When I look back at the data gathered across 15 years and tens of thousands of personal training clients at our 3 Singapore personal training gyms (Alexandra/Queenstown, East Coast/Katong/Marine Parade, Raffles Place CBD). The average age of the clients that join us for personal fitness coaching is about 39-42 years old.
There is nothing stopping you from achieving great weight loss or fitness goals at this age. In fact, I myself will be 40 years old in a few months.
However, you do need to understand that as you get older, you are unlikely to have the body, joints or metabolism of a 20-year-old. So the principles of a healthy lifestyle can remain the same. But some of the methods you use will be different. In this article, I will share 3 of the more common changes we make to the diet and nutrition programs of our personal training clients as they pass 40 years of age.
#1 – Do not rely on long term low carb diets
To get the last few millimetres of body fat off your abs or waist, it may be necessary to use a lower-carb diet for a short period of time. This method may be necessary if you plan to do an amazing swimsuit photoshoot, or if you plan to compete in a bodybuilding show. Especially if you are not part of the genetic elite who are naturally very lean.
However, for many of us who are around 40 years old, joining a bodybuilding show is very low on our list of life priorities. Family, work, social responsibilities and rest are far higher on our list of things to do. So low carb diets for long periods of time are generally not necessary to achieve our goals of high health, fitness and weight loss.
Very low carb diets can be very bad for you if you are around age 40 or older. That is because the popular “keto” or ketogenic diet, or other low carb diets are constantly telling your body that there is little food around. Hence the low live glycogen (liver energy) levels.
In this low energy state, your entire body will slow down to adapt to this low energy state. The main way your body slows down is that your liver will NOT convert your thyroid hormone into its active form.
And since thyroid controls your metabolism, this means a lower metabolism and long term difficulty maintaining energy, body temperature and healthy body weight.
And this slowdown can be made worse when combined with intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, or extremely low calories.
So in short, low carb/low calories diets are not a good idea for people hitting the 40s and older. Instead, the nutrition plans included in our personal training packages aim to boost your health and so you can lose weight even without resorting to extreme diets.
#2 – Use fruit as a top choice for carbohydrates
Fruit has several advantages over traditional staple foods like rice or pasta.
- It is well tolerated. Many more people have gluten or grain allergies vs fruit allergies. And the fibre in fruit tends to be well tolerated as well when compared to things like the rough fibre in brown rice or whole wheat.
- It has a low GI and does not affect blood sugar much. Fruit has fibre and fructose. You may not know this, but fructose (a main sugar in fruit) has a GI of only about 11-17 depending on what research you read. This is the same as celery. So no worries there.
- Fruit has no nutrients that affect the digestive system’s ability to absorb other nutrients. These are called anti-nutrients and are quite common in potato skins, beans and leafy vegetables. That’s because fruit wants to be eaten so its seeds can propagate so there is no need for these defence mechanisms.
- Fruit is delicious! Enough said:)
So instead of starchy foods, we often ask clients, especially those who are older and more sedentary to switch their carbohydrate consumption over to fruit.
#3 – Eat a variety of protein sources
There is no single best, magical protein source. Proteins are made up of amino acids and each type of protein source has different ratios of these amino acids.
The problem is that throughout life we mostly eat “muscle meats”. Chicken rice has meat from chicken muscles. Steaks are cow muscles. And pork is pig muscle and so on. There is nothing inherently wrong with these foods but muscle meats have a higher ratio the amino acids tryptophan, methionine and cystine.
This imbalance can affect the stress management system of your body. And we already know that most 40-year-olds already deal with plenty of other lifestyle stressors already!
My suggestion is to make sure you eat a variety of proteins including tendons, gelatin, dairy, seafood, organ meats and so on…
Also, eat proteins with carbs to balance out the meal and your blood sugar. And if you eat a lot of red meats, you can have coffee with the meal to prevent excess iron absorption which can oxidize in your body and increase the oxidative (rusting) stress on your immune system.
So here are some tips that you can implement today for your nutrition as you get older. For more tips We have our free “Ultimate guide to fitness over 40” on this site which gives you many more ideas of how to improve health as you get older. It’s 40 practical tips that we have used with our clients with great success.
If you want more help achieving total health and high levels of fitness and weight loss, you can schedule an appointment at any of our Singapore personal training gyms located at Alexandra/Queenstown, East Coast/Katong/Marine Parade, and at Raffles Place in the CBD.