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.