Complete Book – (PDF)


This is the PDF version of the complete Masters Athlete book »

As athletes grow older, their bodies respond differently to exercise. This book by Dr Peter Reaburn — sports scientist and self-confessed crazy competitive masters athlete — addresses an area previously ignored: how to keep a competitive edge and slow the inevitable age-related decline in performance.

The book guides readers through approaches to eating, recovering, and training that are based on sound science.

Chapter 1: The Aging Process and Keys to Successful Aging

Ever wondered why you age? Or why exercise not only adds life to your years and years to your life? This chapter looks at the ‘big picture’ of aging but presents in detail the 10 secrets science has unlocked to aging successfully.Topics include:

  • The reasons we age
  • Aging, fitness and longevity
  • Aging, fitness and quality of life
  • The health benefits of being a masters athlete
  • Is weight training better than endurance training?
  • The 10 key strategies science has shown keep us young.

Chapter 2: Age-Related Declines in Performance and Implications for Training

This chapter discusses the reasons for the age-related declines in speed, strength, power and endurance. More importantly, it presents the ways science suggests to prevent or slow these declines.Topics include:

  • Aging and physical activity levels
  • Childhood activity and its relationship to adult activity
  • Performance declines with aging
  • The scientific reasons for performance declines and their implications for training

Chapter 3: Medical Screening and the Masters Athlete

Masters athletes place very high value on their health. This chapter examines in detail what the world’s leading sports medicine agencies say about the health and medical screening of masters athletes. It includes a self-screening quiz.Topics include:

  • What a doctor should be checking for in screening masters athletes
  • A self-administered screening test for masters athletes
  • Risks of exercise

Chapter 4: The Principles of Training the Masters Athlete

Athletes both old and young from any event in any sport needs to train using the same principles. This chapter examines these principles in detail and crucially relates them to the aging athlete.Topics include:

  • The principles of training any athlete
  • The principles of training masters athletes
  • Stretching guidelines and principles
  • Periodising your training

Chapter 5: Coaching the Masters Athlete

Coaches of masters athletes need to know the motivations and barriers to training masters athletes. Importantly, a smart coach needs to understand the physiological changes that occur with aging and their implications for coaching masters athletes.Topics include:

  • Reasons masters athletes train
  • Barriers to adults involvement in exercise
  • Training practices of masters athletes
  • Problems faced by coaches of masters athletes
  • Physiological changes with aging and their implications for coaching masters athletes
  • Safety guidelines for older exercisers
  • Pre-participation screening guidelines for masters athletes

Chapter 6: Endurance Development for the Masters Athlete

This chapter examines the factors affecting endurance development and how these factors are influenced by aging. More importantly, the chapter discusses in detail the methods to maximise endurance development in the masters athlete.Topics include:

  • Factors influencing endurance ability in athletes
  • Physiological factors related to successful endurance performance
  • Training techniques for endurance development
  • Methods of determining maximum heart rate
  • Hear rate training zones to maximise endurance
  • Measuring training intensity in endurance athletes
  • Methods of determining anaerobic threshold
  • The importance of interval training for masters athletes
  • What science says about pacing races
  • What science says about concurrent sprint, strength and endurance training
  • Periodising endurance training

Chapter 7: Strength and Power Training for the Masters Athlete

The major declines with age are in the strength and power of muscles. This chapter examines in detail the methods of developing strength and power in masters athletes. Moreover, it presents in detail the variables (exercises, sets, repetitions etc) a masters athlete needs to develop their own strength and power training program.Topics include:

  • Performance and health benefits of strength training
  • Methods to determine 1 RM (Repetition Maximum)
  • Strength training methods
  • Variables in a strength training program
  • Designing your own strength training program
  • Developing muscle mass in masters athletes – a vital training method
  • Developing muscle power in masters athletes
  • Strength training aids for athletes
  • Minimising injury in the getting strong
  • Warm-up methods for weight training
  • Women and weight training
  • The best books to buy on strength and power training

