I see this happen often with new clients at The Barracks Gym. Just because they feel "older" than the average age of the applicants for the ADF, they use it as an excuse when not being able to lift as heavy or run as fast as the others, which then often translates into less effort. Does that sound familiar? Then keep reading...
Do you find yourself often not push as hard or perform specific exercises just because you feel you are too old to get started? Maybe you feel intimidated by the youngsters in the room? Guess what, the standards you need to meet on your Physical Fitness Assessment for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) aren't interested in your age. Nor those during recruitment bootcamp or later on every 6 months during services.
I understand this is a concern that a lot of people who consider joining in their 30's or 40's may have but allow me to be blunt here. The ADF age limit is 55 years for a reason. There are many others just like you, already passed 30 and still want to get in. What you need to understand is what your duties will be once accepted and recruited and how your body will need to perform to be able to perform those tasks. The ADF thinks that a fit personnel in their 40's and early 50's can perform those tasks. So, if you are in your 30's now and are considering serving in the ADF, you just need to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and start working hard.
Don't get me wrong, depending on your starting point, you may have a lot more work to do than those applicants who just turned 18 with the gift of fantastic recovery and potentially more stamina. Not all of them are like that, but they have a better chance of progressing quicker for sure. However, your advantage is your life experience. By the time you turned 30, you have likely experienced much more than someone half your age, you have overcome a lot more obstacles in life and have seen this and that, and once you put your mind into something and stay committed, you will achieve your goals.
All you need to do is to make a commitment to your plan of being accepted and stay in the ADF, make a plan to get there from where you are now and stick to it. That involves working very hard on things that right now you may think you can't do. Believe me, the team at The Barracks Gym has shown to many clients how far they can get with commitment, consistency and hard work.
So, don't let your age hold you back. Often, you will find that this is more of a mental block than a physical one. In this blog post, we will take a look at the reasons why you can train at any age, as well as providing you with some useful information on what happens to your body as you get older so that you can adapt your training appropriately. Check out what benefits you will enjoy outside of the Australian Defence Force if you keep at improving your fitness, strength and stamina.
Ageing VS Losing Bone and Muscle Mass
While there is no denying that your body will change as you get older, this is not an excuse to stop training or to stop believing in yourself. You simply need to educate yourself about how your body is changing so that you can adapt your workout regime.
Of course, the most significant change is that we will start to lose muscle and bone mass. In fact, for someone who is not physically active, you could lose as much as three to five per cent of muscle mass each decade starting from the age 30-35. Scary huh?
The loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and it is a natural part of the ageing process: Men will lose around 30 per cent of their muscle mass, and women often lose more than this. This may make you assume that you are going to get frailer and frailer with every milestone birthday you hit.
This is not the case. There are studies on people in their 70's who have been lifting weights for 15-to-20 years, and they have muscles that are identical to 20-year-old men in terms of strength and size. This alone shows you that your age is not an excuse to train hard for the ADF.
How Strength Training Benefits the Ageing Population
As mentioned, it is merely a case of adapting your workout regime to suit your body so that you can promote longevity and slow down ageing. One part of your training that you should really focus on is strength training.
Bone health - Another reason why it is important to do strength training as you get older is that it will prevent or slow down bone loss. Different types of exercise just do not cut it when you are trying to keep your bones healthy and strong. The only way you are going to do this is if you are picking things up and putting them back down. If you are proactive now, you won't have problems later.
Bigger/Stronger Muscles Keep Your Metabolism Going - People beyond their 40's start to put on weight because they eat the same amount, if not more while their metabolism starts slowing down, mainly because of the loss of muscle mass. If you'd like to maintain a lean body and keep hold of your hard-earned muscles, you need to work them regularly.
Size Matters but Strength Is More Important
When it comes to functioning well into older age, it will be the strength, mobility and flexibility that really matter - not size. And, if you are training in the right way, building and maintaining strength is a lot easier than you may imagine. It still requires focused and consistent work, but the stronger you are, the better you will feel in your everyday activities. All you need is a gym where you feel at home and a workout programme designed for your specific needs and goals, and you will quickly start to see improvements.
All in all, the ADF has an age limit of 55 for anyone who is enlisting into the military. If you are in your 30's or 40's, you may be concerned about keeping up with the physical side of training. You really shouldn't so long you don't slack and stay consistent with your training as well as nutrition and recovery.
If you feel you need expert help to put you on the right track, feel free to get in touch for a commitment-free chat with a member of our coaching team.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.