Does it feel like when you got into your 30s or 40s that all of a sudden, your body just started slowly crapping out?
Your knees and ankles sound like someone popping bubble wrap when you get up in the morning, and when it gets colder, it’s worse.
Instead of alcohol hangovers, you get food hangovers that seem to last for DAAAAAAYS.
When you try to work out everything hurts and not in a good way, everything is harder than you remember, and what’s worse is nothing is happening.
You try to eat well, try to work out, but it just feels that no matter what you do, your body is fighting you?
I’m here to tell you that you are not alone and what you’re feeling is normal for many people.
At RTC, we specialize in getting people in their 30’s and 40’s into the best shape of their lives and have learned a few things.
Over the year’s we see that people FEEL they have peaked in their 20’s, but that’s quite far from the truth. We continuously see that when people do commit to changing their bodies, they far surpass what they could do, and looked like, in their 20’s
We see more people peaking in their 40’s than in their 20’s.
I find that many are stronger in their later years, have a better handle on their bodies, and truthfully are just starting to scratch their potential at getting in amazing shape.
We wanted to pass along a few tips and strategies to help you jump-start the process if you find that things just aren’t operating like they use to.
Listed below are methods designed to do more than dropping some pounds; these are the strategies that we use here at RTC to get our members to lose fat, gain muscle, look and move better than a person did when they were 10 years younger… overall, transform the way the body looks.
Note: getting older is NOT a bad thing! It’s a privilege that many don’t get. So if you feel that way, get it out of your head. Honestly, life can become so much better in your 30’s and 40’s… and well beyond.
What happens over the years is that when we try to workout, afterward, we don’t feel sore muscle but more achy joints than anything.
There are many reasons achy joints can happen, but a number of times unless it’s some sort of blunt force trauma (think car accident, a hard fall, etc.), or anatomical function, it is because a person’s muscles are too tight, and they are not mobile enough to do the big exercises they need to do to get the results they want to get.
Having achy joints sucks, it makes everything harder and zaps the life out of your day.
Just because you are getting older does not mean you have to be in pain.
Mobility is mandatory here at RTC. Right off the bat, no one can start their workout here until they’ve foam rolled and gone through some key movements. It’s THAT IMPORTANT.
Some days we will have people work on their mobility with different forms of soft tissue work (again foam rolling) static stretches and movement patterns because when they, or you, in this case, are no longer in pain, then the workouts are MUCH EASIER.
What I recommend is do to some form of soft tissue work with a foam roller or lacrosse ball done BEFORE each workout. This should take no more than 5-10min focusing on the areas that are tight AND the areas that you are planning on working that day.
Afterward, go through some movement patterns such as the worlds greatest stretch below (maybe 3-5min) and finally at the end of your workout then you can spend 5min to however long you want on static stretches (think of trying to touch your toes and holding it for 30+secs)
Yes, this can add a few mins to a workout and if your short on time that doesn’t sound appealing BUT this will keep you from getting hurt, ensure your joints feel better, get you out of pain AND helps but the stress on your muscles in a workout instead of your joints.
Scheduled Recovery Days
The big difference between those in their 30s and 40s vs. those in their teens and 20’s isn’t age; it’s the rate of recovery.
It is true that as you get older, your recovery does slow down, but NOT because of age. It’s more due to the accumulation of history of not taking care of yourself, which added up; but I’ll touch on that on another article.
Have scheduled days where you address your recovery which includes, just a lighter workout, more stretching, and mobility work, and more sleep will do wonders in making sure you make continuous progress.
We recommend that about 1-2 days a week should be lighter days of an easier workout with more mobility work, along with going to bed a bit earlier, if possible.
Then, every 3-4 weeks, you should have 3-5 days of easier workouts to allow the body to have some extra rest; you’ll find that once you do, you come back feeling fresh, strong, and energized.
Don’t think that you have to kill yourself each workout, that’s far from the truth. Yes, you want to workout and workout hard, BUT to keep working out hard to get the results you want, you do need to give your body SOME rest.
Form over Weight
This is geared more towards the guys, but I’m sure you’ve heard that form trumps weight. Yes, doing an exercise correctly with proper form will do so much more for the body than cranking out crappy reps with a heavy weight.
But many people in their 30’s and 40’s sometimes forget this and come back from a year or 10-year break trying to lift the same weight the same way they did in college, next thing you know your hurt, bad, and out for months.
Look, no one cares how much you lift unless your are doing a competition (even which most weight lifting competitions are sticklers about good form anyways) back down the weight and focus on form and technique.
Still, lift heavy, you need to but focus on feeling the muscle do the work NOT just moving the weight from point A to point B.
If you’re not sure if you are doing an exercise correctly, then speak with a professional and get their help, their eyes to tell you what you see.
