A few things change when you pass the age of 35.
You've got a little less hair where you want it and more hair where you don't. When you wake up in the morning it can take a while for your body to warm up. Stairs seem to get steeper and running is a long way off.
Aside from the physical, two big psychological switches turn on.
You have dependants.
Whether it's your wife and children or you're in charge of a team of employees, people rely on you. When you are not at your best they will all feel the ripples of the consequences.
You have more responsibilities.
Those same people who rely on you need you to fulfil your responsibilities. Being in a position where you can't do so will turn your life into chaos.
These two values surpass you. Almost unknowingly you have shouldered their burden as your life has advanced. Now it is your duty to uphold these values to the best of your ability.
This means operating at optimal health.
Optimal health can be categorised into three key aspects, called the Executive Trifecta.
Muscle and strength
Heart and lungs
Mobility and flexibility
These should make up your complete focus if you're over the age of 35. Each is as necessary as the next and will help you uphold your values - being stable for your dependants and fulfilling your responsibilities.
Muscle and Strength
Muscle is the foundation of health and strength is being able to express your capabilities on the world.
Lean muscle mass is both a physical representation of your presence (think about a guy with cannons for arms versus a guy who looks like a twig) and an internal driver of health.
Muscle increases metabolic rate (decreasing fat), reduces injury risk, and reduces the chance of metabolic diseases (like diabetes and heart disease).
A more muscular man is physically stronger and can impart his dominance through his presence.
There are zero downsides and a bucketful of positives to being muscular and strong. It should be your priority.
How to train for Muscle and Strength.
There are two principles to gaining muscle and strength.
1. Lift weights.
2. Each time you lift weights make sure you progress in some way, such as more reps, more weight, a harder variation or decreased rest.
You can get stronger with your own bodyweight but you'll get much faster results with added external resistance.
Summary: Progressively lift weights 3-4x per week.
Heart and Lungs
Your body runs on oxygen so you should get really efficient at using it.
90% of diseases which cause early death are related to either your heart or lungs. It's obvious that if you keep these two major organs healthy you will effectively increase the chances you live longer. That's a big deal.
Do NOT wait until you have heart disease to start exercising. It's too late.
How to exercise your Heart and Lungs.
There are two ways to go about cardio.
Low intensity interval training (LISS)
LISS includes things like walking, biking or swimming. Generally, your heart rate will be in the 60-70% range.
This is low impact movement you can do for 30-60 minutes working at a pace you could hold a conversation at.
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
On the other end of the spectrum is HIIT. This is sprinting. As hard as you can. Alternating between periods of rest and work, HIIT can elevate your heart rate up to 90%+.
An example HIIT workout would be 10 sets of 15 seconds sprinting on the treadmill and then resting for 45 seconds.
The benefits of HIIT are being able to get more work done in less time (efficiency) and the after-burn effect (meaning you continue to burn calories well after you're done.
A couple of drawbacks include the stress it places on the body and the fact you have to go as hard as possible to gain the most benefit.
Summary: As a rule, I propose to clients 1-2xLISS sessions a week and 1-2xHIIT sessions depending on their current level of fitness.
Mobility and Flexibility
My Dad had terrible lower back pain.
One day I asked him to touch his toes.
He could barely touch his knees.
I ran him through a couple of more stretches and drills and it turns out his flexibility and his mobility were shockingly poor.
Of course, as a coach, I gave him a little flexibility and mobility routine to do on his own. A couple of months later he could almost touch his toes and his back pain had almost completely faded.
The best back pain expert in the world, Dr Stuart McGill, states most of his patients have terrible mobility and flexibility.
Correlation doesn't always equal causation, but in this case, it does.
Flexibility is your body's relaxed range of motion and focuses on muscle lengths and tension.
Mobility is your active range of motion. It depends on you being able to control your muscles and joints through their full ranges.
Both are important for a fully functioning, pain-free man.
How to train for Mobility and Flexibility.
Flexibility and mobility can be trained similarly through stretches and dynamic movements.
The problem is completing a whole hour of stretches is boringgg. If I won't do it myself I can't expect my clients to.
The trick is to make it targeted and integrate it into your usual exercise.
First, assess where your weaknesses lie. There are certain standards which classify a fully capable man, such as:
- Be able to touch your toes.
- Be able to squat below parallel.
- Be able to rotate your upper back 90 degrees.
- Be able to put your hands overhead without compensating through other joints.
Any joints where mobility and/or flexibility lacks is an area where pain will likely show it's ugly head and bring you to a crumbling mess.
Next, integrate stretches and mobility drills into your sessions. The easiest way to do this is in your warm-up, cool-down and between sets.
Between sets use 'mobility fillers'. If you have three sets of bench press, add in a lower body mobility filler between sets, instead of sitting on Facebook. Make the most of your gym time.
Book-end your sessions with specific drills to target your weaknesses.
Over time, all this movement and stretching adds up and you'll find you don't have the same niggles you had before.
Summary: Practice mobility and flexibility before/after your gym sessions and between sets. Make it as easy as possible.
The Executive Trifecta must be the major focus for any man over 35 who have dependants and responsibilities.
You must step up and shoulder those burdens. It's not optional. Your life, and the lives of the ones you love depend on it.
The Power Shift System trains these aspects in perfect unison.
You join a high-quality culture with other high-performing men and take on the mission to regain control of your health. Your nutrition is completely done-for-you (one massive obstacle taken off the list) and you will see massive results in 12 short weeks.
The Power Shift System is near you. If you're struggling to regain control of your health, click here to learn more about it.