Tuesday 10 December 2019

Age is no barrier to fitness, says fitness expert Pat Henry

Life can get in the way of staying trim but now is a good time to regain your mojo

Truth in the tape: Pat Henry gets the measure on Dave Robbins ahead of his programme
Truth in the tape: Pat Henry gets the measure on Dave Robbins ahead of his programme

Pat Henry

The new trend among dads is to try to regain their youth with many hoping to outdo their children with endurance races, triathlons, using heavy weights in the gym, etc. The uptake of adventure sports has increased by 70pc over the past five years especially with the over 40s and many reaching their peak into their 50s and more.

Age is no barrier. Muscles still form into your 80s. But with job commitments, family, etc, the once active body may be slowing down. Body fat is rising, muscle tone is poor, low energy and so on. It's time now to take control of our bodies again and start getting your mojo back. Gravity is constantly trying to pull us into the ground as we get older. It's time to fight back and regain that youthful physique. If you have played sport in the past you will respond quickly, and for those who never exercised, it's never too late to start.

The pressure is on men to get into shape, with the male becoming the sex symbol. There is rarely a new movie out where the men are not showing off their six packs.

And so to Dave. Over the next six weeks, our target will be to drop down one stone, lose inches, increase muscle and energy. Each week there will be a weigh-in and measure, and following a good, clean, healthy eating plan. To me, losing 14lbs over six weeks is a little over 2lbs weekly, which will be fat, not muscle or liquid. If done this way the excess weight will stay off. Lose it too quickly, it will not be fat. Slowly does it. Our programme will be based on three days a week exercising which will include running, cycling, fast walking, etc combined with a weight bearing programme, not using heavy weights, but light and moving fast to increase the cardio effect.

First we will look at body type which is really important. For example, if you happen to be Arnold Schwarzenegger who has a mesomorphic frame, trying to get as slim as Michael Fassbender is just not going to happen. Fassbender would be an ectomorph, ie small bone structure, narrow hips, and small ankles.

So let's be realistic and be the best that you can be for your own body type. You can be a mixture of two body types.

For 30 years I have been using the wrist measurement to determine exact and correct body-type rather than the weight/body fat method. Scientific American has just released a report saying wrist measurement is the most accurate test to assess an individual's body type. Also measuring of the wrist will determine if you are big boned, medium sized or have thin and small bones and then I can get an accurate picture of what body type a person is. Are you prone to carrying too much fat or are you muscular or simply too slim? Are you active? Do you feel you gain weight easily and keep it on or do you have trouble gaining weight? Do you eat when hungry or just eat all the time out of habit? Does your body look round, angular and slightly round, or a long and thin physique?

These are some of the questions you need to answer truthfully and honestly in order to get down to the realistic programme suitable for your own personal type.

An example of the benefits of assessing body-type by wrist measurement rather than fat/weight measurement methods would be if we were to assess our top rugby players. If we were to measure them by fat/weight they would come out as overweight according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment. However, this index is not taking the structure and shape into consideration. Ask your trainer in your gym to assist you if you are not sure.

Still unsure? Classic endomorphs include Jack Black and Nigella Lawson.

The aim for an endomorph should be to lose body fat. Weight training helps to build up the muscle/fat ratio and this will speed up the metabolism. It is advisable to use medium weights and train at a fast pace, not resting between sets. You should lower your calories and keep off sugars, chocolates and sweets. When not in the gym, you should look at ways to increase your exercise, ie don't use the lift, use the stairs.

Mesomorphs like Arnold Scwarzenegger and Kate Winslet tend to be predisposed to fitness and their physique tends to be athletic. To improve their shape, they should exercise and watch their diet. Weight training is advisable and they can usually handle longer sessions than the endomorph can. Keep the diet good.

Ectomorphs such as Michael Fassbender and Kate Moss need to concentrate on gaining weight and toning. Weight training is advisable but not too often or for long sessions. Keep the workout session slower. Keep the diet high in good calories, cutting out any junk or fast foods. Don't go mad with aerobic workouts. Go for walks at a moderate pace and keep them to a minimum.

When all is said and done, the secret to all of this is to remember you are a combination of two body types, and with that in mind the most important thing is to follow correct exercise programmes and diet, and give yourself six weeks to improve your figure and physique. Follow our programme and you will see the results.

Next week, we'll be showing you how to start your resistance training programme.

Irish Independent

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