Is This Getting Harder, or am I Just Getting Older?

Is this getting harder, or am I just getting older?
Feb 24, 2013 by JoshBunch

Age is a funny sort a thing that looks a little different to everyone. Some people fear it more than public speaking. Others, like my brother, can’t wait to get older; he wants to drive slow in front of young people and tell really loud and inappropriate jokes in public while wearing pants up to his armpits.
“Is this getting harder, or am I just getting older,” a friend texted me about six weeks ago. He’s 37-years-old, and trying to lose a few pounds before the beginning of his third Worldwide CrossFit Open. He thinks he can make Regionals again, but only if he’s at his “fighting weight.” Otherwise, “muscle-ups don’t work,” he says.

I think it was K-Starr who said we don’t really perform any worse as we age, we just need more maintenance to keep performing well. He says most people just don’t wanna to do the maintenance. This works the same with dieting.

Take me for instance, I’m the type of guy who could eat one cheat meal a week, and automatically walk around 10 lbs. heavier than I am now. Add in carbohydrates, even the paleo kind, at every meal and I will be an easy 225 lbs. Knowing this about myself helps me make food choices.

But, I’ve noticed that those same choices that used to work, don’t work so well anymore. What I mean is, the exact same diet or training program I used two years ago, or even eight months ago, won’t do what it once did.

A lot of times we wrongly blame weight retention and strength loss on age. But it’s not about the age, it’s about adaptation.
CrossFit works because we, and it, are always evolving and growing. Once we master HSPU’s, we do them on the rings. When Grace at 135 lbs. is just too light we add weight. When Murph seems like a warm-up, we wear a weight vest. This is adaptation, and it happens with food not just training.

The older we get, the more times we have to be boring with our diets. The more times we have to build patterns our bodies figure out. It’s not that these aren’t good patterns, it’s that they’re not different patterns anymore. Basically, we’re more comfortable at something that made us uncomfortable before.

So, how do we fix it?
My friend usually worked out in the evening, I told him to workout in the morning. He usually ate four times a day. I told him to cut that in half for six days, and on the seventh day only eat once. But, even though he ate less meals, he still had to eat close to the same Calories. I also upped his fish oil, and dropped the pre-workout caffeine thing he loves so much.

He sent me a text message yesterday; “Fighting Weight.”
Here’s the tricky part, all I did was guess. These were of course educated guesses based on experience, but nothing more. The next time he stalls, I’ll tell him something completely different. I bet it works too. If it doesn’t, I’ll try again. No matter how old we get, we’ll keep trying.

Dieting and training and competing are going to become more elegant as we get older. And they will all seem a lot harder if we expect to attack them the same way forever. Success at any age, especially masters, will require more willingness to experiment, a more open mind, and an abundantly patient soul. Basically, it will require wisdom.

Effort Trumps Ability, Sucka…

A 19th Century Female Author’s CrossFit Tips
CrossFit, Strategy, Training Philosophy Add comments
Feb
12
2013

Check it out. Novelist Amelia E. “Wodzilla” Barr, who died in 1919, was an awesome CrossFit coach. Prepare to absorb a serious knowledge bomb when she drops the following nine tips on you (although she mistakenly thought she was talking about literature as opposed to CrossFit).

