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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

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Working Out as One Ages
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Jesse Lee Otis

I have a good friend that is 67 years old and he has worked out in one form or another since he was about 12 years old. He, like me, has always loved to do high intensity leg work - most especially squats. For the past few years he has experienced a dwindling ability to work out as intensely as he once did - and it is really bothering him.

Is it 'normal' for a person of his age to have to back off a bit from workout intensity of younger days? The obvious, common sense answer is yes - but he is having a very hard time accepting that. Going 'balls to the wall', as he did for so many years, is now making him really tired afterward - and he likens it to being made of wet bread; he would get tired before, but still had some 'steam' left to push on after a very short rest. Now, the intense leg work leaves him REALLY wiped out after a workout.

Input, please.


Jesse Lee
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Average Al

Of course this is normal. Past a certain age, physical abilities decline. Slowly at first, and then more rapidly. You can slow down the rate of decline, but you can't stop it, no matter what you do.

Just look at sports: how many 67 year olds are still playing at an elite level? Masters records in any sport are typically well below those set by younger athletes.

Your tendons become less elastic, more brittle, more likely to rupture. Cartilage thins, starts to break down.

Your nervous system cannot produce as much neural drive, and it becomes harder to recruit fast twitch muscle fiber. You can't recruit muscle as rapidly as before, again for neurological reasons, so power and explosiveness decline. You start to lose fast twitch muscle fiber due to the previously mentioned neurological system decline.

The peak heart rate that you can sustain declines with age, the peak VO2 max that you can reach declines with age. So endurance (and probably work capacity) also decline.

In the end, no one gets out alive. Even if you don't come to terms with it.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

If it's just legs tell him to do squats every two weeks. For several months I've been training everything once every two weeks without any loss in size. However, every workout is a 'specialization' workout and not a typical workout.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

Jesse Lee Otis wrote:
I have a good friend that is 67 years old and he has worked out in one form or another since he was about 12 years old. He, like me, has always loved to do high intensity leg work - most especially squats. For the past few years he has experienced a dwindling ability to work out as intensely as he once did - and it is really bothering him.

Is it 'normal' for a person of his age to have to back off a bit from workout intensity of younger days? The obvious, common sense answer is yes - but he is having a very hard time accepting that. Going 'balls to the wall', as he did for so many years, is now making him really tired afterward - and he likens it to being made of wet bread; he would get tired before, but still had some 'steam' left to push on after a very short rest. Now, the intense leg work leaves him REALLY wiped out after a workout.

Input, please.


Jesse Lee


== Scott==
I?m 66 and I?m feeling the same thing but I haven?t stayed at working out consistently . On a few months then off here and there. No consistency . Has he been at it consistently year after year? I find if I take a break from training for a few weeks or whatever it?s like starting all over again .
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

== Scott==
I don?t want to start up another stupid cardio argument but it?s my cardio energy levels that have suffered the most. I can use roughly the same weight now but I get winded and weak so easy these days if I don?t take a ton of time between sets . I never used to rest more than 20 to 30 seconds between sets. Sometimes I feel I must be dying I get so pathetically weak. Never used to feel weak after a workout. Always felt energized!
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

== Scott==
I don?t want to start up another stupid cardio argument but it?s my cardio energy levels that have suffered the most. I can use roughly the same weight now but I get winded and weak so easy these days if I don?t take a ton of time between sets . I never used to rest more than 20 to 30 seconds between sets. Sometimes I feel I must be dying I get so pathetically weak. Never used to feel weak after a workout. Always felt energized!
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Jesse Lee Otis

Brian Johnston wrote:
If it's just legs tell him to do squats every two weeks. For several months I've been training everything once every two weeks without any loss in size. However, every workout is a 'specialization' workout and not a typical workout.


=================================

To him - and to me by way of his training me - EVERY workout is leg day. There are no workouts that do not involve a significant amount of leg work. A workout equates to leg work - and upper body stuff is done for icing on the cake. He knows well that leg work (actually, thigh work) is tougher than upper body stuff - and understands that it is gonna sap the heck out of the trainee.

