I remember being in my late 30’s and I’d drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn (still exhausted from the day before), drive myself across Sydney to the gym next to my work and I’d be on the treadmill by 6.30 am. I would work hard on the treadmill, or the rower, or the cross-trainer. I’d flog myself and I’d be even more exhausted than I was when I woke up. Then I’d head to work and usually the start the day with a huge slab of banana bread and the largest coffee I could find (skim milk of course).
All I wanted was a perfect set of ab muscles. But I never got there! Why? Well, the food choice is one of the reasons (obviously)! But I felt I needed that sugar & caffeine rush to get through the day. Plus, my exercise choices were all wrong. And I actually needed to deal with that chronic exhaustion.
Now, 5 years later, I am a lot better educated. And also a lot more accepting of myself! Although I still don’t have a six-pack, I’ve realised that it isn’t necessary to be happy. Plus, now I have a strong, healthy, toned body that I am proud of. Let me share with you a few of my secrets.
Gentle, weight bearing exercise
My first mistake was all that cardio. If you wanted to get toned, you need to challenge yourself with weight bearing exercise. You don’t need to use heavy weights (your own body weight is great too). It’s better to use low weight and more repetitions. When you are starting a resistance program start lower and gradually move up with your weights. And don’t forget yoga is a beautiful, relaxing way to challenge yourself. I have great toned arms and shoulders due to yoga. And it helps to strengthen your core which is great for reducing back pain.
Please, always be aware of aches & pains and tiredness before you exercise. If you have a lot of joint pain or you’re really tired, don’t exercise today. Your body is telling you need a rest! See the next point…
Hard core, cardio exercise can start a stress response in the body. So can feeling guilty, over working, never getting time to yourself and so many other things us hard working women deal with every single day.
The problem with stress is it will completely inhibit your ability to metabolise fat. And excessive fat cells in the body is the enemy of looking sleek and toned! (I’m not talking about eating fat by the way). Plus, when we are stressed, the body starts to use up glucose for energy rather than fat and that can encourage the appearance of cellulite!
If you want a toned body, you must find ways to chill out! I know it sounds counter intuitive. But being relaxed and happy will help you have a better body. Take more time out for yourself. Learn to breathe abdominally. You will see a difference. But it will take time (all the best things do!)
Eat Clean food (most of the time)
I try to live by the 80/20 rule these days. What does that mean? Well 80% of the time I try to eat really healthy food. Clean. No preservatives. Reduce sugar, transfats, alcohol and caffeine. And then the other 20% of the time I allow myself guilt-free access to ANYTHING. Note the “guilt-free” part (see point 2).
When I reduce the liver loaders (like sugar, transfats, alcohol and caffeine) it allows my liver to function properly. It means it helps to metabolise fat properly in the body. And less fat means looking more toned!
What do you think it takes to get a toned body?
If you would like to learn more about getting a toned body when you are over 40, then subscribe to my free 3-part video series. You will get access to a gentle toning exercise routine instantly!