This is a contribution from Vic Magary of FatLossForFree.com.
Let me make this clear from the start… The general advice I give to someone in their 20′s who wants to get fit, is the same advice I give to someone in their 40′s, is the same advice I give to someone in their 80′s:
Eat real food in appropriate quantity, exercise in a manner that is continually challenging, and allow for adequate rest and recovery.
That’s the “big picture” for losing weight and getting fit regardless of age. But the finer details of diet, exercise, and recovery will change with age more so due to lifestyle changes than the actual years on the clock. Below are 4 challenges to getting fit in your 40′s and how to overcome them.
1. Lack Of Time. Let’s face it, most of us in our 40′s keep a pretty full calendar. Between holding things down at the job, shuttling kids around to soccer practice, and trying to spend quality time with our significant other, exercise and proper nutrition tend to get pushed to the back burner. But we cannot be fully present for our families and careers if our health and fitness is out of whack. Start getting things back on track by waking up just 10 minutes earlier and doing some bodyweight exercises (trust me, 10 minutes of burpees is plenty for a great workout). Designate a few hours every Sunday morning for weekly meal planning and prepping. You’ll get the time spent on exercise and meal prep back in multiples with your renewed sense of energy and vitality.
2. Injury. On a long enough timeline, nearly all of us get injured whether through exercise, athletics, or just plain accident. Sometimes these injuries become chronic and we have to deal with them in some capacity for years or even the rest of our lives. But don’t let the presence of an injury keep you from exercise. Obviously follow your doctor’s orders, but nearly any injury can be worked around to keep you active in some manner. Maybe you have lower back issues that prevent you from doing heavy barbell training – fine, use bodyweight exercises instead. Perhaps you have bad knees and running is out of the question – fine, see if your knees can tolerate boxing drills or kettlebell training. Don’t use a nagging injury as an excuse stay sedentary. Find a way that works for you and move.
3. Stress. In our 40′s we are often in the thick of some of the more stressful times of life. We may have worked our way up the corporate ladder to the point that we are managing several employees or are responsible to shareholders of our own business. On the flip side, perhaps we have been subject to downsizing and have had to transition to a completely new career. In our 40′s many of us will also deal with family stressors whether they be an ailing parent that needs cared for, divorce, or teenagers (need I say more about teenagers and stress?). Stress management is part of recovery and without it, you are on a likely path of illness or injury. Meditate, practice yoga, spend time in nature, or serve others through volunteer work. Find something that helps you reduce the effects of life’s stressors and due it regularly.
4. Lack Of Motivation. Perhaps at some point, you look in the mirror and ask yourself… Why bother at this point? You think “most” guys in their 40′s are carrying a little extra in their love handles or “most” women in their 40′s have seen their pants creep up a size or two. I know it’s tough, but do your best to forget about the aesthetic reasons of getting fit. Instead of worrying about six pack abs or getting a “bikini body”, focus on the process. Focus on eating a diet of real natural foods and staying away from processed junk. Focus on finding a way to enjoy some daily exercise. Focus on improving your sleep, managing stress, and expressing love for your family. And when you focus on the process day after day and month after month, you just might be surprised to find six pack abs or a bikini body in the mirror almost on accident.
It’s not necessarily the biological years of being in your 40′s that makes getting fit a challenge. It’s the years of poor diet, high stress, and inactivity that add up for many of us by the time we hit our 40′s. So if you’re feeling like getting fit in your 40′s is a challenge make time for daily exercise and meal prep, find ways to work around injury, practice regular stress reduction, and focus on the daily process.
Vic Magary is a U.S. Army Infantry veteran and has been helping people lose weight and get fit since 2001. He is 41 years old and loves his golden retriever Coda. To get his complete Fat Loss For Free system which includes four different 12-week bodyweight exercise programs, a 12-week sample menu, 20 minute jumpstart audio, and 68 instructional videos click here.