Your response to last Tuesday’s post and my hand-wringing was just amazing! Thanks for all the encouragement. Some of you continued or extended the discussion in your own blogs, and I hope you’ll keep it up!
The Tuesday Training posts shall continue, but please, let’s do this together. I’m not an authority. I’m interested in the topic, and I’ll throw stuff out there, but I’m going to need you to catch it and add to it with your own perspectives.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, I’ll return to the topic I abandoned last week: The woes of stalled metabolism and belly bulge after 40. I felt as though someone had flipped a switch the day my odomenter turned over to 4-0. Suddenly it was harder for me to keep weight off, and even more alarmingly, the new stuff wanted to hang around my waist instead of my hips and thighs, where it had always settled before.
I spent a lot of time being bummed out and resigned to this new development. I whined a lot, too. It turns out I whined in the right direction. During a little session over the back fence, my fitness-guru neighbor learned of my frustrations. Next thing I knew, he was clipping articles for me about perimenopausal metabolic slowdown, and aiming me in the right direction to do something about it.
I don’t have the articles anymore, but here’s one from the Mayo Clinic that might be of interest. And here are the guts, as it were, of the practical advice I got from Mr. Fit:
1. Weight train. Especially work the big muscles. The more muscle mass you have, the harder your body works to power those muscles. This is as important, if not more important, than aerobic activity to mid-lifers.
2. During aerobic activity, fit in some hard intervals. If you walk, break into a jog for a few blocks, then walk, then jog. If you run, run hard for 20 seconds, then alternate easy/hard several times. My favorite way to interval train is to run to the bluff at the lake, down the switchback, and then charge back up a couple of times. Hurts so good!
3. Avoid white flour and sugar, and get more protein. Especially within two hours after a hard muscle workout.
Guess what? These things actually work – if you do them. I’m far from religious about any of this (ya’ll are well aware of my - *ahem* – fondness for pizza and pasta). But even a little effort goes a long way. I have a pair of pants that dates back far enough to button at my actual waist, as opposed to the modern cut trousers that ride across the navel area. Those waist-high pants are my gauge – if it gets uncomfortable to wear them, or hard to button them, I know I’m in trouble and need to do a better job adhering to the rules.
Next week I’ll show you some of the simple stuff I have handy for strength training. This is the area I’m most likely to ignore, especially when the weather turns nice and I’m more focused on putting miles on the ticker. When I don’t do it, I feel it – especially in my lower back, which depends so much on strong abdominal muscles for support.
As to the nutrition issue, I have always been in favor of moderation in all things. I also believe it’s more about what you DO eat than what you DON’T eat. I don’t see a need to cut out entire food groups entirely. I will never be one of those people – you know, the ones who stare at your plate disapprovingly, or worse yet, comment snidely about others’ selections. I just try to go for balance. If I eat a fatty, heavy meal, I try to focus on the greens and whole grains the next couple of meals. Most importantly, if I’m going to eat a meal that blows my calorie balance for the day, you’re damn straight it’s going to be a high quality meal – life is way to short to eat crappy food. I’ll save a full discussion of eating habits for another post. Just know that I’m not a nutbag about this stuff.
That’s what I’ve got. Remember, if you don’t comment I’ll get all paranoid and think you don’t like me!