Part 3 – Over 50? Get in the Gym
In this three-part series, bestMastersFitness.com looks at the key fundamentals for men over 50 getting started on life-changing health and fitness habits.
Now that you’ve established your fitness goals, have motivation to achieve your goals, and have your diet in order, it’s time to start building muscle. However, if you haven’t been in the gym
for a while or maybe have never even been in a gym, you’ll want to start slowly.
While our muscles have good circulation for healing by eliminating waste and providing nutrients, our connective tissues, the tendons hooking the muscle into bone, don’t do this as well. One primary concern is bringing the tendons along slowly to avoid injury or chronic inflammation.
If you’re out of shape and don’t know what you’re doing, you can get injured in more ways than this article can list. Always start by warming up, walk on the treadmill, use the elliptical, or maybe the stationary bike for 10 minutes. Then warm up your core with three sets of 20 abdominal crunches.
When starting out, always use low weights and high repetitions, just enough weight so that 15 reps is challenging but not impossible. As you progress over the weeks you can begin to work in heavier weights with few repititions, you’ll know when you’re ready.
First, you need to join a gym. Sure, you can get some equipment and set up a home gym, but your odds of success are much higher with the support of a members gym. In fact, research shows that people who work out at a gym are up t0 30% more likely to stick with their program, largely because of the social support structure that goes along with belonging to a gym.
Gyms come in all shapes and sizes, don’t worry too much about finding one just exactly right for you, but do get a month-to-month membership so you can change if needed or desired. Most gyms will have everything that you need, including free weights, cable machines, various resistance machines, and cardio equipment. Check out several in your area and see which one feels best for you.
Getting a personal trainer is one of the best ways you can spend your money, period. Make sure to do your homework, find a reputable, experience trainer with a track record of getting results. A good trainer will take time to understand your goals (remember, you’ve set your goals in step 1), and to understand your ability levels. You’ll get so much more from your workouts if you’re doing them right.
Also, a trainer brings accountability. With a trainer you’ll have milestones on the way to your ultimate goal. A good trainer will assess your progress and create expectations of achievement. This is a healthy ecosystem when accountable to a personal trainer and also accountable to peers within the gym. Additionally, a good personal trainer, while not a nutritionist, can provide diet and nutrition counseling to help ensure you’re eating the right amounts of the right foods.
Get more important information on fitness over 50 with our free 7-part report!