Training Philosophy: Masters athletes by max el-hag

"Russian research on Olympic weightlifters states that "younger" lifters - in the 16-17 year old age range - can tolerate higher volume in their training than can "older" lifters in the 19-21 year old age range. If there is a significant difference in recovery ability between 16-year old lifters and 19-year old lifters, then imagine the difference between a 16-year old and a 46-year old (my words: or anyone from 25-40 in the common demographic of CF competitors)... But that's where so many older lifters go wrong. They continue to train on programs designed for lifters in their teens or twenties. The result is always the same: the older lifter can't recover from the program, can't recuperate, and can't make any progress... (And please note - what works best for you today will change over time)" Gray Hair and Black Iron - Brooks Kubik

It's always interesting to me how aging athletes refer to their younger days and believe wholeheartedly that the person they are today wasn't effected by time and that their biology is timeless. I've found over time that the lack of acceptance of the natural

deterioration of an aging athlete (or general population client) is an enormous contributor to their inability to improve long term. They often seek way too much volume, way too much intensity, and chase their younger counterparts in an attempt to maintain their athletic 'status.' The medical/sports performance field has allowed this to change with the abuse of synthetic hormones or the highlighting of outliers who can stay at the top for longer than others, but eventually father time comes knocking at everyone's door. Controlling volume, intensity, training style, accepting that age generally comes with more life responsibility, and actually coaching people through those transitions, I believe, is valuable in extending long term athletic careers AND preserving as much health as possible. If you follow a group program, be sure that you will have to adjust for your own personal variables to make the program effective for YOU (whether you are more trained, less trained, skewed in your athletic talents away from the 'normal' person following that group, whether you are male or female, whether you are young or old, depending on your sleep, depending on your recovery, etc). Age does not have to mark the end of an athlete or the end of progress, but for an athlete to be successful long term (generally) they will have to 'mature' intellectually and learn to be compassionate with their bodies. They should understand their bodies more completely than their youthful counterparts; how often can they go hard, when to can go hard in a specific workout, what training protocols work, what protocols don't work, when to 'tough it out,' when to get some extra sleep, what nutritional strategies are effective with which types of training phases, and when to skip training all together. I hope that myself, my TTT coaches, and all coaches in the market place can be trusted to put the reigns on all athletes to ensure recovery from any level of work volume being completed in training. I feel like a 'governor' to my athletes often because I train with long term visions of performance in mind, but I truly believe it will help to extend athletic careers over time, lower injury rates, get people closer to their genetic potential, and allow people to use the functionality of their bodies into their later lives. I believe there is some great wisdom in life and training to the story of the tortoise and the hare. So, be smart about your journey! Take care of your body, work hard, evaluate your mind state continuously, and remember that "age is just a number" is something older people say to convince themselves they aren't old!

- Max

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Max El-Hag
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