I’m 65 years old, and while I’ve been able to avoid the worst of what’s often thought of as the “aging process” – something almost anyone can do by watching what you eat, sleep, train, exercise and live – the truth is that I don’t train as much as I used to. -But the truth is, I don’t train like I used to.
It’s not that I’ve “lost” a step, although that happens to the best of us. Rather, I’ve completely outgrown the need and desire to train for the sake of training. There was no more competition. My ego is satisfied on the front lines of training. I don’t care about lifting weights or running miles.
I often get asked about my workouts and how they have changed over time. Today I thought I’d answer that question.
Miami has a fantastic fitness culture and impressive facilities to support it. I pretty much have to go to the gym. It’s something I still enjoy. I just make sense of it.
I’ve managed to condense my time at the gym by using “supersets” for every workout.
These aren’t always supersets where you jump between the squat rack and bench press every other set. The supersets I’m talking about are rest-pause supersets. I try to complete 12-20 total reps – that’s my goal – in three sets of minimal rest. This superset is broken down into three subsets, each with very short rest periods.
An example:Hard lifts, 9 reps, 30 seconds rest. Hard lifts, 6 reps, 30 seconds rest. Hard lifts, 4 reps, finish. Total of 19 reps. Once I hit 20 reps, I’m adding weight.
Why I like this method.
- On the fast. I get in, get a good workout, and get out.
- Don’t linger and waste time between sets. There are some hard and fast rules (30 second rest) that I have to follow.
- It’s hard to go heavy enough to hurt yourself. If you’re doing 15-20 reps with little rest, then the weight you use has to be manageable.
- But heavy and intense enough to produce benefits. I know, I know, feeling sore the next day is not a barometer of the effectiveness of your workout. That’s what they say, but everyone secretly loves and craves the feeling of DOMS. It really makes you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.
I’m in love with trap bars.
At this point in the game, I don’t need to reach pr on straight bar hard lifts. trap bars just feel safer, more natural, and more versatile. Some great possibilities (and I’ve listed many) include.
- Hard lifts with a deep squat bias – more knee bend on hard lifts, almost a half deep squat.
- Romanian hard lifts – soft knees, but mostly straight, almost straight legged hard lifts that can be done without touching the ground each time.
- Trap Bar Power Shrugs- Hard lifts in a pretty good clip that explodes upward into a shrug bar. It’s like you’re jumping without leaving the ground.
- Squat down, grab the bar, stand up, repeat. Stack some weights and stand on them to increase range of motion/deep squat depth.
- Forked Deep Squat – Stand in a hexagon, place your feet on an elevated surface (about 1.5 feet) and do a forked deep squat to wake up sore.
- Bar Rows – Standing within a hexagon, bend over and row the bar toward your abdomen.
The average person can get 90-95% of the benefits of using a bent bar instead of a straight bar. Maybe even higher.
I have a different purpose now.
As for the weights I use, now that my PR days are behind me, I now lift weights to avoid injury. This means knowing what is really “heavy” and making concessions. I do an upper body workout one or two days a week and a leg workout one day a week. That’s it. Two, up to three strength training sessions.
My workouts are centered around upright paddling and Ultimate Frisbee games.
Both of these things stress me out enough (in a good way) that I want to take a break from these activities before I do my weight training. To clarify, I played two hours of Ultimate, so this was my sprint day.
The caliber of the Miami Ultimate game was high. I joined a regular pick-up and drop-off team and they compete at a level comparable to Malibu. So that aspect of my event hasn’t changed. I still have the Ultimate experience one day a week.
Miami Beach is a great place for sprints if I’m ready. You don’t go as fast because the sand is powdery, but it makes you work harder.
Miami has also really changed the way I spend my time doing my favorite activity, solo paddling.
In Malibu, it was a little crazy. I would cross the waves and paddle in any direction. It’s huge, free, open and limitless.
Miami has vast oceans that are much calmer than Malibu, but it also has inland rivers, like giant canals running through Miami. I spent a lot of time exploring them, checking out the beautiful houses and boats, and even seeing the occasional manatee. Because the weather was so calm, I was able to forge ahead without worrying about the waves. While paddling was fun, I had to paddle hard for at least an hour and up to 90 minutes, so it was a serious cardio day for me.
I walk more.
In Miami I can walk a lot more. In Malibu, I have to drive somewhere to walk, whether it’s a hiking trail, a walk on the beach, or hanging out in Venice or Santa Monica. In Miami, Kelly and I can get out of the house and go to the market, go for a drink, go to a bookstore, go to a coffee shop, or just hang out. It’s integrated into our lives rather than something we have to schedule. People don’t really think of Miami as a “walking city,” and it’s certainly not New York or San Francisco, but it’s much better than Southern California.
Trap bars, rest and pause sets, and environment aside, my training hasn’t changed much. I’m still lifting heavy weights, running fast, often moving at slow speeds, and doing my favorite activities. But somehow I’m doing a better job of seamlessly integrating them into my daily life. I’ve minimized the amount of time I spend lifting weights without compromising my performance. I use compressed workouts to do the things I love to do, giving me more time and a higher quality of work.
This could be the simple result of moving to a new place after living in the same city for twenty years, kind of like a honeymoon period. We shall see. My workouts here are more a part of my daily life. To a large extent, they are a part of my life, not an interruption of it, which is probably the best expression of the ancestral model in modern times. This is my choice.