The exciting, thrilling, eagerly anticipated time of my life known as the mid-40s is about a month away, you guys. Pass the chocolate; hold the paleo!
But seriously, 40-something has been my fittest decade so far, and it can be for you, too — if you commit to the right type of exercise.
One important way to avoid weight gain as you age is to target certain "fast-twitch" muscles in your body. These types of muscles are, obviously, faster but also denser than slow-twitch. In response to strenuous exercise, a bunch of stuff happens to your muscles physiologically. But the main thing is that fast-twitch muscles enlarges as the diameters of fibers increase.
Larger muscles are good. They burn more fat. They look better in shorts. They make people guess you're not a day over 35 (in my dreams, perhaps).
Fast-twitch muscles are the ones you use and develop at CrossFit Latrobe every time you lift heavy (think 75 percent of capacity) and with explosive force (think clean and jerks and snatches).
At CrossFit Latrobe, we teach the proper technique, so anyone can learn how to lift safely and effectively. Don't worry if you've never lifted weights before. We'll begin at the beginning, and within weeks, you'll notice changes.
Don't worry if you're 40. Or 50. Or you've stopped counting years ago.
It's never too late for a leaner, meaner you.
See you at the box!
Alaska. Maybe the mountains. With a chocolate chip banana milkshake. That’s perfection for Joe Norman, 48, who adds encouragement and camaraderie – plus a few wise-guy laughs –- to even the most sweat-drenching WOD at CrossFit Latrobe.
Q: How long have you been at the box?
A: I started CrossFitting when Pat first opened. I almost died during my first class (laughs). But I had to stop because I was working in West Mifflin and because of shoulder surgeries. When I started working in Greensburg, he said, ‘No more excuses. You’re coming back!’
Q: You went the traditional gym route for a while. Why CrossFit?
A: It’s because of Pat; he’s the difference. He was my doctor, then my friend, and then he opened CrossFit. He sees an opportunity in every problem. Every time I hit a wall, he has a suggestion – do something extra, come more often, try this app for weight loss. And now I’m down 25 pounds. Plus, CrossFit suits my personality. There’s no wasted time or messing around.
Q: You’re passionate about getting kids involved with CrossFit. What do you see as the biggest benefit?
A: I have a background in baseball, karate and soccer, and I have three kids of my own. I’ve learned that you can play sports, but as you get older the sport leaves you. But fitness will always be there. Kids might not play their sport again after high school. Then what? But if you introduce them to fitness, that’s still there. It’s always available.
Q: Soccer or baseball?
A: Soccer. Even with overtime, it’s done in two hours and penalty kicks. Baseball takes forever – unstrapping batting gloves, toeing into the box. Kids would do that when I was umpiring in teener and PIAA leagues! I’d tell them, ‘Just get in there and bat!’ (Laughs.) Plus, in baseball, you can put your weakest player in right field. No hiding anybody in soccer.
Q: Favorite player?
A: Roberto Clemente. He was unorthodox. I resist the notion that we have to conform.
Q: College nickname?
A: ‘Nut,’ occasionally ‘Nutsy.’ Don’t ask.
Q: Moving on. Like a lot of us, you’re busy, with lots of reasons why there’s no time to work out. Any tips on sticking with it?
A: You might join CrossFit Latrobe as an individual. But very quickly, you develop friendships, which is critical to your success. People there encourage each other. And Pat has your best interests at heart.