I turned 46 this week. Some would say that’s not old; some would say it is – it all depends on where you are in the curve. The fact is the luckiest of us all get to age but the question really is around how that goes.
There are for sure some things you cannot change. For example my eyesight is changing for the worse. I need reading glasses for maps, ingredients lists or labels. I also need them to clip my three-year-old’s fingernails. There isn’t a whole lot I can do about that. I also know that my testosterone levels are dropping as well – part of the natural aging process and that comes with consequences too. For me it has been a challenge this year with lower energy, gaining body fat when normally I wouldn’t while training so much. It has also meant I have to work harder to achieve the same results I normally would while preparing for a big race like the Ironman this past weekend here in Idaho. It’s manageable though and worth the fight in my opinion. If we stop challenging our body and stop pushing then the change happens faster and has more drastic consequences.
Walking around the athlete’s village it is hard to tell the 60-year-olds from the 30-year-olds as far as physique and athleticism. It’s usually the grey hair and wrinkles that give it away.
Through training, coaching and just meeting people that have not fought this change, I have seen how important it is to support the body to delay this inevitable conclusion. Being 46 and fit is a challenge. Being 46 and unfit is a big challenge.
People tell me all the time that exercise is hard and staying focused on a meal plan is hard. Being consistent is hard and avoiding junk food is hard. Not going out with your buddies and eating 5,000 calories is hard etc., etc., etc. I am here to tell you that aging is harder than any of that if you ignore all this good advice.
This affects both men and women but I am here to tell you, it’s rarely talked about regarding men. There is a lot of information out there about menopause and hormone therapy for ladies, but gentlemen – it exists for us too.
While I am still working with herbal formulations and exercise, coupled with good food to try and convince my body to keep producing testosterone, there are other options. Of course you need to see your doctor to get some tests done and see what is right for you, but if you have extreme fatigue and low energy (in spite of enough sleep), low sex drive, hair loss, increasing body fat, reduction in lean muscle (in spite of exercise) then maybe it is time to make that call.
As guys we don’t want to talk about it, but maybe it’s time. I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in aging gracefully. I plan on fighting it tooth and nail. I do know that exercise – especially high intensity intervals and strength training – will do wonders for reducing the drop in testosterone. There are several herbal formulas that can really help the body function optimally too, but the bottom line is to contact your doctor if you are feeling these symptoms – even if you are a guy.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.