Baby Boomers Are Extremely Strong. Here Is Live Example. Interview With Brian Patterson.
Brian Patterson is an extremely enthusiastic person with tons of passion for fitness and helping people. And this is actually what he does. He helps baby boomers achieve better health and fitness.
We asked Brian a couple of questions. Answers might surprise you, so tune in and read.
Retired from my professional career. Former Executive Vice President and Managing Director of a large Experiential Marketing Agency – basically live event design, creation, and production. Showbiz for business purposes, like conventions and product launches, etc.
I started the BoomerMuscle website and Facebook page in retirement. At first, my aim was just to learn how to build a website. Everyone said to start with a subject you feel passionate about. Helping my generation stay strong as we age is a passion for me. Honestly, it’s not something I make tons of money doing. I give away workout programs and advice for free. Maybe down the road, I’ll offer a paid service, but for now, access is no cost. As the only one employee. I do all the writing, photography, video, web design, etc.
Started weight training at the age of 12 (51 years ago) to be stronger for sports. Have done pretty much all forms over the years, but not competitively. Slacked off some in my 20s but have been going strong since then through to today. I maintain a passion for building muscle and the positive feelings it creates.
1. What is your training routine?
I follow a muscle-building resistance training routine using lighter weights at higher reps and go to failure on each set. I also finish each workout with cardio on a Precor elliptical. Workouts last about one hour and 20 minutes. 5 days per week.
I follow what I call the 5Keys:
1. Lighter Weights/Higher Reps – As opposed to traditional Progressive Resistance where your goal is to lift heavier and heavier weights.
2. 8-12 reps to failure. Set the weight at a level you can perform for 12 strict reps on the first set. Go for between 8 – 12 strict reps on each ensuing set with about 30 seconds of rest in between. This method is widely recognized as the best way to build muscle and proven in numerous scientific studies.
3. Maintain a Mind Muscle Connection. This is crucial and sounds easier than it really is. Focus your mind with each rep on the feeling in the specific muscle you’re working. It’s a Zen-like focus on that feeling.
4. Get Pumped! The purpose of the workout is to exhaust the target muscle(s). You will feel it as the legendary Pump as blood rushes in to repair the muscle fibers, initiating hypertrophy and muscle growth. Pain is bad, but some soreness is good.
5. Volume & Intensity. All of the above holds true whether you’re simply trying to tone or if you’re building as much muscle as you can. Simply adjust the volume of sets: 3 per exercise for toning, up to 5 sets per for muscle building.
I also believe in focusing each workout day on one or two body areas only. The goal is to really focus on that muscle group and cause exhaustion/hypertrophy in it. It also maximizes rest and recovery of those muscles. Boomers need as much rest and recovery as possible. You can do total body interval training every day of the week when you’re in your 20s or 30’s. But at our age, we need as much recovery time as we can get.
2. Do you follow any specific diet?
I don’t follow a name brand diet. But my wife and I eat clean and healthy most all of the time. Lots of protein, salmon and other types of fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Low on sugar and empty carbs.
3. What are your records? bench press/ squat/ deadlift
Before I quit Progressive Resistance, I used to do drop-sets in barbell curls starting with 165 pounds for 5 reps, then 155, 145, 135, 125 and finally 115 for as many as I could at that point.
Bench: One rep max was 630 pounds on my Powertec Leverage bench, when I was in my mid-50s. I have always worked out alone at home. This bench is self-spotting and lets you use heavy weight. It’s odd in that you start off at the bottom of the lift. It has a handlebar type bar so your hands are just below chest level at the start.
Anyway, it was that heavy benching that finally killed my shoulders and led me to find a new way to train.
Here is Brian benching incredible 610 pounds. 2 times!
And you can read more about Brian’s transition from heavy to lightweights here
4. What is like to coach baby boomers. What difficulties do you face as a coach?
Baby Boomers face a ton of challenges. A lot of baggage comes with age.
I’m pretty typical. I take medication for cholesterol and blood pressure. I’ve got arthritis in my shoulders thanks to heavy benching. I’ve had a triple bypass heart surgery, colon surgery and just last year, a total replacement of my right knee. Some Boomers have all that and much more to contend against. The hits really add up as you age.
So, we have to workout smarter cuz we aren’t 20 anymore. Things like Bootcamps and HIT are out for us. In my mind, so is Progressive Resistance. At some point, the soft tissues in your joints have a limit as to how much weight they can handle. You will eventually hit a wall, just as I did.
Pain is a danger sign for a Boomer. Muscle soreness or The pump is good.
Lighter Weights at Higher Reps work great for any age, but is especially good for us Boomers. It’s safer and has also been proven the most effective way to build muscle by a host of experts like the Mayo Clinic as well as traditional muscle pubs like Flex and Muscle & Fitness.
The biggest challenge in trying to reach Boomers – they are notoriously opposed to exercise. They went from the generation that invented jogging and aerobics to the least fit, most obese in history. Boomers are in a health crisis.
There are also a lot of persistent myths about strength training that holds some back.
But it’s a fact of life that most Boomers are losing muscle and bone density with every year that passes by. It’s why eventually many elderly people often look so frail and bent.
Strength training is the cure. You can actually reverse many of the signs of aging with it. And scientific studies have proven you can build muscle at any age. The challenge is getting people motivated and into the discipline.
One of the things that hold them back is confusion. If you’re just starting out and go to Google, you will be overwhelmed by the depth and variety of results you get. There is so much hype marketing. It can be very discouraging for people to sift through it all.
That’s why I try to keep things simple and straight-forward and share the studies that back up what I’m saying. You really don’t need to buy an expensive gym membership or a dozen DVDs. In fact, you’ll be better off if you tune out most of the noise.
5. What could be your advice for younger generations to maintain lasting fitness?
Getting older is inevitable, but you don’t have to lose your sex drive, get a face full of wrinkles or totally lose your body shape. Add strength training now to your lifestyle. Continually tone or build muscle and you can stride into your older years with confidence and feeling good.
Sarcopenia, or muscle wasting, actually begins in your 30s. It’s not usually super obvious until later in life, but it does start when we’re still young.
The next time you’re around elderly people, take a good look. You’ll see many who are frail and have trouble moving. Flabby loose skin hangs off frail bones. Don’t kid yourself, you can wind up this way, too. You won’t if you exercise regularly throughout life.
And definitely add strength training to your routine. Running is great for cardio but you need to build muscle, especially as you age. It’s what will get you up and out of chairs and walking without assistance.
You don’t have to become a bodybuilder or powerlifter. Just add some muscle toning/building to your workouts.
No one is going to push you into it. It’s totally up to you.
Doctors aren’t trained to help you figure out a workout program. Most barely even mention the subject and often don’t exercise themselves. They pitch drugs as the fix.
Don’t let your body go to waste.