SHRED NATION, I hope your day is going well, because I’ve got a treat for all of the ladies out there. This is a great article written by Krista Goncalves, Certified Fitness Trainer & Registered Nutritionist at www.MakingLemonade.ca I’ve know Krista for many years, and she has hit the nail on the head with her blog piece, “Functional Fitness for Forty-Something Women”. Enjoy the read..
Ladies, we all know how hard it is to keep up with a fitness routine. With the insanely over-scheduled lifestyles we all try to pursue these days, it’s no wonder!
And how about maintaining a certain level of fitness as the years start rolling by? I think we can all agree that what “being fit” was to us in our twenties and thirties, is a whole different kettlebell in our forties, and beyond!
I’ve Been Where You Are – Frustrated by Fitness
Being a 40-something-something woman myself, I know firsthand the struggle and frustration that comes along with wanting to re-live the “glory days” of my former, more fit self.
It’s perhaps especially frustrating for a gal like me because I was a very active Fitness Trainer & Bootcamp company owner from age 28 to 38, so fitness was not only an important part of my everyday health routine, it was how I made a living – and I LOVED it!!
But then I started having back troubles in my early thirties (I had no idea “cranky back” was even allowed in the 30’s!), and also had my kids at 33 and 35 – which took a huge toll on my body, and forever changed my hormonal status.
READ: my hormones went completely out of whack and my weight spiraled out of control. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism & dysregulated adrenals.
Ok, so I’m not here to give you some sordid Moms-gone-hormonal story, but my point is – I get it and I get YOU.
We all have our own experiences of how we feel like our bodies have betrayed us in some ways, and it likely happened somewhere in the late thirties, early forties. Am I right?
We may even feel justified in pointing the dumbbell in every direction as to where, how and why our fidelity to fitness has strayed.
However, I want to remind you that none of those reasons, despite their validity, are an excuse to continue diverting focus from your fitness routine right now. It’s just TOO IMPORTANT to overall health.
Why is Fitness Over Forty So Important? What is Functional Fitness?
You can still GET FIT in your 40’s, and STAY FIT – trust me!
Why is this so important though, especially for women?
We tend to lose more muscle mass and bone density more quickly than men as we age – thank you declining testosterone & estrogen! This can lead to other health issues, like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Also, our metabolism slows down considerably leading to weight gain, especially around the middle – the dreaded middle-aged spread!
Can’t we ever catch a break ladies?!
This is where “functional fitness” comes in. According to SheKnows.com:
“Functional fitness may sound like a catchy new type of workout, but once you understand its purpose (and its benefits) you’ll be hooked. Just as the name suggests, functional exercises used in a functional fitness routine try to mimic more ‘real world’ everyday activities, using multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time to give you a full body workout.”
Think of it as getting much more bang for your fitness buck. After you begin incorporating functional moves into your routine, you’ll start to improve in your endurance, balance, posture, strength, coordination and agility.
More Benefits of Functional Fitness & Strength Training
Well, without giving you a list a mile-long because the benefits are so numerous, here are the top 3 that will resonate with you ladies the most I think:
- When functional training is done correctly it will lead to better joint mobility, stability and more efficient motor or movement patterns. Improving these factors decreases the potential for injury and emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move more fluidly, especially as we age.
- Improved body composition – think slimmer profile. Your scale weight may not change much, but your percentage of body fat sure will! Helloooo skinny jeans, I’ve missed you!
- Strength or resistance training causes a cascade of beneficial hormonal reactions to take place including an increase in testosterone levels right after exercise .
Why is testosterone important in women? Just as in men, but to a lesser degree, it is critical to our metabolic, sexual and muscular functioning.
It affects our lean mass (the amount of muscle we have in our bodies, directly related to metabolism), our libido (yes, please!), as well as our mood, and even our motivation & assertiveness.
Convinced of the need to bring fitness back into your life and make it more functional? Good!
But you’re probably wondering how you’re going to navigate this new challenge…
How do I find a routine that’s right for me? And how will I ever fit it into my crazy schedule?!
Your body has changed, there’s no denying that, so what felt good, and got you results when you were 25 (Ultimate Frisbee anyone?) may give you nausea & heartburn at the thought of doing it right now!
You may need to try out a few different workouts, sports or other activities before you find a good fit for your lifestyle. Having a busy home life, especially with kids in the mix often makes scheduling ANY time for yourself the top factor in settling on what type of exercise routine you’ll get on board with, and more importantly – stick to for the long haul!
However, do what it takes to make it work. Schedule your workout like you do anything else – make it an appointment with your health. It’s that important!
I also love that there are so many online options now – no need to carve out precious time to run back & forth to the gym anymore!
Check out all of the time-efficient programs from TE Fitness, like 4 Weeks to a New You – there’s really NO EXCUSES.
The best form of fitness for Hormone Balance and Anti-Aging
Did that second one catch your attention? Thought so!
While I always say that some form of daily exercise is better than none, and if you currently don’t even have a routine established, then you do need to start somewhere. Just move your body and try to break a sweat daily!
However, when you’ve got a basic level of fitness established, there is a very specific type of workout that tops them all in terms of what is better suited to the body (and mind) of the average 40-something gal.
It’s HIIT training.
This goes by many other terms, Tabata, burst training, blast training, sprint interval training, but they’re all just some rendition of High Intensity Interval Training…short periods of intense work (exercise), followed by a period of rest. Work, rest, repeat. So simple! And the best part? You only have to spend about 30 minutes from start to finish, including warm-up & cool-down!
The Journal of Sport & Health Science reported in their study on “Women & Exercise in Aging” that while most current guidelines recommend light- to moderate-intensity activities to optimize health, in actuality moderate- to high-intensity exercise may be necessary to elicit positive adaptations .
So again, high intensity interval training workouts for a shorter duration (than your average gym workout), executed with good form, not only bags you the juicy benefits that I’ve mentioned above, but has been proven to be the most effective “method” for great fat loss, better hormonal balance and in an anti-aging capacity!
Of course, this is the kind of magic you’re going to find in TE Fitness programs and workouts. Clearly Tommy was way ahead of Mel Gibson and has always known “what women want”. Haha!
Krista Goncalves, RNC is a former outdoor fitness company owner & bootcamp taskmaster, and working alongside Tommy – they were a force to be reckoned with! J
Krista is the proud mother of 2 young children, and now focuses her attention on her 40-something crew of ladies looking to improve their nutrition & fitness and empow(her) their health!