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fitness

THE BENEFITS OF RESISTENCE TRAINING FOR OVER 40'S

OVER 40 AND NOT LIFTING WEIGHTS?

Being 47 myself I tend to talk to a lot of people over 40 about exercise. A trend I see is how many over 40’s stop or don’t perform resistance training. The reasons being '‘I don’t want to build muscle as i’m too old now'‘, ‘‘I just do cardio as I just want to burn fat these days’’ amongst many other reasons.

Are these people right? Of course they’re not and lets see the reasons why these women and men are making a big mistake leaving resistance training out of their exercise routines.

AGE RELATED LOSS OF MUSCLE AND STRENGTH

As we start to plough through our forties we can lose approximately 1 to 2 % of muscle mass every year and this can speed up as we get older, this is called sarcopenia. It doesn’t have to be like that! Remember that saying if you don’t use it you lose it? Well if you are pretty inactive you will lose muscle mass.

What is the solution? Resistance training of course! An increase in your muscle mass will help build your metabolic rate too, resulting in a leaner body. Muscle is metabolically active so more calories are used throughout the day. Two to three resistance workouts a week will not only maintain muscle mass it will increase it. You can build an awesome body in your forties, fifties and beyond! It’s not too late even if you have never trained before.

BONE DENSITY DECREASES AS WE AGE INCREASING THE RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS

As we age our bone density decreases and we have a higher risk of osteoporosis. This can result in fractures as we start to get into old age. We all hear of ageing family members having a fall and fracturing a hip etc. It’s more common in women but still affects a large percentage of men too. Guess what? Yep, resistance training can slow down bone loss and in some cases increase the strength of your bones! Two to three weight sessions a week and you’ll have bones as strong a s steel..well a lot stronger than before anyway. Take a look at my client Karen, in her 50’s she has been training with weights for a few years now and she is fit, healthy and strong!

IMPROVED BODY IMAGE

As we age we tend to suffer from the middle age spread. We are less active, we eat and drink more and we put on weight. We can start to feel bad about ourselves because we don’t look like how we used to when we were younger, our confidence goes so we eat some more and drink some more for comfort. It doesn’t have to be like that at all! What can help? Weight training again! You can do all the cardio you want it won’t change the shape of your body at all apart from becoming a smaller version of what you was before. That isn’t knocking cardio at all as it is important but weight training sessions will change the shape of your body by adding muscle in the right places. A great strength training plan with a great nutrition plan can dramatically improve your body and how you see yourself, improving mental health.

My client Dave Ridgewell part way through his transformation. He’s 56 years young.

My client Dave Ridgewell part way through his transformation. He’s 56 years young.

INCREASED MOBILITY AND FUNCTIONALITY

As we age we do tend to ‘seize up’. Resistance training will increase the mobility in your joints making you much more functional in your day to day life.

So what are you waiting for all you over 40’s, get to the gym and start training! If you haven’t got the confidence to go to the gym on your own then please get in touch and enquire about personal training!

Peter


STARTING A NEW SPORT AT AGE 46, BMX RACING!

Since I stopped competing in Natural Bodybuilding I have always missed competition. As time went on, as-well as my age, I started to think it may be too late as any sport I enjoyed, athletics for example, wouldn’t really be possible due to knee and shoulder problems. I didn’t really want to believe that though, there must be a sport that I can compete in and be competitive!

Myself at Rom Skatepark 2017

Myself at Rom Skatepark 2017

I looked into various sports but I didn’t have any passion for them, when I have that passion for something then I know I will give it my all, 100%, no less. I had already got back into BMX riding 3 years ago, a sport I have always loved since the early 1980’s, even when bodybuilding I still followed the sport, although not riding much myself. I started riding skateparks and ramps again and i’ve loved every minute of it! The feeling of being on my bike is a feeling that I crave. The best thing though is that there’s a massive over 40’s riding scene. Freestyle BMX isn’t something that I’m amazingly good at though, but it’s something that I love immensely. An added bonus is the fitness side, it’s pretty much like interval training, you ride for a couple of minutes, have a short rest, then go again. But I needed that competition still….

