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Getting in Shape at Middle Age: A PN User’s Guide

By: Balram Cheruparambil

The quest for fitness or rather muscles has always been part and parcel of my life from the age of 13. Bodybuilding lit a flame that has never ever been extinguished. Lifting homemade weights and revelling in the growth it engendered was very much a passion. Being a serious sportsman ensured that I was quite fit without thinking too much about it. I could eat like a horse and look like I was, in pretty good shape.

Like most people, middle age hit me like a ton of bricks and it hit where it hurt most – the middle. I was fat although with muscles underneath. It took a good two decades before I realised that diet was the key. For me, intermittent fasting did wonders and slowly with medium level work outs I started getting back in some sort of shape.

My definition of fitness has now changed as have my goals – the ability to move easily and with grace became prime. Functional fitness became my holy grail. What’s the point of looking good if you can’t get out of bed in the morning with a sore back? I discovered my own concoction of yoga (pranayam), gentle jogging, sprinting, bodyweight exercises and weight training that worked wonders for me. I realised the importance of rest, as you grow older, intense exercise part with generous rest can help keep you motivated.

Would not want to bore anyone with a definitive list of exercises, I am not a certified fitness trainer and from what I’ve seen of them I’m glad I’m not. My knowledge has been earned by decades of reading everything I could lay my hands on about fitness and putting myself through the paces as a guinea pig. These principles I’ve found to be true:

  1. Age is definitely just a number for most people, with a proper diet and workout plan
  2. If you learn to listen to your body and adapt accordingly it will rarely let you down
  3. Consistent fasting, if it fits your lifestyle may help you to manage your weight.
  4. Muscle-building exercise is the best way for an aging body to maintain and improve muscle mass.

This is simply my experience and may not suit everyone but I strongly believe the broad principles would benefit everyone if internalised and followed – keep moving and find exercises that you enjoy and suit your lifestyle.

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