The Power of Fitness After 40:
Good Day Friends - I'm excited to introduce a new ongoing blog feature called "Coaches Corner."
I have the distinct pleasure of getting to work with the industry's best trainers and coaches in the field of exercise and training. Today we kick-off this new blog from a good friend and renowned expert trainer, Allen Branch. With decades of experience and a unique perspective gleaned from years of training with a direct student of Bruce Lee, Allen is a fount of wisdom when it comes to understanding our bodies and maximizing our fitness potential as we age.
In this article, Allen offers invaluable advice on how to maintain and even enhance your strength, speed, and agility as you age. But it's not just a collection of tips - it's a testimony that age is nothing but a number, and it should never be a barrier to leading an active, fulfilling lifestyle. Take it away Allen!
As we traverse our 40s and beyond, preserving our health and fitness becomes increasingly critical. This transformative period brings about numerous changes in our bodies, necessitating the adaptation of our exercise routines. In this blog, we'll delve into three pivotal aspects of fitness after 40: cultivating lean muscle, refining movement and coordination, and making judicious exercise choices.
I had the privilege of training for 25 years with Joe Lewis, a direct student of Bruce Lee. Lewis, the first-ever World Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion, famously coined the term “Kickboxing.” I once hosted him in my gym for a seminar and marveled as he effortlessly overcame 15 Black Belts in succession, without taking a break. Astonishingly, he was 55 years old at the time.
Lewis and I shared countless private lessons where I inquired about longevity, anti-aging, and maintaining strength and speed. It was a fantastic experience learning from the only student of Bruce Lee who actually competed. Today, I pass those invaluable lessons onto my clients who aspire to move better as they age.
Now, at the age of 56, I can still perform as I did in my 30s. Rest assured, you CAN retain your youth much longer than most people think, provided you receive the right training.
Here are my top three tips for not only staying fit after 40 but also enhancing your movement.
Focus on Gaining Lean Muscle: This point tops the list. Remember, muscles move bones; losing strength equates to compromised movement. Bruce Lee, who was 50 years ahead of his time, continually sought innovative ways to fortify his body. Building strength boosts metabolism, enhances locomotion, and promotes longevity. As we age, our metabolism naturally decelerates, complicating weight management. By engaging in strength training exercises, we can boost our metabolism, increase muscle mass, and promote a healthy body composition. Incorporate resistance training like weightlifting or bodyweight exercises into your fitness regimen to stimulate muscle growth and enjoy its benefits.
Train to Move: Our natural grace and coordination may deteriorate due to a sedentary lifestyle and decreased physical activity. To counteract this, it's vital to concentrate on exercises that challenge proprioception and hand-eye coordination. Such exercises not only bolster your overall movement skills but also contribute to better balance and agility. Consider activities such as yoga, Pilates, dance, or functional training, which require body awareness, precise movements, and coordination. Boxing is my personal favorite, and I believe everyone would benefit from mastering basic boxing skills. Participating in these exercises can help you reclaim and maintain fluidity in your movements.
Work is Work - Choose Higher Quality Work: Although any form of exercise is advantageous, it's imperative to make informed decisions about the types of movements that offer the greatest benefits. Controlled strength movements, like resistance training, yield numerous advantages without exposing your body to repetitive stress and potential joint injuries. Strength training not only aids in building and maintaining lean muscle but also improves bone density, enhances overall strength, and promotes better posture. Cardiovascular and high-impact movements should be approached with caution, particularly if you have underlying joint problems or are prone to injuries. Balance is crucial, so consider incorporating a mix of cardiovascular exercises, low-impact activities like swimming or cycling, and strength-focused workouts to maximize your fitness gains.
Fitness after 40 is a journey that requires tailored approaches to maintain optimal health and well-being. By concentrating on gaining lean muscle, enhancing movement and coordination, and making judicious exercise choices, you can unlock the full potential of your body and enjoy the perks of an active and fulfilling lifestyle.
Remember, age is truly just a number, and it's never too late to prioritize your fitness.
In your corner