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When I first started lifting weights at fourteen-years old, my motivation was to gain muscle, look buff, and get attention from girls. In retrospect, though, it was to look older. After training for thirty-two years now, I find it oddly ironic that my motivation now is to hold onto my youth. It has taken me years to figure this out. I'm kinda slooow, I suppose.

As a teenager, the more muscle I gained the more mature that I looked (and felt).  Having muscle and being in shape is not as much a teenage thing as it is a twenty-something thing.  Most twenty-somethings are in good shape and if they aren’t, they should be.  This is probably the time in your life that you are the leanest, have the smallest waist, and you likely are your strongest.  Obviously, with high-level athletes, bodybuilders, etc., there will be exceptions to this but by-and-large, most people will remember their twenties as the time they were the healthiest and in their best shape.

This is all well and good when you are in your twenties, but as you get older and into your thirties and forties you start to question why you are still training and why it is so important to you. I always assumed it was because I enjoyed competing and just wanting to better myself, as this bodybuilding endeavor is obviously something you can continue progressing for a long time if you know what are you doing. Even though that part is true, I always felt there was more to why I continue doing it than I could put my finger on. Just a couple months ago I hit on exactly why I continue do what I do.

The reality is that, at some point, I got old — and getting old doesn’t just happen overnight. It is a lot like putting a frog in water and turning the stove up and the frog doesn’t realize that it will eventually die. This is an obvious metaphor for getting old. You don’t see it coming; it doesn’t happen all at once but slowly over time. It sneaks up on you, at least consciously. Subconciously we know what is coming but we deny it or avoid thinking about it and remind ourselves how good we feel. By doing this, we are fighting to hold onto our youth. Working out as you get older is exactly the same thing.

youth skip hill elitefts

I don’t compete thinking I am going to get a pro card. As much as I might prepare to win, my mind is accepting that if I don’t win, I was 100% balls out in preparation, and that makes my efforts satisfying to me. I am not competing to win as much as I am competing these days to prove that I can still do it and do it successfully. I am proving not only to myself but also to others that I am not old. During this process of proving to myself that I am not old, please do not compliment me by saying something like, “you are a badass for forty-five-years old”. You mean well and I get that, but as hard as I am working, I don’t want to be reminded that I am forty-five  — especially when I am working hard to forget exactly that. I would much prefer a compliment that doesn’t involve my age or the reminder that I am good...but old, too.

This is exactly why I want my wife in good shape, as well. People who are in shape have more energy and they feel and look younger and that makes you act younger. If I battle for my youth, then I want my wife of twenty-three years battling with me. Being lean is youthful and being in great shape is youthful. I don’t want my wife to ever think she is married to an old man, and I never want to be married to an old woman. When you are young, age defines how old you are but when you are older, how you live your life defines your age. That might not make sense to a young kid but it does to the older people reading this. And, no, it isn’t denial; it is the realization that age – as cliché as it sounds – is not a number.

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When I finally realized why I continue to do what I do and why it is so important to me and that my wife do the same thing, I had to smile. A sense of gratification, I guess you could say. Where I sometimes would think maybe this is all a big waste of time or the question of, “Will I regret all of this time that I spent working on staying in great shape?” doesn’t bother me anymore. I have found a bit of a peace with myself that my time is justified and so are my efforts. Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort —  it is a hell of an investment. However, the thought of being a “regular” forty-five-year old that is overweight with health problems, possible ED, and on meds for blood pressure, makes me cringe. I will never be that guy.

Instead, I want to live my life having more sex than when I was twenty-three, be in even better shape with just as much energy (if not more), and now that I am not broke like I was at twenty-three, be able to have a ton of fun traveling with my wife, riding our motorcycles, and having younger people look at us and think, “They have a lot of fun; I want to be THAT couple when I am their age”.  I remember my younger years fondly but I can tell you that being older blows away being younger. Hopefully, you feel the same way when you get here. Now, bring me my walker and my bottle of Cialis.

Just *cough* *fart* *picking my teeth with my tongue* Sayin’.