Olympics proves that age is no barrier
The really interesting thing about this Olympics was how so many of the medals went to older athletes…
Kristin Armstrong (43): Cycling Time trial gold medal (pictured above with her son!)
Ruth Beitia (37): High Jump gold medalist.
Anthony Ervin (35): Won gold at 50m freestyle, 16 years after winning gold at Sydney Olympics!
Mo Farah (33): 5,000m and 10,000m champion
Michael Phelps (31): 5 gold medals
Usain Bolt (30): The fastest man on the planet – 100m and 200m gold medalist
Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger but it certainly gives us hope to see what older athletes can achieve. Age isn’t a barrier to having a great body anymore, and few demonstrate that better than personal trainer Dominic Munnelly (40).
So how does he do it? Well, here are Dom’s 5 tips:
1. Consistency is key
Many younger trainers tell their clients that they have to ‘push it’, ‘work harder’, ‘lift heavier’ and ‘stop being weak’. But you can’t hammer yourself all the time anymore because you don’t have an infinite amount of recover-ability. The key is to practice consistently and within your limits. Listen to your body.
2. Stretch. Lots. Often.
You don’t need to foam roll more, you just need to stretch daily. Here are a few you should do everyday. Would a weekly yoga class help? Maybe, but nowhere near as much as doing 20 mins of structured mobility work every day. Please be patient as it can take 1-2 years to see significant improvements.
3. Philosophy can change your life.
It’s hard for me to nail down exactly how practical philosophy changed my life but what I do know is that I’m a better husband, father and coach when I meditate, listen more and am aware of the present moment. I struggle with this daily, just as much as the next person, but maybe another forty years of practice might help! I think Ryan Holiday and Alain De Botton do an excellent job of making philosophy accessible to everyone so have a look over their work.
4. Fight the moobs!
Most people will tell you that as you grow older that you need to accept your aging body – moobs and all. I urge you to NOT accept the dying of the light. The Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas wrote one of my favourite poems – “Do not go gentle into that good night”. It’s life affirming so read it here. I urge you to make changes now so you don’t have to accept the second half of your life with limits, medication and slippers!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
5. Eat real food (and stop eating when you’re full!)
The fitness industry has been instrumental in massively over complicating food/diet to the point that people become confused as to what to eat. In his book “Food Rules”, Michael Pollan presents some very basic principles to live by. It’s simple stuff really: eat food your grandparents would have eaten, if it came from a plant – eat it, if it was made in a plant (processed) – don’t, eat animals that have themselves eaten well etc.
Note there is no mention of how many carbs to eat each day, what pre-workout drink to gulp and what supplement to take. Yes, we might need to get more specific when you have certain goals in mind but what I see time and time again is most people’s inability to simply cook for themselves and that they eat too much – both of which stops them maintaining a healthy weight.
Forty doesn’t have to mean feeling old and washed up, it’s the beginning for some and the continuation of proper practice for others. I’m older but just a little bit wi(ld)ser!
Thanks for reading!
PS: Need some more inspiration? To demonstrate Dom’s point about how it’s never too late to improve yourself and your wellness, we love this story of the “iron nun”. She completed 40 iron man races over the last 30 years, only taking up exercise when she was 47! She embodies everything great about being fit and healthy as you grow older.