On the first day of my eight-week weight-training program at London’s Roar gym, I can feel my inner 17-year-old curling up in my arms and whispering, ‘You don’t belong here. Let’s close the bunk for a fug.’

But I belong here. I’m here to act, without being overly dramatic, like my life depended on it. At 53, I’ve begun to seriously consider what the aging process can be like. There is clear scientific evidence that strength/resistance/weight training, call it what you want, protects us as we get older. The Chief Medical Officer for England recommends that we exercise using our major muscle groups at least twice a week. It not only saves us from buying new jeans but also from stroke, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. It is associated with better mental health, delayed onset of dementia, better quality of life and well-being. It also reduces the risk of falling.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weight training for everyone over the age of 50. Yet we don’t seem to register how important it is. In 2019, a report by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers said, ‘The 2011 recommendations on muscle strength have not gained the recognition we believe they deserve. We underline the importance of regular strength and balance activities.’

If you’re reading this thinking you’re too old, stop. A study of 26 people aged 91 to 96, reported in the journal Science Daily, found that strength training ‘significantly increased the physical ability of frail older people … enhanced their functional ability, reduced the risk of falls’ did and improved muscle strength.’ Ernestine Shepherd is the oldest female bodybuilder in the world and she only started lifting weights at the age of 56. Now 86 years old, she is still going strong, teaching aerobics and looking amazing. So the question isn’t whether it’s too late, but what’s stopping you?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weight training for those over 50. However, Kate Spicer reveals many of us don’t understand the benefits of

At Roar, I meet its founder, Sarah Lindsay, 42, a former Olympic speed skater. She is beautiful, energetic and full of confidence.

‘My back’s a bit bad,’ I say, to which she bluntly tells me that most people have some sort of bad back. So far we’re at the gym and she’s showing me an exercise that involves a large metal animal loaded with weights being pushed across the floor like a sled. She downplays her tracks by saying, ‘I’ve got a bulging disc. The weight makes it strong enough to support the rest of the body.

With a flick of her ponytail, she made me lose 50 kilos so that I could try it. easy! Oops, no it isn’t! It’s like pushing against a brick wall. She adjusts to my position and removes even more weight. Whoopi, we go, even a quarter of a mile an hour. Olive oil has arrived.

A circular training program will work all the major muscles of the abdomen, arms, shoulders, back, chest and legs. Given my bad back, a period with a trainer seemed sensible, so when Lindsey heads to Dubai to open more gyms, I look to her colleague, Alex Smith.

Don’t fancy the gym?

There’s lots of great advice online you can use to get started with training at home, including The Fit Mother Project and some excellent female-focused video tutorials by weightlifting influencer Shelley Darlington. Also check out Nike Training Club which is free and packed with how-tos. If you can get past the big beefy bro look, google the big names in the weights like Alan Thrall and Jeff Nippard, who have great online advice on form. Also try Aaptiv and Freeletics for monthly online client-guided training sessions (remember to warm up before you train, stretch afterward, and rehydrate with plenty of water).

At first, I found my schedule of three hour-long sessions a week to be a bit… well, boring. I’m just doing things up and down, with the only reward being that I’ve done it. But after session five, a funny thing happens: When I leave the gym and hit the road, I’m so high that I call a friend, bubbling with optimism and excitement. I want to go, ‘Woo!’ which i am not

Why do I feel this way? Because weightlifting gives you a shot of the body’s post-sport high: endorphins, dopamine and anabolic (building and repairing) hormones. Not to mention the body’s messengers like testosterone and a brain called neurotrophic factor, the absence of which is a factor in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and memory loss. Here’s the carrot that may keep me in the gym for a lifetime: a cascade of positive mental effects as I strengthen my body.

‘Do you have a goal?’ says Smith after a few sessions. Erm, shouldn’t be weak when I get old, I tell him. ‘Is there anything more immediate we can work on now?’ she asks.

‘How about a pull-up?’ I say, although I’m pretty sure I can do one now. I jump up to the bar and lift myself a half inch. There is no way around it. I’m not strong, and getting strong will require regular work over eight weeks. I’ll also need to eat more protein, says James Castle Mason, Roar’s in-house nutritionist, who weighs me, takes my pictures and regularly twitches every part of my body with callipers. There’s an app where I can track my progress at the gym and on the scale and find recipes and meal plans.

Dr Federica Amati, medical scientist and nutritionist at Imperial College London, explains that a combination of protein and weight training is key to maintaining muscle mass after 50. As lean muscle mass declines by five to ten percent every decade after 50, ‘weight training is essential to maintain as much muscle mass as possible and help maintain bone density,’ she says. ‘For women, the breakdown of muscle tissue during menopause requires higher protein intake to maintain a healthy body composition. To maintain this lean muscle mass, it is important to include more protein and fibre-rich plant foods such as lentils and nuts – and reduce sugar and starchy foods.’ Three weeks in I’m starting to grunt while I’m practicing.

By the fifth week the grunts have escalated to all-out growls and yelps. The burning in my quads while doing leg extensions is tough but oddly pleasurable. As I sit down to take a minute’s rest (recovering means you won’t lift when you’re tired, which can lead to injury) I also find myself thinking, ‘I’m a legend. Am!’ And feeling so strong I might as well be Obelix carrying a menhir. While this is clearly a fantasy, my body has changed: My jeans are looser around the waist and hang off my slightly plumper bum instead of clinging to my thighs. It sounds like the start of a rewarding journey – as long as I can keep it up on my own.

At my last meeting with Castle-Mason and the Callipers I’ve lost 20 percent of the fat in my chin, about 60 percent on my hips, my fatty knees have shrunk and if I flex my biceps, yes, they’re an awesome Looks like the muscles are popping out. I’ve only lost half a stone but my body is strong and that’s the result I want. I cautiously broke a handstand, celebrating and managing to stay upside down on my hands. Not exactly poppy pull-ups, but definitely not olive oil either.

Roar is disappointed I haven’t completely hooked up on a low-carb diet, but training was the only thing I could get my head around. Here are 100 before-and-after photos of gym stairs, some of them amazing transformations. I say to Castle-Mason, ‘They all…’ He completes my sentence for me. ‘Diet followed, yes.’

Later that week I passed by my gate and saw a large box of dog food being delivered. I already have a heavy bag and a dog. am i I am surprised I put it under my arm and walk us down the alley and up the stairs. Yes I can! Everything is simple. In fact, I can’t think of one thing that hasn’t improved since I started lifting weights.

  • Roar is offering you readers 25% off any subscription, class bundle, or in-house Roar class throughout January, including online live and on-demand classes. For more information, visit roar-fitness.com and enter UMAG code at checkout*

Read more:

Why weight lifting won’t make you ‘bulky’: Celebrity personal trainer reveals how weight training is the secret to getting the A-list in shape

Study finds lifting weights in middle age cuts risk of death from all causes by a fifth

Lift weights five days a week if you want to get stronger, but one hard session a week is better for developing big muscles, study shows

#Reluctant #gymgoer #Kate #Spicer #decides #olive #oil #body #age

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