For the lifters out there with the big “three-oh” looming ominously in their future pay attention. If you’re like me, your hairline is now comprised of scraggly strands of hair in the telogen phase and starting to resemble Plymouth Rock. You might not be recovering as well as you did five or ten years ago and unlike five or ten years ago, you are now shackled with an immoderate stress levels. Unless you are a trust fund baby, or camp out in your parent’s basement while playing Halo all day, it’s likely that personal, professional, financial, and familial responsibilities have swelled greatly throughout the years. You likely have less time and fewer discretionary funds at your disposal, which means you really need to budget your training time and streamline your supplement regimen.
Save for the contingent of the not yet 21 crowd, the majority of people want to delay the aging process, which is why many of us train hard, eat right, and strive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Actually, wanting to remain young or reverse the aging process is an innate human instinct to avoid our inevitable deaths. Advances in modern medicine have allowed us to prolong our lives. The average life expectancy of an American has risen dramatically from the beginning of the 20th century. A 2006 report produced by the US Senate showed that life expectancy had increased from 49 years to nearly 78 years in the past century. While life expectancy has certainly increased, quality of life in aged populations diminishes greatly as they get older. Quality of life broadly includes activities of daily living (ADLs), such as personal care, eating, and waste excretion; and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which consist of physical functions, necessary to carry out tasks such as housework, gardening, shopping, and preparing meals.
It is critical that individuals establish and maintain a high level of physical fitness and well-being to ensure the preservation of a high quality of life throughout the balance of their lives. While getting older is unavoidable, getting healthier can be accomplished at nearly any stage in one’s life. For those approaching the third decade or already deep in to their thirties, its critical to develop a plan to keeping healthy for the remainder of your life. With that said, I have included 6 helpful tips for those among the 30+ crowd or about to become welcomed soon.
1. Pay closer attention to your musculoskeletal health.
The majority of us aren’t professional athletes. If we were, it’d be unlikely that we’d be reading up on ways to keep healthy. Instead we’d have a team of medical and allied health professionals keeping tabs on us. However, we’re left to depend on no one but ourselves. Although many in the 30+ crowd is capable of performing highly, it’s best to start taking a slow and steady approach to your goals if you haven’t done so already. Start incorporating foam rolling, pre-workout and intra-set mobility exercises, which you can also perform on off days. Start stretching often, following your workout or physical activity then an hour to two afterwards and throughout the day into the next. Perform planned intensity deloads often, dedicating a few months throughout the year to establish the tensile strength of connective tissue, which responds well to higher repetitions. You can run this concurrent while you work to accomplish your hypertrophy based goals.
Additionally, it’d be prudent to begin peppering in unilaterally loaded and body weight exercises to bolster stability and keep joints healthy.
2. Manage your time more wisely.
Unless you’re doing the same thing you were doing in your early 20s, it’s highly unlikely that you have much time to spare. For instance, just five short years ago I was wrapping up college, working infrequently on the weekends, and chasing a short lived dream of becoming a professional poker player. Fast forward a half decade later and I’m lucky if I’m working only 60 hours in a week. On top of that I’m pursuing a second master’s degree and I have an unenviable commute to and from work. I use my down time wisely. I don’t stalk people’s Facebook pages (sorry ex-girlfriends, I really don’t care about you, nor do I have the time to even remember you). I limit the number of fitness-related blogs I read, I don’t watch what I’d consider “junk TV”, if it’s not a sporting event or something that is educational or isn’t going to profoundly impact my life, I’m not going to watch it.
People in their 30’s, who are pressed for time should develop a schedule, carving out ample time each day to exercise, run errands, or just get away for a bit. They should also capitalize on their down time.
3. Economize Your Training
You might only have as few as two or three days per week to lift. With that said, you better be doing worthwhile stuff with your time. Optimally, your programming should be centered around two or three compound exercises, picking one that you’d perform each day. Ideally, if you have a powerlifting background you should never stray from the big three – bench, squat, and deadlift. If you’re well versed in the Olympic lifts, you’ll likely clean, snatch, and press. I personally take a blended approach, incorporating those lifts at different times throughout the year, depending on my goals from strength, performance, and body composition perspectives. From the compound movements, I always make sure to do an auxiliary exercise or two, which I usually superset or alternate if I’m performing them as an assistance exercise, using heavier poundages or doing movements which require a higher degree of technical proficiency. I also shoot to get one bodyweight exercise in each workout, whether I’m performing pull-ups, push-ups, dips, glute-ham raises, or sprints.
4. Clean Up Your Nutrition
Your metabolic functioning declines every year after you turn 20 and more rapidly once you hit 30. This is largely due to alterations in endocrine hormonal output. As you age, your insulin levels increase and your body’s insulin sensitivity fades. Insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone, and testosterone production also begin to slow down, resulting in less muscle mass. In response to the cascade of hormonal changes occurring around the age of 30, your body begins to store more fat. Since I am not a registered dietician and since I possess a strong affinity for fine cuisine and tasty food, I cannot provide dietary advice. However, I do regularly dole off one piece of epic sagaciousness, which I have dubbed the “Strip Away”. Simply strip away stuff you’d deem as crap in your daily diet, one by one. If your excess calories are hailing from fried foods, then quit ingesting fried foods or frying them. If the scale isn’t budging and your midsection looks blurry, reduce your sodium, refined sugar, and alcohol consumption. You can do this with entire macros, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, just make sure your replace them with better options. If you adopt sound nutritional habits you won’t have to work as hard to out train your diet.
5. Get More Active
A lot of people tend to overlook non-exercise physical activity and its role in weight management. Additionally, people also don’t take into consideration the enormity of non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Merely fidgeting throughout the day burns a chockfull of calories. You need to stay as active as possible to keep your body weight and body composition in check. Activities as simple as household chores, landscaping, and walking intermittently throughout your day will help keep you fit and lean.
6. Streamline Your Supplements
If a multivitamin is considered as a nutritional safety net, than supplements should be considered nothing more than nutritional bonuses. However, if you aren’t taking these already, I’d highly suggest looking into a well-rounded multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, and a joint protectant, such as glucosamine or shark cartilage. If you eat healthier, you’ll end up saving a heap of money, which can be used on stuff the 30 year old crowd is most worried about – paying off student loans, putting a sizable down payment on their house, and financing hair loss treatment protocols.