Remember seeing this image recently splashed across social media and the global news?
Critics claimed that this fitness mum allegedly “fat shamed” other women for not having 6 pack abs.
Whether you agree – or in fact found these photos motivating – I believe that most of us limit ourselves in our belief about what we can really achieve.
Through our lives most of us have found that when pressed, we are actually capable of more than we previously thought possible.
Shawna and I recently “virtually” met a truly inspirational lady. And no, she didn’t flash her sixpack over Instagram – she did something far, far harder.
Let me introduce you to Gudrun who was born legally blind and overcomes challenges you and I cannot imagine, on a daily basis, with an enquiring mind, persistence and a wicked, dry wit.
We originally heard from Gudrun who needed some assistance with downloading the Female Fat Loss over 40 videos. Through a further email exchange it transpired that Gudrun was doing some serious jumping of hoops long before she actually hit the workouts.
Take a moment, and imagine what it would be like if someone told you to do a stepping lunge. You’ve never actually seen one so you have no visual point of reference at all. You can follow direction once it’s been described to you (but you need someone willing to translate the visual into aural cues that are meaningful) and then you need someone to visually check that you’re putting your body into the actual right position.
So keep going with that exercise in imagination and think of the scale of the preparation that is required before you can even start the workout.
You’ll need specific software to read the program, and then assorted apps to help that software to flesh out the “body” of what you’re researching. You’ll need further assistance for the frequent times the software is unable to adequately translate or read the screen.
Think of the arrow play button on the screen of a video for example – say your screen reading software can’t “read” the arrow. What do you do?
Now imagine that you have a helpful member of your family go through every single exercise in the program and work with you to describe the exercise so you can physically complete the movement correctly and safely.
Are you exhausted yet? We haven’t even got to the workout!
Gudrun describes these as “the steps necessary to wiggle past the boulders of inaccessibility.”
When I was reading Gudrun’s emails I was absolutely gobsmacked at the effort she goes to, to get in a workout to look after her health and fitness.
Gudrun doesn’t think she’s anything special – this is all par for the course for her. She explains,
“I’m used to having to fix stuff and do workarounds. I’m a musician, of sorts, and participate in a list of visually impaired composers, instrumentalists, and singers who try to deal with equipment and software where there are issues with accessibility. We try to help each other. Same with visually impaired translators. I’m on one of those lists, too, (I’m a freelance translator, gotta have a day job, right?)”
It gives us all a real sense of perspective doesn’t it?
Now, let me ask you again.
What’s your excuse?
How’s your balance?
Has it changed in the last few years? Are you a little less stable in some movements and a bit more careful when walking down stairs or in other activities?
The ability for your body to automatically adjust movement to it’s surroundings, decreases with age as those helpful sensory perceptions like sight and hearing start to lessen in efficiency.
When all these systems including your sense of spatial awareness are working together automatically with your musculoskeletal system you can stay active and independent, preventing falls and improving your balance.
Like any other skill, we need to practise and train these senses to maintain functionality and ease of movement.
You’ve heard the expression “use it or lose it”- and that’s what we need to focus on with balance training. When you persistently stick to safe movement and never challenge yourself with different movement patterns, the brain switches off that sensory awareness. We need to work in different planes of movement and use different muscles and challenge our proprioception to keep these sensory skills alive.
It’s never to soon to practise these movements. If you generally struggle with balance or have perhaps have an ongoing ankle injury or weakness or even if you have an older relative or friend who struggles with their balance, share these videos with them and have them practise these simple but effective movements. Here are just two of seven balance drills that feature as bonus workouts in the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her program.
Imagine you’re walking a tightrope, with heel to toe walking forward alternating your feet. Repeat this to and fro in whatever room you have available for 60 seconds. Stand tall and maintain your best posture, you may like to keep your arms outstretched for additional balance.
Walk the grapevine. Starting from your left, swing your left foot across the front of you past your right foot and slide right foot back into hip width apart stance. Continue across room for 60 seconds, repeating the other direction for another 60 seconds.
Let’s the repeat the grapevine but this time we’ll cross over the foot behind the other foot. 60 seconds to your left, then 60 seconds to the right.
Regardless of age, think about including different balance exercises in your workouts too. Exercises like:
A little extra attention to balance and strength now will pay serious dividends later.
You’ll see all these balance exercises and drills in the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her workouts here.
