Train Like The Man You Want To Be
Ever get a side glimpse of yourself in a window reflection or a mirror and, for a brief moment, you almost thought it was some 'other' old guy standing there? Yup. It happens to the best of us.
That said, I have a little "elder" wisdom for you the next time you head to the gym, or anywhere really, but especially when you head out to get your sweat session going.
My wisdom is this: Regardless of your age or current condition; train like the man you want to be.
It's a simple philosophy that has stuck with me most of my exercising life because it's a mindset practice that makes such an incredible difference, and in more ways than one.
I'll say more about HOW you "train like the man you want to be" in a bit, but first I want to bring up the subject of good posture; what it is and why it matters so much, especially as we age.
Granted; most of us don't usually give much thought to our posture. Until it's too late. We've been standing for so long it's automatic – we rely on 'habit' to take care of it for us. We forget there are a lot of muscles involved in maintaining proper posture, and as a result, we take the easy route; what's comfortable.
The truth is that consciously paying attention to all of our postural muscles 24/7 would be overwhelming!
Ever wonder what "good" posture is, anyway?
Well, think of your body as a system of levers and pulleys very similar to a construction crane. Without a firm base and a balanced, coordinated center of gravity, a construction crane would topple over at the first sign of a stiff breeze.
Like the crane, your body has a system of joints, levers, and pulleys that regulate your center of balance, too. From the front of your body – your shins, quadriceps, core, chest, and shoulders – to the posterior of your body that includes your back, hips, hamstrings, and calves. Plus, there are all the intricate muscles housed within the trunk of your body and pelvis (the core).
That complex set of muscles all work together to hold your body in place, keep you upright and balanced, and allow for stability and fluid motion, etc. Did you know that postural musculature can even affect your way of breathing?
For example; rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles typical of weaker posture can make it significantly harder to expand your lungs for a deep breath.
Proper breathing is why it's especially important to consider your posture while exercising. Not only should you always strive to make your body STRONGER, but you should also strive to make it stronger using upright, and appropriately aligned posture. Am I right?
So as you plan to work with your next set of weights, crank out a set of core exercises, go for a walk or jog, or do any kind of movement (for pleasure or work), take a quick inspection of your posture. And, if you can't do a quick posture check in a mirror, take a moment or two to at least think about it.
Now, here is where you begin to train like the guy you want to be. You know; standing tall with your core engaged! Be the guy grooving good, youthful body patterns: shoulders back, chest up, and legs distributing your weight evenly between them.
The guy you shouldn't try to emulate is the one who reinforces patterns that your body doesn't love so much. The guy who is working out with rounded shoulders and locked joints. You know; that 'old man' stance that occasionally catches you off guard, perhaps?
When you start training your body the way you WANT it to look and feel, you'll reinforce your mind-muscle connection, and you'll reap the benefits.
Your posture will start to improve 24/7 (even outside the gym), your core will get stronger, fast – and there's a good chance you'll notice a boost in your confidence. You might even start seeing a younger reflection in your mirror, too - or at least one that's not "as" old! ;-).
What guy doesn't want that!?
Lastly, if you aren't sure about YOUR posture or you need some guidance, I'm here to help with an assessment, professional referrals, or advice on your workouts.
Until then; stand tall, and keep moving toward a better you!