The Fit Life – Gerda is Fit Over 40

“I started my fitness journey and one of the glaring reasons I did was the feeling of ‘un-sureness’ I had doing ordinary things. Feeling unsteady, vulnerable and timid about stairs, long walks, hikes. At age 50 I wasn’t ready to stop doing the things I liked. I made a change, took charge and never looked back.” Meet Gerda!

I’m Gerda Collins

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“At 53 years of age, I’ve come to the place in my life that intend to do things that really move and inspire me. Confidence has come to reside in my being.  I’ve been married 34 years and have 2 children, and 2 grandchildren. I feel very privileged to be called wife, mother, and grandmother.”

My Fitness Journey

“Proper health and fitness have ‘eluded’ me most of my life. Recently several family crises and my own declining health left me in a sorry state of stress and fatigue. On October 22, 2014, unwilling to resign to this as my life now, I embarked on a new lifestyle; not a fad program or diet, but I made a real and sustainable change by overhauling my brain and body.

I began by enlisting professional help. I hired a personal trainer who understand clients Over 40, and began a weight lifting program, cardio and “clean eating”.

The accountability of meeting with someone regularly has helped me greatly. I started out with a simple 15 minute walk twice daily and 2 sessions per week in the gym. Over time, I learned to work all the muscle groups, learned to ‘listen’ to my body and become aware of what my muscles were doing (and not doing)!

Each week my walk increased by 10 minutes and soon I was doing 1 hour a day and 3 gym sessions a week.  Now I work out on my own, 4 times a week in the gym: 1 hour lifting weights and 30 minutes of cardio (usually elliptical). I also do 45 minutes of cardio on my home treadmill twice a week. Currently I meet with my trainer 3 times a month because I need a push to stay motivated, make sure I’m on track and my form is correct to avoid injury.”

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Clean Eating

“Early on in my journey I began eating clean (very limited processed foods); protein, veggies and slow carbs (mainly sweet potato or brown rice).  By following a strict food plan I started to realize that even though I wasn’t a ‘binge’ eater, I had formed some very emotional attachments to food. When I didn’t have to think about what to eat  (I do meal preparations for one week at a time) I became free of those emotions… wow.. that was an eye opener!

“Food is fuel.. and I’m fueling a Maserati not a moped!”

I now plan my ‘cheat meals’ or ‘re-feeds’ very carefully. I don’t eat junk because I truly don’t want to.  I choose real and well-prepared foods. If I have a special event coming up I plan for it and allow myself that occasion to enjoy (within reason) what I want. 

One thing that was VERY hard to get through my head initially was not eating enough calories! I slowly began to understand that depriving myself was not helping my cause in any way.  “Fuel for the gains” is what I hear from fellow lifters. Now I know that when you exercise 6 days a week, you need plenty of fuel to feed growing muscles and muscles burn a lot of fat!”

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Fitness Friends

“I found great encouragement and ‘kinship’ online, the lifting-community is FULL of people eager to help. Both online and in person, #grandmaswholift are not as rare as one might think.

It’s been 11 months and I’m 45 pounds lighter and a lot stronger! I still have to lose 40 pounds, but I know I can do that. I just know it now! I’ve increased my energy and have confidence in my ability to accomplish any goal I set!

I really feel that if I can do this anyone can. (I mean 99.9%) In the past I’ve been the worst disciplined person and it’s true what they say, ‘You have to come to that place where you say enough! I REALLY want this.’ And then you find your inner strength…..

Just typing this makes me cry; I think ‘Why did it take me so long!?’ And yes, I’m doing this now and you can too. Stay the course!”

Get Fit Over 40

Thank you for sharing your story Gerda! (Instagram @gerdasgarden)

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I’m inspired every single day by women around the world, friends of GFO40. I have “down-days” when I think “I’m not making a difference” and then I recall the women I’ve witnessed experience this emotion… this elation… this aha moment….and it’s then I wish every single woman on earth knew how good they could feel if they just let themselves. Thank you so much again Gerda and my many supportive friends. We are Fit Over 40. Please join us, there are so many wonderful life experiences yet to be enjoyed- get strong for your future.

