Have you got some lifting experience under your belt and need advice on how to adjust your training, or are you brand new to strength training and want an article targeted at YOU not some twenty-something-year old? The good news is that turning the big four-oh isn’t the beginning of the end. Ignore all those people who say you’ve missed or are past your peak, it is possible to build muscle over 40. There are plenty of gains to be had, and the 40-something crowd is more active in the weights room than ever before. Forget slow cardio and tiny dumbbells you can throw further than the progress you’ll make with them and get ready to lift some serious weights.
Know your barriers.
Obviously, now that you’re older you’ve got more responsibilities than the average twenty-year-old. Family, work, and other social obligations can take up a lot of time, not to mention energy. Unexpected tasks and situations are more likely to occur and derail training plans. Learning to be flexible with when and how you train will be important. You might not always be able to train at the same time of day, or you might have to shorten your session when something comes up. You probably don’t have the time to make sure you’ve had the perfect pre-workout meal 2 hours before you train, so sometimes it might just have to be a muesli bar. No matter the circumstances, give each session your all and make the most of the time you have found to work on yourself, health, and fitness.
Know your limits.
Along with life circumstances, our priorities and goals also change as we age. While you once may have wanted to be the biggest or fittest guy or gal in the gym, now you’re more likely to just want to add a bit of muscle, lose the extra fat that’s crept up on you, and not get injured. At 40+ years you can no longer afford time off for injuries and probably won’t bounce back as well as the younger kids can.
Even though you know you aren’t 20-something anymore, it can be hard to remember this when comparing yourself to younger athletes. You need to realise that you probably won’t be able to keep up with the younger generation at the gym.
Trying to keep up with and or comparing yourself with others can lead to loss of motivation, feelings of failure and potentially injury. Allow the wisdom of your years to overpower your ego and work on making progress, not being better than others.
Know your body.
We all know that our metabolisms slow as we age. Not only does this mean you can’t eat whatever you want any more, but also this will affect your ability to recover from training. Luckily there are a few things you can do to improve metabolism and increase your ability to recover. Start with a healthy diet and try to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Limit alcohol and partying like you’re still twenty… Utilize supplements such as protein powder, BCAAs and glutamine to help your body repair and build muscle and generally recover from workouts. Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage every now and then and make sure you see a doctor or physio for any injuries!
Know your goals.
Even though you may no longer want to be king or queen of the gym, you will still need to find your motivation from somewhere. Whatever your goals, from losing weight, to adding muscle, to just being able to keep up with the kids, it helps to have your goals clearly defined. Set specific mini-goals to keep you motivated such as losing five pounds of fat or adding 2.5kg to your squat in a month. It may help to work with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist to help you set realistic goals and come up with a plan on how to do it.
To keep making progress toward your goals, first, you have to stay healthy and injury-free. It’s important to warm up properly before your workouts and also post-training mobility. Ensure your muscles and joints are warmed up before training, paying particular attention to any areas susceptible to tightness and injury. If you have had a previous injury it is likely you will need to do more mobility work in this area than others.
Know your options.
You don’t need a fancy 16-week program with a 4-week taper to build muscle and improve general fitness. The basics work no matter what your age so stick to the big, multi-joint compound exercises like squats, presses, rows. Add in some progressive programming which means slowly increase the weight over time, maybe 2.5kg per week if you’re feeling good, and you should be seeing gains in no time.
That said, after 40 years of wear and tear you may find these exercises start causing you pain. There are plenty of substitutes exercised if you find one is causing you pain or discomfort. If you’re experiencing lower back pain during back squats you could replace it with rear food elevated Bulgarian split squats. Barbell presses can be replaced by dumbbell presses and bent-over rows can be replaced by chest-supported or inverted rows. While there is plenty of information on the internet consulting a personal trainer may be a good idea so your program can be tailored specifically to you.
Know you can.
Lastly, just know you can do it. You may not progress as quickly as you once did (or could have done) but with perseverance and hard work you’ve still got plenty of gains left in you.
12 WAYS TO COMBAT STRESS, SLEEP BETTER & FEEL AMAZING EVERYDAY
Stress affects us all. Some days it's worse than others, and over time, it takes its toll on how we look, feel and perform.
Over 90% of adults say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and 74% say it's so great they feel unable to cope1. Add to this physical stress of training, injury, infection, or environmental toxins. Even certain foods can create stress on our bodily systems.
