Lorraine Gantt shares her top tips for Fit Women to Stay Ageless, her own story and how she dedicates her life to empower other women to stay fit and ageless.
Fit women take time for themselves a few hours per week to be active, move their entire body, eat healthy and have fun while doing it. I consider a Fit Ageless Woman to be someone who does all of the above and also stays fierce and sexy (Yes! You can be fierce and sexy when you're over 50!), look forward to the future and focused on making the second half of their life even better than their first.
Fit Women who are my inspiration are Angela Bassett, Christie Brinkley, Halle Berry, Michelle Obama and Jane Fonda. These women are all over the age of 50, energetic, strong and not afraid of aging.
Angela Bassett was the first person I admired when I started my fitness journey. I realized that in order to feel and look as fit and healthy as her, I needed to exercise. She and these ladies workout, and they are another visible example that health, fitness and positivity confirm that exercise delays the aging process.
A Fit Woman is someone who takes time for themself a few hours per week to be active, move their entire body, eat healthy and have fun while doing it. I consider a Fit Ageless Woman to be someone who does all of the above and also stays fierce and sexy (Yes! You can be fierce and sexy when you're over 50!), look forward to the future and focused on making the second half of their life even better than their first. Fit Ageless Women who are my inspiration are Angela Bassett, Christie Brinkley, Michelle Obama and Jane Fonda. These women are all over the age of 50, energetic, strong and not afraid of aging. Angela Bassett, was the first person I admired when I started my fitness journey. I realized that in order to feel and look as fit and healthy as her, I needed to exercise. She and these ladies workout, and they are another visible example that health fitness and positivity confirm that exercise delays the aging process. Christie Brinkley, was a Sports Illustrated model in the 1970s, and in 2017 she modeled for Swim Illustrated at 63! She does not let age define her or prevent her from showing off her body in a confident way. Michelle Obama showed me that it's not just about how you look, it's also about how you feel. Her number one rule, give yourself permission to be happy, was something that spoke to me. Jane Fonda, started the fitness revolution! Her quotes, "it's never too late to start over and never too late to be happy" and "we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole" still ring true 35 years later. My thoughts are the same as hers. How can we be whole if we are not fit and healthy? We can reverse some of the bad affects life has put on us. Aging is the effect time has on a person and getting older is merely the number of years on earth. Age is a natural process, but we can deal the process by keeping the muscles and the body moving. Regardless of your age, your body is art in motion and these women, my clients, I are examples of it. Soon, you will be too!
Regardless of your age, your body is art in motion and these women, my clients, I are examples of it. Soon, you will be too!
At 54, I knew that it was time to make a change. I was divorced and both of my kids were almost out of the house. Once I saw that my kids were growing up and my husband was leaving, I looked in the mirror and realized that I had neglected myself for many years. I was unhealthy, overweight, depressed and newly single. It was a low point in my life and I started to understand why so many people age poorly. I quickly realized that I had to do something about it.
First, I knew that I needed to make myself more of a priority. Yes, taking my kids to and from school and swim practice, making my husband happy, being there for my parents and family are all important. However, I needed to find time for myself so that I could make myself better. The secret that truly changed my life, even saved my life and happiness, was fitness.
As soon as I begin taking simple steps such as:
It’s true, aging is a natural process and there is no way around it, but there is a way to delay the negative effects of aging.
It is possible to live the second half of your life even better than your first half. The best part is that it’s never too late and you’re never too old to begin delaying the aging process.
At 54, I decided that I would always take at least 20 minutes out of the day to do something for myself. That something, was exercise.
I began feeling better and seeing changes in my body. My endurance started to increase. My mental state was better and my stress and anxiety decreased. ln addition, little did I know, I had symptoms of depression. I didn’t realize it until I started to experience a sense of relief once I began exercising and changing my poor nutrition habits.
Trust me! I understand that it’s not easy. I did home health nursing, sat in my car all day long and ate fast food. My go to lunch was 3 tacos and a big n’ ‘nasty’ burger.
After 1 month of taking simple steps, I joined a gym and fell in love with fitness. This was one of the best decisions I ever made, in my life. Fitness became a part of my lifestyle and not a duty. Over time, I began working really hard at the gym because once I started seeing and feeling the results, I wanted more.