One of the most important elements of any training program is the effective strengthening of your core muscles.
A strong core and solid foundation of shoulder and pelvic stability is a must for everyone who wants to remain injury free and retain good functional mobility in their body.
This short Pilates Finisher workout is taken from the 20 Minute Anti Aging Solution for Her program. These Core Finishers are designed specifically for mature women although anyone of any age or gender will benefit from these exercises.
I recommend two different methods of bracing abs. The first is the contraction of your pelvic floor muscles. These are recruited by “drawing up” the inner muscles that control your bladder.
Our second method of bracing is gently pulling belly button to spine. This is an easier method of bracing during strong movements like planks. What I do want you to be careful of using this bracing method, is that you don’t want to pull in your stomach muscles and “bear down” on your pelvic floor. Lift your pelvic floor FIRST, then brace the stomach muscles for your best abdominal strengthening and pelvic floor protection.
Imagine the pelvic floor muscles as a round mini-trampoline made of firm muscle. Just like a trampoline, the pelvic floor is able to move down and up with tension. The trouble starts when that trampoline “mat” loses tension and is unable to adequately support the visceral organs and bladder in particular. Although the pelvic floor is hidden from view, it can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like our arm, leg or abdominal muscles.
Whether you’re running, resistance training, picking up grand-kids, hiking, swimming or just pushing a shopping trolley around, you should always be thinking about “lengthening” through your spine and keeping abdominals braced.
Your goal should be quality not quantity. If you feel benefit then do more reps if you want. If it feels too hard, then do fewer reps.
Superwoman – 60 seconds
Glute Bridge with hip thrusts – 60 seconds
Bird Dog Left Leg – 30 seconds
Bird Dog Right Leg – 30 seconds
Elbow Plank – 60 seconds
I prefer that you listen to your body in terms of number of reps. You can follow along with the video for time or go with a suggested range of approximately 10 reps, but you should be aiming for quality over quantity. If you feel tired and feel that you’re losing control of the movement then stop and stretch. Return to the movement when you feel you can move with control.
I really want you to come out of these workouts feeling taller, stronger and more stable. You should see an increase in your strength, range of movement, pelvic floor control and an easing of muscular stiffness and strains.
If you’d like more Pilates Finishers then take a look at the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her – workouts and nutrition tips for the mature woman.
If you haven’t exercised for a long time, it can seem overwhelming and intimidating to start over again. Especially if you’ve got injuries that you need to be careful with and you’re just not confident with what you’re doing.
Sometimes, it seems that the after-workout soreness isn’t worth it – you feel so stiff and sore after that first workout that it’s hard to motivate yourself to keep moving.
Exercising isn’t a one size fits all proposition. You might feel strong in some exercises and then feel hopelessly weak in another. If you’ve come from a sedentary background you might find that any balance work is tough and that your core and abdominals are somewhere back in the 1990′s!
Let’s make it easy on you and take this exercise thing right back to basics. And in the interests of getting you focused on the important stuff – getting moving! – we’ll show you EXACTLY how with a full follow along video straight from the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her program.
Equipment: Chair, Low Step, Resistance Bands, Dumbbell
Duration: Allow for 20 minutes including warm-up
10 reps of each exercise.
Step downs from low step (10 per side)
SB Wall Squats (or Chair Squats)
Wall Superman with Alternating Leg Lifts (10 per side)
Total Body Extensions
Resistance Band Rows
Stepping Jacks ( 10 per side)
Farmers Walks Left – 20 seconds*
Farmers Walks Right – 20 seconds*
Seated Double Leg Lifts
Rest for 30 seconds at end of circuit and repeat up to 4 times.
We’ve modified the workout so there’s no getting up and down off the floor but you can progress this a little if you feel stronger, to do any planks or pushups against a lower surface; you might prefer to use a higher step with step downs for greater challenge; and the load you use with those sneaky little Farmers Walks is up to you – these can be TOUGH when holding a heavy weight!
You can progress or regress this workout by making the intervals of work shorter or longer according to your fitness. 20 seconds will be a lot easier than 30 seconds and going up to 45 seconds of work might be just enough challenge to spice it up for you. And of course you can choose the number of repeats that suits you. If you last worked out in Year Dot – then start with just one circuit and practise your technique and good form. Gradually add on another repeat per week.
If you’ve exercised before but just need to be careful coming back from injury – then shoot for several repeats monitoring how well you recover.
