Staying strong and fit in your 40s and beyond

As we move into our forties there is a lot to celebrate! We have seen quite a bit of life, and as a result, we are wiser, more centred, and are ready to conquer the next half of our lifetime. But in the midst of all of this empowerment, our bodies are changing. As our hormones start to fluctuate we can experience disrupted sleep, night sweats, bloating, fatigue, and recurring muscle aches and injuries. Often we feel that despite our exercise and eating patterns not changing, our shapes are, particularly around our middle and this can be disheartening when you are trying to stay strong and fit in your 40s.

What is happening and how can you stay strong and fit in your 40s and beyond?

Your regular menstrual cycle starts to change in your forties where our hormones are in a state of flux, with oestrogen becoming dominant. We start to have more anovulatory cycles, meaning that as an egg isn’t being released, there isn’t the stimulus to produce progesterone, so causing a hormonal discrepancy. This is where we start to feel those confusing changes in our bodies, and the closer we get to the actual cessation of our periods, the worse these become.

How does this affect our training and body composition?

Oestrogen often promotes inflammation. This leads to an increase in total body inflammation, and a poor ability to adapt and respond, with a predisposition to things like iron deficiency, sore joints, puffiness, picking up respiratory tract infections and so on.  We also have a decreased sensitivity to insulin, and how they moderate blood sugar control. This is what can cause that storage of belly fat.

What can we do?

We should approach this as the new, positive chapter in our lives that it is. Women do have the capacity to continue to be strong, powerful and fit in your 40s and beyond. However, if inactive, around 3% of lean muscle mass can decrease each decade from the age of 30. 

But the good news is, it is never too late to start, we just need to look at ways to train and maintain that neuromuscular stimulation and muscle integrity. Here are some key considerations we need to take into account when planning our training so you can stay strong and fit in your 40s:

Lift heavy

We really need to build in some quality resistance training, low-rep heavy weights. Not only does this help with neuromuscular action, it also increases the stress on the bone and helps with bone turnover, increasing or preserving bone density. Here we are looking at exercises like squats and deadlifts, to a maximum of 5 or 6 reps.  Safety is a key factor here of course and you should work with a professional when you are learning to do this to ensure you are lifting correctly.

fit in your 40s

High intensity interval training 

One of the best ways to stimulate muscle production, these short, sharp interval workouts prompt your body to build lean muscle and shrink visceral fat more effectively than a slow burn endurance workout. It also helps your body to process insulin efficiently, making you less prone to insulin resistance, or becoming overweight. These intervals can be built into most types of exercise, from running to cycling, rowing etc and work with very short (20 to 90 seconds maximum) of high intensity exercise, followed by longer recoveries. The good news is that if these are done correctly, the total workout shouldn’t last more than about 30 minutes.

Plyometrics 

These exercises include exercises like jumping, hopping or bounding, or otherwise giving your bones and muscles the extra stimulus that comes when you push off against gravity and land back down. The key here is the multi-directional aspect rather than running, with exercises such as jumping jacks, side hops, skipping and so on which improve muscular strength, bone health, body composition, posture and physical performance.

fit in your 40s

Do less volume and more intensity 

This is the area where a lot of people struggle. The tendency at this time is to push harder and longer to get rid of this newly acquired body fat, but ultimately that backfires, putting you into a state of low-energy, high stress cortisol cycling. Encouragingly, women have that inherent ability to go long because of the sex differences within the muscle enzyme activity, as well as the body being predisposed to endurance. So if you want to keep in those long, social workouts, make them just that, keeping in your lower heart rate zones where you can still hold a conversation.

In summary

All of these specific interventions work to not only to decrease visceral abdominal fat, increase our insulin sensitivity, increase our lean-mass development and the way our muscles fire, they also build stability around the joints. When we do this, we increase the ability of the muscles around the joint to withstand heavy weight and withstand the pressures of lifting and moving through resistance, not only with exercise, but everyday life.

fit in your 40s

Working with a coach

If you are keen to work towards a goal of staying strong and fit in your 40s, or simply be the best version of yourself in your forties and beyond, then it is worth considering working with a coach. Denise Yeats works in a very holistic way, advising on diet and nutrition in tandem with exercise, and constantly listening to her clients and the way they are adapting not only physically, but also mentally to the training she is setting them. 

Denise Yeats is a triathlete and IRONMAN Certified Coach with a passion for personal development of women in the perimenopausal and menopausal stages of their lives. Find out more at www.deniseyeats.co.uk.

Tried and Tested Summer 2022

Hold the phone everybody! Our Tried and Tested feature is back by popular demand this summer. If you want to know what products have landed on our desk that are worth checking out then read on friends as we give our Tried and Tested stamp of approval to all things beauty, wellness and food that we have fallen in love with. This summer we’ve been….

Beautifying with….

