Top 12 Fitness Tips for Women Over 40

1. Find something that works for YOU. There is something out there for everybody and it may not be the first (or the second, third, or even fourth) thing you try. Don't give up - your health is important. Don't settle - if you don't enjoy the workout, the chances that you will continue to do it are slim. 

2. Find a trainer that works with women over 40. Women over 40 have different fitness needs than a 25-year old woman. Consider this an investment in your health. 

3. Weight training can protect bones and help prevent loss of bone density.

4. You are never too old to start. If you've never lifted a weight in your life, that's okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. Refer to #2 on this list. 

5. Fuel your body properly. Don't skip meals. Eat before your workout so you have the energy to exercise. Eat within 30-60 minutes after your workout to refuel and help build those muscles. 

6. Hydrate properly. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of women that aren't hydrating properly. Keep a bottle fo water with you all day and sip on it often. Water intake requirements vary from person to person. The easiest way to remember how much you need is this: 8 cups of 8 ounces of water. 

7. Wear proper footwear for exercise. If you are unsure what this means, visit your local running/walking shoe store. The employees at these stores are trained to evaluate your gait and put you in the shoe that will best support your body while you are exercising. This is key to help make sure your body is in proper alignment and to help avoid a potential injury.

8. Get your cardio in! The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 days/week. 

9. Monitor your heart rate while exercising, especially during cardiovascular exercise. This is important to help make sure you are working hard enough (in the right zone) to get the benefit of cardio exercise, but not too hard. If you are interested in learning more about this, email me.

10. Get a workout buddy. Make a "date" to exercise just like you would for any other activity. Sign up for shared personal training, take a spinning class, or hike at one of the local metro parks. You are less likely to skip a workout when someone else is depending on you. 

11. Include your doctor in your fitness plans. Make sure you are cleared for exercise. Don't hesitate to reach out if something hurts. Some aches are normal during and after working out, but ongoing or sharp pain is not normal. It is much better to be safe than sorry. 

12.  Don't let past injuries or chronic conditions hold you back. We work with clients of all fitness levels. Some of these women have autoimmune diseases, knee/hip replacements, and fibromyalgia. Many of these conditions can be improved by exercising regularly.

This Too Shall Pass

Even though I touched briefly on this topic in an earlier newsletter, now that I am on the other side of my recovery and things are getting back to normal, I want to share my thoughts in order to hopefully help others who are struggling - whether it be from injury, illness, stress, etc.

Sometimes when I have a break in my routine, for whatever reason, it is difficult to get back into the swing of things. This goes for exercise, writing, blogging, etc. Some things we can change.  Some we can’t. When we are faced with obstacles, it is best to meet them head on and acknowledge them and then shift your focus to what you can do right now. I've faced some physical obstacles recently with my bone spur foot surgery and then a nasty stomach bug. When my focus was on the things I wasn't able to do, I was a cranky, unhappy person to be around. When I shifted that focus to the things I was able to do, my whole demeanor changed. I had to make a choice - did I want to continue to wallow in self-pity or did I want to feel better? No brainer! I wanted to feel better, so I chose to focus on the things I could do that I knew would make me feel better. For me that included rest, exercise I was able to do, proper nutrition, spending time with friends and family, and unplugging from my iPhone/internet when possible. 

My mother has a saying she’s been using for years that really used to frustrate me when she said it. The saying goes, “This too shall pass.” I think it frustrated me because it did little to alleviate whatever I was going through. However, as I’ve matured, I’ve come to believe that it is true. It will pass. Everything does pass. Maybe that is why it frustrated me…because it was true and sometimes the truth is hard to hear. It’s only when I get a glimpse of clarity that I can truly see that, “This too shall pass.”

If you are struggling, we can help. We offer coaching in addition to in-person and online training, and that comes with a free consultation. If this is you, complete this form and we will be in touch. 

Don't Like to Exercise? You Aren't Alone

If I had a nickel for every person who told me their biggest obstacle to exercising is, “I don’t like to exercise,” I’d be rich. I have news for you, I don’t like it either. I like to run, but I don’t always like to strength train. But I know that it is good for me, I like how it makes me feel when I am done, and I like that it makes me stronger.

