struggling with fitness... just want to play again

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Jul 19, 2021
1
3
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
hi folks - long time lurker first time poster. i'm struggling a bit at the moment.... i'm in my late 30s and was hoping to join a 30+/40+ club as i understand they train weekly and play on weekends. i contacted my closest club. won't name names... but they were not helpful at all... were not that interested to hear from me and when i said i was struggling, they said they have enough numbers anyway and maybe i try something else? I am unfit at the moment... really struggling to even run more than a few minutes. I'm not too overweight... just unfit. I even went to the doc thinking it was asthma or something and he said nah you are just unfit is all... so i'm hoping to have some advice on what i should be doing daily/weekly to improve my strength and running capability so one of these clubs will take me in and i can get back on the track (it has been over 10 years)... i feel like my mental health will be better for it too... just no confidence in my fitness at the moment. so i hope to post in the training section looking for advice and then hopefully become a good news story and can share what i learned and help others too. sorry... a bit of a rant to. please forgive!
 

Lingua Ignota

Kyrie eleison
Jun 29, 2021
1,373
2,719
AFL Club
Richmond
hi folks - long time lurker first time poster. i'm struggling a bit at the moment.... i'm in my late 30s and was hoping to join a 30+/40+ club as i understand they train weekly and play on weekends. i contacted my closest club. won't name names... but they were not helpful at all... were not that interested to hear from me and when i said i was struggling, they said they have enough numbers anyway and maybe i try something else? I am unfit at the moment... really struggling to even run more than a few minutes. I'm not too overweight... just unfit. I even went to the doc thinking it was asthma or something and he said nah you are just unfit is all... so i'm hoping to have some advice on what i should be doing daily/weekly to improve my strength and running capability so one of these clubs will take me in and i can get back on the track (it has been over 10 years)... i feel like my mental health will be better for it too... just no confidence in my fitness at the moment. so i hope to post in the training section looking for advice and then hopefully become a good news story and can share what i learned and help others too. sorry... a bit of a rant to. please forgive!
Walk everywhere. If it's less than half an hours drive, just walk. If you're going to the shops, walk up and carry the groceries back.

Probably the simplest, low effort way of chipping away at that layer of unfitness.

I don't go to the gym anymore, don't eat the healthiest diet and am a smoker, but I can walk and run all day. My 'Fitness' improved a hell of a lot once I stopped driving. Getting 'fit' wasn't even my intention, but it was an extremely noticeable side effect.

It's worth a shot.
 

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kickazz

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 12, 2010
9,794
13,498
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
Good way to get back on the horse:

Get some good runners and a Garmin.

Start with the couch to 5K program - it intentionally starts off slowly (running and walking) to ramp up your cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as making it less likely to get muscular injuries (a factor for late 30s if you push too hard).

As well as that program, try every couple of weeks to do hill repeats. In all of my running that is what gave me the biggest incremental gains in fitness.


Weights are important too (squats / deadlifts especially) but if you cannot do these then hill repeats will help somewhat with strength.

Long slow run every weekend. Increasing distance by 10% or 1km each time. Heart rate not going over your aerobic range.

Finally, be realistic - give it at least 3 months to really feel fitter.
 

SBYM

Fish, chips, cup 'o tea, Mary @#? Poppins. London!
Oct 9, 2009
13,926
25,139
BR2
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Liverpool
What kickazz said.

You've gotta ease back into it, and some sort of set, structured programme will be the best way to do that.

If you go gung-ho you'll just end up getting injured.
 

Engimal v3

Oppa gangnam style
Sep 21, 2017
7,457
14,469
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Tasmania
hi folks - long time lurker first time poster. i'm struggling a bit at the moment.... i'm in my late 30s and was hoping to join a 30+/40+ club as i understand they train weekly and play on weekends. i contacted my closest club. won't name names... but they were not helpful at all... were not that interested to hear from me and when i said i was struggling, they said they have enough numbers anyway and maybe i try something else? I am unfit at the moment... really struggling to even run more than a few minutes. I'm not too overweight... just unfit. I even went to the doc thinking it was asthma or something and he said nah you are just unfit is all... so i'm hoping to have some advice on what i should be doing daily/weekly to improve my strength and running capability so one of these clubs will take me in and i can get back on the track (it has been over 10 years)... i feel like my mental health will be better for it too... just no confidence in my fitness at the moment. so i hope to post in the training section looking for advice and then hopefully become a good news story and can share what i learned and help others too. sorry... a bit of a rant to. please forgive!
sh*t of the club to respond to you like. Don't let that discourage you, that's on them and not you.
Treadmill can be a safe way to get your fitness up without taking an ego hit. I ended up going from running about 2 minutes at a time, to doing 20 minutes straight easy. That was in a matter of weeks only.

I think a lot of adults don't realise how f’ed your body can get after high school until you actually try to excercise again. Good on you for pushing forward.
 

jarrod_island_doggies

Club Legend
Oct 3, 2006
1,542
3,300
Gold Coast/Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Phillip Island Bulldogs/Lions AFLW
Agree with the comments that it was a bit of a shitty way for the club to respond, but I will add the rider that we're just about to hit finals and a lot of clubs are now training based on outcomes they want to focus on for match day. Yes, the old boys will be far less likely to do this religiously, but I think any club will be a better place to rock up to when preseason kicks off at the end of the year. In the mean time, starting slow and adding walks into daily tasks is a great idea to start building a foundation. Good luck!
 

Mateyman

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 16, 2012
11,437
8,250
AFL Club
Collingwood
Good way to get back on the horse:

Get some good runners and a Garmin.

Start with the couch to 5K program - it intentionally starts off slowly (running and walking) to ramp up your cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as making it less likely to get muscular injuries (a factor for late 30s if you push too hard).

As well as that program, try every couple of weeks to do hill repeats. In all of my running that is what gave me the biggest incremental gains in fitness.


Weights are important too (squats / deadlifts especially) but if you cannot do these then hill repeats will help somewhat with strength.

Long slow run every weekend. Increasing distance by 10% or 1km each time. Heart rate not going over your aerobic range.

Finally, be realistic - give it at least 3 months to really feel fitter.
I'm a runner rather than a footy player so probably biased but I agree with this. I think one thing I'd add is just trying to get into the routine and do it however many times per week as religiously as you possibly can (I'd probably start at 2 to 3). Obviously take it easy if you're feeling a niggle/unwell or whatever but I think it can be really helpful just to say to yourself - ok I'm going to do this 3 times per week. I don't care if today is slower than the last session I did because I'm tired, but I'm going to just go out there and do something (even if it's not your best session).

Then once you've built the consistency you'll improve rapidly - often quicker than you think. I'd also caution that just slightly and say to be very careful initially, especially if running on hard surfaces. Running is pretty hard on your body and you need a lot of conditioning to actually allow yourself to ramp up training. There is a big drop off of people who try running and will have injury problems within a few weeks as they're too gung ho to begin with. So build consistency, but also be kind to your body and if you're getting niggles, best to be cautious especially in the first few months.
 

JezzHawk

All Australian
Oct 29, 2006
691
71
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
You need to improve your cardio.

I would recommended boxing, skipping, walking/runnings, bike ridding or even some swimming.

You will see gradually improvements over time if you stick to 30 to 60 mins program per day.
 

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