Hammer and Nails-Finding the motivation to train as we age

By Joshua Englehart

Pictured: Josh Acton

You know, the gym is full of a lot of different people with a past to match. There is a pretty good mixture of age groups, races, and reasons for why they are even at the gym. There is a group however that I have always looked up to. There is a group that now in my mid 30’s I find myself in. The “hammer and nails” group.

When we are young, if we had shown any kind of decency and respect to our God given bodies, our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. Our strength is there. Our agility is trainable. Our motivation is high because our capability is limitless it seems.

I see the group of people, I am sure you have seen, they are young, no kids, maybe fresh out of high school or a college graduate. Their responsibilities in life are somewhat contingent with their age. Now before you think I am insulting the “younglings” of the gym, I am not. I am simply stating that this group usually grabs the attention of many in the gym do to their ability to lift whatever weight, run whatever distance and eat whatever food. They are young. They are unscathed by the ways of the world. They have not been challenged by responsibility in a way that many of us “older” folks have been. I am sure some of the young ones know what I am talking about, so I am sure you will enjoy this article.

This group of people that simply rely on the age of their bodies and go into the gym and can just do whatever and recover in a day, this group is like a construction crew with all the latest and greatest tools and technology. They have everything at their disposal to do the work they WANT to do. Let’s focus on that word, “want”. You “want” to try to bench 300 pounds or you “want” to try to squat 400 pounds. You “want” to curl a barbell with 45’s on each end. Your young. You got the tools. Why not?!

But as we all know the inevitable happens. We all know we get older. We all know life happens. We all know our bodies remind us that the “tools” in the tool box start to dwindle. Sooner or later we are left with just a “hammer and nails”. This is where the tried and true come to life.

So both the men and women, you have had some kids. Maybe you got that job you wanted when you graduated college. Dumbbells were replaced with a beer can or baby bottle. Lack of activity causes your body to diminish not just in look, but in function. The gym you used to “own” just a few years ago is now but a memory, fogged up by the constant sound of phone calls, texts, bills, babies, spouses, and before you know it you have turned into the “I used to do this in the gym” people. You used to. “You used to” means nothing to me. It never has. What are you going to do now? What are you going to build with this hammer and nails?

This my friends is fitness. This my friends is work. This my friends is the true meaning of the messages you see on social media with all the fit people posing as the back drop. This is reality.

So if you find yourself in this group of people, this “hammer and nails” crew. You are the motivation in the gym. The true grit goers and dirty diggers. You are the example of a future that has yet to come for the young folks. Show them how it is done. Anyone can build a house with power tools. Can you build on with just a hammer and nails?

Get to work!