Jesse Lee





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Jesse Lee Otis

Average Al wrote:
Of course this is normal.
.
.
.
In the end, no one gets out alive. Even if you don't come to terms with it.


==============================

True. Thanks for the reply.


Jesse Lee





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Jesse Lee Otis

entsminger wrote:
== Scott==
I?m 66 and I?m feeling the same thing but I haven?t stayed at working out consistently . On a few months then off here and there. No consistency . Has he been at it consistently year after year? I find if I take a break from training for a few weeks or whatever it?s like starting all over again .


=================================

The solid year-after-year consistency dropped off several years ago. Sometimes a month or more goes by between workouts. He actually very often dreads to work out - but once he starts one he is into that workout; however, it's not nearly intense as it was for many many years.

This is part of a larger issue in which the whole damn aging thing is depressing him no end. Memory problems, a little gray hair (in what hair he has left), concentration problems, attention time duration, etc. He wants to finish a graduate degree at a local university - but it involves advanced mathematics and learning that stuff doesn't happen just by sleeping with a math/physics book.

I hate that he is going through this. Depression city for him.


Jesse Lee

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Average Al

Jesse Lee Otis wrote:
entsminger wrote:
== Scott==
I?m 66 and I?m feeling the same thing but I haven?t stayed at working out consistently . On a few months then off here and there. No consistency . Has he been at it consistently year after year? I find if I take a break from training for a few weeks or whatever it?s like starting all over again .

=================================

The solid year-after-year consistency dropped off several years ago. Sometimes a month or more goes by between workouts. He actually very often dreads to work out - but once he starts one he is into that workout; however, it's not nearly intense as it was for many many years.

This is part of a larger issue in which the whole damn aging thing is depressing him no end. Memory problems, a little gray hair (in what hair he has left), concentration problems, attention time duration, etc. He wants to finish a graduate degree at a local university - but it involves advanced mathematics and learning that stuff doesn't happen just by sleeping with a math/physics book.

I hate that he is going through this. Depression city for him.


Jesse Lee




Sounds like his issues go beyond simply not being able to exercise as intensely as before. Getting old sucks in multiple ways. Everyone has to find their own way to deal with it. Fight the decline as much as you can for as long as you can. But do not beat yourself up and make things worse by trying to go beyond what is possible.
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Crotalus

Ill be 67 in a couple months and I'm happy to say am still enthusiastic about my workouts, still train to failure and am consistent - only miss workouts due to illness unless it's the usual planned break of 7-10 days.

For me the key of still being able to go this hard is working a split routine .... I'd not be able to do it with a full body routine.

The three way split allows me to be brief and focused at about 30 minutes / 10 minutes per muscle group, with the effort dialed way up. I couldn't do it with the Dr. Ken-type , full body workout again. I did that stuff for my first 15+ years of training.

I'm dead right after the workout but a short nap and something to eat, I'm up walking dogs for about two hours, which I do everyday , training day or not.



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hit4me

Florida, USA

Average Al wrote:
Jesse Lee Otis wrote:
entsminger wrote:
== Scott==
I?m 66 and I?m feeling the same thing but I haven?t stayed at working out consistently . On a few months then off here and there. No consistency . Has he been at it consistently year after year? I find if I take a break from training for a few weeks or whatever it?s like starting all over again .

=================================

The solid year-after-year consistency dropped off several years ago. Sometimes a month or more goes by between workouts. He actually very often dreads to work out - but once he starts one he is into that workout; however, it's not nearly intense as it was for many many years.

This is part of a larger issue in which the whole damn aging thing is depressing him no end. Memory problems, a little gray hair (in what hair he has left), concentration problems, attention time duration, etc. He wants to finish a graduate degree at a local university - but it involves advanced mathematics and learning that stuff doesn't happen just by sleeping with a math/physics book.

I hate that he is going through this. Depression city for him.


Jesse Lee




Sounds like his issues go beyond simply not being able to exercise as intensely as before. Getting old sucks in multiple ways. Everyone has to find their own way to deal with it. Fight the decline as much as you can for as long as you can. But do not beat yourself up and make things worse by trying to go beyond what is possible.


