Just like with spring cleaning, as you enter your 30s, it's important to clean up your workout habits.
It should come as no surprise that your body naturally changes as you get older. It started happening from the second you were born and won't stop your entire life. In your 30s you may find yourself getting tired earlier in the evening, noticing subtle signs of aging on your skin and staring at a reflection in the mirror that looks a bit... different.
You're going to have to adapt your approach to fitness and nutrition. Eat well, stay hydrated, get enough rest, laugh often and stay motivated. Change your workout habits by taking into consideration that your metabolism is beginning to slow down.
Your workload is probably at an all-time high, which doesn't help when trying to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. But making small, positive improvements will keep you ahead of the game.
Since everyone is different, however, not all of these suggestions may apply to you — and that's OK! Take what you need and ditch what you don't. It's vital to keep in mind that this is your body. This is life, and it's completely natural. And remember: You're still young!
The Dreaded Metabolism Drop
By your late 20s, your body's ability to burn calories (metabolism) begins to slow down. And, unfortunately, that trend continues into your 30s. But the good news is that there are two ways to actively combat this:
- Clean up your diet. The biggest way to improve your diet is cutting out refined sugars and simple carbohydrates (things like white rice, white pasta, white bread, potatoes and sugary items). Taking in fewer unhealthy calories will help you maintain weight rather than put on more.
- Amp up your fitness. Fitness comes in many forms. Strength, cardio, speed, power and flexibility are just five of the 10 fundamentals of fitness. Regardless of how you like to exercise, always keep these in mind and consciously try to expose yourself to as many as possible. Some examples:
- Running, which pairs cardiovascular endurance, stamina and speed
- Step aerobics, which includes cardio, speed, power and accuracy
- Swimming, which addresses pretty much all 10
- Yoga, which requires flexibility, strength and coordination
HABIT #1: Not Progressing Your Workout
If you're not new to fitness, your 30s can be a time to push yourself. During each workout, set a small list of intentions. This will help you make sure you're getting the most of your workouts and that nothing is wasted. Try adding time, weight or intensity.
For example, add 10 minutes and a small incline to your treadmill session, add five to 10 pounds every two weeks to your strength training, push a little bit harder during your cycling class or add an extra lap to your morning swim.
And don't forget your core strength training. Add in a small ab circuit to keep your abdominal muscles tight and toned. This also helps your balance and strength.
HABIT #2: Having Vague Goals
It's important to set specific, attainable goals. If you're already rocking your workouts and have a routine in place, your goal might simply be to keep going. Or your 30s might be a great opportunity to take a second look at the goals you set in your 20s to see if they're still what you want.
But not everyone is in that position, so if you're new to the gym and find the thought of getting in shape daunting, write down your goals and seek the help of a personal trainer.
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to get in super-amazing shape? Do you simply want to feel a bit fitter and more energetic? Or are you already in great shape and you want to maintain what you've built?
Once you've made your decision, it's time to implement your plan. You can hire a personal trainer if you're really unsure of how top put together a training program and how to achieve those results.
Or you could do a little homework and find your own workout plan. There's no "right" way to exercise. As long as you're being safe, practicing correct form, increasing your heart rate and improving the fundamentals mentioned above, you're on the money.
HABIT #3: Skipping Yoga Class
You know how stiff everything feels in the morning and late at night? This is largely due to tension and built-up stress that you become accustomed to tolerating. Try adding some yoga into your routine. It'll help your body move freely, improve your sleep and help manage your stress levels.
Taking time out for yourself is incredibly important. Schedule time to do an activity that gives you immediate relief from the daily grind — this will offer you motivation, refresh you and elevate your state of mind
HABIT #4: Not Resting/Recovering Enough
Even in your 30s, your body can become a tight little ball of tension directly after a workout. A proper cooldown and foam rolling is essential for releasing this tension and returning your muscles to a resting state.
In our 20s, you might have happily walked around with knots in your shoulders and thought nothing of it. As you get into your 30s, these knots can become the cause of some nasty little headaches. So take time to stretch.
If you find yourself with a constant ache post-workout, find a sports massage therapist, voice your concerns and they'll assess your tension level and help you out. It's not the most comfortable massage on earth, but it's the most successful way to relieve deep knots and balled-up tension.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you in your 30s (or approaching them)? What's your current fitness routine like? What do you plan on changing in your 30s? Or maybe you've passed your 30s. Did you do anything differently? Or do you wish you had? Share your suggestions, stories and questions in the comments section below!