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You love the game. You want to be officiating as long as you can, and there’s one thing you can do to give yourself the best chance.

The secret to anti-aging is maintaining muscle. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It’s a condition called “sarcopenia” and it’s a natural part of life. But, just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean you’re powerless to slow it down.

Between the ages of 30-80, both men and women lose 30-50% of their muscle strength and mass. Not having a strong body makes you more susceptible to injury, falls, fractures and osteoporosis. A 2015 report from American Society of Bone and Mineral Research ,found that people with sarcopenia had 3-4x the risk of having low trauma fractures from a fall.

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The good news is that it’s never too late to start. Here are three things you can do to get your body into a muscle-building zone.

Get that body fat down

This is the toughest one for a lot of people, so let’s chat about it first.

Your body consists of fat mass and lean muscle mass (along with bone, water, etc). A good plan to get your fat mass down begins with information. The best place to start is getting a body composition test done.The scale only tells you a bit of the story.

Keeping body fat down is necessary for your performance, aesthetics (if it’s important to you) and also for what coaches call “mechanical advantage” as it relates to movement. It takes much less energy to move muscle then it does to move fat. You can get to the places you need to be faster, better and with less risk of injury.

To start, you have to have an objective starting point that gives a true 360 view so you can craft a plan with reasonable goals specific to your body. Body composition reports typically allow you to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Knowing your BMR is important because you need to know how many calories to consume to sustain normal body function. Aka, you need to know how much to eat just to “exist”. It also acts as a baseline for how many calories you may need to cut out to lose body fat, or how many more you should eat to optimally perform certain activities.

You don’t want to make the mistake of adding excess weight by accidentally eating too much, or lack fuel because you’re eating too little.

Strength AND Power

It’s never too late to build muscle. The body will adapt and respond to the stress you put on it. You want to train not only to build strength, but also to build power.

The National Academy for Sports Medicine recommends at least 2 times per week of total body workouts. If you’re in a weight room and you’re challenging your muscles by properly overloading them in a safe and effective manner, your body will respond appropriately by building more muscle.

The key with a strength program is to make sure it’s well rounded and that it is total body. Some of my older clients have actually increased their lean body mass, at better amounts than within their youth, thanks to what I call my “dense and intense” approach to strength training.

Your workout should include literally everything, your upper extremities, core and lower
extremities. If this sounds like a lot to put into your busy schedule, don’t worry. You don’t need hours at the gym to accomplish great, muscular things.

You can do a workout in 30 minutes. You need high density exercises that get your heart rate up (and stays up) by leveraging work-to-rest ratios.

Power training is also important because you need your body to be able to execute explosive movement. You want to train the propulsive aspect for starting, but also the deceleration and braking force to stop.

Power is force x velocity, and you have to be able to move with dynamite-like precision to get to where you need to be. You have to be able to generate the power to go from a start to a stop.

Diet. Diet. Diet.

To build proper muscle, you’ve got to feed your body properly. Protein is key, yes, but your diet needs to be well rounded. Your plate needs to be colorful, not just boring (and usually unhealthy) shades of brown.

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You want protein with every meal, in the right portions balanced with lots of leafy, cruciferous vegetables and slow-releasing carbohydrates to help keep you full and give you energy.

Don’t cut out fat, but certainly keep it in moderation and keep the sources healthy (like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts etc).

You may find you have food sensitivities that may make this challenging. If that’s the case, speaking with a certified nutritionist will help.

Bottom line is keep your diet healthy, clean and well balanced.

Get ready for the next season, now

Not only do you want to maintain your muscle mass (or, perhaps increase it) to keep you on the top of your game as long as possible, you also need to maintain it to protect you from injury, both now and when you’re in your golden years.

If you are having trouble maintaining a consistent work out schedule consider participating in a guided online fitness class with Coach Duane Carlisle, who has consulted with NFL officials and the PAC-12. Multiple classes per week are available at CARLISLE FITNESS

If you want to take things to the next level, consider private virtual personal training where your unique fitness situation is used to build a program that will maximize your results.

About the Author:

Duane W.Carlisle, MSc, MSCCA, CSCS
Founder, Carlisle Performance Systems
Founder, Lightning Fast Training Systems, LLC

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