Next, the more I began to see and feel the changes in my body and health, my confidence and my self-esteem were of the charts! So, I entered 2 National body physique competitions at age 61 and 62. I didn't enter the contest with a specific goal to win or lose, I did it because I had the confidence and I felt good about myself – I wanted to show it off! I embraced the stage and overcame the challenge. Those were some of the best moments of my life.
Of course, I started with a personal trainer to help push and guide me in the right direction. A trainer or a guided program for beginners is very important because she can instruct you on proper form and technique to help prevent injuries.
I'm a Registered Nurse and have been in the healthcare industry of 40 years so I have seen first-hand how the body declines from inactivity and poor nutrition. Also, I would find myself engaged with individuals 40 years old or under. The disturbing and heartbreaking things they would say, such as they were getting fat and getting old. Those statements were very upsetting to me. How are they only 40 years old and feeling that negatively about themselves? People are living to be 90-100 years old.
So, what's going to happen to them as they age?
As a nurse and a personal trainer, I could see the obesity, muscle imbalances, stress, anxiety, and depression in these individuals.
I know how inactivity and poor nutrition could contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other disorders that could be prevented simply due to fitness and activity.
I realized that existing health conditions could be reversed. I also realized how tough it is to get back in shape again – especially if you haven’t worked out for many years – similar to me. It takes time, patience and consistency.
I hold a special place in my heart for the 40 plus. I designed a beginner fitness program for the 40 plus to help people get on track, in shape and Own Their Age. My Own Your Age Fitness DVD is for those 40 plus people who had not worked out in weeks, months or even years. The workouts are simple and can be modified based on your fitness level. They are also fun, motivating and you can do it at your own pace, on your own time and in your own place. It helps you get rid of the excuses and allows you to take your new fitness journey one step at a time. I intentionally made it full of laughter, excitement so people wouldn't feel like working out is not such a hard and grueling thing to do.
The video program includes workouts that focus on the 5 essential elements that delay the aging process:
These 5 essential ingredients many people take for granted not realizing these steps are needed to maintain activity of daily living, being able to function at your optimal level, remain heathy, fit and longevity.
Research shows that aging starts around 35-40. Research also shows that exercising can prevent and help delay the disease that usually come with aging, such as diabetes. If you want the second half of your life to be better than the first, you simply have to keep the body moving. Moving all of your muscles to keep the cells alive.
Here are my top tips to help you delay the negative side effects of aging:
It is sometimes hard to maintain or even start a workout routine. To prevent myself for feeling overwhelmed, I set realistic goals that are achievable. I commit to staying consistent even if I do less than I planned. The most important piece is taking it one step at a time. Getting back in shape takes time, patience and consistency.
It is important to activate all muscles. Only running or lifting weights is not the solution. Regardless of what the common “problem” spots are - the stomach, arms or buttocks - the entire body must be exercised. We have 640 muscles and they come in pairs and they have to be exercised equally. A full body regimen is how you prevent muscle loss.
If you have joints, muscle or bones pain while exercising don’t quit – just modify. Do exercises that are less strenuous on the joints such as water aerobics, swimming, yoga, walking and even dancing. Also, make sure to warm-up and stretch before beginning your work out and cool down and stretch after workout.
Bone loss, density, collagen, and muscle loss increase as we age. This is why resistance and weight bearing exercise are important. They can slow down or even reverse the aging process because you build muscle mass, increasing bone density and strength. Also, the leaner the muscles are, the more calories you burn because lean muscles burn more calories than fat. Even light resistance and weight can help – it doesn’t have to be heavy!
Remember to work the five essential fitness elements:
Flexibility- the range of motion around the joint to keep you agile
Balance and coordination- to keep you steady on your feet and prevent falls
Posture- to keep the body in alignment and prevent shrinkage or hunchbacks bone fitting
Strength- to stay active, independent and prevent from bones breaking more easily
Endurance – to help you maintain your daily activities longer and burn more calories
Surround yourself around positive people. Do fun things. Get involved in activities. Go to the park, shopping, dancing and travel. Include laughter in your life. Don't let age get in the way of living your best life.
One of my favorite clients was 57 years old when I begin training her. She was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. A disease that affects 27 million Americans. As a result of her disease, she had severe hip and knee pain and had to take pain medication every 4 – 6 hours. She even remodeled her home with handicap features so that she can prepare for her future medical needs. Initially, she was afraid to exercise because of joint pain. After explaining how important it was to keep her body moving, she decided to give it a shot. It was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
First, we started slow and took it one step at a time and one day at a time. Which, I encourage everyone to do – you don’t have to become a fitness expert and be overambitious – just start!
