Staying Healthy and Fit After 40
Bianca Talley is a professional business consultant, an engineer by education, and a mother of two teenagers. She has been able to maintain her health and fitness with a variety of activities. In spite of her hectic schedule, Bianca’s health and fitness have always been a priority and it shows. She has remained lean, strong and continues to strive for continuous health.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her, let’s see how she does it!
What happened to make you want to take the steps to improve your health?
Answer: I was always tired. After getting home from work, making dinner and cleaning up, I was spent. I didn’t have enough energy to support my kids in their school work or after school activities. We had also just returned from Utah and I wanted to have more physical strength to go through the slot canyons. I wasn’t able to get through them due to lack of upper body strength and endurance.
What was the main goal that you wanted to achieve?
Answer: Physical strength to keep up with my kids and enjoy the outdoors.
How did you determine what the best eating plan was to meet your goal?
Answer: That is an ever green and evolving process. It took a long time to educate myself about food. I wish I knew from the beginning about macro-nutrients. Understanding the value of food; calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Reading articles and cookbooks. Trying new food and determining what works for me and my family. I always try and have food that I can easily put together for meal in a short amount of time. This does require some planning and prepping on the weekend to be successful during the week with eating healthy.
How did you determine what your best movement plan was to meet your goal?
Answer: Start out with just moving! My initial goal was to work out 2 times a week for 15 minutes. Initially, those were some of the longest 15 minutes. Later I joined a gym that has a variety of small group classes which works well for me. Small group is great because you have a trainer at a fraction of the cost, who can insure you have good form and there’s an accountability element that naturally occurs when you meet people. I look forward to seeing my gym friends. My routine, after 4 years, is now working out 5X – 6X a week. I take a variety of classes to insure that I continually challenge my body.
Did you seek any outside assistance for either the eating plan or movement plan?
Answer: Yes. Most of the trainers are also knowledgeable on nutrition. Just talking to them and subscribing to different fitness blogs has increased my knowledge regarding functional mobility and nutrition. Periodically, I have also invested in personal training. It’s important to learn how to “move” correctly to avoid injury and also maximize the benefit of the movement. I equate investing in my personal health to investing in my professional career. The end goal is to improve your quality of life.
How did you fit your movement plan into your busy life?
Answer: When I started, I realized I was setting too many barriers with my schedule. I can’t do this and I can’t do that because of the time. A lot of the barriers were just perceived ones. Not real. I work my kids after school activities and my together. For example, instead of sitting in the waiting room for my kids to finish their activities, I go and work out. Sometimes I just work out for 30 minutes if that’s all I got. Set up a schedule in advance and be flexible. Make it a priority. Don’t let it be the last thing you put on the calendar. If I plan to go to the gym after work I usually have my gym bag with me in the car in case I get into a time crunch. If the work out is in the morning, I set out my gym clothes the night before.
What is the most important change that you have experienced because of the changes that you made?
Answer: I have more physical strength and endurance than ever, but I also gained more control and don’t get as stressed out over issues. I can manage everyday challenges with minimum anxiety and stress. My overall disposition is a lot more positive because I feel great.
Can you describe one of your typical days, including your work outs and the type of foods you are eating?
Answer: During the weekend I start meal planning. I try to make things that I can easily make into a full meal throughout the week. Sunday I’m cooking the protein portion of meals and then during the week I’ll steam a bag of vegetable or make a salad. I’ll usually get workouts in on Saturday and Sunday.
During the week, lunches are prepped at night so I can spin at 5:00 a.m. on MWF. I’m adapting to a new schedule so I can only stay for about 45 minutes to get home before my first one goes off to school. After work, I drop them off at their activities and hit the gym, if it’s T or Th. Pick them up and go home and put together some dinner which is usually something I started on Sunday. We have late nights, where we pick up food. Chick-Fil-a is a good option. Great salad, just watch the dressing.
How would you recommend other middle-aged people to address waning health in mid life?
Answer: Clean up the diet and start moving. I wasn’t aware of how much junk was in my diet until I started keeping a diary. A cleaner diet along with strength and flexibility training will make a large difference in the way you feel.
How do you plan to ensure that these plans are sustainable?
Answer: Influence those around you and have friends with common health and fitness interests. My children are more cognizant of exercise and diet. At times they now lead with making smart choices when we go out to eat or doing activities. My circle of friends are predominately people I have met at my gym and meeting up typically involves gym time.
Sustainable change takes time! Don’t expect to change behavior, habits or your physical condition in a short time.
You have to want it, no one but you can do it!
Be a role model for those that you love. Embracing a healthy lifestyle will influence others to make change.
Do you want some fresh ideas for your work outs and eating plans? Check out my book at Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.