Even if we don’t think we did, most of us had some sort of exercise training (formal or informal) in our younger, school age years. Running around the neighborhood, playing baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. was just what you did when you were growing up. It’s the same these days, but you’re often running your kids to more sports than you had access to. Young athletes have so much going for them, often spending one season to the next playing sport after sport after sport with seemingly endless energy!
Of course as an adult, we’re often the ones run ragged getting the kids to various practices after school is out, feeding them, getting them to bed and practically passing out from exhaustion, still wearing our work attire. You may be wondering why you’ve put on ten pounds and can’t get your own workout in! There are a few problems here, and let’s address them.
When you were in school, if you were into athletics, you had it made. Your job was to train your sport 4-6 hours every day. You went to school and passed your classes (it didn’t have to be all As). Someone prepared all of your meals, and you had plenty of time to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night for recovery.
If you were REALLY good, you could get a scholarship to continue pursuing your sport at the collegiate level. You would have the best trainers telling you exactly how to train, day in and out for the next 8 years, while you worked on your bachelors degree. (Yes, that’s supposed to be a joke!) Depending on your sport, if you were in the top 1% of ALL athletes in ALL THE NATION you might play professionally, You would contract with a major sportswear manufacturer, be famous as you play a handful of games for a few months, and then take an off season to recover. You’d still train 4-6 hours each day, have meals prepared for you, and get paid to sleep.
I want to get paid to sleep. If you know how to make that happen, I’m interested!
Realistically, most of us are not genetically gifted enough to be in this top 1% of athletes. We’re doing this for fun. We’re practicing our sport because we love it. I really got into lifting, and then later martial arts, to get myself into shape and stay healthy. I could have pursued a career in MMA fighting, but I wasn’t getting any prettier by getting punched in the face and losing teeth or having a concussion. And while I enjoy physical activity, I get more compliments and thanks from correcting NeuroStructural Shifts in the upper cervical spine.
What’s wrong with training like an Athlete?
You might be thinking, “But Doc, I’ve always trained like an athlete, why can’t I do that anymore when I’m 25, 35, 45, 55 or 65+?”
You probably haven’t continued to train like an athlete. I was in good shape when I was practicing martial arts 2-3 hours/day, six days a week. I worked 8-10 hours a day as an engineer, with most weekends free. While my diet wasn’t dialed in (look for a future Keto/Carnivore diet overview), I was physically fit and could keep up with most people.
I was also single, and had no children, and plenty of free time. Within a few months after going back to school, I had put on weight, triggered a nasty autoimmune reaction, and had zero free time. While I got that cleaned up before moving to Davenport, IA for the ACTUAL chiropractic education, when I got to Palmer, I was only able to maintain my physical activity for a year when things got hectic again, and the weight returned.
If you get married, have a child, get a promotion, have another child, start running them around, it’s not going to be long before you’re also asking the question, “where did this weight come from and how did I get rid of it?!” Your athletic prowess may be cut off at the knees, or (and this might be worse) you remember how you trained not long ago and think you can just get back on the wagon.
Things have changed. And you can’t go back!
The wagon is going 60 mph and you’re going to hurt yourself trying to get back on, even in your late 20s or early 30s. The last time I was able to practice with my Kung Fu school (several years ago now), as much as I wanted to do 2 hours of punching, blocking, grappling and throwing, I realized I only had the cardio to do 1 hour if I wanted to function the next day. Despite how much I enjoyed a 2 hour session, physically, I couldn’t take it. If you train like the last workout you did 2 years ago, you will hurt yourself. And then you will not try again for another month or longer.
And it only gets worse as we get older.
So we need a better strategy to training. We need to acknowledge we’re not training for a handful of performances in a given season. We’re not training for the Olympics, an event that happens every 4 years for the top of the top of the top athletes. We are not Michael Phelps. Our training needs to be different.
When we think about a Warrior, the movie 300 comes to mind. Those ripped physiques could fight for days on end, defending their lands from the oncoming hoards. Let’s be honest, though; they didn’t have to fight like that often (and when they did, they often died). But they had to be ready for what lay ahead in their day. They had to ready for a fight that was surely coming, but they didn’t know when. These warriors trained daily, but never to exhaustion. They honed their skill, but had other tasks to do through the day, attending to family, food, farms. Ultimately, they were prepared, but not for a scheduled event they knew was coming. It was a balance.
This is how modern adults need to train. Every day is a battle. But now it’s in the boardroom, working on contracts, dealing with people, patients, contractors, projects, and then getting home to deal with family and children’s activities. We have a lot going on in our days, yet we also need to maintain our physical health. As we age, maintaining muscle is VITAL for staying metabolically healthy.
