Committing to stay fit as a busy, working professional

Strengthening and lengthening muscles is an important aspect of ‘shaking the middle,’ preventing pain

Allysa Holt

When you enjoy sugar – sugar in cake, sugar in coffee, sugar at home or in the office (like a friend of mine does) – you might think you’d be seriously motivated to get to the gym. Sugar is often the blame in adding to the middle part of our bodies and gets to be especially difficult to shake in the middle part of our lives.

When you spend a lot of time being successful in a career; and then spend time showing support for a husband or wife, you want to look great in the photos that will be taken throughout the holiday events coming soon. In the case of my friend, she and her husband are also planning to start a family; both of them are thinking about the impact of a baby while maintaining careers.

If you are in your mid-life and you like to eat sweets, you may realize that a workout is going to be necessary to be able to maintain your body shape. Similarly, you may have discovered that the Pilates or other exercise you were enjoying now gives you lower back pain. What’s a person to do?

The workout

One area that I advise those like this is to consider using strengthening techniques with a personal trainer. Many times people don’t realize how affordable fitness can be when you workout in your home or business with your own trainer. It is also important to realize that sweating doesn’t mean that you are getting a great workout. Having a trainer to coach you on such thinking often helps you to achieve the right workout for the time of life you are in.

Strengthening and lengthening muscles is an important aspect of “shaking the middle” and preventing pain. It’s important to do a mix of Pilates/yoga exercises to decrease stress as well as body weight or weight lifting to increase metabolism and lean body mass. This is something a trainer can personalize for you right in the office. The new type of workout for someone also trying to “shake the sugar” habit and entering into the early part of the middle of a career may consist of simple three 60-minute workouts where one of the workouts includes your trainer. Adding some lightweight bars can help to elongate muscles in different movements. The glute muscles are a focus when you are bending one leg and pointing the other. I typically hold the hand of someone I’m helping to develop these exercises so that it’s understood how far to stretch as the new exercise habit is forming.

For the arms, there are other techniques that a trainer can help you to incorporate for strengthening and lengthening the muscles. Often it’s possible to still incorporate Pilates or yoga into the new “mid-career” workout.

The diet

When it comes to the diet that accompanies loving sugar, it is important to begin developing a few new habits to go along with the “middle” that many of us want to focus on. I’m not talking about mid-career middle here. Incorporate more fruit at breakfast. Start using alternative sweeteners to help curb the cravings and release fat in the midsection. Stevia, coconut sugar and honey are a few options. Work on helping your digestive system better process the foods that are important for your goals. Better digestion helps support feeling better and increased energy, which could be encouraging in trying some new exercise habits. Adding probiotics to a daily supplement routine can help heal the gut and release extra pounds as well.

To help a body to better digest food, you should chew at least 30 times before swallowing. Also, learning to consume liquids in between meals can help. Drinking liquids independent of meals allows the acids that are in the stomach to not be diluted by drinking with a meal. Trying to add greens before a meal also helps prepare the stomach for the digestion process.

Allysa Holt is the owner of Holt Health and Fitness in Vancouver. She can be reached at 360.852.2032.