Getting old, weak, and frail.
Getting weak and fat.
Getting sick more constantly.
Getting older and sleeping less.
Feeling like trash after eating a huge meal.
These seem to be accepted as the “norm” by many, but why?
While we cannot stop the clock from aging us in years, we can slow down and even reverse everything that comes with it.
As we age, we get busier. We have jobs, kids, more responsibilities, etc. I get it.
But why does this all of a sudden give rise to the idea that gaining weight, getting weak, and having a lower quality of life is part of the path we are meant to walk?
I work with and have worked with, many clients in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s who have improved their overall health by leaps and bounds.
A passive life is a life doomed for suboptimal health and the only person you can truly blame for this decline is yourself. This is the first step to righting the ship. This is not meant to shame you, this is meant to motivate you. You are to accept responsibility for getting yourself to where you are now, and thus you can get yourself out!\
Change is now, and change is good.
1) Accept that your current state, if you don’t like it, is from years of passiveness.
Maybe you got caught up in a job, raising a family, etc. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it is just what probably happened. You let yourself go. The first step is realizing it, and deciding that today is the day to make a change.
It’s like that co-worker down the hall who has seemed to always have that persistent cough and sniffle. They have accepted that this is what they will have on a day to day basis, and maybe it doesn’t bug them anymore. Meanwhile, you just want to march down there with a box of tissues and cold medicine because they clearly aren’t doing anything to fix it.
Look at yourself from the perspective of others. What do they see?
Audit your lifestyle. Are you happy with your health? Your life? How do you feel when you get out of bed?
You don’t need a fancy gym, tons of super expensive food, or magic powders and pills to change it either – you just need to put your foot down and make a commitment – NOW.
2) Get Active
Start with walking. If you can’t walk because of injuries – get on a bike. Most people know I am a strength training junkie, but if ALL you can do is walk to start, that’s awesome. Begin strength training as soon as possible. Walking is important, sure, but strength training is the literal fountain of youth. All you need to start is your body weight. More on that in a second…
Work on increasing your cardiovascular endurance by walking even 5 minutes a day. Start SOMEWHERE. By just moving a little more each day, you will start seeing the benefits, and start the ball rolling towards reversing your self-neglect from years of no work.
Get an inexpensive pedometer like this one -> http://amzn.to/2hNpsK9 and track your steps. Aim to increase your daily average by 10% until you consistently hit 10,000+ steps per day.
To be honest, exercise and movement don’t matter as much as diet. It’s the truth that no one wants to hear.
However, it is usually the easier of the two to adopt and can lead to a snowball effect of health, eventually triggering changes in diet. So start moving more, and start thinking about some little changes you could make down the road…
3) Get Strong
Weight training is not just for people in their 20s and 30s. Like I stated earlier, I have helped many people, 50+ years old, get stronger and thus improve their quality of life and increase chances for longer independence well into their 80’s and 90’s.
Start with bodyweight work, and machines. Track your reps and weights, and try to improve in some way each week. Even one more rep, or 2 more pounds, over time can make a huge difference.
What’s the number one reason people need to move into an assisted living home or lose their independence?
Because they cannot stand up on their own. Strengthen your legs, your core, your grip, your arms, and you will be on the path to longevity instantly.
If you are totally new to strength training, have no fear – READ HERE
Once you get the movement patterns down, you need to actually challenge yourself enough and you can develop muscular strength at any age. Again, see the table above as to why this is important! Studies have shown that older adults need to lift in 70-85% of their 1RM range for strength. What does this mean?
Let’s say the MOST weight you can lift off the floor – the deadlift – is 100 pounds for 1 rep. This is you 1 rep max, or 1RM.
In order to build strength, you will need to train with at least 70 pounds on your deadlift for multiple repetitions. This should be a somewhat challenging weight, that only allows you to get 3-5 reps per set, the golden standard range for strength training.
*Depending on age, mobility, and skills, there are MANY ways to train the deadlift movement pattern, so don’t think that you HAVE to be able to pull a barbell from the floor – find yourself a great coach that will work with you!
This isn’t the ONLY weight range you should and can lift in, as science has shown that even at 50% of 1RM the body will experience changes in muscle function – aka – good things happen.
The key is that you are lifting a weight that challenges you for the appropriate amount of repetitions.
3) Eat “like a grown up”.
This is preached by world-renowned strength coach, Dan John. Eat like a grown up.
Lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, high fiber carbs, and healthy fats – these should be the staples of your diet.
Drink mostly water only.
Cut the fast-food, skip the sugary foods, and lay off the booze a little – and you will instantly find your health, immune function, sleep cycle, and life improving.
Start with one meal at a time or even one side dish at a time. Swap out french fries for veggies, or pop tarts for eggs. Small changes make for big results.
We really don’t need to overcomplicate nutrition and what to eat and what not to eat – I think most people know this. The more important thing to focus on is WHY we eat it. It’s easy, cheap, fast, and pleasurable – sounds like the world’s oldest profession – not something most people want to associate with.
Create your environment to support your goals. Don’t bring crap food into the house, and crap food will less likely be consumed. Mind-blowing stuff! Look at what your current portion size of foods is as well. If you need to lose weight, the most simple place to start is literally just to eat 10% less at each meal. Don’t change another thing.
Just plate your food as you normally would, and then remove 10% of it. Seriously. Try it.
We need to stop living passively in our lives. We are where we are right now because of ourselves, no one else.
And in the end – it’s not even always about us. To be there, actively, for our spouses, kids, grandkids, but most importantly – ourselves – is the best investment one can make for the future.
If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.
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