What's Old?

TAGS: what's old, older lifter, training age, aging process, Ken Whetham, powerlifting, strength training

column-gray-032715

Having lived for a long time; no longer young:

Made or built long ago:

Possessed or used for a long time:

Having the characteristics or showing the signs of age:

Belonging only or chiefly to the past; former or previous:

Used to refer to the first of two or more similar things:

Dating from far back; long-established or known:

Of a specified age:

A person or animal of the age specified:

Far advanced in the years of one's or its life:

Relating to the latter part of the life or term of existence of a person or thing:

What is old? Old is a term that can be interpreted in a variety of ways and can mean different things to different people. When you were a kid, your parents were old, even if they were in their twenties or thirties. We couldn’t wait until we were sixteen years old so we could get our license and start driving. Then we couldn’t wait to be nineteen (in Canada) or twenty-one (in the states) so we could go to the bars and drink legally. When I turn twenty-five I can finally get cheaper car insurance.

It’s ironic that after the first day of our birth, we begin to age and get older. For the first part of our lives we can’t wait to get old enough to reach certain milestones, and then at a certain point (which is different for everyone) we stop wanting to get older and want to turn back the clock. Why is that? How many women do you know who’ve had their thirty-ninth birthday several years in a row? Why don’t we embrace getting older and celebrate our lives by recognizing our experiences and achievements?

It seems in our present society we are never content. We are never content when we are young, and we are never content when we get older. What a waste of energy wanting something you can’t have. Does that mean that we can never be happy?

training age

We are constantly bombarded in the media (especially targeting women) with products that will make you look and feel younger. I get a laugh when I see companies advertise the next facial cream that removes wrinkles and makes you look ten years younger when the model on the commercial looks like a teenager.

"Yep, she looks pretty young alright. This cream must work!

Are you getting a few wrinkles? Inject some Botox. Fake eyelashes, fingernails, hair color, fake breasts (not that I would ever complain about those). A little heavy? Try some liposuction or elective plastic surgery. Even men these days are getting plastic surgery to look younger, getting hair implants or coloring their hair. It’s kind of sad that people don’t want anyone to see them the way they “really” appear and focus on covering up their “natural” appearance.


RELATED: Rethinking the Aging Process at 50 Years Old


No matter where you go, people are being condemned and looked down upon for aging. If you’re a pro hockey player, you’re pretty much ready to retire in your early thirties because you’re too old. Tennis players are usually retired by thirty. Are people really “over the hill” already at thirty? It seems we are constantly referencing people's age.

What about the interpretation of the word “old” in the powerlifting circles? I know plenty of older powerlifters that continue to lift and are incredibly inspiring lifters hoisting huge numbers most people would dream to reach. Guys like Tom Waldrep who is in his early 50’s and Roger Ryan who is fifty-nine who bench over 800 pounds with ease. Powerlifters like Canadian Al Mehan who is in his mid 40’s who has totaled over 2600 pounds and has consistently squatted 1000 pounds or more every year for over a decade. George Flickas is in his early 70’s and benches over 400 pounds raw. All these guys still compete and continue to lift with the best of the best. Is it just impressive that these competitors are still competing at high levels at an older age or is it more impressive that they do what it takes to reach the goals they want to achieve?

Why do we have to set limitations on our lifting or training because of a number or the “interpretation” of a number?

ken whetham age

I’m a huge proponent of strength training and I truly believe that the older you are, the more important it is for you to strength train to build some muscle, strengthen your bones and become more resilient to injury. I can’t count how many excuses I hear from people on a regular basis that starts with, “I’m too old to do that now” or “at my age I’ll get hurt.” If you want to sit around and make excuses all day, why you shouldn’t work out or train, that’s your prerogative but it seems ridiculous to me. We live in a society where people want instant gratification with the snap of a finger and don’t want to put the time and effort required to work towards their goals. In most instances, people know what they need to do to accomplish their goals but it’s easier to sit at home and whine, complain, and make a million excuses why they can’t.

"I know I’m fifty plus pounds overweight but I can’t stop eating these donuts, they’re just too damn good!"

"I’m too weak, I don’t have the motivation.”

I take great pride in being an older lifter who still competes and lifts some pretty respectable numbers. I don’t buy into “giving up” or “packing it in” because somebody thinks, you’re too old or “you’re going to get hurt doing that.” My wife Sheri competes and can lift more weight in competition than most of the guys I work with on the Fire department. She competes raw, squats in the high 300’s, benches over 200, and has deadlifted 440 pounds and she is somewhere between fifty-three and fifty-five years old.

(Technically I didn’t tell you how old she is so hopefully I won’t have to sleep with one eye open awaiting retribution)


MORE: How To Train Around Old


I almost threw up a little in my mouth reading a question on the elitefts Q&A from a person who stated he was twenty-five years old and wanted to know if he was too old to start powerlifting, Are you fu*king kidding me? Wow! I’m still rolling my eyes at that one.

We are both in our fifties and we are both getting stronger, lifting heavier, and improving in the sport. We both plan to continue lifting and competing for as long as we physically can. What’s wrong with grandpa and grandma powerlifting?

It’s time our society in general stopped looking at aging as some type of disability or disadvantage and started to embrace the fact that people are capable of achieving great success both physically and mentally with “experience.” I’ve had people tell me I’ll never squat 900 pounds. I’ve squatted over 900 pounds three times in competition since January. If you want to add fuel to my fire, tell me that I can’t do something and I’ll prove you wrong. You’re right, I won’t be able to squat 900 pounds because I’ll be squatting 1000 pounds very soon! Not bad for an old, beat-up, ancient, over-the-hill grandpa.

Be positive, embrace your age, continue to improve yourself and don’t set limitations based on the stigma of getting older. There’s no reason why you can’t.

wakeup-salts

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...