So how do we solve the problem of avoiding exercise because we don’t like it? That’s a tough one. The answer will most likely be different for each person. The fact of the matter is that you must view exercise as something that you have to do, like brushing your teeth, showering, working, mowing the lawn, etc. It’s non-negotiable if you want to be able to live your life on your terms. What does that mean? That means being able to do the activities you want to do without limitations. It means giving yourself the best chance of keeping up with your chosen hobbies, activities or kids, seeing your kids grow up and have their own kids, and of growing old with your spouse or significant other. Regular exercise has been proven to:

    •    Leave you feeling energized after the workout

    •    Increase bone density

    •    Improve cardiovascular efficiency

    •    Increase metabolic efficiency

    •    Decrease body fat

    •    Increase lean muscle mass

All of those benefits will lead to your being able to live your life according to your terms. Let’s face it, most of us are never going to “feel” like exercising. We are going to have to make the decision to do it anyway. The bonus here is that most of us like how we feel after we exercise. You know the feeling I’m talking about? That one of pride and accomplishment - that says “I did it!”? Yeah, that one. There’s nothing else like it. 

I truly wish that I could tell you about some secret way - a mindset - that you could use to make yourself love exercise, but there is no such thing. I always stick with “honesty is the best policy”, and honestly, there are no secrets that will change your feelings about having to exercise.  BUT - there are several ways to get yourself moving despite not liking to exercise. 

8 Ways to Get Moving Today

  1. Choose a form of exercise you dislike the least.
  2. Choose a form of exercise you will actually do.
  3. Choose a form of exercise that is easily accessible (walking is a great option to start).
  4. Choose a form of exercise that is simple and won’t overwhelm you.
  5. Enlist help! Partner with a friend or family member and exercise together. Misery loves company, right? 
  6. Start small! Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Seriously. If you aren’t exercising at all now, start by doing just 10-15 minutes 3 times/week. The more you move, the better you will feel and then you can increase the time spent exercising. 
  7. Hire a professional to help you (coach, trainer, etc).
  8. Put your workouts on your calendar for the upcoming week and commit that you will keep that appointment with yourself.

I need to emphasize that there are no quick fixes. There are no magic potions. Anyone who tells you different is lying and most likely wants to take your hard-earned money. You will work hard. But that hard work will pay off - I promise.

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Heart Rate Guided Training

My Story

I first learned of Heart Rate Guided Training in 2011 after suffering a stress fracture from overtraining. I was training for my first marathon and neglected to pay attention to the many signs my body was sending me that I was overdoing it. My brain kept saying, "No pain, no gain! Keep going!" My body, on the other hand, was sending me a number of signals that I needed to slow down and rest. After three weeks in a boot and 90 days of no running, I knew there had to be a smarter way to train. Enter Heart Rate Guided Training.

I went to a seminar in early 2011 on how to run/train smarter, and it was there that I learned about Heart Rate Guided Training. After implementing this approach, which included getting my VO2 Max done to determine my heart rate zones, I saw some pretty amazing results. I did have to slow down at first, but believe it or not, I ended up being able to run faster once my body adapted. Now, six years later, I still use Heart Rate Guided Training. Read below to find out why.

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Using Heart Rate Training*

1. The heart doesn't lie. The data the heart rate monitor spits out is the truth. It's telling you how your body is responding to the activity you are doing. The effort you are putting into that activity can be adjusted based on your personal heart rate and specific heart rate zones. 

2. Zone 2 is where the magic happens. This is where you want to spend the majority of your time to optimize fat burn and weight loss. It's also where runners should be for most of their runs, including the long slow distance runs when training for a half or full marathon. 

3. Each workout is at an appropriate level for YOU! No outside influences - just you and your heart rate monitor. 

4. Reduce the risk of injury. When the body is pushed too hard, for too long, it becomes more susceptible to injury and/or illness. 

5. Feel better and recover faster. When your workouts are appropriate for YOU, you feel better during and after the workout. You also recover faster. 

*Heart Rate Guided Training can be applied to any exercise...walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc. 

For more information on Heart Rate Guided Training, how to determine your heart rate zones, which heart rate monitors to use, the importance of monitoring your resting heart rate, make sure to attend our Facebook Live event on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at 4:00 PM. Kim will be "Live" for 10-15 minutes for a brief HRGT 101 and Q & A. All you have to do to attend is:

1. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" if you haven't already. 
2. Log-on to our page at 4:00 PM and wait for "Live" video.
3. Submit questions by commenting on the "Live" post.

