Fitness when you're over 40: Age is no excuse for not hitting your fitness goals

 
Harry Thomas
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What’s stopping you getting fit? This is one of my favourite questions in my consultations with clients. Lots of people say: “Well, I’m not as young as I used to be, the weight just won’t come off” – this is not a valid answer.

Age is purely an excuse, not a barrier. Yes, you may not be able to move the way you used to, or lift the weight you once could, but you can still achieve amazing results no matter how old you are.

Mindset is key. First of all, you need to believe that you can get results. I hear lots of people say things like “I know I can't get a six pack, but would love to lose a bit of body fat around my stomach.”

I always reply, why can’t you get a six-pack?

The main thing is to change bad habits and get the client to start prioritising the aspects of their life that will then enable them to get results. Next is getting them to start believing the process is working, which is why at No1 Fitness we keep focusing on measuring progress every single week, as I’ve said again and again in this column.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, the moment you start to see changes – in photos, on the scales, in your energy levels – people realise their fitness and physique is in their own hands. This in turn makes them train harder, eat healthier and drink less, because they see their hard work paying off.

At No1 Fitness we specialise in transformations, and recently some of the best ones have been achieved by clients over 40. These guys all had totally different lifestyles and fitness goals, but the thing they had in common was overcoming a belief that they were too old to see real changes in their bodies. Here are their stories.

Peter, age 48
Tineframe: 12 Weeks
Weight Loss: 9kg
Body Fat % loss: 9.5%

My goal was to tone up, of course, but to also make sustainable changes – there’s no point dropping to 10 per cent body fat for a couple of pictures when I’m turning 49 in a couple of weeks and I probably won’t be able to maintain it. By far the most important point for me was nutrition: I soon learned that you can't out-train a poor diet. I wasn’t super strict all the way through – I had a trip away with work, where I let myself have beers and pizza for a couple of days – but other than that I mostly stuck to my plan. I did, however, get fairly strict in the last 2-3 weeks to get a calorie deficit.

My top tip is to take nutrition seriously; you can’t overstate how much difference this makes.

James, age 42
Tineframe: 12 Weeks
Weight Loss: 6.6kg
Body Fat % loss: 6%

The biggest surprise was how strategic the program was, and how focused it was on the mental side of things, how to deal with your thoughts in regards to working out and eating, and how to make sure you don’t flog yourself too much when thing go off-course!

The biggest challenge was getting the nutrition right, understanding that eating and drinking is as much an emotional reaction as a physical one. Tracking my food and getting support from Harry helped a lot on that one.

I work in the City, where it’s all about return on investment; with fitness, you need to invest in a tight, efficient system that uses analytics and combines the physical, mental and nutritional sides of health to teach you how to live better and look fitter.

Jason, age 45
Tineframe: 37 Weeks
Weight Loss: 29.7kg
Body Fat % loss: 18.5%

Having peaked at 122.5kg on the scales, and knowing that previous efforts as losing weight via a gym have not worked, I was surprised by how easy it all was. The trainers tailored the workouts to what suited me and my abilities. The nutrition advice provided was of great benefit and there was always someone around that could provide further support on that front if needed.

The biggest surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the experience. It required hard work and commitment, but it was also fun. The biggest challenge was getting the diet right, forgoing drinking at times, fighting the cravings, but even this gets easier over time.

Thanasi, age 40
Tineframe: 19 Weeks
Weight Loss: 7.4kg
Body Fat % loss: 6.9%

I travelled a few times for work, had a big Christmas and New Years and two holidays during this time, but I proved that doesn’t have to throw you off course. I now have the knowledge and ability to make better choices, keep up regular exercise and ensure that I maintain my weight around the current level (90kg).

• Visit no1fitness.co.uk

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