As someone balancing a 2-year-old daughter, expecting my second in August and running my own business, I should have been more prepared for the oncoming stress. The only thing that helped my body, pregnancy and injury related pain has been my slow movement, high intensity, resistance training sessions (I do 25 minutes once a week). *
It is a short and intense full-body workout, focusing on muscle health. It not only saves time but ensures the time spent is productive and effective. Muscle building (not bodybuilding) is merely us looking after our muscles. From the age of 30 they start deteriorating and we need to invest some quality time on them to make sure they stay around. These muscles will keep us toned and strong as well as help with calorie burning for weight loss. It’s really the best way to tone-up.
- The older you are, the more important it is to lift weight.
Research at McMaster University has shown that strength training can reverse the signs of aging at the cellular level by as much as 20 percent. But this knowledge means nothing unless you make the effort to get into the weight room and improve the size and strength of your muscles.
- No matter your age, the goal of strength training is to train something.
Middle-aged lifters have a tendency to go through the motions. If you want your body to look or perform better, you must train it to do more than it can currently do. You need to increase the weights you lift, in a steady, systematic way. If you want to be leaner, you have to train your body to use more calories during and after your workouts. That means working harder and getting more accomplished from one week to the next.
- “Working harder” doesn’t mean beating yourself up every time.
Training is a process of imposing stress on your body in calculated doses. Too little stress and you get disappointing results. Too much and you don’t recover sufficiently from one workout to the next. If you are still sore to the touch on the muscles it means they are still in the recovery process.
- Heavy weights won’t make you huge, but they can make you lean.
Muscle is hard to build at any age, for either gender, and it never happens by accident.
The good news is that the muscle-building process creates a stronger, leaner, healthier, and better-conditioned body even when the actual increase in muscle tissue is minimal. But it only works if you try to build muscle by using weights that are pretty close to the heaviest you can lift.
Studies show that adults typically choose weights that are much lighter than the workout calls for. My rule of thumb is, if you pick up the weight and think “ooooh that’s heavy I can only do 4 or 5” then it is probably the right weight to do around 10 reps. If you think you can only do 1 repetition then the weight is too heavy.
- Muscle needs to be fed.
The older you get, the more resistant your muscles are to new muscle synthesis. Therefore you need to do a bit more work to ensure you don’t lose them. Big muscles come from eating, and also, if you are muscle building (not body building) your results and eating habits will be different. However, you need to provide your body the nutrient rich food it needs to create muscle. Otherwise you’re telling your muscle to grow, but don’t give them the materials to build with.
written by Melissa-Anne Smit
*Individual results may vary from person to person.