Vibrant Skin Serums

Vibrant Skin is a natural skincare brand, founded by two lovely sisters – Sarah Owen & Kelly Owen – after a personal journey that took them on a quest to discover exceptional, active, and natural ingredients that would support and rebuild the skin. They are on a mission to show people how beautiful their skin can be, and their serums are science-driven, brilliant quality, evidence-based and unlock nature’s powerful healing properties providing intrinsic protection and deep hydration. We’ve tried all three serums – Energising Vitamin Serum, Time Repair Serum, and Hydra B5 & Hyaluronic Acid Serum – and can truly say that they have left our skin looking healthy and radiant, leaving us feeling fabulously empowered! The Vibrant Skin Serum range starts at £40, discover their products here.

tried and tested

Glo32 Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil

Over 40 years on the planet does not for white teeth maketh. Our previous experience with tooth whiteners has been HARSH which is why they have never previously made it into our Tried and Tested feature. But we have to say we love Glo 32’s Advance Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil. Formulated with Coconut Oil for a healthy and gentler way to achieve a whiter, brighter smile. We used these easy-to-apply strips every day for a month and our teeth were visibly whiter. No need to get your teeth done professionally. Just purchase one of their home whitening kits instead! Glo 32’s Advance Teeth Whitening System with Coconut Oil costs £20 and is available from Boots and Amazon.

tried and tested

The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil

Hair can dry out in extreme temperatures and with increased UV exposure in the summer months or while you’re on holiday. If your locks are looking anything but luscious it’s time to give them some extra TLC. The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil is perfect for doing just that. Made from ethically sourced, organic ingredients, we’ve been using their pre-wash treatment once a week resulting in noticeably smooth and softened hair. Their luxurious blend of oils nourishes, treats, and repairs your hair from root to tip and is perfect for taking care of dry hair during the summer months. The DA Group’s Luxury Hair Oil costs £19.99 and is available to buy from thedagroup.com.

tried and tested

Lola’s Lashes Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes

Because you’re never too old to wear lashes. If you are no idea how to wear lashes (much like us), then Lola’s lashes are a good place to start. Their Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes will have you cheating on your mascara. Ridiculously easy to apply without any faff, they are the perfect style to complement an everyday or going out-out makeup with just enough subtle lift, length and volume to enhance your eyes. They’re so quick and easy to apply that you can even wear them daily – even if you are completely cack-handed like us! Lola’s Lashes Rose Quartz Magnetic Lashes cost £20 and are available from lolaslashes.co.uk.

Dr Paw Paw Tinted True Coral Balm 

Remember when Dr Paw Paw first entered our lives and we went absolutely mad for it? Well, they’re making waves again – this time with their Tinted True Coral Balm. The perfect summer do-it-all. This small but mighty baby can be used to as a lip balm, lip tint, cheek tint, highlighter and eyeshadow. Full of pawpaw (papaya) fruit, aloe vera and olive oil, it’s suitable for all skin types and skin tones including sensitive skin, and subtle peach pink colour. It hydrates and nourishes and is the perfect way to either enhance your natural lip colour or build a bolder look. It’s become our summer go-to and there isn’t a day we haven’t been using this little multi-purpose hero balm. Dr Paw Paw Tinted True Coral Balm costs £6 and is available to buy from Waitrose, Marks & Spencer from 4th August and www.drpawpaw.com.


skinChemists Youth Series & Hada Labo Tokyo Face Sun Creams

You know one thing that drives us mad in the summer months? Having to apply a sun cream over our moisturiser because our current one either doesn’t include an SPF or has one but it isn’t high enough. But hurrah that’s a thing of the past now thanks to two products we’ve recently discovered.

The first is skinChemists Youth Series Wrinkle Killer, an SPF 50 Sun Protection Day Cream that goes beyond being a typical moisturiser with added SPF 50 (also available with SPF 30). The new range offers intense hydration, as well as protection from the sun, helping you beat wrinkles and enjoy summertime. Years in the making, skinChemist’s SPFs are unscented and won’t leave white residue, making it perfect for all skin tones and no weird white face afterwards!

The second is Hada Labo’s Face Sun Cream, a water-resistant moisturising sunscreen lotion SPF50 specifically for the face. We love how light this lotion is – it’s non-greasy, quickly-absorbed and has a dry-touch consistency that can be used even on wet skin. Youth Series Wrinkle Killer, SPF 50 and SPF 30 Sun Protection Day Cream RRP £34.99 is available at  www.skinchemists.com or www.feelunique.com ; Hada Labo Tokyo Face Sun Cream SPF50 now £11.29 at Superdrug.

Eating and drinking…

Good4U Salad Topper

Summer is all about salads, but what if we told you there was away to elevate your salads to seriously satisfying levels? We recently discovered the Good4U Salad Topper range and are firm Tried and Tested fans. Their range of salad toppers are not only designed to power up the nutritional value of your salad, but they also level it up both in terms of flavour and texture. With Garlic & Chilli, Super Seeds, Garlic & Herb and Caesar Crumbles, there’s pretty much not a day that goes by where we don’t use these on our meals. And yes, they can be used on so much more than just salads too! Good4U Salad Toppers cost £2 for a packet and are available from leading supermarkets and direct via their online store.

Tried and Tested

OHMG Magnesium Water

Looking for that perfect summer drink to take the edge off? No we don’t mean a G&T. We’re talking about OHMG Magnesiums Water! OHMG Magnesium Water is a delicious range of still and sparkling water infused with Magnesium, fruit extracts and botanicals. 100% natural, containing no sugars, no sweeteners and no calories. Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral and an essential nutrient responsible for more than 300+ functions inside our body. Studies have shown that up to 75% of us are depleted in Magnesium. Meanwhile, every can of OHMG Magnesium Water contains 56mg. So guess what we have been reaching for some Tried and Tested relaxation canned daily….A 12 can variety pack of OHMG Magnesium Water costs £23.99 and is available from ohmgwater.com.

