You don't have to accept the ageing process
Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter
I have a kind of Peter Pan mentality, in that I’m always trying to learn new ways of keeping myself feeling and looking young. I don’t sit back and accept the “ageing process”, I always try to stay one step ahead of my body.
I don’t mind getting older in terms of numbers at all, but I certainly don’t want to be 5 – 10 years ahead of my time and ageing way too quickly. It’s important to me that I’m able to push the boundaries when I train, I want to keep in good shape and I’m not someone who enjoys remaining static at all. I enjoy sleeping well and waking up feeling rested. I have lots of energy every day and my brain is always sharp and focussed. If life had it’s own way, it would be a completely different story. A lot of you will know what I’m talking about, but there are many of you (the people I’m aiming this article at), who think it’s far too late for you to start, or you’re just stuck in a rut and you don’t know how to get out. Well throughout this article, you’re going to find out that it is possible, and I’m going to give you some tools that you can use to get started right away.
Let’s start by looking at this very common scenario. Throughout your teens and into your 20’s, weight gain, health issues and energy levels don’t seem to be an issue. You reach your mid to late 30’s and you start to notice the odd bit of body fat appearing in places that it hadn’t been before. Energy levels aren’t quite the same and you don’t feel as fit and strong. Resistant to doing anything about it, and surrounded by people who tell you that it’s just part of getting older, you plod on. In many relationships, it’s complacency that always kicks in. Where both of you are gaining weight month by month, and neither of you says anything about it. Does all this sound familiar?
So where did it all go wrong?
Daily life isn’t what it used to be, there’s so much more stress. People work way more hours than they used to, there’s more pollution (yes it’s a stress), and there’s the emotional stress of money, family and friends. The quality of food that people eat is nowhere what it used to be. This means that you’re not getting all the essential nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. The soil quality isn’t as rich in minerals as it used to be, meaning there are so many more deficiencies than there used to be. Your natural defences (such as your immune system) are being challenged so much more, which in turn leads to frequent illness. And most importantly, not enough people do the right type of exercise/training, if any at all. So is it any wonder that our bodies are slowing down and ageing quicker than they used to?
How do you get that youth pill back?
The first thing I need to say here, is that ageing doesn’t have to be anywhere near as rapid as you’re allowing it to be. You can and should be stronger, have more energy, have less illness, have better sex drive, exercise and overall feel great. You should be going to the gym and exercising your muscles, after all we were designed with work in mind, not to be couch potatoes or desk bound!!
On a daily basis I’m in receipt of consultation questionnaires, these are from clients who are starting out their journey with us. I’m able to look at certain age categories and see common trends. Often people don’t know that their body does a very good job of telling you when things aren’t working well. I like to see it as a dashboard, like on your car. If your oil light comes on, you’d be stupid not to stop and fill up with oil right? But some people just push on and end up paying the consequences with more damage than was necessary. This happens in the body too. Bad skin, poor memory, weight gain, weakness, aching, skin issues, fatigue, I could go on for ages. But all of these symptoms aren’t natural signs of ageing, they’re signs that some part of your body is malfunctioning and a guarantee that you’re not looking after yourself. Now what if nutrition, exercise and smart supplementation could help you turn back the ageing clock, you’d be stupid to not get involved wouldn’t you? That’s unless you enjoy ageing at a rapid rate!!
So here’s a list of some of the most common problems that I come across. I’ll tell you why I think these problems exist and I’ll give you a few pointers to help you get back on the right track.
Muscle and joint pain
I rarely read a questionnaire that doesn’t have a tick next to muscle and joint pain, especially from people over 40. No, it’s not just a sign of ageing bones and you definitely shouldn’t have to put up with it. One of the main reasons is actually down to something called chronic inflammation, in many cases it’s caused by constant stress placed on the body and poor diet. There’s something called acute inflammation, and this happens when you bump yourself, break a bone or you cut yourself (you’ll know when you’re inflamed in this case). When this happens, certain pro-inflammatory compounds are released, they are then turned off with anti-inflammatory compounds when the problem has been addressed. This is all neat and tidy, and should work well in most cases.
