By Scott Reilly
“Now that I’m over 40, why can’t I lose those last five or ten pounds?” As a trainer and owner of Prescriptions for Fitness in Chappaqua, this is one of the most frequent questions I receive from our clients. Clients will tell me that in their 20s and 30s all they had to do was diet for a few days–and the weight would come off!!! Well, guess what? You’re not 20 anymore, and neither is your metabolism. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You can’t keep doing what you used to do, and expect to lose weight.
Simply put, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. Once you reach the magic age of 40, your metabolism will slow down at a rate of 5% per decade. Your body simply stops producing the same amount of hormones. As women age, their estrogen levels drop, and they become more insulin resistant. Insulin helps our bodies utilize carbohydrates (blood sugar) for energy. Insulin resistance also interferes with our bodies’ ability to burn body fat. The stress of everyday life makes your body produce cortisol, a hormone, which in turn, helps your body hold onto fat and store it in the belly area.
And yes, it is absolutely true that men have an easier time losing weight than women do. This is because men tend to carry more lean muscle tissue. Lean tissue helps to rev up your metabolism. Remember, body fat can only be burned inside lean muscle tissue.
Fortunately, there’s also a simple solution! Strength train to build lean muscle, cut your calories, and add short bouts of high intensity cardio to help speed up your metabolism, and finally, you really WILL lose those stubborn excess pounds. Next are some tips on how to really take action and make it happen.
- YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. This is my numero uno tip. Just saying you want to lose weight is simply not good enough. You have to commit to it. Put it in your schedule just like any other appointment. Commit to 2-3 days per week of resistance training, and additional days of cardio. Consult a personal trainer on designing the most efficient and effective workout for your individual needs. Set a goal with your trainer, and stick to it.
- Change it up! If what you are currently doing isn’t working, then change it. Change your eating habits, add circuit training to your workout regimen, and start holding yourself accountable.
- If it’s important to you, you will find a way; if it’s not, you will find an excuse. Stop blaming the kids’ schedule, or work, or anything else. We all lead busy lives. We all have a person who’s body we wish we had. Guess what? They have busy schedules too. The only difference is they make time because it’s important to them, while many people just make excuses.
- Avoid late night snacks, and drink more water. This is no secret. Stay out of the kitchen after 9 p.m. Reduce your calories from carbohydrates during the day, and add more quality protein, and healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet.
The truth is that many people just lack the will power to lose weight and get in great shape. You owe it to yourself. Commit to your health right now to lose those pounds. Meet with your trainer (at Prescriptions for Fitness, of course!) and create a program of success.
Throw out those “fat person” clothes that we all keep in the closet and buy yourself a great new skinny outfit as a reward for reaching your goals. (Tell your husband you deserve it, and then blame it on me!!! He can call me at 238-0500) Make this up and coming summer the best it can be for you and your family. What are you waiting for?
Scott Reilly is the owner of Prescriptions For Fitness in Chappaqua, a private personal training facilty. Scott and his staff of professional trainers have been helping people get and stay in shape for over 16 years. They work with people with all different goals and needs. From professional athletes to 10-year-old kids, or women with osteoporosis, Scott and his staff can help you get in the best shape of your life. They also specialize in golf and tennis conditioning as well. For an appointment, call 914 238-0500.