I was watching some fitness video on how to stay fit on Youtube recently, and the host said something I have heard a million times.
“When you are over 40, you can’t expect to do what a 25-year-old can do at the gym.”
I’ve never actually been bothered by this thinking. If anything, I probably found comfort in it. As a now 45-year-old, there have been plenty of times that I have looked at myself and said, “well no wonder I’m not getting the results I want. I’m not 25! Oh well!”.
But this time, it bothered me. And I know exactly why.
Blaming Age is a Fantastic Misdirection to Keep You Comfortable
I’m sure there are people who will die on the hill of blaming age for their lack of results, or mediocre outcomes. I mean, if only they were 25, right?
But, have you seen 25-year-olds lately? My local gyms are full of them, and from what I can tell, being 25 is not a magic pill to success. If anything, I see people younger than I am who don’t look much different than me. Actually, I am more fit than most at my gyms. Now, that is not a brag (OK, maybe a slight brag), but more an observation.
When I look around at the gym, and certainly, the world outside of the gym, I don’t get the feeling that 25-year-olds have it made in the fitness shade. There doesn’t seem to be an automatic “win” for these people.
Ok, so if being a 25-year-old isn’t the instant key to fitness success, then why do older people keep using this mentality in regard to their own fitness journey?
Effort is More Important than Age
If you are going to simply accept that your age is the most detrimental thing that determines your health and fitness success, then you are overlooking the one thing that ACTUALLY matters.
Effort. The effort is what matters most.
When I think back to myself as a 25-year-old, and then compare it to who I am now, who is more fit? Who is in better shape? Who is healthier?
44 year old me CRUSHES 25 year old me in those areas. It’s not even close.
“But how is that possible? How can old man you beat young man you???”
The amount of time I dedicate to my health is higher. My diet is balanced. My workouts EXIST (which they did not before). I take my vitamins.
I just put more effort into these things than I did at 25.
But beating the “25-year-old” version of myself isn’t hard, and it’s not enough. I want to beat OTHER 25-year-olds, now.
When I walk into a gym like Planet Fitness, I want to outwork EVERYONE there. I want to out-sweat them. I want to out-lift them. I want to put the stupid age-restriction mentality in its grave. I think about it EVERY TIME I walk in the doors. I can’t help it. I have a chip on my shoulder.
You won’t find me sitting at a machine for 10 minutes playing around on my phone. You won’t see me staring around looking for eye candy (unless my wife is there). You won’t find me in front of a mirror flexing.
You’ll find me putting my effort where my mouth is, so to speak.
Being a Victim is Easy. Effort is Hard.
Effort takes energy, but trying to out-effort everyone around you? Energy x 10. That’s how results are created. When we see transformation videos that show incredible weight loss and fitness transformations, that wasn’t done by accident. It was effort and determination.
Then along comes a video that tells you “hey old geezer, lay back down on your death bed. You aren’t 25 anymore, ya know?”
And just like that, we accept an easier out. We fall on the age sword, a martyr to the cause of bullshit and laziness.
After all, being a victim to your own lack of effort is still WAY more comfortable and easy than the effort itself (I also wrote about this in this article, Comfort Is A Bad Disguise For Laziness).
But remember if you choose to live by the law of “my age can’t do what their age can do”, then you are simply covering up for your lack of willingness to outwork them.
Effort means EVERYTHING when it comes to living fit and getting in shape. Do you want to see change?
Change your effort.
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Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape to better himself and those around him, focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.