Invaluable Secrets to Success by Two Leading Ladies Over 40

Invaluable Secrets to Success by Two Leading Ladies Over 40

(image: Coach Magazine)

Hitting your 40’s is no reason to give up an active lifestyle.

This transitional age is when the body’s ability to convert food into energy slows down significantly. Having a sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor nutrition will aggravate that process, making it even more important to shape healthy habits around your changing body.

(image: Eat This)

Lena Headey and Sofia Vergara are testament that age is just a number. Headey currently plays Cersei Lannister, one of the most conflicting characters in Game of Thrones. She also played a number of film roles including Queen Gorgo, the Spartan queen in the two 300 movies. Meanwhile, Vergara is known as Gloria Pritchett in Modern Family. Although, her first TV appearance was in a Pepsi commercial when she was 17.

The two TV stars are well over 40 but it seems neither have passed their prime thanks to a combination of a balanced diet and exercise. Here are five secrets to staying young and healthy from these leading ladies.

Endurance exercises are optional

Like many other women, Sofia Vergara is not a big fan of cardio. Her trainer revealed to Marie Claire that walking at a high incline on the treadmill or spinning for a few minutes is how she primes her muscles. The truth is endurance exercises, such as running, are just an option for fat loss but not a necessity. The body can adapt to repetitive stresses caused by endurance exercises, and reduces the ability to burn fat the more you get used to it. You may be able to run longer, but that doesn’t mean you can go at a faster pace while muscles get more defined the heavier you lift. If burning fat and getting stronger are your goals, you don’t always have to spend torturous hours hitting the treadmill or the pavement.

Drop the barbie weights

(image: Pexels)

Many women at any age fear the weights room because they don’t want to get too bulky. But Headey and Vergara know that lifting heavy weights is one of the most effective ways to encourage fat loss and build strength. Fit Women Over 40 previously mentioned that building strength actually has to do with muscle breakdown. Lifting 10 pounds is perceived by the body as a stressor, which causes microtears in the muscles. After each session, your body goes through a process of recovery and adaptation. Eventually, 10 pounds becomes easier to bear and your muscles grow much stronger to protect your bones.

Shake up your routine

It would be hard to deny that Lena Headey has one of the most impressive physiques seen on screen. In 2014, the star spoke to Coach Magazine about her intense training sessions for 300: Rise of an Empire, which consisted of 300 reps of a variety of exercises that target the whole body. Varying your workouts ensures that you don’t hit a plateau, get too comfortable, bored, or lose motivation.

Her training was vital to living up to the role, as Spartan women are the embodiment of power and strength who are deemed equals by their male Spartan counterparts.

In fact, Spartan strength has long been a central theme in their representation in modern media, and this quality is also showcased in other titles based on the franchise. Foxy Casino’s 300 Shields game draws its narrative from the first movie, and players can relive the action-packed scenes that display visuals of the strength of the famous Greek battalion. This emphasis on peak fitness stems from using early forms of Calisthenics that actually has roots in Grecian concepts and they were largely influenced by Spartan methods, which you can incorporate in your routine. Spartans were already lifting weights, enhancing their core, and developing lower body strength before anyone else even knew how advantageous these methods were.

Needless to say, Headey’s intense workouts paid off, as she succeeded in playing the Spartan queen.

Balance your macros

(image: Pexels)

For decades, carbs and fat have been vilified as the culprits for weight gain. However, in addition to protein, those two macronutrients are essential for a balanced diet. It is better to count your macros than restrict your calories for a sustainable weight loss/muscle building plan, especially since whole food provides a lot of fiber that the body requires more as you age. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and root crops provide carbohydrates; leafy greens, legumes, lean meats, eggs, nuts have plenty of protein; and healthy oils, avocados, seeds, nuts are high in healthy fat. The ideal ratio for sculpting a lean body is 30% carbs, 40% protein, and 30% fat. Both leading ladies abide by healthy diets while also allowing themselves to indulge every once in a while.

Rest when your body calls for it

Vergara told SELF that even though she doesn’t like working out, it is how she takes care of her body especially as she gets older. For many, exercising can be very exciting, especially if you’re seeing the results of your hard work. Like most things though, too much of it is also unhealthy. When you’re trying to build strength, it’s important to allow your body time for recovery so you don’t get injured or burnt out. That being said, don’t rest for too long as consistency is even more important in your 40s.

500 reasons women over 40 lift weights

500 reasons women over 40 lift weights

The number one reason you lift weights or do strength training.

In Feb of 2018, we asked the Fit Women Over 40 Private Facebook Group  to tell us Who Are All These Phenomenal Women in our group. Over 500 of you responded and we want to share some of that inspiration with the group


What is the number one reason you lift weights or do strength training?