We’ve designed this workout to include balance challenges as well as core and functional movement.
You might even enjoy sharing this workout with a friend or family member who would benefit from an entry level style workout.
You can find 3 Starters Workouts and 9 Intermediate Workouts in the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her program.
No-one wants to get “old” before they absolutely have to and these workouts are designed to keep you moving with age-appropriate exercise as well as nutrition tips. You’ll get a whole bunch of bonus reports and anti-aging tips for women, along with nearly forty videos in the entire package! We take you by the hand and lead you every step of the way.
As we age we inevitably lose muscle tone. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss.
This is known as age related sarcopenia. It typically accelerates from the age of 60 and is important because a loss of muscle mass leads to a decline in strength and mobility which in turn can lead to a higher incidence of frailty, falls and fractures.
And if you think this doesn’t relate to you yet– think again! Researchers designate Older Adults as anyone from the age of 50!!! And while sarcopenia is generally not a huge issue before the age of 65, it’s important to take preventative action as soon as possible.
Research would indicate that several factors are at play in the age-related loss of muscle including reduced muscle response to protein intake, changing hormones and for some, a reduction in the level of physical activity.
The primary treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, and resistance training in particular. Research has shown that a program of progressive resistance training exercises can increase protein synthesis rates in older adults in as little as two weeks.
Your muscles crave adequate protein intake so as you age it’s super important you’re feeding your body the nutrients it needs.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences examined how four different eating plans affected the muscle health of twenty healthy adults ages 52 to 75.
The researchers randomly assigned participants to one of four groups: Two groups followed the Institute of Health’s current recommended daily allowance of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Half of them divided that protein equally between breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the rest ate the majority of their protein at dinner. The other two groups ate double the RDA (1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight), either equally or unevenly distributed between meals.
After four days, researchers found that the more protein participants ate – the better their bodies were at building muscle. Specifically, those who ate double their RDA of protein increased their rates of muscle protein synthesis (the process by which cells use protein to build muscle) and improved their net protein balance (the difference between muscle protein synthesis and protein breakdown). They found that quantity not timing was of main importance.
You can ensure adequate daily protein intake as simply as adding a serve of quality lean protein to each meal and snack in your day. You might choose to include eggs at breakfast, lean ham at lunch, a snack of greek yogurt and berries, and a lean fish for dinner.
Your waistline will thank you too with more good reasons to increase your protein. A recent study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre found that when people ate high-calorie diets, those who got 15 to 25 percent of their calories from protein, stored 45 percent of the excess calories as anti-aging, healthy muscle. Meanwhile, those who got only 5 percent of their calories from protein stored 95 percent of the excess calories as fat.
Bottom line – the greater your muscle mass, the more likely you’ll be able to stay with all the physical activities you’ve always loved and you’ll look and feel leaner and stronger too!
It’s the combination of great nutrition and progressive and age-appropriate workouts that make The 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her perfect for mature women. With modifiable workouts for all levels of fitness and nearly 40 videos in the entire program we’ve got all your fitness and nutrition needs covered. Click here for the 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her.
Reference: Quantity of dietary protein intake, but not pattern of intake, affects net protein balance primarily through differences in protein synthesis in older adults IlYoung Kim , Scott Schutzler , Amy Schrader , Horace Spencer , Patrick Kortebein , Nicolaas E. P. Deutz , Robert R. Wolfe , Arny A. Ferrando American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism Published 1 January 2015 Vol. 308 no. 1, E21-E28 DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00382.2014
“How MUCH protein should I be getting on a daily basis?”
I get asked this question all the time.
In most cases, I find the majority of active people (especially women) don’t get enough high quality protein.
Sometimes it’s just because the thought of tasteless protein is hard to stomach.
Keep in mind, if you’re exercising intensely on a regular basis your protein demands will be higher than somebody who’s sedentary.
Here’s the guide:
- Intense exercisers who want to burn fat = 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight daily
- Intense exercisers who want to gain muscle = 1.5 grams per pound of lean body weight
- Moderate exercisers looking to maintain or burn fat = 0.75 grams per pound of lean body weight
- Sedentary person = 0.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight
Most studies and research done on protein absorption seem to show that sedentary people really don’t need much more than 20 grams per serving…intense exercisers can possibly absorb more than this. As a rule of thumb, I try to keep my serving size from 20-30 grams each meal.