Now chronic inflammation is slightly different, this is what causes the problems in your joints, digestive system and causes damage to areas of your body that should be healthy. Unfortunately in this case, the pro inflammatory compounds are not turned off and the inflammation continues to tick over like a slow burning fire. The longer a fire has chance to burn, the more damage it will cause. Signs of chronic inflammation are, diarrhoea, muscle and joint pain, bloating, chronic infections and skin break outs.
You don’t need to be reaching for anti inflammatory drugs in many cases, remember your body is telling you that something’s wrong. It’s certainly not telling you it’s low on drugs! One of the first things I get all my clients to do when I notice any level of inflammation, is to remove any foods that cause them any level of discomfort (usually high sugar foods, gluten, dairy and eggs). I also add in a natural anti inflammatory in the form of fish oil, starting between 4 and 5 grams per day. It’s usually not long before I’m being told that muscle aches and pains are reducing and movement has become a lot easier. This is a basic first step approach, and I’m always amazed how effective it is. Remember here, joint aches and pains are one of the main reasons people don’t start exercise, and I’ve just given you a helpful tip to reduce it.
Another cause of joint pain in my experience, is a lack of protein in the diet. Muscles ache because they simply aren’t recovering from moving around all day. Just because you don’t necessarily train in a gym, your muscles are still working when you’re walking around. Simply getting your protein intake up to an optimal level will really reduce muscle aches. I advise someone who exercises 3 x a week to consume between 2 and 3 grams of protein per kg of body weight. If you’re not hitting this amount, make a conscious effort to increase your protein and let me know how you feel.
This one always makes me laugh. People telling me that the reason for their weight gain is that they’re getting older and their metabolism is slowing down. Now yes it does slow down to a certain extent, but that’s if you let it. Most people’s metabolisms are slowing way quicker than they’re supposed to, and it’s all diet and lifestyle factors that are at fault. What also makes me laugh, is that people who are in their 40’s, are eating exactly the same diets as they did when they were in their 20’s! These are the people who were training 3 – 4 times a week and the fuel was going to good use. This same amount of fuel is now contributing to a nice beer belly or thick love handles!!
You need to keep your fire burning with optimal amounts of fuel. That’s good quality protein sources (grass fed beef, chicken, turkey, fish), essential fats (coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil), a variety of vegetable sources and carbohydrates (Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoe). Your engine won’t run well on poor fuel sources, and the average British diet (bread, pasta, cakes and high sugar foods) is a classic example of this. Your cells, muscles and organs cannot function optimally if they don’t get the required nutrients.
Another way to bump up your metabolism is by lifting weights. By stimulating your muscles, and eating correctly you will stimulate more muscle growth. More muscle requires more energy and in turn increases your metabolic rate.
Another issue when people hit 40 plus, is that they think they need to dramatically lower their calories. They often lower them well below the level that’s required for even their vital organs to work effectively. This has many consequences but in this instance, you will drastically lower your metabolic rate.
So don’t cut your food right back, get back to a balanced diet with healthy amounts of protein, and start lifting weights.
Poor memory and concentration
You start to forget things, and your first thought is that it’s just part of getting older. Again, this is telling me that your cells aren’t communicating right, or your body is not getting the fuel which is responsible for ensuring your memory and concentration are in top condition. I talk at length about this in my article all about neurotransmitters and fat loss. In brief, they are special chemical messengers responsible for focus, drive, relaxation and emotion. Believe it or not, they are helped into production by amino acids. The place you find amino acids is in the form of protein (meat and fish). And as I said earlier, I rarely see people eating anywhere near enough meat and fish nowadays. This goes back to basic eating habits that people lose track of, and ones which can take years off how you look and feel. It usually takes a few weeks for my clients to notice a considerable increase in memory and concentration, simply from cleaning up their diet and including the right amounts of protein.
So there you have it, three very common issues that I come across every day. As I’ve pointed out, they’re also issues that can take a very small amount of time to get back on track.
There’s too many people complaining about getting older, and they use it as an excuse why they’re not training or eating well. We have clients well into their 60’s who all train hard, they sleep well, they have no joint pains and they’re probably fitter than they were in their 30’s.
Don’t sit back and allow your body to age, work with it and you’ll have a healthier body for longer than you think.
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