The Jacked Dudes Over 50
Written by TJ O’Brien
I think Michael, Joe, Marko, and Luis would be the first to tell you that they don’t feel like they’re at much of an advantage working out in a space that is often filled with younger members who can run faster or lift more weight.
The one advantage they DO have: Experience. A lot of it. Between them, they’ve been training for more than a century.
What’s been learned in all of those combined years of experience is what I want to share with you.
First, while none of them expressed it outright, getting an early start – say, before your 50th birthday, is always recommended. That doesn’t mean that if you are over 50 and reading this that you’re out of luck – far from it
The bottom line: get started and then keep going. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll figure out how to get the best return on your investment.
Speaking of getting started, while the circumstances they each started with were unique, they were each equally inspired by the novelty of this new “CrossFit thing” that kicked their butts.
They could have just as likely been discouraged from the challenge of a new workout regimen, but they framed it as just that: a challenge to be overcome. They’re still like this today; if we ever do a cashout or a “bonus round” they’re often the first to start because in one of the words of Luis, “Why not, it’s only getting me better.”
Our programs are constantly changing and evolving. But the novelty of a workout program isn’t enough to keep one showing up for YEARS. So it might not surprise you that they each still have goals they are working towards:
At 56, Marko is working on handstands, muscle-ups, and building hamstrings of steel. He still loves to ski, cycle, and swim, and does each regularly. Invictus is huge for his goals and accountability, and while really important for building strength, I’d estimate it’s only about half of the fitness he gets from just being so active.
At 55, Luis hired Coach Fritz to help him work on a nutrition-related goal of dropping his body fat percentage. His goal was to drop 5% body fat over the course of 3 months. Luis managed to drop from 22% all the way down to 12% while gaining 4 pounds of lean muscle mass! Additionally, he took a VO2 max test that showed his levels (51.1) were way above average for his age group.
At 57, Joe is less concerned with hitting particular numbers and more concerned with the number of times he attends the gym (staying consistent!). He’s also taken up Jiu Jitsu and uses his time in the gym to complement this training. He’s working on developing rotational power, mobility, and always includes a healthy dose of prehab exercises to stay healthy for years to come.
Finally, at 52, Michael also wants to use time in the gym to stay healthy for tennis, focusing on his consistency and improving his stamina. He takes Mind Muscle class to focus on his mobility, depositing a little bit of time each week into his “longevity savings account”. Michael is training to be injury free and healthy, and he is so far succeeding!
The “jacked dudes” also shared some advice that they would give to their younger selves. The themes weren’t far from the admittedly cliche fitness advice that I dole out on a daily basis.
BUT, I think it hits a little harder coming from members who are quite literally living that advice on a daily basis.
- Emphasize sleep and recovery – Luis felt that investing in a Whoop watch really helped with this
- Stretch and emphasize the importance of mobility for injury prevention
- Don’t check the workout before you come in – don’t give yourself an excuse not to show up
- Don’t be afraid to modify the workout
- Place equal focus on overcoming both physical and mental challenge
On a personal note, I recently rounded 31 years of age, and with each year I increasingly appreciate the effort and success of our older members. I’m not old, but I’m not young enough to go as hard as frequently as I used to. My own focus has shifted in the direction of these gentlemen – more mobility, focus on recovery, and the fitness outside the gym that makes the dedication feel worth it.
These four gentlemen provide myself and the gym community an archetype of what it means to age gracefully, with dignity and pride and with far more solutions than excuses. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to be considered a “jacked dude over 50.”
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