This past weekend I was fortunate to have reached my 60th birthday (my father who is 93 reminds me that birthdays are a good thing, when you consider the alternative).
Looking back, it has been a year of challenges. I have to look at the challenges as just that – they were setbacks for sure, but were are also opportunites for growth and learning.
I struggled with some injuries, some minor and expected with the aging process, and others spontaneous. The worst injury happened back in February when I took a particularly bad snowboard fall and tore my left triceps tendons and partially tore a bicep muscle. That required surgery to re-attach the triceps to the bone. The surgery was done mid-March and I was in a plaster cast and subsequently an arm brace (locked in extension) for several months.
That injury was difficult, not only physically as I’m used to pushing myself and training regularly, but mentally as well. It’s easy to become depressed, and fortunately I have enough support from close friends and support to have kept positive. I knew I’d get my strength and aesthetics back, but it was going to take time.
With the help of my athletic therapist Paul Papoutsakis and my online coach Mattia Beltrame, I was able to resume modified training at the end of May. In the beginning, I was restricted to rehab movements with my left arm (lifting nothing heavier than 5 pounds), so I was doing a lot of single arm work. Lower body training was mostly bodyweight, as I couldn’t hold a barbell for squats or deadlifts. Pullups were out of the question.
Working slowly, but consistently, my range of motion and strength resumed. I’m not 100% yet, but I can now deadlift reasonably heavy again, and my back squat is back up to 275 pounds for reps (I should be at 315). My pulling strength is 100% again (pullups are back on the menu). And I can bench press and overhead press which makes me happy. I’m not pressing my max weights of course, but it’s enough to get a good training effect.
With consistency comes results. I’m very happy with where I am right now, considering what I’ve been through and considering my age of 60. I may be tooting my own horn here, but it’s done in the spirit of inspiring others.
My training post-injury has centered around bodybuilding workouts, strength work, kettlebell work and some high intensity conditioning. I’ve had to lay off the gymnastics and skill work for a bit, which has been tough given how hard I’ve worked for these skills in the past – but I’ll get back to those eventually.
Turning 60 should mean more than a discount at Rexall.
This past year I learned how to snowboard (despite the injury, I have no regrets about learning the sport), organized a community fundraiser for at-risk youth, coached over 1300 strength & conditioning classes, joined Toronto Police Service an Auxiliary Police Officer, and hit a 455 pound deadlift just prior to my injury.
What have I learned?
That your future self is very dependent on what you do now, on a consistent basis.
And that if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it.