of strength, or racing long distances, or what have you…think of the amount of time, training, and effort they have put in to bring their bodies to where they are now. AND…consider how much better they might even be if they started even sooner or where they might not be if they decided to start later?
The problem is, we think that because of our age — our “number” that we have defined ourselves as — that we are not capable of reversing all of these seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years spent of doing non-strengthening, non-active things.
But you can’t change what has already happened.
You can only change what you do this second. And the next second. And an hour from now. And tomorrow.
And you know what?
Today is day #1.
This is moment #1. From this initial moment, you have two directions really…you can choose to continue along the same exact ways and path you always have been going along and nothing will change.
Or, you can choose to take a different path. Try something different. Pick up some weights, learn to lift, teach your bones how to be strong again and how to adapt to extra loads.
I may not make any world records at the age I’m at. But then again, 6 years ago I didn’t even know what a squat was, and the idea of lifting 220# over my head was never even a destination on the journey I was on at the moment.
Today…is day 1.
Don’t think about how long it will take you, or all of the weeks and months and years of “grinding through” to reverse everything and to change yourself for the better.
You can be better today than what you were yesterday.
And as long as you keep making TODAY better than YESTERDAY, that’s just one more day spent and accumulated working towards the person you want to become.
Some days you’re physically stronger than what you were yesterday. But other days, you’re mentally stronger, or emotionally stronger. Whatever stronger it is and whatever form it takes, choose to be stronger than what you were yesterday.
“Stronger” may not always mean being able to lift 1lb or 1kg more today than you did yesterday. Sometimes, stronger just means that you made a better decision on how to better your future self.
My life definitely could have taken a lot of directions years ago. I could have continued being a triathlete. I could have even just continued on the path of desk-job graphic designer who runs on a treadmill at the gym for 30 minutes 3 times a week and huffs and puffs with every stair I climb and bag of groceries I have to carry around the store. Or I could have been a professional violinist with all the time I spent practicing that in high school.
But I made a decision to try out lifting, and now it’s redefined who I am right now. In less than 1/6 of my life, I have redefined me as a person…as a stronger, and more able person than what I was before.
So, are you really too old to start weightlifting?
It’s not about “setting records” or doing the unbelievable.
It’s not about feeling that you have to be able to pick up the same amount of weight as your best friend or as that other woman (or man) older than you in the gym right this moment.
It’s not about being better than your 20-yr old self, or than some other 30-yr old person.
It IS about being a better and stronger YOURSELF than what you were yesterday. If that means starting with a training bar (like I did) then that’s what it means.
And — It’s about being able to share this newfound strength with your peers, with those older than you, and with those younger than you so they can follow in your steps and believe they can be something better than what they were yesterday.