~karen

You Can’t Get There from Here

Bad knees? Bum shoulder? Weak back?

It’s nearly impossible to help someone if they won’t help themselves. If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, you’re inflexible, you can’t squat, or you can’t lift your arm, you need a physiotherapist before an exercise program. Harsh? Maybe…but in the long run you’ll thank me.

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You see, if you try to jump over a vast expanse chances are you won’t make it. So too, you can’t go from overweight and wracked with pain to lean, strong, and pain-free –you have to take steps in between.

Build A Bridge

Begin by shifting your focus (for the time being) into a mindset of health, ease of movement and vitality. (I know that sucks when you’re thinking lean and sexy but….) by correcting the acute condition, you’ll begin to feel better, more hopeful and confident. AND THEN YOU WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT. You’ll have the solid foundation necessary to undertake a realistic weight loss plan.  Really, it’s the only way to progress.

Start Where You Are

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“Pain management, physiotherapy, and a good flexibility program are a must in order to rehabilitate and move beyond painful physical conditions and achieve sustainable weight loss and good health.”

You want to lose weight yet an old and painful injury is stopping you in your tracks. You believe that if only you could dump the weight that injury would be tolerable, right? You think, “If I lost 20 (30, 50, 100) pounds; then I’ll feel good about myself, and then I’ll take better care of myself, and then my condition (painful shoulder, stiff hips, bad back) will heal. I’ll be happy and healthy if I lose the weight…..”

#1 It’s possible (sustainable weight loss) but not probable. In most cases the pain associated with a chronic condition saps your resolve to stick to a plan and limits your ability to perform proper exercise.

#2 Often it’s not even the original problem you’re dealing with now. (that’s why you need to see a professional) When you’re hurt and recovering from injury or surgery, your brain sends messages to protect the area (you use it less, and baby it more) and it grows weak with disuse. Ligaments and tendons shorten as movement is limited. The healing process itself causes scar tissue and that adds to the whole mess. You live in pain and pain holds you back.

It’s a vicious circle; you can’t move because you’re in pain and your pain continues because you can’t move. And it goes without saying; you’ll probably not reach your weight loss goals with so much physical chaos….ugh!

You Can’t Get There From Here

Action Eight participant Julie V. has been dealing with this nightmare existence for years. She’s not overweight but wants a healthy, active retirement and a strong body. She wants to ease her painful joints. She wants to minimize the symptoms of menopause, and she wants to keep her metabolism stoked to avoid inevitable age-related weight gain.

She wants to manage her aging but she has to begin where she is now, and that’s in constant pain.

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“Julie knew that she had to keep moving but tightness in her joints, chronic pain and resulting muscle imbalances kept her from full range exercise form. After physio she’s limber enough to squat deeper and do more in the gym than ever before.”

Julie began experiencing excruciating pain in her hips more than 6 years ago. She couldn’t do her job and went on modified duties. She was diagnosed with torn tissues and bone spurs (most likely caused from years of wear and tear from sports combined with heredity). After surgery to scrape the spurs and repair the tears, she was left with limited range of motion, still in chronic pain, experiencing sleepless nights and had little hope of breaking the cycle.

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“Today. Finishing a workout with a stretch in a lengthened supine pose. This position used to cause so much discomfort that she couldn’t sleep well at all. With therapeutic manipulation, daily stretching and a good weight-bearing exercise program things are beginning to change for the better!”

As the joints heal, new issues arise. Scar tissue that forms to protect the healing body parts cause painful inflexibility. Unfortunately her decision to stop physiotherapy limited her ability to maintain a reasonable level of flexibility. She continued to exercise with the intention of living the best quality of life possible, but felt her efforts produced less advancement than she hoped.

