Your Age in Gym Years

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You might have noticed that many try to pigeonhole gym people into different categories – without much success. We should instead celebrate diversity. Independent of age, some people take exercising deadly seriously, while others only go to the gym to socialize. But one thing is for sure: you cannot start in the gym as “mature”. IF you want to progress, you have to walk the ladder step by step, from “newborn” to “veteran”. In which one of the below categories would you list yourself?

1 The newborn (total beginner): the first year

He might have been considering it for a while. He might have never done any sports before, but now he has made up his mind: time to hit the gym.

His first baby steps are still a bit uncertain on the rough floor of the gym. He is not yet sure about the rules. But, if he’s lucky, nice and helpful, people will welcome him at reception, and they will help him get started.

No offense intended: those who have a longer gym history will spot the newbies in the glimpse of an eye. Mostly by the way they move so uneasily, and the way they jeopardize their safety basically every time they touch a weight.

Everybody starts out like Neo in The Matrix. As a test, he had to jump from the top of a building to another. Even he failed and fell off. Yet we know how far he got. And that’s because there is not a single person who could believe in themselves 100% without investing any work. And that’s what makes it a beautiful thing: you might deceive others, but not yourself.

Also we need to accept that not everybody will become Neo. But a little practice and help (and that’s where the gym coaches or more empathic guests play an important role) can get you quite far in a short time.

In the beginning, you inevitably crawl (both in a physical and a mental sense). But later on, you will stand up straight and proud.

2 The toddler (baby steps): the first few years

Taking the analogy of the newborn a little bit further: after a while, the first results of regular training start to show. Moves are more secure and more controlled, and “toddlers” are more familiar with the place and the people, too. You are already pretty good at some exercises, and you might have even experienced the mysterious “mind-muscle connection” you have heard so much about before.

However, “issues” start to emerge, too. It’s not just the strength and confidence of the toddler starts to grow, but his ego as well.

3 Adolescence: Seven years – not in Tibet, but in the gym

The ego grows totally disproportionately to performance. Testosterone levels are rising; if you are young, they are sky high, and you don’t even need to warm up to perform at your best. The weights you move are getting heavier day by day, and incorrect form is not an issue – yet. Because you are still progressing, and you get endless positive feedback. And jealous remarks. And jealous looks. You’ll get used to it. However, this is a finite period.

Various hazards are lurking in the shadows...

4 Adulthood (fully self-sufficient): 10 to 20 years of training

... yes, adulthood. Now, of course, it doesn’t matter whether you are 20, 30 or over 40. It means that by now, you have spent half your life in the gym or more.

You might feel some pain in the morning. You need more time and mindfulness. Now you start to find out what you have done wrong in the past years. Your body doesn’t forget. Now it makes you pay for each incorrect move, too-heavy weight, missed meal or party night you had in the past.

The lubrication of your joints is not as it used to be. They are cracking like the Tin Man after he was left in the forest in the rain. You have to suffer for each rep. But that’s not necessarily a problem. You value this whole thing again.

All in all, the gym history you have behind you has done what it had to do. Of course, it has a positive side, too: you are apparently fitter than those who don’t exercise at all. However, you are starting to realize that now you need to hold your horses.

By now, you have developed the optional circumstances for food and supplement sourcing, logistics, etc. that you need for this lifestyle, in a way that is compatible with your work and family life.

You have become familiar with this sport, and with yourself, too.

By now, you are really self-sufficient, and you might already know that there is always room for development.

5 The veteran (the glorious sunset): +30 years of training

Dexter Jackson.

Summing it up

So, this is kind of like counting in dog years: 1 dog year = 7 human years. 1 year of training = many-many human years.

And although we differ both from dogs and from each other, we have one thing in common: if we work out, we won’t feel like underdogs.

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