Some acute stress is helpful. However, chronic stress can be very harmful - even deadly!!
Here are ten things stress can cause and 12 ways to effectively combat stress:
Reduced Thyroid Function
Lowered Sex Drive
Irritability & Loss of Empathy
How do we fix this?
Exercise is more effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression than the top 5 antidepressant medications 2.
It might sound counterintuitive, but regular acute physical stress can significantly combat chronic mental stress. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety and depression3.
Exercise releases endorphins and gives you confidence which may help reduce your stress. During or immediately after training, be sure to use essential amino acids like AMINO SWITCH™ to accelerate recovery. AMINO SWITCH™ also contains the adaptogen Schisandra, which has been shown to increase energy and reduce stress.
You've probably heard the term 'LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Well, when it comes to stress, that is entirely true.
When you have fun and laugh, it's hard to feel stressed. Laughing has a natural lowering effect on cortisol (stress hormones) and increases serotonin (happy hormone). It also activates the Vagus nerve, which helps transport the serotonin from your gut to your brain.
One study showed laughing could help healing by activating the immune system, which could further reduce the effects of physical and emotional stress4. When we are stressed, it lowers our immunity which can result in increased inflammation and reduced recovery.
Try watching comedies or hanging out with people who make you laugh and enjoy life. Once you start, it can become infectious. 😊
Like laughter, singing also boosts serotonin and activates the Vagus nerve. This has a relaxing effect and has been shown to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety.
In one study, the music you enjoyed, because it brought back happy nostalgic memories, was the most effective at reducing stress markers.
So next time you're in the car on your way to or from work, belt out a tune you love at the top of your voice and watch your stress levels drop.
4) SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS:
People who live the longest, healthiest lives have two things in common: Purpose and community. Supporting friends and hanging out with friends and family can be stress-reducing.
One study showed men and women with the least social connections had the most significant levels of anxiety and depression.
However, pick your friends carefully and hang around people who support your goals and are genuinely fun to be around.
Many natural ingredients can reduce stress. Here is a list of the top 7 and the supplements you can find them in -
· Magnesium – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
This super important mineral is involved in over 600 bodily processes per day. It is critical for energy metabolism, nervous system relaxation, muscle recovery, energy, and so much more.
Nearly 75% of the population is not getting enough magnesium for their daily needs. Simply supplementing with magnesium citrate after exercise or before bed will profoundly benefit your recovery and lower your cortisol (stress).
· Ashwagandha – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & ALPHA SWITCH™
Known as the king of herbs. This Ayurvedic medicinal root has been used for centuries to help combat fatigue, reduce stress, and support energy. It is an adaptogen class of compounds that aid our mind and body adapt to stress.
Ashwagandha contains a natural compound called Withanolides that have been shown to lower cortisol (stress) and support natural hormone balance.
· Schisandra – AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™
This traditional Chinese medicinal berry supports qi (energy & life force). It elicits some of its benefits through liver detoxification. It is also an effective adaptogen (like ashwagandha) and improves how your body responds to caffeine by reducing jitters, improving energy levels and preventing an energy crash.
Schisandra needs to provide high levels of Schisandrin A like that found in AMINO SWITCH™ & ESTRO SWITCH™.
· Alpina galanga – COFFEE SWITCH™, THERMAL SWITCH™ & POWER SWITCH™
This unique alpine grown galangal extract has been shown to improve your tolerance to stress. It was voted 2019 innovative ingredient of the year and outperforms caffeine in focus and alertness scores without activating the central nervous system (without producing adrenaline or cortisol).
Alpina galanga will often be found in combination with caffeine or coffee, as it has been shown to amplify your body's response to caffeine by 30 – 50% and make it feel cleaner & longer lasting.
Alpina may also reduce adenosine in the brain. Therefore, preventing mental fatigue, tiredness and procrastination. It also boosts D2 dopamine receptor sensitivity, which helps combat stress by boosting mood.
The feeling of Alpina and Caffeine together is one of happiness, alertness and profound focus.
· Glycine – ADRENAL SWITCH™ & COLLAGEN SWITCH™
This non-essential amino acid has many benefits, including its tonifying effect on the nervous system. Glycine also helps support connective tissue recovery, immune response, and energy by supporting endogenous (internal) creatine production.
Like GABA, it has a calming effect if used after exercise or before bed. However, Glycine can be consumed before training, where it can help improve energy.
