by Beth Adair
Just the other week I was chatting with a follower on 1 of my social feeds. We were discussing fitness training and how hard it can be to stay fit as we age. I appreciate all of my followers, and comments from men over 50 always keep me entertained. The most hysterical response I got from one man over age 50 was this, “I don’t have a bikini to motivate me aesthetically, but I still care how I look with my shirt off & I don’t ever want to have that old man gut”. This Dad of two college aged kids would also add that, “I watched how my parents aged and atrophied, so that has shaped my approach”.
What he’s referring to is sarcopenia. What’s sarcopenia? It’s the decline in muscle mass as you age. According to Harvard Health, “after age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% [muscle mass] per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.”
To combat this, weight training of 2 days per week, and not on consecutive days is what is recommended. I have chatted with trainers, and weight lifters that will lift different body parts, and do so daily. For example, they will train with weights solely for the biceps, and follow up with cardio. The next day, they will train solely the triceps, and follow with cardio. (I have not tried their approach as of yet).
In my own fitness training, I lift weights 2- 3 days a week and space out each weight training session to one day of rest from the weight room in between. I try and manage 5 days of cardio for 45 minutes per week, in addition to my weight training. Running, bike riding, eliptical, stair mill, or walking are my favorite forms of cardio. I just love bike riding (and sometimes will ride longer than 45 minutes). It’s my new hobby and buying a bike before Covid lockdown (a Mango beach bike with 8 gears and hand brakes) was the best money I spent thus far this year.
I travel for a living, and with the Covid situation, I’ve been challenged with how to fit my training in. Grounded on leave for two months from my flight attendant job (a decision I took for many reasons with the main one being that most European routes weren’t active till July) provided challenges. My beach club (where I also go for fitness), has an hour restriction in the gym (to limit the number of guests per hour). I’m grateful we have access at all, as when I was in SC seeing family, I met a man that had driven from NC just to workout (it was a 2 hour drive for him).
I joined a second gym for the advice of a trainer, Lyn Lichty, and see her once a week. I have known Lyn since before she had her kids. Once there is a Covid vaccine, I’ll make decisions on whether to keep both memberships. I’m not thrilled at the amenities being removed at my beach club and if none of them return, I’m not sure I’ll stay. I did enjoy the complimentary coffee, razors and lotions before Covid. It made my life easy and coffee was a treat.
When I get back to flying in July, I’ll be challenged with how to fit in training on the road. Simply put, though I have foreign gym contacts, some machines will not be available. For example, the captains chair (also known as the Vertical knee raise machine) is not found in many gyms abroad, nor is the leg press machine. I just try and work with what I find. I’m excited for the Safcompetitions.com in October, my latest project and when I have finished the competition, I’ll still want to maintain my fitness. Essentially, what has changed from my old methods to what I am doing now is in the diet. I’ve added more protein, and cut a lot of excess carbs. I still stay within a range of calories not to exceed 2,000 a day.
Most of my male followers have complained about “man boobs” and asked how to combat this. My best advice is more chest work with weights, and an adjustment in the diet. Chest Flyes, chest press, incline dumbbell press, etc., will all work the chest area and support muscle growth there. Contact your local gym for a good recommendation from a trainer if you are a novice to weight training. Do this after you’ve gotten clearance from your doctor. To prevent injury, don’t try to lift too much weight too soon. To see any results, you’ll need 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight at minimum. Go online to find a health calculator to help you figure out your daily caloric needs, and be honest with yourself. If you are leading a sedentary life, don’t weasel a day or two in the mix to suggest that you are active two days a week by rationalizing that walking to the mailbox is exercise. Most women need 1800-2200 calories a day for maintenance. I’ve met marathon runners who run 130 miles a week who can’t keep weight on with that calorie amount and will add more calories to maintain their weight. Bill Phillips is over 50 and working out in CO with his wife Maria. He’s a great motivator and trainer with years of knowledge. If you are a man over 50 wanting advice, email email@example.com or seek him out on Facebook.
With any fitness or change in your diet, consult a doctor. Most MD’s stay fit and workout, as well. I’ve had the same gynecologist for the last 19 years. He knows my health, fitness and vitamin history and makes recommendations on what to add or what is now recommended with vitamins. His wife was who referred me to him as she knew my activity level. I take a lot of vitamins for immunity, and recommend that you take them so long as you are not on any medication and you consult a doctor. (It’s good to consult with a doctor, as some medications interact with vitamins and can cause harm). Luckily, I’ve avoided medications thus far.
The younger you are, the quicker you’ll see results from weight training. If you are new to it, it’s not too late. I’ve met women in their 70’s who started late in their fifties and are now stronger than most millenials.
@bethadair13, Twitter and Insta