“Do you even lift bro?” – Amelia E. Barr

Men and women succeed because they take pains to succeed. Industry and patience are almost genius; and successful people are often more distinguished for resolution and perseverance than for unusual gifts. They make determination and unity of purpose supply the place of ability.
Translation: Amelia says “Effort trumps ability, sucka.“
Success is the reward of those who “spurn delights and live laborious days.” We learn to do things by doing them. One of the great secrets of success is “pegging away.” No disappointment must discourage, and a run back must often be allowed, in order to take a longer leap forward.
Translation: Amelia says “To break a bad habit you’re gonna have to suck at some WODs while you learn a new pattern. Check your ego fool.”
No opposition must be taken to heart. Our enemies often help us more than our friends. Besides, a head-wind is better than no wind. Who ever got anywhere in a dead calm?
Translation: Amelia says “How’s it feel when that little punk smokes you on a workout? Anger is an energy.”
A fatal mistake is to imagine that success is some stroke of luck. This world is run with far too tight a rein for luck to interfere. Fortune sells her wares; she never gives them. In some form or other, we pay for her favors; or we go empty away.
Translation: Amelia says “You don’t PR your snatch because you’re lucky. You gotta work for that.”
We have been told, for centuries, to watch for opportunities, and to strike while the iron is hot. Very good; but I think better of Oliver Cromwell’s amendment — “make the iron hot by striking it.”
Translation: Amelia says “Make the iron hot by striking it. You got a hearing problem?”
Everything good needs time. Don’t do work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in every way. Time means power for your work. Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly.
Translation: Amelia says “Form trumps strength every time. Hey Speal, can I get a witness?”
Be orderly. Slatternly work is never good work. It is either affectation, or there is some radical defect in the intellect. I would distrust even the spiritual life of one whose methods and work were dirty, untidy, and without clearness and order.
Translation: Amelia says “You need a game plan son.”
Never be above your profession. I have had many letters from people who wanted all the emoluments and honors of literature, and who yet said, “Literature is the accident of my life; I am a lawyer, or a doctor, or a lady, or a gentleman.” Literature is no accident. She is a mistress who demands the whole heart, the whole intellect, and the whole time of a devotee.
Translation: Amelia says “You think CrossFit is hard? Try being a female author in 1891.”
Don’t fail through defects of temper and over-sensitiveness at moments of trial. One of the great helps to success is to be cheerful; to go to work with a full sense of life; to be determined to put hindrances out of the way; to prevail over them and to get the mastery. Above all things else, be cheerful; there is no beatitude for the despairing.
Translation: Amelia says “You better be crazy psyched everyday you wake up and get to workout. Period.”
Bonus: “Many a time my head failed me, my hands failed me, my feet failed me, but, thank God, my heart never failed me.”

Aw yeah. You go grrrrl.

How a Man Ages….

For those endowed with a Y chromosome, the maturation process never really ends. Life remains unpredictable, sometimes disappointing, occasionally embarrassing. The best and worst parts typically catch you by surprise.

Age 2: The complexities of life are starting to weigh heavily on your developing mind. First it was your parents insisting that you sleep through the night. Until that moment, all you had to do was open your mouth, exercise your lungs, and, for good measure, roll a few tears down your adorably chubby cheeks. That got you out of the baby jail and into the best spot in the house, right between the two coolest people in your world.

Sleeping in your own bed — you could deal with it, as long as Mom let you have a double shot of breast milk in the morning. But then she got stingy with that. “Weaning,” she called it. You had a better name for it: a waste of the two most perfect food supplies you’ve ever known.

Now comes the worst insult of all: Your parents have let you know that you can’t just shit in a diaper for the rest of your life. You wonder where all this is heading.

Age 5: You get to kindergarten and learn you’re too old to suck your thumb. Why didn’t anyone at home tell you? You begin to think that maybe your parents don’t always act in your best interests.

Age 7: In your first exposure to competitive soccer, you learn a harsh lesson: Bigger kids are better at sports than smaller kids. The desire to be bigger will dominate your private thoughts for the next … well, pretty much forever.

Age 9: Your dad stops letting you beat him in checkers. Before now, you actually thought you were better than the old bastard. What else are they not telling you? Maybe Santa Claus will put some kind of decoder ring in your stocking this year.

Ages 12-17: Every girl you’re attracted to, starting in sixth grade, is either dating an older guy, or trying to. You spend every waking moment wishing you were older than your current age.

Age 18: Now that you’re officially one of those older guys, you finally admit to yourself that age wasn’t the issue after all. Girls not being attracted to you — that’s the problem. So you make an important life choice: Since alcohol makes girls more attractive to you, you decide that alcohol must also make you more attractive to them. You resolve to get as drunk as possible as often as possible.

