I would take greater risks with intensity levels and exercise selection with someone who is a young beginner rather than someone who is much older and starting off with their first training program. One of the reasons include the fact that when someone is starting to train at age 60, I am helping them reverse 60 years of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. Whereas with a 20 year old, that time frame is much shorter, and so the time it takes for a 20 year old to adapt to a training program will be much shorter than a 60 year old.
But right now we’re talking about extremes. There are very few 60 year old advanced athletes. Many 40-60 year olds who wish to begin training usually do so to get back into shape. In other words, these trainees often have a background in fitness, whether it be regular training in their garage gyms, or participating on a team sport. In this case, creating a program is much easier, as all I am required to do is figure out what they used to do before, and steadily work them until they return to their previous level of fitness. And because of the wonders of muscle memory, this task is often quite simple to achieve.
Age is extremely relative. The saying, “Your age is how you feel,” is absolutely true. There are forty year olds who believe that they are too old to start working out, and then there are 80 year olds competing in triathalons. Just recently on the NBC Sports website, I read an article about 69 year old Walk Radke who began training right after he retired at age 65. This guy looks better than I do!
Lets put this into a more practical scenario. Lets say I have two traineese, Bob and Tom. Bob is in his mid-forties, almost fifty pounds overweight, and used to play football in high school. Tom on the other hand is 25 years old, fifty pounds overweight as well, smokes and drinks accesively, and has never lifted a weight his entire life. So even though both would be considered beginners in layman terms, who is MORE of a beginner? If you guessed Tom, you are absolutely right.
Taking into account all the information I have presented to you guys thus far, I want you to think for a moment: How would a training program for Bob differ from Tom’s?