Forty Is the New Twenty

I am turning 40 on Tuesday. Gulp.

Michelle with birthday cakeFleeting moments of “midlife crisis” emotions have overwhelmed me in the past few months as I’ve considered aging and all that it entails. This came as a surprise. Age rarely matters to me—but this milestone feels different. The statistics on what happens to a woman as she ages aren’t great. I have access to this data on a weekly basis, and I found myself going down a rabbit hole until I realized it wasn’t helping.

After some contemplation, I directed my thoughts to my life and my health, specifically my post-40 trajectory. Clients have shared some pretty inspiring and unique goals in recent years, and I decided to take my inspiration from them. What matters to me? And where am I headed? In terms of my fitness and health, I set out to tackle a few specifics. On Tuesday, I’m going to put myself to the test.

1) Squat my body weight: 1 rep minimum

2) Handstand hold for four seconds (This might take a while.)

3) Pull up from a dead hang: 1 rep (Overly ambitious for such a long-armed woman, but I neurotically suspect it’s a skill I will need someday.)

4) Front support hold with perfect form for 90 seconds (Two pregnancies inspired this one. One expert insists 4 minutes is the sign of a healthy back. One thing at a time.)

5) Run 2 miles (Might seem like I’m padding the test, but I am a slave to heart rate range and rate of perceived exertion, and running for 2 miles straight is not my thing. Really want to see if I can do it.)

Like our Facebook page to see the results:

And if all this fails, to calm myself, I will repeat Jack Donaghy’s quote: “Forty is the new 20.” It makes me laugh and reminds me to think young to be young.

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL

Foolproof Your Workout…

Here are the four top mistakes I witness (and help correct) as women embark on a new exercise regimen. Take a glance and avoid them yourself.


1. The Extreme Dream: Some of us are attracted to the extreme. And, some of us bring that to our workouts. Embarking on an extreme workout regime at the start of your program only works in the movies. I love GI Jane as much as the next gal. To embark on a marathon, boot camp or high intensity program with out proper progression is asking for an over-stressed system and injury. The body does not respond well to drastic changes in movement, load and impact. It is a malleable, miraculous wonder but it also belongs to a very powerful union that will go on strike when pushed to far. If extreme workouts are your ultimate goal, let go until you have created a foundation of consistent, habitual, and moderately intense exercise.

2. Data Dodger: Some of us don’t like to look at the black and white of things. We feel strongly that we have a sense of our behavior and reject the suggestion to log, tally or track. Cue mistake number two. I completely empathize with the tedium of logging our behavior and have made this mistake myself. But look at it this way, if after monitoring yourself you learn you have a correct sense of your food, exercise, stress, etc., you will have the joy of confirming your self awareness. If your sense is inaccurate, you just saved yourself months of wondering why success is eluding you. Food logs, activity trackers, heart rate monitors and pen and paper tallies are essential tools to understanding where you are so that you know exactly what needs to change.

3. She Stops Short: Having goals is great. Writing them down is awesome. Stopping there is mistake number three. Goals are a start, tasks take you to the finish line. For example, “I would like to feel as healthy and fit as I did before having children” is a wonderful goal, but you must articulate the tasks that will get you there. Big picture goals don’t do much for our daily choices and that is where the real power lies. Tasks need to be specific and measurable. Here are a few strong examples:

  • walk on the treadmill at the gym every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday after personal training for 20 minutes in a heart rate range of 22 to 28 beats per ten second count
  • find one, new, non-food related stress reliever every week for the next two months
  • schedule and enjoy one hour per weekend to do something for myself
  • complete three sets of ten pushups, squats, rows and RDLs twice per week

4. Goals Glutton: Taking on too many changes at once is a quick way to derail your program (and become very frustrated very quickly.) Do me a favor, fold your hands like this:   FoldedhandsBlakelyFITNow, fold them with the fingers laced the other way. Change is hard. Too many changes at once is futile. I have no interest in holding you back, quite the contrary. You can succeed at every single one of your goals, however long the list, just not all at once. Prioritize goals and habits by meaning and importance, then chip away at them one at a time.

Good luck! You can do this! Email to gain even more of my help:

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL