What they are really saying is this. That in their twenties they didn’t take advantage of the age bias when they could have, they had other things on their mind, university, drinking and socialising. Going to the gym everyday wasn’t a priority. However, when they reached a certain age their viewpoint toward fitness changed, it became a bigger focus, they wanted to be fitter to be around longer, for their kids, partner and generally to just feel better about themselves. As a nation we have become better informed about fitness and adopting a healthier lifestyle and as such a huge part of this has been an increase in physical activity alongside an increase in fitness facility memberships. More people are a member of a gym now than at any other point in history, and in doing so are training more than they did when they were in their twenties, meaning that they are fitter now then they ever have been in their life. But are they fitter? Or just training more?
Great question, and to answer it we must know how to work out if someone is fitter or not than they were before, and not that they just feel fitter or can do something now that they couldn’t do previously. What it actually comes down to is this, floors and ceilings. No, we’re not suddenly going to break into something out of Grand Designs, or Phil and Kirstie aren’t suddenly going to make suggestions of how to turn your two bed semi into a detached 5 bedroom rural retreat, in fact, when we refer to floors and ceilings in fitness, what we are really referring to is the minimum you should be able to do [floor] in comparison to the maximum you should be able to do [ceiling] for a specific activity at a specific age. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say that in your twenties you decide to row 2k, you will have a fitness floor and a ceiling at that particular point in time. The floor being what we would expect is the maximum time in order to row the distance, lets say this is ten minutes, and your ceiling, the best you could expect being a time of five minutes and thirty eight seconds. You’ve just managed to row a respectable seven minutes and thirty seconds. The point at which that time represents in between your floor and ceiling is now your level of fitness for your 2k Row. Jump forward 20 years and you’re now forty something and still rowing, but your time has decreased slightly to seven minutes and 43 seconds. On the surface it seems slower, that’s because it is. But because of natural digression [such a depressing term] and your now lower floor and ceiling at forty means that pro rata you are now closer to your ceiling in your forties than you were in your twenties, which essentially means you are fitter now, than you were then, even though you are pulling a slower time. Get it?