By Coach Denis
I’ve recently started to get back into Ben Bergeron’s and host Patrick Cummings’ fitness podcasts called ‘Chasing Excellence’. For those that don’t know, Ben is a high-level coach who coaches athletes such as Katrin Davidsdottir (2 time CrossFit Games winner), Cole Sager and Brooke Wells. In these podcasts they discuss how we, the ‘average athlete’, should be training and what our goals should be as we age.
Your first thought when you got into fitness might have been ‘I want to be healthy’. Developing a committed and solid fitness routine sets us up for longevity in a healthy environment. The ability to complete functional movements means that we are living life on our terms. Once we lose the ability to squat, it means we can no longer do the everyday things unassisted. This can mean sitting down or getting up from the couch, the dining table – and even the toilet. When we can no longer do these, we’ll need to be assisted on a daily basis. This is no longer healthy, independent living.
What I Have Learned
Here’s a few of my takeaways from some of Bergeron’s discussions. I’ll share more in further articles.
Consistency is the Key to Progress
Let’s say you want to learn how to play the piano. If you only went to one lesson per week without practicing in between, I think we can agree that it would take a very long time to improve. Fitness is the same, you need to be participating consistently to see progress – the recommendation is 5-6 times per week. Life gets hectic, but if you want to see real results you need to be consistent and committed. Does this mean you need to work out until you are ready to pass out? NO! Even 10 mins, 5 days a week will get you on the right path. It will help develop proper habits and get the understanding of how your body is feeling. From there, it will be easy to expand on your fitness and well-being.
Earlier, I stated that we don’t need to be lying in a puddle of sweat trying to catch our breath after every workout. How hard should we be working out? The clear as mud answer is, we need to find a level that is between too easy and too hard. We want a level where we know we are getting a workout in, but not to the point where we are so sore or injured that we can’t work out the next day. Yes, some days will be harder than others, but it’s important to find a balance. Our intensity level will depend on how we are feeling on any particular day. Many factors determine where our intensity level will be. These factors include, but are not limited to sleep, nutrition and stress.
Range of Motion Vs Load
As an athlete, I am constantly pushing myself to lift more or go faster when I should be focused on ensuring that I am completing the movements correctly. Things like ensuring that my squat depth is below parallel or making sure that in a press my arms are fully locked out and beside my ears is a long-term investment that will pay off many years from now. Let’s be honest, when we are in our 70’s and 80’s, we aren’t going to be able to lift what we can now. Science has proven that as we age, our capabilities diminish. However, if we continually practice working through a good range of motion, we’ll have that ability to get ourselves off the toilet or grab the dish from the top shelf of the cupboard. This means that we can live independently, thus living a more fulfilled life. So, before adding more weight to your workouts let’s make sure we are doing things right.
These are just a few of the points in Bergeron’s podcast that I found to be very relevant for the hard-working average athletes that are not looking to compete in the Crossfit Games. I’ll be covering a few more of Ben’s discussion points in future articles.
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