Posted by: Tanille | 2008/10/01

effect of age on fitness results

Hi there i am qute depressed i used to train 3-4 times a week in my 20s and had a body so great I got compliments for it from the moment i walked outside. I am now 34 and train 5-6 times a week and cannot get close to these results. I am really disappointed as i estimated my body would start looking different when i reached 40 but it started soon after 30.

What is it that happens in the body to make it stop responding to exercise the way it used to? I lift heavier weights than i did in my 20s, but with fewer results. Also i have noticed that since my body has become exercise-resistant, dieting seems to work better. I can train very intensely for two weeks and look the same, but if i diet for three days there is a definite change. Have I reached the age where what you eat is far more important than the exercise u get? Could u explain the effect of age on the body' s response to training?

Also, what makes the body start to deposit excess fat in the midsection? In my 20s I always used to gain in the butt and thighs while my waist remained small n my tummy flat. Now that is exactly where any excess weight settles - the waist and tummy. Very odd.


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Our expert says:
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Hi Tanille

There is a big change over time. The body produces less of the key hormones that are required to cause the adaptation to training - less testosterone, for example, means less muscle adaptation. Less muscle and less lean mass means lower metabolic rate, which adds up, over time, to cause weight gain. So that's what you are fighting against.

Diet helps because you rapidly cause changes in the balance between energy in and out. That's a short term win, but it's not a long term argument because it actually ends up slowing your metabolic rate down even more anyway.

The training will never work in 2 weeks though - it takes much longer. You have to give it much more time and much more consistency. My feeling is that with ageing, the most important concept is that you give the body consistency. Chaning your tactics often doesn't too any good. So I don't know what is specifically in play here - your training history is relevant, but I don't know what has changed between now and then (apart from age). But reading between the lines, it seems there is a lack of consistency, and that's what needs to be addressed, in my opinion...


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