By Chaundra Tangi
For an old-school bodybuilder like me, it was a bit challenging to accept that my 41-year old body isn’t quite the same as my 25-year old body. When I began to seriously lift weights over 19 years ago, I had the mindset of a “smaller” athlete, one who had to lift heavy weights with low reps. Many times I even tried to out-deadlift others in the gym, often successfully, yet not without injury! However, as age and injury crept up on me, I realized that everything changes after 40. Now my mindset had to change as well…
In order to stay in the game, you may have to change EVERYTHING you once knew about lifting. Let go of the ego and pay closer attention to your body. It is necessary and very important for both men and women to get your complete blood work done to understand where you may be lacking in nutrients and hormone levels. Only then can you make adjustments and begin to maintain a healthy and fit body! My husband and I both fought, unknowingly, through adrenal fatigue and failure and hormone imbalances for years. It’s amazing how much easier lifting and nutrition is when these things are being corrected. You’ll feel stronger, rested and more easily able to be consistent with your nutrition and training.
In the weight room the biggest mental adjustment is in the pounds and style we lift. I remember those days as a 107-pound figure athlete bench pressing 155! Now, even though I’m lucky to press 55, I am still maintaining healthy strength and visual improvements. The key is consistency in cardio and lifting as often as your schedule allows. For example, if you are unable to make a scheduled daily lifting time, then it’s important to get some strength training in at least 3-4 days/week at whatever time you can. If your time is limited, the lifting is most important as it will improve bone density, core strength, overall strength and flexibility. Try performing most exercises with a moderate, yet challenging weight where you can get 15-20 reps/set and once in awhile throw in a higher weight rep, just to shock and challenge the muscles.
Here are some tips to help you balance your time in the gym with work, family, faith, friends, etc:
• Don’t miss an opportunity to train.
• Keep your gym bag in the car with clean gym clothes- you never know when that extra 45 minutes or so may present itself.
• If there is a lifting day you miss, try this: before getting in bed at night, do 100 squats, 30 pushups and 60 crunches. (You can do more than one round as well)
• Cardio immediately AFTER lifting- when you do this, your body is already in the fat-burning zone thus being more efficient with your time- 20-30 minutes will do!
• I prefer to get my nutrition in with real food, but in the event that’s not possible, protein bars can be a life-saver! (PowerCrunch and Quest are two of my favorite and most healthy)
• Easiest post-workout meal on the go- 30g protein shake and an apple!
• WATER, WATER, WATER! — Not only will drinking water increase your metabolism, but it will also give you more energy, clearer more radiant skin and actually can shed years off your appearance. (see the Water Facelift on preventdisease.com)
• Never sacrifice nutrition for junk food. Eat your protein and greens first, then if you’re still hungry enjoy a small treat without feeling guilty.