Linda Melone
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 5 Fitness tips that sound like the worst advice… but seriously work

When it comes to fitness advice, there’s no shortage of bad information out there. 

Anyone can post photos of their bod on Instagram and call themselves a “fitness expert.” 

Unless you’ve been living in a snowglobe, that’s not news, I know.

But when you’re a woman over 50 who’s trying to get in shape, trying the latest, greatest, high-intensity workouts touted by the loudest fitness flavor-of-the-month can land you in a heap of trouble.

At best, you end up on the couch with an ice pack and bottle of ibuprofen and BioFreeze roll-on.

At worst, you find yourself being carted out of the gym by paramedics in front of the rush hour crowd, who take photos of you being loaded into the ambulance with the #BoomerProblems.

Either way, you decide it’s safer to go back to doing nothing. “Being in shape just isn’t my thing,” you decide.

But there is a way.

First, for cripe’s sake, find a plan geared to your fitness abilities. I have several plans (as of this post I’m featuring a 12-week plan you can find HERE) geared specifically for women over 50.

Then, keep in mind the following, counterintuitive, advice. All sound a bit crazy, but they’re for real. 

1. Stop trying

There’s a big difference between making a commitment and “trying” out a new workout, class, eating program — whatever.

The latter gives you a way out.

“Well, I tried!” you say, after you miss a yoga class because of a snowstorm, as you plop on the couch and turn on Netflix, grateful for dodging that bullet.

Problem is, that’s a sure way to never make progress. 

The people I coach who make real changes do this one thing: THEY MAKE A COMMITMENT.

They make a decision and stick with it regardless of what happens.

It’s the only way to make real changes… and they follow the following additional tips as well. 

2. Plan to fail

Okay, this sounds nuts, you may be thinking. But in reality, when you make a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix, life will continue to happen around you.

Meetings, family events, health stuff, a stuck garage door that doesn’t enable you to leave the house, a swarm of locusts — anything can happen.

It’s simply inevitable.

Deal with it as best you can and get back on track ASAP. 

Allowing excuses to get in your way and waiting for the “perfect time” to get started means you won’t do it. 

I’ve been working out consistently for 40 years. I assure you, I’ve had my share of “life events” that took me out of the loop at times.

When that happens, do what you can to the best of your ability — make alternative plans — don’t beat yourself up, and get on with it.

3. Take your eye off the prize

      It’s about the journey, not the destination

We tend to focus on the finish line when we have a goal in mind. Gotta get to that number on the scale or fit into that size X jeans!

Problem is, if your driving force is reaching that particular point of reference, let me ask you something:

What will you do when you reach it? 

If you hated the entire process and suffered through grueling workouts and/or starvation diets to get there, chances are you will quickly slide back into your old habits. 

Torture is not something you want to practice the rest of your life.

Instead, find something — music, friends, etc. — you enjoy about the PROCESS and focus on the journey.

It’s like taking a long drive and finding scenic routes along the way. It makes the trip a whole lot more pleasant.

And when you reach your goal you’ll be better able to stick with it for good. 

And that, my friend, is the name of this game.

4. Eat your favorite foods if you’re striving for weight loss

Yes, even chocolate. 

Avoid putting certain foods on a Never To Eat Again list.

No one food will make you pack on pounds unless you go beyond your calorie limit. 

It takes 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat, so eating a square of chocolate at 150 calories isn’t the problem.

Doing it every single day or eating your body weight in Godiva is another story.

If you enjoy bread (which happens to be my weakness — I could live on bagels), track how much you really eat. Be accountable for it — maybe cut down on a portion of something else for that day.

And don’t eat something you crave by eating it on the run, but really sit and enjoy it.

Eat it without distractions.

Be in the moment.

Enjoy and move on. Next!

  1. 5. Step away from the scale

This one doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me and a lot of people I know.

Yes, research shows people who track their weight on a daily basis are able to keep their weight under control better than those who do not, and if that works for you, keep at it.

For others (*raises hand*), it becomes an obsession.

If the number on the scale determines your mood for the day, stop.

I interviewed David Garcia, founder of KeepItUpDavid.com, who lost more than 160 lbs and kept it off for over seven years.

He weighs himself monthly. Not daily or even weekly: only once a month!

That’s enough to keep him on track. 

When I lost over 15 lbs years ago I did it by not weighing myself for about a year. I did all the right things, but wasn’t focused on my weight. I’d done that for far too many years.

I felt my clothes getting looser but did not step on a scale until I went for my yearly physical. Today, I weigh myself sporadically. More than that makes me crazy(er).

Do what works for you.

That’s it! Now which ones will YOU put into action?

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to do everything wrong and still see results

How to think like an Olympic athlete… and crush your goals

3 Bad Habits that Age You Faster Than Your Years

Let me know in the comments below! 

 

About the Author Linda Melone

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.

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Leave a Comment:

Denise Fordyce says

I really like your “Plan to fail”. Sometimes life just gets in the way of good intentions. I am a “most days of the week” exerciser normally, but my mum died just a couple of weeks ago…And I’ve just had to stay hunkered down at home…I did get to the gym a couple of days ago, but I’m trying to be kind to myself and remind myself I’ll get back to it. Thanks for your message!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    I am sorry for your loss, Denise. Yes, we need to be kind to ourselves and know when we need a break.

    Reply
Rebecca says

Hi Linda. You’ve come into my life at the right time, having been recently diagnosed with a disease. I start chemo today. I need to stay motivated to work out during what’s coming down the pipe for me. I’m 52, had two kids in my 30s, and have ranged in size over the years from a size 8 (those dream years that I remember wrapped in a golden haze) to a size 16. I don’t worry about clothing size anymore, but I still struggle with my brain bone being so frustrated with changes that have happened to my body and the constant battle. 51 was such a great year. I lost 20 lbs by working out with weights and running during the course of the year, 7 days a week for an hour. It was two hours when I first started. I went from barely being able to run 2k to now running 8. I started to learn how to drum (a lifelong dream). I’m eating healthier than ever before. I was kicking depression and anxiety to the curb, and then whammo! I got slammed with a serious and rare autoimmune disorder that could deform me if left unchecked. I’m tired and may get more tired with chemo, but I can’t let this get the better of me. I’m thankful I found your site. I will need it more than ever, but good golly! I just can’t tone my tummy. That was the one part of my body that stayed in shape in the past. It’s frustrating. I’ve considered a tummy tuck but I’m not rich. I never EVER thought I would consider that. I always thought I would age with grace and acceptance…my younger self was a lot more optimistic than my older self. I can’t stand the stomach that now looks like a pudding of tiny rivulets. I was short waisted before but had definition. Now, I feel like my ribs are even closer to my hips. And my abdomen just wants to maintain a tiny baby bump. Do you think it is possible to ever get back the tummy and abs we had when we were younger? Or is this going to have to be a thing about acceptance. It’s harder than I ever thought it would be. Thank you, though, for making me laugh through your blog. I love and need your honest humour.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Thank you so much, Rebecca, for your sweet note! I am sorry for your health struggles. It sounds like you have more to worry about than attaining a flat stomach :)… but I get it. Health issues aside, when it comes to a person’s ability to flatten their abs, a lot of factors come into play. Fluctuating body weight and having children, as well as genetics all, play a role. So it’s really impossible for me to say. It’s very individual. But try making small changes and being consistent with all your efforts (exercise and diet) — and give yourself time. Your health needs to be your top priority now. Sending you best wishes!

    Reply
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