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Age 20 (left) age 30 (right)

Recently I had my 30th birthday, turning 30 was once something I was worried about. I worried as I had so much I wanted to get done before age crept in and was always conscious of getting the most out of life. As I got older I added more and more things into my life, which meant I had less and less time for working out.

During my teens and early twenties I was obsessed with training and building muscle. In my early twenties, with a marriage, kids, and a business to run my ability to stay as focused and as committed to training started to waver.

When I was younger I used to brush off the excuses my older clientele would feed me as to why they couldn’t commit to their health and fitness due to their ‘responsibilities’. I swore I’d never let those excuses affect me. Sure enough as more and more responsibilities I had laid on myself the more the excuses started to surface.

Thankfully, I value my health too much to have let slide for too long. After a brief stint of being unhappy in my own skin and having to upgrade to a 34 size pant up from a loose 32, I decided to put together a plan that would get me back into my former 20 year old body without killing myself in the gym with unrealistic training and eating routines. A plan that would see me stay fit for life.

I was no longer that 19 year old with a maniacal focus on being the best built person I could be. A different approach was necessary, one that would appeal to a ‘normal’ person looking to get into shape who had all the excuses and had to work around a plan to fit in their busy schedule.

In this post I will highlight the key changes that have enabled me to reach my ideal shape and condition (equivalent to that of my 20’s) at age 30 and be able to maintain it without too much effort.

The difference between my 20’s and now (30) were large:

  • Training 5 days a week
  • eating anything I wanted and could stay fairly lean
  • did not count calories
  • was on my feet all day training clients – 6 days per week, averaging huge step numbers
  • lived at home
  • had no mortgage or large fiscal responsibilities
  • no kids
  • single

So having the goal of getting back my 20 year old body, using old techniques was not going to work as the game had changed. Two years ago I started back on my journey of being fit for life and I have maintained the results for 12 months. I know now that I can stay in shape with this plan in place for the rest of my life.

Would you like to stay fit for life? Follow these steps and you will be well on your way.

Hire a trainer!

As a personal trainer it was my job to be in shape and inspire others. The transition into a business owner who runs a personal training studio is entirely different. Business acumen, leadership, human resource and less face to face time training clients leads to a shift in focus. I was no longer as committed to train on my own, so I did what our clientele do, I hired a trainer!

This was a huge step for me, paying a PT to train me was like admitting I was no longer motivated to train on my own. But it was one of the best things I did for my health and for my business. I got to train with all my team rotating through trainers every 2 months and essentially sample the service exactly as our clients do. My expectations were high and not always met, but this helped in hiring decisions moving forward and in the management of my team. The benefits of hiring a PT are many, for me it was accountability to the session (I hate letting someone down), pushing much harder then on my own, and the after session support with checking in on my cardio and nutrition goals.

Track your macros!

In my 20’s I would only ever track what I consumed when I was competing for a natural body building competition. And by tracking my food what that really meant was following an eating plan to the T for 90 days straight, that would look something like this:

Breakfast: Oats with water, 1 grapefruit and 6 egg whites

Morning Tea: Oats with water, 6 egg whites

Lunch: Brown rice, green vegetables and 200g of chicken breast

Afternoon tea: Protein shake, rice cakes with cottage cheese and peanut butter

Dinner: Green Vegetables and 200g of meat or fish

I used to pride myself on my discipline to follow a plan like the above despite all other distractions, I’d even bring my own food to a wedding! I used to operate in 3-4 hour windows of time before a meal needed to be consumed. This was not a sustainable approach!

At the time of writing I have tracked my food for 371 days straight (even over xmas, birthdays, and holidays) and every day is a new day. I have targets for the following each day:

  • Total energy consumed
  • Macronutrient breakdown (percentage of carbohydrates, protein and fat) of total energy
  • Sugar
  • Fibre

Armed with knowledge and an application that allows you to track your food intake like Vision Virtual Training or Myfitnesspal I can easily fit my food goals into my lifestyle, by simply working in to my day the foods I want to consume.

Meeting your daily macronutrient targets isn’t recommended, it’s REQUIRED if you wish to progress. If you don’t know where to start with your own macronutrient goals and targets specific to you, then revert to step 1 of hire a trainer or go over your goals with your trainer in a nutrition session!

Everything else is secondary in regards to improving your body composition, like meal timing and not eating carbs at night etc. Focus on the stuff that really matters, before addressing the smaller, less significant stuff.

Lift weights!

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Weight training is something I will work into my week for the rest of my life. I lift 3 x 30 min sessions per week, and focus on only compound movements, like the dead lift, squats, chin-ups and bench presses. My metabolism had started to noticeably slow down at around 25, but the reality was that I just was not lifting heavy things often enough! Working out with a trainer and pushing myself for just 30 mins per session, I now have a great ability to consume calories in both a manageable and sustainable way, all down to the benefits of building and maintaining my lean body mass. Remember if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Test and measure!

Regularly sit down and get an objective look at how you are going. I get a goal session down every 9 weeks along with girth measurements and photos, and a DEXA scan every 6 months.  The numbers do not lie. With technology today its very easy to get accurate data of your body and its condition, regularly test and measure against your goals and personal bests and you will remain on track and motivated to make health and fitness a long term priority.

In conclusion, health and fitness is all about lifestyle, and fitting it into your particular life, if you can’t maintain what your doing now in 10 years then it is time to change your approach. Bring on another decade, I look forward to comparing my 20 year old body with the 40 year old version. And remember it is all about being at and beating your own personal bests, not anyone else, so stop comparing yourself to others and run your own race.

It is never too late to get in the best shape of your life! Check out my good friend Tony’s amazing transformation using the above steps as further testimony.

To find out more, and get started on your own fit for life goals contact us: Vision Personal Training Clarence St Sydney CBD

Yours in health and fitness,

Elliott.