Getting Old SUCKS

It is my great honor to feature a guest blogger this week. My friend and fellow fitness professional, Ty Nordic agreed to add his expertise to my website, and I am very grateful. Ty is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, certified by the NSCA, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, and of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Throughout his career, Ty has worked with several professional athletes, hundreds of college athletes, and thousands of high school and youth athletes.

As the director of Strength and Conditioning and Athletic Performance at Nordic Combat Sports, he has recently been named the Strength Coach for Perk Performance Basketball Training, working with hundreds of young basketball athletes. Ty lives in Willis, TX with his amazing wife Amy. Their four children played college sports, with the two youngest currently in their last semester of college.

When he isn’t consuming excessive amounts of caffeine and getting athletes strong and fast, he might be found rounding up his cattle who seem to find a way out of their pasture or driving 1300 miles round trip to watch his son compete in a track meet in Kansas. You can find out more about Ty Nordic by following him on Twitter: @CscsTy or his Facebook page: Nordic Fitness and Athletic Performance. Thank you so much Ty!

Getting Old SUCKS

“Getting old sucks”. We’ve all heard that. I agree that it CAN suck. But, getting older is NOT an excuse to stop living life to its’ fullest. Do things get harder? Sure. Doesn’t mean you stop doing them. As a firefighter, you don’t have a choice. You have to stay strong and fit. It’s literally life and death. However, if you aren’t in your 20’s and 30’s, but you train like you ARE, it’s going to wipe you out. Or, get you hurt.

“As a firefighter, you don’t have a choice. You have to stay strong and fit. It’s literally life and death. -Ty Nordic

At 52 years old, I have never been stronger. I bench 435, squat 425, and deadlift 515. At 30, I benched 300, squatted 315, and didn’t deadlift. I trained 2 or 3 hours a day. Too bad, 90 minutes or more, was a waste of time. Volume is fine. But when time is limited, or when recovery becomes a challenge, it’s time to dump the volume, and stop wasting several hours in the gym. Remember, it’s not the time you put in, but how you put in the time. More is always better. Better is better. And sometimes, LESS IS MORE!

Now, my routine is working well for me. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for the past 17 years, and a Personal Trainer for the past 33 years, my routine is based on science, but has been modified constantly to meet my personal needs/desires. I like being strong. I like having a decent physique. As a wrestling coach (33 years), I like being able to wrestle the High School heavyweight, give him all he can handle, and then some. But I like to spend time with my wife and kids. I NEVER train more than an hour anymore. Usually, it’s 35-45 minutes. I like to do the least amount possible, that still allows me to reach my goals. I’m too old to waste time with unprofitable effort.

As an older athlete, recovery is vital. I don’t train any body part more than twice a week. Most, I just train once. That way I get a full week to recover, before I hit that body part again. I stick with multi-joint exercises to get the most bang for my time. A typical week looks like this:

Monday: Legs (posterior chain emphasis) Tuesday: Chest Wednesday: Back Thursday: Legs Friday: Shoulders and abs

Monday leg workout is almost always deadlift. 135 for 10. 185 for 5. 225 for 3. 275 for 1. 315 for 1. 365 for 1. 405 for 1. 455 for 1. 495 for 1. That’s my warm-up. It doesn’t make me tired, and it keeps my 1RM (rep maximum) where I want it. Then, I’ll pick one of those weights, and do 3-5 sets of as many as possible. So, it may be 405 for 10, 8, 6, or 225 for 25, 20, 15. Whatever. When I feel my form break down, I stop. No injuries.

Same exact warm-up on bench, except I stop at 405 (usually). Then, I’ll pick a weight, and do 3-5 sets of AMRAP (as many reps as possible). I alternate between straight bar and dumbbells.

Back alternates between rows (sometimes DB, sometimes straight bar), with similar warm-up, or weighted pull-ups.

Thursday leg day is usually squats. Same warm-up, same workout.

Friday is shoulder presses (alternate between DB and straight bar). My ab routine varies, but I always use resistance. Abs need to generate force too, not just stabilize.

A couple of times a week, I’ll hit some sled pushes/pulls, Farmer carry, car pushes, or something (roughly 5-7 minutes HIIT) to keep my cardio up, but I never “do cardio”. I can still run an 8-minute mile if I need to. The intensity of the lifting keeps my cardio up, and if I want a little more cardio, I cut my rest intervals down.

I’m not promoting this as the only answer to your needs, but here are the benefits:

  1. Absolute strength stays high/or improves.

  2. Cardio stays high.

  3. Low injury risk.

  4. Ample recovery time.

  5. Increases/maintains muscle mass.

  6. Body fat reduction.

  7. Less time in the gym.

Play with it. Modify it. Tweak it to fit your needs. But, this type of training has tremendous benefits, and can be done into your “approaching retirement” years.

Ty Nordic owns Nordic Combat Sports and Athletic Performance in The Woodlands, TX, and has worked with professional, college, and high school athletes for 3 decades.