I agree, sounds like he needs to just learn how to live and be happy he is still on this side of the dirt....in south florida I see a lot of older folks having a great time laughing and just doing things
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

, still train to failure and am consistent - only miss workouts due to illness unless it's the usual planned break of 7-10 days.

==Scott==
It seems as I get older there's more reasons to miss workouts than ever before.
Yesterday I couldn't wait to workout and I charged into my to failure workout but by the end of it I was feeling weak.I went in the house complaining to my wife how I couldn't even do what I did the last time and she looks at the calendar and tells me I haven't worked out in over two weeks(here comes the old and forgetful stuff) and I say wow, has it been that damn long? Of course things keep getting in the way of workouts and I hadn't worked out in two weeks or more so when I try to do what I did the last time I failed and that gets depressing. I start thinking what the hell is wrong with me until I remember how much time it's been since the last workout.I think consistency is key.
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epdavis7

Aging is inevitable. What helps me is to look around at others my age and see how I'm doing. I can't do what I did at a younger age, but I'm still very capable. I'll never be 25 again, but I'm a damn good 53 overall. Sometimes picking up a new skill helps too. Get good at something you've never done previously. I like Brian Johnstons comment on squats every other week. I do belt squats, but use the same concept. If I start dragging, I move to a three way split for a few months before going back to my A/B split and utilize a few more isolation movements I tend to neglect. Most of us don't workout or exercise for a living, so we shouldn't let that define who we are. There are many other facets to our lives. Facing your decline and mortality is tough for all of us, but it will happen, even to the baby born just now.
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Jesse Lee Otis

Thanks to all who have given input - and even to all who have silently sympathized/empathized.

I will show my friend your comments; hopefully they will help him. I have seen him work out over the years - and the intensity with which he has done so is almost frightening. He and I train together on his early-generation Nautilus machines - and I know it affects him psychologically to see how hard I train - although he has taught me to train intensely. But he tells me that I better continue to train as hard as I can or he will kick my ass -- and he knows it if I don't give a hundred percent :-)


Jesse Lee
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hit4me

Florida, USA

ever since I started the 30-10-30 method, full body, twice a week, I have started seeing more muscularity and strength.....I feel tired, but not weak, it actually feels good for 55 y/o
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AndyMitch

At 57 for me, to maintain that intensity of work that I love, it has been the rest between workouts that?s important, when I say rest I mean ?break? between the workouts (4 days now) and the measure for me are my energy levels to do the day to day tasks that I need to do are high I?m still quite physical which I need to be...we seem to forget that the ?workout ? is the activity we do so we can ?live?

As I say that it?s still really hard for me to not workout more frequently but I know it gets counterproductive very quickly
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

== Scott ==
I do know one factor that has led me to being in bad shape. For some 20 years my job kept me very active. I was on the run and constantly doing stuff but then my job changed from being very active to sitting on my ass much of the time . I used to be on the run carrying a heavy video camera around and building studio sets etc etc. Now I have days were I just sit . When you sit around you tend to eat more so I?ve put on more weight. After several years of this my fitness just Desintigrated.
What?s the point of this? I guess it?s to say keep active. It?s very difficult to keep fit when you sit around in an office job no matter how much stuff you do after work. Those 8 hours a day of vegetation take there tole. Find some way to keep active during the day if you have to do free style squats or whatever at your desk.
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DSears

Crotalus wrote:
Ill be 67 in a couple months and I'm happy to say am still enthusiastic about my workouts, still train to failure and am consistent - only miss workouts due to illness unless it's the usual planned break of 7-10 days.

For me the key of still being able to go this hard is working a split routine .... I'd not be able to do it with a full body routine.

The three way split allows me to be brief and focused at about 30 minutes / 10 minutes per muscle group, with the effort dialed way up. I couldn't do it with the Dr. Ken-type , full body workout again. I did that stuff for my first 15+ years of training.