Tried and Tested

Sheese Cheese Alternative

Our experience of cheese alternatives has so far left us yearning for the real stuff. That is until we locked our chops around Sheese’s dairy free cheeses! Somehow they have absolutely nailed it in terms of taste and texture – so it’s no wonder they are award-winning. But what we love about these guys is that they go so much beyond the traditional cheese slice or grated packs. While these are great, for us the real stars of the show are their Blue Cheese and Wenselydale editions which are just so ridiculously moreish. We are not sure how they achieved such wizadry with a base of coconut oil but at this point in time we don’t even care! If you are looking to cut back on or replace dairy in your diet then it’s Sheese for the win. Sheese is available at all good supermarkets. Prices typically start at £2.50 for a pack. Check out their range here.

Nick’s Bars

We all love a good snack, but we also know that finding snacks that are healthy, yummy and won’t leave you feeling hateful thereafter are hard to come by. That is unless you know about Nick’s who have quite simply made snacking better. Their range of chocolate bars are sugar free, gluten free, palm oil free and pretty much guilt free. We countdown the hours to our 3pm rendez-vous with our stash of Nick’s Bars and currently crushing on their Peanuts N Fudge Bar and protein bar range big time. Currently with 20% off site wide check out the Nick’s range. here.

Eat Well for Less: Happy & Healthy

Food is getting expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip on eating well. Despite the ever-increased basket pricing of our weekly shops, there is still a way to eat well on a budget. Including simple, common sense advice which many have come to expect from the BBC Series Eat Well For Less this book is packed full of light lunches, simple suppers and weekend nosh that are quick, easy and won’t break the bank. It has helped us revisit some old classics over at Tried and Tested but also try out new spins and takes also with ingredients we already have knocking around in our fridge or kitchen. Perfect for knocking up something without having to spend money on extra ingredients you will only use once which is the problem with so many other recipes we find! Eat Well for Less: Happy & Healthy is currently available from Amazon for £8 (RRP £14.99)

Tried and Tested

Aktar at Home

Let’s face it – eating out has become astronomically expensive and takeaways are not exactly cheap these days. That said, we love a good curry and have found the perfect solution from Aktar At Home, freezable curry boxes by Aktar Islam, Michelin star chef which makes for a generous and delicious feast. All Meals are freezable so you can have your fill one day and more another, and another after that. A Mixed Box includes a whole variety of mouth-watering curries including two chicken, one mutton, one vegetarian/vegan, and an abundance of pilau rice and the most epic naans we’ve ever seen! We loved every mouthful and will be coming back for more. A Mixed Box Deal costs £70 and is available from aktarathome.co.uk.

VAHDAM® Tumeric Teas

The health benefits of tumeric tea are seemingly endless, which is why we are big Tried and Tested fans. But then add in the mix a climate and plastic-neutral element and premium-quality Indian turmeric with superfoods like Ginger, Ashwagandha, Moringa, and an array of spices which are 100% natural, pure and caffeine free that you get with VAHDAM and now you’re really talking. Stemming from Ayurveda, turmeric has been known for its powerful healing properties for over 5,000 years. From being a fix for seasonal colds to healing wounds, providing anti-inflammatory benefits and boosting immunity, turmeric has a myriad of health-promoting benefits. We are especially in love with VAHDAM’s Ashwagandha Herbal Tea Bags – which includes the ancient herb renowned for helping the body manage stress, perfect for unwinding with before sleep and their Tumeric Spiced Tea Bags which are like a hug in a mug. The full range of VAHDAM Teas is available at hollandandbarrett.com, Amazon and other online retailers from £4.99.

Tried and Tested

Supplementing with…

Heaven Collagen Drops

We wouldn’t be a day without collagen supplementation which in our view is an absolute must when you hit your 40s. Cue Heaven Collagen Drops, so intensely concentrated that you only need to add a few drops to your morning glass of water. Super easy to use, you can either ingest them or also mix in with your daily creams for healthy glowing skin as well as lustrous shiny hair. Founder of Heaven Skincare Deborah Mitchell has been creating and testing these potent skincare supplements since 2013 as part of her Inner Beauty collection. Thanks to a clever blend of high levels of marine collagen, glucosamine, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and Biotin they leave you looking – and feeling – Tried and Tested fabulous! A two week supply of Heaven Collagen Drops costs £27.50 and is available to purchase from Heaven Skincare.

My Best Pharm supplements

Not all supplements are created equal – something we know only too well from first hand experience. But recently we discovered My Best Pharm – the result of a cooperation of doctors, pharmacists and dieticians for a more 360 degree approach to supplementation. Their products have an innovative, modern composition, combining the latest, advanced production technologies with many years of tradition and experience in the use of substances of natural origin using clinically proven, patent-protected ingredients from all over the world back up by strong medical evidence – unlike so many other ranges on the market! We have in particular really enjoyed their MyBestComplement supplement (£32.90) which is a powerful blend of 13 valuable ingredients including oils, plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects to help bolster immunity, support brain function, achieve healthier looking skin as well as supporting the heart and circulatory system, liver and digestive function and improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The perfect Tried and Tested do-it-all! Find out more about My Best Pharm’s range of supplements at mybestpharm.uk.

Do Not Age supplements

We all want to live longer, feel more youthful, healthy and energised as we age but how do we go about doing that? Do Not Age is on a mission to extend healthy lifespan for as many people as possible through their range of supplements. Using the latest information from leading longevity researchers they develop both products and advice, then distribute them to all that want to live healthier for longer. Our Tried and Tested readers may not have heard of a lot of the names of the products developed by their research team, but having tried and tested some of them including NMN which helps to fight inflammation associated with aging and SIRT6 Activator® which promotes DNA repair and supports genomic stability we were hugely impressed by how quickly you feel your best self from taking them – the increased energy levels are palpable that we are pretty much betting on Do Not Age to secure our newfound longevity. Find out more about the Do Not Age range of supplements at donotage.org.

