On Tuesday this week I wrote about the fitness priorities of men in their 30s. This past content series has been highlighting the changes in health and fitness requirements throughout each decade in life: youth, 20s, and now for women in their 30’s.
As we get older, what is needed to be healthy becomes more specific which is why there was a separate men’s and women’s message.
Research has shown an increase in degenerative changes in the joints as recorded by MRIs and also a slow decline in muscle growth as we get into the third decade of life. This is the time where the accelerated development our our health and fitness start to decline. Combine this with the stresses of an increasingly demanding job (promotions etc) and life events, you can see how this can all add up to limit forward progress.
As a result of all these factors, the health priorities for women in their 30s include muscle gain, and prevention of chronic diseases. Since the cellular processes in this decade is slower than in the 20s, this also brings the concept of recovery to the forefront. We are no longer able to workout, party, and NOT sleep like we used to.
The demands of life and work make it challenging to regularly go to the gym 5+ times per week. This means that the time spent at the gym should be focused on two components: strength development and lean muscle gains. Exercises like deadlifts and squatting are multi joint and provide the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to results per unit of time. I promise if you train 2-3/week you won’t be body won’t be shaped like a refrigerator. Quite the contrary, your muscles will get lean and more tone!
Strength gains have a protective effect on the joints minimizing degeneration and reducing pain. This is also a very important time to focus on form and position. If it’s your first time getting involved with heavier weightlifting, there is no need to rush things. Take it one step at a time and your body will thank you for it. To focus on absolute strength we are looking at rep ranges between 3-5 reps at a relatively high intensity. You’ll be feeling a little different post workout as compared to a cardio workout. Yes your heart rate will elevate and you will sweat, but you won’t be drenched in sweat like a spin class. At this point in life, being sore, sweaty or “destroyed” is not the sign of a good workout.
The compounds lift will also facilitate muscle building, however at a slower rate. This will actually delay the muscle loss that would occur in the following decades.
Cardio is great, but make sure that you aren’t overdoing it by shooting for 2-3x/week. You’ll actually want to implement more weightlifting instead. Consider a 45 minute spin class or a run as cardio. You can also get involved with some really awesome conditioning workouts such as HIIT training and sprints that can accelerate fat loss.
As we get older and more stressed, our fitness can take a back seat. The reality is that we are also at a higher rate to develop chronic diseases as we get older. If your body composition is 33% body fat or greater as a woman, then that risk goes up even higher. The implementation of a proper strength and conditioning program is going to be crucial to maximize lean muscle development, which can reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, coronary artery disease, and some cancers.
Nutrition is going to play a huge role at this age too. Busy schedules will make it increasingly challenging to workout 5+ times per week. You can make do with 3 sessions per week, but you’ll be much less active in this decade. And as a result, the energy requirements will be less than before. No need to cut out the foods that you love, but it is important that you focus on eating nutrient dense foods like vegetables, minimally processed foods and lean proteins. All of this will minimize inflammation, and optimize energy for you to focus on your goals. Eat foods based on how you feel and how you respond to them. If you completely kick out a food group your body may or may not like it and not all diet plans are created equal. Everyone’s chemistry is a little different. I personally love to go a few hours of not eating in the morning, but my wife will always need breakfast.
We can no longer recover from hangovers as well anymore. Not only will alcohol limit your next day productivity, but it will also have a huge impact on your muscular development and health. You can still have an awesome time at a party and not drink as much as usual. In fact, you’ll be glad that you didn’t go for those two other beverages last night. Stick with seltzer water for the remainder of the evening. You shouldn’t feel pressured to drink!
Sleep is going to be key in this decade! When we are in our 30s, work can be really stressful, so making sure that you get that extra hour or two into the day is going to be really helpful! Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. You will begin to notice that you require less coffee, be less stressed, and notice that you have less circles under your eyes and you will look overall better.
Positive changes to your health occur while you are sleeping. If you limit your body’s ability to recover from the daily stresses, it will be consistently be beaten down. This limits progress.
The 30s don’t have to be a sign that you’re getting older. In fact, life just started. Which means that it is important that you continue to be active and elevate the quality of life by having an intelligent way to approach workouts, nutrition and recovery.
If you need to make a change to your current fitness routine, then click here to book a free no sweat intro phone call where we can learn about you and come up with the best plan of action to help you.
Have a great day,