New Tricks for an Old Dog
A Blog Post by Benoit (Ben) Capostagno, Cadence Nutrition ambassador and sports performance coach at Science To Sport. Photos featuring Sarah Kim Bonner, one Of Ben's athletes
I have officially entered the final year of my 30s. It is quite odd to type that, but I double-checked the maths and turns out it is true. I have been physically active my whole life, but my activity levels have never been as low as they are now. In my youth, this was never an issue. One solid run or ride and I was ‘back in the game’, but those day are over, like really over. My get out of jail free card expired some time ago and if I want to reach the somewhat lofty goals I have set myself for the next few years, I am going to have to work for it, which is really inconvenient. My current strategy of occupying the couch is not yielding the returns I had hoped for, so it is time to make some changes.
Photo: James Mitchell
One of the tools I will be reaching for is regular strength training. As we age our muscle mass can decline, but we can slow the rate at which we lose our muscle tissue by including strength training. In addition to slowing the loss of muscle mass, weight-bearing exercise can also ensure that you maintain a healthy bone-mineral density (“Am I really at an age where I am concerned about bone-mineral density? Oh dear.”). Anyhow, the COVID-19 pandemic has made me a bit weary of stepping into a gym, so my strength training takes place at home. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I am currently so weak, that I can train without any additional resistance, so I use body-weight exercises and resistance bands for now. I will be adding some weights in the next few weeks, but the point I am trying to make, apart from broadcasting my shame on the internet, is that you don’t always need expensive equipment to include strength training in your programme. There are some excellent strength and conditioning coaches out there who can put together a bespoke programme for you.
An added challenge is ensuring that your protein intake is sufficient to support the adaptations to strength training. I have never been one to reduce my intake of any macro nutrient, which is why I am currently in the condition I am. Historically I have never paid much attention to my protein intake and always thought it was sufficient based on the fact that I wasn’t hungry after I ate #science. It was only after a consultation with a dietician that I realized how poor my protein intake was. Apart from increasing my lean protein intake at meals, I have also started using Cadence Nutrition’s Protein Fuel as a supplement to ensure I reach my daily protein requirements. The supplement makes it easy to get a nice dose of protein in after a training session, especially if I am in a rush.
Photo: James Mitchell
If you have been thinking about adding some strength training to your programme, I would certainly recommend it. The benefits of strength training for endurance performance are now well-established and there are numerous health benefits too, especially if you are an older athlete.