Exercising with….

Clubbercise Classes

Exercise is an important form of self-care for us over at Tried and Tested, as is doing what you love! If like us you are missing your former dance floor glory days then this one’s for the raver lurking deep inside of you. Clubbercise is fitness meets clubbing where you’ll burn 600+ cals in ONE sweaty, euphoria-inducing Tried and Tested hour. It’s no wonder that Clubbercise is making waves in the fitness community, combining full body workouts with banging soundtracks had us bouncing around with our hands in the air complete with glow sticks. to become all the rage amongst fitness fans and ravers across the world. Combining toning, plyometric and combat moves that are easy-to-follow with high or low-impact options for all fitness levels we were in sweaty fitness heaven thanks to the soundtrack of club anthems including our favourite 90′s classics. Clubbercise offer over 2,000 classes worldwide with options for kids, teens, and families starting at £5 per session. Find your nearest Clubbercise class here.

Tried and Tested

Let us know which of these Tried and Tested items you’d love to try too in a comment below!

Cover Image by rawpixel.com

8 key benefits of running to get you motivated

Running is something that’s easy to pick up but not always as easy to turn into a habit; even avid runners sometimes aren’t in the mood for it. Something we know to be very true from our own personal experience as big running fans! So, what should you remember about running to motivate you to keep moving forwards? Here are some key benefits of running to keep in mind to get you up, out and running….

8 key benefits of running

There’s a low entry barrier to becoming a runner 

In an article for Bustle, Rachel Tavel, a former college runner, advises: “Don’t sit around waiting for the moment when you feel like going for a run, because that moment may never come.” The trick, she insists, is to simply go running even when you feel drawn towards staying at home instead.

You can even easily run at home 

You could, for example, buy one of the folding treadmills available for purchase online. These treadmills are available as manual or motorised models — and sourcing one would enable you to fold it away during periods off minimal use to save on floor space. 

Running is good for your heart 

“Research has found that running on a regular basis can decrease the risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease by up to 30%,” RunBuddy head coach Ben Parker recently told Marie Claire.

Running has been credited with helping to not only reduce the risk of heart and circulatory diseases but also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

benefits of running

Running bodes well for mental health, too 

“Running outside, in particular, can help with reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness” associated with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, says Parker.

This is another incentive to force yourself to run when you don’t fancy it. The mere act of running could make you inclined to continue with it!

Running can be a surprising source of companionship 

“The running community is packed full of supportive, like-minded individuals who all share a common goal: to enjoy running,” says Parker.

Indeed, there are various avenues through which running could help you to meet new people — from competitors at marathons to an entire Strava community there to provide support and advice. 

You can run for charitable fundraising purposes 

Many running races are held to raise money for charities, some of which even offer race training as a ‘thank you’ for fundraising.

As Verywell Fit explains: “Running for something bigger than yourself is a great way to stay motivated to keep training and make your races even more meaningful and fulfilling.” 

benefits of running

You can set specific goals 

If the prospect of exercising simply for the sake of exercising isn’t enough motivation for you, it could be a very different matter when it comes to the idea of setting new goals for you to chase.

Naturally, it would be sensible for you to keep your goals relatively modest if you are a novice runner — but, once you feel ready, you could start contemplating signing up for a 5K, 10k or half marathon.

Running can improve your self-esteem 

Imagine the confidence boost you could get from finally accomplishing a particular running-based goal you had previously set for yourself. Not only will the self-esteem boost aid your mental wellbeing, but could also have positive implications for other aspects of your life, like your career and relationships.

We hope these eight benefits of running have inspired you to get on your running shoes and go for a run. If you have any other running motivation to share why not leave it in a comment below!

Images by rawpixel.com

The importance of strength training in your 40s

You know it, and I know it. Once we hit our 40s, we just can’t be as carefree about our physical health, can we? Case in point – did you know – did you know that you can lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade in muscle mass once you hit 30. And now that we’re 40….well you can do the maths! Thankfully strength training in your 40s can be your best friend here. So why aren’t more of us doing it during this period of ageing?

The problem is, when we think of strength training, thanks to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and co., we can feel a little intimidated by the concept of strength training. But given the above statistics, it’s time to kick those stereotypes to the curb and get with the programme. Because strength training in your 40s has never been so important.

But why? And how? Fret not friends, I had a little chat with former Olympian Greg Whyte OBE and Her Spirit app (your friendly coach in a pocket) and their Coach2Kilos challenge to give us the low down on everything you need to know about strength training in your 40s.

You can’t stop ageing, but you can slow it

Once you hit 40, you start becoming startlingly aware of the ageing process. But here’s the good news, strength training can actually help slow the ageing process. So how does this work?

According to Whyte, ‘One of the problems with aging is that we lose muscle mass. That is particularly facilitated by the menopause but can actually happen in both men and women. Women, in particular, have this changing hormonal environment, which leads to a reduction in muscle mass with ageing. To some extent, while there is an aesthetic element to that, it’s actually more around the functionality of strength that we lose with that loss of muscle mass. Ultimately, we lose power, and with that what we call our health-related quality of life and eventually the ability to perform activities of daily living, so things like carrying the shopping, doing the gardening, walking upstairs picking up grandchildren or children just become that little bit more difficult.’

You might be thinking this doesn’t apply to you right now, but like with anything in life, what you put in now – in your 40s – is going to feed into your golden years. So if you don’t want things to feel more difficult and less enjoyable as the years continue to roll on, essentially – now is the time to act.