· L-Theanine – ADRENAL SWITCH™
L-Theanine is another non-essential amino acid with the ability to calm your body and brain. L-Theanine is found in green tea and has been shown to take the edge off caffeine (reduce jitters or anxiety) while promoting focus and elevating mood.
· Medicinal Mushrooms – VITALITY SWITCH™ & COFFEE SWITCH™
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine systems for centuries. They are adaptogens that help support your body's response to stress. They're also great at lowering inflammation which could be causing chronic physical stress. Medicinal mushrooms like Shitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail, King Trumpet and Cordyceps support energy and immunity while fighting pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungus etc.
6) GET YOUR MACROS & MICROS RIGHT:
Undereating or eating calorie-dense but micronutrient depleted food can profoundly affect your mental health, stress, and body fat levels.
Keep in mind 'FOOD CAN CHANGE YOUR MOOD'. Eating food that spikes and then drops your blood sugar levels can leave you exhausted, tired, grumpy, and hungry.
Being in a chronic calorie deficit can increase cortisol (stress hormone), slow fat loss, increase muscle loss, and increase inflammation and stress. Make your diet cyclical and have higher calorie days mixed in with your calorie deficit. Using KETO SWITCH™ between meals or during fasting on your calorie deficit days can reduce muscle loss, support brain function, and reduce hunger.
7) MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS:
We all know meditation and mindfulness are helpful ways of reducing stress. However, some people have difficulty clearing their minds when attempting meditation. Apps like 'Head Space' and others can teach you or guide you through meditation, which can be life-changing.
Cuddling, hugging, kissing, and sex can relieve stress by promoting the release of oxytocin and serotonin. These practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate and other emotional and physical symptoms of stress.
Chimpanzees also cuddle friends and family who are stressed, and it has the same hormonal response in our closest primate relatives.
9) YOGA & STRETCHING
Yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been shown to lower stress and anxiety for centuries. Studies looking at Yoga's overall effects have shown it to boost mood and lower stress. It may be as effective at treating depression as some medications.
Slowing your breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest, digest, relax & recover) nervous system. It is the opposite of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, which is activated by shallow quick breaths.
If you get into anxiety or panic, try 'Box Breathing'.
· Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
· Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
· Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
· Hold the exhale for 4 seconds.
· Repeat 4 times.
11) GET A PET:
Pets are like cuddling. They help us release oxytocin and serotonin. However, sometimes pets are even better because they generally provide unconditional love in return, and the relationships are not as complicated as human ones.
Having a pet may also keep you active as you must exercise them daily, which is stress-relieving.
12) GET OUT IN NATURE:
Being in nature, surrounded by trees, mountains, lakes, streams or even on the beach, listening to the crashing waves is therapeutic and stress relieving. Part of the stress-relieving effect is due to our connection to the planet, and part of it is the disconnection from emails, social media and more which can increase stress.
Another part is the sunlight on our skin boosts Vitamin D, endorphins and oxytocin, which have immune-boosting, hormone-regulating and stress relieving benefits. Disconnect at least once a week and exercise in nature (not just in the gym or around the block). Breathe in the fresh air and take in the calming effects being away from the city provides.
There are so many stressors in our lives and multiple ways to help manage or destress. You need to consider what is stressing you the most and make efforts to remove these stressors from your life.
If you practice all the above techniques but continue to expose yourself to a stressful job or relationship, it is like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. It will help but may not prevent all the adverse effects of stress.
Switch Nutrition aim to help people live healthier, more active lifestyles providing your body with all it needs to get the most out of each day with their wide range of products. Check out their range of products here.
One of the most apparent symptoms of stress is a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Getting a good night's sleep by having ADRENAL SWITCH™ before bed will be the number one place to start.
And when you wake up, try replacing your daily brew with COFFEE SWITCH™ for longer-lasting healthier energy!!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified healthcare provider.
Magnesium deficiency (or hypomagnesemia) is a common, yet often overlooked health issue. And if left unchecked it can lead to serious health problems.
While there aren't sufficient statistics here in New Zealand, in the United States around 2% of the population are magnesium deficient, while other studies suggest 75% are not meeting their recommended daily magnesium intake.
Magnesium deficiency can also be hard to detect, as the obvious signs typically don’t appear until your levels are unhealthily low. Serious health problems that can develop as a result of low magnesium include: diabetes, celiac disease, hungry bone syndrome and more.
