I asked fellow Aussie and good mate of mine, Kate Vidulich, if she’d offer some helpful hints and tips for modifying workouts for beginners or less experienced exercisers. So over to Kate for her take on exercise modifications and when to use them. Take it away Kate!
Guest Post: Kate Vidulich, Bodyweight Cardio 500
Have you ever looked a workout and thought to yourself “I could never do that”?
Yeah, me too.
You might have been injured, accidentally taken a long layoff from training or just simply feel intimidated. I get it.
It doesn’t matter what your current fitness level is right now, there will always be that “scary” looking program that seems too hard.
But often, it’s not as bad as you think.
The most important thing is to get started and do something… that’s where the magic happens.
Remember, every exercise can be modified to suit your current fitness level, so that you can get in the game.
Here’s my top 3 ways to make your workout easier:
1. Avoid jumping and high impact exercises
Go for the joint friendly approach. You can substitute any jump squat with a total body extension, or “step out” a burpee or jumping jack instead of jumping.
You still get the fat burning benefits. And this pretty much goes without saying… but you should never ever do jumping exercises when you’re fatigued. This leads to bad form and bad form leads to injury
Here’s a non-impact cardio workout you can try:
Do each exercise for 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest, for 2 rounds. If your form gets sloppy, take a quick break.
A) Squats x 30s
– Rest 30s
B) Plank x 30s
– Rest 30s
C) Total body extension x 30s
– Rest 30s
D) Power Punches x 30s
– Rest 30s
2. Rest Longer between Sets & Do Less Rounds
This tip has two parts – so I guess I’m cheating now…
Obviously, less conditioned women need longer recovery periods. If that’s you, rest longer until you’re fully recovered.
Even taking just 2 weeks off exercise, because you have the flu, is enough time to lose your conditioning. Sad, but true folks. So don’t beat yourself up about feeling out of shape.
You can also do fewer rounds of the circuit. Start by doing one less round and see how you feel. One thing you must always pay attention to is your form. If you get fatigued and become sloppy, that is a big warning sign to slow down or stop and take a quick break.
Remember we’re aiming for workout quality. The goal is to challenge yourself in a safe environment. Poor form does not help you accelerate fat loss results; it will only send you to the ER.
3. Play it smart
I always tell new clients at my bootcamp to go 50% on the first workout, whether they are fit or not. It’s very important to monitor how you feel. Getting dizzy and feeling sick is not cool. End of story.
Now, one last tip about keeping your workouts – don’t worry what other people around you are doing. Remember, everyone is different, so what’s easy for one person may be hard for another, and vice versa.
The important thing to know is that the workout intensity YOU put into it is what YOU are going to get out of it.
And don’t worry, if you’re a beginner, I’ve got you covered. You’ll start off with non-impact exercises, burning 300 calories a workout without jumping, lunges or burpees…
Have an awesome day!
Kate Vidulich, BSc, ACSM, Master CTT
Creator of Bodyweight Cardio 500
It’s been long established in the fitness industry that “spot reduction” of body fat is just not possible. Countless hours of sit-ups will not change your belly fat and multiple donkey kicks won’t actually slim your butt.
Well, time flows and research looks at all kinds of interesting things, and recent studies indicate that there is actually a ‘thermogenic’ effect when you train specific body parts. Have you ever done a lot of arm work or pushups and noticed that your arms actually look a little flushed? That’s increased blood flow to the area or “the thermogenic effect”.
Working single exercises like sit-ups and donkey kicks still won’t work but when you pair specific muscle group training in a metabolically challenging workout, you’ll actually have a good chance of improving that area!
Sweat and raising your metabolism are imperative. Hard work, heart pounding metabolic raising exercise can make a difference to specific “spots”.
None of us like back fat! And now we can do something specific about it!
Set your timer for 30 seconds of work with a 10 second transition. Repeat this circuit three times through for just over 10 minutes of sweaty work.
Take notice in particular of Shawna’s set up with the plank. Doing this ‘hardstyle’ means you’ll be working intensely under ‘tension’. Lock your shoulders back, tuck your elbows in tight, tense your legs and brace your abs hard. It’ll feel harder than your usual plank but so worth it! Oh, don’t hold your breath.
Good times! And for even more good times, ALL Shawna’s workouts are on sale until MIDNIGHT SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28.
You’ll find ALL her programs at a 50% discount here.
You’ll find video follow along workouts, coaching videos, nutrition plans and more, JUST CLICK HERE to save big before Sunday, Sept 28th at midnight.
