Common Challenges

Personal Fitness Challenges for Women in Midlife from Margaret Emerson on Vimeo.

I specialize in mid-life fitness for men and women. These are the common challenges of mid-life when it comes to staying fit and healthy and getting the most out of your workout plan:

1. You’re busy with work and family and don’t have a lot of time for exercise.

What you don’t have time for is exercise that won’t get you results. The most common misconception about exercise is that if a little bit is good, a lot more is better. This isn’t always true.  If you’re trying to lose body fat and tone up, you need more of the right kind of exercise. Going on long jogs or spending hours on the elliptical at the gym is a waste of your time.  It won’t get you the results you’re looking for.

In fact, some people may even gain weight when they take up running. There are a few reasons this can happen—mostly because long bouts of slow cardio can actually increase your appetite or decrease your resting metabolism. The body is an amazing thing, it will do everything it can to keep you in homeostasis.

Mixing things up, building muscle and exploiting your body’s recovery mechanisms is key to efficiency. That’s why a professionally-designed fitness practice is so helpful to help you get the most out of the little bit of time you have for intentional exercise. (Tip: try to get as much UN-intentional exercise as you can throughout the day. Walk or bike instead of driving when possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Run up the stairs instead of just walking up the stairs. Break up your desk job with stretching or squats, or get a standing desk.)


2. You get bored with the same exercise routine.

Your body gets bored, too. If you go to the gym and do the same thing each time: 20 minutes of cardio, followed by a circuit around the machines, taking 20 second breaks between each set, then you’re not only boring yourself but you’re being counterproductive with your exercise routine.

Do you feel fairly comfortable when you work out? Do you go on a run or bike ride because it feels good and you don’t get too out of breath? While any kind of exercise is better than no kind of exercise, and the best kind of exercise is the kind you think you can do for the rest of your life, there’s no reason to stay in a rut. The problem with ruts is your body will quickly adjust to the same level of exertion and you will no longer see progress or results.

I will design an exercise plan that will keep you motivated, surprise you and challenge your body in the right way. You’ll look forward to your workouts and you’ll see results in all the right places.


How to Lose Those Last 10 Pounds from Margaret Emerson on Vimeo.

3. You’ve lost weight before with diet and/or exercise but you always gain it back.

Most diet programs focus on how much weight you can lose. While I won’t say it’s “easy” to lose weight, it’s much more difficult to keep the weight off long term (longer than 12 months). This isn’t about willpower. It’s about doing the things that will RESET your hunger and metabolic hormones. One key is finding the kind of nutrition plan that allows you to feel satiated, be nourished, and not stress counting calories.  The other key is exercising the right way to keep your metabolism humming by adding and maintaining muscle. Your hunger hormones are going to be working against you if you eat the wrong foods and waste a lot of time on the wrong exercise. If you’ve ever told yourself, “I’d rather be overweight than obsess about food” then you know exactly what I’m talking about.


4. Your current exercise routine doesn’t seem to be improving your fitness or changing your body composition.

See #2 above. Are you still getting somewhat sore a day or two after your workouts? If not, you’re probably no longer improving your fitness. If we work out alone or even with a workout “buddy”, and not training for a particular sporting event, we’ll likely do things on the side of “comfortable” or “routine” rather than treat every workout as an opportunity to test our capabilities.

When you work out with a personal trainer, you’ll find that you’ll be pushed a bit more than you’d ever push yourself, and that translates into a better workout in less time. That doesn’t mean suffering! While you should be feeling like you’re giving your all during an exercise routine, you should feel BETTER after a workout than compared to not having done anything. You can and should feel muscle soreness the next day or two. (Joint pain and soreness isn’t normal or desirable.)


5. You hate (or don’t have time/interest/motivation) to count calories in order to lose weight or maintain your loss.

I’m not a nutritionist or dietician, but I can tell you from my extensive research and personal experience that it IS possible to retrain yourself to respond to hunger signals and eat only when you’re truly hungry and stop before you’re over full and still maintain your weight loss.  By avoiding foods that don’t trigger cravings and blood sugar swings (sugars, starches and certain carbohydrates), and by filling up with nutrient-dense foods, you’ll find that your cravings will lessen and you’ll feel satiated and nourished, without counting calories and obsessing about your next meal.

I have several books, podcasts and websites I recommend to clients who are willing to try something different from the media- and corporate-driven conventional thinking that’s done nothing but increase the incidence of obesity and diabetes worldwide since the 70s.


6. You’re eating low carb, Paleo, Primal or HFLC and you’re tired of being told to “carb load” by your trainer.

Has your trainer or gym instructor told you that you won’t have any energy for exercise if you don’t eat things like bread, pasta, rice, or sugar-filled energy bars or drinks? I won’t push carbs on you. I’ve personally been eating a low-carb, no sugars, grains or starches diet for 2-1/2 years and have found it to work marvelously for me, even while exercising. I know that everyone is different, and some people need more carbs than others in order to feel their best. Some people prefer to eat less animal products than others. Some people feel really good on a Paleo diet. But I do know that no one needs to be loading up on refined starches and sugars or eating “empty calories” in order to fuel exercise.


7. You already know what to do—eat better and stick with an exercise plan—but you need accountability.

Accountability is one of the critical factors in weight loss and maintenance. My packages include MyFitnessPal (or similar) monitoring, to keep you accountable to your selected nutrition plan. I’m not going to shame you if you have an unscheduled cheat meal or snack. But you’ll know that I’m watching, and you’ll have to decide if you are serious and really do want to lose weight or eat better, or if you’re just making excuses to yourself and everyone else.

Check out my training packages and make the commitment to do what it takes to look and feel better!