Age 18 1/2: You resolve to not make any more resolutions that are likely to result in vomiting, loss of brain cells, traffic accidents, arrests, or vomiting. Especially vomiting.

Age 23: Three players on your favorite baseball team are younger than you. It’s the first of many times that you will feel your youth slipping away.

Age 29: Not only are all the models in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue younger than you, their boyfriends are richer than you. You find this extremely depressing.

Age 31: Giving up all hope that you’ll ever be rich enough to date a supermodel, you get married.

Age 33: Your first child arrives. It’s a boy. Although you haven’t prayed in many years, you say a prayer now, with one simple request for the Almighty: “Please, God, don’t let him suck in sports the way I did.”

Age 35: Your new boss is younger than you. There’s a whiff of failure in the air, and it’s starting to piss you off.

Age 39: After five straight years of outstanding performance reviews, you finally get promoted to management. Your first move: hiring someone older than you to fill your old job.

Age 40: Watching your son’s first competitive soccer game, you realize you should’ve been more specific in your prayers. He doesn’t suck in sports the way you did. He’s worse.

Age 41: You and your wife decide you deserve something special after so many years of hard, often thankless work. So you take that dream vacation to an exotic island, staying in a luxury resort, sparing no expense. Sure, it eats up most of your savings, but you’re heading into your peak earning years. You’ll soon make it back.

Age 41 (cont’d): With your island tan just beginning to fade, your boss calls you into his office for a surprise meeting. Even though the company’s still doing well, the path ahead looks rocky, and he’s been ordered to cut back wherever he can. Your first thought: “Oh, shit, there goes my expense account.” Your second thought: “Wait, did he say severance?”

Age 43: You tell your friends your new job as a “consultant” is going great, and you’re as busy as you can possibly be. But somehow you always have time to drive the kids to their doctor’s appointments and music lessons, and you’re happy for the opportunity to get out of the house. Some days it’s the only reason you can think of to brush your teeth.

Age 45: A random stranger calls you a pervert. You struggle to think of what you did to deserve that. That’s when it hits you: The girls she caught you staring at aren’t much older than your daughter. You go home and burn the last of your porn stash.

Age 48: You almost get into a fistfight when you catch a random stranger staring at your daughter. Two things hold you back: 1) The stranger is a woman. 2) Your daughter gives the woman her phone number.

Age 52: When you hit 30 and realized you’re now older than the average athlete in almost every professional sport, you got over it. You’re not an athlete, so who cares? When you were 35 and reported to a boss who was younger than you, it just made you more determined to work your way into management, which was fun while it lasted. But now, for the first time in your life, the president of the United States is younger than you.

Even though you aren’t a politician, and never wanted to be one, this hits you harder than you expected. It seems like anyone in charge of anything interesting and important is now younger than you. Baseball managers, music moguls, CEOs. Come to think of it, the only guy you admire who’s older than you is your own dad. And he’s … oh, is that the phone? Be right back.

Age 52 (cont’d): Your dad’s funeral is a revelation. A whole roomful of guys at least 20 years older than you, and not one of them seems unhappy. Sure, they talk about weird shit like their latest operations, but they also tell you about things you never thought guys their age would be into. They work out, play music, travel, cook, paint, write. Nobody seems to have any regrets. Nobody talks about what might’ve been, or what they could’ve done. Most important, nobody compares himself to anybody else.

Age 53: Work is okay. You and your wife make enough to pay the bills and help the kids with their college tuition. But what you live for is your new hobby. You can’t wait to quit work at 5 p.m. so you can get back to your latest project.

Age 55: You decide to blow off work on a Friday to go to a regional convention of people who share your hobby. Not long after you get there, you see your former boss, the one who’s younger than you. Turns out, he had his midlife crisis before you did. At first you resent the overachieving bastard — if you had a heart attack, he’d find some way to have a bigger one — until you learn that he’s started a new business based on your shared pastime. It’s growing fast, and he needs a partner. Someone who can do pretty much exactly what you do.

