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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #150 How hard should you train?
November 15, 2014

November 15, 2014

In this newsletter . . .

How hard should you train?

Was Dr. Oz bamboozled or ratings-driven reckless?

How hard should you train?

That’s a question like "How long is a piece of string?" . . . We all have different capacities and goals. Genetics play a role, of course. But most of the time that only means the odds favor certain family tendencies. How we manage our lives more than anything else determines outcome, for better or worse.

Am I dodging my own question? I hope not. Stick with me. First of all, a balanced fitness program should always include some degree of three things. They are:

There are various ways to achieve this balance. And one size does not necessarily fit all.

Most people who read this newsletter choose free weights of some kind (or resistance bands or various weight machine devices ) for their resistance training. Some may also include bodyweight calisthenics. Whatever form you prefer, you may wonder just how hard you should push yourself as you grow older. The answer is that each of us must decide on his or her own training goals while taking into account stage of life. Say you are a young senior in your fifties. Then you are more than likely lifting heavier than a similar trainee in his sixties or seventies. Does that make sense?

My own attitude is to keep training for as long as nature allows me to. I hope until the end of life. So far, so good. But at 78 I am certainly not capable of what I was doing in my fifties. For example, during that decade I still enjoyed martial arts. But at about age 59 I stopped any workouts that involved actual grappling, kicking and punching. My body told me I should tone things down. In my sixties, I did lead cardio-kickboxing classes, a heck of a workout, but still a walk in the park compared to sessions where people were hitting back.

The weights

Though I was never really a super-strong guy, in my fifties and through most of my sixties I was still lifting reasonably decent poundage for my age. I have never believed in training to absolute failure, but I pushed pretty hard. At some point in my mid- to late-sixties, my body spoke to me again and I began gradually backing off by doing higher reps with less weight. All-out maximum lifts send your blood pressure sky-high, and that to me isn't the smartest thing to do as we get up there in years. Your doctor will say thank you.

Today, my reps may range anywhere from five to 15 per set. Naturally, when I'm doing low five rep sets I’m doing them so I can handle heavier weights. But I don’t let my ego or anybody goad me into being foolish. You don't want to blow a gasket. Regardless of what kind of fitness training you happen to prefer, blown out knees, bad backs, chronic joint aches, or even worse developments aren’t fun and aren’t what smart fitness is about. I always liked what Bill Pearl (a very strong man) said: "Finish your workouts still leaving a little gas in the tank."

My own advice: Don’t ever stop training, but as you grow older Bill Pearl’s wisdom should become more important than ever. In other words, be neither a workout wuss nor a self-destructed and beat-up former trainee.

Be smart. Set goals and press on, but make them age appropriate.

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Was Dr. Oz bamboozled or ratings-driven reckless?

A local medical doctor writes a column for the daily newspaper where I live. This past week he commented on some faulty dietary information that got passed off as gospel by the well-known TV doctor, Mehmet Oz. It had to do with a “magic” weight loss pill containing green coffee bean extract.

So-called miracle weight loss pills are nothing new. What’s different here is that the iconic Dr. Oz touted them on nationwide television. Apparently, an unreliable or faked study got reported in a medical journal and he ballyhooed the pills. However, people at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) discovered problems with the report. You can read about it here for more details.

A couple of adages will serve us well when it comes to weight loss, muscle building or other fitness goals. Those adages are:

  • There’s no free lunch.
  • If it's seems too good to be true then it probably is.

Eating less and getting regular exercise may not have the sex appeal of the latest miracle pill discovery. On the other hand, such old-school methods actually work.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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