When we began working together several months ago I explained that she’d have to address inflexibility before she could even hope to further strengthen her body. Her mindset and determination was perfectly poised for very healthy aging yet the her body’s tightness made it impossible to perform exercise optimally.

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“Very subtle differences make the world of difference in someone healing from trauma and is experiencing painful movement. A taller posture and a hopeful outlook is just as thrilling as dramatic weight loss. Julie feels the difference and very encouraged by what can be seen in her comparisons and more by what can’t be seen. Her pain is not getting the best of her!”

Now on The Action Plan and back to therapy, Julie is seeing and feeling a big difference. It’s still uncomfortable for sure, but now she has the confidence and guidance that will help her achieve her goals, maintain a good level of physical strength and has hope for a pain-free future.

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“By working on flexibility first, her workouts serve to strengthen lengthened muscles, tendons and ligaments instead of reinforcing tight, restricted areas. She stands taller and her postural improvements are the first sign that muscles are responding and working as they should. Exercise form and function continues to improve and Julie’s growing confidence keeps her active and engaged in her training.” 

Begin with Where You Are

If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, get therapy! Even if you’re not overweight, treat the pain for a better quality of life and health. Commit to it for a lifetime if you must!

Exercise will not “cure” genetic conditions nor heal injury but weight-bearing exercises are important for pain sufferers. Resistance training can strengthen muscles around the joint that hurts. The stronger the muscle is, the less pain you are likely to feel in that joint, but you have to get help to get to the point where weight lifting is possible. You have to get beyond the pain.

Get Fit Over 40

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When I was starting out as a trainer I thought I could help everyone. I thought that if only people would start exercising they could achieve their goals through sheer willpower. I know better now. The Action Plan is not for everyone. If you’re experiencing pain or dealing with acute or chronic conditions please start by seeing a medical professional. Work with a reputable personal trainer as you begin your exercise journey back to good health.

The plan will work optimally when your body works optimally. Do it for yourself and do it today. A world of possibilities will open to you when you take the first steps!

Wishing you the best health!

~Karen

The Fit Life – Barbara is Fit Over 40

“You have one body. Care for it and feed it well, it’s the only place you have to live.” I truly believe the fountain of youth is found in the gym, in the classroom (yoga, spin, boxing…. whatever!), in the pool…….. and a nice glass of red wine doesn’t hurt.” Meet Barb!

I’m Barbara Joan Warwick

barb10599248_10204157238028409_7532160826461057141_n“I’m about to turn 48, married and my two kids are in college, age 20 and 21. I am the Chief Compliance Officer for an elder healthcare agency. My career in illness and death has influenced my outlook: I’m really grateful to live every single day of this life.”

A Fit Life

“I work out at the gym 5 days a week doing interval weight training with relatively heavy weight and run. On the weekends I’ll pop into a yoga class, ride my bike, run with my dogs, hike or paddle board; it just depends where I am and what’s around.

I love to cook and I love to eat! And most importantly for me is that fitness has become a family thing. My husband and kids also work out.”

 I Have No Choice

“I got serious about fitness at 40 because I had to…..

It was Mothers Day and I was feeling dizzy, sweating profusely and hearing a ring in my ears. I was diagnosed with hypertension. My blood pressure read 240/130 and that put me in the stroke zone. My cholesterol was nearing 500, and my LDL was 180. A whole series of tests came back negative and doctors concluded that my medical condition was genetic.

I couldn’t believe it! I was kind of angry at the situation, to put it nicely. At the time I was 40 years old and maintained a healthy body-weight. I was fairly active (coached girls soccer for 8 years), never smoked, and followed a decent diet.  The cardiologist put me on a gigantic list of meds.”

I Knew I Could Do Better

11903290_10205980460047820_1690861364_n“I overhauled my habits. I started running everyday and lifting weights with a trainer a few times a week. I cut out most red meats and fat. (I’m not a sweets eater so I didn’t have to overcome that) My body started to change and the muscle tone was pretty noticeable.

