This is how I got the strongest I’ve ever been at 36 years old. But before you think this is my personal account, me, Robert Born, the person who is writing this article right now and editor at BOXROX, it is not.

The information you will see below is based on a video shared by Matt D’Avella and his body transformation journey in his mid-30s.

Matt D’Avella is a filmmaker, YouTuber, and podcaster known for his work on minimalism, productivity, and personal growth. He gained popularity through his YouTube channel, where he shares videos on topics such as minimalism, mindfulness, and intentional living. His videos often feature interviews with experts and individuals who share their personal experiences and insights on these topics.

Matt D’Avella’s fitness journey, spanning over a decade, culminated in an extraordinary 100-day powerlifting challenge, showcasing a remarkable transformation in strength and physical form. Over these 100 days, Matt achieved a staggering 72% increase in his deadlift, doubled his squat strength, and added an impressive inch to his biceps. His dedicated pursuit, documented in a 28-minute film, provides a rich tapestry of insights and lessons for anyone aspiring to elevate their fitness levels, whether their goal is to gain strength, build muscle, or foster a consistent fitness routine.

Powerlifting, initially just another workout style to Matt, revealed its full intensity and competitive nature as he delved deeper. The sport’s focus on maximising one’s squat, bench press, and deadlift unveiled a new dimension of fitness to him, far beyond his previous gym experiences. The decision to enter a powerlifting competition transformed his training, infusing it with a newfound sense of purpose and urgency. This step not only intensified his workouts but also instilled a robust framework of accountability and self-discipline, essential for any significant physical transformation.

Under the expert guidance of Sebastian Oreb, a globally recognised strength coach, Matt’s journey took a pivotal turn. Oreb’s expertise, honed through years of coaching and personal achievements in powerlifting, provided Matt with the insights and strategies needed to fast-track his progress. The coach’s influence extended beyond mere physical training, offering wisdom on technique refinement, injury prevention, and mental fortitude. This partnership underscored the critical role that professional guidance plays in unlocking one’s full potential in any fitness endeavour, especially in a discipline as demanding as powerlifting.

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How I Got the Strongest I’ve Ever Been at 36 Years Old

1. Set Monumental Goals

Matt’s initial aim to embrace powerlifting morphed into a compelling journey towards competition. This escalation of ambition underscores the transformative power of setting lofty goals. By stepping out of his comfort zone and entering the competitive arena, Matt not only accelerated his progress but also embedded a sense of accountability into his training routine.

2. Expert Guidance

Engaging with a seasoned expert, Matt unlocked rapid advancements in his strength training. Under Sebastian Oreb’s tutelage, he navigated the intricacies of powerlifting with an informed and strategic approach. This mentorship was instrumental in refining Matt’s technique, enhancing his performance, and safeguarding against injuries, illuminating the invaluable impact of expert guidance.

3. Embrace Imperfect Consistency

Matt’s journey epitomises the art of balancing aspiration with life’s inherent fluctuations. The acknowledgment that strict adherence to an idealised routine isn’t always feasible, yet progress is attainable through adaptable consistency, serves as a vital lesson for fitness enthusiasts at any level.

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4. Harness Progressive Overload

The principle of progressive overload stood as a cornerstone of Matt’s training, catalysing his strength gains. By methodically increasing his lifts over time, he experienced tangible advancements, illustrating the effectiveness of this foundational strength training concept.

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5. Distance from Digital Distractions

Matt’s experiment with reducing his social media engagement brought an unexpected boon to his mental well-being and focus. The incessant barrage of comparison-inducing content on platforms like Instagram can eclipse one’s joy and self-appreciation, highlighting the benefit of digital detoxification in one’s fitness journey.

Source: Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels

6. Comprehensive Tracking

The discipline of tracking not only his workouts but also his nutritional intake offered Matt a granular view of his progress and areas for improvement. This meticulous record-keeping empowered him with insights that guided his nutritional choices and workout adjustments, underlining the significance of data in personalising one’s fitness strategy.

