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FitDeck Blog with Founder Phil Black

Wreck versus Renew

Posted by Phil Black on December 4th, 2014

I get annoyed when people pull the "age card" when faced with issues about their weight or fitness level. I hear it every day - even from people in their thirties:

"Oh, yeah, I'm getting older now. I can't expect to do what I used to do, right? Oh well, I guess it comes with the territory."

And everyone listening to them just nods their head in agreement as if this is some kind of universal truth. Why doesn't anyone call these people out on this jibberish?  Are we just trying to be polite or do we actually agree with them?

Do our physical abilities, agility, strength, endurance, and energy automatically start to fade away as soon as we hit 35 years old? Or is it more that our growing list of responsibilities tend to crowd out any meaningful time for fitness?

If we keep up a healthy exercise and nutrition plan, there's no reason why we can't maintain a robust level of fitness.

Well, I'm getting dangerously close to pulling out the "age card" myself. For almost 18 months, I've been saddled with seemingly chronic right hip pain. It appears to be a stubborn soft tissue injury due to over-training that will not go away by popping ibuprofen and hoping for the best. This has been a "project injury."

After several weeks with a new massage therapist, I've finally seen some progress. My attitude as I try to climb back into a normal workout routine has taken a dramatic turn.

My therapist insists that I cannot jump right back into high-intensity workouts. 20 years of these types of workouts have surely contributed to my most recent injury.

His theory is that I've been writing checks that my body can no longer cash. When you train as hard as some of us train for so many years, little imbalances, tweaks, form deficiencies, and lack of recovery can take their toll.

Before I left his office, he said something interesting to me. It left me in deep thought all day.

He said, "My recommendation is that for the next few weeks, you should stick to rejuvenation workouts". 

To which I responded, "Rejuvenation workouts? What am I 80?"

He repeated, "The only reason you should work out for the next few weeks is to rejuvenate yourself. You've been out of the workout scene for a while. I want you to ease back in. When you're done with your workout, you should feel nothing more than rejuvenated."

This was hard for me to swallow at first. My normal M.O. is to wreck myself at every workout. If I'm not falling over by the end of the workout, it was not a successful day.

Well, the mental anguish of taking almost two years off from my normal fitness routine was so great, that I promised him I would not jump back in too soon. I agreed to work out for "rejuvenation's-sake".

My first workout was interesting. I did manage to hold back. I did some pushups, a few dips, a light stretch, bicep curls, and a 20-minute moderate swim. And by golly, when I finished my workout, I actually did feel "rejuvenated". What a concept!

After this whole episode, I started wondering whether my best year's were behind me. No, was the answer, but it did give me pause.

My commitment to fitness has taken on a new trajectory. I will no longer feel guilty for not wrecking my body in every workout. What's the point, anyway? I will still train hard - and push myself - but "rejuvenation" workouts will now be scheduled regularly.

Until next week, 

Phil Black (FitDeck Founder)

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