Workouts and the body’s needs are different over 40. 

Likely you’ve realized what worked in your 20’s isn’t working for you now. 

Perhaps you’ve adjusted and you’re feeling ok…

…or you’ve been wondering why you’re no longer getting results from your workouts.

Either way, know there’s a way to feel amazing with workouts, see improvement and progress in your athletic endeavors.

Last Saturday I met a gal named Tasha at a fun run. 

She’s 45 and started running last year as part of her regimen to lose some weight. 

Each year she had watched many of her classmates and neighbors run and she decided, it was her turn to try it out. 

This year she was the 2nd finisher in her age group! 

Side note…I ended up 10th in the same group and she blew by me!

I asked her if she had any training tips to share.

Turns out her tips were very similar to what I’ve been recommending to my over 40 clients!

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Here are 5 things she & I both recommend:

  • Tracking symptoms when things don’t feel right with workouts and looking for patterns
  • Electrolytes
  • Protein
  • Heart rate training & monitoring HRV
  • Keeping tabs on sleep and recovery

When it comes to achieving any goal, tracking your progress is crucial. 

As is creating a definitive goal, connecting it to your why, writing it out and reading it daily. 

I used to think this was cheezy but the truth is, it keeps your internal compass on point daily. 

Plus it makes it harder for life’s ability to create ADD-like distractions and have you forgetting where you’re headed.

Once your why and your goal are set it’s time to write out how you’re going to track your progress.

Some things to track are obvious like weight and body measurements while speed, strength and symptoms are often skipped or ignored because it’s easy to obsess over weight. 

Personally, I don’t track weight, it’s a distraction, body measurements are better when it comes to fitness and feeling good in your body. 

How you feel going into a workout, during and after along with comparisons of one workout to another, this is paramount to discovering what works and doesn’t.

Learning what time of day is best for a workout as well as nailing down what types of workouts challenge you enough but don’t have you sore for an entire week. 

Collecting data on yourself around workouts and looking for patterns to develop is the secret to getting to know what works for you and doesn’t with workouts.

If this is something you’ve struggled with it may be worth it to hire a fitness professional to help you nail down this information. 

One of the most overlooked aspect of fitness over 40 is electrolytes.

Life’s stressors deplete your charge aka your energy. 

The more things you’re juggling during the day the more it’s likely the electric charges in your body are depleted. 

I recommend drinking an electrolyte drink 1-2 hours before a workout if you’re heading into workouts fatigued.

If recovering from workouts is your issue then I recommend drinking one after a workout.

It’s common to think you only need electrolytes when it’s hot out or you’re really going to push yourself on a long hike, run or bike. 

Electrolytes are more than just replacement after a sweat fest on a hot day, they are crucial for recharging you from life and environmental toxin stress.

I’m not a fan of most electrolyte drinks other than the Needed Electrolytes brand or my own recipe. 

Here’s my recipe…

  • 8-12 oz of filtered water
  • 1/2 lemon or 1/4 lime squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt or Redmond’s Salt
  • 1 tsp Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp of Cream of Tartar (it’s potassium)

Mix and sip on it either before or after workouts.

Protein intake is a biggie as you get older.

It’s common to lose muscle mass with age and to keep it on it’s key to keep up on your protein intake.

Most adults over 40 require at least 25-30 grams of protein per meal, that’s 75-90 grams a day.

When you’re lifting weight harder and pushing it a bit in the gym, you may need at least 100-120 grams of protein a day. 

You can calculate your need by multiplying your weight in kilograms (pounds divided by 2.2 = kilogram weight). 

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Then take your weight in kilograms and multiply it by 1.2 for moderate days and 1.5 for more strenuous days of working out. 

I have seen increasing protein be the best intervention for those struggling with workout recovery aches and pains as well as tendonitis and fatigue in general. 

If trying to figure out what to eat and how much gives you brain damage, then consider the Lumen device to help you dial it all in. 

Once you have your protein dialed in, it’s wise to look at your heart rate and monitor your heart rate variability (HRV). 

Heart rate training helps your heart adapt to various stressors and terrain.

HRV monitors how well you’re recovering from your workouts and life. 

Both values are key to know if you’re overtraining or recovering effectively. 

Plus they both can give you insights into what dietary or lifestyle patterns are fueling you properly or draining you. 

Think…alcohol, fast food, certain meals, specific energy vampires in your life.

Most fitness watches track heart rate and HRV these days.

The Garmin VivoSmart is a good entry level option for both heart rate and HRV.

I use a device called the Morpheus, which tests HRV each morning vs other devices taking readings all throughout the day. 

It’s up to you how techy you want to get here.

If you’re really looking to improve your cardiovascular health it may be worth it to have two separate tracking devices.

I’ve found the HRV scores to be incredibly useful to track to tell me how much I’m stressing myself out with work versus workouts.

Last but not least keeping tabs on sleep is vital to your success!

If you’re not sleeping well you are not going to repair no matter how clean your diet is and the handfuls of supplements you’re taking.

Sleep is a non-negotiable and it’s key to figure it out to get results. 

Most of the fitness watches track sleep and I highly recommend paying attention to these scores.

If you’re tracking food, lifestyle patterns, hormones and stress you’ll be able to see if anything you’re doing is messing with your sleep.

Getting a home sleep study done is also a great idea to make sure there’s nothing else interfering with your sleep. 

There’s a company called SNAP Diagnostics that will send you a kit to do a sleep study at home and most insurances cover it!

With the advances in technology these days it’s easy to track your progress and learn your patterns. 

And you don’t need multiple forms of technology. 

Pick one and go with it. 

You can always add something else and refine it over time. 

I’m inspired by women like Tasha who make a commitment to reach a goal and go for it!

She’s now planning to run a few marathons and has been able to reach her weight goals and maintain her weight. 

Tasha had no idea that she would enjoy running this much and be able to run as fast as she can!

Her success is fueling even more adventures in her future that she never dreamed of before setting this goal. 

So I ask you, what could you achieve if you dialed in your efforts and learned more about your body?

Who else would benefit from you diving deeper into your fitness?
Here’s to your health,

Dr. J

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