Exercise hacks for men in their 30’s
You’re in your 30's. You’re not old yet. Right? Of course not, but time is marching on. You don’t exactly have the body you did in college, but it’s not time to look for a wheelchair.
It’s just time to tweak your workout in a few ways so you can get the most out of it now while you lay the groundwork for a healthier future.
Life changes in your 30's. Not just your body but your lifestyle and time management. By 30, most people are starting to have families and they might be on the fast track at work.
If you can relate, you already know this can restrict your schedule, requiring that you make the most of what you’ve got.
While working out will help you to look and feel better, exercising in your 30's is also about prevention of heart disease, becoming overweight, and cardiovascular conditions.
To keep it real, it’s as an important of an investment as your IRA.
Here are ten tips to get the most out of your workouts!
1. Take An Inventory Of Your Body
We all have aches and pains, even sometimes joking about our “trick knee” or “bum shoulder.” If you truly have chronic injuries, get them checked out by a doctor.
It’s probably not serious, but you need to know so you can workout properly without rising further injury.
Take your strengths and weaknesses into consideration when choosing an exercise regiment. Bad knees? Kickboxing might not be right for you. Back issues? Powerlifting might not be a good choice. Issues with long-distance running? Think about something shorter.
You don’t want to aggravate anything and end up out of commission for months. Take injuries seriously.
2. Get Enough Sleep!
Your body isn’t going to rebound like it used to when you were in college, pulled all-nighters and felt invincible. Your body needs time to recuperate after workouts, whether it’s cardio, cross fit or heavy weight training.
You need sleep in order for your muscles to respond to training. Without the proper amount of sleep, your body may build up cortisol levels (a hormone released when your body is stressed) which can lead to storing fat, blood sugar levels being off and general fatigue.
Make sure you are sleeping properly. Put away your smartphone, tablet or other devices at least a half-hour before you go to sleep.
Studies have shown that using electronic devices right before bed can interrupt your ability to fall and stay asleep. If you don’t get your badly needed REM sleep, you’ll find yourself tired, groggy and unproductive the next day.
As an aside, this tip is also important to keeping your skin looking young. See this post on skin care for men in their 30's.
3. Change Your Attitude
In your 20s a lot of men have the belief during their workouts that they are invulnerable. They go as hard as possible and lift as much as they can, often trying to impress their friends (or the opposite sex.)
It’s time to let this go.
Be smarter about your workout. Understand what certain exercises do and how to get the most out of them. If you are lifting, learn how to use your reps and sets wisely to get the results you want.
In HIT and cardio training, make sure to push yourself but be smart about your limits. Leave the showing off to that young kid poising in the mirror at the gym.
4. Start Worrying About Your Heart
In your 30s, your aerobic capacity begins to decline. This means that your body is going to have a more difficult time extracting oxygen from your blood.
Your heart also begins to pump less blood with each beat, plus deposits may be collecting on your artery walls.
Start taking a serious look at your heart heath. Get rid of bad habits that are hurting you like smoking, eating fatty or processed foods and of course a lack of exercise.
Also, take a look at your family history and be aware of any history of heart disease.
If you haven’t already done so, introduce cardio into your work out and consider interval training. This can help you maintain and increase your heart strength.
By pushing your system and letting it rest, then repeating throughout the workout, it has been shown to not only help your heart but lead to higher rates of fat loss.
5. Consider Active Recovery
You are going to need more rest days as you get older, especially if you are completing a weight training-based workout.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have active recovery days. While your body is resting, you can still do some low impact cardio. Consider Yoga or a stretching day.
It still drives blood to your recovering muscles, but doesn’t put them under stress. And don’t forget your protein and water intake on these days!!
Also, be careful of recovery days becoming cheat days. Just because it’s a day of rest doesn’t mean healthy eating ceases.
And don’t treat cheat day like a chance to break all the rules. It happens all too often that people turn one cheat day into two or more and suddenly their whole plan for fitness has been destroyed.
As your body grows older, it’s susceptible to more and more injuries, especially in joints and tendons. It’s very important to start looking out for these before you injure them.
Emergency rooms across the country are full of men in their 30s and 40s with injuries saying “I was just playing a pick-up game of basketball!” just like they always did.
Develop a 10-15 minute stretching routine before any workout. Plus, don’t forget a cool down stretch after your workout. Using foam rollers is a great way to stretch out your muscles if you have injuries or joint problems.
7. Track Your Macros
Gone are the days of sitting in the dorm eating an entire pizza after a gym workout. As you move into your 30s, your body is going to process food differently as your metabolism begins to slow.
So, you need to be careful about what you eat. Consider a food diary so you can track your macros.
Tracking your macros. It sounds so adult doesn’t it? Well, it is and you need to consider it.
All tracking your macros really means is paying closer attention to what’s in the food you are eating. Keeping track of the calories, carbs, proteins and sugars or macronutrients.
By detailing them and learning about the building blocks of your food, you’ll start to understand how it affects you.
Make sure you are getting what you need so you can grow muscle, lose weight or whatever your specific fitness goal might be.
8. Make Time
You’re getting busy. Work and family, it adds up. That’s not a bad thing. You just need to make good use of your time and prioritize things properly.
But putting in the effort now will pay off when you develop those workout habits. You may need to get up earlier so you can work out before you go to the office, or after the kids go to bed at night.
By making workouts a priority and finding the right time and place in your schedule you will reap additional benefits. You’ll have more energy, sleep better and you’ll develop a sense of pride and accomplishment.
9. Set Goals!
If you know where you are going you are more likely to not fall prey to distractions and setbacks. Set your target and figure out how to get there.
Try not to be vague by setting specific goals. Use a workout diary or app to keep track of your progress. It keeps your eye on the goal as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment as you move forward.
Your approach to working out is going to be different based upon that goal. If you want to get swole, but need to balance family and work, it’s not going to be easy. Which leads to…
10. Be Realistic
About your goals, as well as your time. If you are working a full-time job (most likely with overtime) and raising a family, you are probably not going to have enough time to bulk up to become the next Mr. Olympia. Be honest about what you want to accomplish.
But being honest is by no means an excuse to not be healthy. Be realistic about your goals and the path to get there. You’re not twenty, but you’re not 40.
There’s no need to shock your body but pushing it is OK. It’s all about balance of health and life.