Surprisingly, I lost about 20 lbs over a year and my size shrank: I was a solid size 10 then, and now I’m a 6-8 depending. More than that though, I was determined to get off all the meds. I signed up for every 5k or obstacle run I could find, you know, to always have a goal to reach. That commitment kept me honest, no skipping the gym. It also made a HUGE difference in my level of stress.”

A Fit Future

“Fast forward to now and I take only a single small dose of blood pressure medication, a small dose of cholesterol medication and an aspirin a day. My resting heart rate lies around 70. My BP is 120/75, and my total cholesterol is down to 180 and the LDL is 60!

I truly believe my commitment has battled my genetics and I’m winning! I tore my left meniscus early last year. I kept working out, kept walking with a brace and postponed surgery until this spring.

barb10896909_10204352551151115_4168079449351867643_nThe recovery was surprisingly not too bad. I can’t run uphill, nor do I try walking lunges but for the most part I can do what I want. It’s taking time and does still hurt. The repair, which is common, has a 50/50 chance of improvement. It has improved, despite some pain, but the clicking and popping has stopped. It’s been five months and I am really back to normal.”

“I’d like women Over 40 to know: A fit lifestyle isn’t about vanity.  We’ve likely had a couple of kids and earned a few wrinkles and dimples. It’s about QUALITY. It’s about DOING! Exercise is not a punishment. It’s a privilege and it’s an investment in yourself mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Thank-you for sharing your story Barb!

Get Fit Over 40

karenuntitled-74HEADERI’ve been fortunate to meet and become friends with many woman over the years at Get Fit Over 40. I’ve come to realize that pictures tell nothing of the challenges and triumphs they each face in becoming and maintaining a Fit Lifestyle Over 40. These woman inspire me to stay in the game of social media as they share their wisdom, inspiration and motivation. Real Woman who are Fit Over 40: I invite you to share your story too! Message me here or on the Facebook page Get Fit Over 40. When we lift one another we are all lifted! Thank you for being part of the GFO40 family. xo ~karen

Health Issues? Get Fit Anyway!

I will decide how I age.

I have control. 

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But, There Will Be Snags

Exercising while dealing with chronic or acute health conditions is tough. Often, the issue keeps you from doing the very thing that will have a positive effect on the condition. At the outset of a therapeutic training program you’ll feel an exaggeration of symptoms or new ones…..exercise is unpleasant (for beginners) under the best circumstances. When you feel lousy, it’s worse. Sometimes bad enough to pull the covers up over your head and ignore the problem, right?

Wrong.

Remember, you want better.

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Exercise and Health Conditions

If you’re experiencing fatigue, lethargy or pain due to a health issue, the last thing you want to do is bounce, lift, jiggle or add to the discomfort in any way. The last thing you want to do is, quite frankly, the thing that you must do! You have to move arthritic joints. You have to circulate oxygen through the veins. You have to build stronger circulatory, respiratory and cardiovascular systems that will cause healthy adaptations in all areas of the body.

Good nutrition and relevant exercise will promote healthy body weight and ease the burden on body systems so that you can heal, and there are very few medical conditions that are not positively affected by a healthy, active lifestyle.

But you already know that…..

Now, if you’re looking for an excuse NOT to exercise, NOT to improve or NOT to succeed, you can stop right here. No one will blame you for that. It’s hard! But if you accept that it’s you alone who decides your future (and you DO want a future of optimum health), then you’ll want to continue reading and meet Debbie.

Debbie’s conditions are not imminently life-threatening yet they could spiral into a serious situation. Her unique health challenges (circulatory), together with the universal “womanly” related (menopausal) challenges AND genetics have fueled her current quest for better health, improved body composition and yes, weight loss. She’s ready to fight and I’m all on board to help steer!

Meet Debbie:
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“Hi, my name is Debbie,

I’m a married mother of two, grandmother of five and I work full-time.

I’ve battled my weight for most of my adult life and tried many fad diets with little success.

