Enter the Dragan

Well, the Dragan is back in the UK as of yesterday! (The founder of Fitness4x4, the Hour of Power workout and  the Dragan Challenge…and of course my dad too!) It’s interesting now that I look at my parents aged 61 and 62, and my whole concept of what it means to age is different to what it was when i was a teenager. I guess the people I knew who were in their 60’s were very much senior citizens,  in their ‘last lap’ of the race – so to speak. And so somehow in your brain as a child you probably embed the idea that your 20’s will be your best years physically…30’s will be when you start showing signs of going downhill….40’s you’ll be a parent with a bigger belly and lots of stories of what you used to be able to do…50’s you’ll be getting ready for retirement and taking up new sports like bowling….and then 60’s will be slowed down to a slow walking pace, careful not to break a hip by falling down for no reason…and then 70’s/80’s/90’s – if you make it that far – will be one long period of life in slow motion and physical weakness. Let’s be honest, that is what most people think…or more to the point…that is the reality for most people. And so much so that it’s a kind of an invisible punishment that has been accepted as unavoidable. Like the people who live in that region in Bangladesh which is the rainiest place in the world. They get more rain than dry weather in a year, which means that each week perhaps 4days are raining and 3 are dry. Well, even if I’m exaggerating (which i dont think i am actually) the fact is that these people have come to graciously accept the inevitability that when they wake up each morning, it will probably be raining…and stay raining for much of the day. They’ll have to listen to that sound of rain pounding a tin roof, and in order not to go insane they’ll have to get to the point where it doesn’t seem so bad.

And i believe that is what most of us do with health and fitness. In a kind of unspoken acceptance we recognise that the ‘good times’ physically will be late teens, early twenties, and possibly as late as early 30’s if we are pretty keen fitness enthusiasts. But deep down most of our population has accepted the fact that it is downhill from their…pretty much how i described it.  (And if I’m wrong about that, why is it that I look around and the evidence is very much that way). Most of the guys I played competitive sports with at university are becoming fathers and running business and no matter how competitive and skillful they may still be in sport…they have probably already started to accept that physical decline as if it were inevitable. (no offence chaps! 🙂

Yes, average age expectancy has gone up, but if the truth be told I think my summary rings true. Professional footballers are still considered ‘past it’ at 33, the average person in their 40’s who still exercises is still not a scratch on the physical condition he/she had when they were 21. And most people in their 50’s are not fit and not strong anymore.

And so as ‘the Dragan’ makes his appearance at the bodypower expo again this year and talks about his approach to fitness, it is as someone who has done it differently. Someone who has lead the way in smashing those assumptions of what it means to be at various decades of your life. Last night he helped co-teach my Hour of Power class in Slough NuYuu Fitness club, and with ease held an agonising 3minute isometric squat, then 200 continuous squats at a good pace…then the rest of the upper body workout which is beyond most people. I have become so used to seeing this over the years that regardless of his numerical age, I absolutely expect nothing less of him. In fact when the day comes that my dad tells me his age as a reason he cant do something or is slowing down, i think i’ll write it down as a major landmark. Without a hint of sarcasm, I fully expect that if my dad lives to be 100, he’ll be a 100year old guy doing 100squats and 100dumbell lifts for breakfast on his 100th birthday.

And I suppose my point is this… It’s not like a kid in the playground shouting ‘my dad is better than yours!’ 🙂  In fact we have as many father/son issues as most people do and I dont agree with all his life philosophies or choices. BUT, when it comes to what this life is meant to look like physically – he completely changed my view of what is normal…what is possible…what I should expect from life.

Sometimes it takes one person to change your view of life and what’s possible. To smash down assumptions and open up completely new ideas. (maybe there are places on earth where it doesn’t rain every day1)  Maybe You thought life had to be one way, and then you see someone doing something in their life and you realise, ‘oh…so it doesn’t have to be that way!’

My dad did that for me in fitness. He has made it so that I expect to be at my physical peak in my 50’s. Not ‘still doing pretty well for my age’, but perhaps genuinely at my physical peak aged 50! I say ‘genuinely’ because the only reason i can say it is that I saw my own father reach his physical best age 50…when he was working in Dubai. So it’s not like someone hoping to win the lottery – it’s really a simple case of using the same principles he did to achieve the same thing. And that’s brilliant. I have another 20-30 years of knowing i can potentially be as fit and healthy as i am now…and maybe more?

It would be great to destroy that notion that it’s a long downhill after our 20’s.  How about this instead… From the age where we are fully grown and developed, it’s a long, long period of great health and fitness and strength…and then we die!

I think I prefer that option

Posted in Rajko's Blog | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Enter the Dragan

  1. rita knipe says:

    Hi Rajko,
    I always enjoy reading your blog but today it really hit home with me. Robin Mc Graw wrote a book What’s age got to do with it? I think its got a lot to do of how you think about age, when your’e in your sixties and you think your’e old then you are going to feel old.
    At the age of 62 I feel better than thirty years ago. Now that my sons are grown up I have more time for myself and it helps if you are young at heart.
    Thanks to you I am now much fitter than i’ve been in a long time.
    I received my HOP dvd in Dec last year and I am on 2kg weights now.
    Keep up the good work and may God bless you.

    Ps I love your music (I have your album and Ep) and hope there will be more soon.

  2. pbrown74 says:

    This resonates with me….fitness has been something which I have struggled to incorporate into my life until very recently (I’ve been doing Hour of Power 6 days a week for 6 weeks, think I’ve caught the fitness bug!) but it’s a part of my routine now. My 3 kids know that I need space and time to work out each day – I want them to think that exercise is as normal & essential as brushing teeth or eating.

    I really want to be their fitness inspiration. I want them to see me reaching for my limits and inspire them to do the same.

    At age 36, I feel better than I did at 20, I hope to keep this trend going and be a really super fit 60 year old just like your dad 🙂

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