You can get rid of your back fat, or whatever ‘fat’ you’re looking to lose with her fun and challenging workout series.
This delicious dish is made with egg whites and sautéed vegetables and makes a wonderful light breakfast. Enjoy with salsa for an added kick.
Here’s what you need…
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped
3/4 cup egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
2 wheat tortillas
1/4 of a small avocado
A dash of Paprika
A dash of Garlic salt
1. Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Add the tomato and egg whites. Cook until the egg whites have set.
2. Divide the egg and veggie mixture between the tortillas and fold like a taco.
3. Slice the avocado and sprinkle it with paprika and garlic salt. Arrange the avocado on each taco and serve.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 243 calories, 5g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 15g protein.
Amy asked: I’ve noticed that some fitness experts recommend doing 20 minutes of HIIT 3x a week, while others say to do it every day. What do you and Shawna recommend?
Lisa replied: I receive a lot of emails from women who are confused about the difference between “Intensity” and “High Intensity Interval Training” (HIIT). Shawna and I want you to ALWAYS approach your workouts with Intensity but recommend that you complete HIIT training no more than 3 times a week. They’re two different things.
Intensity is one issue – it’s lifting heavy, it’s moving through conditioning workouts quickly, it’s really putting in to every single rep. And that’s what our workouts are all about. Working with intensity and purpose.
HIIT or metabolic bursting as it’s sometimes referred to is working at extremely high intensity, up to 9/10 effort, for short bursts of work of sprint type activity, with longer periods of recovery. For example, I did a workout last week from Mike Whitfields Sprint Conditioning program which required me to sprint for 10 seconds and recover for 1 minute. I needed that whole minute to recover because the 10 seconds of work was flat out effort. The clue to how hard you’re working is how quickly you recover – if you recover very quickly, chances are you need to work harder. How you rate your 9/10 is very personal – it’ll relate to your own level of fitness.
Now let’s complicate this picture just a tad; I chose to do flat sprints for Mikey’s workout and those sprints were done as a HIIT session because I put in the 9.99/10 effort, but one of my less fit friends chose different exercises that she could better manage – she worked very hard for her level of fitness. She swapped out the sprints for skipping and Total Body Extensions and pushed hard but she rated her exertion as 8/10. So we would describe her training as intervals with intensity but not HIIT.
So keep training with intensity – excellent! If you have the fitness, work hard on no more than three sessions of HIIT a week – less than 20 minutes of total work with each smoking-hot-intense burst of activity requiring at least double the work time in recovery. If you recover too quickly, you didn’t work hard enough.
HIIT is very trendy right now, and lots of fitness people who should know better are using the expression inaccurately to describe their workouts. Pushups can be intense, but they don’t qualify as HIIT exercises. I hope that clears some confusion.
Samantha asked: I’m a bit of a diet junkie and I like trying different diets but I quickly become bored. I’m 51 and my body is changing, I think I’m even a different shape from when I was 40. My daughter and I did a diet over summer and she lost weight really quickly but nothing really happened for me? I hate my belly flub and just want to lose 10lb – it’s so frustrating and I get upset and struggle to stay with my healthy eating.
Lisa replied: It’s like hitting 40 years of age is a magic button isn’t it! For many of us, losing body fat becomes a long hard struggle. It isn’t as easy as when we were in our 20′s, that’s absolutely true! But only a diet (and I really mean a style of eating) that is sustainable long term will make permanent changes. And though it’s not sexy to say so, it’s the adoption of long term, consistent habits that will make the ultimate difference.
Mindful eating is what will change your waistline long term. Making careful choices 90% of the time, eating slowly, never eating till you’re stuffed and eating whole clean foods is what counts. A lady who knows exactly what it’s like to struggle with her weight and WIN has a nutrition guide that might be helpful to you. Maureen Garry developed Flat Belly Breakthrough after her own struggles in her 40′s. Her eating plan is specifically for women of our age who struggle with their weight and constantly battle hormonal weight gain.
Remember you can always shoot me an email with your own questions – Shawna and I love answering your queries and trying to settle fitness and nutrition confusion. Health and fitness isn’t easy but the principles should always be simple.
Guest Post: Maureen Garry
Let’s talk FAT.
Better yet, let’s talk about LOSING fat – that extra padding that crept onto your belly, hips and thighs while you weren’t looking.
But first, let me ask you something: Have you found that losing fat after age 40 is a lot harder than it used to be in your younger years?
