Is it too late for you to start weight training?
Think about it from this perspective – if you started today, where would you be a year from now?
You’d be stronger and you’d be less likely to get hurt just doing things around the house or playing with your kids or your grandkids.
Avoiding doing something that’s going to make you stronger isn’t going to help you later.
It’s probably not going to surprise you to hear me tell you that it’s not too late for you to get started.
But what might surprise you is when you find out what the recommendations are for middle aged people and older.
Our age is the reason we need to be strength training, not a barrier.
Let’s talk about the real barriers we have to getting started with weight training and how to bust through them.
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This might be hard to hear, but if you’re telling yourself that you’re too old to get started, you already know that that’s not true.
Something else is the real reason.
Age isn’t something that we can change. So we might say it’s our age because that’s an easy way to win the argument with ourselves.
But what’s really going to help you win the argument with yourself is if you understand why it is so important for you to deal with this right now.
As we get older, we lose muscle mass and that’s going to cause weakness and a lack of stamina.
There are a few reasons – some we can control, some we can’t.
One reason is hormone changes and another is that our body becomes less efficient at using protein as we get older.
But there are some things that people do to contribute to muscle loss that they don’t even realize they’re doing.
One is just being less active. It’s the “use it or lose it” thing.
And the other one is not eating enough.
You may not be taking in enough calories or you may not be taking in enough protein. (Read How Much Protein Do Women Over 40 Need?)
Muscle loss happens for both men and women, but it affects women a little more because we’re starting out with less muscle on our frame.
As we age and we start to lose muscle, we become frail faster and we become more prone to having injuries from falls.
More older women are getting into lifting now because they want o keep their muscle, they want to have strong bones, and it helps with stress management.
It helps with sleep, and well, there’s that “I just want to be a little badass” factor, too.
You can look all over on the Internet and you’re going to find recommendations for how much you should lift.
I went to the World Health Organization. Their recommendations are for general health and not necessarily for any specific sport training.
For adults aged 18 to 64, the recommendation is to do two full body workouts a week.
What I thought was really interesting is that they change the recommendation for people who are 65 older to be three workouts a week – which I think is amazing.
They are recognizing the fact that we are having issues with our health because we are losing muscle and you can do something about it.
So what’s stopping you?
I know it was hard for me to get started. I’ve talked about that before.
There are really four common barriers that stop us from getting started with weight training.
Barrier 1: I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t want to look stupid just trying to figure it out on my own.
How to bust that barrier…
Hire a trainer in the beginning so that you can learn basics. They can watch you, they can correct your form, they can give you some sample workout plans.
There are a ton of videos on YouTube. If you want to learn how to lift, you need to watch people who are smart about lifting. Look for people who are giving out good, science-based information.
Remember – basic lifting info can be informative for all, regardless of age or gender. If you need to work around a specific issue, research that, too.
Barrier 2: I don’t want to get hurt.
To bust this barrier…
I want you to have this little mindset shift. If you’re already weak, you’re more likely to get hurt just at your house. You need to fix that. It isn’t going to get better if you don’t do anything to address it.
When you lift weights, you’re going to pay closer attention to your form than you might when you’re moving boxes around your house. And when you’re lifting, if it doesn’t feel right, you’ll just stop.
If you’re worried about getting hurt, you can remind yourself that you’re in control, and that building muscle around a joint provides stability to that joint.
Increased strength improves your balance, too.
Just keep reminding yourself that not using your body is going to make you weaker and more frail.
Barrier 3: I don’t like the atmosphere of the gym.
How to bust that barrier…
Start at home. In the beginning, you’re not going to need a lot of equipment to be able to make a lot of progress.
You can do a lot of bodyweight exercises at home.
And even if you went to the gym, that’s probably where you’d be starting anyway.
Do incline pushups up against a countertop in the kitchen for your chest, triceps, and front of your shoulders.
Do wall sits or bodyweight squats to work your legs.
Do planks to strengthen your core.
You can get creative with the equipment at home too. You really just need items that you can hang on to. So get quarts of milk that have handles and then you can change the amount of liquid that’s in there to change the weight. You can use laundry baskets. You can use a backpack with books in it. You can even take a sheet and wrap it around a post or a tree then pull your body into it to work your back.
After you’ve worked out at home for a while and you feel a little bit stronger, you might be more motivated to try to make the gym work because you’ll want to use different equipment. Try using the gym at a different time or a different day of the week when it is less busy.
Barrier 4: I don’t think it’s going to work.
If you do something consistently using science-based principles, how could it not work? Your body is going to adapt to what you do regularly.
And while you might look around on social media at other people’s physiques to get inspiration, I want to caution you about going down that rabbit hole of comparison. You are going to be is a stronger version of who you are now.
You’re going to keep learning, you’re going to keep adjusting, and you’re going to keep changing your program as you progress.
I wish I could tell you that the negative self talk would stop, but it might keep nagging you every so often. Keep redirecting your negative self talk to be something that’s more positive. Remind yourself every day that your body will adapt, it will respond, you will get stronger. These things happen, but they take time.
Think of it like planting a tree. You don’t plant the tree today and then expect it to give you shade tomorrow, right? It takes time.
Are you ready to learn more? If you’re a new lifter, click into this playlist below. I’ve got a bunch of videos in there for you.
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Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.