Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle as I “Mature”

This year has brought about some opportunities to reflect on life choices. In particular, how do I want to train my body moving forward? After all, I’m not in my 20’s anymore! You may read this and say, “come on Josh, you have your whole life ahead of you.” Well, it’s all relative right? I have been in this industry now for exactly ½ of my life and I have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and this is the decision I have made.

I have decided to check my ego at the door. I used to like to do powerlifting. If you are wondering, that is focusing on the Bench, Deadlift, and Squat lifts, trying to lift as much as you can for each lift. These lifts are still going to be fundamental to my training, but I have come to the realization that I don’t need to lift as much as physically possible. I just need to lift enough to maintain my current strength, and challenge my body a little bit.

I have also decided that rest is great. To put things into perspective, I used to lift 5 days per week, about 60-90 minutes per workout. Then I went through a phase of strength training 3 times per week for 15 minutes at a time. Don’t let the time fool you, it was brutal. Now, I strength train 3 days a week for about 45 minutes per session. That is my sweet spot. This is very similar to the Small Group Training program that we run at the Yakima Athletic Club. The rest of my days are filled with 30 minute cardio sessions, walking on the golf course, Pickleball, or…rest.

Really, if you stop and think about it, more reps, more time in the gym will get you results, but at what cost? If you are training for a specific event, like an Ironman, which I have done, or a powerlifting meet, or you just have a specific goal you want to accomplish, you will need to put in those reps, or that time in the saddle. That just comes with the goal. However, we need to remember, it is all reps counting against the total amount of reps your body has. If we are constantly pounding our body into the dust with each workout, it may make us stronger in the short term, but how does it factor into our overall playspan? Our playspan is the timeframe that we are able to enjoy exercise and activity for the rest of our lives.

I plan on exercising for a long time. I don’t plan on retiring from it.

So, this is my plan moving forward:

  • 3 days of strength training per week, hitting all major muscle groups every workout, cycling through stability, endurance, and hypertrophy phases of strength training sprinkling in power with some of the workouts, all while keeping my HR at 60-80% of max, which I can track thanks to my MYZONE belt.
  • 2-4 days of at least 30 minutes of activity (running, swimming, golf, pickleball, etc) Remember, it is easier to do cardio if we enjoy it, so find something you like.
  • Keep a solid nutrition plan every day, every week, every month, every year. Enjoy the foods you like, but the majority of calories should be from a nutritious diet. Eating healthy is a lifestyle, and when it is part of your overall life, you will maintain it.
  • 15 minutes of Mobility every day. This has been key to my recovery and overall performance. I have been implementing it since the start of 2021 and I love it! A good resource would be the book Becoming a Supple LeopardI realize this way of thinking is not for everybody and it may rub some people the wrong way, but it works for me. The best thing we can do is talk to those who are in the same shape you want to be in 10, 20 and 30 years. See what they do. I would venture to say they have some similarities in their activity as those bullet points listed above.

    Stay consistent. Seek out the advice of a good trainer to ensure proper form. Make your workouts enjoyable and you will increase your overall playspan dramatically. Hopefully we will all be working out for many years to come.


    Yours in Health,

    Josh Merz, Elite Personal Trainer