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The 5 Biggest Barriers to Fitness Over 40 – How to Get Your Groove Back!

What makes an experienced woman? Time. Like a good wine, it is complex. Full of surprises. Life experience has taught her that she does not define herself by her chronological age. If you are an experienced woman, you know that your health is your most valuable asset. You know that the best gift you can give to the world is a healthy ME – 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 that you played in your 20’s and 30’s. Maybe you can’t lose weight as easily as you used to. The same workouts don’t produce the same results. Every woman over 40 knows that feeling of frustration when she’s gained a few pounds or can’t exercise as hard as she used to. A busy lifestyle makes healthy eating and exercise even more difficult. Although we are not all the same and every woman has different needs and issues related to her personal health, every woman needs to exercise and adopt healthy eating habits. I’ve identified 5 of the biggest hurdles to staying fit after age 40 – and how to overcome them. I want you to question your beliefs about food, exercise, and your looks. Get to know your individual “factory settings” and how to stay fit and healthy naturally and intuitively. Staying fit doesn’t mean feeling bad. It’s about feeling strong.

And have fun – without stressing over every fork of food or every minute on the treadmill. Remember, you become what you believe! Be the beautiful, experienced woman you are – it’s the spice that makes the dish!

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Barrier 1: The Cookie Cutter Syndrome

Your body has specific factory settings that are unique to you. What you may not know is that your body naturally wants you to be at your optimal weight (not Jessica Alba’s or Angelina Jolie’s) as long as you don’t fight it. All you have to do is reacquaint yourself with you and stop using diet and exercise programs that don’t address your specific needs! Yes, it might be harder to lose or maintain your weight once you hit your forties and fifties, but by understanding how your individual body works, you can achieve 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 sheds its old shell and forms new shells over its lifetime, you have the power to shed old images of your body and embrace who you are right now—without hitting yourself over it. Start paying attention to your body. follow his wisdom. You are neither doomed to being overweight nor to a long-term diet. Once you accept the body you were born with, you can return to your unique, normal weight—just as nature intended. What I strongly resist is the endless pressure to be SKINNY. That’s a big part of the problem. Data from some treatment centers show a steady increase in eating disorders among women over 40. We are all different. Some bodies are meant to be soft and curvy. Others are naturally sharp and angular. That’s the beauty of diversity. Embracing and loving the unique beauty of your body will set you free and give you confidence and power!

Barrier 2: Watch your metabolism

Diet is important for metabolism. Everyone knows the word “metabolism,” but not many know what it means. You probably know someone who can eat anything they want without gaining weight. Well, if you think some people are just born with a robust metabolism… that’s a myth!

The truth is, you are not the victim of your metabolism – you are Creator your metabolism. There is no secret. Food is simply energy. Your body needs energy to function. Food in the form of protein, carbohydrates and fat are your main sources of energy (calories). Take in more energy from these than you need, and your body stores it as fat. So fat loss is all about energy balance. Easy right? You need to eat smarter, not less. When you restrict calorie intake below the minimum amount of energy required to fuel your nervous system, your body thinks it’s starving. When this happens, not only does your body burn muscle for fuel, it actually slows down your metabolism in the process.

When you lose muscle, you lower your metabolism. Lose the “eat less, weigh less” mindset. Restricting your calories guarantees you a slower metabolism. The act of eating HEALTHY — which causes your body to process the supporting 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 bets you either don’t know or don’t want to believe. But if you’ve tried to lose weight with some kind of fad diet in the past and you’ve gained it back and more then you know what I mean. I know you probably think that in order to lose weight permanently you have to diet forever. But nothing could be further from the truth. With rare exceptions, most people were born with normal-weight bodies. But then we learned to diet instead of eating intuitively. Dieting causes the body to go into survival mode, that is, starve. Dieting signals your body to be deprived and ignites a biological drive to prime the body to maximize food intake and minimize energy burned in order to save itself. Making the best food choices is your secret weapon in your 40+ fitness quest. Supportive eating will help you boost your metabolism, burn more fat, and dramatically increase your energy. The goal here is to be FIT, HEALTHY, and look good for YOUR body type.

Believe it or not, good nutrition is so powerful! And you can change your eating habits (or lack of eating habits) bit by bit. Aim for at least one healthy choice each day and support more than the day before. Aim for 2-3 improvements each week. These small dietary changes will quickly add up amazing results when you gain control of 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 need some variations of each. Many customers complain that they take 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 apology. “My life is just messy enough! I don’t have time!” Well, you don’t need much time – but you will need some. And if a healthy lifestyle is important to you, you need to commit to it. But the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it. So what are they? Cardio exercise increases your metabolism, allowing you to burn more energy 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 pang of binge, take a short walk or jog. Pay attention to how you feel after your workout. Your hunger will decrease or disappear altogether. Cardiovascular training, resistance training, and flexibility exercises will help you lose excess weight that puts stress on your joints. They strengthen joints and stretch muscles, reducing your risk of injury in your daily activities.

Barrier 5: Leave your goals to chance

As a personal trainer, I see many clients grab their weights and buckle up their running shoes before they know exactly what they’re trying to achieve. My advice to them and to you is: Don’t leave anything to chance. Research shows that writing down your health and fitness goals makes them 95% easier to achieve. The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you are to 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 surefire way to do it. Unrealistic expectations undermine your efforts and make it harder 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 movement, the most common excuse cards played are the queen of not enough time and the ace of not comfortable. You will always be busy. And it’s a lot easier to sit with a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream than jog to the corner or crunch on an exercise ball. But the truth is – they are not valid excuses. You don’t have to go to the gym and you can work out 30 minutes a day. For years, I’ve worked out either in the morning before work or at night after the kids have gone to bed with nothing but a couple of exercise videos, some dumbbells, and an exercise bench I bought from Goodwill for $5.

Start right where you are. If you can’t (or can’t) take the time to do this FOR YOU, maybe the problem isn’t that you’re pressed for time. Perhaps your life has gotten too much out of control and the question is now becoming priorities. Your health and well-being should be at the top of the list! You can start with minimal equipment and space. It’s easy and inexpensive! The best advice I can give you is START EASY. Start moving. fidgeting! Have you ever noticed those slim, hummingbird-like people? Well, studies show that it’s not some mysterious food substance, cell or hormone that causes these people to burn fat like an iron skillet – it’s exercise. Obviously it’s not THAT simple, but it’s true, the more you exercise in very subtle ways, the more calories your body burns throughout the day. And that will have more than just subtle positive effects!

  1. balance & flexibility
  2. muscular strength & endurance
  3. body composition
  4. aerobic capacity

Your body composition changes as you age. Weight gain after the age of 40 and especially after the age of 50 is common. The most dangerous type is mid-range due to its proximity to your organs, hence it is the greatest risk for heart disease. The good news is that combining cardio, resistance, and flexibility exercises means that healthy body composition comes naturally! From the age of 35, we lose an average of 5% of muscle mass every ten years – if we don’t do something about it. A side effect of this is weight gain. Unless you intentionally rebuild muscle through exercise and eat the same amount of food (or more) than you ate when you were in your 30s, you will gain weight. Muscle gives us the metabolic ability to burn calories every time we move – whether we’re active or at rest. Muscle is constantly feeding on calories, even when you’re lying on the couch with the remote control in hand.

Thanks to Robin Stephens

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