Coach Sam here. Ed just yelled in from the den that he just read an article (or a summary…we’re too cheap to pay for it!) in the Wall Street Journal on what age you start to feel old. According to this summary at age 43 we stop feeling young…and at age 52 we start feeling old.  Interesting, right? The article was focused on Millennials (born between the years 1982 and 1994), but I’m sure it applies to many of us non-Millenials. A lot of lifestyle changes happen at 40 and 50 too, from kids leaving the nest to, yes, I’m going to say it, 20-30 years of bad lifestyle habits finally catching up with us.

I was chatting with a newer friend the other day at the box, sitting on the bike casually trying to warm up before we worked out, and she said “I wish I knew in my 40’s what I know now” (she’s 56).  Amen. And in my 30’s and 20’s! And not just life knowledge, but health knowledge too.

I’m setting a stage here…can you tell? 😉

Friday night I coached the 5:30pm class and in the end, as everyone was collecting themselves, I was sharing some of the struggles we have with a few of our “older classes”. I mentioned to the group…you can probably quote me…”I know, and it’s probably because they’re older”. One of the ladies in the group turns 81 this coming Tuesday. She quickly corrected me by saying “It’s not their age”…when I looked at her I thought: foot in mouth! Dang it, Sam!

This woman is a boss! She competed in the Open the past two or three years, she gets stronger every time I see her, she keeps track of her loads and what she can do, and she’s focused on improving. Her husband is the same way, and the same age. She’s active outside the gym – loves horses and works to help out at the bar that houses them and is also active professionally still. I’m focused on this lovely lady because I’ve grown fond of her mindset. She challenged Ed with her diet and always evaluates the conversations and if she’s on board, makes changes, and looks for progress. From what I just laid out, this 81-year old woman could have easily been any 20, 30 or 40 year old I’ve coached over the past 13-15 years. There’s no difference. She doesn’t bitch that her body hurts all the time – and I know it probably doesn’t feel like it did when she was 40! She’s challenged with a fussy shoulder and has had her share of tweaks. But so have we all who play in this sport of CrossFit.

So, now that the stage is set,  I take my mind back to those couple of classes that from a business standpoint Ed and I are recently challenged with ….they have more of the older athletes in them. And by older I mean 70’s and 80’s and a few in their 90’s. I can’t comment on what it feels like to be 70, 80 or 90. I know that 50 feels different than 40, but then again I have a wrinkle in that due to that health blip last year. My guess is our later years are probably going to be creakier, sprinkled with a few more mobility and ability challenges than our younger years. On the flip side, our older years are blessed with wisdom and confidence. We’ve already made so many mistakes the learning curve isn’t that steep. So there are pros and cons.

But what is it about some in the older group that makes them more like the woman I describe above? Ed and I believe it’s mindset. And to some extent, lifestyle…but your mindset controls your lifestyle, right? So if you:

  • aren’t sleeping well
  • are sedentary – sit more than you move
  • have a “standard American diet” of processed food, high carbohydrate, low protein and fat
  • feel like you lack purpose in your day
  • are overweight – above your ideal body weight

you have some work to do. Your lifestyle is either being managed by a poor mindset, or your mindset is mismanaging your lifestyle.

Keith congratulating Sue for facing her fears of performing in public. She crushed Barbells for Boobs! MINDSET

And so this brings us to the point, and the quick conclusion.  Your mindset determines the outcome of a big part of your life. Your mindset determines the choices you make – good ones or bad ones. It leads you to come to the gym with the purpose of getting better – healthier, or to come in and do the bare minimum. Mindset is what you tell yourself, and what you say out loud. For example, you know your body is going to be stiff and achy when you wake up in the morning….every single day. You also know that after you move around it’s better. So what’s the better strategy: get up and get moving and take the positive approach….or complain that your body hurts (again). And then there are all the other lifestyle points noted above – sleep, body weight, diet (from a weight and inflammation standpoint), and purpose. You’re in control -it’s your mindset. How are you going to approach it?

MINDSET: This mess will look like a gym in a few days! Or, look at this mess! Your mindset - your choice!

So we’ll leave you with this…every decade in life brings new challenges, but also knowledge from what you have learned in those past decades of what works, and what doesn’t work. More of the same breeds more of the same. If you’re not happy with how you feel, don’t take it out on everyone you see…change what you don’t like, which may require you to make a change that’s less comfortable than you’re used to. But do it. Re-read those first few paragraphs about the 81-year-old. This may sound cliche…but what’s your excuse?