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Strength after 40

Last year I confess, beat this stubborn streak out of me as my body started to disagree with my head.  I have never been so injured, (shoulders & knees) continually sore and although ‘leg training days’ were always hard I just never got the recovery that made it fun, well as much fun as legs day can be!

So, after a bit more research I left my ego at the door and challenged myself to stay strong (bench press my body weight and lift 1.5 my body weight) and remain mobile with a degree of fun (walking handstands).  

From my 20’s to late 30’s, I could lift heavy weights much more frequently, loading the spine and joints to get bigger. I didn’t do anything stupid and my form was really good, so I made it through pretty well unscathed. I always state that I should be able to do now what I did then but there comes a point (and this will vary for different people) when injuries are more common than workouts.

Last year was my year. I have put together a list of changes that I believe you need to include in your training program to ensure longevity of training, while still maintaining good strength and shape. 

Although I reference myself lifting weight in this article, this is just as important to females as they age as much as males. The female musculoskeletal system is designed the same way but not the same shape.  Strength & toning as we age is still important for both sexes, often the difference in results comes down to the appropriate design of the training program. 

The following recommendations apply to both female and male training programmes;

1) Don’t load the spine as regularly.

I see younger lifters squat or deadlift  3 times per week. However, to get my best work I found that as an older lifter I needed to modify this. The lower back tends to get a hammering from most exercises & takes longer to recuperate than most body parts, and as we age, it becomes even more obvious.

Splitting up the big lift exercises such as squats & deadlifts & reducing either the weight or the volume of them helps to keep me motivated and strong.  So, make sure that you have enough rest time between loading the spine with these big lifts.

2) Legs need endurance & strength.

It becomes more important to do some extra conditioning work like jumping rope, running hills, using the skillmill or pushing a sled. This is both for your cardiovascular health and for keeping trim (lean and mean).

Doing 1 or max 2 lower body strength workouts per week (in most cases) will still allow you to run & play without running into any recovery issues such as sore muscles or over-stressing your joints. 

The mix of a one leg strength (squat) with a plyo/cardio exercise (box jump) or sprint is a good way to keep two lower body workouts without overload.

3)Heavy up once a week only.

Heavy pressing is great for building up the chest, shoulders, and triceps, but it also takes a toll on your rotator cuff muscles and all the tendons and ligaments surrounding your shoulder joint if you do it too often. The over 40 crew are better off limiting their heavy press work to once a week and substituting in more joint friendly variations like suspended push ups and higher rep dumbbell presses on their other upper body workout of the week.

4)Eliminate (or drastically reduce) low-rep training.

Working up to heavy sets in the one to five rep range is awesome for building strength. However, these sets can also beat you up pretty good and technique must be spot on as this is where an injury will occur. As long as you train smart you can still make tremendous strength gains in this rep range while sparing your joints. The other great thing about training with higher reps overall is that it will help you preserve muscle mass.

We tend to lose muscle mass as we age if we don’t use it (a condition called Sarcopenia). By training with moderately heavy weights in the range of eight to 12 reps, you can persevere muscle and sometimes make some small gains to build muscle.

5) Warm-up & stretch.

Yup…super important people!

The emphasis on warm up & stretching can make profound changes to the effectiveness of your workout.  To warm up properly I am doing mobility drills for the specific areas I am working on that session. Shoulders, hips and other injury prone areas and then light warm up sets of between 10 & 15 before moving to maximals.

As I have grown (ok…aged!!  I’ve never actually grown up)  I now absolutely have to make time for this or my body really starts to hate me. Other important parts of the warm-up include some active stretching, foam rolling to improve soft tissue quality, muscle activation drills for the upper back and glutes as well as some dynamic stretching. Whenever you’re pressed for time, it’s better to cut out some of your workload than it is to skimp on your warm-up.

The number one biomarker for ageing is muscle which equals strength, tone & shape.  This is important for both males & females so, don’t stop exercising but make strength training part of your weekly routine for life. (remember the recent news of the 101year old sprinter!). 

Winter is the perfect time to get started on a 3 month strength training programme with results guaranteed to please in the summer! 

Book a time with your trainer to start your strength training programme now!

Why Are We Different?

