I went to the doctor’s for a check-up this week. Apparently at my age (59), the annual checkup happens every six months.
This may be for one of several reasons:
I’m less than psyched to go because it makes me focus on things I’d rather forget, such as my health “problems.”
But something happened this time that set me back more than usual. Here’s how it all went down…
I was called into the examination room and the young nurse sits me down and begins going over my health history.
Every question she asked me didn’t make sense. I also saw her looking at huge list of medications, but I could not see the specific meds from my chair.
I’m on only three medications — one for bones, another for blood pressure (thank you, heredity) and anxiety. So what were all these meds?
She asked if I still smoked. Say what??? No, never.
After a few more inane questions, she finally asks, “You ARE Lynette such-and-such, right?”
Umm… no. Mystery solved. It would’ve been nice to ask this question before we spent 10 minutes going over a medical background that was the total opposite to my own.
Upon seeing her mistake, she adds, laughing, “I was going to say you look great for 70!”
So I got that going for me.
And look, after the age of five no one in their right mind looks for ways to age faster. We do, however, want to speed up everything that gets us to our goals quicker.
Problem is, a lot of products and programs targeting this issue are less than legit. Some of it’s outright dangerous, but most are tactics you simply can’t employ for the rest of your life without doing bodily harm or losing any temporary gains you earned in the process.
A better idea is to incorporate approaches proven safe and effective by science, do them consistently and give yourself time to fully experience the results.
These include the following…
LIFT AND LOAD
Adding a weight training routine is often the missing link to weight loss. Doing cardio until the cows come home won’t increase muscle, strength or boost your metabolism. You need resistance training for that, whether from your own body weight, dumbbells, machines, kettlebells or anything else that pushes you beyond your comfort zone.
So if you haven’t started a program, do that. (See my free webinar, How to Firm Up After 50, for details.)
Muscle tone happens when you challenge your muscles. Easy peasy exercising while texting or otherwise not working out hard enough where you have to pay attention won’t give you a fit body.
In other words, if you’re flying through 15 reps and can immediately do a second set of 15, you’re not using enough weight to stimulate a change within the muscle.
Add resistance until you are truly working at around 12 reps but can do the remaining three with some effort.
ADD INTERVALS: GO EASY, GO HARD, GO HOME
As for cardio, adding in a 20-minute interval session once or twice a week in addition to a traditional endurance type workout also boosts calorie burning and helps speed weight loss.
I’ve written about this before (see links below), so I won’t go into great detail here, but the after burner effect of intervals (alternating bouts of higher intensity and lower intensity) can’t be beat.
Increasing and then decreasing your effort in measured intervals increases the calories you burn at rest as your body returns to its pre-workout levels. The exact number of calories and for how long varies with your effort and length of time spent working out.
But every little bit counts, right?
Here’s one example, below. Adjust the pace and interval times to fit your abilities.
Use cardio of your choice, be it walking, running, rowing, biking, or elliptical trainer:
Warm-up: 5 minutes easy pace, cardio of your choice, then:
GO OVER YOUR DIET WITH A FINE-TOOTHED FORK
Now let’s address another major aspect of getting results versus not: diet. Not “going on” a diet, but what you eat matters more than any workout when we’re talking about weight loss.
For one, if you’re working out to lose weight but not making any changes to your diet, you’ll see limited — if any — results. Why? Because it’s easier to skip that In-N-Out chocolate shake (589 calories) than it is to burn it off by walking 2-½ hours.
Even if you promise yourself you’ll work it all off, chances are you won’t. I’m not judging, it’s just human nature. We have the best of intentions, but it’s easy to skip it “just this once.”
In general, eat clean. This simply means avoiding highly processed foods packaged with additives and eating as close to natural as possible.
BONUS TIP! Hire a coach and/or join a group of like-minded women
As someone who always works with a coach myself (I currently work with three, including a mindset coach), I can tell you from experience the most legit “shortcut” to success is having the accountability, support, and yes, constructive criticism of working with a coach.
You must be coachable, however, to get the most benefits. Not everyone is. It won’t work if you argue for your limitations, as in, “I can’t because I (insert excuse here).”
Joining a group of supportive people is the next best thing to hiring a personal coach and can also help by letting you know you’re not alone. A group like my Ageless Army also allows for the exchange of ideas with others.
Reach out for help and be willing to listen, and you’ll make progress much faster than going it alone.
YOUR TURN! Do you currently do any of these practices? Do you find they help you reach your goals faster? Let me know in the comments section below…
Other posts you may like:
Your Ageless Body Coach,
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.