Now if the thought of calculating your lean body mass (Lean Body Mass = Bodyweight minus Body Fat) leaves you absolutely cold and I can’t say that maths has ever excited me in my ENTIRE life, then here’s an easier way to work it out.
An at-a-glance super easy guide to how much you should be eating of not only protein, but also veggies and starchy carbohydrates.
Try to include a serve of protein with every meal. You’ll want to include a good quality protein every time you have your starchy carbs too. One of the best things about eating protein is that it moderates your blood sugar and appetite so that you have sustained energy and you won’t feel like you’re starving all the time.
Chicken, lamb, beef, fish, greek yogurt, tofu or soy products (non GM), turkey, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds are all great sources of protein. Challenge yourself to include more lean proteins in your meals from now on.
You’ll find healthy and delicious recipes that will help you meet your protein requirements without having to eat dry chicken breasts or other tasteless food every day.
Find a recipe here to make tonight and getting your protein requirements in daily will be easy.
One of the health and fitness catch phrases you’ll hear a lot is “listen to your body”.
So, what does that actually mean?
When it comes to good nutrition, you need to listen to your body to find out what suits your appetite; your digestion; your energy levels. When it comes to workouts, same deal! The way you train on Monday is not necessarily the same way you train on Friday.
Listening to your body with your training can mean quite a variance in the energy output and level of exercises you’re ready to embrace at any given time.
Early on in the week I feel like a million bucks – chin up burpees with box jumps –come at me! By Saturday and my tenth workout of the week – it’s a totally different story. I want to move but I need to take it easy!
I’ve given you two workouts to follow here. Similar, but designed to adjust to your experience, your fitness, and your energy levels. Learn to listen to your body each and every workout. How’s your energy today? Are you up for lots of impact or are you going to modify that aspect of the workout today? Are you going with longer intervals or easing it back a little but still getting it done? Are all your exercises going to be done on the floor or are you modifying to an incline bench?
There’s no shame in taking easier options when you need to – so long as you’re doing the best you can do at that moment in time.
This Intermediate/Advanced workout is one of my favourite bodyweight workouts from the Inner Circle membership program. You can find it in the Female Fat Loss over 40 Fat Burning Workouts package – this is just one of over 80 days worth of workouts! This’ll keep you out of mischief till summer is back!
Equipment: Jump rope, bench/chair (optional)
Duration: 35 minutes including warm-up
This workout can be done in any order, in any number of sets – you just need to get all the exercises and all the reps completed. For example, you might choose to do 10 squat thrusts at a time and move on to another less demanding exercise in between until all those reps are complete. Every Single Limb rep counts as one rep, 50 lunges is be the same as 25 lunges per leg, 40 XBMC are 20 per side etc. With switch lunges – one forward and one reverse lunge equals one rep.
Finish with a cooldown and stretch worked muscles.
And here’s a similar workout but modified so that all exercises can be done on an incline without getting up and down off the floor. Still intense but you can ease back the effort depending on any injuries or your exercise experience or energy levels.
Equipment: Bodyweight, Bench
Duration: Allow for 25 minutes including warm-up. If you’re short on time or building up your fitness, try doing just one or two repeats of this circuit to start with.
You can find this workout in the brand new 20 Minute Anti-Aging Solution for Her program. Perfect for beginner exercisers or anyone struggling to workout around injuries and reduced mobility.
I’ve got a great article from Guru Rick Kaselj today taking you through 4 Bodyweight Knee Saver Exercises.
These are 4 exercises that you can go through anywhere that help strengthen that knees in order to save your knees from knee pain or a knee injury.
#1 – Bodyweight Squat
The key things that we want to consider are the feet are wide, toes are slightly out, and ideally the hips just pass the knees so that you will be working your hamstrings and glutes as you are coming down and back up. 5 -10 reps is great.
#2 – Bodyweight Single Leg Deadlift
It’s useful to hold on to something with this exercise, it’s not so much balance here, but strength and focus for the targeted muscles. Note the position of the exercise, the knee of the supporting leg is slightly bent or “soft” with head, upper body and leg in a straight line. When standing she returns to a tall posture.
This is another great exercise for hamstrings and glutes (bum and back of thighs). 5-10 reps is a good range to shoot for with excellent technique.
