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LONGEVITY

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LONGEVITY
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Over the span of more than decade, I’ve put my body through the ringer in terms to physical activity.  I’ve been weightlifting since I was fourteen years old, participated in competitive contact sports throughout my upbringing and pushed through the notoriously rigorous Combat Control pipeline; needless to say, I’ve encountered my fair share of injuries. Whether the injury sustained was from overtraining or rolling an LTATV and crushing my foot, I learned about the importance of recovery and how I need to appreciate my body and the ability it allows me.  Youth is ever-fleeting.
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When I first started out weightlifting, I felt like I was in “catch up” mode, like I was so far behind everyone who was already lifting.  I was comparing my adolescence to grown men. My goal was how to get bigger and stronger.  As most young men feel, bigger is better, right? Well, that all depends on who you ask. If you asked me ten years ago, I would agree…hell, even two years ago I would’ve agreed.  Now it’s not so simple of an answer from me.
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There was a point while I was in Special Operations where I weighed in at 227 pounds at 5’11.  I was strong as an ox and still able to perform, however, my endurance took a major hit.  It takes a lot to maintain that sort of mass while still being able to move quickly, not only in terms of caloric intake, but energy output as well.  I also found that at that heavier weight, I was much more susceptible to injuries.  Neck, back and hamstring strains became somewhat common to me and I just dealt with them (I don’t recommend this), leading to me being in a lesser than primed physical state.
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Now that I am twenty-seven and nearing the end of my twenties, I am much more conscious about how I treat my body through training and how I fuel myself to aid in recovery.  I am now about 30 pounds lighter than I was at my largest and still able to lift generally the same amount of weight.  I have transitioned from focusing on being bigger to being much lighter, but able to wield the same strength.  I’ve added an arsenal of vitamins and other herbal aids that I attribute my current state to, accompanied with proper rest cycles and avid stretching/foam rolling daily. My diet includes much more vegetables and fruits than previous diets, resulting in sustained energy levels throughout my days; I no longer need coffee or other caffeine sources to alleviate that mid-day crash. I sleep better from slight lifestyle changes, resulting in a more proper recovery than previously experienced.  I used to wake up and be groggy, leaning on caffeine to boost me up and begin the day; that’s no longer relevant for my day-to-day.
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The purpose of me writing about this is to hopefully enlighten others on the importance of taking care of yourself while they’re young.  Don’t wait to be broken to make changes; make them now. Educate yourself and put what you’ve learned into practice.  I don’t know about you, but I plan to be able to keep performing well into my senior years. I don’t want to be nursing injuries that were caused from years of negligence in my youth while life continues on. I want to be present.  I want to be physically able to keep up with my children as they grow; not a broken man.
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Don’t fall into the ego trap of “bigger is better”, I assure you, it is not. It may be for a few years, but your body will decline at a much quicker rate with the added mass as opposed to a more streamlined physique. Less is more.

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  • 👍🏽👍🏽

    Mike B on

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