Here’s how the “Over 50 and Need to Get in Shape” conversation goes…

One of the first things I generally hear is “I’ve run all my life and now I have this tire around my middle.  What’s happened?”

Often a new client has experienced some kind of medical event.  The doctor says, “you’ve got to lose some weight,” or “you need weight bearing exercise to increase your bone density.”  Now what?

If this sounds familiar, you need to make friends with your metabolism.  Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.  Ultimately, it is in charge of your weight and your muscle to fat ratio. Unfortunately, this process inevitably slows down as we age.  I help each new client assess the following factors with the goal of boosting their metabolism and adding lean muscle:

  1. Your body’s muscle to fat ratio – muscle burns more calories than fat.  Add enough muscle, and you WILL burn fat.
  2. Exercise – cardio vs strength/muscle building
  3. Diet – what and when you eat
  4. Sleep habits – less sleep equals increased cortisol levels, more fat storage, and less recovery
  5. Hormones – fluctuating hormone and thyroid levels can sabotage your metabolism

So, where do we start?

  1. Assess the current status – age, weight, how long it’s been since they were at their ideal weight, any known health problems.
  2. Identify a reasonable goal – weight loss and/or strength gain. Focus efforts on getting leaner vs losing weight.
  3. Take measurements vs weight alone – initial changes will most likely be in inches vs pounds.
  4. Design a strength building and exercise program to meet their goals.  Weight lifting can burn calories for 24-48 hours afterwards.  Not so for cardio.  Step off that treadmill, and the calorie loss is done!
  5. Discuss eating habits – What’s for breakfast?  No more than 4 hours between meals to keep metabolism going.  Protein to carb ratio? Good fats? Remember, fat doesn’t make you fat; carbs make you fat!  What time is dinner? Calories after dark count “double!”

In closing… this is not a “quick fix” or a fad diet.  It’s a lifestyle. A program must be sustainable to be effective, no endless miles on the dread-mill or deprivation diets. The long term goal should be to have your metabolism do the work for you.  If you build enough muscle, it will!

Lifting weights will always be a better bang for your buck than diet and cardio alone.  You will have more energy, enjoy endorphins, protect your precious joints, and build confidence along with bone density.  Mostly, it’s fun to be strong.

Lift heavy, lift often,

Anna Anton, Roswell Barbell
USAPL and USAW certified coach
Competitive 57kg powerlifter