Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I get up at 3.30 am in order to get to the gym, set up equipment and do my own workout before my fabulous clients – men and women of all ages – turn up for their sessions. On Saturdays I get the thrill of sleeping until 5 am before I have to get moving and Sunday is an alarm-free day – woohoo!! (Tuesdays and Thursdays have recently become work-from-home days).
Do I love it when my alarm goes off at 3..30 am? Um……NO!! Do I hit snooze and try to get a few minutes extra sleep? Again….NO!!! One thing I learned very early in my personal training career was to NEVER set the snooze button. I get up as soon as that alarm goes off as if I lay there a minute longer, my mind starts thinking of excuses not to go to the gym at all, and that is not a good look when you are leading the session lol!!
You’d think that I would have no issues getting out of bed to train when I am a trainer, however I am not one of those women who have always been into exercise. Sure I had sporadic bouts now and then over the years, but in general, I was a working musician for many years meaning late nights, plus a hands on mum ferrying my kids all over town for trainings and competitions – so there wasn’t much time to be donning lycra and prancing around an aerobics room (shudder!). To be honest, even if I did have time, using it to exercise was the last thing I would consider – I would rather read a book with a chilled glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in my hand.
As part of my own mid-life reinvention at age 44 however, exercise became a regular part of life and for the past 7 years that I have worked in the health and fitness industry, I have had the privilege of introducing other folks to the benefits of regular exercise. Ordinary folks like myself who had never felt comfortable in gyms yet knew that they needed to look after their bodies better. I train clients of both sexes and of all ages, but particularly seem to attract midlife women who have never before lifted a dumbbell or performed a full push up and I think I get even more excited than them sometimes when they master things that they thought they could never do.
If you haven’t been an active person prior to hitting midlife, it is what it is. There is no point in looking back and thinking “oh well, I missed the boat there” as you can STILL strengthen and improve your body at this age IF you determine to get started NOW. So you have arthritis? Well honey – so do I – but I still work around it. Your joints ache? Take natural supplements that can help and KEEP MOVING! (I’ve listed some of mine and my husband’s regular supplements below for you to see what we use.) You have an injury? Again, work AROUND it – there is no need to take up permanent residence on the couch.
With good nutrition, good supplementation and a training program that is personalised to work around your injuries – you CAN build a strong body at midlife that will carry you into old age, and I don’t know about you, but I want to be hitting my 70s able to look after myself and carry my own shopping bags still!
Not sure how to get started with training? I’d suggest either joining a local gym where they have qualified trainers, or if you prefer to work out at home, or are especially looking for flexibility training – essential as you age – I highly recommend that you check out my daughter’s website www.setapartstretching.com
Let me leave you with a bit of inspiration. Below are some photos of my husband. After nearly dying in 2008 from spinal fusion surgery which went terribly wrong, (in a nutshell, Leli was operated on with unsterilised equipment which caused an infection that resulted in 4 subsequent surgeries, months in a wheel chair, near death and since, a life of chronic pain) I dragged him to the gym that I was working at and encouraged him to participate in a 12 week challenge to lose some weight and get his body moving again. I then introduced him to the nutritionist that I work alongside with, Leli ramped up his training and at the age of 53 he competed in his first EVER bodybuilding show! He went on to compete 4 times that year, winning a national title along the way.
If Leli can go from having a near death experience leaving him with chronic pain and a broken body, to now being some-one who exercises 4 times a week regularly – SO CAN YOU! You don’t have to go all the way to competing in a show, but honey, if I can encourage you in this one thing this week, please let it be this – START MOVING YOUR BODY NOW.
Here’s to Rocking Midlife!