The 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

ned-overendNed Overend is a legend in endurance sports. And, at age 61 he keeps on competing at an amazingly high level.

Here is a list of some of his accomplishments over the years: 1) 6 time NORBA U.S. Mountain Biking Champion in the late 80s and early 90s. 2) UCI World Mountain Biking Champion in 1990. 3) 2 time XTERRA World Champion in 1998 and 1999. 4) UCI Masters Cyclecross World Champion in 2012. 5) 2015 USA Cycling National Fat Bike Champion.

Earlier this year Outside Magazine did a profile of Overend that is worth a read. If you are short for time, however, one key aspect of the piece was Overend’s list of the 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness.

10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness

  1. Mix it up – Cross train with other activities aside from your main focus. Do different things in different seasons like switching to snow shoeing in the winter from running.
  2. Make fitness fun – Avoid too much structure in your schedule. Give yourself permission to have fun.
  3. Never lose fitness – It is much harder to get your fitness back as you get older so don’t lose it.
  4. Pay attention to potential injuries – If you notice a pain somewhere, don’t ignore it. Slow down or take the day off and go get a massage.
  5. Recover harder then you train – High intensity workouts are still good but high intensity recovery needs to follow.
  6. Understand the science – Understand what your body is going through and why.
  7. Know your gear – If you want to stay competitive and not get hurt, you need to understand your gear, you need to maintain it and you need to replace it when it is unsafe or worn down.
  8. Stay positive – Getting older brings new challenges so stay positive and don’t give up.
  9. Be in control – Losing control often leads to injury and you can’t afford injuries and lay offs as much when you are older.
  10. Focus on yourself – Compete with yourself more and with others less. We are all in different situations, with more or less time to train and different genetics.

If all of this sounds familiar it is because Overend subscribes to the training tenets of coach Joe Friel.

“Ned lives what I preach,” says Joe Friel, 72, masters coach and author of Fast After 50. “He’s always been a fan of short workouts with high intensity.” Whittled down, the recipe for success as a geezer is this: 1) Decrease volume and increase intensity. 2) Recover, recover, recover. 3) Don’t stop training, ever; you can retain much of your VO2 max as you age, but once you lose it, it’s a lot harder to get it back. “When you’re 60, you can’t take a month off at the end of the season, have a good time like younger athletes can,” Friel says. “There’s an accelerated loss of fitness. Take Greg LeMond, for example—he just quit. Hung it up. Ned never did that.”

There is more on Joe Friel here in another BoomerangFit post.

What do you do to stay fit after 50?

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