How to Plan a Personal Comeback
I interviewed Ann Marie Henry, a local Arizona Personal Trainer, who is accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and Tivity Silver Sneakers, a program for the “deconditioned” (or people who need a comeback). I asked her about training for your personal comeback. Here is our conversation:
Q: As we age, we can’t really expect a bikini body, right? What is a realistic expectation in our 40s-50s-60s?
Ann Marie (AM): Modifying your body at any age is possible and that includes a bikini body. A bikini body will take hard work. I would recommend hiring a trainer who specializes in bikini competitions, follow a specific diet plan, and hope that your genetics play their part.
Q: When you haven’t been exercising properly, or enough, for decades, where does a gal start?
For the average gal, start slowly. Get good gym shoes. Avoid Cross-Fit at first, till you have developed some conditioning and proper form. If you are a “deconditioned” person, Silver Sneakers and NASM recommend that you do 1-2 sets of 15-20 reps with lighter weights on various exercises. If you are unable to do this on your own, hire a Personal Trainer. A good Personal Trainer should take you through a series of assessments to help identify where your body is ready to start, identify prior injuries and limitations, and what needs the most conditioning to avoid injuries and setbacks.
Q: Dara Torres developed a team of people to begin her swimming comeback. Should we begin with a team of professionals when we make our comeback: Trainer, Massage Therapist, Doctor, Nutritionist, Naturopath, others?
A Personal Trainer is a must to help you develop proper form and guide you through proper exercise progressions or regressions. The trainer will challenge you to move outside of your comfort zone. Once you have the form down, you might consider group training.
You might want to consult a Nutritionist if you have a lot of weight to lose. Most Personal Trainers are skilled in anatomy and body mechanics, but may have only a basic background in Nutrition. More than an overview of Nutrition isn’t required for our certifications.
A Massage Therapist is wonderful tool to have in your back pocket. They are good for improving range of motion of joints, stretching tight muscle groups, and of course, it always feels good to have some of the muscle strain flushed out. Make sure to drink a lot of water post massage.
You may benefit from a Naturopath who will tend to prescribe natural solutions for improved energy and other chronic health conditions.
Q.How much effort will it take, how long will it take to lose weight?
To lose weight when you are over 40, a half pound a week is realistic. Start by cutting back calories. Maintaining a food log is important. People who log their food lose 50% more weight than those who don’t. I recommend MyFitnessPal because I personally had a lot of success with it and it’s not hard to use. I also recommend the Isagenix Weight Loss Program because it worked well for me and is easy to follow. No matter what program you use to lose weight, weight training is critical to prevent loss of muscle mass. The goal is to burn fat, not melt muscle.
Q: How does Body Mass Index (BMI) fit into the picture?
BMI is an old tool that only considers height vs weight. It doesn’t take into consideration lean body weight. So even body builders who obviously have no fat on them will measure a high BMI if their muscle mass weight exceeds the ratio to their height. So while the BMI is a useful tool, it is not perfect. A normal range is 18.5-24.9, so just figure a good measure is anything under 25%.
Remember, diet and exercise fight fat and there’s not much else to measure that will change that.
Q: Fitbit or smartwatch?
Either, because both keep you focused on movement.
Q: After you reach a goal, how do we keep our intensity?
Keep setting new goals.
Q: Any last words of wisdom?
Just move! Keep moving! Be mindful of what you eat. Make your calories nutrient dense. Put your computer on the counter and stand while you work. Fidget all the time – it burns calorie