The 5 Biggest Barriers to Fitness Over 40 – How to Get Your Groove Back!
What makes a seasoned woman? Time. Like a good wine, she’s complex. Full of surprises. Life experience has taught her that she is not defined by her chronological age. If you’re a seasoned woman you know your health is your most precious asset. You know that the best gift you can present to the world is a healthy YOU – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
But if you’re over 40 and especially if you’re over 45, you’ve probably realized that keeping fit and healthy isn’t the same game you played in your 20’s and 30’s. Maybe you can’t lose weight as easily as you once did. The same workouts aren’t producing the same results. Every woman over 40 knows that feeling of frustration when she’s gained a few extra pounds, or of not being able to work out as intensely as she once did. Busy lifestyles make healthy eating and exercising even more challenging. While we’re not all the same, and every woman has different needs and issues relating to their personal health – every woman needs to exercise and embrace healthy eating habits. I’ve identified 5 of the biggest barriers to staying fit after age 40 – and how you can overcome them. I want you to challenge your beliefs about eating, exercising, and how you look. Learn your individual “factory settings” and how you can naturally and intuitively stay fit and healthy. Staying fit isn’t about feeling bad. It’s about feeling strong.
And having fun – not stressing about every forkful of food or every minute on the treadmill. Remember, you become what you believe! Be the beautiful, seasoned woman you are – it’s the spice that makes the dish!
Barrier 1: The cookie cutter syndrome
Your body has specific factory settings that are unique to you. What you may not know is your body naturally wants to take you to your optimum weight (not Jessica Alba’s or Angelina Jolie’s) as long as you don’t fight it. You just have to reacquaint yourself with you and stop using cookie cutter diet and exercise programs that don’t address YOUR special needs!Yes, it might be harder to lose or maintain your weight once you hit your forties and fifties, but when you understand how your individual body works, you can get results faster and maintain them easier.
You’ll look great and feel even better. Take off your clothes and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Like a lobster that discards its old shell and grows new shells throughout its lifetime, you have the power to throw off old images of your body and embrace who you are right now – without beating yourself up about it. Start paying attention to your body. Follow its wisdom. You are not doomed to either being overweight or to being on a perpetual diet. Once you accept the body you were born with, you can return to your unique, normal weight – as nature intended. What I’m strenuously against is the endless pressure to be THIN. That’s a huge part of the problem. The data from some treatment centers shows a steady increase in eating disorders in women over the age of 40. We’re all different. Some bodies are meant to be soft and curvy. Others are naturally sharp and angular. That’s the beauty of diversity. Accepting and loving the unique beauty of your body will set you free and give you confidence and power!
Barrier 2: Minding Your Metabolism
Nutrition is essential to metabolism. Everyone is familiar with the word “metabolism”, but not a lot of people know what it means. You probably know someone who can eat anything they want and not gain weight. Well if you believe some people are just born with robust metabolism….it’s a myth!
The truth is, you are not the victim of your metabolism – you are the creator of your metabolism. There’s no mystery. Food is simply energy.Your body requires energy to function. Food in the form of protein, carbohydrates and fat are your main sources of energy (calories). Take in more energy than you need from any of these and your body will store it as fat. So fat loss is all about energy balance. Simple, right? You need to eat smarter, not less. When you restrict calories below the minimal amount of energy required to feed your nervous system, your body thinks it is starving. When this happens, not only does your body burn muscle for fuel, but while doing so, your body is actually slowing down your metabolism.
When you lose muscle, you are lowering your metabolism. Lose the mindset: “eat less, weigh less.” Restricting your calories will guarantee you a slower metabolism. The act of HEALTHY eating – which is prompting your body to process the supportive foods frequently – guarantees a faster metabolism. A faster metabolism means your body becomes a fat burning machine.
Barrier 3: Diet Addiction Diets don’t work.
The health and fitness industry is banking on the fact that you either don’t know this or won’t believe it. But if you’ve tried to lose weight in the past on any kind of fad diet and you’ve gained the weight back and then some, you know what I mean. I know, you’re probably thinking you have to be on a diet forever to have any kind of permanent weight loss. But nothing could be further from the truth. With rare exceptions, most people were born into normal weight bodies. But then we learned to diet instead of eating intuitively. Dieting causes the body to go into survival mode, i.e., starvation. Dieting signals deprivation to your body and sparks a biological drive to prime the body to maximize food intake and minimize energy burned to save itself. Making the best food choices is your secret weapon in the quest for over 40 fitness. Eating supportively will help you boost your metabolism, burn more fat and increase your energy dramatically. The goal here is to be FIT and HEALTHY and look great for YOUR body type.
