By Julie Anne McGready, Ace Certified Personal Fitness Trainer –
FACT: We lose an average of 10 ounces of lean body mass (mostly muscle tissue) per year
after the age of 30.
FACT: The average person gains about 1 pound 10 ounces of body fat per year.
FACT: Many women will lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass during the 5-8 years
after monthly cycles stop.
FACT: The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that one in two women over age 50 have
an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime.
FACT: Almost 24 percent of people over age 50 who have hip fractures die within a year.
Hopefully these facts serve as a wake up call to all women who would like to stay independent, strong and osteoporosis free throughout their lifetime.
Like it or not, women reach the peak of their muscular strength in their 20’s. Around age 30, you start a natural process of losing muscle mass, which continues to reduce from then on. You go through menopause starting at around age 50, in which your metabolic rate lowers due to hormonal changes. And if that isn’t enough, bone density levels drop off because of a possible previously poor diet along with a drop in estrogen levels. This leaves you with a good chance of acquiring osteoporosis. What on earth are you to do?! Effective resistance training, that’s what!
I’ve seen it too many times: women taking fitness classes or working out in the gym lifting little three and five pound weights. How adorable! The average weight of your purse is anywhere between four and 10 pounds, so why on earth would you lift the same amount of weight in an exercise setting? In order to increase your metabolic rate (the number of calories needed for your body to survive), and make your muscles and bones stronger, you must lift weights heavy enough to present a challenge. You must also lift differently, changing the number of repetitions and the weights periodically.
The concern I hear over and over again with most women is “I don’t want to bulk up!” This is physiologically impossible unless you are actively training to achieve such goal. In fact, the opposite will occur, and you will become smaller! A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat; however, a pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat.
The harder you work, the more calories you are going to burn. If you lift five pounds for 30 repetitions during traditional squats, you will tire your muscles (if you are deconditioned). However, if you lift 20 pounds (individual weight amount will vary) with the same exercise coupled with more sets, you will not be able to perform as many repetitions. The repetitions that you do complete will be an overload to your system and will stimulate favorable results. Heavier weights will increase muscular strength and decrease body fat, therefore upping your metabolic rate. Dedicating yourself to this kind of a program is paramount, whether you are premenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal. Of course there is a safe progression to lifting heavy, as best guided by a qualified personal fitness trainer.
Osteoporosis is a preventable disease! According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on physical activity and health, load-bearing physical activity is likely the single most important influence on bone density. Unintentional injury (usually resulting from falls) ranks as the sixth leading cause of death among people over 65 years of age. Thus, a resistance based program designed to strengthen the body is highly recommended, as muscle weakness is one of the biggest potentially modifiable risk factors for falling. I have had great results in reversing osteopenia in clients ranging in from 55 to 80 years old. Again, progressing your resistance training with a qualified personal fitness trainer to ifting appropriate weights will enable you to regain muscle and bone strength. This can be the difference between staying independent, ending up in a nursing home, or worse!
So I challenge all of you women who are simply lifting no heavier than your purse, lift heavier! For those of you women who are looking for weight loss, lift heavier! For those of you women who want to rev up your metabolic rate, lift heavier! For those of you women who need to strengthen to stay disease free and strong, lift heavier! For those of you women who would like to stay independent, lift heavier!
The bottom line: lift heavier for effective results, and do it safely with the guidance of a qualified personal fitness trainer.
Julie Ann McGready is a Certified Personal Trainer. She is certified by The American Council on Exercise (ACE). She has won the Personal Trainer, Best of Charlotte Reader’s Award five times. She is an expert at weight loss and strength training. Julie Anne’s fitness career began over 15 years ago as a certified group fitness instructor. Watching people become healthier and fit in her classes propelled her to want to help them on an individual basis, so she obtained her personal training and weight management certifications. Julie Anne brings to the table a lot of personal experience with being both overweight and underweight during certain periods of her life. Julie Anne’s expertise lies in her ability to provide her clients with effective programming based on their goals and needs. From traditional to cutting edge workouts, her pliability and natural talents have led to a large variety of clientele ranging from the older adult, weight loss, post rehab, special needs, athlete, and body builder.
Progressive Health and Racquet Club