Age 58: Employee turnover is the most frustrating part of running a new and growing company. It seems like you spend half your time interviewing, hiring, and training new employees, only to see them move on just when they’re starting to contribute. What is it about these kids today?

At the same time, it’s frustrating to watch your son floundering as he tries to start his career. He was a mediocre college student who lived at home for nine months after graduating before landing his first job. And then he was back home when he got fired a few months later.

One day you’re interviewing a 25-year-old whose face goes momentarily blank when you ask him a straightforward question about his work ethic. For that split second, he reminds you of your son, and you have a sobering revelation: You would never hire your own son, or anyone who reminds you of him. That’s followed, a day later, by a more disturbing thought: If your 25-year-old self walked in for an interview, you wouldn’t hire that guy either.

Is your son just a chip off the old block, proof that genetics is destiny? Not really. If anything, he’s even more screwed up than you were. But if you’d had the Internet and Team Fortress II when you were his age, it might be a draw.

Meanwhile, you find yourself spending more time with your 23-year-old daughter, and enjoying the time you spend with her more than ever. The two of you have nothing in common, unless you look in the mirror and see a lesbian who dropped out of college to work at a vegan raw-food restaurant. But she and her wife are happy — much happier than you were at her age. Or, really, any age.

You’d like to call your mom and discuss all this, but her dementia has advanced to the point that she doesn’t remember you.

Your dad’s dead, your mom’s lost, you don’t understand the child you get along with, and you understand too well the child you find so frustrating. You make a mental note to talk this over in great detail with your wife, as soon as she gets back from her appointment with the oncologist.

Age 61: Your wife hung in there. You’ll always give her credit for that. She fought that cancer to the very end.

You always thought the worst part of being a widower was coming home to an empty house. But the business is growing so fast that you’re hardly ever home, and when you’re home you’re never alone. Your son lives there again, following his second divorce and third job loss, and your daughter comes by every weekend with your beautiful grandchildren.

Although you’d never tell her this, you’re happy she and her wife chose to adopt. You couldn’t deal with the stress of knowing your genes had been inflicted on yet another generation.

Age 70: Nobody calls it a “retirement.” In your mind, that’s something the world forces on a guy, whether he’s ready for it or not. This seems … natural. The company is in good hands with the people you hired, trained, and mentored. It’s time to let them run the show.

Besides, you have other interests. You exercise more than you ever have before. You’re helping your daughter at the new restaurant she just opened. You have things you want to do, places you want to see. And those grandkids — why didn’t you enjoy your own children as much as you enjoy your kid’s kids? What in the world were you thinking?

You don’t know how much time you have left to take all of it in. You just know you’ve wasted enough of your life already. All that drinking, all those foolish decisions, all that time you spent thrashing around doing nothing meaningful while waiting for your real life to begin. This is your real life, and you’re finally ready to embrace it, no matter how it goes from here.

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Latest article on JTS Strength is a great one. He highlights the mistakes he sees in the gym… in case you missed it, here’s the synopsis:

STRENGTH
I’ll start here since it seems like it would be the most popular subject on this site. When I first came into CrossFit strength work was “random” heavy stuff, and to be honest with you, most everyone skipped it in favor of another metcon. I can’t tell you how many times my Marines and I would look at the workout and see strength work and then just make up some ridiculous ball crusher of a WOD to do instead. Nowadays, that seems crazy as hell to me, but I know that it is still happening out there. Things are different now, there are great resources out there to teach you the importance of strength work, how to organize it, and how to control the volumes so that you can still do your met cons. I still fear that people don’t place enough importance on it. I didn’t tell her that I was going to do this, but Joellyn came over to train this afternoon and she told me that she didn’t feel like she needed to get any stronger, just needed to move more efficiently (that is where I come in). I am afraid this thought is echoed in many competitors who started Crossfit stronger than their competition and have primarily made all their gains through metcon workouts. In the book “Science and Practice of Strength Training”- Vladimir Zatsiorsky states that unless the required load is less than 30% of an athletes maximum then gains in maximal strength are still the best way to improve endurance. I am almost positive that nearly everyone falls into that category.

