Last week, I had a couple of old friends drop in on me for dinner. As usual, it only took a little bit of time before the conversation turned to nutrition and working out.
One of my friends was in his late 50’s. He has always been in great shape. He maintains a great workout program and always pays attention to what he eats. Yet, on this particular visit, he seemed a little discouraged with his progress.
After a little bit of prying I found out why. He had been out having dinner with several of his friends who were all medical doctors and they were “on him” about working out.
Turns out these three highly educated individuals were trying to convince my friend that it was physically impossible to put on muscle once you pass fifty years of age. They told him that it had something to do with his hormone levels and lack of testosterone.
No wonder he was discouraged!
Thankfully, in no way is any of this true. There is lots of research that has been conducted on subjects over 50 years of age showing the benefit of weight training. A group of researchers at the University of Saschetchewan in Canada has been studying the effects of creatine supplementation and weight lifting in the elderly with great results.
When it comes to muscle - Use it or lose it. That’s the bottom line. There is no truth to the saying that you can’t build muscle over a certain age. People in their 70’s can build muscle with weight training.
So why would a group of medical doctors try to convince my friend that he was wasting his time working out, when research clearly shows there is benefit? The answer is “crabs in a bucket”.
If you aren’t familiar with the “crabs in a bucket” analogy, it’s pretty simple. Crabbers never have to worry about crabs escaping when they are caught and thrown into a bucket. This is because if one crab starts climbing the walls of the bucket, the other crabs will pull the escaping crab back down. The crabs see it like this - if we are going to be dinner, then you are going to be dinner too.
After a little more prying my friend informed me that his three medical doctor friends did not workout, were overweight (one of them was very overweight) and mostly ate fast food.
Like I said, crabs in a bucket.
When you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you are always going to go up against crabs. They do not like it when you say “no” to dessert, pass on “just one more drink”, or go work out. The reason they don’t like it is because it makes them painfully aware that you are in control of an area in your life that they have no control over in there own.
Ignore the crabs and remember- no matter your age, if you want to look and feel better than the average person, then you can’t eat and work-out like an average person. You have to go one-step farther.