If you’re over 40 you know how much more difficult it seems to lose body fat. It’s frustrating and seems like you’ll never be able to get back into shape. So many people give up and accept that with age comes a slow metabolism and there’s nothing you can do. WRONG! By following just a couple of these tips you’ll find yourself losing more fat, feeling great and ready to take on the world.
Here we go...
1. Have a Concern for Muscle
After the age of 30 we lose up to 1 pound of muscle per year. This means by the time you hit 40 years old you’ve lost 10 pounds of lean muscle. This is a problem.
Muscle cells are where fat is burned. That means if you have less muscle you have less cells to burn fat. This is what’s commonly referred to as a “slow metabolism.” What you believe is your metabolism slowing down is actually muscle loss... and therefore fat gain.
The worst thing you can do is skip resistance training while trying to lose body fat. If you don’t do any resistance training (strength training) at least half of the weight that you lose will be lean muscle tissue. The result will be a huge rebound when the dieting stops... and regaining the fat PLUS additional fat.
The good news is that you don’t need to bulk up or add a ton of muscle. Just by layering a little bit of lean muscle tissue you will quickly start burning fat, feeling great and looking amazing. And yes, you’ll fit into your favorite pair of jeans again:)
2. Moderate Cardio
Have you ever gone to the gym that first week of the New Year? If so, you probably noticed everyone on the cardio machines, relentlessly pumping away for 45 minutes to an hour in hopes of shedding that extra fat they added during the Holidays.
Excessive cardio doesn’t do a whole lot for burning fat. In fact, for every mile you jog you burn around 100 calories. It’s pretty inefficient for losing weight. Besides, who has tine to spend half the day on a treadmill?
Here’s a better idea...
Do a moderate amount of cardio. That means shorter cardio sessions. These shorter sessions are best with only 10 minutes of work. Try alternating between going all-out fast to get your heart rate up, followed by slowing down to allow your heart rate to come down. A short, intense session such as this will burn more calories than endlessly going on a treadmill or elliptical machine.
3. Always Do Resistance Training First
One of the biggest mistakes men and women over 40 make when trying to lose fat and get into shape is doing cardio training and then a few sets of machines as an after thought.
When you do cardio first, your body uses the glycogen in your muscle (muscle energy) to fuel the cardio training. When you finish and go through some weight training, your body doesn’t have any more glycogen to fuel your strength training. So instead of using fat to fuel the strength/resistance training your body will prefer to use lean muscle tissue. The result is a loss of lean muscle tissue instead of fat. It’s like putting the cart before the horse.
Now, when you do strength/resistance training first your body uses the muscle glycogen to fuel the workout. If you finish with moderate, intense cardio the body will now prefer to pull from fat cells to fuel the cardio training.
As long as you are doing the right amount of quality strength training first, followed by moderate, intense cardio your body is now much more efficient at giving you the results you’re looking for.
4. Supportive Nutrition
We all know that you can’t out-train a bad diet. But you don’t need to count every calorie. Supportive nutrition is simply giving your body the right amount of nutrient-dense foods to support your workouts yet allow for fat loss.
When you start eating nutrient-dense foods your body has an innate ability to turn off your hunger mechanism. That’s because these quality foods are loaded with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). When your body gets enough of the required micro-nutrients it feels satisfied and therefore no longer hungry.
The bottom line is that by eating more of these high-quality foods you don’t need to count calories or watch everything you eat. In fact, if you do this 90% of the time you can have a couple of cheat meals here and there and still lose a ton of body fat.
Drink more water! Yes, we hear that all of the time. Since we are made up of mostly water it certainly makes sense...
Drinking more water is essential to losing body fat. It rids your body of toxins, keeps your body systems regulated and working properly, and can even help suppress your appetite a bit.
But how much water should you actually drink per day?
It’s simple. Take your body weight in pounds and divide by two. Drink that number in ounces of water each day.