Here we have people doing movement screens just so we can see how their body moves with key exercises; this way, we know what muscles are too tight and what’s not tight enough. From here, we determine how their body’s need to move.
Where I go with this is not everyone is going to do the exercise the same way, and many times we have to show people how THEIR body needs to move; how their body needs to squat, pick things up, do push-ups, ect..
If you’re every questioning if you’re doing an exercise correctly, get a trusted coach to show you how. It’s well worth the time to relearn an exercise (this is more common than you think) and build your body from that point.
You will drastically accelerate your results, AND you’ll be in far less, to no pain. Minus sore muscles 😉
Not all exercises you HAVE to do
Speaking of form, let’s talk about exercises.
Every heard, “You have to squat to get a firm butt.” Or something along the lines that you have to do X exercise to get X body part?
While yes, there is a degree of truth that you have to work certain motions to further develop specific muscles, but it doesn’t mean that you have to do those particular exercises.
Not all exercises were created for you, AND not all exercises are good exercises for you. Instead, you have to find the ones that feel best to you and focus on those.
Example: instead of barbell squats, try lunges, or goblet squats. You can do just bodyweight squats, single-leg squats, front squats, the list goes on.
If you find that a certain exercise just feels ‘right’ to you, then keep doing it! Or until you no longer see the results you want to see.
One of the things we pay attention to here at RTC is when we notice that a particular exercise just feels better, feels ‘right’ to a member, and they get better results, we focus harder on that motion.
We often say that everyone should know how to back squat, but it doesn’t mean that everyone should back squat.
Some of the best legs I’ve seen were not always built by barbell squatting. I’ve seen many that did lunges, Bulgarian squats, and ever pistol squats that built some AMAZING legs. Again find what feels best to YOU.
It’s ok not to do specific exercises if it doesn’t feel good to your body.
Now, on down the road as your body changes, then the way some exercises may feel better or not a good anymore, this is normal.
Nutrition Does Matter
As you get older, nutrition matters even more.
Remember those days when you could skip a few meals and be back to your goal weight? Different now, huh? Now you have food hangovers.
As we get older and as we accumulate more health history (good and bad), our bodies are a bit more sensitive food.
Certain foods make us feel good, light, healthy, energized. While others make us feel bloated, tired, grumpy, and can even impact sleep.
Pay attention to how food makes you feel; you SHOULD feel good and energized for several hours after eating, NOT like you want to take a nap.
A good rule of thumb we have here at RTC is eat as close to natural unprocessed as possible (think as close to nature), and when those options aren’t there, then just make the best decision possible.
Don’t overthink this! Too many people make nutrition way more complicated than it needs to be. Focus on the big food items such as protein, healthy carbs, and fats, don’t put your focus on the quality of your sweetener.
Nutrition is going to take some active thinking on a day to day basis until you retrain new habits, but when you make active thoughts to eating well and making good decisions you’re well on your way to looking better than you did in your ’20s
Blood Work and Hormones
Get your blood work and hormones check every 6months! I can’t stress this enough to you.
Long before any disease or issue shows on the outside of the body, it will show on the inside and just some simple blood work (a basic chem panel from your dr), and a hormonal check will reveal things that COULD become problems.
Now how does this help you lose weight and get in better shape?
Well, if we see that your blood sugar is getting a bit high, it lets us/you know that we need to back down the processed foods a bit. With lower blood sugar comes better food choices, combine that with some exercise, and you’ll see a drop on the scale.
Another example is if you get your hormones checked and find out that your testosterone levels are very low, you and your Dr can map out a plan (this can be lifestyle changes or medication), and with that comes fat loss.
The list goes on.
Having a healthy blood work and hormonal panel is like a compass, it makes sure you are going in the right direction, plus when the inside of the body is healthy, it makes getting in shape SO much easier.
Being More Active
We are not as active as we think we are. Not like we were 10-20 years ago.
NOW… we may think we are active, but it’s either we are mentally active (which is a great thing), or we ONLY remember the times we were active and how hard it was on us.
A first-month goal that I have for many new members is to break a sweat every day for about 20-30min for ONE month. This CAN be a workout, a brisk walk, walking the dog, doing yard work, doesn’t matter, but I want them to be active for 20-30min a day.
The cool thing is doing this right here, sweating every day for 20-30min; you will see results SO FAST. As we get older, our bodies are just like sponges for activity, and you will notice the difference quickly how you feel and look.
Activity benefits everyone, BUT we see some radical results from those in the ’30s and ’40s who adopt this practice.
Each one of these points could be their own article if not book and if the future we will talk more over these BUT if you take each one of these and apply it to your day to day life you’ll soon start to feel and see the difference and realize that it is VERY MUCH possible to be better in your 40’s than you were in your 20’s
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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