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Fit For Life: Become Again What You Used to Be

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Ditch the excuses and be a track star at any age.

“When I was in college I was a great athlete.” “When I was younger I looked like this.” "Back in high school I was a track star.” These are quotes from older broken down athletes or people that just let themselves go. I always tell people that I wish I had the drive, dedication, strength and speed I have now, back in high school. I would have been a much better athlete. Why do people accept the fact that being fit and healthy is for younger people, and it is acceptable to regress to the point that walking up stairs is troublesome? How can one go from being an athlete and feeling superior, to being complacent and feeling broken? Why can't you get into the same shape you were in years ago? You can, but you need to do it according to your goals and abilities.

Age is just a number

I was away with two friends last weekend. One is 51 years old and one is 30, and I am 45. We are all close in weight and height. I asked the older friend how his workouts were going and he informed me that he no longer lifted weights because his shoulder is killing him. Although this guy can kick my butt and just about anyone else's on a mountain bike, he runs marathons and competes in crazy 24 hour races, tough mudders etc. I told him he was making a mistake and I backed it up by reminding him of the tough time he had completing the warmup phase of my workout system. This is because the balance and lateral movement were not his strong points. His activities are mostly straight line sports, and despite his natural ability and great condition, I am afraid he is going to suffer later on if he doesn't strengthen around his injuries.

I was delighted when he asked my younger friend what he was doing, and he mentioned a few tips I had given him. I am glad he said that, because even though he is young and in great shape, he isn't exempt from injury, and if I can help someone not to make the same mistakes as I’ve made, that's an achievement.

Don't give up

Most athletes are one dimensional, and when out of their element they do not excel. This is why a proper workout system will make everyone better. I have a philosophy to work around pain not through it, and try to prevent it. I have several clients with shoulder/knee/lower back issues, but I either work around them or fix them. So the mistake is avoidance. Do not avoid the gym because of a certain injury. You wouldn't avoid a restaurant because you don't like a certain dish. You would order something else. So my point is, if something is broken, don't let everything around it suffer. There are other approaches.

Most athletes experience an injury along their careers, and when they get older, the usual way of training hurts and they give up, rather than seek an alternative action. My solutions are for just about every ailment, if something hurts, do something else, if you can't move one direction, move another. You see, there is no one right way to work out, and there are many wrong ways, but the biggest mistake is to give up. If you were an athlete in college you should be able to move like one now. If you wore a certain size in high school, figure out a way to wear that size again. Life is too short to be a “has been” or a “was great” - you can achieve anything you want with the proper guidance and program.


Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at http://www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.


Related Slideshow: New England’s Healthiest States 2013

The United Health Foundation recently released its 2013 annual reoprt: America's Health Rankings, which provides a comparative state by state analysis of several health measures to provide a comprehensive perspective of our nation's health issues. See how the New England states rank in the slides below.



All Outcomes Rank: Outcomes represent what has already occurred, either through death, disease or missed days due to illness. In America's Health Rankings, outcomes include prevalence of diabetes, number of poor mental or physical health days in last 30 days, health disparity, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular death rate, cancer death rate and premature death. Outcomes account for 25% of the final ranking.

Determinants Rank: Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. 

Diabetes Rank: Based on percent of adults who responded yes to the question "Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have diabetes?" Does not include pre-diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.

Smoking Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are current smokers (self-report smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke).

Obesity Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

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6. Rhode Island

Overall Rank: 19

Outcomes Rank: 30

Determinants Rank: 13

Diabetes Rank: 26

Smoking Rank: 14

Obesity Rank: 13



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. High immunization coverage among adolescents

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians  


1.High rate of drug deaths

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in heath status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/RI

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5. Maine

Overall Rank: 16

Outcomes Rank: 25

Determinants Rank: 12

Diabetes Rank: 23

Smoking Rank: 29

Obesity Rank: 28



1. Low violent crime rate

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Low prevalence of low birthweight  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High rate of cancer deaths

3. Limited availability of dentists

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ME

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4. Connecticut

Overall Rank: 7

Outcomes Rank: 15

Determinants Rank: 4

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 4

Obesity Rank: 12



1. Low prevalence of smoking

2. Low incidence of infectious diseases

3. High immunization coverage among children & adolescents  


1. Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low high school graduation rate

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/CT

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3. New Hampshire

Overall Rank: 5

Outcomes Rank: 7

Determinants Rank: 5

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 11

Obesity Rank: 22



1. Low percentage of children in poverty

2. High immunization coverage among children

3. Low infant mortality rate  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High incidence of pertussis infections

3. Low per capita public health funding

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/NH

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2. Massachusetts

Overall Rank: 4

Outcomes Rank: 14

Determinants Rank: 3

Diabetes Rank: 10

Smoking Rank: 7

Obesity Rank: 2



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians & dentists  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MA

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1. Vermont

Overall Rank: 2

Outcomes Rank: 12

Determinants Rank: 1

Diabetes Rank: 4

Smoking Rank: 9

Obesity Rank: 5



1. High rate of high school graduation

2. Low violent crime rate

3. Low percentage of uninsured population  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low immunization coverage among children

3. High incidence of pertussis infections

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/VT


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