Believe it or not, good nutrition is that powerful! And you can change your eating (or lack of eating) habits bite by little bite. Aim for at least one healthy choice each day and more supportive than the day before. Go for 2-3 improvements each week. Making these small nutritional changes will quickly add up to amazing results as you gain control over your metabolism.
Barrier 4: Ignoring the Fab 4
There are 4 essential components of fitness . If you want to get fit and avoid injury, you’ll need some variations of all of them. Many clients complain about taking the time to stretch or just want to do cardio without weight training or weight training without cardio. You need them ALL. So here comes the excuse. “My life is chaotic enough right now! I don’t have time!” Well, you don’t need a lot of time – but you will need some. And if living a healthy lifestyle is important to you, you’ll have to make a commitment. But the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it. So what are they? Cardio exercise increases your metabolism so that you burn energy at a higher rate than if you weren’t exercising. It reduces your appetite by turning on your sympathetic nervous system. This activates your “fight or flight” response . What does that mean? Try this:
The next time you feel a twinge to binge, take a quick walk or jog. Notice how you feel after you workout. Your hunger will lessen or disappear altogether. Cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and flexibility exercises will help you lose extra weight that stresses out your joints. You’ll strengthen the joints and elongate the muscles which reduce your risk of injury in your day to day activities.
Barrier 5: Leaving Your Goals to Chance
As a personal trainer, I see many clients grabbing their weights and strapping on their running shoes before they know exactly what it is they want to achieve. My advice to them and to you is – Leave Nothing to Chance. Research shows that writing down your health and fitness goals makes them 95% more achievable. The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you will do what is necessary to get it. First, check your expectations. Are your goals reasonable? While it would be nice to lose 20 pounds in 7 days, there is no safe way to make that happen. Unrealistic expectations undermine your efforts and make it difficult to stay on track. Look beyond the obvious. Set goals that can be measured with something other than a bathroom scale – like lowering your blood pressure by 10 points or increasing the distance you can walk or jog. When it comes to exercise, the most common excuse cards that get played are the queen of “not enough time” and the ace of “not convenient”. You’ll always be busy. And it’s much easier to sit with a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream than to jog to the corner or do crunches on a stability ball. But the truth is – they aren’t valid excuses. You don’t have to go to the gym, and you can carve out 30 minutes a day to work out. For years I exercised either first thing in the morning before work or at night after the kids went to bed with nothing except a couple of exercise videos, a few hand weights and a workout bench I bought at Goodwill for 5 bucks.
Start right where you are. If you don’t (or can’t) make time to do this FOR YOU, perhaps the problem isn’t the fact that you’re time crunched. Perhaps your life has gotten too out of control and the question now becomes priorities. Your health and well being should be at the top of the list! You can get started with minimal equipment and space. It’s easy and inexpensive! The best advice I can give you is JUST GET STARTED. Start moving. Fidget! Ever notice those slim, hummingbird type people? Well, studies show that it isn’t a mysterious food substance, cell, or hormone that makes these folks burn up fat like an iron frying pan – it’s movement. Obviously, it’s not THAT simple, but it is true that the more you move, in very subtle ways, the more calories your body will burn throughout the day. And that will have more than subtle positive effects!
- Balance & Flexibility
- Muscular Strength & Endurance
- Body Composition
- Aerobic Capacity
Your body composition shifts as you age. Weight gain after 40 and especially after age 50 is very common. The most dangerous type is around the mid-section because of its proximity to your organs, so it’s the greatest risk for heart disease. The good news is that the combination of cardio, resistance training and flexibility exercises means that a healthy body composition will take care of itself! We lose an average of 5% of muscle mass every ten years after the age of 35 – if we don’t do anything about it. A side effect of this is weight gain. If you don’t intentionally rebuild muscle through exercise, and you’re eating the same amount of food (or more) you ate when you were in your 30’s – you’ll gain. Muscle gives us the metabolic ability to burn calories EVERY time we move – whether we’re active or at rest. Muscles constantly feed on calories even when you’re lying on the couch with the remote in your hand.