*Those who attend and submit questions will be entered into a drawing to win a free entry to our one-hour long Heart Rate Guided Training Workshop on May 17, 2017, at 6:30 PM. The workshop will take place at Clear Rock Fitness in Westerville, Ohio.

Back Pain is No Joke

In early January 2012, I hurt my back at the gym. I was doing a workout I had done many times before. I wasn't even performing an exercise when I got hurt - I was moving a weight plate out of my way and I happened to turn just the "right" way. I didn't know it at the time, but I injured my sacroiliac joint (SI Joint). I had never really experienced back pain like that before. It hurt to do just about everything, including sitting still. Obviously I had never truly grasped the debilitating nature of a back injury before and had been very lucky up until that point. 

After a few weeks of pain and not much improvement, I went to see my primary care doctor who also specializes in sports medicine. I was prescribed anti-inflammatories and sent to physical therapy. While I did see improvement, it took close to 6 months for the pain to diminish. Not fun. 

Since that injury, I have had flare-ups on occasion. I manage these by seeing my chiropractor regularly, staying consistent with my physical therapy stretches, strength training, and knowing my personal limitations when it comes to exercise. 

Fortunately, low back pain isn't always as severe as what I experienced and there are stretches and strengthening exercises you can do right in your own home to help alleviate low back pain.

Hamstring Stretch

While on your back and keeping your right leg out straight, pull your left leg into your body as close as you can (keep it bent) by reaching behind your thigh. While holding there begin to straighten your left leg until you feel a gentle stretch on the back side of your thigh (hamstring). Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. 

Low Back Reach

While sitting with legs bent in front of you begin to reach forward slowly. Stop when you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. 

Child's Pose

While on knees reach forward. You can move the knees further apart for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. 

Cat/Cow

While on all fours in "table top" pose, round back as shown. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly move into the opposite position where there is an arch in your back. Repeat. 

Bridge Raise

While on your back bend your legs with your feet on the floor. Push through the heels and use your glutes to lift your hips. Hold at the top, squeezing the glutes for 30 seconds.

Plank

Plank can be done on hands & toes (high plank) or on elbows & toes. If you are new to plank begin by holding for 5-10 seconds at a time working up to longer periods of time. Shoulders should be over hands or elbows. Engage the core by pulling the belly button to the spine. Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Relax your shoulders. Breathe.

Bird Dog

Begin on all fours (table top pose). Extend your right hand and left foot at the same time using caution to engage the core first by pulling the belly button towards your spine. Hold. Start by holding 5-10 seconds working your way up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Need More?

We work on many of the above stretches and strengthening exercises in our shared and private personal training classes at the studio. Consistent stretching and strength training can help keep you feeling your best, help you live your life on your terms, and help keep you injury free.

Contact me to schedule a quick tour and discuss how we can help!

 

Triumph

I saw the hashtag “#ditchtheheadtrash” on a friend's Facebook post last night and it stuck with me. Ditch the head trash. Man, if that isn’t the truth and something to really focus on. I don’t know about you, but depending on the day, there can be an awful lot of head trash going on upstairs in my head. Jumping to conclusions. Disqualifying the positive. Blowing things out of proportion without the evidence to back those things up. Blaming myself or taking responsibility for things that aren’t my fault. All or nothing thinking. Over-generalizing. Only playing attention to certain types of evidence. My brain does all of the above!

When I find myself in a cycle of head trash I have been trying to step back and take a look at what is going on. First I take a deep breath. Then I work on sorting things out. What are the facts…the evidence…the truth? It isn’t always easy. There are definitely times when I just can’t get there and that’s okay. But I really try to keep my emotions and reactions in line with the truth. I know I am worthy. I will triumph over the head trash! 

The following has been floating around the internet for a while and I thought it was worth sharing again. Read it, print it, share it with every woman you know. 

10 Facts Every Woman Should Know

1. Everyone has rolls when they bend over.

2. When someone tells you that you're beautiful, believe them. They aren't lying.

3. Sometimes we all wake up with breath that could kill a goat.

4. For every woman unhappy with her stretch marks is another woman who wishes she had them.

5. You should definitely have more confidence. And if you saw yourself the way others see you, you would.

6. Don't look for a man to save you. Be able to save yourself.

7. It's okay to not love every part of your body....but you should.

8. We all have that one friend who seems to have it all together. That woman with the seemingly perfect life. Well, you might be that woman to someone else.

