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Becoming More Durable in Your Fifties

What is it about aging that scares people so much? Is it a fear of getting weak, or frail? Or losing your balance like so many people over 50 speak of? Or maybe its feeling like you won't be able do all the fun, active things you used to do in your twenties, thirties or forties? Maybe it's that your energy levels and drive will plummet and you lose your interest in all the fun things that used to fill your schedule? Regardless of what it might be I'm here to tell you that it's all a bunch of crap! So listen close all you stubborn 50+ critters out there cause it's time to take a dive into the fountain of youth and drink up every last drop before father time decides your time is up! You're over 50 and your schedule has a few more holes in it than it did in your 30s, so go spend some T-L-C on the old B-O-D! We all have a choice, some choose to and some choose not to, it's that simple.


I have many clients over the age of 50, and many over 60 and some in their 70's here at XIP. On day one of training we sit down and talk in depth about goals for their new training experience and typically list them in order of importance to them. Without fail they all want to be stronger and build more muscle, which of course gets me very excited because this is such an important part of the journey to building a more durable “you”! MORE MUSCLE = MORE AWESOME! There are so many studies available that prove this, but yet people still shy away from resistance training in spite of all the science. Without muscle we are a loose bag of bones people! Building lean muscle will provide you with more stable joints, increase your metabolism, burn fat, strengthen your immune system, make you look better, increase your work capacity, increase your energy, allow you to lift heavy things, protect your spine and help fix your aching back, make you more athletic, and yup you guessed it make you a more durable human being. Cause let's face it you don't want to be that schmuck that has to tell your grand-kid “I'm sorry I can't pick you up buddy, I'm too weak.”


As a rule we always coach people that you cannot out-train a bad diet, and on the flip side you can't out-diet a bad training program. Eating healthy doesn't need to be awful and tasteless, in fact it's really just the opposite. Real food, which we will define as food that isn't packaged or processed, is actually full of good flavor and these things called nutrients. Ever heard of them? Well in case you haven't nutrients provide us with the nourishment essential to growth and the maintenance of life. When we eat processed foods we create a very stressful environment for the body that weakens our immune system, inhibits muscular growth and repair, raises our cortisol levels (aka the “stress hormone”), and greatly decreases energy levels, and that's just to name a few! FOOD=ENERGY. You are what you eat, so if you want to perform at your best it's imperative that you fuel your body accordingly. Eat to perform so to speak. It's amazing how many of our clients don't get enough protein in their diets. In my experience I have found that moderately to highly active individuals who are resistance training 2-3 days/week need to shoot for 1g of protein for every pound of body weight. Ie: if you are 150# you will need to shoot for 150g of protein each day. To some this might be really difficult at first, but trust me the results will amaze you as your metabolism boosts into high gear. Most report feeling hungry more often when we make these changes even though they added so much more to their diet.

Those with a sweet tooth need to know that sweets are the worst when it comes to maintaining a high performance life-style. You're not 10 anymore, you're over 50 and you need to be sure not to sabotage your health and fitness with a diet full of sweets! No soda, candy, cookies, cakes, energy drinks, sugar in your coffee, and even juice. Yeah all of these are packed full of sugar and really are of no help to your body. Get your sugars from real food such as fruits and veggies, you absolutely do not need the sweets. If you are a coffee drinker and you put cream and sugar in your coffee you are only adding to that waistline! Drop the sugar and cream and you could lose 1-2 pounds a month!! Drop coffee altogether and you'll be amazed at how much better your body will feel. Try tea instead, much lower in caffeine than your average roast and cleaner for your body. Remember nutrition is all about baby steps, fix one bad habit at a time and studies show we are far more likely to adhere to it for a long period of time. If you go for the big overhaul and fall short you are more likely to go back to your old ways or worse.


I've never stolen a car before, but I can imagine that if I did I would go like a bat outta hell until I knew the risk of getting caught was gone. Well people training is a bit like car theft...You see in order for our bodies to make any sort of adaptations to training we must impose demands on it greater than it is accustomed to. For example, you walk a 3 mile loop 5 days a week and lose a pound or two in the first 2 weeks but then the weight-loss stops?? Are you walking at the same speed every day? The body will adapt to training quickly but if the stimulus doesn't continue to increase you will stop seeing changes. Go faster, go up hill, add sprint intervals, carry a stopwatch and time it, use a heart rate monitor to show how hard you are working, or add some push ups or squats every 2-3 minutes to make things tougher. The body will adapt I promise. The more adaption that occurs the stronger and more durable you become.

The toughest part is starting...To quote my favorite book “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle, “struggle is not an option. It's a biological requirement.” It's your body and it's your choice so choose wisely. Let these three tips give you a little insight on how to start making your body more durable regardless of your age.

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