For example: If you weigh 150 pounds, you will need to consume 75 ounces of water each day. That’s approximately 9 glasses of water daily.
[LIFE HACK]: If you drink coffee be sure to drink one cup of water for each cup you drink.
6. Get Enough Sleep
This is one tip that gets so overlooked. I can’t tell you the number of adults I know that don’t sleep well or enough each night.
Sleep is recovery. Recovery is necessary to help repair your body and recover from life’s daily tasks... along with working out.
If you don’t sleep enough your body (and mind) are more stressed out. This stress leads to an increase in Cortisol. This hormone tells your body to hold on to more fat... making the process of getting into shape much more difficult.
When you don’t get enough sleep your body is also more susceptible to illness and injuries.
[LIFE HACK]: Cat naps! If you can close your eyes and relax and possibly fall asleep for no longer than 15-20 minutes you can quickly rejuvenate yourself from fatigue. Of course, it’s not a substitute for getting your actual 7 or so hours per night but it’s helpful at times.
7. Hit It and Quit It
When you’re over 40 you need to actually workout less than when you were in your 20’s and 30’s. This is not to be confused with intensity. You should always give it your all and work to get stronger. But you need days of complete rest at this time in your life. A big mistake many 40+ people make when they are ready to get back into shape is thinking they need to go to the gym each and every day. This is actually counter-productive. 2-3 full body workouts each week will suffice.
On days that you don’t workout you can stretch, go for a nice walk or do nothing at all. Your choice.
Just be sure to give it your all when you do workout. This is a great way to keep your motivation too. If you know you have to do some home workout video that makes you do it every single day you’re going to burn out and lose motivation. But if you know you have 3 days per week to work hard, yet 4 days to enjoy your life, family and socialize you’re going to stick with it. I know... I’ve been doing it for years myself and with my clients.
Get a FREE 1-1 Strategy Session
We would love to get you started on your journey back to health. At Preston Strength we have helped countless numbers of clients lose weight, drop body fat, get stronger and move better!
Click the button below to sign up for your FREE Half-Hour Fitness Strategy Sessions:
I decided to write a quick blog post to show you this exercise. It's. called the Cossack Squat. It's truly one of the most important exercises for athletes and adults who want to move and feel better... but it's rarely used by most trainers and coaches.
The lateral movement of this traditional squat variation develops dynamic flexibility in the hips, groin and hamstrings as well as ankle mobility. It also builds strength in the quads, glutes and hamstrings as well as core strength and stability.
Check out the video of my awesome client Shannon performing the Cossack Squat. You can hold on to some weight under your chin to make it more challenging. Many people find when they start this exercise they don't need any additional weight. Range of motion is the key to getting it right.
Remember... all sports are played in 3 dimensions. You also live in 3 dimensions as an adult with daily tasks such as groceries, yard work, playing with the kids etc. If you only train "up and dow" as an athlete or an adult you are doing them or yourself a disservice. Use this exercise to help prevent injuries in athletes (such as the dreaded groin pull).
At Preston Strength we do the thinking for you and plan your training program. We are currently opening up 5 slots for our adults and 3 slots for our young athletes for training. To claim your spot get started by signing up for a FREE Strategy Session by clicking the button below:
1. CHEW YOUR FOOD!
Why it’s important: We are supposed to chew our food... a lot. Taking a few extra bites can improve your digestion and also allow your body to feel fuller quicker!
How to get it done: The average commercial is 30-60 seconds. Try to chew for an entire commercial to practice.
What you’ll feel: You’ll feel less stuffed after meals and in turn you’ll have more energy.
2. USE SMALLER UTENSILS
Why it’s important: When dieting, it feels like there is never enough food. Using smaller utensils can make a small meal look and feel a lot larger than it actually is.
How to get it done: Use the same utensils a 4 year old would use. That’s right, go out and get a solid set of utensils with your favorite superhero on it and soon you could be looking like one!