# Bodyweight Full Body Extension
One way to think about this exercise is you are creating waves. First squatting and then driving your hands overhead like you are making a wave. Work on 5 to 10 slow repetitions. A partial squat is fine for this movement as well when cardio and speed is your main focus.
# Bodyweight Single Leg Squat
Use a support, because once again the focus is strength and control,not just balance. Keep the upper body tall and foot flat on the floor. Sit bottom back and “hinge” through the hip to get depth in the bent leg. 5-10 reps is great, this is a strong exercise.
Well, there you go. Give the 4 Bodyweight Knee Saver Exercises a go and let me know how that goes for you.
If you are looking for a program to help fix your knee pain, then check out Fix My Knee Pain:
If you asked me what’s the best way to deal with stress, I’d answer “exercise”. I sort of believe that exercise is the answer to most of life’s big questions, “world peace?” – send ‘em into the boxing ring. If only the United Nations had asked my opinion!!
I’ve got a ripper little workout for you today that should sort out the grumpiest of hormones or enhance your already good mood. Good nutrition and good training together make for a happy woman! You’ll see I’ve allowed for beginners or those of you who struggle with changes of level and upped the ante for the more advanced exercisers too.
So whatever your stress may be, I’ve got a ladder workout for you that will sort your woes, so put your counting hat on along with your workout gear and let’s get started.
Beginners will do these modified exercises:
10 – 1 reps
Incline Pushups (either wall or bench)
Incline Fast Mountain Climbers
Bent Over Bodyweight Rows
Intermediate/Advanced will step it up:
Pushups on knees/toes
Prisoner Squats or DB Front Squats
Fast Mountain Climbers
DB Bent Over Rows or DB Renegade Rows
Modified burpees or Total Body Extensions
You’ll do the first circuit with 10 reps for each exercise. For both levels, rest only as required. Catch your breath and keep the break short. Next circuit you’ll do 9 reps of each exercise. Take a quick rest and then back into the workout with 8 reps of each exercise. Continue reducing the number of reps each circuit till you finish on one rep of each movement.
You’re on the clock timing yourself for less than 20 minutes of work. As usual, you should be aiming to set a time and beat it or at least match it every time you repeat this workout.
Exercise can be great stress therapy as well as for fitness and fat loss, but first and foremost NUTRITION should be your main focus.
It’s not about perfection, but progress.
Even if you keep taking tiny steps you’ll keep moving forward.
Alcohol and weight loss don’t particularly go together but at this time of year, a drink or three is pretty much inevitable.
As always, an ounce of prevention will save a pound (or three) on your hips so give these tips a go for Christmas and New Years and stay in control of your health, your weight loss and your next-morning “wellness”.
Never go to a party with an empty stomach! Never, ever, ever! Even if you’ve been ‘good’ all day and have saved your calories for a treat meal, you’re better off with something in your stomach. Even if it’s just a protein shake before you leave home. Fatty foods and dense carbs will help to reduce the absorption of alcohol, but think healthy choices rather than pizza on the run.
Did you know that the more bubbly the drink, the faster you absorb alcohol? Not just champagne, but mixers too with your spirits.
Choose your poison – here’s a list of spirits from worst hangover causing drinks to least. Bourbon, whiskey, brandy, rum, red wine, white wine, gin and vodka. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.
Buy the best you can afford; just like your exercise, it’s quality over quantity always!
Sip slowly and enjoy whatever your drinking. Like a cheat meal, take time to savour!
And because your healthy mantra with both food and drink is “never starved, never stuffed” (you remember that one, right?) you’ll remember to drink in moderation. Demonstrating your best handstands in a party dress will be memorable indeed for your office colleagues – just not a lot of fun the next day (or next performance review).
And if all else fails, and Backstreet Boys Greatest Hits gets you grooving along with a leetle too much of the cup that cheers, then it’s damage control time.
Water, water, and more water is the fastest answer!
Consider taking a B12 vitamin supplement as soon as you get up and get some simple sugars into your system. A glass of fruit juice can help to burn off the alcohol in your system rapidly. Branch Chain Amino Acids have also been shown to restore electrolyte balance and may be of benefit.
Follow that with a coffee chaser and anti-inflammatory and you’re nearly ready for the gym!
Eating well and managing your weight should be sustainable, so enjoy the party season. If you know you’re going out, manage your calories carefully beforehand and the day after. Sneak in some quick workouts (these are perfect for this time of year) and see the New Year in without extra pounds on your tummy.