by Raquel Herron, Pearce Fitness Manager
If you’re like many people, after reading the above title, you might have started singing the popular song, “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds. No, this is not a music lesson, but rather a lesson regarding the different “seasons” of fitness.
Throughout our life, fitness changes depending on our age, our jobs, possible injuries and various other reasons. I’m here to tell you, that’s ok! Our fitness will inevitably change at some point in our lives, but don’t let that be a deterrent. Let’s focus on how to overcome and embrace the different seasons of fitness.
Ok, so you’ve been out of high school for ten years or maybe more like twenty years. I want you to know that your high school body and your present-day body are not the same. We’d love to keep that vitality and drive from our youth, but with age comes change. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just different. I want you to understand that you will probably not perform and recover the same as you did fifteen years ago. However, I do believe that you can have a high level of fitness for quite a while, through several years in fact. What I’m saying is that if you’ve been out of the fitness game for a while, you can’t expect to jump back in and move and recover like you did when you were younger. Your body will need to adjust, which takes time, but it will adjust and you’ll be able to reach a certain level of fitness with continued consistency. Patience is important. When I was younger I could lose the couple of pounds I gained over the holidays faster than I can now, which is frustrating, but not impossible. Maybe I should rethink all the cookies…nah!
This just in, the doctor says no more heavy dead lifts and squats. You’ve had an injury and now you can’t do your favorite lifts. Welcome to yet another season of fitness, the season of working around an injury. I can speak from experience in saying that working around an injury is not fun. It changes your routine. It messes with your head. It makes you think you’ll never be in great shape again because you can’t do x, y, or z. I’ve got great news! An injury doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the game, it just means you may have to get creative with your routines. So maybe you can’t squat, but maybe the doctor has said you can use the leg curl and the leg extension. Maybe your running shoes have to be retired, but that does not mean you have to give up cardio. You can try the rower or the bike. The hardest part about not being able to do something is accepting it. Once you accept that you can no longer do a particular lift/stretch/cardio exercise, you can focus on what you CAN do. If you feel lost, a trainer can definitely help!
The last point I want to make is more about when you purposely change your routine and then have to make adjustments when you return to your old ways. Here’s an example: I often take a break from heavy weights and focus more on circuit training and hybrid-style training. What generally happens is that when I return to heavy weight lifting, I’m not as strong. It frustrates me and I don’t like that I can’t dead lift as much as I used to. When you take a break from one style of training, your body adapts to your new style. There’s a principle us trainers talk about, SAID, or specific adaptation to imposed demand. In other words, your body will adapt to the stimulus you give it. If you train for strength, you get stronger. If you run consistently, you become a better runner. You cannot be great at everything all at once; sometimes you have to choose. However, none of this is bad; it’s just yet another season of fitness.
You know your fitness is going to change as you charge through life. Do not stress over this. What is important is this word, adaptability. Understand that having the capacity to adapt and change as your body and life changes is very important. Embrace the different seasons of fitness. Look at them as a challenge and not a hindrance. If you constantly look at what you can’t do, you’ll never realize what you CAN do. You got this! Stay strong and enjoy the ride!