SKILL WORK
This one can really piss me off. Even the name of “skill work” seems like it would be self explanatory but so many damn people miss the boat. People love to throw movements into a workout because they want to practice the movement while they are tired before they ever even get good at it in the first place. People also seem to love to forget that anything is “skill work” if you are terrible at it. One of the things that I hate most in the world is when I see overhead squats in a workout and 15 people doing the most bogus jacked up shit that I have ever seen. That is what I hate most about the idea of “open gym”. I have had the bad experiences in the past where people will come to train while they are in town and they tell me that they are on a program (outlaw) and ask if they can do their workout. I don’t have a problem with those workouts, the results speak for themselves. BUT, if you are fucking terrible at something, quit trying to use it for conditioning.

VARIETY
More often than not, variety is a crutch for people who don’t know what it is that you should actually be doing. Unless you are highly advanced (if you are questioning it then you aren’t) then you don’t need a lot of stuff. I know in the old days of CrossFit people loved to do different workouts all the time, then 6 months later you go 10 seconds faster and you think that you made some progress. One thing that most training programs of high level athletes have in common is an overwhelming lack of variety. There may be variety from training block to training block, in season and offseaon, etc.. but overall day to day and week to week training is remarkably unchanging. Loads, volume, and intensities vary but the overall organization of training is the same. Sure, there are way more movements in CrossFit than what most high level athletes are training for, but just like I said before with skill work. You shouldn’t be using it as part of your workout until you are really awesome at it.

COMPETING
Here is one that really gets me. People tell me that they want to compete in CrossFit, but they refuse to treat CrossFit like a sport. Until you are at a very high level, CrossFit isn’t going to make you more competitive at CrossFit. Your program must be built around your strength work and you must ensure that you are not letting your metcons effect your recovery. Every thing else that you do should be aimed at perfecting skills, not practicing them while you are tired. In the old days of CrossFit you didn’t have to be that strong to be competitive, but that is no longer the case. The weights get heavier and heavier, and it is going to take you a hell of a lot longer to get your 550# dead and your #315 clean and jerk than it will to get your 2 and a half minute “Fran”. If you care about what is “fun” then you don’t care about competing.

NOT COMPETING
One of the most awesome things that CrossFit has done is not produce “elite athletes” but it has been to get people off of their couches and into a gym. It created a community that people want to be a part of and make changes that improve their lifestyle. That being said, one of the greatest fallacies of Crossfit has been that everyone is an athlete. This is bogus as hell. I can walk into my gym right now and point out like 20 people who are not athletes. They are mothers, grandmothers, and 40 year old dudes trying to relive the old days when coach should have put them in and they coulda won state, debating who can throw a pigskin over them mountains. Everyone doesn’t need to know how to do a handstand, even though many CrossFitters seem to believe that walking on your hands in a much needed skill in this world. 90% of everyone in a CrossFit gym falls into this category. I hate to be the one to break it to you but you aren’t going to the CrossFit Games (well, actually I guess that there is no reason you can’t go.. you just probably won’t be competing) you are in the gym to get healthy and to have a good time while you are doing it. So, stop trying to treat it, or yourself like you are Rich Froning. There is no reason that a 40 year old lawyer who has been working out for 6 months needs to be at work unable to move his arms for 3 days. There are faster, less damaging ways to make progress and still be fun. If you just want to show how tough you are then go to an MMA gym. (I can still get you physically prepared for that too)

