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If we could turn back time

  1. When we first launched Old Man Strength, we started with a call for the 500 original backers of our community to send a video to us. The concept was simple – three questions. What does having old man strength mean to you? Tell us about a time you overcame adversity. If you had your time over, what you you tell the 25 year old version of yourself?  The idea was to create a three part series to bond our community together in the early days.

We were inundated with videos. Many of these we spliced together into the first of three five minute videos which are available on our Youtube channel. But then as we were making them, and only a week after we had release the first, one of our members, Mr Rod Lucas, was killed in the line of duty in California. It was such a shock and underscored the seriousness of our community and the importance of the respect we show eachother.   In Rod’s words, “we are a die hard group of men that doesn’t let our age define us”.  Respect and vale Rod. We never compiled videos two and three.

It is only now, after a year, that we opened these videos up again and watched them for the first time.  The third question – what would we tell the 25 year old version of ourselves – saw the fullest response.  The most amazing and inspiring fact was that almost all of the responses were similar.  When Rod said “I would tell myself to press harder, because you can do a lot more than you think we can at that age.  Don’t underestimate your abilities. Don’t let others define you.  Reach for the stars and keep pressing hard. Go after your dreams”, it was echoed by at least ten others who thought those early years were plagued by underestimation.  As Paul said “Birds of a feather flock together, and age is a progression to greatness”.  We developed, we ended up being far more resilient than we thought we could be. When life hit, we got through it, making decisions that mattered and pushing ourselves further than we thought we could. We got stronger, in every way.  Our friends sometimes fell away, with only those that empowered us and strengthened us standing the test of time.

We also got smarter.  Maybe there was information around about diet, and macros, and how to build muscle smart, but it certainly wasn’t as accessible as it is now.  Erik in Iowa said “I’d tell him to get into the gym and start eating better nutrition, is excatly what I’d tell him. I wasn’t taught about nutrition and wasn’t taught that the weight room was the place to be so I started pretty late in my 30’s. Lifting weights, I started my gym, and I saw peoples lives change around me.  This helped me gain a bunch of weight and now I’m killing it at 40”.   Others had similar stories.  Most of us lifted and ran, and competed or fought, but in general the vast majority discovered the ability to control muscle and weight beyond the age of thirty.  Some are discovering it for the first time now.  One thing that almost everyone said they would tell themselves is that they aren’t invincible.  Sleep, stay off the booze, and stop pulling all nighters – its a lot of fun when we were young but it takes its toll.

Mostly, people wanted to tell themselves to calm down a bit, and don’t worry so much about little stuff.  Tom said “At 28 I didn’t know what I was doing, in life or with fitness. I’d go back and tell myself to calm down. Relax a bit. Focus on what matters and don’t worry about what people think”. Failing can be winning, and losing can be the best education of all. Strength comes from dedicated resistance, not an easy ride, and sometimes its going to hurt and thats ok.  A great olympian once said that if you aren’t happy without a gold medal, you probably won’t be happy when you get one, and recognition that we control our own lives and our own moods came late for a lot of us.

Lets leave the last word to an active member of our community, Arthur, aged 65, who only the year prior had survived a quadruple bypass and had a cardiac arrest while doing a masters crossfit comp and had no less than 6 stents:  “I could have stayed at home and felt sorry for myself. My old man strength gave me the motivation and the strength to get going again”. When asked what he would say to the 25 year old version of himself, Arthur said “Thanks for keeping your body healthy, buddy. It did me good in my old age”.  Something for all of us right there.

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