Archive for the 'Age Related' Category
Below is a video that has been making its way around Facebook (see here). Unfortunately, the Youtube version of the video is not available for embedding so I created an external link through the image below. If you have not seen the video on Facebook, it is well worth a look.
What you will see within is a 73 year old man (Anatoliy Nikitovich) whose abilities would humble most healthy adults a fraction of his age. I’m sure I speak for many in saying that I hope to perform at his level if and when I reach that age. If it ever happens, I promise that I will choose different training attire however.
As for the video itself, I enjoyed it for several reasons. First, it is obvious that this man is extremely capable despite training at a gym that consists of nothing but outdoor bars. If there was ever a case for the potential of a low-tech environment, this man should certainly be included in the discussion.
It is also nice to be reminded that bodyweight exercise is available to all. Anyone can head to a local playground and train from the bars. Calisthenics were never intended to be expensive to learn or perform. Unfortunately, it seems like every week there is a new bodyweight exercise certification being pimped to the masses. I have seen several bodyweight seminars and certifications marketed for hundreds of dollars (even more in some cases).
And while I have nothing against earning a living and providing quality instruction, charging such outrageous prices defeats the purpose of making calisthenics available to all. It shouldn’t be necessary that you refinance your home to learn how to effectively perform bodyweight exercise.
It is safe to assume that Anatoliy did not develop his strength at a weekend seminar. Instead, he is obviously the product years of intense dedication and effort. Fortunately, such attributes are free to all. You can’t purchase effort and dedication at the supplement store. Even the savviest marketers haven’t figured out how to sell these intangibles.
You will be hard pressed to find many senior citizens who are as capable as Anatoliy Nikitovich. Yet, rather than just being inspired by his example, we can learn from him as well. For instance, don’t confuse calisthenics with rocket science. Working with your body isn’t nearly as complicated as many would like you to believe. With a little creativity, you can exercise anywhere. Anatoliy trains at an outdoor gym that is available to all. It consists of nothing but bars. Anyone can go there to train. There are no secrets to his success. He shows up regularly and has done so for years. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a consistent and diligent effort. The sooner more people realize this simple fact, the better off we’ll all be.
In summary, don’t be blinded by the industry’s hype. Keep it simple, work hard, and remain consistent. Those are the only training secrets that you will ever need.
We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it. – Frank A. Clark7 comments
I first wrote about Tom Hafey in 2011. Sadly, the former Australian rules football player and coach recently passed away at age 82. As for his relevance to this site, I didn’t write about Tom Hafey because of his coaching or athletic career. I admittedly know little if anything about Australian rules football. What fascinated me about Tom Hafey wasn’t his sporting experience, but rather the enthusiasm that he had towards life. Even as he approached 80 years old, Tom Hafey continued to exercise with a daily routine that would put most youngsters to shame.
In the video below (filmed last year), Hafey shares some of his wisdom regarding health and longevity.
Hafey’s simplistic routine certainly allowed him to age gracefully. As he neared his 80th birthday, he was even asked to portray a healthy 70 year old in the commercial below. It wasn’t difficult for him to play the part of a younger man.
Tom Hafey is the type of person whose story is worthy of remembering and sharing. It is one thing to read about aging, yet entirely different to hear from someone who walked the walk with obvious success. Hafey lived life to the fullest and was able to remain healthy and active with a regular dose of calisthenics. The work that he performed is readily available to all. He did not rely on a commercial gym or any specific equipment. Instead, Tom Hafey subscribed to the idea that the world is our gym. The secret to his success was rooted in hard work and consistency. He didn’t do anything flashy, but he did keep doing. And while some may argue that is routine was overly simplistic or repetitive, it’s impossible to argue with the results.
RIP to a true inspiration.
Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. – George Bernard Shaw12 comments
To follow up my last entry, many readers will enjoy the wisdom passed on below by former bodybuilder Leroy Colbert. In the following video, he shares some thoughts regarding the strength that he developed at young age.
Born in 1933, Colbert is known for the massive arms that he developed naturally as a young bodybuilder. Unfortunately, his bodybuilding career was cut short after a tragic motorcycle accident in 1955. Yet despite what was a short career, he was still inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2003.
It was not until recently that I became aware of Colbert’s Youtube channel. He has videos covering a vast array of topics, but it was the video above that captured my attention. First and foremost, it is certainly impressive to see that he still packs considerable arms for an 81 year old man. More importantly however, Colbert touched upon a significant point in regards to exercise frequency. Although I am not quite half his age, I too have noticed that I do not need as much time to maintain my current level of strength and fitness.
Many years ago, it was not uncommon for me to exercise multiple times a day for what amounted to 3+ hours of training within each 24 hour block. Now that I am older and have more responsibilities in life (ex. work and family), I do not have time to exercise for several hours a day. As mentioned in my last entry, I am lucky to find an hour of uninterrupted time.
Yet despite training less than I did at an earlier age, I am stronger than I have ever been. And while I do not credit shorter workouts for my increased strength, I do recognize the significance of the foundation that I built over many years. Regardless of what I do today, I am still at least partially a product of my past.