ME TOO! In fact, I just about gave up and resigned myself to living with the soft backside and lumpy thighs of a typical 50+ year old woman, until I found the secret to losing fat after age 40.
You see, after age 40 you’re heading into perimenopause, with sex hormones as wacky as an adolescent’s. I learned that if you don’t manage your diet and exercise to account for these changes, taking off any extra weight can seem almost IMPOSSIBLE.
But there’s good news! It’s not difficult to make your body burn extra fat after 40 if you know what to do. You can balance your hormones and lose weight easily with the RIGHT kinds of foods and exercise.
WAIT! Before you roll your eyes and think I’m going to say eat more broccoli and chicken breasts, take a look at this delicious fat-burning, hormone-balancing shake. This sweet treat is perfect in the afternoon when you’re looking for an energy boost, but also makes a great high-energy start to any over-40 fat-burning day.
DON’T be afraid of the fat in this recipe. It’s part of the secret to losing fat on your body!
1 cup water
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/3 of a ripe avocado
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
1-2 handful(s) of fresh or frozen spinach (relax, you won’t even taste it!)
1 -2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Stevia to taste (optional)
Add water to blender; sprinkle chia seeds on top. Add remaining ingredients and blend it all together on high, adding extra water as desired, until light and fluffy. Delicious!
You can use recipes like this to get a flat belly at any age. You don’t need fancy foods, supplements or special proprietary ingredients. You can eat the same foods you feed your family and keep all your social engagements; you just need to have a smart strategy.
Get the lean and sexy body you want, even over 40. I can help you do that with my new program Flat Belly Breakthrough.
Talk again soon,
Maureen Garry, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
Author, Flat Belly Breakthrough
Maureen Garry wants you to thrive. Having gone through weight struggles of her own and figuring out how to lose fat over 40, she’s now reaching out to help other women do the same. Maureen has a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training and spent many years in medical device research witnessing the pain and suffering caused by unhealthy lifestyles.
Her new program, Flat Belly Breakthrough, helps women over 40 lose fat and get healthy.
Celery Sticks with Roasted-Garlic Hummus
Here’s what you need…
1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 F. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and roast for 10 minutes.
2. For the hummus, in a food processor, combine the roasted garlic, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil and water. Pulse until a smooth paste forms. Season with sail and pepper.
3. Arrange the celery sticks on a plate. Serve the hummus in a small bowl and garnish with dried parsley.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 132 calories, 3g fat, 21g carbohydrate, and 6g protein.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, increasing the risk of sudden and unexpected fractures. Osteoporosis translates literally to mean “porous bone”. We all lose some bone density as we age and bones get thinner as existing bone breaks down faster than new bone builds. As this occurs, our bones lose calcium and other minerals and become lighter, less dense, and more porous. This makes the bones weaker and increases the chance that they might fracture. The disease often progresses without any symptoms or pain.
Many times, osteoporosis is not discovered until weakened bones cause painful fractures usually in the back or hips. Unfortunately, once you have a broken bone due to osteoporosis, you are at high risk of having another. But there are steps and treatments you can take to prevent osteoporosis before it takes serious hold; or to slow it’s progress once you have it.
Women over the age of 50 have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Women’s lighter, thinner bones and longer life spans account for some of the reasons why they are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
Those most at risk of osteoporosis include:
A number of lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of osteoporosis:
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for warding off osteoporosis. For even stronger bones, avoid these everyday osteoporosis diet dangers.
Reduce your salt – processed foods supply 75% of the sodium we eat and sodium leaches calcium from our bones. Beware of packaged foods that contain high quantities of sodium – even your breakfast cereal will probably contain salt!
Avoid excessive soft drink consumption. If your calcium levels are already depleted, the phosphoric acid in soft drinks can further deplete calcium stores. Limit your intake of soft drinks and replace instead with water or healthier options such as green tea, or even calcium and vitamin D fortified orange juice.
Limit your caffeine. If you currently have low calcium levels be aware that caffeine can also leach calcium from bones, reducing their strength. Ensure you limit your caffeine intake to 300mg per day (approximately 4 cups of brewed coffee) while getting adequate calcium from other sources.
Maintain a healthy intake of lean protein: For some time it was believed that an intake of red meat and other proteins would actually increase in the incidence of osteoporosis. This myth has been totally debunked and in fact maintaining good levels of protein intake is second only to maintaining calcium levels for good bone health.
