Getting Your Sexy Back
This is how a usual conversation goes with a client who has a few years on me.
Me: “Looking over your health history and movement screening, it appears that you have some issues we can address with corrective exercise.”
Client: “Really. What does that mean?
Me: “It means I can still train you, and possibly even help with your aches and pains.”
Client: “Yeah right. I’ll always have pain.”
Me: “Getting older doesn’t mean you have to be in constant pain.”
Client:”Talk to me when you’re 30”
Me: “I’ll be 32 in two months.”
Client: “Well…..talk to me when you’re 40”
If you’re a child of the 80’s like me then you know that we spent our childhood being active. We moved from sunup to sundown with nothing to escape our imagination. The tube leftover from a roll of wrapping paper turned into a light saber that I could smack my friends with. A bath towel attached to my shoulders became a cape and made me into a superhero. We were active all day and childhood obesity was a thing of the future.
However something happened between then and now. We lost our level of activity. Maybe it happened when we were chasing after a degree or perhaps chasing after our own kids. It’s gotten to the point where I come across a prospective client who is my age, yet has the joint issues of a senior citizen. Other clients my age feel like their best days are already behind them and all they need is a little bit of maintenance work to try and strengthen their heart.
Contrary to popular belief, your best days are actually in front of you. Most professional athletes don’t reach their prime until their early 30s, and physique athletes like bodybuilders and bikini models can compete well into their 50s. We call this muscle maturity, which is a way to describe the look of someone who has been putting their time in at the gym. Trust me: I was lucky to weigh 140 pounds when I was 18, and I wouldn’t consider my gangly look of that time to be my prime.
But enough of me – let’s get to you. Whether you haven’t been training because you focused on building a family or becoming a career shark, now is the time train for the body you’ve always wanted. It’s not as time consuming as you think.
Popular opinion would tell you to run a bunch of miles, but our concern here is building a new body, not getting in shape to run a marathon. Research tells us that after the age of 30, our bodies start losing what is called fast twitch muscle fiber (1). The term isn’t important so I won’t bore you with science; just know that this is the muscle that gives your body that lean, athletic, and firm look. The old adage if you don’t use it, you lose it is true. This muscle losing phenomenon only takes place if you’re not doing anything with your muscles.
In order to prevent this, as well as to accentuate the muscle that you do have, you need to hit the weight room. Light weights won’t do it; you need a weight that you can only lift between 4 and 6 reps. If you’re already thinking it, stop right now. Building a lot of muscle is a scientific process and you don’t turn into a bodybuilder unless you want to look like one. In an 8 week study done with subjects lifting heavy weights for a small number of reps, none of the subjects had any significant changes in muscle mass (2). Heavy strength training will help your metabolic rate: you’ll lose body fat while building a bit of muscle. In fact, your weight may not even change but your body composition (amount of body fat compared to muscle mass) will. You’ll also strengthen your glutes, thighs, and back and thus improve your appearance dramatically.
All you need to do is pick three days a week and one big move for each day. Here’s a sample:
After your big move, pick two exercises that compliment that move. So with your squat day you would want to pick exercises for your legs, like lunges and leg curls. This is where you can expand the reps and knock out 8 to 15 reps per set for these moves (do 4 sets of these exercises as well). The workouts will take you about 40 minutes and will improve your muscle mass, insulin sensitivity, metabolism, posture, and your confidence. Sounds like a win-win to me!
1. Bachechle, Thomas R and Earle, Roger W. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics. 2000, pp 182
2. Monterio, A.G., Aoki, M.S., Evangelista, A.L., Alven, D.A., et al. “Nonlinear Periodization Maximizes Strength Gains in Split Resistance Training Routines.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2009. 23.4: 1321 – 1326
3. Brentano, M.A., Cadore, E.L., et al. “Physiological Adaptation to Strength and Circuit Training in Postmenopausal Women with Bone Loss.” (2008) Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22;6, 1816-1826