I constantly have clients say to me, “Paul, its so much harder to stay fit after 40”. Well the truth is, yes, it is! No one wants to hear this answer, but it is a reality!
Knowing this fact leaves me all the more baffled when friends and gym members take long breaks from training. We see it in the gym every few months, members will just stop coming. It isn’t because they have joined another gym, they just stop training altogether. There could be several reasons for this: being short of money, being ill or injured – these are acceptable reasons. “It’s too hard, I don’t enjoy exercise, I don’t have the time, or nothing seems to be changing” are not good reasons. If your body isn’t changing in the way that you want, then you need to make some adjustments.
This nearly always means altering what, and possibly how much you are eating and drinking. Most of your results will come from understanding and balancing your nutrition. “I don’t like exercise”, is a bit like saying I don’t like green vegetables, or brushing my teeth anymore. You must embrace it to make the most of your life. There are many ways to exercise if you think gyms are not for you.
Some members may think I love training, and sometimes I do. The surprising truth is that often I don’t love training! This is because I have been doing it for 27 years with a maximum of one weeks rest a couple of times a year. This is my choice completely and no one else’s decision by my own. The reason I do this is because it’s so much easier to stay in shape, if you never get out off shape! Once you get into shape, maintaining it isn’t as hard as getting there in the first place. For this reason, I train on average 5-6 times a week. So many things don’t get done when you train for 1 1/2 hours nearly every day, but it’s a sacrifice I have learnt to accept.
Does this mean I never eat carbs or drink alcohol? Absolutely not! As I have aged my resistance to alcohol has become weaker – something many of you will relate to. Before your 30’s, you could take or leave a glass of wine or a pint, until the weekend when you would have a skinful. Then something strange happens, you get a little older, start to like the taste and don’t just drink to get trollied anymore! So the odd glass in the week turns to one or two most nights. The cycle continues and before you know it, you want a drink or two every night. Then after a couple of wines (or ciders if you are me) some crisps to accompany seems a great idea. I know some of you reading this will be nodding in agreement. So I have the same battles as the rest of you, trying not to drink in the week is my challenge, and what I recommend for others to try and practice as well. This is actually where much of the excess weight on over 30’s comes from; booze has a lot to answer for!
I will never tell anyone that getting results is easy, it honestly isn’t. Now that even digital dinosaurs like me are using social media, we are saturated with pictures of superhuman transformations on our devices. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, when potential members come to us with slightly unrealistic expectations. So very many people expect unrealistic results within impossible timescales.
For most people there is one word that sums up the difference between success and failure “Consistency”. There is no magic transformation workout that will give you the body you want without huge commitment and discipline. So for most people a steady routine and realistic long-term goals is what they need. Many people in their 40’s have kids and a busy life, so transforming their body into something close to a fitness model, isn’t a realistic goal. People need to accept that they need to exercise at least 3 times a week, and balance their food and alcohol intake. It’s a marathon not a sprint!
My top tips for feeling better, looking better and staying on track are:
To summarise, yes it does get harder to stay in shape the older you get – reality. Long breaks from exercise are not an option, your body will deteriorate quicker and getting back in shape will be harder than ever. Maintaining your body shape, strength and fitness is easier with a routine, stick to it – Consistency! Plan your gym days, plan your nutrition, sleep well and stay focused!
Paul Butler is one of the owners and personal trainers at Core Results Chichester. Paul specialises in core conditioning and corrective exercise and has several years experience in dealing with competitive cyclists. Find out more about Paul in his profile
Don’t think that it’s ever too late to start working on your fitness! Come down to the gym and discuss how we can help you get your health and fitness goals on track https://www.coreresults.co.uk/contact/