Outsmarting the Aging Process – What You Can Do In the Gym

It’s the end of a hard workout at the tail end of a challenging week, and athletes are putting away their barbells. An athlete comes up to you looking somewhat disappointed, “I’m just not that young anymore, it’s not fair, I just don’t recover like I used to, and my body is changing.”

Ever heard this sentiment from a member at your gym?

While yes, we’re all aging, support for your members as they reach their 40s and 50s, I believe, will be one of the next big waves in CrossFit. Why? Many CrossFitters joined an affiliate 8 or more years ago. They were younger, they had more leeway in their fitness and nutrition, and for many, they were single and without kids.

I’m just not that young anymore, it’s not fair, I just don’t recover like I used to, and my body is changing.

Flash forward ten years, and many have now entered their 40s and 50s. They have a spouse, a demanding job, hobbies, and lots of them have kids. All of those things play a role in athlete recovery, progress, and success. In short, our founding demographic is aging.

CrossFit Through All the Years of Your Life

CrossFit is unique in that the method creates an incredibly high level of fitness through all the years of your life. How one approaches that method and the precision they bring to each year can improve or take away from their results.

At CrossFit Roots, I felt this topic was underlying many of the conversations our coaching staff was having with athletes. Some athletes were frustrated with what appeared to be, on the surface, decreasing results from the gym. Whether the athlete cited a decrease in capacity, strength, tone, or recovery or an increase in body fat, it seemed that CrossFit was to blame.

Was CrossFit really to blame, or were there lifestyle factors and group class habits that were decreasing their efforts and detracting from their results? Was their personal landscape changing, and they just didn’t know how to react or address?

Around a Campfire

On a summer vacation, I expressed this around a campfire to EC Synkowski of OptimizeMe Nutrition and Tracie Holcomb, owner of CrossFit Catacombs. We uncovered that there is a large misconception around the factors that impact fitness as we age as well as the role physiology and lifestyle factors play in the process. What’s more, is that we had each heard chatter in the gym of women feeling the need to burn more calories to address their fitness slumps. So, they had employed extra cardio sessions or long runs on the weekend - without the results they were looking for.

EC took it upon herself to design a talk to address aging titled: "Outsmarting the Aging Process: How to Prevent Weight Gain After 40." EC’s background and credentials make her the perfect person to speak on the topic. My role was to fill in the gap between theory and application - what athletes could do in the gym to support and take advantage of EC’s information.

The Talk

The bad news is metabolism does slow with age and hormonal shifts aren’t in our favor, but the good news is you don’t have to gain weight. You just have to change your strategies. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not by adding more cardio to your workouts.

EC will talk about the factors that go into weight control and why this changes with age, how the hormonal changes add fuel to the fire, what are the factors you can control, and most importantly, why diet and exercise are so central to the equation. Most of us WILL gain weight if we continue to do what we’ve always done, so come find out how to effectively change your diet and lifestyle to keep the weight off.

Nicole Christensen will join EC at the end of the hour to describe how CrossFit Roots can support your training efforts. All are welcome! Male versus female differences will be discussed and there is something to learn regardless of your age. Turns out, everyone ages!

Six Things You Can Do in the Gym

Once you understand what is going on as we age, it can define your process. There are six things you can do in the gym to apply what was presented in the talk.

A 6-Part Series

Over the next six blog posts, we’ll outline what you can do to improve your fitness as you age. I won’t guarantee you’ll like the answers but I can promise that it works. It really just boils down to changing the conversation and determining how hard you want to work.

Get Started

To start, you'll need to listen to EC's talk on aging. And then stay tuned for next week's blog post!

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