I haven’t always been a strictly over 30’s trainer. In fact, I myself am on the cusp of being deemed a millennial (Don’t hate me!). My personal fitness journey, and not just as a fitness professional, probably looked a lot like yours. In my early 20’s, back when I was working in an office, my weight would fluctuate throughout the year, going through cycles of ‘all or nothing’. An ‘all’ cycle would typically involve as many of those en masse fitness classes you’d get at the leisure centre (because more is more, right?) coupled with one of the latest crazy diet fads that just left me miserable, depressed and hangry all the time. Spoiler Alert! – More isn’t more. The inevitable crash or injury would happen and I’d rest & recover waiting to start again on Monday (The efforts usually resumed about 26 Mondays later). The thing is, I ‘got away with it’. That’s it. Time was on my side but I wasn’t really progressing. I wasn’t thriving.
and then life happened
The problem is, by the time you’ve hit your 30’s, you’ve either ditched these ‘all-or-nothing’ cycles; your health and fitness endeavours just turn into one big long ‘nothing’, or the ‘all’ cycles become ever more damaging, ever more burnout-inducing impositions on your life. You’ve got bigger fish to fry these days. The kids need feeding/entertaining/taxiing, the mortgage needs paying, the business needs constant attention, those relentless projects at work, and how about that promotion? Forget about those distant dreams of washboard abs from Men’s Health or Women’s Health. You’ve come to accept that that’s just never going to happen. These days you’ve got responsibilities. There’s no time for play.
By this point, you’ve been through some pretty big life events. You’ve seen some shit. So of course you haven’t stepped foot in the gym amongst those posers in their stringer vests looking misty-eyed into the mirror, deeply embroiled in their love affair with their biceps and their protein shake – The gym doesn’t even come close to making your priority list I’m afraid.
You can't have your cake and eat it anymore
Just to really twist the knife, your body is no longer forgiving for the sub-optimal food-like-substances you’d previously been ‘getting away with’ in your 20s. You know, those petrol station sandwiches you scoff in the car as you rush to the next appointment, or those gooey chocolate brownies you always get with your morning grande latte (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about!). Nuh uh. Body says nope. Have a muffin top and moobs, you’re over 30 now.
Even if you’re lucky enough to be free of any of those stressors, mother nature is unrelenting, unforgiving and indiscriminate. She’s been quietly and consistently working away in the shadows, chipping away at your youthful vitality. She’s a bitch. If nothing else, time will take its toll. It’s called ageing my friend.
Use It Or Lose It
Ageing’s biggest effect on our quality of life is a natural phenomenon called sarcopenia. That’s the natural age-related decline in muscle mass that starts to happen from our early 30s. After age 50 we lose 1-2% of our muscle per year and after 60 a staggering 3% each year! Here’s why you absolutely should care. Skeletal muscle doesn’t just contribute to how good you look in that skinny-fit v-neck. It’s literally the driving force behind living a full, active life. At it’s most basic level, it’s what allows us to move ourselves around, stay upright and avoid getting problems like bad backs, dodgy knees and crappy hips. What’s more, muscle is your body’s metabolic currency. The more you have, the ‘faster’ your metabolism. See, muscle is very metabolically active – it’s hungry, and you’ll naturally burn more calories throughout the day if you have more muscle. That’s why ageing often goes hand-in-hand with growing a pot belly or bingo wings!
Still don’t care about your muscles? Well how about just being able to move well, without pain or restriction. That’s pretty fundamental, I’d say. To be able to put your own socks on, or do up your bra without feeling like a contortionist. Your mobility – that is, the range through which you can move your joints, needs regular TLC to keep you moving like a well-oiled machine and to safeguard you from injury.
Case in Point...
Have you ever said “Oh I used to be really good at [insert favourite sport], I’ll have another go”, you gleefully arrive at your local club, or maybe you’ve even just gone to the park with your own kids, taken about 3 bounds in… and something went SNAP… and then you suddenly need a zimmerframe for the next 3 weeks. My son’s regularly getting me out of breath, and it’s my personal goal to be able to keep up with him until he’s taller than me.
But It's Not All Doom & Gloom!
Want to hear something amazing?! Sarcopenia is reversible. mobility can be regained, and cardio can always be improved. Ergo, ageing is reversible! If you’ve ever spent an appreciable amount of money on ‘anti-ageing’ products, you’d be better off investing into anti-ageing practice.
To Accept Premature Ageing Is A Choice
Yes, we will age, we don’t have a choice about that. How one ages is 99% down to lifestyle. When you hit your 30s, it’s time to train smarter, not harder. It’s time to address your weaknesses and build bulletproof foundations for the rest of your life. Your goals need to be different now, whether you’re male or female it’s about muscle retention, time-efficiency, enjoyment and above all else promoting health & longevity, not sacrificing it! You don’t need to train 7 days a week or absolutely thrash yourself. Hell, you don’t even need a gym membership!
The answer looks very different from the ‘Fitness Industry’ you’re probably familiar with. I’ve never felt fitter, stronger or more capable in my life… and I’m only just getting started!
I don't sell 6-packs
I’ll often jokingly utter “I don’t sell 6-packs” as my unofficial slogan. That doesn’t mean that I avoid making your abs visible…
But you’re no longer looking for that ‘quick fix’. You have new respect for your body, and you’re starting to get a taste of what old age could feel like. But you deserve better than that. You’re not going to keep falling when you’re 85 – because you’ll have maintained your balance and postural strength. And even if you do find yourself on the floor, you’ll be dam sure to have the basic strength to get yourself back up off the ground.
You've figured out what matters
Your goals are about being capable. You train to be able to do the other fun stuff in life. The skiing trips, the hiking, giving your son’s ball a big HOOF in the park without the fear of something going CRACK… and do you know what? There will come a time in life when your fellow 93 year old friends from bingo respect and praise you for being able to walk unaided to the shops by yourself and just carry your own dam shopping home. Be that guy or girl.
So That's Why I Train the Over 30s
For me personally, there’s something just infinitely more satisfying in working with people with deeper, more meaningful goals, with real-life problems, niggles, injury histories and bigger WHY’s than just getting a ripped 6-pack or an overnight squat booty. That’s why my About page is intentionally so dam long. I want to attract people who share my values, because that creates synergy and impactful, trusting working relationships. I don’t care about selling to the masses. My trainees have to be the right fit.
But hey, 10 times out of 10, if you nail the lifestyle, you’re also going to feel a lot more confident strutting along the beach in your bikini/mankini/budgie-smugglers/[insert favourite swimwear here].
Your body’s composition is a reflection of your lifestyle. But your lifestyle should not be about your body composition.
Over 30 and wana see if I can help you feel incredible? I don’t bite.