The safest strategy is eating a diet that’s low in salt and rich in fresh and minimally processed whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Include enough calcium and vitamin D from foods, and supplements if necessary, and be sure to limit caffeine and carbonated drinks.
No need to worry if you’re lactose intolerant. It’s an interesting fact that countries with the highest dairy consumption coincidently have the highest rate of osteoporosis. I was fascinated when researching this article by how many articles on this subject were sponsored by respective dairy industries! There are many continents and cultures where dairy is non-existent and there is not only NOT an increased instance of osteoporosis, where vitamin D stores are of a healthy level, osteoporosis is actually far less prevalent than the US and other western cultures.
Reducing processed foods is one of the most important steps you can take in your diet. Healthy, one ingredient, whole foods are always your best choice. Take a good quality calcium supplement if you are found to have diminished calcium levels and ensure you maintain healthy Vitamin D levels too.
Physical activity and fitness reduce risk of osteoporosis and fracture and fall-related injuries. Studies have shown that bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women can be maintained or increased with therapeutic exercise.
Weight training and bodyweight exercise are KEY in the fight against osteoporosis. Female Fat Loss over 40 has you covered here with workouts designed specifically for women who are entering that high risk category! And if you’re looking for even more workouts and motivation take a look at the Inner Circle Fat Burning Workouts - coaching and follow along videos and another 82 days of workouts to keep you interested and motivated! We give new meaning to the expression “healthy to the bone”!
This is a great appetizer for holiday parties and dinners-it tastes so good, your guests won’t believe that it is low in fat.
Here’s what you need…
1. In a food processor, combine the smoked salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
2. Spoon the salmon mixture onto a plate and arrange the crackers around the plate. Garnish with dill and additional pepper.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 192 calories, 5g fat, 14g carbohydrate, and 18g protein.
Kathy asked this question: Just started your program a few weeks ago, have been inactive for over three years due to a tumor in my head, the steroids I was on and complications. Had surgery a little over a year ago to remove tumor and lost sight in left eye. So my body isn’t as flexible as I would like it to be and balance can sometime be an issue. How can I get flexibility back and what workouts would be best for this. The food plan is easy enough have actually been eating this way for about two months now, weight is coming off but slowly so I think the big issue may be the exercise. I sweat pretty well but worry about correct form due to the flexibility issue. Lisa Answered: Kathy, what a huge couple of years you’ve had! What a challenge to deal with a tumour, and lose the sight in one of your eyes but to keep on training – that’s inspiring! You’ve got a big project in front of you no doubt, because your body has to relearn it’s position in your space (proprioception) without the sight of your left eye. And that’s just a time and practise issue. In terms of correct form – the follow along videos will teach you how to move correctly and execute the various exercises with good form. If you’re not sure how you’re actually executing the movements, try and train with a mirror, initially at least. Watch your form and don’t make assumptions about how you’re moving. Have someone in your household or a friend video some of your movements so you can check for yourself (most people see video as intimidating but focus on your form as if you were watching someone else – this is a technical exercise!). You might like to have a support close by when trying some of the single limb exercises like 1 leg Romanian deadlifts. Use the back of a chair or bench of a suitable height. In terms of flexibility – take the time after each workout to stretch out your body. You could use a foam roller or simple stretches of the worked muscle groups. Any of the Female Fat Loss over 40 workouts will work you in terms of mobility and flexibility and assist with your weight loss goals, concentrate on executing each movement with full range of movement. If you’re squatting, practise getting deeper into the squat – if you’re doing pushups, focus on getting chest to floor. This may take time, but it sounds like you’re a fighter and prepared to do the work! I also understand that continued use of steroids contributes to stiffness of the joints, so this may also be a question of time as your body adjusts to the new, healthier steroid-free you. Using your body as it’s meant to be used will slowly help you regain your previous flexibility if not more. Eric Wong has a program that I particularly like “Hip Flexibility Solutions” which could be very useful for you to work through your pelvic and lower body flexibility issues which in turn supports spinal mobility. Hope this helps!
