5 Ways to Add Strength to Your Life

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Maintaining strength as we age is essential. My hope for each person is that you recognize the importance of resistance training for your long-term goal of being fit for your future. How? …

  1. Make it fun
  2. Find your method
  3. Be consistent
  4. Athlete mindset
  5. Fuel your strength gains

1. MAKE IT FUN
If you dread resistance training, you’ll never make a habit of it. You can get your mind to believe ANYTHING. Tell yourself that you love doing it for all the benefits you’re looking for. If it’s for your long-term independence and quality of life, that’s cool. If it’s an appearance-based reason, that’s awesome too. You will look younger, have taller posture, and feel more alive with a strong body. 

2. FIND YOUR METHOD
I’ve talked before about the variety of ways to do resistance training. Body weight (like we do in yoga), dumbbells (my favorite), resistance bands (work surprisingly well).

Another option…People don’t think of swimming as effective for improving strength and bone density. I disagree. Swimming if done vigorously is resistance training. When you propel yourself through the water you’re using your muscles against the resistance of the water. Olympic swimmers are ripped.

Bottom line, try different methods. Be willing to experiment. Do what works for you rather than doing something you hate for a while and then abandoning strength training altogether.

3. BE CONSISTENT
When you “make it fun” and “find your method” you’ll naturally be more consistent. Building your strength is a long-game goal. It takes time. Give yourself two years of 2 x week strength workouts and you’ll change your life.

4. ATHLETE MINDSET
You may not think of yourself as an athlete. Let’s change that. Athletes pay keen attention to the needs of their bodies. They train to get stronger for the game/sport they love and are committed to. Athletes don’t miss their workouts unless they’re taking care of an injury. And even then, they find some way to improve their body, perhaps with range-of-motion, mobility, or stretching exercises. While we may have different goals than athletes, the requirements for getting where we want to be aren’t that different.

5. FUEL YOUR STRENGTH GAINS
Look, your body is not going to get stronger if  you don’t give it the basic building blocks it needs. A diet of salads and pizza/pasta ain’t gonna cut it. I’m not here to tell you what your entire diet should look like. But for me, I’m a big believer in increasing my protein intake as I age. But is that right for you? 

A while back I read that seniors don’t need as much protein because they aren’t as active. Therefore they don’t need it. To me, that perspective feels limiting. For people in their second half, we want to be as active as possible, living our lives with gusto. We don’t want to be less active. That’s being old. We want to be more active, even as we age.Choices about nutrition is highly individual. The question to ask is, are you getting enough protein for your unique body? Your answer is individual for you. I was going to give you a couple of articles to read about protein intake. But the information out there is confusing, at best. I found articles with diametrically opposite recommendations.  Some research is convincing that we need more protein to offset sarcopenia, with a minimum intake of one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. other research actually says higher amounts of protein increase sarcopenia. 

Do your own research. But more importantly, experement and pay attention to what works for you. I’m convinced that my body is getting stronger as I age. I’m doing resistance training, I’m making sure my hormones are correctly adjusted, and I’m increasing my protein intake from meat and supplementation. What works for you may be different from what’s working for me.

I’ll just ask you this, would you rather be a lion or a lamb? My answer, roarrrrrrr! Let’s gooooo…stay strong, my friends.

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