Yet to no surprise, an athlete’s past rarely receives as much attention as it should when considering their current abilities. It is much more common to focus on what we can see with our own eyes. Doing so is a mistake however. What you are able to do now is at least partially based on what you did previously. Athletes are not developed overnight. It is a timely process. Therefore, when examining what someone does today, always begin by questioning their past.
For instance, just yesterday I was asked how often I perform the core-based pushups that I demoed last week. I received the question from a young man who wanted to copy what I do. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. I explained to him that I have performed standing rollouts since before he was born. For him to copy me now would not make sense. He has not established the foundation that it took me years to develop. Therefore, just because I may perform a rollout variation each day does not mean it makes sense for anyone else. What I do now is directly related to what I did over many years.
In summary, always consider the past when examining the present. This is particularly true for strength as it is often easier to maintain previous levels than it was to initially acquire. As the years pass, it is quite possible to possess high levels of strength without the marathon lifting sessions that you may have performed as a youngster. And please note, I am not suggesting that you only train once or twice a week. I continue to train each day and I would not have it any other way. My point is that you can continue to do well without investing hours upon hours in the gym each day. There is certainly something to be said for quality over quantity. This is especially true for those who invested in health and fitness at an early age.
In other words, put in the work now and continue to reap the benefits as the years pass.
You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. – Albert Camus7 comments
Below is a video about a 64 year old man whose physical ability is beyond inspiring. The 22 minute documentary includes English subtitles and is well worth a look. Don’t let the language barrier cause you to miss out on a tremendous story.
I am not easily impressed but 64 year old Wang Bingrong certainly has my attention. He possesses a rare mix of strength, endurance, and coordination. The feats that Wang performs with heavy padlock weights are truly incredible.
What I enjoyed most however is the story of Wang’s transformation. It was not long ago that he suffered from severe ulcerative colitis. He nearly drank himself to the point of no return. At one point in the film, Wang discusses how he could hardly walk a flight of 36 steps. He actually had a rail installed so he could hold on and pull himself up one step at a time. He was a physical mess.
Upon hitting rock bottom, Wang realized it was time to change. He began training at a local park and alone in his basement. He slowly rebuilt his body and gradually learned several awe-inspiring feats with the stone padlocks. He now hoists considerable weights in each hand with relative ease.
As for those wondering the size of each padlock, they are labeled in jin. One jin is equivalent to approximately 1.1 pounds. In other words, Wang is not hosting around baby weights. He is moving considerable weight with incredible coordination and accuracy.
Wang’s story not only highlights human potential, but also the ability to reinvent ourselves at any time. It is safe to say that we’ve all had ups and downs at one point or another. Wang Bingrong was on the verge of drinking himself to death before deciding to change. Anyone who saw him unable to walk a flight of steps at age 50 would never believe he’s the same person at age 64. He has completely reinvented himself and he didn’t need anything fancy to do so. He worked hard in a park and alone in his basement.
There is no secret to his transformation. He decided to change and never looked back. He was diligent and consistent with his efforts. If you’ve ever doubted the potential of hard work and consistency, look no further than Wang Bingrong. As evident by his example, it is never too late to change.
Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. – Samuel Ullman12 comments
The video below comes from a 45 year old man who contacted me last week about a recent article. It was within that entry where I discussed the importance of patience and consistency. The man seen below subscribes to a similar philosophy. He recognizes that true fitness does not entail a 30 day transformation, but instead is a lifelong journey.
He mentioned that he has only trained with calisthenics for two years. He opted for this style of exercise because it is fun yet difficult, and can be performed almost anywhere. He continued by stating that it may take over three years to achieve a full planche that will last but a few seconds. He is not intimidated by the challenge, but instead welcomes it. He truly embraces the grind.
In his own words,
The joy of this process is the constant battle with myself and this growth is the true reward…
Based on what can be seen above, there is no denying his growth. What this 40+ year old man has accomplished in less than 2 years of calisthenic training is incredible. He has literally surpassed countless fitness professionals who make a living out of marketing much more complex programs to the masses. And he did so without any elaborate equipment. The bulk of his routine does not require anything but the ground or a bar. He has become his own gym. He could go anywhere in the world and achieve a quality workout.
It is this type of story that truly deserves more universal attention. If we ever wish to develop a more healthy and active population, we need to stop complicating the simple task of exercise. So while some may grow tired of me preaching the potential of simplicity, I would rather be a broken record than one that blurts out nonsense and deception. I could scream all day about simplicity and consistency and I’d still be a faint whisper in an industry that is built around meaningless noise. More and more fitness professionals seem to be less concerned with health and fitness and instead focused solely on dollars and cents.
Fortunately, there are still some who are able to see through the deception. The man above is as good an example as any. He is an inspiration on many levels. Not only has he defied age, he has done so with nothing but his own body. His training success is not dependent on anything but his own willingness to get up and move. He alone accepts the responsibility of what he will or will not become. His future lies solely in his own hands.
Many in this world could learn and benefit from this man’s example.
A man is not old as long as he is seeking something. – Jean Rostand19 comments