How to get fit and lose weight after you hit the big 40
All I did was make a simple mark on a piece of paper with a cheap biro pen. We all do this regularly without even thinking about it. But this time was different. On this occasion, this sobering, life changing occasion, that ‘x’ on the paper was no longer in the box labelled ‘35-39’.
That’s right I had made the transition into my 40s. I suddenly became aware of my own mortality and that changes needed to be made because I was scared. I was about to have one of those proverbial things…a mid life crisis.
One of the biggest fears for those of us over the age of 40 is the onset of declining fitness and the emergence of the Dad bod. Lockdown isn’t helping either. The fridge has become everyone’s ‘friend’ and less movement throughout the day means you have a battle ahead of you.
But this is no longer the case. You don’t have to throw in the towel on the life goals you have been debating on for the last decade. More people over the age of 40 recognise that they can get into shape, it just might take a bit more work than it would have a few years back.
So here is how you can get fit and lose weight whilst in your 40s.
1. Take it easy
If you are relatively new to training, you are going to want to take things slowly to start with. Don’t overdo it in the early stages as there is a good chance this will put you off doing more in the future. Low impact, low intensity to kick things off and then build it up from there.
Don’t ignore yoga, meditation or Pilates, not only as a calorie burner but also as a way to lower stress. In turn less stress should equal better choices so less bad food, less booze, more sleep all of which should help you achieve your goals faster.
2. Seek professional help
Get the help of people who know what they are talking about. Try and avoid listening to the folks down the pub as to what new cabbage based diet is a sure fire way to reduce the waist line. When chatting with a personal trainer, look for reviews and real life testimonials of people they have helped. Make sure listen to your goals and not just hit you with a one size fits all plan. With lock down still very much upon us, this can easily be achieved over video conferencing.
This is also true if you feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It is important that you address these issues as much as any others and there is plenty of services out there to help.
3. Time to recover
Recovery should not be ignored and should be made part of any fitness program. I am sorry to have to break it to you but as you get older, it will take you longer to recover.
Old injuries, less muscle, less elasticity in the joints and many other factors play a key role in this. As this recent article in Men’s Health clearly stated, no recovery, no benefit.
4. The tortoise and the hare
The good news is that research and studies have shown that whilst you may not be able to PB your 100m sprint time in your latter years, running performance can keep improving up the age of 50. Other endurance sports like triathlons, lost distance cycling and ultra marathons can see peak performance into your mid 40s and show little decline even after the ager of 50. Here a few races and events to whet your appetite;
5. Don’t ignore your weight (or weights to be exact)
Whilst science is not our strong point, we do know that testosterone levels play a major part in your ability to burn fat and muscle mass. Sadly, your levels of testosterone will be decreasing as you advance in years and so do what you can to hold onto as much as you can. Weight lifting is one way to do this. The Telegraph believes that ‘lifting is the new running for dad bods’
This doesn’t have to be at a fancy shiny gym either. Your garage, your living room or your garden can be the ideal place to shift some tin.
6. Moderation is key
This rule applies to your diet, training, posting on social media about your most recent parkrun time, how much lycra you wear or how much you talk about your new found healthy way of life to your friends. Keep it in moderation.
Don’t let it take over everything you do and focus on the small changes you can make that will make a long term difference. Choose long term healthy eating over rapid weight loss through fad diets.
7. Stay SMART
Remember to keep it real. You ain’t going from fat ass to 5k to ironman in a couple months. There is no harm in setting yourself an ambitious goal so you have something to aim for but be realistic about how long it will take you to get there. Then break it down into a series of achievable goals that when put together, will get you where you want to be.