In my early 40’s I hit a record high of 172 lbs. I thought to myself,  it’s time to do something before major health issues develop. I started walking and trying to cut back and then I tried a popular weight loss program (WW) and made some progress.

Over next few years I added a variety of activities such as circuit training, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and exercise videos. I lost 30 lbs. and I’m proud to say I have kept it off for over 10 years (still a struggle at times). In the last 3 years I started cardio classes and began to do some light weight workouts (3-5 lbs).

As a menopausal woman, I was concerned with bone loss, toning, and wanted to rid myself of those last 10 lbs. that I couldn’t shake off no matter how much I mixed things up. So, in February, I joined a local gym and had the pleasure of trying a variety of classes (Piyo, yoga, and, Bodybomb). All of the classes were great, each targeting specific needs.

I’m now under the guidance of Karen, with her expertise and Action Plan. In only 4 weeks I’m already seeing results in weight loss and body transformation!  I am lifting heavier weights (10,15, and 20 lbs. depending on the exercise) and using machines with weights up to 45 lbs.

I do have a few health concerns; pernicious anemia, varicose veins, restless leg, CVI, and Spina Bifida occult. It hasn’t been easy!  Karen and I have made modifications such as reduced reps & weight, and longer rest periods…(to catch my breath and check for a pulse ha ha!).

I’m eager to see where my transformation journey will take me. I know I wouldn’t have had such success without the encouragement and support of Karen and my workout girls. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energized than ever.

Thanks a million for helping me make it happen!

Debbie L.”

Debbie’s Action Plan

This is a workout routine from the Action Plan.

Four months ago Deb would have taken one look at it (in total confusion) and walked away. While she didn’t walk away, she didn’t get through it either!

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You see, it takes time, effort, tenacity and determination to do a board; you have to learn the routine, the terms, the exercises, and the sets and reps. You have to suffer the uncertainty. You have to show up and give it what you’ve got that day.

You’ve got to fail.

Debbie did all those things and she did them consistently. Even now, four months later, the boards are tough to get through most days. Debbie has learned and now understands: it’s the tough days when she plugs through (at whatever intensity she can muster), that she’s making gains. She’s growing stronger in mind and body, and that’s what it’s all about!

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My Two Cents

Deb was successful at losing 30 pounds ten years ago because she altered her habits. She maintained her loss because she stayed active and ate (relatively) well; the changes became a lifestyle that continue to support her new life and physique.

Fast Forward to Now 

Debbie wants more improvement and to move forward. To make further physical and health progress from this new position she has to implement further lifestyle adjustments. I want her to lift weights and tighten up her diet;  she’s agreed that these are reasonable and understandable “next steps”.

Although Debbie lives and enjoys a good lifestyle, I intuit that it’s still a struggle. From our conversations, I gather that nutrition isn’t always easy and there’s an underlying fear of losing control and gaining weight back if she’s not diligent and “on top of her game” at all times. I explain that, although her bodyweight is down, body composition is still an issue. By increasing lean body tissue, (muscle) with weight training, she can change the shape of her body and easily maintain a strong healthy physique for many years to come. She’d then be able to better manage her health conditions as well.

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I gave Debbie (and the Action Eight) a very general resistance training routine to follow for one month. She struggled with exercise form, but even at that she’s experienced dramatic change. We’ll work closely together as she implements a more specific weight training plan to target her unique needs. We’ll monitor her progress, make adjustments and continue to refine her nutritional habits. I want to keep it as flexible as possible for her busy life as a wife, mom, grandma and full-time employee.

One Month Progress – Un-retouched Photos

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It’s possible to Get Fit Over 40 and it needn’t take years. With health conditions, it possible to Get Fit Over 40 anyway!

It does takes appropriate action, knowing when to switch it up and focus on new goals (having achieved previous ones). Ask Debbie!

The Action Plan and Get Fit Over 40 will get you there!

Get Fit Over 40 With Us!

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Follow this blog for updates on all of the ACTION EIGHT girls.

