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The Ageing Athlete

One of the greatest battles every athlete has to face is getting older and the subsequent decrease in performance that invariably occurs. 

So how can Masters athletes physically  fight the effect that ageing has on performance?

  1. Train for muscular strength

With ageing muscle mass generally declines. Appropriate strength training will assist in slowing the loss in muscle mass thus allowing an athlete to maintain higher levels of performance.

A more sedentary/inactive lifestyle may also cause new muscle imbalances and/or weaknesses to occur. A proper strength training programme can help to eliminate or avoid these and thus aid performance.

  1. Focus on high intensity exercise

This will help to delay the decrease in cardiovascular functioning. As people age there is a drop off in both heart rates and (generally) stroke volume. High intensity exercise can assist in decreasing the rate of decline in both of these.

High intensity exercise will also assist in fighting a drop off on VO2 (Max)

  1. Manage weight

A more sedentary lifestyle will often lead to an increase in weight. This may well in itself lead to a decrease in performance due to a decrease in power to weight ratios. Additionally increase weight has the potential to decrease the aerobic capacity of the athlete.

Consequently it is important for the athlete to manage their nutritional intake – ensuring:

  • an appropriate balance in their diet
  • that they get enough protein to fuel muscle growth and repair
  • that their energy intake is equal to their energy expenditure
  1. Prioritise recovery

In much the same way as it is inappropriate and ineffective to train a child merely as a “small adult”, it is equally as ineffective to ignore the effect of ageing and to thus train a Masters athlete the same way as you would train someone in the 20s.

Training loadings need to be adjusted based on training performances and the impact on the body. Rest, nutrition, sleep and other modalities such as massage and physio need to be structured into the training programme to ensure that the athlete is able to get the most from each training session without compromising performance and risking injury.

  1. Continually work on flexibility

Whilst flexibility often declines as people age this is one area that does not need to decline at the rate it often does. Continuous, regular flexibility and mobility training, dynamic warm ups and longer, static stretching at the conclusion of training sessions can significantly decrease the rate of decline in flexibility with age. In terms of performance it is imperative that any flexibility programme is designed to cater for the individual athlete and the specific requirements of their sport

To learn more about how strength and conditioning programmes can help you prepare for your sport and for individualised online programs go to

SPRINT TRAINING – An Introduction

Damn Fit Strength and Conditioning is a proud sponsor of the Masters 100m at the 2018 Geelong Gift. This professional sprint will attract runners from around Victoria and Australia as they chase prize money and as part of their preparation for the famous Stawell Gift carnival.

While nominations for this event have now closed it is definitely worth considering how you might best prepare for next year’s event.

In preparing for the track season athletes and coaches need to  consider the following factors:

  1. Recent training history – how much (and what type of) training the athlete has undertaken in the recent past. This will help establish a starting point and ensure that training loads are appropriate for their current physical position
  2. Age – as athletes age the training loads and demands will need to be different because of the effect on the body. Properly designed training programmes will cater for the specific demands of the athlete in their sport. Masters athletes, for example, will notice a drop off in muscle mass over time. This can be countered/slowed with correct strength training prescription to assist in creating a stronger athlete who is then able to maintain a higher standard of performance longer than they would have otherwise been able.
  3. Injuries (current and previous) – injuries limit training, performance and enjoyment. Effective training programmes take into account injuries that the athlete has experienced previous and/or ones that they still carry. The training programme can then be designed to (a) limit the chance of re-injury and (b) to help the athlete to continue to progress while current injuries are being rehabilitated
  4. Technical strength and deficiencies – all sports have a technical component that must be trained and improved to increase efficiency and performance. An awareness of where the athlete is technically weak (and the underlying cause of the weakness) will help the coach prepare the most effect training programme – and the get the best results in the long term
  5. Goals – effective programme design needs to ensure the proper balance between improving the athlete and helping the athlete achieve their goals (and not allowing them to become distracted along the way). The process of goal setting and bench marking is critical to long term success.

Examples are given below of different aspects of a sprinter’s training programme. These example could provide a base from which an athlete/event specific programme may be derived. For those starting out as sprinters these samples may give an insight into what is required to achieve success in professional track running.



MONDAY: Track – Acceleration

TUESDAY: AM – Weights

PM – Recovery

WEDNESDAY: Track – Maximum Speed

THURSDAY: AM – Weights

PM – Recovery

FRIDAY: TRACK – Speed Endurance

SATURDAY: AM – Weights

PM – Recovery



SAMPLE MAXIMUM SPEED TRACK SESSION (early competition phase)

  1. Warm up – mobility and drills
  2. Plyometrics – bounds 3×10 steps (2-3 min between reps)
  3. Wickets – 5-6 reps 2min between reps
  4. Flying 30m (20-30m build up into 30m flat out) 3-5min between reps
  5. Cool down – mobility, rolling and stretching


SAMPLE WEIGHTS SESSION (early prep phase)

  1. Warm up – spin bike:  6x 40s easy/20s fast
  2. Mobility and stability
  3. Bench hip thrusts (banded): 3-4 sets x 10 reps (1min rest)
  4. Back Squat: 3-4 sets x 10-12 reps (1min rest)
  5. Back extension with reverse DB fly 2-3sets x 6-8 reps (30s rest)
  6. Superset x5 sets: BB Bench Press 10; DB Kneeling Row 10 ea arm (20s between sets)
  7. Chin up (over grip) 5sets x 10 reps


To learn more about how strength and conditioning programmes can help you prepare for your sport go to


Why am I not losing weight?

There is nothing worse than trying really, really hard to eat well and exercise more and the results do not show on the scales. It may surprise you to hear that when it comes to losing relatively small amounts of weight, it can actually be harder to lose it, simply because the specificity of diet and exercise intensity needs to be so much tighter. So if you have been struggling, here are the common reasons why you may not be getting the results on the scales that you think you should be.

The above is an extract from a great article by dietitian Susie Burrell (

To read the whole article click here

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power… Empower yourself

At Damn Fit we believe that an information and education is one of the keys to long term success.

The Benefits of Middle-Age Fitness



 SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 12:01 AM September 5, 2012 12:01 am

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

Americans are living longer, with our average life expectancy now surpassing 78 years, up from less than 74 years in 1980. But we are not necessarily living better. The incidence of a variety of chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, has also been growing dramatically, particularly among people who are not yet elderly.

The convergence of those two developments has led to what some researchers have identified as a “lengthening of morbidity.” That means we are spending more years living with chronic disease and ill health — not the outcome that most of us would hope for from a prolonged life span.

But a notable new study published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that a little advance planning could change that prospect. Being or becoming fit in middle age, the study found, even if you haven’t previously bothered with exercise, appears to reshape the landscape of aging.

To read and learn more find the full article at