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Abs, Aging, and the Fountain of Youth

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

Hi, I am a 54 year old woman who had been exercising most of my life. I enjoy exercising & eating correctly and I have been fit most of my life until recently. There is this thing called age that is catching up with me. No matter how much I exercise and eat right, I seem to have put on a couple pounds and my mid-section is getting larger (even with doing 200 sit-ups a day). I know it doesn’t help me any that I have fulltime “sit at a desk” job. Can you please tell me what I am supposed to do to help stop this process because I do not want to go up in my clothing size?

Thank you,

Doreen, Santa Barbara CA

K: Tip number one: Do not let age catch up with you. Run faster. Oh wait, with age the knees start to go so running might not be too comfy. And F and F LOVE comfy fitness. And dark chocolate. Tip number two: Retire super early from your full time desk job and do something that requires loads of outdoor activity. We do have our fitness priorities after all!  Then I woke up….

A: You may not like this, but you might have to run faster just to stay in place. TAKE YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS. I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! At 54, the rate at which you burn calories has slowed down, especially if you sit on your Bartleby the Buttolomus (lost Latin term meaning “butt”) most of the day. So, you are not burning the kcals quite as quickly — fat goes up, muscle mass goes down — the roller coaster of your BMR and metabolism goes zooming along. Good news,  you don’t have to be the high bidder for a leftover “Gone With the Wind” corset. You do have to lift those weights a bit more. If you are currently doing strength training, you need to either do it more often or with heavier weights. Increase the cardio — either go longer or harder. And eat less! Shazaam 1, 2, 3.

K: Good news: cut back on the 200 sit ups. Remember, you cannot spot reduce. All the ab crunches in the world are not going to nuke any mid-section fat. You do need to expend calories to prevent fat and weight gain, so Alexandra is right to recommend the combo of cardio and weight training. Oooh, admitting her rightliness did not hurt as much as I thought. Or as much as 200 ab crunches per day with minimal results.

The short version of our advice is boiled down to three plain potatoes: eat fewer calories, or burn more through increased activity, or do both. Full disclaimer: Fun and Fit fully believe that movement is the Fountain of Youth, yet we must acknowledge that the Fountain is fed by “spring-in-the step pure exercise well waters” that require more pumping (iron) as we age.

The super short version of our advice is to say, “the heck with it. I needed a new wardrobe anyway.”  But probably better to pump the Fountain Well.

A: The final words from me: Forget about Mr. (Eating) Right. Go with Mr. (Eating) Less. But marry Mr. (Exercising) Good Enough.

Readers: Were you aware that weight training is part of a good weight-loss program? Have you ever visited the Fountain of Youth?

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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2 Responses to Abs, Aging, and the Fountain of Youth

  1. Kerri July 6, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    #weightsareforgirls has been my twitter cry ;)

  2. Kathleen July 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    I enjoyed your article today about eating less, and working out more to conquer middle-aged spread. However, it is not about just eating less, but eating less of foods that give you very little nutritional content. When you eat the wrong foods, your body craves the essentials it is not getting, and you end up eating more of the same. Additionally, when you eat less, and are not getting the nutrition you need, your body starts storing fat because it thinks you are starving.

    So my solution, helped by my nutritional guides Ninaya Strandberg and Dale Figtree, is to first go on a juice fast for a week (yes, it is hard at first). Then switch to almost all raw food. I find that I do not need to eat as much food during the day because so much more nutrition is available with each bite, and I do not get those hunger spikes that I used to get.

    Raw doesn’t have to be boring celery and carrots – you can have fantastic salads with all kinds of fun ingredients, as well as raw proteins, such as fish (think sashimi). You can continue to juice veggies in the morning, which is a great way to get started. Or try a smoothie made with yogurt (very healthy) and fresh fruit. In addition, you can cook food to 140 degrees and it is still considered “raw” for nutritional purposes. There are lots of good web sites that help with recipes for raw food.

    Finally, I also incorporated really good grains into my diet, such as quinoa, which is nutritionally great for you and EZ to prepare.

    Kathleen

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