Ever since I discovered BMX back in 1982 I have loved watching and reading about BMX racing. It’s fast, exciting and spectacular to watch. I was always too shy to start racing when I was younger as I didn’t know anyone that raced, everyone was into the freestyle side of things, which was fine and that’s what I done, spending most of my days riding over the very famous Rom skatepark in Essex. Fast forward many years to the present day and here I am, a big boy that can now do things on his own!

Late last year I bought a BMX race bike, a stunning piece of kit that I couldn’t wait to use. I contacted my nearest race club and they said they would put me on the mailing list to inform me of the training times. Well, I booked myself onto the INTRO TO BMX that everyone has to do. I was told there was a few over 40’s that race at the club so I would’t be the only one. I turned up and to be honest I was a bit nervous, not because of the riding but because I would’t know anyone! Well I needn’t have worried as everyone was really friendly and the first guy I spoke to was 50 years old, so I felt ok!

Well, the intro bit took all of 2 minutes as they could see that I could ride ok so I was straight into the training session. I had no idea what to expect! After a couple of laps to warm up and a few jumping jacks we had a short ‘core’ session, planks etc and then onto walking lunges and bodyweight squats, I now know how my clients feel when I train them!

What followed was some sprints on the bike, some starting gate practice and skill lessons on manualling (basically a wheelie without pedalling) over some jumps and some crash training. I loved it! Feedback was good as I was told that they would of never thought I’d never raced before so that really boosted my confidence and one of the guys there thought I was hiding something as I could ride my bike well lol. They are a really good crowd.

So after the training session I drove home with a big smile on my face knowing I had made the right decision, starting a sport that I know that i’m really going to enjoy. It’ll take time building my fitness and skills but I can’t wait for my first race!

My bike after just getting home form my first ever BMX racing training session.

My bike after just getting home form my first ever BMX racing training session.

I will continue a blog on here too as I know there are a few over 40 people that look at this site thinking that maybe the time has past to follow their passions. Well, it is never too late to follow a passion or to have fun! With some good training and healthy eating you can do whatever you want! Go on, go for it….

Peter Chown










BIG BAD BACK TRAINING

Big Bad Back Training!

 

There is nothing like an impressive back. If you look over the past three decades all the Mr Olympias have had outstanding back development. Samir Bannout Mr Olympia in 1983 had a big and highly developed back, complete with Christmas tree development in the lumbar region. On to Lee Haney, Mr Olympia from 1983-1991 had a back as wide as a jumbo jets wings! Then the Brits took over the best back prize with Dorian Yates dominating the Mr Olympia from 1991 -1997 with a back incredibly detailed, thick and wide and as hard as granite. Ronnie Coleman was next with freaky development winning the Mr Olympia from 1998-2005. Along came Jay Cutler winning in 2006 and ’07 and regaining the title from Dexter Jackson in 2009 with an extremely wide back although not as detailed as Ronnie’s but up there with the best for width and thickness. If you have no idea who I am on about then open up another tab in your web browser and get googling and you will see what I am talking about. Great back development looks amazing and makes you stand out from the chest and arms brigade in most gyms these days, of course none of you belong in that category do you? You better not otherwise I have not taught you a thing! It’s all about complete development ok and if I see any of you lot ignoring legs and back then we are going to fall out! 

 

The main muscle that stands out when you look at an impressive back is what us bodybuilders call the lats, the latissimus dorsi muscle. This is what gives us that impressive width and thickness. Then you have the upper back muscles that look like small mountains from shoulder to shoulder consisting of the rhomboids, teres major and trapezius muscles.  The lower back looks mighty impressive when developed and these are the erector spinae.

I go on about it in every training article, and I am going to go on about it again as it’s even more important with back training and that is form. FORM FORM FORM FORM!!!!!! Got it? Good! I see so many people training back with bad form, pulldowns where the body is parallel to the floor or even worse the head nearly touching the floor. Serious you should spend some time in the gym where I work. I see it all there. The worse I have seen is bent over rows where the person has so much weight on the bar that he has to have a spotter either side of the bar to help him lift off the squat then he proceeds to do what seems like having an epileptic fit then has the spotters help him back with the weight. It’s shocking! Although it does crack me up that he thinks he’s tremendously strong and that he thinks everyone watches as they are so impressed, what he doesn’t see is everyone laughing at him, bless! 

