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As you age, the generally accepted “norm” is that your performance will decline sharply once you are through your years of peak performance, usually somewhere between your 20’s and 30’s.
But what if we told you that many of the biological causes of this decline could be prevented, allowing you to maintain much of your stamina, strength, and physique well into your 50’s, 60’s and 70’s?
Well – it’s true. And it has everything to do with your diet, activity level, and managing just a few key physical basics.
If you want proof, all you need to do is look at the hundreds of IronMan champions and athletes who maintain incredible stamina and performance – often beating out competitors half their age. One man from Norway has, at age 80, the cardiovascular health of a 35-year old.
Today we’re going to share some of the best-kept secrets for maintaining your athletic performance for the long term, staying fit, and enjoying the benefits of optimal health well into your golden years.
The most important age-related changes that occur in the human body are, believe it or not, almost invisible. When we’re talking about athletic performance and stamina, there are six basic factors that produce some of the most significant impacts:
As a teen and into your 20s, your body’s natural processes can compensate for and repair the damage of unhealthy habits. Younger people can eat anything they want, as much as they want, and still retain washboard abs and athletic stamina.
As you age, this ability fades. The same burgers that you consumed when you were younger now may bring fatigue, weight gain, or health conditions such as diabetes. There is no question that your body requires more care to keep it in peak condition as you age, but it can be done.
When most people think of protein, they usually associate it with building muscle. And while this is important, it is actually just one of the ways your body uses protein. The word protein is actually derived from the Greek word “prōtos,” which means “first,” and later “prōteios,” which means “primary.” In essence, protein is the first building block the human body needs.
The protein you eat is digested and broken down into amino acids – small building blocks that your body then processes to build molecules, compounds, and cells throughout the body systems.
To give you an example, here is a short list of bioactive and structural substances your body synthesizes from the dietary proteins you consume:
As you age, your protein consumption and use change in two ways:
Your body can also use protein as a backup energy source. One common effect of fasting, or simply not eating enough, is the breakdown of lean muscle mass into the component proteins for use as energy. This is common knowledge with young athletes who maintain their carbs for energy, but this factor can affect any person as they age.
So, here’s the first secret: As you age, you need to increase your protein consumption! Not only will this help retain the muscle you have and continue to build, but it will also speed your natural healing and recovery processes while giving your body the building blocks it needs to maintain overall health.
Now, this might sound a bit odd, considering that your appetite may have decreased, but it’s all about what you eat. You can also supplement your protein intake with a product like PerfectAmino – which provides all eight essential amino acids (the eight building blocks your body must receive from dietary sources) with a 99% utilization rate and ZERO carbs.
Another critical aspect of maintaining your athletic performance and health into your later years has to do with your physical activity and training. While age-related biological changes do impact your ability to perform, lifestyle choices and training also play an important role.
One of the best indicators of physical fitness and stamina is called VO2 max, and it represents the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize at any given time. It is measured in liters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute, and the higher your score – the better.
Men and women who have an active lifestyle score higher than those who are sedentary, while professional athletes are obviously the best.
It is a known fact that VO2 max scores decrease with age, usually starting in your mid-30s. It is also a known fact that many athletic individuals in their 60s or 70s score higher than sedentary individuals in their 30s. One study focused on a man in his 80s who had a VO2 max score that was that of a 35-year-old athletic man – and he had a pacemaker!
Having a high VO2 score is not only a measure of your ability to perform athletically but also an indicator of heart strength and health. Keeping your cardiovascular system at peak performance through both use and nutrition can help stave off the most common cause of death in the US: heart disease.
So, here’s the next secret: Use it or lose it. Maintain your training regimen, and do not let it drop just because you are “getting older.” Continued vigorous physical activity, especially high-intensity interval training, can maintain and improve your athletic performance and health over time.
While there are more secrets we are going to share in the next article, maintaining a healthy protein intake and keeping up a training regimen are two excellent ways to sustain high-performance and health into your golden years.
If there is anything society has come to realize over the last century, it is that women are just as powerful, smart, ambitious, and capable as men. And while society as a whole is still catching up as far as true equality, the facts are evident when you look at some of the most incredible and influential people today.
When it comes to fitness, however, men and women are not the same. The natural, physiological differences necessitate unique approaches to achieve optimal results. While the fundamental science behind attaining a shredded, lean physique is basically the same for both sexes, the exact steps and application require careful consideration.
One thing I've learned is that injuries can be great teachers. There are so many lessons to be learned from the injuries we experience. They force us to slow down and evaluate our bodies on a deeper level. Like many, I'm guilty of sometimes taking my healthy days for granted. When we pick up an injury, we're suddenly motivated to learn everything we can about that specific injury. We're also dedicated to the necessary rehab it will take to overcome the injury and strengthen our weak areas.
As with many injuries, I've learned there are no "quick fixes" for my stubborn Achilles. Over the years, I've also learned there are no "get fit quickly" schemes.