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What Age Takes (Or, Why It’s Important to Get Smarter in Your Workout)

“Age doesn’t steal your first reps, it steals your last.”

I said this one day in the middle of 12 x 2 banded squat sets. The first half-dozen were hard but I was still able to get out of the hole fast on each rep. But we were going on the minute, and by minute 8, I was increasing my effort but slowing down.

That’s what age does: it steals the back part of your workout, not the front end.

I can still get out of the gate as fast as most women doing power cleans (and I so look forwlisbeth floor after power cindy old cfward to that) but I often can’t keep pace after the second round. I can work efficiently and intelligently, counting off my rest, nailing the reps, not going to failure—but, the longer we go, the more that the clock is not my friend. No matter how efficiently I move, eventually I take more time in the later rounds.

Ditto when I’m on my road bike. I can have great bursts of speed to catch my younger riding partners, but I have to schedule those efforts, master my gear changes, and choose my attacks well.

And that’s why you have to be smarter as you age, not dumber. 

Youth can enjoy the folly of indiscriminately and gorgeously spent energy. The more mature athlete has to pace and evaluate and conserve. Be smarter.

But, hopefully, the years gave to you more than they ever took away. Wait for your moment … and catch your competition. The look on their faces when you blow past them will be worth everything you’ve got.

(Listen to this essay on Voicekick.)

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Lisbeth Darsh is a writer and motivational speaker. She is the author of “Strong Starts in the Mind”, “Live Like That”, and “Rise.”  Her work is widely read on Eat to Perform, Steve’s PaleoGoods, and throughout the fitness world. Learn more about Lisbeth here.