Of course, there is also a vanity element here. Simply put, ‘we can use muscle to change body shape, and make us look better. And so because we look better, we feel better. It’s all of that it’s all runs into improving quality of life.’

The importance of strength training in your 40s

Newbie to strength training? Fret not!

You may be thinking you’ve never done one iota of strength training in your life. Well, strike that! Because we all have, even if it’s unknowingly. According to Whyte it’s just that we need to start viewing strength training differently.

‘It’s all about changing that image of what we believe strength training is. If you’re over 40, you’ll probably remember images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gold’s Gym, Muscle Beach.

I think many of us have this image that strength training is about being a bodybuilder. Well, of course, actually, we do strength training on a daily basis. When we start out from a seated position when we stand up, that takes strength. When we walk upstairs, it takes strength. So all of those activities of daily living actually require strength.

The first thing to always think about is don’t just change your image of what strength actually is, and what strength training looks like. Strength training, in its very simplest form, is anything that resists motion, anything that increases the resistance to motion. So for example, instead of walking on the flat, if you walk up a hill, that could be deemed as being strength training, because there’s a resistance to move.

So it’s about just changing what you see as strength training. Remember that strength is very much part of everyday life. But then, much like it is when you want to improve your aerobic fitness – that we should walk more, and we should be more active – it’s exactly the same with strength, in that if we want to improve our strength, what we have to do is we have to dedicate some time to improving that strength.

Thinking about The World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity for health – which is the same as the Chief Medical Officer’s for the UK – we often talk about this 30 minutes of physical or aerobic activity on most days of the week, so that is at least 150 minutes a week. The advice also includes two dedicated strength sessions a week. So it really is about just making time in your weekly activities to do some dedicated specific strength work.

Putting strength training into practice

So now we all know that we should be doing (at least) two strength training sessions a week, how do we put that into practice? As someone who loves a bit of strength work, I know that it is surprisingly easier and more enjoyable than you might think and Whyte backs me up here:

‘Strength training can be literally anything. The Couch2Kilos challenge, for Her Spirit is just a great example of that. You can strength train at home, on your own in your front room. You don’t need expensive equipment, and you don’t have to wear spandex. There are lots of ways in which we can integrate strength exercise into our weekly activities, without actually really going out of our way.

Going to a gym and diving into the strength area can be quite intimidating. So getting that experience and confidence before you take that step is really very important and the Coach2Kilos program is a great place to start. If you’ve never done it before, or it’s been a long time since your last you can modify the exercises and then build progression based upon your experience and what your own personal strength is. The wonderful thing about training is that it’s very easy to track your progress. So it’s actually quite motivating and you can see things like change in posture, how you carry yourself, and therefore the aesthetic change also quite quickly.

The importance of strength training in your 40s


Getting started with strength training

So we’ve sold the idea of strength training to you, but nobody wants to get an injury so what are the do’s and don’t? Whyte says:


‘What’s always important with exercise in general, is making sure that you start at a level, which is commensurate with your own ability. Don’t start off too hard and more importantly, progress slowly because there is a risk to exercise, generally. So what you want to do is avoid injury or in particular, avoid excessive muscle damage. I guess the underlying message here is that it should be enjoyable. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to stick to it. Progression is probably the most important thing in strength training and that you progress slowly so that you are always working within yourself, but also increasing enjoyment, which will help keep you motivated.’

Finding the joy

Personally I LOVE strength training and get a real kick out ot it. I have personally been taking part in the Coach2Kilos challenge with coach Elle Linton (watch out on our Instagram for more on that!) to try and progress my own ability and it just feels so good when you’re doing it. But why is that and what is going on in your body to make it feel that good? According to Whyte there are two factors at play here:


‘Strength training is incredibly social. It can be high intensity, but a very short duration which means you can be social, and chat, while you’re doing strength training especially during the recovery periods between the exercises, which gives you an opportunity to interact with other people.

The second factor at play is much like any sort of aerobic exercise, strength training elicits the same physiological response inside the body. So what we do is we release happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine which improve mood. They make us feel happier, reduce lethargy and increase vigor. We feel happier and more alive. What you get from strength training is the best of all worlds.’

Time for a snack?

No sorry, I’m not talking about your favourite cookie here! One of the beautiful things about strength training is that you can fit in pretty much anytime, anywhere. In fact, I often do my strength training while I’m cooking dinner or while someone else is cooking dinner, which Whyte also advocates:

‘You can dissect strength exercise down into very small packages and actually snack on the strength training. So it’s something you can just fit in, when you’ve got the time. For example, while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, you can be doing squats. While you’re brushing your teeth, you can do heel raises. Whilst it’s the adverts in a TV break, you can do some press-ups. There is no necessity to do it all at once you can actually spread it across the day.

Fear of bulking up

Maybe you’ve been giving strength training a wide birth due to a fear of bulking up. Well good news because this irrational fear is based on fallacy as I can vouch for as someone that strength trains and is pretty much a bean pole! So why do so many of us have a fear that we’ll end up looking like Arnie? And what really happens instead. Whyte explains:

‘This is an absolute misnomer. It’s a sort of a dogma that resides around strength training which is that as soon as I lift a weight, I’m going to get massive. You would have to you have to train incredibly hard, with very big ways to get what we call hypertrophy, increasing muscle size. The likelihood of becoming large in terms of muscle with strength training is incredibly low.

