REBUILDING THE SUPERPOWERS OF AN OVER 40 YEAR OLD! PART 1 – BACKGROUND STORY
My road into fitness began with a childhood full of sports and a love for the Marvel Super-Hero comics. I grew up during the dawning of the Rocky movies and the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger and at a young age developed a fascination …..Possibly an obsession …. With Human physical development. I read every page of every issue that I could find of Muscle & Fitness, I hired library books on Human Performance and I went to bed every night with the Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopaedia of Bodybuilding!!!
By only the age of 16 I had gained my first Fitness Qualification and was working Part Time in Gyms whilst studying at school. This theme of my life has continued for the Following 30 Years and I have been fortunate enough to have amassed a lifetime of experiences from my passion and life’s vocation. I have travelled the Word assisting Professional Sports People and other highly successful, inspirational and interesting individuals. I have circled the Globe in my own pursuit of conquering the World’s Greatest fitness Challenges. I have owned and opened Gyms and Health Clubs and have built many great friendships and relationships along the way.
At the age of 40 I was still going strong. On my 40th Birthday I ran 40miles before Breakfast.
later that year I competed for the GB Age Group Team in the Duathlon Long Distance World Championships alongside completing a couple of IRONMAN Events and knocking out a 68mile Foot Race from London to Brighton.
At the age of 42 I was BROKEN! …. I was struggling to exercise at any level and my Performance at every physical level was declining rapidly.
Despite tightening up on my diet and restricting my calories more and more I was gaining fat??? I was getting slower and I was getting weaker and I was EXHAUSTED.
If I tried to push hard at my exercise I felt awful and I started to get frequent colds, which was unheard of for me.
At work I had lost my enthusiasm that I had carried since a young boy and struggled to get through a full working day. At home amidst all of this, I was useless. My libido was dead and buried, my enthusiasm for life dwindling, my confusion as to why I was beginning to hate exercise and work and deteriorating physically was making me depressed.
I was tired throughout the day and couldn’t sleep at night. Wide awake at 2am most mornings and struggled to get back to sleep.
I already had years of experience as a Performance Coach and had a vast knowledge of the human body. It was very clear to me that I must have entered a very deep phase of Over-Training and was completely burnt out. I changed my Exercise Routine accordingly. I took a Week-Off for Recovery and then started back only exercising 2 consecutive days at medium Intensity before taking a rest day and continued on this cycle for many weeks. NOTHING IMPROVED.
I went to a 1 day workout 1 day rest protocol for the next period of time. NOTHING IMPROVED.
I took more rest days and more rest periods. More than I had taken in my life. NOTHING IMPROVED. I already had a superb diet and also took my fair share of Health Supplements but I decided to step up everything. My diet became flawless, adding Raw vegetables, Nutrient dense superfoods, Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals I had never considered …… NOTHING IMPROVED. I hadn’t been to the doctors in over 20 years but decided that now that I probably should as I was definitely not right! After having several tests and a thorough examination of my bloods it was clear, things weren’t right. Many markers were out of range including my Liver readings, My Blood count, Iron, Ferritin to mention a few. Most alarmingly however was that my Testosterone was bottomed out close to a big Fat Zero and my T4 Thyroid and IGF1 Growth Hormone levels were very low and out of the desired range. I thought that I had been in Peak Physical Condition, Unbreakable … Any and All Challenge Conquering Superhuman ??!!!! WRONG !!! ….
I was unhealthy and actually becoming very poorly.
My Pituitary had basically given up the ghost and was no longer working. My hormone production was therefore dead and buried, my body was failing and this was putting added stress on the rest of my system.
The Doctors weren’t sure why this was and so sent me for Brain Scans and further tests.
I was very aware of Adrenal Fatigue and how it was quite common that people that had overstressed their systems from excessive chronic stress, whether that be from Physical stress, Traumatic stress or emotional stress could upset their hormonal system.
The medical profession however do not buy into this term or ‘illness’ and it is reserved normally for alternative medicine providers or Sports Performance specialists to appreciate it and understand its effects.
