Updated: Feb 21, 2019
We are, at different stages in our lives, different people.
Our values may stay the same, or indeed they may also change as life teaches us its lessons, but we adapt and grow as the years go by.
This is also true where our fitness and health is concerned. How we exercise, where we exercise, how we respond to exercise and what we eat; everything to do with our physical and mental form evolves as we change internally. When we are young our energy levels are (generally speaking) higher and our ability to metabolise what we eat and drink is also different to when we are older.
Our bodies (and our minds) need different inputs as different outputs become more important to us, depending on where we are on our own personal evolutionary scale. When we are moving into our 20s (and to a certain degree into our 30s) our physical appearance and form can be vitally important in terms of our social status, our ability to be recognised and with regard to our potential to advance in life. Concerns over energy levels tend not to feature, if at all, in our thinking, as for more of us this is an energetic and vital period of our lives.
As we move from our 30s and into our 40s our priorities change markedly. Issues of more long-term health and sustainability, together with the appearance of that dreaded word ‘maintenance’, start to feature in our thinking as our lives become more established, our metabolism changes and the first signs of natural wear and tear begin to appear. The markers of these changes are generally well known, if not entirely welcome - a slowing body clock, changing relationship to alcohol, reduced response times to exercise and recovery, gradually softening near eyesight; all of these attributes become noticeable moving through this period.
From which point, into the 50s and then the 60s, health and maintenance move totally to the forefront and diet becomes a far more serious matter than it probably has been previously in our lives.
For myself, as a man in my 30s, I have noticed and adapted to the significant changes in my life as I have moved through the initial stages of my life journey. Also, as a rugby man, and latterly a Personal Trainer, my training has also changed in response to my own physical and mental development.
As I discuss in the upcoming episode of my 2 Guys on Fitness podcast (out early September) when playing rugby, as I moved from the juniors division, I needed to put on muscle to continue to advance my sporting career. This is in turn led to a marked change in my exercise programme (essentially to heavier weights and lots of them!) to meet the goals of my life at that time.
Moving out of my rugby period and into my career as a Personal Trainer, in my 30s my training become more technical and my diet became incrementally cleaner, reflecting an increasing focus on my part on the needs of my body and my evolution as a man.
Sometimes I think we can be tempted to cling to previous modes of living and habits in the hope of hanging on to the image and recollection we have of ourselves in the rear-view mirror and, in so doing, to remain in that part of our lives. The truth, however, is that as attractive it may appear to remain forever young, the reality of such a status would be a halting of our growth and evolution as human beings.
Part of our journey in life is towards knowledge through experience, logical decision-making through the acquisition of knowledge and responsibility through reliable decision-making. Without the process of living and acknowledging our lives we atrophy and become lesser men and women.
Adapting to the changing circumstances of our lives, including how we exercise and the diets we follow, is a natural and healthy approach to a long and happy life. It is also something to be embraced and to be proud of. So never be afraid to re-evaluate or change, including with regard to the workouts that may have delivered results in the past, but which may not have the same impact today.
The same goes for diet.
I advise clients to review their exercise plans and objectives on a regular basis (every 6 months is good) and to implement changes depending not only on current objectives, but also on age, as well as developing personal circumstances as they occur.
That way, working through the different ages of woman and man can be a positive and rewarding experience, whatever the stage we find ourselves on during our life journey.