Fitness Over Fifty in Four Simple Steps
Cover model, celebrity trainer and former pro athlete Owen McKibbin reveals the secrets of how he keeps his clients looking fantastic.
We’ve all hit the workout wall as we get older. The willpower to get out of bed and do something (anything!), or to make smart food choices seems to weaken with time. But, man, the changes … the feeling you experience when you do take those small steps is immediately empowering. But I wanted to find someone who could explain it better to our tribe at AGEIST. So I recently sat down with 17x Men’s Health cover model and all-around beast man Owen McKibbin. Following a brush with death in the emergency room, the 54-year-old has bounced back with a vengeance. He’s become a major advocate of the ketogenic diet and leads the BulaFIT Warrior Group (whose Facebook page offers regular workout videos). Here’s Owen’s four steps to staying motivated for fitness beyond 50 (you can find our extended profile on him here).
Go to Bed Hungry
If you’re overweight and want to lose pounds and inches, start by cutting out rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread. Those are high-glycemic carbohydrates. I also recommend the ketogenic diet which is high in fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. See if you can cut out high-glycemic carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, cereals) for a few reasons; they are high in calories and very high in sugar. In my opinion, and that of many other health professionals, sugar and inflammation are the major cause of disease in our society. And be sure to make smart food choices when you’re out to dinner. It actually feels good to send things back that you know aren’t going to serve you right and to substitute smart things like a green salad or mashed cauliflower instead of rice or french fries. If you do this consistently and make that deposit into the willpower bank, it gets easier and easier. You have to modify how you eat and how you view food. I have found that the older I get, the less food I need overall through the course of a day. I’m going to bed a little bit hungry is a plus.
Run Less, Lift More
A lot of times as you get older you’re not able to maintain such a high level of physical activity. You have to choose your activities wisely so you can get a good workout but not risk getting hurt. The older we get, the less people run in general. People think you need to run to get into shape. It’s the opposite, actually. You need to get in shape so you can run. Strength training and resistance training is a must as you age. It promotes bone density and lean muscle tissue.
Don’t Join a Gym, Just Move
Motivation is something that’s also challenging as you get older. But if you watch your calories, go to bed a little bit hungry, stay hydrated and drink tons of water, it can become more of a maintenance thing. And you don’t have to join a fancy gym or hire an expensive trainer. Movement is what it is all about. Stick with the basics and build from there.
It’s the Little Things
I often hear people say time is an issue. As the day gets longer, everyone gets busier, so I recommend getting your workouts done first thing in the morning. And remember something is way better than nothing. Look at your day as a set of challenges and a chance to make little deposits in the fitness bank along the way, from parking your car farther away from work and opting to walk and take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators. Start with walking and then throw a set of squats in every two minutes. Every other set throw in a set of push-ups and alternate between push-ups and squats in between two to three minutes of walking. And if you’re a single guy like myself, finding a nice local park or going down to the beach is a great way to get in your exercise and perhaps meet someone who has a similar interest. That’s always a great place to start.