Chapter 8: Speed and Power Development in the Masters Athlete

This chapter examines the factors affecting acceleration and speed as we age as athletes. It examines the general guidelines and specific training methods for developing acceleration, speed and power in masters athletes.Topics include:

  • The relationship between speed, strength and power
  • Factors affecting acceleration and speed
  • Methods for developing speed and power
  • Training principles for developing speed
  • Phases of speed training
  • Pliometric training techniques
  • Periodisation speed training
  • Planning your own speed and power training program
  • The best books to buy on speed and power training

Chapter 9: Developing Flexibility in Masters Athletes

The age-related factors affecting flexibility are examined in detail. The principles of flexibility training as well as the negative impact stretching can have before sprint and power events. Some of the world’s best resources are presented to enable a masters athlete from any sport to develop their own stretching program.Topics include:

  • Types of flexibility training
  • The benefits of flexibility training
  • Factors affecting flexibility
  • The effects of aging on flexibility
  • Principles of flexibility training
  • Safe stretching
  • Stretching No-Nos
  • Why we shouldn’t stretch just before sprints
  • The best books to buy on flexibility training

Chapter 10: Periodisation and Peaking for the Masters Athlete

Most masters athletes train without a coach. This chapter examines in detail the range of methods science and practice have shown to put a training program together to maximise speed, strength, power, endurance and team performance. The scientific principles behind peaking and tapering are presented in a way to allow you to develop your own peaking plan.Topics include:

  • Planning the training season
  • Progression principles for a training season
  • Macro-, meso- and microcyle planning
  • Planning and structuring the training session
  • Periodising a masters team player’s season
  • Periodising strength training for masters athletes
  • Periodising endurance training for masters athletes
  • Periodising speed training for masters athletes
  • What science says about the best way to taper and peak

Chapter 11: Exercising in the Heat and Cold

Aging affects our ability to handle both heat and cold. But are masters athletes affected the same way? This chapter examines what science has to say on these topics. More importantly, this chapter presents the practical ways a masters athlete can train and compete in either hot or cold conditions.Topics include:

  • Understanding the physiology or exercising in heat and cold
  • Aging and exercise in the heat
  • What science says about masters athletes exercising in the heat
  • Preventing heat injuries in masters athletes
  • Aging and exercise in the cold
  • Cold water swimming
  • Preventing cold injuries in masters athletes

Chapter 12: Injury Prevention and Management for the Masters Athlete

This chapter examines what science has to say about the causes of sports injuries in masters athletes. Crucially, the chapter discusses the effects of age on healing and treating injuries as well as the factors to consider in preventing injuries including gut upsets, muscle cramps, stitches and muscle soreness.Topics include:

  • Rates and risks of injuries in masters athletes
  • Injury, healing and aging – what does the research say?
  • Treatment considerations for masters athletes
  • The correct rehabilitation protocol for injuries
  • Medications and masters athletes
  • Drug testing and masters athletes
  • Gut upsets in athletes
  • Side-stitches in athletes
  • Muscle cramps in athletes
  • Muscle soreness in athletes
  • Injury prevention strategies for masters athletes
  • Best websites in the world for injury prevention and management

Chapter 13: Overtraining and the Masters Athlete

How can a masters athlete tell if they are training too much? This chapter examines in detail the medical and non-medical signs and symptoms of overtraining. Crucially, practical tips based on science are presented to prevent overtraining.Topics include:

  • What science says about the signs and symptoms of overtraining
  • Causes of overtraining
  • Treatment of overtraining
  • How far can we push ourselves?
  • Practical tips on preventing overtraining

Chapter 14: Staying Healthy and Illness-Free

The effects of both and age and training on the immune system are presented. More importantly, practical tips on how to boost our immune system are presented. For the compulsive trainers who ask the question ‘should I train when I’m sick?’, a simple ‘neck check’ is presented.Topics include:

