Fitness After 40 – and Beyond!
From hormones to fitness as we age, our body definitely changes and we need a different approach to getting fit, aka fitness after 40. As Michael Spitzer explained in Part I of our interview, that with the proper diet and exercise you can achieve your goals – no matter the age! In the final part of our interview we discuss hormones, fitness after 40 and his amazing book!
Fitness after 40 – Hormones got you down?
Fitness after 40 – What are tips to help women balance their hormones to induce weight loss?
[Read Mike’s full article on estrogen HERE.] Let me answer that with an excerpt from my book:
In the years leading up to menopause, the female body’s normal levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate in an irregular fashion.
Some medical professionals use the analogy of an engine beginning to “sputter” in the last few minutes before it shuts down. Because of these hormonal changes, most women experience a number of symptoms during this time (ages of 43 -55).
The most commonly reported symptoms include the following:
- Mood changes
- Hot flashes and sleep problems
- Decreasing fertility
- Menstrual irregularity
- Vaginal and bladder problems
- Changes in sexual function
- Loss of bone
- Changing cholesterol levels
Many women claim products containing these compounds help alleviate many of the unpleasant symptoms described above – symptoms which are normally linked and attributed to the premenopausal years.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM)
- Vitamin E
- Natural phytoestrogene & natural progesterone USP
DIM is the main ingredient found in most of the health food supplements now advertised to help support a healthy balance of hormones in women.
Research has shown that DIM seems to work as an “estrogen balancer”. By balancing estrogen and minimizing the excess accumulation of estradiol, DIM is also believed to help offset symptoms such as easier weight gain, moodiness, and breast pain.
Natural phytoestrogene and natural progesterone USP are found in a number of special purpose lotions. These formulations claim to help the body maintain a healthy estrogen/progesterone balance and ward off estrogen dominance.
Fitness after 40 – On the flip side, what are tips for guys with low testosterone?
[Read Mike’s full article on testosterone HERE.] I will apologize for referring to my book again, but because these are common age related questions I address them in pretty good detail there:
The male hormone system can be viewed as being similar to a factory. A boss sends orders down to the factory telling it how much testosterone needs to be produced.
- The factory is found in the Leydig cells of the testes.
- The boss is the pituitary gland.
- The orders that are sent from the boss to the factory are lutenizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
There are two primary reasons this process falters in men as they experience a decline in male hormone with age.
In the first case, the Leydig cells of the testes have lost the ability to produce adequate testosterone.
The hypothalamus will detect low levels of testosterone in the blood and send signals to the pituitary that the factory needs to pump up production. However, all these attempts to stimulate activity are to no avail.
In this case, one could say the factory is simply worn out. No matter how much they are stimulated, the testes simply can not produce testosterone as they did years earlier.
From a clinical sense, blood tests can reveal this condition. If a patient has very high levels of LH and FSH, but low testosterone, it usually indicates a classic case of testicular failure. The body is trying to increase production, but it is unable to do so.
For individuals who fit the above description, supplemental testosterone in the form of creams, gels, or injections is typically the only way to restore normal male hormone levels.
It should be mentioned that this cause of testosterone deficiency is primarily seen in men over the age of 55.
As a general rule, most men under the age of 55 still have the potential ability to generate sufficient testosterone naturally. The “factory” is usually still alive and kicking, but there is another problem in the process.
In this second case, the testes receive little or no message from the pituitary.
From a clinical sense, blood tests can also reveal this condition. If a patient has low levels of LH and FSH along with low testosterone, it usually indicates the body is not even making an effort to stimulate increased production.
The positive thing about secondary hypogonadism is that it is usually treatable.
The levels of female hormone estrogen increase with added body fat. In men, this battle between estrogen and testosterone can create a hormonal balance problem. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower have anti-estrogen properties that help stimulate the burning off of extra estrogen in men.
Since I personally find it tiring to eat broccoli all the time, I also relied on dried vegetable capsules that are available from health food stores. This supplement makes it much easier to get 3-4 servings of cruciferous vegetables each day.
Grapefruit on the other hand tends to inhibit the liver’s breakdown of estrogen.
Using heavier weights when performing compound lifting motions involving large body parts has also been shown to raise testosterone levels as the body attempts to trigger its muscle growth adaption mechanism.
Fitness after 40 – Tell us about your book: Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond?
The interesting thing is the book was not originally my idea at all. But briefly what happened was people started coming up to me and saying “I did not know you were in your 50s, what do you do?”
I would offer them some advice involving both diet and exercise and think nothing of it.