To help you avoid running into these health problems in future, here are 10 signs you might need a magnesium pick me up this winter:
1. You Experience Muscle Twitching And Cramping
Do you experience constant twitches, tremors, or muscle cramps? According to scientists, these symptoms are caused by an increased flow of calcium into your nerve cells. This causes your muscle nerves to become over-stimulated. Supplementing with magnesium is a great way to help calm your over-excited nerves and relieve twitching or cramping.
2. Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can also be enhanced by a magnesium deficiency. Recent studies found that low magnesium levels came with an increased risk of depression. Scientists have also theorised that low magnesium may promote anxiety - although more research is required on the subject.
3. You Constantly Feel Fatigued Or Weak
Feeling fatigued or tired is another common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Fatigue can be defined as experiencing physical or mental exhaustion. We all feel fatigued from time to time, so you’re likely to have to experience additional symptoms before being diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency.
4. You Have High Blood Pressure
A variety of observational studies have shown that low magnesium levels along with a poor diet, can lead to a rise in blood pressure. Other reviews also found that magnesium supplements had positive effects in lowering blood pressure, which also reduces the risk of heart disease.
5. You’re Asthmatic
Interestingly enough, magnesium deficiency is often found in those with severe asthma. This is due to the fact that a lack of magnesium can lead to a buildup of calcium in the lungs - which constricts your airways and makes breathing more difficult. In some cases asthmatics are given an inhaler with magnesium sulfate to help relax and expand the airways.
6. You Have An Irregular Heartbeat
One of the more serious symptoms of magnesium deficiency is an irregular heartbeat (or heart arrhythmia). Patients who suffered from heart failure were shown to have lower levels of magnesium compared to healthy people. Treating heart patients with magnesium is also proven to help improve the health and function of the heart.
7. You Suffer From Migraines Or Migraine-Like Headaches
Multiple studies have shown that low magnesium levels in the brain can be related to migraines. This is because magnesium is needed for optimal nerve function in the brain. Taking magnesium supplements helps improve your nerve function and can lessen the likelihood of migraine attacks. Just remember to speak to your doctor if your migraines / headaches still continue.
8. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping
Magnesium can help relax the body and the mind, which helps you get a better sleep. It also helps the “GABA” receptors in the brain function properly. GABA is the neurotransmitter which allows the brain to reach a restful state.
9. You Have Weak Bones (Or Osteoporosis)
Osteoporosis is a disorder where your bones become weaker and are more likely to damage or fracture. Factors such as old age and lack of vitamin D and K are commonly associated with this disorder, however magnesium deficiency can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. As well as weakening bones, low magnesium levels can reduce the blood levels of calcium, which is also crucial for bone health.
10. You’re Pregnant
Often the higher the estrogen or progesterone levels in a woman’s body, the lower the magnesium levels. This commonly occurs during pregnancy. This is part of the reason why pregnant women experience more cramps and other muscular problems in the second half of their cycles - as during this time their magnesium levels usually drop.
How Much Magnesium Should You Be Taking?
According to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, adult men should consume between 400g and 420mg of magnesium per day.
Women on the other hand should be consuming between 310mg and 320mg daily. It’s also recommended that pregnant women consume a higher dose than those who are not pregnant (as touched on above).
Need high-quality Magnesium?
Check out Sportfuel’s range of magnesium supplements today.
Juice bars might be the latest big thing. All your friends are going. There's one right next to the gym. But you don't have to stand in line for twenty minutes to get the best protein drinks out there. In fact, those "super smoothies" or "super juices" may be preventing you from reaching your goals rather than helping. Juice bar smoothies and drinks are often high in sugar. I can hear you thinking, but it comes from fruit. Yes, but you wouldn't eat the amount of fruit needed to make your juice in one sitting. And some of the fruits listed in the ingredients come from sugar-packed concentrates. Put the drink down and step away now.
Plus, to really fuel your body to grow and repair muscles, you need to use protein powder. More juice bars are using protein powder in their drinks these days, but you're still better off to keep it simple and stick to quality whey protein without the unknown extras.Here, we're laying down the law when it comes to why adding protein powder to your protein drinks ensures you get the real nutrition your body needs.
