Archive for the 'Age Related' Category
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
Below is a video of a 70 year old bodybuilder with a physique that would be impressive on a man half his age. The clip is well worth a look, not only to see how incredible this man performs for his age, but also to hear his thoughts about life and training.
There is so much to like about this man’s philosophy and achievements. For starters, he didn’t begin lifting until age 44. Meanwhile, I regularly receive emails from men in their 30s who are already complaining about old age. Sonny hadn’t even started at that point in his life. Even at age 44, he walked into the gym without knowing anything about lifting.
And to the younger readers of the site who may not know, we didn’t have the internet 27 years ago. Sonny couldn’t hop online to read the latest training research. It is safe to say that he learned his lessons in the gym. He paid his dues through hard and consistent work and the results are obvious.
It is also nice to see a man his age who trains as a bodybuilder. I’m sure we’ve all seen gurus today who make a point to regularly bash bodybuilding and anything related to it. I can only imagine the comments that they would make if the video above was of a 30 year old man. I’m sure they would be nitpicking his exercise selection and use of a machines.
Now take a moment to think about these modern age gurus. How many of them will perform at Sonny’s level when they reach age 70? Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing the number will be slim. That alone speaks volumes.
And I don’t say this to suggest that everyone should train as a bodybuilder. Personally, I have no interest in bodybuilding. I’m not ignorant enough to believe that there is only one correct way to train however. As I’ve said before, almost anything works if the individual is willing to work and is consistent with his efforts.
Think back to a recent entry that I shared about older athletes who perform bodyweight exercise (see here). From a training standpoint, these men have very little in common with Sonny. The common link is that Sonny and these men all perform at a level that is light years ahead of their peers.
While fitness gurus in today’s era battle it out over who is right and who is wrong, these men prove that there are many ways to skin a cat. There is no single, best course of action that all must follow. It is possible to become stronger and better conditioned with countless approaches. Often times the deciding factor is not the routine that is followed but rather how the individual approaches the routine. How much effort is he willing to give?
I may sound like a broken record, but it is worth repeating. How you do what you do matters more than what you do. Countless real world examples validate this simple, yet often overlooked fact. Don’t get lost in paralysis by analysis. Find something that you enjoy and pursue it with relentless passion. The results will follow.
All the so-called “secrets of success” will not work unless you do.21 comments
It was many years ago that I began sharing inspirational stories to this blog. Many people visit the site for that reason alone. They stop by for a quick dose of inspiration whenever a pick-me-up is needed. As a result, I am often asked what is my favorite story. And while it’s virtually impossible to single out a favorite, I won’t hesitate to nominate the following video as a contender.
What you will see within is an 81 year old man (Fedor Aleksejevich Hasjanov) who performs at a level that most healthy adults could only dream of achieving. The strength, flexibility, and athleticism that Fedor displays is mind-boggling. When I first watched the video, I almost didn’t think it was real. I was waiting for a younger man to pull off his mask.
Fortunately, it is real and Fedor Aleksejevich Hasjanov is a true inspiration. His display is also a reminder that it is possible to perform at a high level with minimal equipment. The bulk of his routine could be performed almost anywhere. He certainly does not need a state of the art facility to maintain health and fitness.
What a breath of fresh air it is to see an 81 year old perform at this level with nothing but a few bars and a kettlebell. It is this type of story that deserves to go viral. The rest of the world needs to be clued in on the fact that it is possible to get in shape with little or nothing.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that fitness would become such an overpriced hustle. Meanwhile, there are senior citizens in the Ukraine who must laugh at the infomercial products that bring in millions of dollars each year. Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing Fedor didn’t need any bogus tools, a weekend certification, or the latest supplement stack to achieve what he has. Instead, it appears that he works hard with the basics and is clearly a product of consistency. He prioritizes his training and has done so for years. There is no 30 day program that is going to produce this type of result.
It all boils down to hard work and consistency. Unfortunately, you won’t find those ingredients at the supplement store. You need to make your own.
Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity. – Plato12 comments