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Defy The Odds, Fitness Tips For You At 40!

Fitness-Health

Defy The Odds, Fitness Tips For You At 40!

I have put off writing this piece for about a month, why? First of all i can’t believe I actually turned 40 in February and second I’ve had this niggling pain in my knee for about a month so I have been feeling like crap and have trained very little. However the show must go on folks, so today’s piece is dedicated to everybody who has joined the big 40 club in the last couple of years or are about to. Now life really does begin at 40 folks, you better believe it! However in my mind I am still only 22 regardless of what my creaking knee says!

There are a lot of people out there who have given up on their dreams of looking and feeling their best, regardless of age, are you one of them? You are married, with children, in the middle of a successful and growing career or business and neglecting the hell out of your body. I know what you are saying, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad right? Maybe, but 4 out of 4 is definitely better. To get the best out of your body is really simple; the devil is in the execution and dedication to consistency. The secret about being fit and 40 and hence fit forever is to make little incremental adjustments in your exercise and lifestyle choices over time, nothing too drastic overnight. I am a living testimony to that, I am slimmer, stronger and fitter at 40 than I ever was at 30 or even 25, and I intend to stay that way, what about you?

Today’s piece will give you a few very simple tips on how to defy the odds, stay the course and have the body of your dreams, whatever your age.

Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend!

  1. MAKE THE COMMITMENT:

A lot of people want to be fit, healthy and strong. We see those with the perfect six pack, biceps and thighs and we wish to be like them, and that’s the problem we wish! Wishes are for things that we believe we cant have. You need to stop that! Stop saying “I wish my stomach could be that flat, or I wish I could work out” this implies some form of impossibility and sets you up for failure. Whatever your age, you can achieve fitness all its going to take is commitment and the currency of commitment is time. Guys, you didn’t get that spectacular 6 month pregnancy/beer belly in 2 weeks and you will not lose it in 2 weeks. This leads to the next point.

  1. HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS:

On your fitness journey at 40 you need to dampen your expectations in 2 respects; your ability to perform and the time it takes. Now you are born again, primed and ready to take your body back from the ravages of time. You hit the gym hard and train like a teenage and guess what? You hurt your shoulder so bad that you need to rest for a few weeks, months…., before you know it, you are done! What happened? Well you committed the sin of unrealistic expectations, you tried to do too much too soon and your body rebelled. Your body is capable of great feats of strength and endurance, but you have to coax it up to speed gradually. Don’t mind the muscle bound freaks in every gym, they have age on their side, and you need to be tactical in your training to avoid injury. Like I said earlier you didn’t lose your muscles overnight and you will not rebuild them overnight, give yourself 3 months to get into good condition, 6 months to see improvements and a year to see massive gains!

                                                                                                             Photo: HitchFit.com

  1. AVOID TRENDY DIETS:

Diets annoy me and I avoid them like the plague! Some do work if properly followed, the key word being properly. Most people ignorantly follow fad diets to lose weight quickly, the 40 crowd is very guilty of this due to time and metabolism constraints, we want the weight off and we want it now! Hold you horses okay? Like I said, some diets do work, i.e. the ketogenic diet (more on this next week) as for the rest, I have my doubts. Now, you can spot a fad diet by its trendy name or concept, promises of results that seem too good to be true and blaming weight gain on a single factor or food. Let’s be clear, if you eat it in moderation, no single food alone will cause you weight gain or weight loss. Another reason I am against fad diets is that they demonise particular foods or food groups, limit your choice and are not just sustainable, hence they fail ultimately.

To be fit at 40, what you should do diet wise, is to focus on food knowledge and control not drastic elimination. What am I saying? Don’t be lazy, educate yourself! Know which carbohydrates are good and bad for you, which fats to eat or avoid and the correct quantity for your body weight and activity levels. The most basic dietary program is at times the best. Try the 40/30/30 macronutrient breakdown. That is; 40% of your calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from fats.

  1. CARDIO IS A TOOL, WEIGHTS ARE A WEAPON:

I am going to let you in on an open secret, you want to burn fat? Lift weights, you want to build strength and muscle? Lift weights, you want strong bones? Lift weights!! As the title implies cardio is a tool to build your foundation at 40, but to attack your weak points or defend your strong points you need a real weapon, and that is weight training. If you are overweight, then spending the first few months of your new life on the treadmill, bicycle, jogging or skipping is not a bad idea, but for long term gains, muscle is your friend. There is only one way to build muscle and that is lifting weights. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism works and the more fat you burn, even at rest! Muscle also gives you the ability to do work in the gym, ladies especially should lift weights to burn unwanted fat, the older you are the more you need this, don’t be scared about “getting big” I assure you ladies it’s not that easy! To get the best out of both worlds, combine as much lifting as your body can bear with moderate cardio of 20 to 30 minutes per workout session.

  1. THINK LONG TERM:

I am sort of repeating myself here, but the point can never be over emphasized. The reason most people fail in their health and fitness goals is that they think in the short term; new year resolutions, middle age crises etc. to be fit from age 40 to infinity, you need to think long term, you are a starting a journey that ends when you end, nothing is fixed in stone and your mode of transportation will change from time to time. Don’t let your target be a six pack or a dress size; you belittle your abilities with such thinking. Your target should be constant and consistent improvement, a little at a time. Examples include getting faster, stronger, building more muscle. To get there the following tips will help you:

  • Don’t expect miracles, it took time to be out of shape and will take time to get in shape.
  • When you don’t see results adjust your diet or exercise plans and observe, but never adjust both at once.
  • Schedule your workouts for the same time of day, so that you get used to it.
  • Get a training companion with same or similar goals to keep you motivated.

The journey to fitness is never easy, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a lair or trying to sell you something! However it’s worth it, remember that.

 

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