"I want to be the fittest grandad"

Jan 11, 2024

“I want to be that old man who can go to the gym and outwork most of the youngsters, uncommon within common.”

That’s just one of the answers to where do I see myself in 30 years.

In 30 years I’ll be 61 year old. Some might say an old man, but I want to that friend/parent/uncle who leads by example. Who can run, who can pick up heavy things of the floor, who can join his nieces and nephews when playing the park. I also want to be able to put my lugagge up to storage on the plane by myself or go for a decent hike without having to think about if I actually make it.

For most of us, these are abilities that are so common and normal for us that we don’t even think about it. Well, I do. I’ve been struggling from bad back pain since I was 17 years old and it got pretty bad recently. I couldn’t exercise, couldn’t sleep properly, and my girlfriend said something that stuck in my head. She said: “I want a healthy boyfriend.” And she’s got the point. 

How can I be the best partner I can be if I’m physically unable to move or constantly in pain? Just imaging it made me feel terrible. That’s something I’m very scared of and I’ll do whatever I can to avoid it. 

Where do you see yourself in 30 years?

Can you get off the floor with one hand only? Probably yes, with a little struggle. Imagine you’ll have to do it when you 60, 70 or 80 years old. Most of the people at that age cannot do a lot of “normal” things we can do now. In fact, I work with so many people that I’ve seen people lacking some of these abilities in their 30’s and 40’s. And that’s the age when you either stay on the top of your health and fitness oryou are likely to lose it very quickly. 

I don’t wish to scare you, or judge. In fact, I want to help. Help as many people as I can. Because I believe that everyone wants to live a good, happy and healthy life. 

Longevity is defined as the capacity to survive past the average age of death (De Benedictis and Francheschi, 2006).

Well, that just sounds very mediocre. I believe that longevity isn’t just living a disability free life. But rather thriving, enjoying and experiencing the life at its best no matter the age. Imagine living untill 95 years old. Would you rather live independently or be dependent on your children or a carer? I’d not want to do that to my children, be that burden. 

Life happens, accidents happen and thinkgs always don’t workout as we plan it to. But there’s a lot we can do right now to prepare for the life later.

It may sounds silly to think you have to exercise now to see difference in 30 years, but if you don’t, you’ll think about me then and it might be too late.

So, let’s go to what you actually can do, from exercise perspective, that will have direct and proven impact to improve your longevity and thrive in later stages of your life.

1. Strength

This may be the most intimidating one, especiallg for people who accustomed to strength training. Strength basically means utilizing muscle to generate force. If you’re interesting in living long life and playing with your grandkids some day, then muscle mass should be priority. Never in a human history of human civilisation has a 90 year old said: “wish I had less muscle”. There’s many strategies and way to do this depending on where you at with your current streength. My recommendation is basic strength training 3x a week focusing on compound movements like squats, lunges, hinges, pushing, pulling and carrying heavy objects.

2. Stability

Stability is actually a cornerstone upon which your strength, your aerobis, and your anaerobic performance relies. It is important to have a good stability in order to develop other pillars. I think about stability as core training as it’s easier for people to think about it that way. Core training doesn’t just involve working on your abs. It’s about creating a strong and functioning core (mid section of your body) because without it everything else falls apart. Your posture, your ability to stand up, your ability to pick up thins relies on your core. It’s like a clutch in the car. It allows your to change to the next gear when you need to, otherwise you’ll not be able to move. Partly, the core training is involved in strength training but the older we get the more we need to invest time to work on it specifically. My recommendation is to train this daily or as often as possible. This could involve breathing exercises, pelvic floor exercises, planks, side planks, birdogs, pallof press, supermans, single arm carries and more.

3. Aerobic/zone 2 training

If you’re into running, cycling or swimming, you’re probably familiar with zone 2. Zone 2 is defined as the highest metabolic output/work that you can sustain while keeping your lactate below 2 milimole per later. In simple way, this means ability to produce energy without getting that muscle burn. It’s a type of exercise that we call “cardio”. Long and slow, when you go for a run with a mate and you can talk without being too much out of breath for the whole time. Heart rate wise this is somewhere between 60-70% of your max heart rate. If you’re not sure what that is, try this calculation: (180-age)-10, for example for me that’s: (180-30)=150-10=140. If you’re not fit or haven’t done a lot of training you want to deduct another 5. Of you’re absolute beginner you want to deduct another extra 5. Working in zone 2 also helps with fat loss but you’ll need to spend around 2-4 hours a week there spread throughout the week between 3-4 sessions.

4. Anaerobic/zone 5

High intensity zone. You don’t need to spend not nearly as much time working in this zone as in zone 2, you don’t want to neglect it completely. It may come at a cost down the road. The truth is that people these days spend too much time in zone 5 by doing too much high intensity workouts and too little time in zone 2. Thing about this as an escalator being broken and you have to heavy bags of groceries and you need to get it up to 3rd floor. I recommend 1-2 session a week, for example 3 minutes of easy running, cycling or stairmaster, followed by 1 minute of hard near to maximum work. Repeat for 20-30 minutes.

To sum it up. What should you aim to do weekly?

1. 3-5 bouts of strength training
2. 4 bouts of zone 2
3. 2 bouts of zone 5
4. Stability is sprinkled into pretty much every day with maybe one day longer, more dedicated 60 minute around stability

To finish off this long article, I ask you to ask yourself:

What do you want to be able to do in 30 years from now?

Have a  ice rest of your week,


Workout of the day:

Givr this workout a go. Those 4 minutes should feel pretty nasty. You need to work close to your maximum in order to get the benefits o zone 5 training. Being a little out of breath won’t cut it here, sorry not sorry. I like to use stationary bike for this type of training. 

Zone 5

4 sets
4 minutes fast run, cycle or tabata (either burpees, mt. Climbers, kettlebell swings or wall balls)
4 minutes rest

Happy to help.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions or suggestions.