Why You Need Balanced Training At 40+
I read an article a while back and it got me thinking about getting fit at 40+, how we train and for what reasons. I came to the conclusion that a lot of what drives us, what determines our training goals depends on our age, gender and confidence levels.
I’ve written this for those looking to get fit at 40 plus, who are maybe starting out strength training at this age or older. It is for men and women with some, little or no training experience.
In my opinion (because that’s what this is), I think that we are driven by social opinions, the media and peer expectations and dare I say it even peer pressure. We are bombarded by images of perfect bodies on social media and the tv, we see adverts for grooming, exfoliation and depilation every day. It seems there is a certain “look” that one should aspire to according to FaceInstaSnap!
When we’re young and single we’re like peacocks strutting our stuff, trying to look our best with more muscle, lean firm bodies, chiselled abs, bulging biceps and sculpted butts! That’s all well and good if you’re trying to become the next FaceInstaSnap supermodel, showing off and looking for a partner!
Outwith those training for sport (for the most part) as their goals are performance-driven, there is a definite evolution in training goals as we age. Most young men and women are driven by their hindbrains at this age and the need to attract a mate. This is hormone driven and funnily enough at that age our response to training is greater due to those very same hormones!
What about those starting their training later in life? Whether for health, sport or aesthetics starting weight training and getting fit in your 40’s can be a real challenge. Should this group start with the same goals as those 10 to 20 years younger?
Life experience, maturity, increased responsibilities, family all change our way of thinking and what our priorities are. Most of us are not looking to attract new partners, rather we are providing for our families and protecting them. In these times that means being able to work and care for our family, as this can often be both our children and our parents.
Is this really what we want or is it what we think is expected?
Most guys train what they can see and what they think others are impressed with, chest, shoulders and biceps, then maybe chuck in a little back and triceps, maybe even some leg work. For women, it’s abs and glutes every session! As I’ve previously stated, unless you’re training for competition which brings in a very different mindset to your training then the aesthetic goals are the predominant driver for the many of the 30 and under generation.
There’s no problem with training for aesthetic purposes only and it is most certainly better than being inactive, sitting at home eating pizza.
However, if you are serious about your training and how you look then a more balanced approach will most definitely give you better results across the board. Big compound lifts will boost your metabolism, promoting muscle growth and strength gains.
This will help to reduce body fat for better muscle definition and help those targeted chest and butt muscles to grow. Working all of your bodies major muscles will also give you a better overall shape and posture too. Whole-body workouts will not only promote hypertrophy and strength gains but will improve your overall conditioning as well.
Getting Fit at 40+
As we age our priorities and training goals change. Yes we want to slow (or even reverse) that middle-age spread, keep our mobility and strength. We may still feel the need to strut our stuff like that peacock, although for many of us that is usually no longer as much of a priority. Family and work commitments now being the main focus for most of us. Again, that hindbrain kicks in, we are now in our provide and protect mode and the longer we can stay fit and healthy the better we can look after our family.
A balanced approach!
A balanced programme here usually means a mix of strength training, cv and maybe some high-intensity circuit work. This will cover all the metabolic and cardiovascular needs along with the mobility and strength work necessary to keep the muscle mass up and body fat down to optimal levels, and to keep movement free and easy.
For those of us who have had a long sporting and/or training career, this approach can help to reduce the overall wear and tear on the body, thus allowing for better recovery and adaptation to training. This training style will also reduce the overall time spent in the gym too. No more 2 hour training sessions and muscles aching for days on end. Yes, you will still get sore but shorter sessions equal more recovery time and less stress on the body.
Sedentary jobs, getting everything delivered to the house from the weekly shop to Christmas presents and even working from home all mean that we are less and less active, we move less and do less.
This is so bad for us physically and mentally. Couple this with high carb and high sugar foods that are so easy and cheap to buy it is a one-way ticket to metabolic disease and an increased risk of life threatening illness. More and more studies are showing that our lifestyle choices play a huge part in our overall health, longevity and quality of life.
Get the balance right and enjoy the benefits whether that’s strutting your moves or moving your stuff! If you are not sure how to put this together in a meaningful programme then speak to a qualified coach or personal trainer. You could also consider joining The HIIT Works, a get Coached membership site that offers workouts, training plans, healthy recipes and much more. I will be only too happy to help you out, provide some guidance and direction. Check out the membership options here!
You can always reach out to me via email at email@example.com or through my Facebook Page @getcoached.net