Just Because You Age Doesn't Mean You Must Give Up Being An Athlete
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
From professional athletes to hobby athletes, there are many who can, not only stay competitive but consistently beat their younger counterparts. It's about being responsive and as you age, you must modify your training as well as your strategies.
Boxing trainer Naazim Richardson, who's worked with Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley, and Badr Hari -- has made a career of taking legends past their prime and making them world champions.
Watch Naazim Richardson give his insights on longevity and how as athleticism fades, we must fall back on our techniques, fundamentals, and experience. When abilities fade you have to fall back on what you've learned.
"Athleticism is a beast. When you're a young athlete, you're faster than everyone. Roy Jones faster than everyone. But when you slow down, we're going to find out -- did you learn how to fight. Did you learn how to fight?"
In football, the combines have been a poor indicator of who'll be the star players. Though it's a good reading of who the best athletes are, it's not a good indicator of who the best football players are.
"Did you learn the fundamentals of how to cover up, block, and catch shots? Did you learn the fundamentals of when a guy rocks you, headbutts you, or hits you to the back of the head to tie him up?"
Randy Couture spent nearly his whole career beating younger men and had two championship runs at two different weight classes in his 40s. As his speed takedowns faded, he relied on tying up his opponents and wearing them down with punches before he took them down. Instead of creativity, he relied on carefully planned strategies that he followed to the letter. Against faster opponents, he relied on his endurance and strength. He didn't take unnecessary risks, kept a very fundamental fighting style, and instead of relying on one punch knockouts, he chipped away at his opponents round by round until they mentally wilted. Never having more physical abilities than his opponents, Randy was always learning, adding to his repertoire and bringing in new elements into each of his fights, throwing his opponents off who had carefully scouted him out. It ended up being the younger fighters drawing from the same old playbook as Randy kept developing as a fighter.
"If you rely on your abilities, your abilities slows down. Then you have to rely on your learning."
In the military, they say when shit hits the fan, all you can rely on is your training. When everything goes out the window, you better have a library of knowledge to fall back on. This is sometimes called experience, and it can save your life or win you a match. You can fake it for a while but you can't fake it forever.
In my own martial arts training, I have modified many aspects of not only my training but my fighting style as well.
- Over-training happens much easier.
- Spend more time on technical practice than physical conditioning.
- Recovery is now mandatory.
- Do the things that matches your body and abilities.
- When speed fails rely on experience.
- Strength is the last thing to disappear, make sure you're strong.
- Deadlift, squat, row, bench, farmer's walks -- in that order.
- Lots of rests between sets.
- Use efficiency rather than speed.
- Spend time on restorative and corrective exercises.
- Make sure everything you do has high returns.
- Use explosive training sparingly.
- Glutes, glutes, glutes, make sure your glutes are strong as they will shrink as you age.
- Create easier training goals and let go of ego.
When I think of beating an opponent, I don't need to beat him by a landslide. I'd be happy to edge my opponent out, as long as I can keep doing it for the rest of my life. The size of one victory isn't as important as the amount of victories. There are athletic beasts who can maul me right now, but can they apply that same style when we're both in our 40s, 50s, 60s, and so on? Or will they have to retire because they couldn't stay consistent? Better to train early in a system that will allow you to win in the long haul. You have a long athletic life ahead of you.
"See a man who learns how to fight can keep that. At 60 years old there'll still be people he can beat."
— Naazim Richardson
Source: Must Triumph
My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.