Does it All Have to Go Downhill After 30?

I was walking through the gym to get my hands on another cup of tea (which is NOT COFEE, btw), and I heard one of our members say, “It all goes downhill when you hit 30.”

But wait.

I’m stronger now at 34 than I was when I was 28. I wasn’t squatting 300+lbs for sets and reps back then. I’m snatching and clean and jerking nearly what I did then, AND I’m doing it without pain!

I know I’ve said similar things in the past, such as, “after 30, things just get really hard,” and, “nothings quite the same after your 20’s.”

And while some of it’s true, that doesn’t mean it goes downhill. You just have to be be more mindful and smart about how you approach your activity of choice.

For instance, I pay attention to pain now. If something hurts, I’m trying to stretch, massage, distract, and watch my form around and adjacent to the problem area. When I was 24 I could ignore it or take a couple days off and eventually it would go away. When I was 28 I would still ignore it and try to train through it but it didn’t just disappear. I still expected it to, though.

Another example: I actually listen to when I need a break and I take the damn break. I only train 5 days a week, and I’m careful about how I ramp myself up into a new program if it’s markedly different from what I was previously doing. When I was 28, I didn’t think I even needed a deload or a break. It didn’t help that if I wanted even one day off, I had a coach that would fight me tooth and nail to “allow” it.

Don’t let your calendar age be an excuse for why you can’t have or reach goals. (As always, do a gut check to make sure your goals are really what you want and that they are reasonable.)

Being older just means you’re going to have to focus a little more on ALL the factors that account for success. The work you put in at the gym is just a fraction of it. That’s the initially stimulus for progress. How you eat, sleep, handle stress, and take care of yourself lines your body up to make the most of that stimulus. The processes that might have been seamless and automatic when you were 18 might need their gears greased a little more to function optimally. That’s all.