In addition, when we do it competently, we do it at the same time as aerobic training. So, for example, going for a walk and doing strength after the walk or in whichever order. What that does is dampen the hypertrophy response. So, just by using a mixed method type of exercise, we limit the increase in the size of muscle. The bottom line is that by lifting weights, you are not going to get massive.’

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to future proof yourself and start strength training app. Whether you are a total newbie or looking to just do that little bit more, the Coach2kilos challenge is a great place to start.

Coach2Kilos is currently available to premium members of Her Spirit app at just £4.99 monthly, first 14 days free. Download and sign up here.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio, Photo by Andres AyrtonMART PRODUCTION from Pexels

Fitness after 40 and motivational activewear

I’m very much a work in progress when it comes to getting fitter in my 40s! I know how important it is to put the work in now. Because if I do, surely my 50s will be less painful? Who knows. But what I do know is this: When I exercise, I feel happier. I love running but have noticed my knees are starting to creak. I talked to Nick Swettenham, a personal trainer since 2014. He has helped hundreds of clients reach their fitness goals, through one on one coaching as well as group fitness classes. I asked him to offer his top tips for fitness after 40.

5 Tips for fitness after 40

Tip 1: Strength training

At any age, strength training should be one of your top priorities for total fitness after 40, but it’s also vital in the fight to shed body fat. You’ll find it’s one of the best ways to burn calories both during and after your workouts. With consistent training you will gain some muscle – as muscle is heavier than fat, you might notice that there is no change on the scales. To get around this, focus more on circumference measurements and body composition (i.e. fat vs. muscle mass) rather than just emphasising your overall weight, which will give you a better overall picture of your body’s changes. Always do your measurements at the same time of the day, preferably in the morning before you eat. If your body fat starts to drop and muscle mass increases consistently, that’s a good sign you’re on the right track.

Tip 2: Hydrate

Hydration is everything. It helps brain function to keep you focused on your training as well as everyday tasks. Being dehydrated by as little as just 2% can significantly impact exercise performance. Plus, when you are well hydrated you are more flexible which will also help exercise performance and avoid injuries . Drink up to a pint of water as soon as you wake up. If you drink a small glass of water before meals it will also make you feel fuller quicker so you don’t need to eat as much.

Tip 3: Move

Up your movement. If you do 45-60 minutes exercise a day but then spend the rest sitting at a desk, car or sofa, you simply haven’t moved enough. Going for an extra run – or even just a walk – can make all the difference. Try and get up a few times a day to walk around briefly and do some quick mobility exercises like leg swings, trunk rotation or cat-cows. The key is to move at every opportunity you have.

fitness after 40

Tip 4: Control

Portion control and mindful eating is essential for fitness after 40. When you eat, turn the TV off. Really take the time to sit with your meal at the table and actually think about each bite. Take the time to enjoy your food properly and not rush through it. I know this isn’t always possible but try to do this for at least one meal a day without excuses!  Buying smaller plates is also a neat psychological trick to make your brain into thinking you have more food than you do. Finally, if you’re making bulk meals for lunches the next day, portion them up before you eat so you cannot go back for seconds.

Tip 5: Fuel

You should still keep track of your calorie intake but do not deprive yourself of vital nutrients. Don’t think of it as “how little can I eat?” but “what’s the best thing I can eat?”, particularly if you exercise regularly. A good example are carbohydrates. Remember, carbohydrates are not the enemy but it’s the right carbs that matter (and of course how much of them). Try to avoid those that are high on the Glycaemic Index. These will raise and lower your blood sugar quickly so you will more likely feel tired through the day. Eating lower GI carbs cause your blood sugar to rise and fall slowly which will keep you fuller for longer and help control your appetite. Get to know the Glycaemic Index so you know what to cut down on. Replacing certain foods with healthier alternatives is also a great way to help not only in keeping your nutrients high, but also in losing weight.

Bonus tip: Obvious but very important!

Alcohol. All I need to say on this is that alcohol contains 7 calories per gram but with zero nutritional value. And when you drink you are more likely to make poor food choices .

Motivational Activewear Reviews

During lockdown, hubby and I had a fantastic fitness regime and we were probably the fittest we’d ever been. During the day from 12-5, we set an alarm every hour and for one minute had to perform a HIIT workout. It was really fun and the kids loved it too. As things started going back to ‘normal’ our enthusiasm wained and we stopped. We had a fantastic summer and I started feeling really blue. I really do rely on those endorphins to get me through. I knew I needed to do something and after reading Nick’s book, I decided to take action. I’ve joined an online community for accountability and every morning at 6am, we log onto zoom and workout together. It is fantastic. The one thing I noticed was seeing other people’s activewear and how motivating it was to look fabulous. So I decided to get reviewing some cool brands and here’s what I found.

Lucy Locket Loves

Their mantra is; Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Strong. Just looking at their website makes me happy and entices me to get into the gear and get busy. This bright, funky range had my 6am ladies cooing with envy. The material is so soft and stroke-able. It stayed in place throughout my workouts and it genuinely made me feel happy and fun. At that time of the morning you need all the motivation you can get! These threads will 100% boost your mood and make you feel fantastic. I particularly love the leopard print ranges as that’s my jam, but there is literally something for everyone. Take a look and get their Christmas prints ordered before they all sell out!