MOBILITY
Someone smart once told me that, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. However, this seems to be most everyone’s approach to mobility. Or, in most circles of people who train themselves or train in a small group with no coach is to do nothing. I have to admit that I was once one of the silly CrossFitters than would come into the gym and do a short workout for a warmup and give no thought to actual movement quality. The old adage “you workout is my warmup” comes to mind…. and is also the dumbest ass thing that I have ever heard. The best thing that you can ever do to improve your “skill work” is to improve your movement quality. There is not a day that goes by in my gym that we don’t make minor tweaks to a persons breathing, stability, or mobility and create instant change in someone’s performance. People are so excited to find a training program that can put 30# on your squat in a couple weeks, but I have seen it happen in a matter of minutes on multiple occasions. Handle your business.

I’m Not Trying To Be That Diesel…

photo-25 ELISABETH AKINWALE Crossfit, Motherhood and Other SuperFantastic Subjects

“I’m not trying to be that diesel”

There’s this insidious thing that won’t seem to go away, and it is the incessant chatter about athletic women’s bodies- is it ok for women to have muscles? Is strong really better than skinny? I don’t know if men are the main perpetrators or if it’s mostly us doing this to each other (let’s blame the men, that’s more fun). Either way, it’s apparent that certain forces are less than enthusiastic about the fairer sex being yoked. Don’t be scared, everything is going to be ok, even if us gals get barbells in our hands. I usually chalk the negativity up to mostly internet trolls- a subsect of the population I find it best to ignore. Frankly, I just don’t like giving life to the subject by discussing it further. I don’t feel the need to defend my choices for my body, or encourage others to choose the same path I have. Some see fit to inundate the inter-webs with articles and memes trying to dispel the myth that weight training makes women bulky, that strong is in fact superior to other ways of being, and working to assuage women’s fears that if they pick up a barbell their feminine curves will combust into a manly, hard body. Fears. Fears? Somehow, with everything going on in the world, development of strength, muscle and physical competency has become something that has risen to the status of being fear-worthy. I mean, what are these crazy girls going to do next, try to grow beards!? (Not likely because beards are vile and germ infested. If you don’t know about this you must read The Twits.)

But I digress. A couple of recent events transpired that sparked my interest in this subject. My opinion on the matter, like anyone elses of course, is shaped by my experiences. I grew up as a gymnast- a sport that produces strong, muscular athletes. I grew up with a strong mother. She was not an athlete, but she was strong as a horse in my child’s eye view. She always worked two, usually three jobs (often physical ones) to support us. My mother consistently encouraged my sister and I in our athletic endeavors and frankly, I felt that I was expected to be an athlete. I don’t remember her ever being sick and I only saw her cry once, when I was ten years old and her grandmother died. The problems explored in The Feminine Mystique did not exist in our house. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, in many ways I feel I was freed from the confines of stereotypical notions of femininity. I’ve always included strength as a completely normal characteristic for a woman. When I think of the ultimate woman, being able to handle business physically is one of the foremost thoughts in my mind. Bearing and nursing children, physically carrying them, raising children, doing labor to care for and support herself or her family- these are all things that I find utterly feminine and the ability to do them is enhanced and facilitated by a fit, strong body. One of my favorite things is when my son tells me I’m strong and emulates my athletic movements.

Back to the two events that got me thinking about this subject. One was a woman who contacted me after some of her loved ones reacted negatively to changes in her body after 5 months of CrossFit. Basically, they felt that her new muscle definition looked “manly”. My comment to her was essentially, if you have conviction about what you are doing, you must hold onto that as your shield against the naysayers. You are responsible for your body. You are responsible for your own health and happiness. How your body transforms is secondary to the discipline you’re displaying and the sense of accomplishment you earn in your daily workouts and progress towards your goals. People who really care about you should be uplifted by your joy, hard work and accomplishments. In my case, I’m fortunate that overwhelmingly I am affirmed for what I do with regard to fitness and I’m realizing not everyone has that experience.