Arlis asked this question: I do a different workout every day (5 days a week) from the 40+ library. Is that enough variety? Also, will just doing the 40+ exercises each morning get me lean? I eat clean 90% of the time between1300 and 1800 calories a day. I try to add an extra activity in each evening, a walk, bike ride, roller skating, mowing the lawn, probably at least 3 evenings a week. I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes , I battle with night flashes I have had 2 myomectomies and then a hysterectomy and knee pain I take no meds, trying to manage everything with how I eat. And I’m following guidelines for eating to prevent diabetes. Trying to lose fat in belly and thighs. I store my fat on my lower body in particular. Thank you for this program, it is a Godsend. Previously I was doing 1 1/2 hours on the elliptical and getting nowhere. Lisa Replied: We’re glad you love the program! Yes, those pesky ellipticals will get you nowhere fast, well done for choosing to work smart! You’ve got quite a few different health issues happening there so I’m assuming you’ve had some specific hormonal issues that may well have contributed to some of those fat stores. Have you had your hormone levels measured? And if so, how frequently do you have that done? It helps to establish a benchmark and then measure every 6 months or so, especially around 50 years of age as we well know, that’s the age when hormones come out to play. You’re bang in the middle of your healthy weight range so I’d be concentrating more on your exercise and continue with your healthy eating rather than eating for weight loss. Your nutrition needs to comprise of loads of multi coloured veggies, heaps of water, low glycaemic index carbs, and good quality lean proteins. If you’re eating appropriately to battle pre-diabetes you should be seeing much more stable insulin blood work. Have a look at the weights of the dumbbells you’re using in your workouts. The Over 40 workouts have loads of variety in them already so you’ll want to mix up your bodyweight and weighted workouts and CHALLENGE yourself both the choice of progressions in your exercises and how heavy you’re lifting. If you’ve been using the same weights for months on end, it’s time to step it up and lift heavier. If an exercise calls for 10 reps of squat and press – then make sure the 10th rep is HARD! Don’t just go through the motions, push yourself – that’s what makes the difference in your body and your body composition. After that, it’s all about consistency! If you’d like a little more variety in your workouts and you’re ready for more accountability in your diet, you could try the 21 Day Diet Challenge – it’s paleo-style eating is perfect for addressing high insulin levels and reducing belly fat quickly and safely.
Send in your fitness questions and we’re happy to help to the best of our ability!
The single biggest issue that will impact health and fitness in later years is falls prevention. One out of every three older adults (those aged 65 or older) has a fall each year.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non fatal injuries with non fatal injuries including fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand.
Many people who fall, even if they are not injured in the process, develop a fear of falling which in turn may lead them to limit their activities. This can create a catch 22 situation where as activities are limited, mobility is restricted leading to an overall reduction in fitness and strength which in turns increases the likelihood of a fall.
We’re at a unique time in history where we have the chance to live longer than ever before, which makes it imperative that those later years are quality years with health, vitality and mobility becoming really important issues to maintain.
Simple strategies to maintain health and wellbeing include monitoring medications. Speak to your Doctor or pharmacist about side effects of your current medications, ensure that multiple medications are consistent with each other and won’t cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.
Ladies, tragic news for the shoe lovers among you, it may be time to reduce the height of those stilettos! As we age, our feet naturally become wider and flatter. Our arches naturally drop a little, so it’s worthwhile getting your shoes properly fitted and your feet assessed by a podiatrist. Shoes need to be comfortable and supportive. High heels dramatically reduce your stability, adversely affect your pelvic tilt and spinal alignment and are a recipe for falls.
Have your eyes tested regularly and check that you have glasses that make it easy for you to keep active in and around the home. Single vision distance glasses may make it easier for you to walk outside and perform other fitness activities.
And obviously it’s important to look at your environment and ensure that your home is safe for you. Do you need to improve lighting, install grab bars in the bath or shower, improve railings on staircases or verandas?
Have you reviewed your nutrition to make sure you’re getting adequate calcium and essential vitamins from both food and supplements? Osteoporosis is a huge contributing factor in hip fractures so have your bone density checked and adjust your nutrition accordingly and make sure that weight bearing exercise forms a key part of your daily activity.
And most of all -keep moving!
If you suffer from arthritis or just general stiffness, it’s tempting to restrict movement – but that’s not the answer. Joints are “greased” by movement, so the stiffer you are, the MORE you need to move.
Workouts should include agility movements; movements in a side plane (like stepping jacks) or lateral lunges; exercises that focus on leg strength and ankle stability; and movements that promote cardiovascular fitness without adding excessive impact on your joints.
The Doctor designed program “Never Grow Old” is full of workouts that promote strength, flexibility and fitness for people over the age of 50. Follow along videos ensure your technique is correct and safe and that you’re getting the best out of the workout. You’ll find your balance and much more in this very comprehensive fitness program designed for anyone who refuses to grow old!