Crop Tops £17, Rainbow Casual Leggings £16, Wild Spots Active Leggings £33 From Lucy Locket Loves

Badass Mother Runners

I can’t stand boring black running leggings so when I heard from Bev, who set up this company three years ago, my prayers had been answered. Feeling fabulous in running gear is not something I’ve experienced…. until now. Such funky colours and patterns to choose from. The fit is perfect and it absolutely gave me that extra pep as I ran. The top kept me warm while keeping the sweat (I mean glow obvs) at bay and the little thumb loops are an added bonus. I particularly loved the running buff. Mainly because I didn’t know what a running buff was so I was delighted to discover it was a really cool headband that kept my wispy, thinning locks out of my peepers! I am now a bonafide, Badass Mother Runner!

fitness after 40
Hoody £32.50, Leggings £29.95 From Badass Mother Runners

Tentree in Motion

Tentree in Motion is sustainable activewear which plants 10 trees for every item bought…seemingly a poignant choice in light of Cop26. Made from recycled polyester using discarded plastic bottles and Tencel which is a wood pulp fibre. There is a four way stretch for easy movement. I put it to the test that’s for sure. Not sure my boys knew what on earth their mummy was up to mind! This set is beautiful. I felt like a chic ballerina and it totally enhanced my workout. I wanted to keep my posture and stand tall. The fabric certainly does not feel like recycled plastic and just knowing that it is, and the ethics of the company, I enjoyed my workout that little bit more.

In Motion Longline Active Bra £40, In Motion 7/8 Legging in Grey £50 From Tentree

GiJ Fitness Apparel

With the shop recently launched on Facebook, I got to review this fantastic brand and new small business, GiJ Fitness Apparel. I literally felt ready for action when I donned my Dark Camo Set. I felt strong, sturdy and quite frankly sexy as it gave me a cleavage I haven’t seen since 1999! GiJ are passionate about activewear and have created a brand that is fit for purpose. Squat with pride, jump for joy and you will feel strong. I just LOVED the GiJ Original Cap. It’s awesome. So many prints and colours to choose from, you’ll be bootcamp ready before Christmas.

Forest Green & Vivid Red Set £60 From GiJ Fitness Apparel

Fairlie Curved

Stretchy and seamless, this is the perfect work out top for the fuller busted girl. With thick straps and a wider racer back, you can hit your workout routine in confidence knowing that your favourite sports bra is well hidden. The silhouette-shaping style comes in a tubular knit fabric to give you maximum flexibility, performance and comfort. In the same fabric as the vest, these leggings are the stylish but comfortable way to do your workout. The silhouette-shaping style will give you flexibility whether you are running, jogging at the gym or doing a fitness class. Now I am FAR from the fuller busted girl but I felt so supported in this set I didn’t even wear a bra underneath. Quite the juxtaposition yet this brand clearly got it right.

Seamless Ombre Workout Vest £24.99, Seamless Ombre Workout Legging £29.99 From Fairlie Curved

Peachylean

This brand’s message is to empower all women to redefine what being healthy and fit means for them, both physically and emotionally. Their soft-as-butter leggings are high waisted and made with high compression to ensure you feel snug from waist down to hem. Double lined at the bum and tummy to ensure they are squat proof and engineered to support any wobbles! The bralets are double layered with double adjustable shoulder straps, ensuring that you are supported and ready for action. Peachylean teamed up with a partner to work on sustainable, eco-friendly scent to eradicate odours in clothes and that are sensitive to women’s needs. This nano tech – Mica Nanotech Ltd – are disrupting the textile market by providing innovative finishing techniques with high durability and environmental sustainability on performance textiles. You all know I love a bit of animal print. My absolute favourite thing about these leggings is the heart your bum makes when you put your legs together!

Leggings £65, Bralet £34.99 From Peachylean

Dagsmejan

Sleep is proven to play a major role in athletic performance. Dagsmejan and its revolutionary new Recovery Sleepwear line will apparently help you become a better sportsman overnight. They use a breakthrough fabric technology that is scientifically proven to help muscles recover faster & to perform better. I was day eight into my workout program and at the stage where I felt like I’d been kicked in the kidneys when I tried these out. What I liked about this range was all it require me to do was to sleep and I’m actually really good at that. (really not looking forward to those bastard night sweats!). These are honestly the most comfortable sleepwear. I know what’s on my Christmas list this year!

The Dagsmejan recovery line includes t-shirts and shorts for both men & women with sizes ranging from S – 2XL.

fitness after 40
Sleep T-Shirt £73.99, Sleep Shorts £73.99 From Dagsmejan

Modibodi

I was super intrigued to try period pants and was thrilled to trial a pair during my workout. There’s nothing more annoying than a turtle heading tampon or a sliding pad that leaves trails of blood at the sides of your knickers. In full flow, I donned the classic full brief which claims to be pee and period proof. I was concerned about feeling like I was wearing a giant nappy but these thoughts were immediately expunged and I was pleasantly surprised. I felt supported, safe and really comfy. Although nervous for the ‘flood,’ I finished the workout feeling clean, fresh and comfortable. I shower straight after my workout so I rinsed them as directed. At this point, I did feel like a suspect at a crime scene but I knew how much happier the planet would be without all that extra plastic floating around so it was 100% worth it and I would totally recommend giving these a try.

Modibodi®, is modern, protective apparel created to give all bodies more confidence and comfort, and a more sustainable solution to disposable hygiene. Prices ranging from £15.50 to £25 for underwear collections and the swimwear starting at £72.

fitness after 40
Classic Full Brief £25 From Modibodi

I fully concur that there is such a thing as motivational activewear and I’m loving hearing my tribe on the morning zoom coo over all my latest fashions. Who would have thunk such a thing was so exciting! What is your go to fitness attire? What can you see yourself wearing from all the above? Let us know by leaving a comment below or connecting with us on Instagram.

