What’s your fitness goal? Mine is to be a kick ass 100 year-old.
Yes, really. “But why? It’s such a weird goal.”
Well, I’m glad you asked! If I’m a kick-ass 100 year-old, I need be a pretty darn good 80 year-old, 60 year old, 40 year-old, etc. It isn’t logical that I just become a kick-ass 100 year-old if I’m not kicking ass at those other ages. Does that make sense? I have to be capable of doing certain things when I’m 100, which means I need to be capable of doing certain things right now, next year, next decade, and so on. So it begs the question, what things need to be done today, next month, next year, etc. to arrive at my goal?
Let’s start by defining the characteristics of a kick-ass 100 year-old. Then we can work backwards to figure out what I can be doing today to reach my kick-ass goal!
Off the top of my head, at 100 years old, I’d like to be able to:
-Pick up grandchildren or great grandchildren and play with them
-Drive a car
-Cook and clean
-Get my own groceries
-Mow the lawn and landscape around the house
-Ride a bike
That’s a good start I think. Now I need understand what I need to be doing today, tomorrow, this month and year so that I can do these things 64 years from now. This is a hard task to tackle! Luckily, there’s a principle that I can use to forecast my capacity at that age, based on what I am currently able to do. We’re going to call this principle, “Work Capacity.”
Work Capacity is our ability to do the things we need to do (and want to do) in life. As a baby, we don’t have much work capacity; we eat, sleep, cry, and general biological tasks. As we get older, we learn skills, develop strength, and can do more things. Increased work capacity. Make sense?
As we get into our “senior years” our work capacity begins to decrease. We can’t do the things we were once able to do. We aren’t as strong, don’t have as much balance, coordination, and overall motor control. So in a general sense, if we were to graph our Work Capacity, it would look something like this.
Granted, your life’s work capacity isn’t going to be a smooth bell curve, but in general, the graph represents the principle well. The second key point to understand is that we can intentionally increase our work capacity. We can learn new skills at any age. We can lift weights and get stronger. We can increase our endurance. We can do a lot of things that will increase our current capacity, which can increase our work capacity later in life, therefore moving me toward my goal.
Don’t miss this, because it’s important. For example, let’s use our Balance. Our overall balance will follow this general bell-curve. We acquire balance early in life, get really good at it, and then lose capacity as we age. Strength is the same. So is essentially every aspect of life. Memory, speed, endurance, vision, coordination, you name it.
Does that make sense? So, if we take some of those specific examples I listed at the beginning, we can now apply them to this graph.
I can increase my work capacity over time, and therefore be able to accomplish more than I would’ve been able to. So if I want to be able to pick up and play with grand-kids when I’m 100 years old – I need to be able to bend down to the ground, pick up a child that could weigh 20-50 pounds, and stand back up – all with ease. I’ll need balance, flexibility, and strength. That’s why I dead-lift right now. Remember, my work capacity will decrease over time, so I need to be able to dead-lift quite a bit more than 50 pounds right now. I can dead-lift over 300 pounds. That seems pretty good at the moment.
I also want to run when I’m 100. Granted it probably won’t be fast, but nonetheless, I think a kick-ass 100 year-old should run. Am I right? So guess what, I better be a pretty darn good runner right now. I’ll lose my capacity to run over time, so I need to make sure I’m running regularly right now. I just ran a mile last week; 7:04. I think that’s pretty good too.
I think you get the point. So here’s the deal; this is why I do CrossFit. This is the literal definition of CrossFit; “To increase work capacity over broad time and modal domains.” And the way to accomplish that goal is by constantly varied, functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. This is the reason for CrossFit, and this is exactly why I do it. In CrossFit, we develop strength, stamina, endurance, balance, accuracy, agility, coordination, speed and power. These are all aspects of work capacity that I’ll want to use as the most kick ass 100 year-old! We use burpees, pull-ups, barbells, jump ropes, running, etc as the tools to build our capacity. CrossFit is so much more than “an intense workout”, it’s about building and maintaining capacity!
We all have work capacity, and if we aren’t focused on increasing it, it will naturally decline. It’s going to decline whether we like it or not! The question is, how soon will it decline, and what will you be able to do (or not do) when you’re 50, 60, 70 years old? What about 100?
If you’re on-board and want to be a kick-ass 100 year old, let me know!
PS. If you look back at my goals as a kick-ass 100 year-old, and you are having a hard time doing those tasks right now – regardless of how old you are – I hope this is a gentle wake up call that it’s time to get your butt in gear. You’ll thank yourself in a decade or two. Call me and I’ll help you with a strategy to increase your work capacity!
Nick Prohaska | 816-659-3076 | firstname.lastname@example.org