The other happening was a conversation with one of the top weightlifting coaches in the country. He told me that he’s had multiple adolescent female lifters quit the sport of weightlifting because they (or their mothers!) felt it was making their butt and thighs too big. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found this fact shocking. We discussed the matter a bit more on “Weightlifting Talk”. Maybe I hang around too many people who appreciate a developed butt and quads, but WHAT?! First of all, when you’re an adolescent girl, your body is supposed to grow and develop, weightlifter or not. Second of all, what’s wrong with a butt and thighs?

I came away from these two occurrences shaking my head and more convinced than ever that the best way to deal with this obsession with critiquing women’s bodies is to identify your own beliefs and values about your body and what you choose to do with it, and say FTW. Whether it’s too “manly” because you’re lifting weights, or too curvaceous because you’re lifting weights, or too thin because you like to run, or too whatever. In Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, she documents the list of attributes that every girl is expected to have:

Caucasian blue eyes
Full Spanish lips
A classic button nose
Hairless Asian skin with a California tan
A Jamaican dance hall ass
Long Swedish legs
Small Japanese feet
The abs of a lesbian gym owner
The hips of a nine year old boy
The arms of Michelle Obama
And doll tits
Great list, funny and reflective of the ridiculousness of it all. It’s a shame there’s no tidy conclusion to this matter so we could stop having this conversation over and over. I suspect that won’t happen anytime soon. In the meantime, I leave you with a lyric from a song my mother used to play:

“But it’s all right now,
I learned my lesson well,
You see, ya can’t please everyone, 
So ya got to please yourself.”- Rick Nelson

Tip 495: Poliquin Live

Tip 495: Live Longer By Strength Training: Avoid Intense Endurance Training
Poliquin Live

Monday, December 10, 2012 6:12 AM
Live longer by strength training: The benefits of lifting weights include everything from bone health to brain function, body composition, mobility, and longevity.

The same cannot be said for endurance training. Rather, high volume endurance exercise increases risk of heart dysfunction, and low volume training compromises body composition by reducing muscle mass and having no effect on fat loss. Let’s look at new research into the effects of different exercise modes on the body.

A review from the Mayo Clinic showed that a high volume of endurance exercise from running, rowing, swimming, or cycling increases the thickness of the left ventricle, and that this remodeling leads to reduction in right ventricular function. Recent evidence shows these changes aren’t benign and that the dimensions of the heart don’t return to baseline, even a few years after discontinuing training.

The effects of impaired cardiac function include the following:
• Evidence of myocardial injury, In a group of endurance athletes, myocardial scarring was found in 12.5 percent, and the scarring was more common in those who had been training for the longest period of time.
• Increased risk of atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia due to scarring, fibrosis, and increased aortic stiffness. Blood pressure dysfunction and aortic stiffness were much higher in one study of marathoners than controls.

• Greater evidence of calcified plaque buildup in the coronary arteries from endurance exercise, putting athletes at greater risk for atherosclerosis.

All this cardiovascular misery is caused by the long training periods in which athletes experience sustained, intense stress with high heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output. Endurance exercise also produces a large amount of oxidative stress that overwhelms the body’s buffering capacity and can cause inflammation.

For example, a recent study compared the effect of training load in triathletes on oxidative stress biomarker. Researchers found that the athletes who trained the most (nearly 18 hours a week) had much greater oxidative stress that caused endothelial damage than athletes who trained less than 14 hours a week. The study authors conclude that “the beneficial effect of aerobic exercise are eliminated when the training is performed at the greater workload.”

Of course, 14 hours of endurance exercise is still a very high volume that may compromise heart function and can lead to bone loss and lower muscle mass. Repeatedly studies have shown that endurance exercise, particularly swimming and cycling that are not weight bearing activities, lead to bone loss in the long term. In fact, recent studies have found osteopenia or very low bone mass in elite cyclists. In addition, in the absence of weight training, long-term endurance training can lead to loss of muscle mass, compromising performance and health.

