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Monday, 9 February 2009

Over 40 and Staying Fit

Being over 40 years of age doesn't mean you automatically become out of shape.

This all too acceptable in our nation. Countless times have I heard the comments "I'm too old to get in shape" or "I'm too old to have a flat stomach". Most of my clients, when they first come to me, can't look down and see their feet. I usually ask them "What happened? Why did you let yourself get out of shape?" The responses I receive vary but the general consensus is that life took over. I interpret this as working long hours, raising kids, eating poorly and not making time to exercise. I'm grateful they have reached a point where they are fed up with the way they feel, look and have decided that enough is enough.

I've been a personal trainer for 8 yrs and I am 41 yrs old. Some of my best accomplishments have been people in there 40's or 50's whom have lost 80 lbs or more. Of the countless clients I have had only half of them really "get it" meaning they understand what it will take to get in the shape they want to be in. One of my first questions during my initial consults is "What does getting in shape mean to you?" So if you're reading this article then I'm sure you must be over 40 and you are probably interested in losing some weight or "getting in shape". Now I'm asking you, "what does getting in shape mean to you?" Do you understand that it will take time. Do you know that you will get frustrated and want to quit? Do you know you have to put more effort into weight loss than anything else you have ever achieved in your life?

It's true and I don't mean to discourage you but weight loss is challenging, more challenging than earning a promotion at work or earning a higher level of education. Why? It takes changing your the way you are living. You can study all night and eat powered donuts or drink sodas to help keep you awake while earning your master's degree. You can work your way up the corporate ladder and not make time to exercise. When it comes to weight loss you have to change the way you think. You have to change the way you manage your everyday schedule. You have be willing to sacrifice time and money to get in the shape you want. But if you do all of this, if you can change, there is no greater reward! I promise you. First and foremost you must consult with your physician before exercising. Remember we aren't as young as we use to be and there may be some issues that we are not aware of. Once the okay is given, we should begin. We'll need to make sure we have proper exercise gear.

It always amazes me to see some of the highest paid people I know to have some of the worst exercise gear I've ever seen. Please don't pull out your 10 yr old t-shirts and faded cotton shorts to work out in, especially if you are going to the gym. Oh and before I forget, don't even think about using your lawn cutting sneakers to workout in either. The better the gear the better you feel about you so spend some money and get some nice gym gear. That doesn't mean expensive, just nice.

Now that we have our gear we need to have a plan. Do we want to work out in gym, outside or in the privacy of our home? If you decide to go to a gym then we need to brush up on our gym etiquette.
1. Share the equipment.
2. Pick up and wipe down after yourself.
3. Be respectful to the gym beauty's.(their b-friend might be working out next to you and trust me you don't want these guys after you)
4. Wear clean workout gear and makes sure it smells fresh.
5. No loud grunting.
6. Minimize the cell phone usage.

That's just part of having a plan. The next part is an evaluation. If you chose the gym/home gym route you can do a few different tests to see where you are at, physically and design your program from the results. Your tests should include muscular endurance testing, strength testing, and a cardiovascular test. If you chose to just walk or run outside, a timed mile is recommended while monitoring your heart rate. I'll fill you in on the testing in part 2. Have a good evening!

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