We started with gentle stretches and range of motion exercises to improve flexibility, lessen stiffness & reduce pain.
We focused on balance to help prevent falls and posture to keep the body in alignment. She is a proud, beautiful woman standing 6 foot 4 inches tall, so we wanted to improve any slumping and back curvature and prevent it from happening in the future.
For endurance, she started walking, speed walking and then jogging – which she didn’t think she could do anymore because of her joint pain.
Endurance exercises became a large part of the 5 elements. She was excited to lose weight and look more fit. However, she became even more eager to lose weight after I educated her on body weight and it relates to the impact on her knees. Every 1 pound lost is a 4-pound reduction in the load exerted on the knees. We swam 2 times per week for approximately 30 minutes.
Swimming is a great aerobic exercise to improve stamina, energy and decrease excessive weight without putting a lot of stress on the joints.
Lastly, we incorporated strength exercises which we also did two times per week. Strength exercises build strong muscles. Since osteoarthritis affects the joints, you want to improve joint mobility, flexibility and stability. We used light weights, starting with 2 pounds of dumb bells, and resistant bands. We focused on arms and shoulders and strengthened legs with squats and lounges. We increased resistance slowly each week, but no more than 10% each week. We also scaled down if there was any pain.
The phrase “no gain, no pain” is not true. Modify exercises when needed.
While working out, we made it fun. We listened to “Oldies, but Goodies” and danced in between exercises. When we finished the workout, we cooled down, stretched and laid on the floor for 10 minutes to decompress and yell, “WOW, that was breathtaking!”
She lost 66 pounds in 2 years, her pain medication decreased from 4-6 hours per day to 1-2 times per day and she looks amazing!
Now, she can’t wait until she turns 60. If you include fitness & proper nutrition into your regimen you can take your life to a new level!
As Shakespeare on stated, “the world is a stage and all of the men and women are merely players.” If you are a fit and ageless woman, during this stage of your life you do not stop putting on your show!
First, make sure that you are proud of how you look and have the attitude that you are on the way to living your best life and age is not going to get in the way.
Second, place more emphasis on making yourself better by staying fit and healthy. You will accomplish this by consistently working out your full body and moving all your muscles. It is about flexibility, balance, strength, posture and endurance.
Third, do not be hard on yourself about your progress. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time and stay consistent. These three rules will without a doubt make you a fit and ageless woman.
Remember your golden years are really golden and are meant for you to liven the world's stage and enjoy it!
Written by Lorraine Gantt
When Lorraine Gantt walks in a room, you know it. The certified personal trainer’s personality and non-stop electric energy ignites and inspires people to want to live a stronger, healthier life. All smiles, she embodies the perfect mix of intensity and southern-belle comedic flair.
At 64 years old, Lorraine knows full well the need to have a strong, healthy body to feel better, look great and most importantly, to maintain independence when growing older. She understands that people are living longer and that choices made today will impact their lives tomorrow.
“It’s not about getting older. It’s about getting better.”
Motivated by her experiences in her 40-plus year career as a registered nurse, Lorraine developed a passion for helping people overcome illness and daily health problems. She committed all the more to help others change their lives through fitness after combatting her own personal challenges. Refusing to get depressed and gain more weight, Lorraine found sanctuary and success in fitness.
“I’m trying to help people get their life back in order.”
Lorraine oozes fitness and strongly believes in how it can turn people’s lives around – mentally and physically. She holds a special place in her heart for the 40-plus. That’s the age she noticed most people start experiencing symptoms caused by inactivity and poor food choices that if left unchecked, would lead to a decline in their health and quality of life in later years.
A devout fitness enthusiast for over eight years, Lorraine has witnessed how an active, healthy, positive and thankful lifestyle can truly turn a person’s entire life around. Seeing her clients, friends and family become fit and live a better, more enjoyable life are her greatest joys.
“A lot of things are going to come with age that can’t be helped. But, you can delay the aging process. All you have to do is do it.”
Lorraine is a Registered Nurse. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Weight Loss Specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She participated as a National Physique Committee (NPC) Body Figure Competitor in 2012 & 2013.
Check out Lorraine's blog: Own Your Age Fitness.
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