Mint Health & Fitness  for want of a better word is a "boutique" fitness and food facility.  We have fantastic personal trainers, nutritionists & clean eating cafe that all work together to make sure that your experience at Mint is unlike any other health a nutrition facility. 
The Mint experience is something that we have found hard to describe, but our members all say the same thing, friendly staff and atmosphere with helpful instruction.  
This obviously isn't it all, we have PURE Cafe with it great selection of healthy nutritious food, but to find out for yourself what our difference is come on down and talk to the team.
We are a friendly bunch at Mint and will gladly show you around and tell why we are proud to be a Mintie.
P.S. Ask about a free trial workout just to see if you like us. One of our team may even be able to help with a one on one workout if you are newbie exerciser (we don't want you to hurt yourself).
No more procrastinating
No more excuses
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I felt determined when I joined Mint. I have lost approx. 15 Kgs since my heaviest and about 1.5Kg in the last 2 weeks, I am now eating 8 times a day and I feel that what I am doing is working for me. It was hard to stay away from those salt and vinegar chips and keep up with the frequency of meals but I am getting there. I originally went to Jane when I first started and struggled with the food (salads are just not for me) but we found some alternatives which works. Having the BIA’s done with Jane has been great to see the results. Also, I have learned about food composition and eating clean.
Dudley Crabbe
I felt determined when I joined Mint. With my husband already being a member and enjoying it. I feel fitter and Jane has helped me change some of eating habits so I am hoping I can start losing some weight. Easy access to Jane being on site will help me get to my goals over the next few months. Jane has kept me going, don't give up, and some good tips how important protein is in the diet.
Anne Gibling
I was hopeful joining Mint and I feel that I have made a steady improvement throughout my time at Mint. Jane has helped me control my blood sugar levels and they are better than ever. Jane provided great advice and tips.
Tony Gibling
I felt relaxed when joining Mint. I found that at Mint I have lost weight and found it a great way to deal with stress. Jane helped me change my bad eating habits and organised me to have a necessary blood tests done in America which made a big difference.
Garry Beaumont
Making the decision to join the gym was actually pretty hard. I was going through a particularly stressful time. The results I feel the most are: I wasn’t necessarily focused on aerobic health when I started but I feel much fitter and that’s a lovely feeling. I’m fitting into some older clothes – very gratifying. But the most important result is that I am in control of my choices. I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself. I feel more confident in the face of other challenges. So if I had to say what the number one result of my time at Mint is, it’s mental. I have a completely different relationship with exercise, which has become something I enjoy doing because it clears my head and makes me feel good about myself. I enjoy being in my body; I feel proud of what it can do. This has been an incredibly valuable experience – and one that’s ongoing, which is cool as well. I’m looking forward to what comes next! Wendy and I thought to tell you how much we miss Mint now that we are on 6 months in Heidelberg Germany after our three months in Christchurch. We have found a gym here that is very well equipped but it is VERY German and some of the classes look like torture rooms!
Greta Bond
December 21 we finally go back to Vancouver and resume our normal life. I very much appreciate the two back workouts you gave me and I am still doing them, alternating several times a week. They are the best I have ever had and I have had great back health since working with you. I very much thank you for that. Best wishes from your Canadian fan club - congrats on the new gym and good business to both of you.
Wendy & Chris
Having battled multiple heath issues and as a busy Mum of three young adults, a chance conversation led me to the team at Mint. Nutritional advice was just the beginning! I began Reflexology with Emma, Carole’s massage as well as a totally personalised gym program on a one-to-one basis with Mike. I cannot adequately convey the impact of encouragement, support, genuine interest, as well as the wonderful facilities that Mint provides as I literally claw my way back to health. The whole body approach of health and wellness at Mint is truly unique. With the addition of Pure Cafe Co. enabling you to put a foot in the door to this amazing setup that is Mint Health and Fitness.
Angela
I joined the Mint fitness gym in December 2013 because being a bus driver I needed a way to keep fit and keep all my joints moving. I find it really easy to go because it’s just across the road from where I work. They say a healthy body helps towards a healthy mind and so it helps with all the stress of everyday life and the stress that comes with driving around the city all day everyday. The team at Mint, Mike, Gabby and Bonnie are really friendly and help with anything you need while you are there. The changing rooms are always clean and tidy and well looked after. There is also a Cafe in the same building which serves healthy food to complement the exercise. I joined for 3 months and in conjunction with my own cycling am enjoying working out to the program Mike has set up for me. The 24 hour access, its great for the weekends and after work and also means I can go and work out when it suits. I really love it – Mint is great.
Peter
I joined mint as this year I am working in a third world Country which has a high level of security risk and a demanding physical environment. The team at Mint listened carefully to what I was needing and tailored an exercise and nutrition programme to get me to the physical condition I need to be in. You are not just another number at mint, they genuinely care about you and your goals. You always feel welcome and always have advice. I love how you can get a bite to eat after a work out, the time savings are so helpful. This is the best gym in the city, and the tuna wraps are fantastic!"
F
When the quake shook everything up, I unwilling distanced myself from MINT, lost my ‘work out mojo’. It wasn’t until late 2013 that I got back into training. From this unplanned break I can see first-hand how much better I feel psychologically and physically from training. BUT the thing that makes MINT the place for me is that everyone gets to know you. If you are self-guided training (me presently) or getting one on one personal training, MINT’S care and attention is what makes it. The team pay attention to how often you show up, Mike and Di show a personal interest in my Progress, I feel spurred on by this. You cannot underestimate the power of someone noticing you’re not at the gym!! My journey this time is a more driven one. I know how easy it is to ‘slip’ out of habit. And I know for me, MINT is the place to achieve my fitness goals.
Simon
Before Mint I weighed 78kgs. I’d been overweight since childhood and was a comfort eater. Never played any sports or been into any sort of exercise. I was scared of joining a gym. I remember telling myself there was no way I could ever be a person who was into working out and healthy eating because it just wasn’t me. Six months later and 20kgs lighter, I’m now the person I thought I'd never be. I’m so happy with who I am now and for the first time ever, I can say I truly love myself. I really don’t believe that I could have achieved so much success without all the wonderful people at Mint supporting and motivating me 100%. Joining Mint has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Emma M

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