Every morning when I open my browser, I can count on seeing three things: a political scandal that makes me run for the Pepto-Bismol, a food I’ve been eating “all wrong,” and a magical workout guaranteed to transform my life beyond my wildest dreams.
And each day I vow to never read the Yahoo homepage again.
Until I do. Because click bait is super hard to resist.
Here’s the thing: We’re all looking for the magic.
We want the winning lottery numbers, the One Thing that will make our life a living fantasy, money flowing like a chocolate fountain at a wedding, and a partner who knows you dip crackers directly into the peanut butter jar and says nothing.
We stuff a sock into the logical part of our brain and plow ahead against all sense of reasoning.
Does it sound possible to lose 20 lbs in a week? Probably not.
Will sending money to a Nigerian prince put us in line to inherent his vast fortune? Ummm… no.
But the not-so-logical part of your brain, let’s call it your “party brain,” thinks just maybe this is the real deal.
Because if scientists are still discovering weird creatures under the ocean, it’s totally possible they haven’t yet uncovered the miraculous weight loss effects of the Kumquat and Vodka Diet.
You could be on the cutting edge, your party brain tells you.
Just today, in the year 2018 (in case you find this blog in a time capsule post-apocalypse), scientists announced they’ve discovered a new body part called the interstitium.
I don’t fully understand what this thing even is, mainly because I couldn’t stomach the description beyond, “it’s like a highway of moving fluid.”
I will ask what you may be thinking: How are we unaware of a bodily “highway”?
I’m sure it caused a lot of researchers to “ooh and ahhhh” much like I do when I hear Sephora’s carrying a new makeup brand.
But I’m good not knowing the details.
Here’s my question: How in the name of Pete have we all been walking around with a “highway of moving fluid” in our bodies and NO ONE KNEW ABOUT IT UNTIL NOW??
I don’t know where you live, but highways around here (California, tagline: “Seriously, stay where you are, we have enough people to last a lifetime”) consist of seven to 10 lanes of traffic moving at 100 mph — or zero — depending on the time of day.
So when you’re on a freeway you pretty much know it. It’s not as if you suddenly wake up and you’re speeding along without any knowledge of how you got there. (Unless you’re on Ambien, but that’s another blog post.)
Okay, back to the topic of a magical workout.
Spoiler alert: NO SUCH WORKOUT EXISTS.
End of story.
However, with the right approach, you can strengthen just about every muscle in your body with a few simple exercises.
If you’re just starting out (I posted a Facebook live video on this topic HERE), the idea of resistance training seems as daunting as creating a house using popsicle sticks and rubber cement.
I get it.
So you skip it altogether and hope your body takes care of things itself without any intervention from you.
After all, it’s been piping a few hundred miles of fluid throughout its bad self without your knowledge. The least it can do is maintain status quo in the muscle department, right?
Nope. That’s where your party brain betrays you.
As we age, we lose muscle (if you’ve been on any of my webinars you’ll know this routine…). As we lose muscle a bunch of other, not so cool things happen as a result.
This natural process affects both men and women, starting in your 30s.
Let’s have a moment of silence for those years.
By the time you reach your 50s this muscle loss can account for between 10 and 30 lbs of excess weight.
Okay. So what can you do about it, besides weep quietly in the corner?
STRENGTH TRAIN! Yes, that again.
Whether you’re 40 or 90 (yes, 90!) you can bring it back! And, like Marty’s photograph in Back to The Future, you also bring your strength back along with your tone, shape, metabolism and balance.
The purpose of this post today (aside from making you crack a smile at some point), is to simplify, distill down, if you will, the entire resistance training situation.
Forget reps, sets, plyometrics, tranverse abdominus and all other terms you confuse with each other.
I’m breaking this down to THREE (count ’em) exercises that, when combined, hit nearly all the major muscles of the body.
You’re probably familiar with them already and either love them, hate them, or don’t do them because you think they’re not for you.
Breaking news: they ARE for you.
All three are functional exercises, meaning you use these muscles in everyday activities in some way.
Let’s get to it, shall we? Do these on three, non-sequential days of the week and let me know how you do!
Targets: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes
Yes, really. You do squats every time you take a seat. So unless you don’t plan on ever sitting down again, these muscles come in handy.
The key is to modify them according to your fitness abilities.
For example, arthritis in my knees prevents me from using full range of motion, so I do a modified squat halfway down.
An even more basic move: WALL SITS– “sit” with your back against a wall and shimmy down until your legs form a right angle, toes and knees aligned, and time yourself as you hold this isometric move. Strive for a 60-second hold.
Here’s a video on squats I did a while ago:
Targets: chest, triceps, shoulders
Yup, another one we love to hate and another multi-beneficial exercise. As with squats, modify them according to your abilities. I use hexagon shaped dumbbells (they don’t roll) to hang on to so I avoid putting weight on my bent wrists.
Another video from a couple years back:
Targets: core, abs and lower back
An isometric move, planks are safe for more people than crunches as an ab exercise because they avoid “spinal flexion,” a term for bending forward at the spine that can cause stress for someone like me, with osteoporosis.
Again, modify your technique according to your abilities.
By the way, if you enjoy instructional videos like this, you’ll love my Ageless Army, where I stash all my latest and greatest works. To learn more about this monthly membership exclusive to women over 50, click HERE. Or email me at email@example.com and I’m happy to hop on the phone and answer any questions you may have.
>> Do you currently do these exercises as part of your regular routine? Let me know your fave in the comments section below….
Other posts you may enjoy:
Your Ageless Body Coach,
P.S. Please join me April 5 for a FREE live webinar, How to Firm Up After 50, where I go into great detail on the in’s and out’s of strength training! I’d love ♥ to see you there.
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.