AND WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING INSTEAD!
There is no doubt that as women age, the challenges of staying in a body that you feel fit and confident in get’s harder and harder. I see and hear many women facing these frustrations and they get stuck in the trap of staying just where they are. These are the fitness mistakes women over 40 need to change.
There is also a lot of conflicting advice out there and so it’s no wonder many women feel lost and stuck with their progress.
Often this conflicting advice comes because our bodies have different needs and requirements to that of a man, so your training and nutrition need to reflect that difference.
To make progress with your health and your body as a woman over 40, then avoid these 5 mistakes.
1. A Broken Belief System
I’m too old, my back hurts, I don’t have enough time, I eat well but still don’t see any changes, I hate my body, it’s betrayed me, I look disgusting!!!
Does any of that sound familiar?
I know we have all been there when we’ve had those negative thoughts or beliefs spiral around our minds. But as Henry Ford famously said…
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
It’s time to stop comparing your body to how it used to look, and appreciate it for everything it has carried you through over the years.
So as women age, the truth is that yes maybe it might be a little harder than before as you are now also having to deal with fluctuating hormones, and your metabolism has been affected (though maybe not quite as you expected, but I’ll save that for another article). Maybe your body will look different from when you were 20 years old, that stuff is all really real!
There has to be some level of acceptance and also compassion for yourself, your belief that it’s not possible or that improvements can’t be made, are just not true.
It’s not too late, you are not too old, you can still make improvements and come to appreciate and make be even like your body once again.
Choose a new belief system and believe that you can!
2. How Do I Lose Fat From …….. (insert your unique body challenges)
We are all different, but seriously you need to stop trying to spot reduce your body. You cannot spot reduce fat!
Your body will lose body fat in a way that is determined by your unique body shape. As we age and our hormones change, the place where you store body fat will also change too.
Embrace your body where it is at and look at what you CAN do.
You can improve a specific area by losing all over body fat, and you can do that by:
- Making improvements to your nutrition and your diet, making protein a priority at most meals
- Improving your movement by training your muscles. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest and help maintain a good metabolism. Adding in a balance of some cardio work, to maintain fitness levels and assist fat burning. Aim for 2–3 strength training sessions and one cardio-based session per week for best results.
- You can work on ‘toning’ (which is actually building muscle) around your problem area so it can help improve the definition in that area and may get a little less wobbly thus improving it’s appearance.
3. Ignoring Progressive Overload
Going to your Pilates or weights class week after week and never increasing your resistance or going for the harder options could be holding you back.
You need to keep on changing up your routine so that you keep on challenging and pushing the body. Your body will adapt to the challenges that you place in front of it. If you keep on doing the same moves and at the same resistance over and over again your body will stop adapting and making changes.
Try and increase your weights or the difficulty level, and challenge yourself to go that little bit harder to keep on seeing improvements.
If you are lifting weights and you get to the end of your set and could have easily kept on going, then it’s time to pick up the next weight up.
4. Choosing Fancy Workouts Over Effective Ones
I really believe that any movement is good for you, and I always say that the best workout program is one that you can stick to and can find some enjoyment from.
But if you are getting frustrated by your lack of results it could be time to switch up the type of training that you do, if your goal is to change your body composition.
But this really leads me to my previous point that women over the age of 40 must be prioritising strength training and working to increase or at least maintain muscle mass.
You would get a very different result if you were doing 3 Zumba sessions a week, versus doing strength training 2–3 times a week and then one Zumba session.
Strength training is a key component for everyone as we age. It helps to maintain bone density, help maintain body composition and preserve muscle. Many studies have shown that women who lift weights have better all-around longevity.
Longevity is not just about living longer, but also appreciating a good quality of life whilst you are still here. And that is really what optimising your health and fitness is all really for.
Ultimately, use resistance training, lift weights and keep mixing things up so your body doesn’t plateau.
5. Disregarding Your Individual Nutritional & Lifestyle Needs
It’s pretty common for women to go and purchase a weight loss plan or programme, and try to follow it to the letter. In the hope that they too will start to look just like the person that sold it to them.
This can leave people feeling like a failure if they then are 6 weeks in a still don’t look like the fitness influencer who sold it, who is also a good 20 years younger.
You have to take into consideration your own needs as an individual. By that I mean your different tastes, likes, your time constraints, and your individual physiology which could mean your body responds differently to something in comparison to someone else.
Go into any programme with the aim of going to learn more about yourself. Don’t blindly follow something but go in from a place of open-mindedness but also mindfulness so that you can take note of how your body responds and what tweaks and changes you need to make as an individual to get the most benefit. This is where working with a coach can help, rather than just blindly following a plan.
If you want to feel fit and fabulous over 40, then keep on showing up for your body and your health, stop expecting quick fixes, be consistent and know that working on your health will help you to feel good from the inside out.
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