Bounce. Resilience. Anti-Fragile. Whatever you want to call it, the concept of resilience is important to athletic training especially at a gym like CrossFit Empower where the majority of our members are in our 40’s and 50’s. Resiliency is what will allow us to keep playing safely into our later years.
Legendary trainer Dan John shares his thoughts on this concept in the video below and I’d like to highlight my key takeaways:
1) Not Just the Sexy Stuff
Snatches and muscle ups are sexier than plank holds and scales but it is the latter two movements that will make you safe as you perform the former. It is not always fun to work on your mobility or your core strength but they are critical to all athletes and doubly so for aging athletes. Let’s make you strong and stable through a complete range of motion!
2) Muscles = Body Armour
Not everyone loves strength training but studies have repeatedly demonstrated that lean body mass is protective against all cause mortality. The more muscle you have, the better able you are to survive and recover from falls, flues, fights, famine and everything else trying to f you up. Increased muscle mass is also associated with reduced incidence of and mortality from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and most cancers especially in older populations. If there’s one thing you can do to protect yourself from the world’s myriad threats, it is to get stronger!
3) Accidents Will Happen
Despite our every effort, the world is a rough place and life is a contact sport. You are going to get knocked down. The stronger you are, the less you’ll get hurt, the better you will recover. But sometimes, no matter how strong you are, life is going to hurt you! Bouncing back is one part physical and 5 parts mental. You need to cultivate a mindset that enables you to pick yourself up after a big set back, dust yourself off and get back in the game. Not just once. Not twice. But every time. The longer you live, the more you play the game, the more times you’re going to get knocked down. You can resign yourself to the safety and self pity of your couch and embrace the gradual decline and creep of chronic disease and decrepitude or you can get back out there and play.
4) Fear is Holding You Back
Anti-Fragile is a mindset. 2001-2003 I was completely broken. And terrified to try returning to activity of any kind. But the RMT who saved me and brought me back to sound function assured me that when things break, we will fix them. Your body has powerful healing capabilities and it heals through movement. He got me back on the judo mats. And just as I feared, I broke. And just as he promised, we fixed me. And I went out there to play again. Rinse and repeat. And soon I realized he was right, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. When you play hard, accidents will happen but if you let fear hold you back, you will never discover how amazing your body is at healing itself. I could not have imagined 19 years ago that I would ever engage in sport again, never mind compete in something as intense as CrossFit competition, yet here I am at 47 loving life and playing harder than ever! And yes, sometimes I get banged up – ask to see my wicked ganglion if I haven’t shown you already – but being smart with my training, my body heals up as good as new or even better. I’m certainly stronger and fitter and far healthier than I was 19 years ago. And I’ve discovered Anti-Fragile is a mental state. I’m no longer held back by fearful stories of fragility, I know myself as strong and resilient and capable of overcoming set backs and adversity. I get to prove this over and over again.
How About You?
Where is fear holding you back in your training? Is it the muscle up you’re afraid to try? The kick up to the wall for a handstand? Is it lifting heavier weights? Is it fear to try competition? What stories are you telling yourself about your fragility? What stories do you tell yourself when you get injured? What stories do you tell yourself when the inevitable set backs occur?
Are you ready to put those stories to rest and start cultivating an Anti-Fragile mind and body so that next time life knocks you down you can bounce right back up? That’s Empowerment. That’s freedom. That’s the way to squeeze the most fun out of life!