Years ago, when Elliott Hulse was just an awkward, 14-year-old teen, he started strength training.
“My uncle had just become a personal training and he took my brother and me on as his first clients. It woke me up in a way. The real magic in weight training to me is how it not only changes your body, but your character,” Hulse told StrongPath.
A little unsure of himself and lacking confidence, strength training didn’t just help him get in shape to play football; Hulse started to feel a bit more powerful.
Something He Could do Well
For the first time, Hulse found something he could do well. “I started teaching my friends and teammates how to lift, and when I graduated from college I decided to make a career out of it because it was a gift.”
In an interview with StrongPath, the strength coach and founder of Strength Camp in St. Petersburg, Florida, said that staying strong is the key to a long, vibrant, and active life. Lifting weights have proven to increase your muscle and bone mass, increase circulation, help reduce heart disease and other chronic illnesses, and improve flexibility and balance. Taken as a whole, the stronger you are, the more active and independent you can be as you age.
“We’re under this misperception that as we age, life is supposed to deteriorate, and life is supposed to get more boring. I want to live to be 100 and still be able to do the things that add pleasure to my life, not stuck in a bed, or just sitting on a couch and watching TV.”
Hulse owns and operates a group of strength-training gyms. “The type of training we do at my gym comes from my background in football and strongman competition. I trained athletes early in my career. Slowly, we got more and more clients who came in and wanted athletic-type training. We don’t turn anyone away. Now we have a whole group of middle-aged moms at the gym. They are probably our best demographic right now,” said Hulse.
Success is in the Genes
Success runs in the family. Many of those women had never worked out before and were inspired to start resistance training by Hulse’s wife, Colleen. “Her whole life she hadn’t lifted weights; I was always the one in the family. After she had our fourth child, she started training at the gym and showed tremendous results. So much so, all her mom friends said they wanted the same results.” The women have become much stronger, Hulse said, have more energy, and more joy out of their lives for the experience.
As we enter our 40s, our bodies lose muscle mass. This is known as sarcopenia. You can reverse the effects with weight training and make your 50s, 60s, and beyond just as the first half of your lift. “I am almost 40 and looking forward to the next 30, 40 years of living actively,” said Hulse. “While I have trained since I was 14 years old, now it is a matter of doing it for different reasons. I no longer lift 400-pound stones or play football. It is a matter of maintaining muscle mass, so I can remain vital, vibrant, and healthy.”
He advised that starting a weight-training program in your 40s and 50s can change your life, but he cautioned that you should start out slowly and build to a more intense workout. “You want to start an exercise program that doesn’t destroy you, doesn’t kill you, doesn’t beat up your joints, but stimulates your muscle growth. Make it joyful. It should be pleasurable. It shouldn’t be drudgery.” He recommended starting with eight to 15 reps of lifting, with short rest intervals. Keeping your heart rate up is important. And before starting any exercise program, it is important to talk to your doctor.
Be the Strongest Version of Yourself
Strength Camp’s motto is “Be the Strongest Version of Yourself”. Hulse believes in motivation through education. “I think what StrongPath is doing is tremendous—giving the science behind why it is important to weight train.”
He pointed to 85-year-old Fred Bartlit’s, co-author of Choosing the StrongPath and co-founder of StrongPath.com, as a great role model for anyone thinking of taking up weight training in middle-age. “He’s doing better now than when he was in his 60s. Wow! That is the type of life I want to live.”