What is unique with your back? You can’t see it can you? When you train chest, arms shoulders etc you can see these muscles in the mirror which really helps you focus on the muscle and use the visualisation technique. As you can’t see your back that means you really have to focus on the movement and muscle to really hit the muscles hard. Your visualisation skills will develop very quickly with back training. So when you first start training back do not worry about the weight. Go for the feel, really feel all them muscles working, feel the contraction. Once you have mastered all that the weights you use will go up and you’ll be nice and strong and using great form with good contractions at the top of the movements. 

Right, on to the training! I am going to give you a beginner’s workout and an intermediate workout for the more advanced. We will stick with basic exercises as you will know by now that that’s what I know is best and for bodybuilding we don’t want any of them sexy exercises doing 400 movements at once. We are after building good quality muscle and as much of it as possible naturally OK?! The beginner’s workout will consist of three exercises and intermediate will consist of four. The exercises will consist of a vertical pull movement and two horizontal pull movements. For the intermediate workout I will add a big compound movement that will hit the whole body but will help build a big strong back, and it is one of the best exercises you can do!

 

Vertical pull:

Machine Pulldown (various grips)

Chins (various grips)

Cable pulldowns.

 

Horizontal Pull:

Bent over row

T-bar rows

Dumbbell rows

Seated and various cable rows.

 

Onto the workouts!

Beginners:

Machine Pulldown. 3 sets of 12-15 reps. 

You will find this machine in all gyms. It is great for building width to the back and also some thickness. You can use various grip positions but for this workout we will use a wide grip. Grab hold of the pulldown bar about 1.5 times shoulder width, keep the back in neutral, chest expanded and shoulders back. Keep your core muscles tight and start to pull the bar down to the top of the chest so you get a good strong contraction in your lats. Keep the shoulders back at the bottom of the movement, do not let them roll forward. Keep the chest up and squeeze the lats. Keeping the weight nice and controlled raise the weight back to the start position.

Dumbell Row.

A great exercise for building thickness and one that will help the beginner keep the back in neutral. Have one knee and one hand placed on a flat bench, back in neutral and core tight. Have the opposite foot on the floor and grab a dumbbell with the other arm. The starting position will be with the dumbbell hanging, while keeping the back in neutral pull the dumbbell up towards the body pulling through with the elbow and keeping the elbow close to the body. Focus on pulling with the back and not the arms! Slowly lower to the start position.

Wide Grip Seated Row 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

This is a great exercise for thickening up the upper back muscles and also for pulling the shoulders back for an improved posture as posture is important! We do not want them shoulders pulled right forward and have  a rounded back looking like An ape walking around the gym, it’s really not a good look trust me! On a seated row machine ( if your gym doesn’t have one of these use a cable machine and pull a bench in front of it), use a wide bar, for instance the pulldown bar. Sit on the bench, knees slightly bent, back in neutral and core tight, chest up. Take a wide grip of the bar and pull the bar into the lower chest. Keep your elbows up so that the elbow wrist and shoulder are all in line. Pull the shoulders right back and make sure you do not shrug your shoulders. Feel that contraction then lower the weight back to the starting position. You do not need a lot of weight on this exercise it’s all about the feel.

That’s it for the beginner’s workout. It will hit all the muscles in the back and get you off to a good start. 

Intermediate Workout. 

Deadlift  4 sets of 8-12 reps.

This is one of the best exercises you can do to gain mass on the whole body but also great for building thickness in the lower back and all over! Start with the bar touching the shins. Grab hold of the bar with one hand using an over grip and the other hand using an under grip. Your grip will be just outside your lower legs. Get you hips down and have your back in neutral, core tight and chest up. Once you are in position pull the weight off the floor until you are standing tall. Make sure you pull while pushing your heels into the floor. The best thing to do is rather than thinking of pulling the weight up, imagine you are pushing your feet through the floor. Then lower the weight under control back to the floor. So many people round their back when doing this exercise, don’t! Keep it in neutral throughout. If your back rounds you have too much weight. Form remember!!!

Bent Over Row  4 sets of 8-12 reps.

One of the best back exercises for thickness and width. Take an over hand grip on the bar, have your back in neutral and core tight. Have your back at about 45 degrees and knees slightly bent with your backside sticking out. Pull the bar towards the midsection pulling the shoulders back and pulling through with the elbows. Contract the back muscles then lower to the start position. Do not round the back or throw the weight up. Control and form at all times. I’ll be watching! 

