I don’t want to waste your time so if you think this blog is going to be about a quick fix exercise and weight loss plan, you are going to be very disappointed. The secret is that there is no secret to getting fit and staying fit. However, it’s not that hard to stay fit and fabulous especially after the age of 40 but if you want to live the rest of your life feeling good and looking good, it will require a bit of time, effort, and a great attitude.
The older I get, the more simplistic I like to keep my life. So what does that mean? I don’t feel the need to have a lot of clutter in my life like meaningless materialistic items or spending my time on things that don’t serve my purpose. I like to keep my workouts simple and fun, and my eating habits with simple yet tasteful healthy ingredients that don’t require a lot of time to make.
Muscle loss and decreased cardiovascular fitness are not the normal result of aging; they’re primarily the result of a sedentary lifestyle. You can prevent physical decline at any age by maintaining lean muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness. Here are some tips to help you get fit, stay fit, and live the best life possible when you thought life was ending at the young age of 40.
- Find out what your current fitness level is. Even if you don’t plan on using a personal trainer long-term, hiring one for one or two sessions can help you determine what your current fitness level are for cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. Knowing what your starting fitness levels are and what you where you want to finish will help determine and prepare for the next step.
- Determine your goals. Again, a personal trainer can not only help you determine your goals, but ensure they are realistic so you do not get discouraged from quitting when you don’t see results as quickly as you like. They can also provide you with tips on obstacles you might face along the way. Everyone’s body is different but so is our time so it may take longer to achieve your fitness goals if you don’t have as much time as the next person.
- Make your goals realistic. I’m all for people wanting to lose weight if they need to but don’t try to lose a large sum of weight in a small amount of time. Most personal trainers will use the SMART principle (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) when working with clients.
- Put your goals in writing. There is not greater satisfaction than crossing off a goal on paper. Write it down on a piece of paper or type it out on your computer but put it somewhere where you can see it every day so that it’s a constant reminder to yourself.
Make Fitness a Priority
- Time if of the essence. You can`t get fit, lose weight, train for a race, build more muscle if you don’t have the time to do it. If it`s important enough to you, you will make the time for it even if it means you have to give up your daily 1 hour of watching TV or surfing the internet. Your health doesn`t wait for you so look at your calendar and find time. You will be surprised how much time you waste in day on mindless stuff.
- Getting started is the hardest part. Look at your fitness goals and ask yourself why you are doing this. Be accountable and know that you are doing this for your long-term health above anything else. Write down strategies to overcome barriers that you know will stop you from getting started.
- Be consistent. After about 6-8 weeks of doing a regular fitness program, it will become part of your daily or weekly routine. If you don`t mind getting up early in the morning, I generally tell most of my clients to work out at this time of the day so that you get it over with and you are less likely to make excuses later not to workout. If you’re not a morning person, than select a time of the day that you can do your workout so it becomes routine and automatic.
The Power of Food
- You are what you eat. If you put crap in your body, you’re going to feel like crap eventually. We all make choices of what we put in our mouths. Sure it tastes good going down but the long-term effects of food can cause discomfort and disease. You have to turn your ways of thinking around when it comes to food. Good food tastes great and it makes us feel better both short and long-term.
- Refined sugar is a bad food addiction. Refined sugar is one of the most addictive food sources and I’m not surprised as it’s found in most if not all processed foods that we consume. Next time you’re in the grocery store, take some time to read the labels on what you’re buying. If you notice that sugar is one of the top ingredients, you shouldn’t be buying it. There is nothing healthy about refined sugar so limit your intake. There are many other foods out there that can savour your taste buds in replace of refined sugar.
- Keep it simple and easy. I’m a big advocate of whole food and plant base eating and there seems to be a misconception that it’s very expensive to eat healthy and it takes a lot of time to make healthy food. You can actually save money from eating a vegan or plant base vegan diet. The ingredients are so basic and it takes very little time to put some simple meals together. You also have a greater appreciation for the food once you start eating whole food vegan. The natural flavour of the food is no longer covered up by chemicals or oil but instead spices are used that can help boost your immune system and increase your energy level.
- Nutrient packed food. Ask yourself every time you put food in your mouth, what nutrients am I getting from this particular food? If there are no nutrients, then why would you waste calories that don’t serve your ultimate purpose of getting healthy? A can of coke and a large banana have similar calories but one has not nutrients while the other, the banana, is loaded with potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and high in fiber. The choice is simple.
- Food can cause disease and cure it. Science proves that eating certain foods can cause disease over a certain period of time. For some it can be a shorter period of time and for others it can take a little longer. Foods such as animal protein if consumed can cause CHD, diabetes, and some common cancers. This news is nothing new. Eating a whole food vegan diet can actually cure these diseases or slow them down. Again, science has proved this theory. Common colds, flus, sore throats, and many other illnesses can be deterred by consuming a whole food vegan diet. Your immune system is so built up from eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals, that your body rarely has to work to fight off viruses. Let thy food by thy medicine.
- Get a workout buddy. Sometimes it’s hard to start a workout program on our own. I generally recommend that you find someone to workout with who shares your common goals and interests and will hold you accountable if you decide not to workout. The first 6 weeks are the toughest of a workout routine so find a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or spouse to keep you motivated and to stay on target with your fitness goals.
- Find a gym or club. If you can’t find someone to work out with, then join a gym to help you keep motivated. Research clubs in your area to see if they offer various types of fitness classes, martial arts, or various sports activities. Staff at a local fitness center can provide support and tips to keep you moving and having fun.
Enjoy the activities. The most important thing that you need to remember when starting a workout routine is to enjoy what you are doing. You are much more likely to stick with your workout routine if you are having fun with it. Staying fit should be an enjoyable activity and feel free to change up the activities that you are doing so that it doesn’t become monotonous.
I’ve realized over the past 25 years that the power of food is the key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. This is not to say that working out isn’t important, it is, but your eating habits will establish a better foundation for getting healthier than working out. I see the trend in the next 5-10 years that people will still workout but they will focus more of their time on eating healthier after finding out the health risks associated with eating various types of foods.
Have a great day!
Art & Maureen