Do you get weaker as you get older? Is that really the science? Or is that just because people stop trying hard to be strong?

To unpack all of this in one blog post is pretty tough, but I am going to give it a red-hot effort. Some of this is based on my experience coaching, some based on research, and some is based on what I like to refer as common sense, that comes from both research and experience.  

Firstly, do you get weaker as you get older?  I would like to answer that question with a statement, “If you stop using muscles in general, then your brain will decide that you do not need to produce as much force as you could so therefore you will experience an adaptation of a negative slide in strength or force output.”  

So, in answer to that question… yes as you age you will get weaker IF you do not keep challenging your body.   

The concept of fitness is to overcome necessary physical challenges.  Can you overcome a necessary physical challenge that is placed in front of you right now? For example, if someone was to steal something from you, and you really need what they stole, how confident are you of chasing that person down, and obtaining that item back from them in a physical contest?  

OR, you are in a car accident, you need to go for help.  People are relying on you?  How confident are you of getting 10km away on foot within 70 minutes?   

So, why do people either never start trying to be stronger/fitter OR why do they stop trying?  This is a question that is being asked in many different ways in a lot of research projects.  One such study was by Teixeira et al (2012) who reviewed exercise, physical activity and the self-determination theory.  The Self-Determination theory is a complex theory that covers human behaviour and motivation.  The theory would state that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation especially to exercise.   

stronger for longer
stronger for longer

Reference: Teixeira PJ, Carraça EV, Markland D, Silva MN, Ryan RM. Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Jun 22; 9:78. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-78. PMID: 22726453; PMCID: PMC3441783. 

The barriers that are used to exercise for many men is time, money and a lack of motivation to exercise.  These barriers are all very real to the person who is experiencing them, and, in my experience, it is very unlikely that someone is naturally lazy.  A sense of belonging to something is what a lot of men miss without realising it, until they do belong to something again and realise how good it is. The sense of belonging and the sense of “winning” is a very powerful intrinsic driver for many men.  

Over the past 10 years, I have become more aware and really enjoyed coaching men of 40 and over to wind back the clock and to feel what it is like to “win” in a physical sense.  I have watched these men continue to grow and prosper not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as they forge ahead.  I want to show men over 40 that you can “win.”  Your health, your physical capacity and your fitness for life/work/leisure is what will help you retire one day with some sort of life quality.  Don’t let yourself get sucked into the life trap of nothing but everyone else.   

If you are interested in winding back your body clock, in belonging to something and having people around you that are non-judgemental and excellent at helping people win physically, then I am looking forward to meeting you and seeing how we can help you out.  

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