Who in their right mind would start weight training at 65??
Uh, that would be me, intrepid, obsessive exerciser that I am. A little free weight work has always been part of my regimen. And I have dabbled in resistance machines. But barbells? Never. Until I discovered Body Pump class at my gym. Research tells us that weight training has many benefits. A slowing metabolism is the bane of a post menopausal woman’s existence, causing weight gain even as we maintain our caloric intake and output. Building muscle through strength training increases lean muscle mass, which sparks your metabolism, burning more calories and fat while strengthening bones. Personally, I would far rather incorporate weight training into my routine to goose my lethargic metabolism than decrease my enjoyment of food and drink any further.
Enter Deb Cowley, Body Pump Trainer and at 52, an amazing physical specimen. Probably zero body fat. Her mantra is “If there is something you can do to positively affect your health and the condition of your body, why wouldn’t you do it?” Hard to argue with her logic. She started to do Body Pump 20 years ago, 3 to 5 times a week, despite moving to different countries. While in Dubai, she trained as an instructor and at 46, finally achieved a lifetime goal of a career in fitness.
According to Deb, Body Pump “offers a super fast way to get in shape and stay fit for life. The combination of weight resistance and cardio vascular training creates strong bodies with power and energy .” Long term, the benefits for all ages are a toned musculature that supports the skeletal system, improving posture and increasing bone density staying “stronger for longer.” And burning more calories! Once I saw Deb, I stopped worrying about building bulk. She is proof that weight training can make you lean and toned.
I like it because it is done to music, fast paced and works the entire body in 60 minutes with up to 800 reps per session. In one hour, I’m done and I feel energized and accomplished.
Deb recommends, for women after 50, to start weight training 2 to 3 times per week as part of a fitness regimen.
* Start with light weight for the first month to 6 weeks. Tailor to your strength and condition .
* Rest your muscles for at least a day following each session and alternate with other forms of exercise.
I admit, I am addicted to the benefits of daily exercise which include a large dose of stress reduction and a feeling of personal productivity. With Body Pump, the music and pace make it fun while working every major muscle group. And I’m liking the results. Having a fitness instructor over 50 is also motivational.
If Body Pump isn’t available in your area, talk to your local gym about what they offer in weight training classes or circuits.
After 25, women lose 1% of their muscle mass every year. That muscle mass is replaced by FAT. SO use those muscles, girlfriends, or lose ‘em!
Original artwork by Johanna Bohoy