1. Whey Protein Is High-Quality
It's a fact: not all protein supplements and forms are created equal. Luckily, whey protein is packed with amino acids and is easy for your body to digest.The three main types of whey protein powder are concentrate, hydrolysate, and isolate. The most common type you'll see on the shelf is whey protein concentrate.All three types of powders are equally high in nutritional value.
2. It Can Increase The Antioxidants In Your Body
It's not just a glass of red wine that's a great source of antioxidants - and protein shakes won't leave you feeling a little off the next day.Making sure you get enough antioxidants means that your oxidative stress levels are lower, meaning your body can easily fight off disease.Glutathione is found in whey protein, and it's a huge source of antioxidants. An added bonus? Glutathione can also help you to lose weight faster!What's not to love about that?
3. It Reduces Inflammation
We've all been there: experiencing soreness after a killer workout that just won't go away. Did you know that chronic inflammation can even lead to disease?To combat this, consume protein drinks rich in whey powder, which can lower your body's levels of C-reactive protein: the very thing that generates inflammation.Prevent soreness and inflammation before it starts by drinking a protein shake before your next workout.
4. It Can Help To Lower Your Blood Pressure
If you've got hypertension, you're at a higher risk for heart disease. Good news? Whey protein powder can help to lower your blood pressure.Why?Because whey proteins contain lactokinins, which are bio-peptides that can help keep your blood pressure at a safe level. It's equally effective for men and women.
5. It Helps Your Muscles To Grow Faster
We all know you want to be bikini-ready in as little time as possible. Protein drinks can help. It's also a great preventative strategy when it comes to protecting the muscles you've worked hard to build.Since whey protein contains a lot of leucine, the most growth-stimulating amino acid, your muscles will build faster.
You're An Expert In Protein Drinks!
Now you know why adding whey powder to your protein drinks really makes a difference in healing and strengthening your body.For more information on the benefits of protein powder, vegan protein powders and mass gainers, and to learn where you can pick some up, check out our website and blog.
4 Reasons You Need to Buy Whey Protein
When you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, the key is protein. We're sharing the 4 reasons why you need to buy whey protein in this post! Read here!Transforming your body has as much to do with vitamins and minerals as it does with actually working out.
Vitamin deficient but still hitting the gym? Your gains or weight loss goals are probably out of reach.That's partly because the human body needs 0.8 g of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscle.It doesn't seem like much, though the reality is most people couldn't even guess how much protein they eat per day.The uncertainty is one reason why people buy whey protein to supplement their weight loss and workouts.
Buy Whey Protein: It Reduces Post Exercise Eating
Losing weight takes a combination of many different factors. Admittedly, it's no easy task. Though one thing you can easily hone in on is reducing your post exercise meal. It's tempting to over eat after you've just expended energy. Don't!Instead, drink your whey protein. A study found that whey protein intake after exercising reduces subsequent energy intake. Less food means fewer calories, fats, and eventually less weight. Not only are you getting protein, but you're getting full.
Whey protein contains all the essential and nonessential amino acids. This means it's "complete," in the sense that your muscles are getting the maximum benefit.Your body also can utilize 100 percent of whey protein. Another notch on the "complete" scale.This efficiency is especially important because other proteins offer much lower absorption rates.Think you're getting all the protein you need from foods? Think again.
Whey protein has been used for years and years in both the bodybuilding and weight loss industries.Why? Well, because whey protein works. Studies have proven that whey protein helps increase fat loss while sparing lean muscle mass. We also have evidence that whey protein in conjunction with exercise promotes muscle hypertrophy and enhances gains in both untrained and trained individuals.If you want the scientifically backed supplement that'll boost up gains and shed your pounds, buy whey protein.
Whey protein comes in a standard powdered form that's usually mixed with water and consumed.However, those of us using whey on a consistent basis might want to make our intake methods a little more interesting.If that sounds like you, you'll be glad to know that whey protein can actually make a great cooking ingredient.You can use it to make baked goods, soups, salad dressings, ice cream, pancakes, mashed potatoes and more. Any extra treat you want can become supercharged with protein after only a few easy adjustments to your recipes.
If you're looking to increase your muscle mass, or lose weight, buy whey protein. The supplement does wonders for anyone looking to get fit.Though if you're still not convinced, check out our store. We stock a large variety of supplements, including whey protein. There's no better way to get acquainted with whey protein than to shop its different varieties and try a few out for yourself.Trust us, you won't end up disappointed.