7. Understanding Training Intensity

Matt’s exploration of training intensity, especially the nuanced view on training to failure, revealed an essential truth about strength training. It highlighted the importance of listening to one’s body and respecting its limits, advocating for a sustainable approach to fitness that prioritises long-term health and progress over momentary triumphs.

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cable crossoverSource: Total Shape

The Journey Forward

Matt D’Avella’s 100-day foray into powerlifting transcends the realm of personal achievement, offering a mirror into the multifaceted nature of fitness transformations. His story, enriched with lessons on goal setting, mentorship, adaptability, and self-awareness, serves as a beacon for anyone navigating their own fitness odyssey. As Matt steps into the next chapter of his fitness journey with a wealth of knowledge and a rejuvenated perspective, his narrative continues to inspire a dialogue on the essence of meaningful, sustainable progress in the world of fitness.

To fully understand how he got the strongest he’s ever been well into his 30s, you can also choose to click and watch the video below.

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Why Is It Difficult to Build Muscle and Lose Weight as We Get Older?

As individuals age, building muscle and losing weight become increasingly challenging due to a combination of physiological and hormonal changes. Understanding these shifts is crucial to adapting fitness and dietary strategies to maintain health and fitness in later years.

Firstly, one of the primary reasons it becomes difficult to build muscle with age is the natural decline in muscle mass and strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. This decline begins as early as the 30s and accelerates with each passing decade. Muscle protein synthesis rates decrease, and the body’s ability to repair and build muscle diminishes. This is exacerbated by a reduction in physical activity levels that often accompanies ageing, leading to a more pronounced loss of muscle mass and strength. Engaging in regular resistance training can help mitigate these effects, but the challenges in muscle building remain due to the slower and less efficient regenerative capacity of older muscles.

Hormonal changes significantly impact the body’s ability to build muscle and lose fat as one ages. Testosterone levels, crucial for muscle growth, decline in men, while women experience a decrease in oestrogen during menopause, which can lead to an increase in abdominal fat. Additionally, growth hormone levels and the sensitivity of muscle tissue to insulin can decrease, hindering muscle growth and fat loss. These hormonal shifts make it more challenging not only to gain muscle mass but also to maintain existing muscle and manage body fat.

Man-Lifting-Weight-in-Garage-GymSource: Corey Young on Unsplash

Metabolic changes also play a critical role in the increased difficulty of losing weight as one ages. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) — the amount of energy expended while at rest — decreases with age. This decline means that older adults burn fewer calories throughout the day, including during sleep and rest, making weight gain more likely if caloric intake is not adjusted. Additionally, older adults may experience changes in appetite and satiety signals, leading to altered eating patterns that can contribute to weight gain.

Nutritional absorption and requirements change with age, affecting muscle maintenance and weight management. For instance, older adults may experience a reduced ability to absorb certain nutrients from their diet, including proteins and vitamins essential for muscle repair and metabolic health. Moreover, the appetite may diminish with age, leading to insufficient intake of the necessary nutrients to support muscle maintenance and overall health. Ensuring a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods becomes paramount to counteract these challenges.

Lastly, lifestyle factors including sleep patterns, stress levels, and physical activity habits evolve as one gets older, influencing the ability to build muscle and lose weight. Sleep quality often deteriorates with age, impacting recovery and hormonal balance crucial for muscle synthesis and fat loss. Stress can exacerbate the loss of muscle mass and the accumulation of fat, particularly around the midsection. Furthermore, a decrease in physical activity not only contributes to muscle loss but also to a reduction in caloric expenditure, compounding the difficulty in maintaining a healthy weight.

In conclusion, the interplay of reduced muscle mass, hormonal shifts, metabolic slowdown, nutritional changes, and evolving lifestyle factors collectively contributes to the increased difficulty in building muscle and losing weight as one ages. Understanding these changes can inform more effective strategies to maintain muscle mass and manage weight through the years.

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