If you’ve been hypnotized into believing your best physical years are behind you — here’s a rude awakening to snap you out of this mentality.
When Wayne Gretzky started making tidal waves in hockey and blowing past his competition, parents of the other kids started to get defensive and criticize him:
“When I was ten, they were saying I’d be washed up at twelve. When I was twelve, they were saying I’d be washed up by fourteen. When I was fourteen, they said fifteen.”- Wayne Gretzky
This trend continued as he skated into the WHA (World Hockey Association):
“Sure, he can play junior varsity hockey, but what will happen when he gets to the NHL?”
Unfortunately for them, he kept rising to the challenge and progressively got better and better. This pervasive mindset freezes over well beyond hockey and goes into the realm of fitness and aging as well — where people say:
‘Just wait until you are 40… 50… 60…70…”
The intent behind their message is:
Your fitness, stamina and strength are only going to get worse with age.
I can understand that more time on this planet = more chance of injury.
And nagging injuries and dysfunctions that don’t get addressed can get worse over time — and then accumulation sets in. You stack enough dysfunction and stiffness and pain and poor posture and lack of movement — and yeah, something’s gotta give (sometimes multiple somethings).
Especially if one day you jump out of bed and lace up for 5k or attempt to deadlift a house.
But is the expectation that things are going downhill, accurate? Sure you can find countless examples. But what about examples of those who are crushing it and getting stronger as they get older?
For example, on Rudy Kadlub’s 73rd birthday he deadlifted 503lbs, took a “Georgia Shot” (double shot) of Kentucky bourbon whiskey and then did 523lbs. Last year he did 520lbs and the year prior 500lbs as part of his birthday tradition.
Or take 97-year-old Charles Eugster, a bodybuilder, sprinter and record holder (for his age group) in 60m to 400m races. If you are thinking, “He must have been an athlete all his life!” Think again. He didn’t start serious weight lifting until he was 87-years-young. And then didn’t pick up running until he was 95!
While these examples may be few and far in between, they show what’s possible.
If people want to set their own limits — that’s their choice. What ruffles my feathers is when these people try to set limits on others (based on their own results or lack thereof). Each person has a unique starting point… a unique set of prior injuries — but who’s to say they can’t defy the odds and become fitter and stronger than people 10…20… even 30 years younger?
(And I’ve witnessed that phenomenon time and again)
So the next time someone says, ‘just you wait until…” a little alarm should go off in your head which alerts you:
“This may be their limit, but it ain’t gonna be mine”.