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Tips to Build Muscle in Midlife

A few days ago a woman asked me what a Health Coach does. I explained that I help individuals who are looking to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. My 22 years of experience as a personal trainer and as a Pilates and MELT instructor allow me to also create programs for my clients. My specialty is helping women in menopause or midlife lose excess weight, build muscle, get out of pain, improve sleep and energy levels and overall feel stronger and more balanced. The woman said, “Ahh, how do I sign up?” I told her the first thing to do is she’ll fill out a Health History and Assessment form and we’ll set up a complimentary Zoom meeting. I want to make sure that we are the right fit to work together. She’ll share her goals with me, we’ll chat about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t worked for her. If at the end of our call we decide we’re a good fit and I feel I can help her, we’ll choose a start date.

Can I Share a Secret With You?

My personal feeling is that it's important for us to focus on building muscle. Clients tell me they want to lose weight and I get that. We want to feel fit, smaller with less jiggle. But can I share a secret with you? If we change our focus to building muscle instead of losing weight, we will ultimately lose more fat weight than muscle tissue. This is what we want, not only for the way we look, but for how we age, move and keep ourselves healthy later in life.

Three Top Reasons to Build Muscle

1.Muscle burns more calories than fat (adipose) tissue, even while at rest. Wouldn’t you like to know you're burning more calories while sleeping? The more muscle you have, the more energy you’re burning and the less likely you are to gain weight.

2.Muscle tissue is where your body stores glycogen from the carbohydrates in your diet. The more muscle you have, the more your body can store and use glucose so, the less likely you may be to develop type 2 diabetes.

3. Muscle will help us age well and stay active. Building muscle and getting proper nutrition has been shown to help maintain mobility and prevent weakness and decline as we age. To quote an article I found in PubMed, “Several studies have shown that muscular strength is inversely associated with the incidence of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, hypertension, metabolic syndrome or hyperinsulinemia, and type 2 diabetes.” Click here to read the full article.

You Don’t Have to Become a Bodybuilder

If you’ve never lifted weights before, don’t worry. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder to enjoy the benefits of strength training. The younger you begin the better. Look at it like a savings account, the more deposits you make now, the better off you’ll be later. Building muscle at a younger age will definitely help you age well. If you’re in your 50’s, 60’s or above, start now! (Check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.)You will gain so much benefit and lifting weights doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. What I recommend to my clients and what I do is lift heavy twice a week. It can be as simple as including an exercise for your chest and exercise for your back, two lower body and one rotation move.

Some things to consider when beginning a strength training program.

1. Getting started use weights that you can comfortably lift to 12-15 repetitions. Stay here for four to six weeks to improve form and let your neuromuscular system know what it is you’re doing. This will help create stability around the joints. I like to teach my clients a few NeuroStrength moves. NeuroStrength is part of The MELT Method. I’ll write a blog post on this soon.

2. Consider your own health and wellness. If you are living with osteoarthritis or osteoporosis or any other musculoskeletal issues, check with your healthcare provider who will know what you should and shouldn’t do. You’ll want to enjoy the benefits of lifting weights but will benefit from modifications.

3. Read past blog posts to get you started. Click here to get a tutorial on a basic squat.

Click here to read one of my posts with tips on the best exercises for women in menopause. Click Here to read The Why’s and How’s of Strength Training.

4. A big part of building muscle midlife is considering what we’re doing when we’re not lifting. Eat enough quality protein, get enough quality sleep and move your body throughout the day.

There are so many benefits to building muscle, exercising and creating a positive mindset throughout our whole life. I became a health and fitness coach so that I could help others enjoy a beautiful, happy and healthy second half of life. There are several ways I can help you. Join my new, free Facebook Group Losing Weight After 50. Follow me on Facebook at Boundless Balance and on Instagram @boundless_balance for quick tips and motivation throughout the week or click here to email me and set up a complimentary call.

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