Fit and Forty: “Unsexy” Training Methods are the Fountain of Youth

Did you know that we have the potential to lose 5 lbs. of lean mass per decade starting at age 25? That means that by the time that we are 65 we could potentially lose 20 lbs. of lean mass.[1]

Did you also know that we have the potential to experience a 2-4% decline in our Resting Metabolic Rate per decade starting at age 25? (RMR is the energy or calories required to sustain the body’s vital functions at rest.)[2]

HOWEVER, did you know that “unsexy” training methods – such as regular strength training; high intensity activities like kettlebell training and other types of interval training; and a healthy diet filled with nutrient dense, unprocessed foods – can prevent this from happening?

Why are lifting weights, kettlebell swings, and eating real, nutrient dense unprocessed foods considered “unsexy” training methods? Because most people don’t realize that sexy results year after year can be had just by following this simple plan.

“It’s so simple and unsexy, few can appreciate it.” – Dan John

Most people think that they need to follow some “sexy” fitness and diet trend like the Tracy Anderson Method, barre classes, and juice cleanses, to achieve their sexiest body ever; something that tells them that they will drop 10 lbs. in a week (only to gain it back in the same amount of time) and give them “long, lean, sculpted, toned, muscles” or make them “skinny ripped.”

People tend to resort to the “sexy” fitness and diet trends because they promise quick results that not only go against the science of strength training and nutrition but also are not sustainable. The “unsexy” takes some effort and planning; it’s so much easier to take a diet pill, make a shake, or follow a juice cleanse (even if it doesn’t work in the long run!) instead of to prepare a healthy meal with real foods and follow a regular exercise routine that includes strength training and some high intensity interval conditioning.  People say they “don’t have time,” and don’t want to put forth the effort.

Renaissance Periodization on detoxes, cleanses, body wraps, magic pills, and drinks:

“Our best advice; save your money and invest in proper diet and training instead. Use that money to buy something you’ll actually like, unless you plan on wearing body wraps to your next social outing.”[3]

Not only were you born with one body (and one body only) to live this life in so you should seriously consider making the time and putting forth the effort, BUT also the truth is, it’s the simple “unsexy” training methods that produce those oh-so-sexy results at ANY age.

Still don’t believe me?

Once upon a time, when I was 29 years old, before the rise of Facebook, and when flip phones were still in existence and actually “cool” to own, as I approached my 30th birthday, I heard about these horrors of aging…

I was warned that, physically, I should be prepared for a downward spiral… “After you turn 30 it’s all over! Your metabolism starts to slow down, you can’t eat the things you used to eat… and after you turn 35, forget it! You don’t have the abs you once had when you were in your 20’s. There’s no stopping the aging process and your slowing metabolism!”

At the time, by day I was working for a large, well-known consulting firm as an IT consultant, and by night training towards my black belt in kung fu and teaching spin classes part-time at a commercial gym. Naturally I thought these irrational fears and warnings about the supposedly unpreventable facts of aging were just that, irrational. If these tales of aging were true then I should expect to wake up on my 30th birthday with a gut and a head full of gray hair.

Instead, when I turned 30, I decided to prove these naysayers wrong so I put on a tiara and a feather boa, threw myself a big ass party and embarked upon a journey to be in the best shape of my life.

I went on to obtain my black belt in kung fu at age 32, discovered kettlebell training, got really serious about lifting HEAVY weights and about being really damn strong, completed the Iron Maiden Challenge at age 38 (a strength challenge which requires women to complete a 24 kg / 53 lbs. weighted pull-up, strict kettlebell military press, and pistol squat), and most recently at age 39, four months before my 40th birthday, I decided to start powerlifting.

But first I went on vacation and took this picture of myself in a bikini to show everyone what age 39 can look like if you put forth the effort to make “unsexy” training methods part of your lifestyle.

After I took this picture, I started powerlifting and one month before my 40th birthday I went on to compete in my first powerlifting meet and deadlifted 300 lbs. at 117 lbs. bodyweight.

I know what you’re thinking, am I crazy?? Who the hell do I think I am trying to defy the inevitable facts of aging? XENA??

Actually yes I do and you too can be your superhero of choice at ANY age if you follow “unsexy” training methods.

Then this year I turned 40.

I know, FORTY! It’s all over, right? I can fight off the slowing metabolism through my 30’s, and throw 2.5 times my bodyweight around as long as I’m under the age of forty, but then what happens at FORTY???

THIS is what happens at 40…

At age 40, you continue to follow “unsexy” training methods, and as a result you will be in better shape at age 40 than you were at age 20 or even 30.

THAT is what happens at 40, and BEYOND. You keep kicking life in the ass and you do it better and stronger every single subsequent year.

Artemis Scantalides is a former ballet dancer turned Kung Fu Black Belt, “Iron Maiden,” and powerlifter, and ReebokONE Fitness Ambassador. Artemis is co-owner of Iron Body Studios in Boston. She is author of the blog Iron Body By Artemis and creator of the strength workshop I Am Not Afraid To Lift.

[1] Precision Nutrition Certification Manual, Second Edition p.125

[2] Precision Nutrition Certification Manual, Second Edition p.125

[3] Renaissance Woman (Case, Davis, Israetel) p.253


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