Subscribe to the GFO40 Newsletter to get the workouts!

Tune in to my YouTube channel – Karen Pilote, for video support too!

Comment here to share your own stories. We love to hear about other “Over 40’s” who are doing it!

Have the absolute best day you can!

~karen

Search for Clues

“It’s like that picture you’ve got to stare at in order to see the hidden image within….you’ve got to focus intently to see the person you’re becoming!” ~karen

If you can see the changes in Melody’s physique in the comparison below (and get excited knowing that a shift CAN happen within weeks), you can succeed at your own transformation! The key is you have to know what you’re looking for!

Your weight loss will depend upon your ability to see and feel subtle changes so look closely!

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Splitting Hairs

You’d be right to say that I’m splitting hairs with this comparison; the changes are that subtle. But let me tell you: if you don’t make the effort to search for positive change in the first weeks of your training program, you will give up in frustration. Look for success clues, acknowledge them and applaud yourself!

UN-Realistic Expectations

We want quick weight loss. We want to see change fast. We want to do it the easy way. I get it, who doesn’t want to be slim yesterday?

Most of us are inspired and excited by the “radical change in minimal time” schtick; those cover stories on rag magazines that feed on our desire to fix everything NOW – but deep down we know that it just doesn’t work that way. *Sad sigh.

I’ve got to tell you though, if you’re expecting to see a radical difference after 3 weeks, or you expect to see a huge loss on the scale…..you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

I’ll gladly be the “Bearer of Bad News” if I can help you in the long run, so here it is: there is no quick weight loss. If it’s fast it won’t last.

Oprah right?

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Kirstie too…..

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I think you get my point. Radical weight-loss rarely lasts. Maybe you’ve been down that road yourself? I certainly have and know better now…

Real Change

I wanted to share with you what real-time change looks like so that you know what to expect from a legitimate and effective training program.

I was really excited for Action Eight participant Melody and couldn’t wait to send early comparison pictures to her. I wanted to share with you too, and give you a “heads-up” as to what to expect in your early weeks of training.

Melody started her focused training 3 weeks ago. She had a strong fitness base and solid adherence prior to dialing into this new “push towards better” phase. Mel used The Action Plan for 12 weeks prior to this cycle. Over that time period she got pretty strong and leaned out quite a bit. Now, after starting a general resistance training program, we did this comparison just before her vacation.

Once again, the difference is slight but it’s very important to recognize your progress and build on it.

It’s hard for women to look into a mirror and see something different from what they’ve seen and believed for 40+ years. Melody “got stuck” right there, not refusing to see but simply unable to see the athletic, fit, and strong woman she’s becoming.

But I see it. When I point out the success clues to Mel, she sees it too. By analyzing photos (I recommend every 12 weeks) you can track positive trends and switch gears (NOT QUIT) if results are not forthcoming.

Subtle Success Clues

Some comparison is good!

Melody’s pictures show the subtle changes that she might have missed:
Pose #1 hips and legs are slimming
Pose #2 belly area is beginning to tighten
Pose #3 v-taper is stronger, shoulders broader

“Pictures really show the difference. At first, I didn’t see the changes, but the more I looked, I saw some changes. It’s really is exciting! It made me work harder today!
Thanks!” -Melody S.

Anyway, I hope you get the idea. Dig deep and search for the positive. Keep at it for the long-term and make a habit of acknowledging every little thing that’s going right. Your success depends on it!

~Karen

Eight Women Share Their Fat Loss Journey

I’d like to share with you the process I’m using to help several women achieve their physical fitness goals.

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This series will feature real – awesome – and dedicated women who have graciously agreed to share their journey. These narratives will hopefully inspire you and demystify the process of physical transformation. You can follow and learn what it takes as they experience the process.

The most important thing necessary for fat loss success is that you be open to learn what works and what doesn’t – FOR YOU. Be open to the process, focus on your current level of fitness and understanding….you’ll  be surprised at the need to adjust different aspects of training and eating while following a realistic fat loss program.

