Turning 50 and looking to get into shape?
Can you still get in shape after 50? I get asked this question quite often and the answer is quite simple, yes of course you can! However, you need to realize as you get older your body undergoes certain physiological changes and as such your approach to getting in shape might be very different compared to how you did it in the past or might have done it as a youngster.
This is important to understand as a variety of factors play a vital role in attaining your goals. We need to remember getting in shape is not just about exercising, it is a lifestyle change. Let’s have a look at the top tips to follow when getting back into the fitness lifestyle.
Having the correct mindset
Mindset has two important functions here, firstly you need to have a realistic 50 year old mindset. You need to know that if you have been sedentary for the past 10 to 15 years, you are out of shape and you’ve probably gained a lot of weight which you will realistically not erase in the next 8 to 12 weeks. We damage our bodies over 50 years and try to fix it in a couple of months. If only it was that easy!
Be patient and realize getting into shape is not a quick fix but a lifestyle change. Be realistic with your goals and set smaller, more attainable goals. The most important goal initially should be to get started! Start slowly and make gradual and small incremental steps towards your goals. A small goal should be something as simple as being able to do unassisted step-ups. Choose an exercise you struggle with and monitor how you are getting better over time. This will keep you motivated and make sure you keep to your regime and timeline.
Secondly, you need to have a positive mindset. Be clear on what your goals are. Once you know what your goals are, try to set up a plan to get focused on with a positive mindset. Believe in yourself. Give yourself positive thoughts and tell yourself positive things to help you realize that it is going to be a bit of a challenge initially, but nothing to advance once you get into it. Inherently most successful people share a common trait, the ability to self-motivate and stay positive. You will have your off days, but realizing the long-term effects of a healthy lifestyle should keep you positively motivated.
Being mentally aware and healthy can have a massive impact on your positive mindset. I am also a firm believer in the mantra of feel good, look good. Confidence is a defining trait in most successful people. Always make sure you look and feel great. If you are level-headed and thinking clearly you are less likely to experience self-doubt as this can be your biggest enemy.
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Create better eating habits
Establishing better eating habits is crucial, regardless of your age. It should be even more important as you get older. Your body changes as you get older and as such your metabolism will be a lot slower, you will have less muscle mass and your hormones are usually all over the place. There are a lot of things you need to start balancing out and nutrition is the first place you will need to start doing this.
First of all, you want to make sure you are getting good quality micronutrients. Getting enough vitamins and minerals. Next to this, you want to make sure you are limiting your carbohydrates. However, your body needs carbohydrates! There are a lot of people out there advocating removing all of your carbs as a weight-loss strategy. This is the last thing you want to be doing-especially as you get older!
However, you don’t need them every single day. Complex carbs should be reserved for days you have resistance training or the days you are following a workout or exercise program. Complex carbs can come from rice, quinoa, potatoes, and fruits which are all different good complex carbs that you can choose from. One of the benefits of having good intense workouts is that you can have these complex carbohydrates. You actually need these complex carbohydrates to fuel your workouts and help your body function optimally with adequate hormone release.
If you are having an off day with no resistance training or exercise, then all of your carbohydrates should come from your fibrous carbs such as green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and asparagus. Try and structure your off days with a good lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish or eggs all good protein sources that you then can combine with essential fats or good fats and oils such as fish oil and coconut oil.
When you’re 50 try to keep your protein and fats consistent every day regardless of your workout regime and or schedule. The only thing you should be cycling is the carbs. Cycling your carbohydrates will help you to pick up your metabolism meaning you will burn more fat and it is actually going to help you build muscle as carbs are going to help fuel good intense workouts. The big takeaway from this should be to not cut out your carbs but to actually use them as a tool in your everyday life and learning which carbs to consume on a specific day.
To make sure you are consuming all the necessary micronutrients, vitamins and minerals I recommend doing some research into natural supplements that condense all these needed components into one easy consumable. Remember this is a lifestyle and off days with the occasional cheat meal, you are still required to get your daily adequate nutrient, vitamin, and mineral intake. I recommend taking Super Greenz as it’s filled with an abundance of nutrients to supplement your eating lifestyle and promote the proper functioning of your cells and organs to help you in your new eating habits.
A very important thing to people in their 50, but overlooked tip to getting into shape is prioritizing sleep. Sleeping between 7 – 9 hours a night is extremely important! This is crucial to your success as sleep is when your body will recover and replenish. During sleep, your body releases all the important hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, and hormones that are responsible for building muscle tissues and repairing damaged tissue. If you are having intense workouts you want to make sure you are getting enough sleep so you allow your body to elevate the hormone levels that will then allow you to recover, replenish and repair from all the damage that was done throughout the workout.
Make sure you are getting good quality sleep as tossing and turning around all night disturbs your deep sleep cycle and as such your recovery. If you are struggling to sleep, I would highly recommend a ZMA supplement. A lot of people are deficient in zinc and magnesium and adding this supplement into your daily routine can improve your quality of sleep.
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Starting correctly and building workouts around compound exercises
Bigger and more complex exercises utilize your bigger muscle groups meaning a larger amount of muscles are involved along with the use of multiple joints in their full range of motion. These are the exercises that will be the most efficient use of your time! The great thing about complex movements is the numerous variations.
If you cannot perform a certain movement correctly due to a lack of range of motion, switch that moves up to a different variation. For example, if you cannot perform a squat with adequate and good form due to bad hip mobility, try and switch over to an elevated squat that requires less hinge mobility from your hips. These complex lifts and movements closely mimic real-life situations and as such the more efficient you can perform these exercises, the better your quality of life will be outside of the gym. Always try to add a squat, lunge, push, pull and carry into your workout programs.
It is however essential that you build up your core strength and lumbopelvic stability before performing complex movements as this is the foundation or powerhouse of your body. The core acts as cables that strengthen and support your spine to hold it in place and is therefore essential to protect and prevent injuries in your back. Along with your spine, we need to make sure your glutes are firing efficiently as squatting with inactive glutes will cause you a whole range of back problems! Once you feel comfortable that your core and glutes are adequate to perform complex exercises, start with smaller weights and work your way up as you get more accustomed to these complex movements.
There are a lot of things that you need to take into account when you are 50 and getting ready to dip your toes back into the fitness realm. However, the one key takeaway that you should get from this article is first and foremost, just do it! Don’t start because there is so much misinformation out there.
Don’t start because people tell you it’s going to be hard. Don’t start because you are confused or scared. The first step is getting started one step at a time, one day at a time! All it takes is a starting point to create better habits such as eating and exercise habits. Establishing all these good habits will start to up your motivation and self-esteem.