This article includes PR samples

Trying to be fit and healthy?

Yeah… me too and it’s hard and it’s boring and I’m often so overwhelmed with information I don’t always know which way to turn.

But in my 40s, I know that if I nail it now, the ride thorough the next decade will be smoother and I know I will reap the benefits physically, mentally and hormonally so I’m trying to be fit and healthy. 

Know your BMI

The body mass index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.

According to the NHS, an ideal BMI for most adults is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.

I’m 5’6 and I currently weight 9 stone and 10 pounds. This puts my BMI at 21.8, right bang smack in the healthy weight range. Hurrah I hear you cry. But actually I feel bloated, uncomfortable and I have zero motivation to exercise. At this rate I will NEVER lose those extra 5lbs I’ve been trying to lose for 10 years. Aren’t we all? 

I’m very much an all or nothing kinda gal. This is useful when it comes to trying to be fit and healthy because when I go for it, I go hard and I get results fast. But then there’s always a road block. The latest was my covid jab. It floored me for a couple of days and I got out of the routine of exercising. For 2 weeks I just couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. Accompany that with a few birthdays and over indulging and here I am. Again. Feeling really crap, spotty, bloated and dehydrated. Time to get sorted. Again. 

I love the cake

I LOVE food and I never really stop thinking about it. Often I think about what I’m going to eat while I’m eating and I’m constantly looking at food porn. You’ll often find me flicking through and drooling over the BBC Food magazine. When I’m good I’m really really good. But when I’m bad, I’m a naughty little piggy. The hardest time of the day for me is around 4pm. I may have made incredibly healthy choices up until this point then it all goes to shit. I turn into the demon snack searcher. We can’t have junk food in the house because I can’t be trusted with it. I’ve been know to snaffle cooks chocolate drops from the bottom of the baking box in a desperate to get a hit of the choc.

Setting boundaries 

I have an addictive personality. It’s interesting when it comes to food because if there’s something I like, I become quite compulsive about it. This type of behaviour might go on for a few months until I move on to the next ‘thing.’ Because of this, years ago I set myself some very important boundaries. I will only eat 1 of something in 1 day. Sounds bonkers huh? It probably is but it works for me because I love crisps and if I didn’t have healthy boundaries, I would consume at least 3 packets a day. If I have a bar of chocolate, I’ll only have 1. See where I’m going with this? It works really well for me. How do you manage your diet when you’re trying to be fit and healthy? 

Benefits of exercise to keep fit and healthy

So this week I’m back to it. Exercising has huge mental health benefits for me. After a run or a skipping session, I can literally feel the endorphins pumping through my body and it makes me feel happier, motivated and alive. I run 3k. 3 times a week. I’m aware that my knees are JUST starting to feel the strain so I’m keeping my runs shorter and concentrating on running the route faster. It’s so important to find an exercise you enjoy because if you want to feel healthier and happier, there is no easy quick fix. I build exercise into my daily routine. I run as soon as I’m awake at 6.30am then it’s out of the way for the day and it gives me that extra spring in my step. I’ll add other various cardio and strength exercises throughout the week but get bored easily so I’m always mixing it up.

In my 40s, I want to spend some time exploring foods that will support my transition into the next stage. (I can’t even bear to say it the M word) 

Trigger foods

We all know that sugary foods are bad for us but they taste SO good and only last night I was polishing off half a tub of Ben and Jerrys. Sugar is a real trigger for me so I’m mindful of it. When I do have something really sugary, I really really enjoy it then drink a shit load of water in a lame attempt to apologise to my body.

Over the years I’ve tried many lotions and potions to help with various skin complaints like eczema and psoriasis. 2 years ago I experimented by cutting out milk. I’d love to say dairy but I cannot give up cheese yet. A life without cheese is no life for me right now. So I switched to oat milk and while I couldn’t really tell the difference while I was on it…I went back to dairy milk after 3 months and I felt it straight away. My sinuses were instantly blocked, I felt clogged and my skin broke out. So I have oat milk and it’s lovely. I know I’m on the right path. But I will take it slow. In the daytime I only drink water. I try to drink enough so that my wee is clear but it feels like a consorted effort. It’s worth it though. When I drink enough water, I generally feel so much better.

What’s the deal with inflammation?

Inflammation can cause so many problems so I wanted to look at a food plan that included lots of food that targeted inflammation. Turns out, it’s super important. 

Karen Preece Smith, DipION, mBANT, CNHC, IFM  is a Registered Nutritional Therapist from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and www.alturum.co.uk. She states: ‘In general, inflammatory foods can be used to protect the body against free radical damage, As free radicals and endotoxins (environmental toxins) may accumulate with age, it is especially important for women (and men) over the age of 40 years to include anti-inflammatory foods in their diet. These foods include, but are not limited to; turmeric, blueberries, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli. These natural foods all contain flavonoids and polyphenols which have been researched for their anti-inflammatory properties.’

In an attempt to feel better, I had dark rye crackers with mashed avocado, tinned sardines and a handful of cherry tomatoes. 

I asked Karen if my lunch today was a good choice. She said, ‘This lunch has a great balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and phytonutrients in the vegetables.’ She said she would add a drink of Green tea or a turmeric latte with oat/ coconut milk and a dessert of blueberries in kefir. 

Well that sounds rather bloody lovely so perhaps this getting old and eating healthy malarky isn’t going to be so bad after all? 

Are you trying to be fit and healthy in your 40s?