Be aware that the “order of steps” taken will differ for each participant based on individual circumstances, and they will vary slightly for you too! Each individual “plan of action” will be formulated according to generally accepted and logical “key components” of healthy lifestyle transformation but they will differ somewhat in the delivery.

Ready to witness change in action?

Get Ready to Watch These Girls Transform!

Melody: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on body composition changes and strength. Fat loss will follow.

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Kerri: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on strength and stamina. Fat loss will follow.

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Debbie: She wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on body composition change and strength. Fat loss will follow.

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Julie: She, too, wants to lose weight. I suggest she focus on muscle maintenance, flexibility and joint stability. Fat loss and optimum weight management will follow.

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Tamara: (data to be completed) She wants to lose weight. I suggest she continue with fat loss training and focus on body composition. Fat loss is assured.

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Kerri: She wants to get stronger and toned. I suggest weight training to reshape her physique and shoot for optimum strength and muscular balance.

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Zowie: She wants a fit, athletic physique with lean muscle definition. I suggest she focus on a muscle building training program that will give her functional strength for sports. (Zowie is very young but will be a good example for those underweight or tall woman who find building muscle difficult.)

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Jaci: Wants to shed fat within a 12 week time-frame for the purpose of competing.

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Note: Jaci is a Personal Training client and friend who’s goal is to compete in a Figure Competition. Her training will be targeted, intense and strict. I wanted to include her journey as a means to illustrate the use the same key fitness components used in general fitness and weight loss except, in this case, to achieve a very specific and time sensitive goal.

How We All Met:

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In 2015 I began offering a total body conditioning program based on The Action Plan to a group of women at a local fitness facility. The improvements that they experienced over the course of this 18 week program (I called it Bodybomb) were extremely encouraging. Success led these women to seek further physique transformation, nutritional excellence, fat loss and strength gains.

I feel privileged to share their journey via this blog!

Please note that each participant first completed The Action Plan as best they could and at the level of fitness they were at. Next, they each completed a one month general strength program that allowed them to learn and apply general resistance training principles. They developed and incorporated a structured plan for strength training into their schedules. Each girl was challenged to apply the strategies and adapt them to their individual circumstances and you will have to do the same if you are to attain your goals.

I’ll begin by thanking the girls for allowing us to follow their journeys. This is so great because we all know how difficult it is to “put yourself out there” with before pictures. Aghhhh! In sharing the discovery process for each woman I hope it helps you too!

The Group Fitness Phase:

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I love group fitness and I feel strongly that exercise in an organized format positively impacts each participant and encourages adherence, learning, camaraderie and accountability. BUT I’d also like to point out that group fitness training can only take you so far. This won’t make perfect sense to you right now but you will begin to understand and discover the benefits of individual training as you follow these eight women!

In my opinion, general exercise plans work extremely well when you’re savvy enough to alter them to fit your unique circumstances, but that’s difficult for the general population. That’s where this series should help demonstrate the need for individual attention and modifications even though the goal of fitness, weight loss and strength gain is a common one.

The “Next Level” of Training:

Follow the blog as we employ different strategies for each woman, and a variety of approaches to bring knowledge, understanding, and shed light on what many woman find a confusing journey.

We’ll begin with Melody! 

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Over the last few months Melody completed The Action Plan. She became stronger, leaner and increasingly more aware of the effects of HIIT exercise on her physique. She also learned about her limitations, habits, strengths and weaknesses. It was a process of discovery; very important step in the direction of her goals.

When we began our training together Mel found The Action Plan workouts challenging and needed to modify the exercises, take more breaks between sets and do less repetitions than listed on the workout boards. Given that she was fairly active and involved in other fitness classes prior to our “Bodybomb” group fitness classes, the HIIT workouts presented new challenges and she was more than ready to tackle them.