9. You should be a priority. Not an option, a last resort, or a backup plan.

10. You're a woman. That alone makes you pretty damn remarkable.

Back to Basics

Exercise doesn't have to be fancy to work, but many people get bored of the same old routine and/or want a quick fix. We are busy, so we may find ourselves looking for the next "best" way to exercise. We look for ways to get it done faster, yet yield the same or better results in less time. Programs with shorter exercise times that claim to yield the same or better results often end up being a much higher intensity workout. These can be beyond our capabilities, put us at a higher risk for injury, and are not sustainable.

For me personally, I struggle when I seek out complex workouts. It isn't intentional, but I get bored and want something to spice up my routine. Then my body revolts. Every time. My foot gets cranky or my SI joint in my back acts up. One of these days I will learn to stick with the basics. They work and they don't hurt me.

Good old-fashioned basic strength training doesn't have to be boring. My dad used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I think that can be applied to strength training. Why change what works? There are many benefits to sticking with the basics. Some of those include:

  • Great for all fitness levels, beginners included
  • Feeling energized after the workout
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved cardiovascular efficiency
  • Increased metabolic efficiency
  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased lean muscle mass

The key is to keep exercise interesting - to keep it fun. A good trainer works hard programming each workout to make the exercises safe, yet pleasant, challenging, and fun. Additionally, these workouts can be scaled for all fitness levels from the beginner to the advanced. Add in a good playlist with some upbeat music and you are all set. 

The Struggle is Real

It's February. The shininess and sparkle of the new year has worn off. The groundhog says there are six weeks of winter left. I don't know about you, but I feel like February lasts forever even though it is the shortest month of the year. We have had nice days sprinkled in with the winter days, so it could be much worse, but man I really struggle with this time of the year. 

The main thing that keeps me going this time of the year is exercise. The mental benefit of working out lifts my spirits and calms my soul. The problem is getting my exercise done. The less I run and the less I work out, the worse I feel. My legs are stiff, my back aches, my brain is cloudy. I want to sleep more but can’t figure out why I am so tired, as I am not working out nearly as much as I had been a month or two earlier. I know what will make me feel better, yet I can’t bring myself to do it.

From past experience, I know that I have the best chance of getting my workout done when I exercise in the morning. When I try to sleep in and head out for my run late morning or early evening, I find every excuse in the book to not do it. I am busy. My head hurts. Homeland is on. 

I figured out that I was making a couple of critical mistakes that needed to be corrected in order for me to get myself out of this rut. First of all, I realized that I had been beating myself up for some decisions I made. If I woke up and decided not to run in the morning, I berated myself for the remainder of the day. I made a decision (with the help of my therapist) to live by and accept my choices. Move on and find something else to occupy my mind. I cannot begin to describe to you how much of a difference this has made for me! By giving myself permission to accept my choices, there was no further self-abasement or rationalization. No questions, no arguments, no berating. It is like I flipped a switch. Talk about freedom!

Additionally, I had been of the mind that if I didn’t run a certain number of miles or lift weights for so many minutes, it wasn’t worth the effort. I always tell my clients that something is better than nothing, so why couldn’t I follow that advice? It was high time for me to start! In an effort to help keep myself accountable, I began scheduling workouts with friends. One morning I didn’t have time to get much of a run in before lifting weights, but I decided to take the time when I otherwise would have surfed Facebook on my phone and hopped on the treadmill. I managed to squeeze in a mile, and the difference it made in my mental state was totally unexpected. It seemed as though I had run more like 4 or 5 miles judging by the way I felt mentally. After that brief one mile run, I had a fabulous weight workout, and my whole day gained a much brighter perspective.

Since that day, I have applied these lessons to my workout plans. At the beginning of each week – usually on Sunday afternoons –  I schedule every workout for the entire upcoming week.  And while I used to enjoy running alone, that approach isn’t working for me right now. So I run with friends. I went back to core class on Sundays. I lift weights. With my new perspective, I took all of the pressure off and focused on just moving. If I found I didn’t have “enough” time or if I only felt like doing so much, fine. The mental benefit I have gained from even 10 minutes of exercise is priceless. I feel good. I feel strong. I am exercising to get that mental benefit more than anything else right now, and because I am focused on that, the rest of it all falls into place. 

I had to make the mental shift. Our bodies were made to move. Exercise is the best medicine. The key is finding what works for you. When in doubt, work it out.