But time and time again these people started coming back to me with gratitude saying “Thanks Mike, your advice did more for me than all the other stuff I have tried in the past or anything I got from paying some personal trainer – you need to write a book“.
I dismissed the idea at first, but after it kept happening I realized there must be a need for something like this.
Fitness after 40 – Why was it important to write a book for this audience?
As explained above, I originally dismissed the idea of writing a book since I just assumed there was little more to be said on the subject after all these years.
But when people kept urging me to write it and saying the advice I gave them was different from what they had gotten elsewhere, I started to look into it. I realized there was not much out there for people over age 40.
Yes, I found a few things but they mostly just described reduced fat diets with some walking and maybe some light yoga. Certainly helpful — but not the indepth type of program that is needed to really fight Father Time and keep you strong, lean and mobile as you get older.
I could not find much at all out there — and since I am now in my 50s myself, I was sort of sympathetic to the idea too.
Fitness after 40 – What’s a take away point for this book?
In the 1800s there were crooks traveling in the Wild West selling Snake Oils from covered wagons. Those same people exist today only the TV infomercial and Internet have replaced the covered wagons.
Every week there is some new Diet plan or herbal supplement that promises easy fast weight loss … BS!
There are commercials saying you can stay fit and firm without lifting a finger …MORE BS !!
The 100% truth is that fitness at any age .. but especially when aging boils down to 3 things”
- Lean Protein & Complex Carb Based Diet with planned cheat days
- Weight Resistance Training
- Some cardio – far more important for lung and heart health than any real “fat burning” benefit.
I have never in 35 years seen a single case where this 3 step approach fails to yield results – even in people who claim “I have tried everything”.
Of course there are important details to understand with each of these 3 bullet points – there is a right way to do it and a wrong way – but I cant’ tell you how many times I have heard people remark …”That was easier than I thought it would be” … once they know the right way.
They were then surprised they had so many failures and so much trouble reaching their fitness goals in the past.
Fitness after 40 – What’s currently going on in your career?
Starting around 6 months ago, I started writing the “OVER 40” segments for TRAIN fitness magazine.
It is an international fitness magazine that usually sits on the shelves beside Flex, Muscle & Fitness, Shape and all the others.
Currently we are doing a small re-design of the HighPoint Products website to offer more fitness related products.
I am researching the market potential for a line of supplements. My first gut instinct was that there are already a “gazillion” brands of protein powders and other supplements out there — but again, as with the book —- I have seen that they are aimed at the younger hardcore crowd.
If I follow thru on this, the HIGHPOINT brand would be more aimed at the reading audience of my book.
For example , we all know Whey Protein powders are notorious for causing many people bloating and gas problems. Well the Chemist in me with my medical interests questions why the companies don’t include the right enzyme matrix in their powders that would eliminate this problem.
I think perhaps one company might now. But such a powder would be helpful to everybody of all ages but especially appreciated by the older users who have more delicate digestion systems.
People have been asking about a video training series. I am evaluating that at present also.
Outside of that – since I sold my Environmental Chemistry Lab a few years ago, I have also been a Technical & Business Consultant. To date helping several science oriented companies reorganize, improve operations, grow market share and boost profits.
Quick Fact: What’s your favorite exercise?
That probably changes from year to year, but for some reason I am really excited about back training So I would have to say the seated row with the narrow v-bar is my current favorite. You can really put some power into that one.
Quick Fact: What’s your favorite protein source?
I like shrimp but don’t eat it more than once per month.
So my favorites are chicken breast in all the ways it can be made (Thai dishes, Jerked, Grilled, BBQ, Mexican dishes, etc..)
And of course Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
Quick Fact: Favorite hobby minus lifting?
SCUBA diving. I have been certified since 1977
Logged tons of dives in those years and living in South Florida near the Caribbean has made it easy to do. In fact , SCUBA was one of the reasons I moved to Florida after college in 1985. Here is a beach dive video I made right near the house here at Hollywood Beach, FL.
Once again we want to thank Mike for taking the time to answer a few questions for us regarding fitness after 40.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything but nothing seems to work, YOU NEED to get a copy of his book and check out the fitness program. I’m currently reading it for a review and it’s a straight up step-by-step no BS approach to getting results so check it out at Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond.
You can also find him at his website High Point Products as well!
Josh (M.S., PT) is the founder and editor of DIY Active. He enjoys blending the latest science with health practices to help you exercise smarter. He enjoys providing as much free content as possible to help you get fitness results at home!
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