Here it is. The science of old man strength

Spoiler alert: it’s the power house of the cell.


Spoiler alert: lucky genes


No,not lucky genes.

Dedication throughout life, at least towards the twilight, to stay active.

Could they have been injured and sidelined? Sure. Could they have gotten cancer and died? Yes. In some ways they have gotten very lucky as I am sure they’d be the first to say.

But don’t take away from their grit and determination and dedication by replying “Lucky genes”.

I don’t know what comes first in these scenarios, the chicken or the egg. Are they able to do this because of their genes? I am sure it plays a role. But how many people have the right genes yet smoke and drink their entire lives and die early? Pantani had the “right genes” but overdosed. Maybe mentally, he didnt have the “right genes”?

As I said in another thread, all this talk of genes is counterproductive. It doesn’t help in any way whatsoever. It takes the element of control away from an individual and gives them a built-in excuse, or at least demotivator, with something they cannot change. Genetic research is awesome and can tell us so much! I just think its a dangerous thought pattern to start attributing everything to genes. We’ve all heard overweight people say “I just can’t lose the weight! You’re lucky you’re skinny!” Like they have no control over calories in/out and they blame their genetics.

Back to the subject, very cool! I would like to know if this protein production is influenced by exercise or if these people naturally make more of it?


My new goal in life is to be a badass old guy someday.


You might want to reread the article. It specifically says they had lucky genes.

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Thanks! I read the article.

“They likely have a lucky combination of genes supplemented by their intense training.” (emphasis mine).

So your synapsis of the article by saying “spoiler alert: lucky genes”" is a gross oversimplification of the reasons they are successful at that age and implies they are only there because of their genes.


Older fellas…question for you. When will I forget how amazing being 26 felt? I’m 51 now and the memories of those sensations are still there. I can’t seem to Jedi hand wave them away. The rush of testosterone, the sexual zing, the feeling like I could run through a brick wall. When I was actually strong and quick and could handle myself with glorious aplomb.

Being in Judo taking it easy on older guys because at 26 if I went full speed I’d snap them in two. I quit doing Judo after getting so many broken toes (even broke one I had taped up, lol) and not wanting to turn into one of the guys who has to cheat or take advantage of the younger guys going easy to feel like “I still got it”, ffs.

When will I embrace the t-shirt saying “the one thing you know about an old man” blah-blah-blah? When will those memories disappear so I don’t feel like so much has gone? I’m unable to pretend very well.

I appreciate the work I’m doing and will continue to work and improve until my dying breath…it’d just be nice to get the Men in Black blinky treatment so I can chill out as I age and embrace the decline.

The eye rolls of my youth have not abated. They’re worse…when someone says “50 is the new 30” or whatever other stupid shit…let’s just say if I could run fast again the brick wall would be a welcome relief.

When will my mind trick me into the sweet nirvana of forgetfulness?

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I’m not your age yet… I am 43. But I’m in the US Army and I am an old man here. You know what keeps me feeling young? Still smoking the majority of today’s soldiers on runs. I ran 6 miles yesterday and a young soldier said something along the lines of “you’re making us look bad!” as I lapped him. He meant it in jest but it still felt great to be able to have that fitness. Especially after three back surgeries!


And your synopsis is a gross over simplification that implies they are only there because they train hard.

I disagree with you, but don’t want to argue on a post where someone wanted to discuss the article. I do think that if you started a new thread about genetics we might get some knowledgeable people to chime in and educate us though.

When I was in the Marine Corps, we had an E7 who would finish the PFT run, and then run back out to round up the people behind him (almost everyone was behind him). He would run backwards in front of you, light a cigarette, and talk trash. :rofl:.

My Gunny would just be waiting at the finish line with a glare wondering what the f took us so long…while he was smoking a cigarette. He had a sweet porn stash, and was kind of a dick.

Amazing nonetheless.

My second deployment to Oki we had a 1SG who could do so many damn perfect dead hang pull-ups, holy shit. We’re talking over 40. He was just one of those Marines. Pretty smart dude too an excellent leader and public speaker (which I think is an underrated talent/skill). He later became SgtMaj of the Marine Corps.

I’ve been around “hard workers” and it’s impressive. But to be around the truly gifted? It’s something different. And if these gifted also do work?

You don’t feel like the same species.

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Haha! So true! And so impressive to see.


Highly suggest you re-read my post if you think I stated it was only about working hard.

However, since working hard is the only thing that they can control, it definitely plays the biggest role. For every human.

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Yeah, I remember during my ski bum years in the 90’s skiing with some folks who were truly world class, i.e. pros, had done some movies and such. We’d go to some pretty hairy terrain, the mortals would pick our lines and feel super badass doing some big drops and whipping through the trees. Then we’d look back and watch these guys pick lines that never even occurred to us, fly completely over the stuff we were turning through like a bunch of suckers, then casually zip on through some very tight trees at great speed.

You couldn’t even feel bad about it. They were in a completely different league and barely even competing in the same sport as the rest of us. Mostly it just felt pretty cool even being a tangential part of it.

Back on topic … it really was an amazing combination of the right genetics, hard work, and just as importantly the mental game: their ability to judge risk, skill, and the environment at insane speeds and confidently make the right decision every time. Even while very, very baked in many cases.

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The egg, because its from the female side.

Also eggs were around before there were chickens :chicken: so the egg came first. :wink:

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I can certainly see the mental game being a huge factor in skiing but not in many aspects of cycling (like whether you get dropped on a hill or not). Now positioning and sprinting at the end of a crit with a large field is a mental game.

I rode with a former 70+ national champion a couple of weekends ago. He’s still insanely strong. He was making our group suffer. He only weighs 138 pounds. I was having to do 300-400 watts up every little climb while sitting on the wheels.

This particular old man is 75 now.


That’s true to some extent, but I think it’s still present in terms of willingness and ability to actually push yourself up to and past your limits. Even (or maybe especially?) with two people of world class genetics and training, winning a race can in the end come down to who’s better equipped mentally to handle more physical suffering. Although even then there are some people who are just so dominant that they simply aren’t suffering as much as everyone else.

I agree but it’s the last few percent. The Tour of Flanders was a great example. Pogacar was the stronger rider but MVDP held on for dear life on the final short climb due to some incredible mental fortitude and then was able to win the sprint.

But if the last climb had been 10km long, no amount of mental fortitude would have allowed MVDP to hold on.

Yeah, that all makes sense. And oy, some of these guys really are genetic freaks. I vividly remember an article in Velonews in like 91/92 about Miguel Indurain that broke down all sorts of biometrics. It compared various anatomical aspects to a regular human and he was an extreme outlier in every single capacity they measured: heart rate (RHR of 28?), volume of blood pumped, lung capacity, everything. Would love to see that again, actually. My quick Google didn’t have any luck, but I’ll see if it’s out there.

The article stated staying active produces more proteins that power mitochondria over sedentary people.

I was team mates with arguably the best extreme skier ever, Shane McConkey. I was there when he decided to give up ski racing. I’ll never forget the day. Point is he was given every opportunity to excel as a ski racer from a very young age. He was trained year around for years to ski really fast. Yet he was at best a mediocre racer. But, when he turned his sights on free skiing something in that nut clicked. Genetics? Mentality? History?

One thing is for sure, every top athlete I’ve known started in their sport from single digit age. Their mentality is slightly different. Not sure I can put my finger on it. Anyways, I think most humans can take any sport to a the top given the right support. Whether or not they become a Merckx or not is probably attributable to genetics. I wrap the mental aspect of sport in genetics as well. They are one and the same.