I'm dead right after the workout but a short nap and something to eat, I'm up walking dogs for about two hours, which I do everyday , training day or not.





I have had the same experience. I?m 63 and a split works well for me. Other than swapping shooting basketball for the dog walking our approach is identical. Every now and then I?ll go back to whole body routines but a split just works better for me.
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StuKE

I'm quite a bit younger, at 45 but I still feel it is harder than it was a few years ago. Mind you, I am much less consistent so I put a lot of it down to that. Busy work and family life, which I know is not a great excuse, but it does factor in.
I can still push big weights for me, but when I go heavy, low reps, close to failure with those weights, I do not feel good after, apart from being drained, I often feel pressure in mu head. The following day I feel beat up and like I have a bad cold only without the sniffles etc. I haye feelong like that.
I have no doubt I will continue to lift the heavy iron, but I would like to limit it to infrequently, focussing more on lighter weight. More sets and less rest, going to need to ease in because my stamina for weights is naff at the moment.
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tsg2513

Florida, USA

Personally, I have noticed a huge difference between the ages of 50 and 56. I found that at age 50, I could still get into good competitive shape (for a Natural show) but over the last 6 years, there has been a slowing of my metabolism and a gradual loss of some muscle tissue. I echo some of the previous comments that it has become harder to train to failure without getting completely wiped out. I now split my training into 3 sessions then rest a few days and repeat the sequence. I still push hard but not to total failure and I am generally using higher reps. I like to use three sets of 30,20,15 reps with 30 seconds between sets.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

tsg2513 wrote:
Personally, I have noticed a huge difference between the ages of 50 and 56. I found that at age 50, I could still get into good competitive shape (for a Natural show) but over the last 6 years, there has been a slowing of my metabolism and a gradual loss of some muscle tissue. I echo some of the previous comments that it has become harder to train to failure without getting completely wiped out. I now split my training into 3 sessions then rest a few days and repeat the sequence. I still push hard but not to total failure and I am generally using higher reps. I like to use three sets of 30,20,15 reps with 30 seconds between sets.


== Scott ==
I too liked to do higher reps of 30 15 6 or whatever the numbers ended up after the first set. Sometimes just two sets starting at 30 and the next set ending where ever it does? Lately I have been trying to do this 30 30 30 type stuff in one form or another with a lot of negatives and maybe that?s the what?s been knocking me out? That stuff just doesn?t seem to be working for me so I think I?ll go back to my old ways. I think this is one more instance where I didn?t listen to that little Magnum voice in my head when after trying several sets of 30 second negative chins the little voice said , I don?t like these.
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ATP 4 Vitality

@DS

I too find splits work.
I also find my limit of intense sets to be 3, one of which must be a single joint isolation exercise.

Furthermore, I find multiple warm up sets help prepare the muscles by increasing temperature, decrease viscosity of synovial fluid, and build endurance related mitochondria to enhance recovery and reduce fatigue
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too old

The guys that are doing 30-20-15 type routines, could you give more details.
i.e.is everyone using short rest periods.
Are the sets taken to the max or a some left in the tank.
Are the weights increased, kept the same or decreased for second and third sets.

Is there more than one movement per
muscle group. Are some of these full body routines. And how many days per week for each muscle group.
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HeavyHitter32

tsg2513 wrote:
Personally, I have noticed a huge difference between the ages of 50 and 56. I found that at age 50, I could still get into good competitive shape (for a Natural show) but over the last 6 years, there has been a slowing of my metabolism and a gradual loss of some muscle tissue. I echo some of the previous comments that it has become harder to train to failure without getting completely wiped out. I now split my training into 3 sessions then rest a few days and repeat the sequence. I still push hard but not to total failure and I am generally using higher reps. I like to use three sets of 30,20,15 reps with 30 seconds between sets.


Do you think there is any chance that going that high in reps with such a short rest (which necessitates a much lighter weight) between sets means the load is too light leading to some losses? In other words, I also use short rests between sets, but use more like 6-10 reps because if I went for 30 reps, it would be too light of a weight for me to be as productive for size.

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