by Crystal Moulon
I have lifted with many people throughout my life from old to young and one thing I have seen come up again and again from my older weightlifting friends is comparing their current abilities to their younger selves, always with a negative effect. I’ve seen this in powerlifters, strongmen, arm wrestlers and more. Some of these people are well into their 60’s and get upset that they can’t lift like they did in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, etc. Well of course not! Aging gracefully as a weightlifter means accepting your body how it is NOW, not how it was. You always hear about the various weight lifting sports as only being competitions against yourself, but this can be inaccurate and even detrimental as age sets in.
Case in point, my friend’s father competitively powerlifted for years before he got injured in his early-50’s. After that Chuck didn’t really practice or compete anymore and now at 66 years old, he is just starting to get into it again in masters categories and is tearing up the field. This guy is a beast and I can’t believe some of the other guys he just destroys, but when you talk to him its all “I can’t believe I got third place, I just can’t do this anymore” and “my younger self would be laughing at me”. He is just horrible to be around because he is down on himself ALL THE TIME and it has led to depression and him not enjoying these activities anymore on top of him being a huge bummer to be around. This can be an example for all of us. Age happens, if we are lucky we will all live to be 66 plus years old, but the human body does go thru real and physical changes as we age. When competing with yourself, it is vital to compare against your new normal and not a past accomplishments.
By new normal, I mean a current assessment of where you are and what you are capable of at the present time. Age isn’t the only thing that brings up a need for re-assessing a new normal. Injuries and physical disabilities can do the same. Moral of the story? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be the best you can as you are now and celebrate your accomplishments, don’t dwell on past glories but find new ones in what you are able to do now. Life moves on, don’t be afraid to move on with it!