I was intent upon resolving this problem and getting myself back on track. This was not going to be the end of me. I read everything there was to read about my issues. I gained a better understanding of the endocrine system and hormonal pathways than I ever had. I consulted with the best Private Specialists in the Country.
I myself hired several 1-1 Coaches who specialised in Top Level Sports Performance, Overtraining and ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ ….. I travelled the country to meet them and also had frequent skype meetings with those based in the US.
Even if I couldn’t cure myself at least I was becoming an expert in this field!!
After 2 years of following various protocols and using myself as a guinea pig to trial different supplements, diets etc and resting much more than I was used to I started to feel a bit better. Nowhere near as bad as I had. I steadily increased my workload and I started to improve physically again. Nowhere near my best and I still fatigued much quicker, but I was definitely better than I was. During this period I was honoured to be asked to join a Team to compete in a 2-Day Extreme Physical Challenge known as TRIBAL CLASH. The Team had placed in the TOP 3 of every event to date contested against a huge number of Teams from all over Europe. I felt that I had to get back to my best, but was excited as I knew I had time. 6 Months, 2 Viruses, a couple of colds and a torn hamstring later I was 2 days away from the event. My increased Training had clearly taken a toll on me and I was definitely not recovered. I had never been so consistently injured or unwell but I told myself as soon as the event was over I would rest and recover more again. Final practice session with my Team and an innocuous slip as I threw myself over a large wooden A- Frame on an obstacle course set up and I had now quite possibly ended my Athletic endeavours for good. An awkward fall had led to a very bad Lisfranc break in my foot and I was alarmingly told the next day that I would need an operation straight away and that it might never heal well enough to run or jump again????????????
Fast Forward 6 months later and I was fortunate enough to put my foot back to the floor and start walking again. I had spent those 6 months with more rest from Intense exercise than I had in probably 25 or more years. Don’t get me wrong, I exercised most days; Seated Ski-Erg, single leg Rowing Machine!, Seated Dumbell workouts etc but I hadn’t worked-out hard for the whole period. My recovery was good, the specialist was amazed at my progress which he could only think was helped by my nutrition plan. It wasn’t long again until I started building my exercise back up and putting my foot and my body back to the test. It responded and I FELT GREAT. THE BEST I HAD FELT FOR YEARS …. And my body started responding too, my body started to look better and I started to feel stronger again.
The 6 months of enforced recuperation had helped my overall health and energy levels enormously and needless to say I obviously took full advantage of this once again. Despite my many years of experience as a high-level Performance Coach, despite everything I had learned in addition along this journey somewhere within I think I must have believed that I was different to others. I still managed myself exceptionally well with my nutritional plan, my added supplements and my new improved workout structure ….. but I still did too much of the wrong things, not enough of the necessary thingsand didn’t pay close enough attention to my body’s small signals. Yes, within 6 months I was feeling pretty awful again??!!!
I am now 2 years further down the road and I can lay testament that I am most definitely BACK! I am consistently making improvements physically again, my body is looking better and I am performing better in every area of my life. I am not cured, I never will be. I have burnt myself out. I am 46 and nobody in their mid-40’s can expect to do what they did a decade earlier, especially if they have overstressed and overtaxed their bodies at some point in their life. I am a different machine to the man I was in my 30’s but I have most definitely now learnt how to manage myself, how to get the best out of myself, how to monitor myself and how to stay well and prevent falling back into the dark, awful hole that I have emerged.
I am now an expert in this field and regularly help others in a similar situation rebuild their Superpowers. Some of these people are Athletes, some recreational Athletes and others simply middle-aged people that had lost their mojo but are now achieving physical challenges they didn’t think possible
The body of a 40 something year old is a different beast to a 20 or 30 year old. The hormonal system is vastly different and we cannot expect to do the same or perform the same as those 20 to 30 years younger. Life is less forgiving after 40. We can still get stronger, we can still lose weight and get leaner but these changes get harder and have a harsher effect on our systems.
We need a specialised approach if we are to continue making physical progress without becoming ill or injuring ourselves. I found this out the hard way, but I am glad that I did as I have learnt so much and added a whole new skill set to my craft and to my own Training;