If you are in your 30’s, you need to read this.
At Perform24 we have the pleasure of working with a wide range of clients. We train high school athletes, professional athletes, and local adults.
We’ve got physical specimens with blessed genetic gifts, and we’ve got a handful of clients that are proud to be more than 60-years young. Working with people on all ends of the fitness spectrum gives us a unique opportunity to make a few observations.
That being said, I believe that males and females aging 30-39 need challenging training programs more than any other population.
These are the four biggest reasons why
1. You are younger than you think you are.
Next week is your 30th birthday. OMG.
You are so old.
Call in the medical examiner. And let’s get you fitted for a custom walker while we’re at it.
No! Are you crazy? Snap out of it. You are 30, and you’re way more capable than you think. You can do all your doomsday reading about the decline of your physical health on some other website.
While it’s true that both men and women start to have physiological changes in their 30’s, this is by no means the beginning of the end. At the time of this writing, let’s just look at the ages of some of last year’s (2016) sports champions.
LeBron James – Won NBA Finals and Finals MVP at age 30.
Michael Phelps – 5 gold medals and 1 silver in the Olympics at age 31.
Jon Lester – Pitched in three games of the World Series (and won) at age 32.
Serena Williams – Competed all year, turned 35 in July, and went 38-6 with 1 Grand Slam.
Ben Zobrist – World Series MVP at age 35.
Tom Brady – Won Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP at age 39.
Look, I understand you can accuse me of cherry picking some all-time great athletes to compare you to. But deep down don’t you feel some kind of relief? These athletes aren’t just random competitive pro athletes. They are the BEST in the WORLD in 2016, and they are ALL in their 30’s.
The biggest reason you need to continue to train hard in your 30’s is because you still can.
Your age alone is not an excuse. 30 year-old adults – I’m speaking to both the ladies and the fellas here – are strong, mobile, and explosive.
Here’s a nugget for you to consider: your body isn’t preventing you from training hard. Your mind is.
Your mind is telling you that you’re “not in your prime.” But, interestingly, I believe your mind has convinced itself of this false fact not because of your physical state, but because of your lifestyle. Which leads us to Point #2.
2. Your lifestyle has pulled you away from routine physical activity.
As you evolve (I won’t use the word “age” here, haha) into your 30’s, it’s likely you are settling in to a completely new stage of life.
Personally, professionally, and socially, things have been changing. Let me explain further.
Let’s look at your professional changes first. By now, you’ve most likely found an industry or a job you’ve got some stability with. You may have done some career jumping in your 20’s, but by now you’ve hit your groove and you’ve got a good thing going. Heck, you may have already started to move up a few rungs on the career ladder. Good for you.
To go along with this increased career status, you’ve also got more responsibility. Office hours may begin to run long, and time spent on your phone and computer managing email may be staggering.
In addition to more requirements at work, some of you may be in a serious relationship, getting married, and starting a young family. Of course, this is exciting, but we have to be honest about the demands of this juggling act on your time and energy.
I can’t tell you enough how many 30-somethings I work with that don’t have any time to themselves. When they do, even I can’t blame them for skipping the gym. Surprisingly, I genuinely don’t believe that they choose to eliminate the gym from their routine. Rather, I believe that they haven’t considered adding it to their week.
When you’re in your 20’s, you are more active. Socially, you’ve got more independence, and you spend a good amount of time in large groups of people your age. College happens in your 20’s. So does impromptu games of catch, softball leagues, pick up basketball games, afternoons at the pool, and walks with friends.
**Bonus point: if you were an athlete in your 20’s, your physical activity was even higher. Which risks a more dramatic decline once you stop competing.
Now, in your 30’s, based on a steady job and family/relationship priorities, those organically active social interactions from your 20’s has subtly transitioned into three-day business trips to Denver and unhealthy dinners with co-workers.
This slow fade is where the “I’m not in my prime anymore,” thoughts start creeping in.
If your inactivity – however unintentional – continues, there is a high probability that your body will not be happy when you reach your 40’s and 50’s. Aches and pains can become debilitating, and your body composition can inflate inflate. Which leads nicely to Point #3.
3. You’ve never had professional education on effective training.
Can I be honest? You probably don’t know what a good training program looks like.
And again, that’s no fault of your own. Why would you know?
As we discussed already, you didn’t really need to know how to train smart in your 20’s.
You’re feeling tightness and soreness in ways you’ve never felt before. What makes you think you can fix these new issues with no prior experience?
I believe this is where danger occurs. One of two things ends up happening.
Option 1 – You take matters into your own hands
You go to the gym and splice together a training routine with exercises you remember from college or something you see on social media.
You want to “get your body back,” and so you work hard. Which is a good thing.
However, that exercise routine may not apply to your phase of life. These exercises may have been made for you at a different time of your life, and it’s probably not addressing the priorities you need most.
Working our “hard,” with exercises designed for a different purpose will result in different outcomes. You may get bigger arms or lose an inch off your waist. But, your shoulder won’t feel better.
Option 2 – You start going to the group exercise class down the road
Large group exercise classes can be great for supplemental physical activity. But, I don’t believe it should be your primary mode of “staying in shape.”
From my experience, group exercise classes are primarily based on conditioning. In their eyes, the harder the class the better. And, for the most part, you feel accomplished when you finish a hard workout.
It’s a double edged sword. You want to “make up for lost time,” and smash as much exercise as you can into a 60-minute window. Additionally, the gym wants to keep as many people active and moving in one time slot as they can.
Keep in mind that working out hard isn’t always what your body needs. Sometimes you need to address specific issues that are causing you discomfort based on the day-to-day lifestyle that you live.
Group classes aren’t always the best fit for that.
You are in your 30’s now. But, your 40’s and 50’s are coming.
You need to maximize the physical capabilities you do have and take the time to educate yourself on what your individual body needs. Maybe you need some specific work on your shoulders, or you have a cranky knee. Or your back is in a constant dull throb and locked up with tightness.
Speak to someone that knows what’s causing the discomfort, and learn the processes to fix them.
Again, just to reiterate. You are in your 30’s now. You still have plenty of strength and health in your muscle tissues. And, you still have a life ahead of you. You need to prepare your body for the long term.
Take responsibility for how you feel.
Set yourself up for less (or no) pain in the future. Get ahead of the problem(s).
4. You’ve got the budget.
For most people, the decade in your 30’s is the first time you’ve had some wiggle room with your finances. That steady career is starting to pay off.
Even so, financial commitment is always a sacrifice.
You’ve got to decide how you want to invest your finances in ALL areas of your life. Physically, personally, professionally.
I’m not saying this a no-brainer. But you need to seriously consider this.
Is spending a year with a professional – learning how your body works – and using that knowledge for the rest of your life, worth it?
That’s for you to decide.
But, if you haven’t been feeling as young as you once did, and you’re not doing anything about it, you would be wise to make a change.
Your future self will thank you.