As you go over 40, weight loss does become progressively harder. The metabolism rate reacts differently, muscles refuse to grow, and fat tissue is getting more stubborn by the day.
But the myth that you cannot lose weight after 40 is easily debunked. A fit and toned body – if you know what you are doing – is just as much of a reality after 40 as it is during the twenties.
Sure, the garden variety of obstacles is growing larger over a certain age threshold. Sedentary lifestyle makes the gym inconvenient, years on top of years of bad habits pile up, and fragile knees and knee injuries dwarf all other problems in significance. But everything can be easily reversed.
What follows below is a step by step approach to losing weight after 40.
Weight loss after 40 – what to have in mind
To begin your journey, you must identify your current situation. And I tend to divide people into two groups- those with some sort of a knee or back injury, and those lucky enough without one.
But don’t be easily mistaken- most people who start to work out after 40, earn themselves a knee injury of some sort even though they were lucky enough to stay without one for ages.
Joint injuries tend to predominate, and this is mainly because lack of physical activity reflects on them way more, as opposed to anything else. The more weight you’ve gained, and the more sedentary your lifestyle has become over the years, the more likely it is for you to earn yourself a knee injury the moment you start working out.
Therefore, here is the biggest challenge for weight loss after 40 at the very beginning- stay injury free, or work out despite your obstacles.
And both depend on exactly the same approach.
How to begin losing weight
Your biggest mistake is doing cardio. Repetitive or otherwise, it is quite unforgiving if you haven’t strengthened your joints and ligaments.
Absolutely the biggest reason why beginners walk this very symptomatic curve- two days of workout, and then a mild or serious injury that ends the journey short.
And since gyms can be far more inconvenient, the options seem to be limited.
So here is blueprint on what to do instead:
Changing nutrition is the safest bet. Lighter portions, lean food, 5-6 meals throughout the length of the day, healthy supplements (like Fit Tea, read more in this Fit Tea review). But this effort should run in the background, while you focus on working out instead.
Starting step-by-step, with progression in mind, you will soon be able to complete complex workouts and more challenging cardio without the risk of an injury.
The type of exercises you need to be doing at the very beginning (first week or two, depending on your fitness level), will be limited to bodyweight moves with little to no cardio, no jumping involved. Maybe even Yoga-like workouts like Piyo.
It’s far better to start with stretching, but nobody has the nerve for that, and I still haven’t met a single person who is willing to show up day after day doing nothing but flexibility work.
So we will mix things up a little.
Resistance based moves, supplemented by flexibility and balance exercises. That’s how you are going to strengthen your body, lose weight in the process, and prepare for low and high intensity cardio, and more advanced sequences later.
The push-up, varieties of crunches, the mason twist, core exercises of any and every kind, leg moves that strengthen the muscles… All done with zero impact, and no cardio involved.
Then, at the end of each workout session, a series of stretches that promote flexibility, balance, and buckets of sweat. Yup, weight loss can happen even at this early stage.
The second week
As you strengthen your body by doing resistance and flexibility work the first week, you will be able to include more complex moves like the squat, mixed with light jumping moves in order to get your heart racing.
The key is to begin each move slow, and keep the pace steady. You will get windy within seconds, so try not to make drastic changes in speed and don’t accelerate when you feel comfortable.
Here is an example of how a smart sequence should look like during this week:
Each moves goes on for a minute, and you rest when you must, quickly going back with the repetitions. This will greatly increase your anaerobic capacity.
- Body twist and hip opener moves at the start (2-3 moves, repeating the whole sequence twice)
- 2-3 complex resistance moves mostly targeting the core
- 1-2 leg exercises to prepare you for the cardio ahead
- Squats (or some variety of it)
- A single one-minute Jumping move
- 1-2 complex resistance moves
- Another jumping move
Repeat the whole sequence and then do a series of stretches
Depending on your circumstances, you will be able to lose weight up to 10 pounds during these two weeks alone. But more importantly, you will set up a healthy foundation preventing injury, and strengthening your body for what comes next (where most of the weight loss actually occurs).
Most weight loss workouts follow a similar progression. It they are smart enough, that is, and don’t rely on manufactured emergency. Though you will hardly find one that takes bad knees and other injuries into consideration.
Progressing forward mostly means more cardio, and agility based resistance moves once you are capable enough.
Sounds scary and incredibly vague, I know. But the same pattern from above applies, only growing in intensity and frequency of cardio based moves.
Few tips to take into consideration
Weight loss after 40 is already hard as it is, yet alone if you begin to fight with injuries. And a simple trick can prevent quite a lot of them.
Just wear shoes
They provide joint stability, allowing you to better hold balance during each move. This will reduce knee injuries and back injuries as well. Sounds over-promising, but it is statistically proven.
During your workouts, after they end, throughout the entire day. Small sips, more times than you can count. Being hydrated makes things a lot easier, especially when you have a demanding schedule.
Ventilate the room before you start sweating
Might sound trivial for some, but those of us who tackle advanced fitness and weight loss programs, know for sure that ventilated rooms improve workout performance by a huge margin.
Start slow and keep the same pace
It might not look sexy, but remember that sexy never happens all of the sudden. Try going deep within each move, and forget about manufactured emergency to rush forward. Take your time, and train within your comfort zone first.
Have a trouble performing a push-up? Then simply put your knees down for a couple of repetition or for the entirety of the set.
Squats are hard, and your knees start to hurt? Touch your feet then, with legs straight and return back again for a semi squat just to get things moving…
Jumping jacks seem hard, do legs first, and then arms as you pause.
The goal is to get moving, strengthen your body, and to prevent injury. It gets way easier later. There is no shame in modifying moves. It will help you with weight loss over 40 as much as it can help a twenty-something quarterback get back into shape for the season.
40 is just a number
Knowing what to do and what not to do is key.
Have patience and think about small and daily wins. Just as much as you have to pay the sandman and rest daily, you have to earn your place on the faster track by preparing upfront.
Never put too much stock in cardio as the sole component of weight loss. Think first about flexibility and resistance moves instead. You’ll be jumping and running in no time.
Progression outranks other principles nine ways to Sunday. So start by understanding your current fitness level. Two weeks of taking things steady are not that much to ask. Tell me if I’m wrong.
Begin properly, and you will be able to lose up to 8 pounds the first two weeks doing little to no cardio. And then progress faster than you can imagine.
People routinely overestimate what they can do in a week, but gravely underestimate what they can achieve in two months. Have faith in the process.
Our own workout platform offers the same stress-free attitude, and a step by step approach. People have lost up to 28 pounds in two months, without necessarily stepping out of their comfort zone. Those who are willing to push harder have made even bigger transformations.
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Here is to a fit and healthy body after 40!