Over the next few months she participated in 2-3 sessions per week while continuing with her “other” workouts. Melody began to feel the adaptations and her confidence increased. The training was always challenging but she realized that, even though the workouts never got easier (insert evil snicker) she was capable of doing more at each session. Winning! Melody felt great, fit, tighter, stronger and ready to “take it to the next level”.

Fast Forward to Now:

It’s time for an in-depth discovery process and we’ll ask specific questions that bring into focus targeted concerns.

What are your current goals? (Melody: weight loss)(Karen: tighten nutrition, water consumption, fat loss training, strength building, balance physique, alleviate negative impact of hip/leg imbalance

-What do you believe to be your downfall to achieving those goals? (Melody: #1-diet #2-understanding macronutrient logic and #3- understanding the importance/difficulty of eating sufficient calories) (Karen: I see no insurmountable roadblocks to achieving your goals so continue to focus on learning balanced eating by trial and error. Read, research and implement food and lifting strategies. Begin weight lifting protocol for muscle maintenance and to improve/correct postural imbalances. Set a timer to alert for meal times, prepare said meals in advance)

-What are your physical limitations? (Melody: born with dislocated hip joints causing a marked difference in length of legs) (Karen: objectively observe the effect of the program on your unique limitations – is that limitation the downfall to achieving the goal of fat loss? or is nutrition? or is water consumption?)

Having completed The Action Plan and then one month of the general physical conditioning, Melody is ready to begin an individualized program that will address her particular level of fitness, weak links and physical expectations. We’ll work together closely to monitor progress, trouble shoot plateaus and problems. At the same time we’ll learning more about calories, macronutrients and using internet-available calculators to determine the optimum individual figures.

Food First

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But How Many Calories Do I Need?

As Melody continues to train using the general weight lifting program and waits for her individualized plan, she is focusing on food! We’ve determined how many calories she needs and a good starting point for macronutrient ratio. Here’s how we figured all that out:

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator

It’s important to learn just how many calories are necessary to support your living and breathing and other body functions. Use the calculator highlighted above and figure out how much fuel you need to survive. Remember that this number will change as you lose weight so make sure to recalculate using new data as you begin to lose fat and change body composition. (Knowing this will save you the heartache of agonizing over weight loss plateaus!)

Note: on the BMR calculations for each participant: we multiplied the BMR calorie count by 1.3 to factor in moderate daily activity. Therefore, in Melody’s case, she should consume 1632 calories just to maintain her current weight and body mass. “Oh dear!”, she says. “That is so much more than I’m eating right now!!” That is one very simple reason she’ll experience stalls: if you don’t eat to support your body, your body will refuse to budge! So Eat!

Meal Composition: Macro Nutrient Calculator

Once you’ve determined how many calories to consume in order to support your exercise plan, it’s important to compose meals according to an optimum balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I prefer to have clients start a muscle supportive nutrition plan composed of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats. This ratio breakdown is a good one to begin with and then easily adjust the ratios to find your own sweet spot for muscle maintenance and fat loss.

Calories and Macros:

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At this early stage of learning, I’m asking the girls (and you) to NOT STRESS out over meal composition. Take the time to gradually learn by doing- make sure you have protein at each meal (here- steak), a complex carb (here- broad noodle), fibrous carb (here- zucchini and peppers) and fat (here- fat present in protein choice and perhaps olive oil on the pasta or grilled into the peppers). Plate your meals to resemble the one pictured. You can swap out eggs, chicken, turkey, tuna for the steak- likewise, rice or sweet potato for the pasta- get creative and stay satisfied!

We’ll be talking lots more about food balance and in a very short time you’ll all realize just how simple and common sense the whole topic is. Until then relax, eat whole foods and learn to enjoy fresh tastes!

Hi there! I’m Karen Pilote from Get Fit Over 40

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Stay Connected and Follow the “Action Eight” Transformations!

I’ll share Melody’s weight training program for her next 12 week cycle and introduce you to Debbie! So get on those calculations for your own meal plan and let me know if I can help…leave your questions in the comments and Bon Apetit!

~karen