How To Reinvent Yourself In Your 40s

In an age where being fit and healthy is the biggest trend for twenty-something year olds, older age groups too, can hope to fight fat and become fit. Even if you are in your forties, you still have enormous potential to remake your body, improve energy levels, build muscle and transform decades of bad habits. Yes, the body of a 40-year-old will not respond the same way that the body of a 19-year-old will but with tons of motivation and a complete change in how you live your life, it is most certainly possible. Here are some top tips to reinvent yourself in your 40s:

Full body workout- Do a full body weight workout 3 times per week, the workout needs to be a mixture of ‘big bang for your buck’ compound exercises split between upper and lower body. More muscle means more calories are burned at rest.

Doing weights also creates an after burn effect, meaning you also burn calories hours after the workout is finished. 

Ditch the sugar – Avoid sodas and energy drinks that are packed with sugar and be aware when you buy a diet drink that they are also loaded with sweeteners to replace the sugar. Stick to fresh water and teas. 

Try faster cardio – Get up 20 minutes earlier and throw in some cardio on an empty stomach 2-3 times a week. This can be a speed walk, jog or short burst of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 

Look at your diet – Often people are grabbing at food with no real thought to the macronutrients they are consuming. Have a protein breakfast to set you up for the day, followed by 2-3 meals that have a good source of protein, green vegetables and good carbohydrates. Get yourself a steamer to make things simple and to help keep the calories in check. Get back to the caveman way of eating and try Paleo.

Sample Healthy Eating Plan

Breakfast – Protein breakfast for better energy and body composition

Scrambled eggs /salmon/ half avocado / handful of nuts

Lunch – Steamed chicken breast or tuna steak, unlimited green vegetables or in a large salad (if mobile have in a whole wheat wrap)

Snacks – Green apples, nuts, Greek yoghurt (not Greek-style but Greek)

Dinner – Grilled salmon, sweet potato, unlimited greens/vegetables 

Don’t fear the fat – Good fats from foods like nuts, avocados and eggs are not your enemy so bring on the oily fish and pack your diet full of Omega 3. Avoid the nasty trans fats and vegetable oils.

Alcohol – A pint of beer has 180 calories and a large glass of wine 160 calories so it’s pretty easy to see after 2-3 drinks you have built up 500 empty calories. If you’re serious about getting lean, then regulate your drinking and be aware that to see those abs these dead calories need to stop.

Sleep – Sleep is often overlooked as a factor for changing your body. But remember when you work out you’re breaking down your body; when you sleep it repairs. Adequate sleep also helps to regulate hormones such as cortisol and if you don’t sleep enough your insulin sensitivity will decrease. So aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night and if you get chance to nap on top, which is even better.

Green Tea – Green tea is a great drink choice while getting lean. It will help to rev up your metabolism, allowing you burn more calories daily. Green tea is also loaded with healthy plant chemicals and of free-radical-fighting antioxidants.

Yoga – Stress is a huge crusher when it comes to changing your body composition. You need to find time to relax the mind and the body. This will help your sleep and lengthen tired muscles. It could also help with niggling back pain.

Set a goal – You need to set yourself goals to hit any target. Start with simple goals like going to the gym 3 x per week or cutting out all sugary drinks. It’s important to have one clear, well-defined, high-stakes, long-term goal.

Select Super foods – Make sure you eat 3 to 4 of the following super foods each day:

  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Garlic
  • Salmon
  • Avocado  
  • Beans (not baked beans)

Your top 5 tips on how over-forties can get motivated

If you are lacking in motivation, you’re covered with the following advice:

  1. Set goals. They should be both long and short term. These goals need to be high stakes and relevant to you. Have SMART goals, which stand for: S-specific, M-measurable, A-attainable, R-realistic, T-timely. 
  2. Make people accountable. Find friends or colleagues to train with. If you agree on a specific time each week you are accountable to each other. It’s harder to find excuses not to show up when friends are relying on you.
  3. Find something you enjoy. You may hate the gym, hate running, but love tennis. Or vice versa. It’s really important you enjoy the exercise or at least enjoy the results! Remember, consistency is the key to get fit and changing your body shape, so be patient, be consistent, and results will follow.
  4. Take measurements and pictures, if you’re unhappy with your body shape. Take a photo against a white background. Measure your waist, chest, arms and thighs. Have it all logged. You now have a starting base. Take pictures and measurements every 3-4 weeks. Once you see the results from regular training and good eating you will become super motivated. Don’t become scales-obsessed, you could add muscle and be heavier but look leaner.
  5. Change your eating. If your energy is low and you feel sluggish the chances are your diet is a mess. Write down what you eat and drink for 3 days. The chances are it’s mostly carbs! Look at a protein-based breakfast and 3-4 meals high in protein, smart fats and sensible portions of good carbs. Avoid processed foods and drink 2-3 litres of water a day. 

Top 5 tips on how to stay on track with your fitness 

  1. Log your workouts. Just going to the gym and throwing a few weights around will not change your body composition. Have a proper prepared workout plan and write the weights and reps down so you have targets and room for progression.
  2. Plan the odd cheat. Keep your lifestyle clean for the bulk of the time but have pre- planned cheats. You may have a party or a wedding so use that as your time to let off steam and loosen the eating plan and once it’s done get back on track. Try to limit this to every few weeks as you want to keep your hormones in check.
  3. Vary your food. Good, healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland. Look at keeping a varied diet of different meats, poultry and fish with a wide variety of vegetables. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it won’t taste great.
  4. Be aware when eating out. Often you think you’re ordering a healthy meal but it can be covered in sauces and fats that bump up the calories. Look at grilled meats and fishes and ask for your vegetable steamed. Once you get in the habit of asking for leaner options most places will accommodate. 
  5. Be mindful of alcohol. Choose wisely. Look at singles (not doubles) and slim line mixers.  Five drinks could be 1000 calories or 375. Take your pick!

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