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One step back…two steps forward

Do you feel a constant urge to make progress? In life, relationships, fitness, business? Have you noticed that progress isn’t always one way traffic?

Progress is by definition “forward or onward movement towards an objective or to a goal”, or my preferred definition “gradual betterment”.

The path towards the goal may plateau and undulate, and even loop back on itself, but ultimately we move forward, we get better, we progress.

Back in the day I very rarely (ie. never!) took a backward step in training until I was forced to. For the stubborn among us, sometimes we are forced into or need to regress a movement, skill or training load – such as when faced with injury or illness – before we can progress.

But there are also times, (and there are also sensible people who work with a good coach) when we can embrace regression or chose to take a backwards step, in order to take two steps forward.

If we embrace regression – rather than wait for imbalance or injury to strike – we give ourselves a better opportunity to succeed in the long run.

So, is it time to give yourself permission to REGRESS?

Maybe you’ve had an extended break from training. Maybe you are returning to exercise after having a baby. Maybe you’ve been stuck on a performance plateau for a few months. Maybe you have an underlying injury or imbalance that’s causing a chain reaction in other parts of your body.

Addressing an injury, imbalance, weakness or a plateau doesn’t have to be a negative experience

Tackle your weakest link, the one you’ve possibly been ignoring or avoiding for a while.

Regressing doesn’t always mean choosing “easier” exercise options.

Try slowing down – less is more.

Train smarter – not harder.

Try increasing your range of movement – focus on quality over quantity.

Allow for adequate recovery – within and between sessions.

You may find that by taking a step back, you come out stronger on the other side, and take two giant steps forward.

I’m embracing regression this term and working with a new coach. My focus is to slow down, less is more, quality over quantity – in order to become more efficient, move better, and progress.

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40+ – Let’s build and then keep those MURVES!

So you’ve had the big 4-0 bash, or maybe you’re approaching the next milestone birthday 5-0. I hear it’s the new black…well it better be because I’m heading in that direction pretty bloody fast!

But I digress…

If you’ve reached the 40+ age bracket, you may have noticed a few extra fine lines on your face, a change in your body shape, maybe hairs sprouting in interesting places (TIP: always have tweezers on hand for that stray chin hair!), possibly a few(!) stray grey hairs creeping in.

These are all visible signs that A G E is making its presence felt. If you can see it externally, then it is definitely happening internally. It is in this 5th decade of life that our physical body has tipped over its peak and the downhill slide will start to gain momentum.

Never fear…exercise is HERE!

That’s right ladies, there IS a way to put the brakes on ageing and that is to BUILD & KEEP YOUR MURVES.

As we age (quite) a few things happen. Here’s a selection:

  • metabolism slows down;
  • the balance between connective tissue breakdown and regeneration is tipped towards the negative;
  • as we reach the end of our reproductive years (menopause) hormone levels change which has not only a physical but also emotional impact;
  • and we lose muscle. It is estimated that women lose approximately 5-8% of their muscle mass each decade after 40. Therefore, by the time you reach 60 you may have lost more than 15% or your lean muscle tissue…this has MAJOR implications.

Why is muscle so important:

  1. Muscle is metabolic tissue; it requires energy to function (contract) even when we are at rest. Therefore, the more muscle tissue you have, the higher energy requirements/use and higher metabolism.
  2. Muscle uses glucose as a fuel source therefore assisting in the regulation of blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity and helping in the prevention or treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
  3. The action of muscular contraction and weight bearing exercise is directly related to the prevention of bone loss, and maintenance of bone density and bone strength
  4. Physical Strength…need I say more!
  5. Posture, balance, joint mobility is all linked to muscle tone, strength and activation patterns. That saying “move it or lose it” is not just an old wives tale!
  6. And of course the aesthetic appeal of shapely murves (muscly curves!) Michelle Obama arms anyone 😉

So, that’s the WHY, what about the HOW to keep or build muscle? Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind when considering MOVEMENT (or exercise), MINDFULNESS & NOURISHMENT choices in the 40+ age bracket to ensure you keep or even build muscle mass:

  1. First thing to do is add resistance training to your movement program ie. movements where you are working against a load – body weight, machine weights, or free weights. In a class, at the gym, at home, in the park – doesn’t matter where…just lift!
  2. Include weight bearing cardio exercise Walking, running, tennis, netball, aerobics, yoga or pilates. Although swimming and cycling have great cardio benefits, they don’t have quite the same effect on muscle and bone as these others.
  3. Ensure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Protein shakes are NOT necessary. The RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) of protein for women is 0.75g/kg body weight per day (e.g. a 60kg adult female has a RDI for protein of 45g/day). If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or an athlete, your protein needs will be higher. As an example, if you were to eat a 150g steak you will be getting more than enough of your protein requirements for the day. There is a difference in the quality of proteins obtained from animal and plant sources. If you think that your diet may be lacking in protein, please seek the advice of an accredited practising dietician.
  4. Rest. Adequate in both quality AND quantity. It is whilst we are at rest that our body undergoes the necessary physical repairs and regeneration at a cellular level, but we also need this time to mentally & emotionally recover.

So, there you have it. Let’s build and keep those murves ladies into our 40’s and beyond. Jump off the treadmill and pick up a dumbbell – your Heart Body & Soul will thank you xx