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.

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?