“I love how lifting weights make me feel. It literally makes my brain work more smoothly.”
“Love feeling and looking strong.”
“Want to be healthy, not become a burden as I grow older.”
“It’s not a proper workout without them.”
“For better quality of life and to be around longer for my kids. I’m an older mom.”
“It makes me feel good and gives me confidence that overflows into other areas of life.”
“To be strong and build lean muscle.”
“Because I look younger. Less wrinkles and my butt is perky.”
“To get fit, supplement my cardio routines (I was running lots, but not doing any strength training).”
“I want to be strong for the rest of my life! I am a nurse and see elderly people who can barely or maybe not even at all walk up stairs, only because they are so conditioned. I do NOT want to be that person!!”
“To be strong. To keep fit, maintain muscle mass and lose excess fat.”
“Because of the many benefits of weight training. Plus I love how it makes me feel. And look.”
“I love the fit, athletic look and love being strong.”
“First it was to stay fit but now I enjoy it. It’s “my” time and it empowers me and part of my life.”
“Because I love the way it makes me feel.”
“To gain more upper body strength.”
“Honestly…to look good…and to FEEL better physically. (not tired, no sore joints, etc.)”
“To stay healthy and strong. Look and feel better.”
“To not get the crazy (stress) out. ??”
“Lifting weights or strength training is the fountain of youth.”
“To improve strength, mobility and mental well being.”
“I like how it makes me feel strong physically and mentally.”
“Health and self confidence.”
“To stay strong and prevent injury and disease.”
“So I can get up off the toilet unassisted when I’m 80! Also my husband has a chronic debilitating condition & I have to do all the strength related stuff in our lives.”
“To help me have the energy required to keep up with my child!”
“To be stronger for everyday life.”
“Weight lifting is the fountain of youth, it keeps you healthy. I’m 48 been lifting for 20years. Love being strong!”
“Muscle definition.”
“At nearly 60 it’s “use it or lose it” and I don’t want to lose it”
“For my own health.”
“To keep muscle to burn more calories at rest and to help with bone loss as you age.”
“It has transformed me mentally and physically in ways I never thought possible.”
“It gives definition to my muscles and I’ve read that this helps building strong bones, which I definitely need now that I am in my 60’s!”
“Lose weight and body transformation.”
“I have scoliosis and I want to stay as pain free as possible and stay strong.”
“As a 61 year old I consider it important to keep fit and active and build lean muscle.”
“To slow down aging.”
“To be stronger both mentally and physically.”
“Gain muscle mass and increase strength.”
“Cardio is boring!!”
“To look good. To be stronger = independence.”
“To build muscle and loose fat. To complete a pull up and hopefully compete.”
“I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and that was my wake up call to change my lifestyle. I started eating healthier and lost 40 lbs. on my own with the support & help from my hubby. Once I lost the weight, then I started wanting building muscle. I have been strength training for 2 years, have built muscle and continue to want more muscle. I love this lifestyle and I will never go back!”
“Gain muscle to feel good and look better.”
“Because it almost eliminates my chronic joint pain.”
“It feels good. I like being strong, especially as I get older.”
“I’ve heard it’s good for you. I have always done cardio and last January incorporated weight training.”
“Noticeable results in physique and energy. Equally important is the therapeutic value to build mental strength and simultaneously relieve mental stress. Thanks for all the time you have put into this site. It is extremely encouraging!”
“I love it.”
“I haven’t started but I’m hoping it will help with energy levels and staying fit while aging.”
“Mindset. It makes me feel stronger not only physically but mentally to take on what ever gets put in my path.”
“It makes me feel strong.”
“I’m 50 and want to look fit.”
“I don’t yet, but my goal is to reshape my body. I have lost 62 pounds but still “soft”.”
“Because it makes me feel amazing!”
“I like the look of a toned body.”
“I love the feeling of focus and power.”
“Vanity. Health reasons. I’m going to get better with time!”
“Because I enjoy it and for my health.”
“Build muscle & transform body.”
“I am hooked! I love the changes I’ve seen and felt. I love feeling strong and healthy! I was overweight and had extremely high blood pressure and weight training and a healthy fit lifestyle has changed my life.”
“I look and feel better!”
“To build muscle.”
“To get strong and have a body I love and admire.”
“Weight loss/toning up from previous weight loss.”
“To stay mobile and active as I age. Health reasons!”
“To be strong in my own body.”
“To condition myself for success and to be the very best version of myself for me.”
“It makes me feel good emotionally and physically to lift. It’s been part of my lifestyle for 30 years.”
“Avoid aging body and menopausal weight gain.”
“I like having a buff bod!”
“To sculpt the body I want and feel good in.”
“Because I love feeling strong and it keeps me energized.”
“To feel fit in myself so that I have quality of life and can live life fully – even more so, the older I get!”
“Health – diabetic and the visceral fat percentage is way to high.”
“So when I’m 100 I can take care of myself! (And to look good – my husband appreciates my hard work in the gym.;)”
“I am driven to do it and it is good for me on every level: everything starts with health. its hard to not just say everything because it’s good for mood, stress reduction, brain health, memory, confidence, looks, agility, sexiness, youthfulness, and so many other functional things.”
“It feels like accomplishment, and i like working hard and letting my inner beast come out and be challenged!”
“Functionality and the freedom to be able to do the things I love.”
“Because it makes me feel stronger not only physically, but mentally and emotionally!”
“I’m no wimpy chick.”
“To feel confident and strong in my body.”
“I like feeling strong and I want to stay in shape so I can still swim in the ocean when I’m 80!”
“To fight aging ~ to Feel Good as well as look good to empower both my body and soul.”
“General health. I’m 56–we need muscle to help us not break. :-)”
“Being stronger makes me feel better, both inside and out.”
“Seeing how ‘old’ my mother looks and don’t want to be like that as I age.”
“To be healthy & strong to keep up with my family.”
“To feel good about myself. To feel strong and have longevity.”
“It makes me a better mommy.”
“Build muscle & strengthen bones.”
“It’s really for my health as I get older.”
“I’ve always said because I love it, it’s my passion and lifestyle – which is still very much true – but nowadays, I’ll add: to fight my autoimmune disease!”
“Just started = to get stronger.”
“To be strong and try to maintain a decent metabolism.”
“To stay physically active in my later years. I see my parents’ health issues and want to prevent that. Also, to be healthy enough to look after my parents as they age.”
“To be strong and have a kick ass body.”
“It is important as we age to maintain strength and bone density. I don’t want To become frail and incapable of everyday activities someday.”
“When you getting older you loose your muscles. I want to prevent it. And even more want to be stronger then I was then I was younger.”
“It’s something in my life that I can control.”
“Strength body transformation.”
“I feel amazing when I do. I love seeing muscles and being stronger. Just being able to do everyday tasks because I am stronger is my favorite.”
“To relieve mental stress.”
“I am at the peri menopause stage and weight/strength training has helped me a lot. I feel a lot stronger now.”
“I want to live a long and healthy life.”
“To look and feel good about myself! My mum died of HBP, both my young sisters are not very healthy and hate exercising..l do not want to be unhealthy or live without exercising.”
“One it challenges me and above all it keeps me healthy and looking awesome.”
“To build muscle and burn more calories.”
I”’m trying to increase my muscle mass.”
“It makes me feel good.”
“I’m insecure. Hate looking in a mirror.”
“To be the best I can be for me.”
“Look hot and feel confident.”
“I am 58 years old. I want my heart to be strong as well as my body. I lift because I love it and I want to see what I am made of because I am only 5’2 and small boned.”
“Keeps me fit and strong!”
“Because I found peace in it and fell in love with training feel like in my 49’s I finally found me.”
“I feel amazing on the inside and truly love it.”
“Stay strong and healthy! It makes me feel confident.”
“Because it’s something I enjoy and keeps me off medication.”
“Long term health and vitality.”
“A recent breast cancer scare was my motivation to lose weight and build strength incase I need further surgery.”
“To challenge myself.”
“To better me as I age!!!”
“To gain strength no muscle so I am not couch bound as I age.”
“Because cardio alone does not get me to my goals and I like to be strong.”
“It may “hurt” while I am doing it but, the results more than make up for it! Being healthy just makes me happy.”
“Prevent the aging process.”
“To keep my bones and body strong.”
“For ME”
“Stay mobile and active, carry my own bags and be able to lift my heavy carry on into the overhead compartment on a plane!”
“I was sick, I lost all strength and gained a lot of weight. I want to be strong and healthy now. It means the most to me!”
“My weight has always been up and down. When I see pictures of myself, I want to vomit because you can see my fat rolls and I want them gone. I want a body to be proud of and work hard for. I need to stay healthy for my family and show them that hard work does get you rewards.”

