I am thrilled that my good friend, Meredith Boyd, agreed to share her take on fitness after fifty for this post! Meredith is a personal trainer with award-winning outdoor fitness program Camp Gladiator. Today, she is going to share her personal story as well as answer our burning questions about health and fitness. She is one of the warmest and most encouraging people I know! I guarantee that you will be motivated by her, no matter what your age or stage in life! Meredith and her husband, Wes, have been married for almost 22 years, and they have three children ages 18, 16 and 12. Get ready for some Monday motivation, friends!
How did you find the field of personal training and get into your business?
I feel so blessed to do what I do! I came from a healthy eating, active family, but for a variety of reasons, I started using food at an early age to relieve stress, as entertainment, as a source of comfort and as a way of escape. Being overweight and self-conscious, I continued to shy away from physical activity. Over time, I stopped focusing on my lack of athletic skill and my own perceived performance, and instead, I began to see the blessing of movement and exercise, and how good it feels to feel strong and be healthy. One taste of this was in high school where a good friend ran the Turkey Trot with me. It was PAINSTAKINGLY SLOW, as she was a cross country star, but she stuck with me the whole way, and I felt so accomplished when I finished. In college, I started walking with friends as a way to catch up and connect. Eventually, I developed a passion for health and fitness and spent the next 20 years reading, taking classes, researching health and exercise and getting certified as a personal trainer.
What are the main health/fitness issues you see in women age 50+?
I think many women, and perhaps the 50+ crowd, in particular, can relate to my past shying away from physical activity. Perhaps they are out of the habit, busy with other interests, self-conscious about their body or reluctant to start at ground zero. Physical activity has been shown time and time again to tame the challenges of menopause, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent osteoporosis, help establish better sleep patterns and help control weight. I see many 50+ clients who have a much lower biological age because they have made physical activity a priority. (Suzy: To read my recent post on this very issue, click here.)
How do you suggest women deal with the seemingly inevitable weight gain that comes with middle age?
Great news: weight gain as we age is not inevitable! True, our metabolism slows, and we lose some muscle mass, but aging doesn’t have to equate to weight gain. My advice is to GET MOVING! Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to do things we don’t want to do because it is the right choice. Flannery O’Connor said that for reading to become a pleasure, it must first become a discipline. I think that is very true for exercise as well – before exercise can be a source of fun and recreation, for many of us, it is first a discipline.
How do exercise and nutrition work hand-in-hand?
Combining regular exercise with sound nutrition (eating a well-balanced diet filled with veggies, lean meats, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and dairy), is a winning combination and always yields the best results. When people combine the two, not only do they immediately experience positive changes in their mood and energy levels, but they are also improving their long-term health and increasing their life expectancy. Planning your exercise, putting it on your calendar, and thinking through what you are going to eat by keeping nutritious, good-tasting options around your home, are the keys to success. When we combine fueling our bodies with food to support the work we have to do (rather than a diet or deprivation mentality), with exercise and strengthening our muscles, we best prepare ourselves to have more energy, feel better and love the people in our lives well. I want people to feel good in their skin, and I have found that combining regular exercise and proper nutrition best accomplishes this goal.
What would you say to someone who feels like they are really out of shape and doesn’t know where to start?
Look for programs that incorporate both cardio and strength training. When you find the program that is right for you, don’t listen to yourself. (“I’m too fat and out of shape, I’ll look ridiculous, I can’t do this,” etc.), and instead, TALK to yourself. (“I am worth getting in shape; I’m going to get stronger; I’m blessed to be able to exercise; I’m taking daily steps to improve my health,” etc.) The mind is powerful, so change your self-talk as you jump into this new adventure!
Suzy: Wow! I hope you are feeling as motivated and determined as I am! As someone who sits at the computer for my job, I’ve really had to be conscious of incorporating more movement into my life in the empty nest. Even though I work out 4-5 days a week, I found that I simply wasn’t getting the overall steps that I used to when the kids were home. (Has this happened to you too? If so, would you leave me a comment and give me your tips and tricks?)
For me, using a fitness tracker/pedometer has really helped! If you don’t already own one, I think you’ll find it a great tool to have if you are trying to move more, as Meredith suggested. I love my Fitbit One because rather than wearing it on your wrist, it is the older, clip-on Fitbit model. I can clip it onto my bra, my underwear (!) or even put it in my pocket. My daughter loves her Fitbit Alta wristband and my son loves the Misfit Shine. I have several friends who received the new Fitbit Flex 2 for Christmas and rave about it! Fitbits are one of those things that are priced the same pretty much wherever you purchase them, so I’ve linked them below through Nordstrom since they offer free shipping and returns. I’ve also linked to several other brands below at all different price points, including this funny one that is embedded in a hair scrunchy! (Click the images for more information.)
Many thanks to Meredith for sharing her expertise and encouragement with us. Let’s get moving, y’all!
Meredith works for Camp Gladiator in Dallas, Texas. Classes are available for $69/month.This provides unlimited access to classes (held 5 a.m.-8 p.m., six days a week). Try her or any CG class for free.
For more information about Camp Gladiator, visit their website.
To contact Meredith, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-898-2410.
Shop My Look
Photo by Megan Weaver.
I know y’all are cracking up that I am in full makeup while running in the photo above! Please know that I usually do not run in full makeup! 🙂