Fast After 40
When you’re in your late teens, the proverbial “fumes” (perfume and exhaust fumes) tend to distract you from racing. All-too-often, a promising teenage BMXer gets his drivers license, picks up a hot pit-tootsie GF, and they are off the moto sheets in mere months.
If they’re like me and many others, they’ll take a decade or more off, then make a comeback somewhere around 27-35 years old when their kid starts racing, or they get the old urge to gate-up. They start to knock the rust off and get some of their speed back. But unfortunately, it isn’t girls or cars that force another early retirement. This time, it’s things like back and knee pain that will make them prematurely call it quits.
What if I were to tell you there was something you could do about it? What if I told you I have the magic product? What if I told you it’s just 3 easy payments of $399.99?! Just kidding, it’s not.
There are many fringe things thought to help improve longevity. There are also some simple, scientifically-proven things that can help you remain youthful, pain-free and “fast after 40!”
As life gets busy we have less and less time to spend sourcing organic produce, and deciding which brand of Kombucha to buy from Whole Foods (pro tip: make your own). All of that stuff is great, but it’s not as important as just eating real foods.
With the general-population training clients at my gym, I see people’s food logs. I’m amazed how often I see people go days without eating a vegetable, and they don’t even realize it.
I would go as far to say that if you followed the simple rule of, “the majority of your groceries should come from the outside-ring of the supermarket” – 90% of obesity and type-2 diabetes could be prevented. I have yet to have an overweight client that skips desert and eats vegetables at every meal. Eating well will help to improve body composition (improve your power to weight ratio), reduce inflammation (make your joints feel better), and give you more energy.
Sleeping better goes hand and hand with eating better. Sleep poorly and most likely you will make bad nutrition choices. A good night’s sleep is essential in recovering from workouts and race days. Looking through your Instagram feed just before bed probably isn’t the best thing to do for a good night’s sleep. Right now, “sleep hygiene” is a popular topic in fitness. Sleep 7-9 hours in a dark, cool room and feel free to take a quick nap during the day when you’re training hard (and not at your job as a commercial airline pilot).
Another thing that people often overlook is the importance of Aerobic exercise. This is particularly important to people that work a desk job. If you’re a carpenter or a UPS delivery driver, you probably get a good amount of Aerobic exercise by moving consistently all day. The rest of us should strive to do some moderate exercise, 30 minutes a few times a week, minimum.
A good place to start is to work at a heart rate intensity that is approximately 180, minus your age. Take that number and spend 30 minutes around that heart rate. Often times, the exercise we do is either too hard or too easy to fully develop our Aerobic system and if you use the formula above, you will be pretty close to the Aerobic “sweet spot.”
Having that Aerobic base is the foundation to all of our energy systems. BMX isn’t an Aerobic sport but having a decent level of Aerobic fitness is crucial for recovery in between races. Aerobic exercise is also fantastic for your active rest days.
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying and go full-roadie. Channeling your inner Lance Armstrong and doing hundred-mile road rides every weekend is not necessary. In fact, doing one repetitive activity can lead to other problems that negatively affect your body.
Much like eating vegetables and a variety of nutrients. Moving is something we need to get a lot of, but many go days and days without much variety. When’s the last time you moved sideways? Stumbling home from the bar doesn’t count.
For many, most of our daily activities and exercise are done in one plane of motion. If we go to the gym, we tend to do things that require our bodies to move forward, backward, up and down. We also ride our bikes by pedaling up and down.
Our bodies were built to move in three planes of motion. Sagittal (forward and backwards), Frontal (side to side), and Transverse (rotating). How many of your exercises are in the frontal or transverse plane of motion? Probably very few. I realize our sport demands us to mash the pedals down, many exercises replicate this.
A really cool thing about our body is it will adapt to pretty much any stress we place on it if we give it enough time to rebuild itself. But when we only use our joints and muscles in a shortened range of motion, then our body starts to optimize in those ranges of motion. We can lose our ability to move well with full ranges of motion. The key to feeling good and staying strong is to move consistently. It can and should vary from light, easy movement to heavy and vigorous.
Mobility, Part II: Do it Daily
It doesn’t have to be a complicated routine. In fact, start simple. Find some pain free movements that you can do through a full range of motion. Things like ankle, knee, hip, neck circles, Cat-Cow exercises done slow and controlled, Squats, shoulder protraction/retraction and circles are all great movements. Put a little routine together and then learn to improvise movement and explore. Build your own “Full Body Flow” routine like the one below.
This article is directed at riders, age 40-plus, but really should be used by everyone. In fact, getting the kids involved is a fantastic way to keep them healthy and moving well, on and off the bike. Pro tip #2 – use the fast forward video setting on your phone to record their Full body flow like the one above. They will laugh out loud when they see what they look like in fast motion.
—Jake Stephenitch NSCA-CPT, Functional Movement Specialist
Owner/trainer at sparkbmxtraining.com and sparkfitnessculture.com
Editor’s Note: On-Point Peaking
We always enjoy the guidance, tips and tricks that Jake brings us here on News. We spied his “Three-Month Expert Peaking” program on social media lately, and asked if he might be willing to kick down a bro-deal discount for loyal News readers. YESSIR! 28% discount, IN. EFFECT. (link below)
Here’s how he summed it up for us:
This program is for athletes that are healthy and looking to get stronger, more powerful and deliver consistent power throughout a race weekend. It’s a full gym weight training and sprint program where I coach you through each movement. I also have a private Facebook coaching page that you will have access to for 3 months where I can answer any questions and help you get the most out of your training.
BMXNEWS.COM readers get $10 off the $34.95 program when you enter bmxnews2016 at checkout (a 28% discount–thanks Jake!)
Top Photo: Some fast-and-40 fellas, CCH Factory flyer, Sam Marasco and TNT terror Adam Donovan captured at near-warp speed on the first jump at the 2016 Derby City Nationals. Photo by Mike Carruth.