Sunday, October 31, 2010

A different look at old-age strength trainers

Every once in a while, I'm sure that many of us found something on the Internet relating to some sort of magnificent physical achievement accomplished by... AN OLD PERSON. Maybe it was that newsletter mentioning how John Grimek was doing 400 (or was it 500?) lbs squats for 20 reps at age 80. Or, how about that time that you found Built Old Lady rolling up an aluminum frying pan on youtube. Maybe it was seeing Sylvester Stallone still ripped to shreds at the SSI-check age. Perhaps it was Clarence Bass putting Sly to shame at age 70.
Yeah, I can barely believe it either!

For most of us who train in intense movement, we can't help but be awed by such a lasting display of physical prowess displayed by people who bury their fingers up to their knuckles in Father Time's eyes. Only the statues that such people model for are supposed to last that long, not the models themselves.

Indeed, most societies brand the people who've passed into, and beyond, middle age as frail and weak. We all know the narrative, along with the age-related degenerative diseases, medicines, surgeries, procedures that rob the body of what remains of it's strength, health and physical vitality. Defiance of all of that is bad-ass for sure. So, softer members of said societies are prone to label such rebels as a bit crazy.

That might be true. After all, being labeled crazy because you're a rebel is half of the fun of being a rebel in the first place. Okay, that's how the culture sees people who follow dudes like Jack Lalanne. Inside of our sub-culture, I started thinking it as a call to moderation.
I'm sure we all know people like this: acquaintances who told us about how brutally- bad-ass they used to train, how low their BF% was, the 10 hours a week in the gym, etc. The only trouble is, that was also several years ago and now they're out-of-shape. I think that we just spelled, "burned out." I'm left wondering why they worked out so, damn hard so regularly? What was the rush? A large reason for training goals is to reach a state of transcendence but when it comes to all matters of the body, that doesn't happen overnight.

One thing that I think that we can glean from the silver-haired ironheads is a realization that there isn't a huge-ass rush to get sick-strong. There's no need to put the foot to the gas and redline the engine every time we touch foot in our prospective strength shrines. We may have more time to do amazing things than we realize. The notion that only happens in the 20's and 30's is probably a figment of our culture's collective imagination.

There's a good saying that goes something like, "Make haste slowly." Sure, I love a brutal work out pretty regularly. At the same time, I'm realize that the bigger picture: to be able to do this stuff for a long, long time. I won't get there if I burn myself out by going full power, full time. Clarence Bass and Jack Lalanne never did. It goes back to what I've said before: it's easier to fix undertraining than it is to fix overtraining.

Oh, the old lady with the frying pan...

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