  • The effects of aging on the immune system
  • The effects of exercise on the immune system
  • Ways to boost the immune system in athletes
  • Curing the common cold in athletes
  • To train or not to train – use the “Neck Check”
  • Preventing fatigue in athletes

Chapter 15: Recovery Strategies for the Masters Athlete

Training hard means recovering even harder! The principles of recovery are presented in detail. More importantly, this chapter presents the specific protocols for the scientifically-proven recovery methods that work for athletes.Topics include:

  • Barriers to effective recovery in masters athletes
  • Recovery and aging
  • Principles of recovery training
  • Types of recovery training
  • The top 5 recovery strategies science says work in athletes
  • The specific protocols and exact methods of these recovery strategies
  • Training twice a day – how to maximise recovery

Chapter 16: Nutrition for the Masters Athlete

This chapter will be the most read chapter in the book. It discusses in detail the effect of aging on carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamin and mineral, fluid and energy needs in masters athletes. The chapter examines the effect of both chronic disease and medications on these nutrients. Crucially, the scientifically-proven guidelines to maximise both health and sports performance are presented.Topics include:

  • Energy requirements of masters athletes
  • Carbohydrate needs of masters athletes
  • Fat needs of masters athletes
  • Protein needs of masters athletes
  • Vitamin and mineral needs of masters athletes
  • Which nutrients benefit health and prevent chronic disease?
  • The effects of medications on nutrients
  • Supplementation needs of masters athletes
  • A dietary quiz for masters athletes – are you getting enough?
  • The glycemic index (GI) and masters athletes
  • Pre-event nutrition strategies
  • During event nutrition strategies
  • After-event nutrition strategies
  • Best websites in the world for sports nutrition

Chapter 17: Weight Control and the Masters Athlete

Most masters athletes battle weight! This chapter examines the effect of age on daily energy expenditure and the many factors that affect it. The chapter presents what science says about both the common and ‘fad’ diets. Crucially, the proven GOWADA principles of athletes losing weight is presented as are what science has shown to be the most effective way for some masters athletes to gain weight if needed.Topics include:

  • Body fat and normal aging
  • Body fat and masters athletes
  • Factors affecting daily energy intake
  • Factors affecting daily energy expenditure
  • Estimating your own energy intake and expenditure
  • Safe weight loss strategies for masters athletes
  • Determining your own goal weight
  • What science says about common weight loss methods
  • Exercise prescription for fat loss
  • The science of gaining weight in athletes

Chapter 18: Performance-Enhancing Supplements and the Masters Athlete

This chapter examines in detail the dosages and protocols scientific research on athletes has proven works to enhance sports performance, enhance recovery, and prevent overtraining and illness. It also examines those widely-marketed supplements that have NO benefit to athletes.Topics include:

  • Harmful supplements
  • Safe and effective supplements that cause problems in high doses
  • Highly marketed supplements with no benefits for athletes
  • Supplements with possible benefits for athletes
  • Safe and effective supplements for athletes
  • How to determine if a supplement is safe and / or effective
  • Best websites in the world for checking a supplement

Chapter 19: The Female Masters Athlete

This chapter examines in detail what effect the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause has on performance. More importantly, it presents guidelines on how female athletes can both train smart and maximise their performance based around the changes that occur during these stages in life.Topics include:

  • Female masters athletes and barriers to training
  • The effects of the menstrual cycle on performance
  • Menstrual irregularities in female athletes
  • Exercise principles around menopause
  • Exercise principles for the menopausal woman
  • Hormone replacement therapy and the masters athlete
  • Principles of training for the pregnant athlete
  • Contraindications for the pregnant athlete
  • Nutritional concerns for the female athlete
  • Best websites in the world for female master athletes

Masters Athlete Book


As athletes grow older, their bodies respond differently to exercise. This book by Dr Peter Reaburn—sports scientist and self-confessed crazy competitive masters athlete—addresses an area previously ignored: how to keep a competitive edge and slow the inevitable age-related decline in performance.