Grip strength has long been a marker of longevity. Just in the past few months, a good indicator of recovering from COVID was how much muscle mass a person had in their legs. Strong muscles help strengthen bones as we age. When I hear that someone over 70 years fell and broke a hip, I always ask “Or did they break a hip and fall?”. Bones can become so brittle from inactivity, low vitamin D, and other factors that the bone breaks just under the weight of use.
Sarcopenia is a type of muscle loss that occurs with aging and/or immobility. It is characterized by the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality and strength. The rate of muscle loss is dependent on exercise level, co-morbidities, nutrition and other factors. -Wikipedia
Losing muscle is not a good thing. It’s not even a good strategy for weight loss. Muscle is key for so many functions of the body beyond just movement. It’s key to your metabolism. When you lose muscle, your metabolism decreases. And, we’re now learning that your skeletal muscle is also related to your immune function. These are both important for a long, healthy life, as you need strength to stay healthy for a long time, and we all know the benefit of a strong immune system in this day and age. Let’s keep all the muscle we can!
A note about overtraining: it’s not going to waster your muscle away. Cardio will not kill your gains, even though I want to tell you to stop bothering with excessive hours on the treadmill. The problem with overtraining is that you are more likely to do an exercise poorly due to poor recovery and as a result, hurt yourself. Athletes can over train and reap benefits, but if you injure yourself, or don’t maintain adequate nutrition, you’re bound to hurt yourself. This will lead to further inactivity. and inactivity is the worst for muscle loss. It takes a lot of work to build muscle once we are over 25, so it’s easier to keep what you have than try to rebuild later.
When & How to Warrior Train
Warrior style training should be easy. You’re looking to push yourself for around 30 minutes, with a few minutes before and after as warm up and cool down. You can do programs with our without weights, but you will get more benefit if you use weights. (Ladies too; no, you won’t bulk up). The following programs are great for building basic strength and mobility.
Warrior Training Program Ideas
- Pushups, squats, pull-ups – Bodyweight
- Simple and Sinister
- Kettlebell Giant 1.0
- Dan John University Park Bench style workouts
Warrior Training Program Requirements
- No more than 30 minutes of hard working out, total time including warm up and cool down not to exceed one hour
- Breathe through your nose exclusively
- Train 3 days per week
- Eat real foods; don’t over think supplements
- Use recovery days to get out and see the world (walk in the park, for instance)
What to do on the Off Days
There are many programs that you can do on your off days, but simply put, a walk in the park can do a lot more good for your body than anything else. On these days, we’re looking for NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity). If you’re so tired from training that you can’t go for a walk afterwards, you’re overtraining. Breathe through your nose more. Cut back on your training program. The Off Days are good days to do stretches, and programs like Original Strength can expound on movement patterns that you may be noticing are coming up short.
You might be thinking “But Doc, I don’t have weights, and I can’t do a pull-up!”. Ok, this is a strange example, but there’s another Warrior strategy that deserves its own spot – Grease the Groove. This is a simple concept of doing A LOT LESS than you know you can do. Can’t do 10 pushups in a row with good form? No problem, do 5. Can’t do 5? Do 3, or even just 1, then wait a minute, and do another rep. Do 10 sets like that, and start doing that multiple times a week. You’re allowed to do Grease the Groove daily, because you’re not even coming close to overtraining here.
One trainer encouraged his elderly father to do one pullup as he passed his pullup bar throughout the day. The pullup bar was in the kitchen, and he would regularly pass that threshold. Just walking past the bar and doing a pullup was an easy thing. Before long, the elderly father was getting a lot stronger. Eventually, he did more and more, and eventually won a Senior’s level weight lifting competition from training like this!! Talk about reversing any sarcopenia!!! This is the story of Milo and the Calf in action!
Keep on training. Our job at Keystone Chiropractic is first and foremost to make sure your head is on straight so you can be more resilient in this world. Put the effort in for yourself and, before long, you will see benefits from what we’re doing in and out of the office!
About Keystone Chiropractic
As an engineer, Dr. Schurger looks at the whole body as a system to determine what is best for each patient. He performs custom spinal imaging for each patient in order to create a custom correction. Dr. Schurger has transformed himself through the ketogenic diet. As part of his practice, he offers nutritional advice to help patients improve their overall health (weight loss being a side effect). His practice, Keystone Chiropractic, focuses on upper cervical chiropractic care, and is located at 450 S. Durkin Drive, Ste. B, Springfield. Call 217-698-7900 to set up a complimentary consultation to see if he can help you!