For the recreational trainee, aerobic exercise IS better for you than being sedentary. The point that a lot of people are still confused about is that weight training and higher intensity, shorter duration exercise is better than aerobic exercise for health and longevity. Weight training improves heart function to the same degree as aerobic exercise, builds muscle and bone, aids in hormonal regulation, decreases chronic inflammation, and supports body composition—all key factors in living a long life.

The take away is twofold: Weight training is essential for all populations for better health and longevity. If you want to do endurance training, be aware that higher volume training can compromise cardiovascular health.

References
O’Keefe, J., et al. Potential Adverse Cardiovascular Effects from Excessive Endurance Exercise. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. June 2012. 87(6), 587-595.

Conti, V., et al. Aerobic Training Workload Affects Human Endothelial Cells Redox Homeostasis. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Avoid Intense Endurance Training…

Tip 495: Live Longer By Strength Training: Avoid Intense Endurance Training

Monday, December 10, 2012 6:12 AM
Live longer by strength training: The benefits of lifting weights include everything from bone health to brain function, body composition, mobility, and longevity.

The same cannot be said for endurance training. Rather, high volume endurance exercise increases risk of heart dysfunction, and low volume training compromises body composition by reducing muscle mass and having no effect on fat loss. Let’s look at new research into the effects of different exercise modes on the body.

A review from the Mayo Clinic showed that a high volume of endurance exercise from running, rowing, swimming, or cycling increases the thickness of the left ventricle, and that this remodeling leads to reduction in right ventricular function. Recent evidence shows these changes aren’t benign and that the dimensions of the heart don’t return to baseline, even a few years after discontinuing training.

The effects of impaired cardiac function include the following:
• Evidence of myocardial injury, In a group of endurance athletes, myocardial scarring was found in 12.5 percent, and the scarring was more common in those who had been training for the longest period of time.
• Increased risk of atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia due to scarring, fibrosis, and increased aortic stiffness. Blood pressure dysfunction and aortic stiffness were much higher in one study of marathoners than controls.

• Greater evidence of calcified plaque buildup in the coronary arteries from endurance exercise, putting athletes at greater risk for atherosclerosis.

All this cardiovascular misery is caused by the long training periods in which athletes experience sustained, intense stress with high heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output. Endurance exercise also produces a large amount of oxidative stress that overwhelms the body’s buffering capacity and can cause inflammation.

For example, a recent study compared the effect of training load in triathletes on oxidative stress biomarker. Researchers found that the athletes who trained the most (nearly 18 hours a week) had much greater oxidative stress that caused endothelial damage than athletes who trained less than 14 hours a week. The study authors conclude that “the beneficial effect of aerobic exercise are eliminated when the training is performed at the greater workload.”

Of course, 14 hours of endurance exercise is still a very high volume that may compromise heart function and can lead to bone loss and lower muscle mass. Repeatedly studies have shown that endurance exercise, particularly swimming and cycling that are not weight bearing activities, lead to bone loss in the long term. In fact, recent studies have found osteopenia or very low bone mass in elite cyclists. In addition, in the absence of weight training, long-term endurance training can lead to loss of muscle mass, compromising performance and health.

For the recreational trainee, aerobic exercise IS better for you than being sedentary. The point that a lot of people are still confused about is that weight training and higher intensity, shorter duration exercise is better than aerobic exercise for health and longevity. Weight training improves heart function to the same degree as aerobic exercise, builds muscle and bone, aids in hormonal regulation, decreases chronic inflammation, and supports body composition—all key factors in living a long life.

The take away is twofold: Weight training is essential for all populations for better health and longevity. If you want to do endurance training, be aware that higher volume training can compromise cardiovascular health.

References
O’Keefe, J., et al. Potential Adverse Cardiovascular Effects from Excessive Endurance Exercise. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. June 2012. 87(6), 587-595.

Conti, V., et al. Aerobic Training Workload Affects Human Endothelial Cells Redox Homeostasis. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.