 Wide Grip Seated Row 4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Same as in the beginner’s routine but using a little more weight, again keeping good form though.

This routine will be all you need for building an impressive back. The addition of deadlifts will take your physique to another level and make your physique more powerful looking.

Good luck with your back training, listen to what I have said and go for it! Do not ignore this important bodypart. I may be watching!

Peter

WELCOME SOFIE BUTCHART!

SOFIE BUTCHART ON TEAM NATURAL PHYSIQUE

Natural Physique has recently taken on the training and nutrition of dressage champion Sofie Butchart.  Sofie approached me to help with her nutrition for the competition year ahead and I also persuaded her to let me help her with resistance training which she was excited about!  

Sofie Butchart

Sofie Butchart

We are training at Muscle Limit Gym twice a week when she can and Sofie is already making great progress!  

Sofie Training Hard at Muscle Limit Gym.  

Sofie Training Hard at Muscle Limit Gym.  

Check here at Natural Physique and my Instagram (@Chownie1) for progress updates.  Check out Sofie's Instagram @sofiebutchartdressage and website www.sofiebutchartdressage.co.uk . 

OLD SCHOOL QUAD BLAST! - SISSY SQUATS

NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

The Sissy Squat doesn't sound like a tough exercise does it?  Ok, its not quite as tough as a back squat, but it is tough, do not let the name fool you.  It's named after a Greek mythical king called Sisyphus who was made to push a big rock up a hill only for it to roll back down again for eternity, as punishment for being a not very nice person.  He ended up with big legs funnily enough.

This exercise is a great quad exercise for men and women to add to your leg training, or if you train at home and haven't got much equipment, then this will hit the quads hard.  It isolates your quads really well as the hamstrings and glutes are mostly eliminated from the exercise.  

It's also a great exercise to superset with a compound leg exercise like the squat or leg press, this will have your quads on fire!  

To add size, shape and awesomeness to your legs then this is it, demonstrated by my buddy, of Diversity fame, former client and now owner of his own PT business Bodybox, Terry Smith -

4630AA39-7B1A-4674-82A7-EE13BD184AB3.jpg

-Stand Upright, feet shoulder width apart.

-Lean back until your body forms a straight line your neck to knees, supporting yourself by holding on to a piece of equipment.

- You can use just bodyweight or when you are stronger then hold a weight place across your chest.

- Descend as far down as you can to work through the full range

-Drive back up through the quads to the starting position. 

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Peter Chown

 

 

 

Age Is But A Number

I'm Too Old To Do That!

As we get older we do like to make excuses to not do things, I know, I've tried a few of them!  But age is just a number, ok as we age we do get a few aches and pains, Im now 45 and I definitely have a few of them due to my intense training for my sport, but that shouldn't stop us from doing things.  I hear many excuses about being too old to exercise, too old to eat healthy,  too old for this, too old for that, but it really hasn't  got to be like that.  

Over 40 and think you've missed the boat?  

Being over 40 doesn't mean it's too late to be the best you've ever been.  It's a great time to start a healthy exercise routine and start eating healthy.  Being over 40 isn't old  

Over 50? Why not look better than you've ever been! 

Take my client Karen here, she started exercising at 40, she has been training with me since 2007.  She's now 55, an inspiration to anyone over 50,  it goes to show with a healthy and fit outlook you can be just as active as you were in your younger days.  

 

Randhir Singh Transformation

A Natural Physique Success Story

Randhir Singh has been a client for a few years now and has made an awesome transformation over that time, his health has improved, he's changed physically and his strength has gone through the roof.  This is a short video I made for my YouTube channel a while back.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you would like me to be more active on YouTube then let me know and what you would like me to film and I'll get on it.

Peter 

London To Brighton Bike Ride 2016/2017

I never did do an update on the L2B bike ride last year!  The ride was amazing, we all completed it  and raised plenty of money for the MS Society UK.   Michelle and I raised nearly £2000 between us to help people like Michelle, who herself has multiple sclerosis.  Michelle completed it on her mountain bike and myself and my friend Nathan completed it on our BMXs.  Thank you so much to everyone that donated.

It was such good fun that we have decided to do it again in September 2017, again raising money for the MS Society UK.  We are aiming to get a good size team this year, so if you're up for it....