“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” Socrates
Let’s face it. Life is easier when you are stronger, faster and more agile. In training we should always consider the ultimate goal, quality of life. We are all growing older everyday, but its how we train ourselves that will make all the difference.
No one ever says I’d love to feel my body ache with pain, watch my muscles atrophy while I lose bone density and count the wrinkles in my face as the days go by. Instead I would like to train for better quality of life and move through each day with power and grace. For this to be a reality and not just some far off dream, we must pay attention to the way in which we choose to train.
The pinnacle of all training is to master one’s own body. ‘We cannot expect to control resistance from an external force unless we conquer it within our own bodies first.’ Shawn Mozen
Now it is my pleasure to introduce you to Gerry, 67 and training for life.
Here’s a quick interview I did with him on how and why he trains.
When I met Gerry a little over a year ago, he was in great shape health wise. He ate the right, slept enough and worked out regularly. However he was in bad shape mobility wise. He had the drive to participate in various activities such as running and climbing but had hit a road block. He could not longer perform to his expectations. Squats, overhead arm positions and co-ordinating movements and were huge obstacles for him.
I could see how badly he was willing to work at getting his mobility back, not only to train and hopefully one day olympic lift, but for better quality of life. I helped him along the way to his goal, but truly admire and respect this athlete as he did the work each day.
Age: 67 in three days!
Employment: Full time editor
Previous Training: I started with running in June,1972. This was a bit before the running boom. One of the best trails in Toronto, Moore Park Ravine, was about one hundred yards from where I lived, so I was lucky. Once my fitness caught up with what I was trying to do (about 5 weeks), I was hooked. I’ll never forget the pleasure of that first “easy” run, when all of a sudden, I felt I could run forever.
Main Goals: At this point in my life, my overriding goal is to maintain mobility. By that, I mean the ability to move easily and with strength. I always want to be fit enough that, when a friend asks if I want to go for a run, or climbing, or just workout, I can say “yes”.
Focus of Your Training: I want to maintain a routine of “balanced” fitness. My routines contain elements of functional fitness, oly lifting, cardio (via running, eventually to include track work and tempo running), stretching and mobility work.
I have a weekly plan and write out each workout before I do it. Now I always do movement preparation, then my workout, and always finish with stretching and mobility work.
Challenges That You Faced: The biggest challenge all along has been to get shoulder mobility. I never thought it would come, but it has. Again, this Saturday I was doing OH squats, now with 70 lbs with perfect form. Alex (Varbanov) was there and got pretty excited, he thinks I might have a good full-squat snatch in a few months. He could be right.
An important note, my lack of shoulder mobility led to an injury which took me out of training for several months. The snatch was just too hard on my shoulders and I was Oly lifting 3 times a week. This time, I’m confident, if I’m careful, this won’t be a problem. I did oly lifting twice this week with no problem.
Mobility Work That You Found The Most Helpful: The two exercises I now use most are the concentric and eccentric shoulder stretches you showed me on the day you took my picture. But the best thing I got from you was an appreciation of doing mobility work – up to then I’d done just stretching. Now I really work on movement preparation and I tailor what I do for the workout to come. And I’ve gotten pretty good about stretching after a workout.
A Training Week In Your Life: This is still developing, but I’m aiming for two workouts a day, 2 days on and 1 day off. If I can, I’ll eventually move to 3 days on, 1 day off. Sometimes, I also sneak in a few exercises (dips, supine pull ups) at work.
This is my schedule from Aug 19 – 25:
Sunday 19: Am workout – functional
PM workout – run, functional
Monday 20: Rest day (after workouts on Sat and Sun)
Tues 21: AM workout – functional Noon: Dips, supine pull ups
Pm workout – olympic lifting with Alex, back squats Wed 22: AM workout – functional
Thurs 23: Noon: Dips, supine pull ups PM workout – run, functional
Fri 24: Rest day
Sat 25: AM – run, functional
Afternoon – open gym: wall ball, back squat, push press
What Activities Do You Enjoy: Any sport. Gymnastics!!!!!!!!! Movement with strength and grace, who wouldn’t want that?
Your Inspirations:I’m inspired by athletes, dancers, artists who strive to be the best they can be. I love people who are always searching for ways to get better, who won’t settle with “good enough”.
‘As a 67-year-0ld Crossfitter, I was struggling with my loss of range of motion. This was giving me a lot a trouble, especially with the overhead squat. Sara showed me a many mobility exercises to fix the problem. Now, I move more freely, am more open and I can do my overhead squats with an erect posture, and my shoulders have opened enough that the barbell is in the correct position – no more falling forward.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought an “old guy” could regain so much mobility. Thanks, Sara!’