In yesterday’s Part 1 Chris Zaremba started to explain why and how he has come to be a leading trainer and inspiration to the over 50’s market.

Progress can be slower with the over 50’s, and there are more likely to be medical issues or concerns to be taken into account.  They also tend to require just a little more coaxing to try a new form of exercise.

On the other hand, older people tend to be better at following instructions, both in the gym and outside by adhering to additional exercise and nutrition guidelines given as ‘homework’. 

Older trainees also appreciate and accept the approach of continual but gradual progress over time – whereas the youngsters may want more and want it NOW!

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One particular aspect I’ve noticed is that older clients don’t want to continually see new exercises or approaches.  They aren’t so likely to be bored by doing the same set of exercises for every session.  There’s a level of familiarity they like, and are sometimes a bit reticent of change. And if they are doing something that is working, that they understand and are happy to persist with – then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

A typical Personal Training session (face-to-face, not online) could contain perhaps 10 exercises – and I would keep those 10 in the routine throughout, changing one on average every four visits.  Younger clients don’t appreciate this level of repeating the same routine, and need to be ‘entertained’ by regularly encountering new exercises. training over 50_2That isn’t to say that the exercise routines I favour for my age group are the same each time – they are the same exercises, but I increase the challenge by either adding more reps, slower speed or an increase in resistance.  I’m a massive fan of Incremental Progressive Overload – that progress on muscular development (and other aspects of fitness) is best made in very small increments, repeated on a regular basis.

Show the evidence and get the results!

To show this to my clients, I keep a detailed spreadsheet and walk my clients through it after every session – from this they can see their progress.  I also calculate on the spreadsheet a performance factor as a percentage of the previous session.  Typically I like to be able to tell a client that their performance this time is in the range of 102% to 105% of the performance last week – this really adds enthusiasm!

Going further, after a few weeks of training I can also compare the most recent performance as a percentage of their initial values.  My clients understand compound interest principles and this does indeed keep their interest and enthusiasm up.

Both this overall calculation and watching the numbers increment on each exercise over time isn’t possible with a constantly changing set of exercises.

I find that the over 50’s client is happy to be numbers-driven in this way

And they’re enthusiastic about reviewing the performance spreadsheet weekly.  That same spreadsheet also shows body stats such as body fat percentage and amount, percentage of water and metabolic age – and taken together this spreadsheet review is a key component of my personal training approach.

One aspect where it helps is if there is a progress dip on one week for any reason – so if the body stats or exercise performance have performed less well than hoped for one week, then I can show the continual trend from previous weeks and that usually overrides initial disappointment.

This is a numbers-based approach and it works

With the analysis that I do and share with my clients, it is one that I think works much better with my age group than those younger.  I don’t think the younger people would be quite as keen on reviewing spreadsheets and following my performance analysis from the accumulated data.  But that’s a big generalisation, I know!

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of personal training for those of my age group.  I use the phrase that an individually-designed training programme devised for an age 50+ person will “add years to your life, and life to those years”.  I think I’ve proved that on myself, as the approach I use with most of my clients is the same as I use on myself – and that is, perhaps, the final point…

It worked for me!

I went from sedentary, non-sporty and obese at 50, to fitness model and physique champion at 55,

This changed not only my approach to health and fitness but just about every other aspect of life completely.  Most of my clients wouldn’t choose a hairdresser who has a lousy haircut!

I could go on – but I think I’ve been ageist enough for one article!

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