What you’ll feel: You will start to feel your body get full off of much less food. Since it will take longer to completely eat your meal, you will naturally start to feel full from the food. Normally we eat so fast that the food barely has time to digest before we are already done.
3. DRINK A GLASS OF WATER BEFORE EATING
Why it’s important: Hydration is one thing that makes our body perform and feel it’s best. If we do not drink enough water it can leave us feeling tired and hungry. Water can be a huge help when trying to lose fat.
How to get it done: While preparing your food, pour a glass of water and drink it before you have a bite of food. You may even find that you aren’t hungry after drinking it. Many times feelings of hunger can actually come from just being dehydrated.
What you’ll feel: You will not only feel full but you might even get a kick of energy. It’s amazing to realize how important water is to your body functioning at its best.
4. EAT PROTEIN AT EVERY MEAL
Why it’s important: High protein diets have been found to be the most effective diets when trying to lose fat. This is because the protein helps the body recover after exercise, which means more muscle to help burn fat. Plus, protein is one of the most satiating nutrients. On top of that, it is actually the hardest nutrient to turn into fat!
How to get it done: Make sure to have at least a palm size portion of meat, fish, or eggs at each meal. One strategy that is sure to help would be to prepare meat to eat ahead of time. It’s much easier to reach for a grass fed beef patty when it only takes a minute or 2 in the microwave. Add in a veggie and that’s a meal in less than 5 minutes!
What you’ll feel: When protein is added into your diet you will feel much fuller. It takes a while to digest so it will fill you up and provide consistent energy for hours. After a week or 2 of making this change your pants might start to feel a little bit loose!
5. 10 MINUTE WALK AFTER EVERY MEAL
Why it’s important: When we eat the first move is usually to sit down. This is terrible for digestion. When we stop moving our body slows down. And if that food is just sitting there, it will lead to that mid-afternoon grogginess.
How to get it done: It is as simple as the title says. Just walk. As soon as you take your last bite, head outside, or even to the stairs and just take a lap. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for 10 minutes. But just moving will help you fight off the post lunch sleepiness.
What you’ll feel: You will feel much more energized through the second half of your day. You will feel more productive and focused which will help you perform better in the office and back at home with your family.
6. EAT DINNER AT THE TABLE - NO SCREEN
Why it’s important: Screens take away our attention from what is right in front of us. This could be our family, our work, and even our food. When you eat at a table without a screen it allows you to be present. When you are present you not only give your family more attention, you also give your body the ability to realize how much food you are actually eating.
How to get it done: Let your family know ahead of time that there will be no screens. This will lessen the shock when you present this new option. When the meal starts, put everyone’s phone in a temporary storage space so there will be no texting or answering emails under the table. When this is in place you consciously eat and finish your food. After that you can even put a reward system in place, not just for the kids, but also for yourself. Reward your new habit with some small reward, like a square of dark chocolate, or watch a show you have been putting off.
What you’ll feel: You will feel a greater connection with the people at the table, as well as feeling full from less food.
7. PREPARE 1 MEAL A DAY ON SUNDAY (7 MEALS)
Why it’s important: Terrible food choices are all around us. Advertising agencies spend crazy amounts of money to try to get the public to eat their food. When you are hungry and your brain is telling you that you need food now, it is easy to make a poor decision. However, if there is
a fresh meal you have already spent money on, and have spent time cooking, it will make the decision process that much easier.
How to get it done: On Sunday, clear your schedule as best as possible and go food shopping. Before you get to the store, make the list. This will keep you from grazing the aisles where there will be temptation. After you stick to your list - get the food cooked it as soon as possible. It’s similar to doing the laundry. If you wash but don’t fold, the clothes will sit there all week and get wrinkled. Same goes for food. It will sit there all week and spoil. After the food is cooked, put it into individual containers so that in the morning all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and head to work.
What you’ll feel: You will feel better and healthier from making a better food choice.