“To be a strong woman.”

“I don’t know, to be more bad ass and cause it’s fun”

“Because I like the way I feel when I’m strong.”

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Who Are All These Phenomenal Women?!

Who Are All These Phenomenal Women?!

This post may contain affiliate links, read my disclosure for more info. Purchasing from these links helps me create more epic blog content for you. Thank you for your support!

Who Are All These Phenomenal Women?!

In Feb of 2018, we asked the Fit Women Over 40 Private Facebook Group  to tell us Who Are All These Phenomenal Women in our group. Over 500 of you responded and we want to share some of that inspiration with the group


• 9 years is the average length you’ve been strength training. 

• 55% of you work out 2-4 days/week training.

• 51% mostly with free weights,  or weight machines for resistance training.

Your level of strength or weight training:

51%      I lift weights several times a week and I’m working towards some concrete goals. 
22%      I use weight machines and some free weights at my gym or at home, but I don’t have much direction or a plan.
9%        I’m a certified trainer or fitness professional.
5%        I compete in bodybuilding, physique bikini fitness, body transformation, powerlifting, CrossFit etc.
5%        Other
4%        I’ve taken a strength or weight training class or two.
4%        I’m a total beginner, never lifted a weight before in my life.


What your training routine includes:

83%      Free weights.                                                                             
76%      Hand-held weights.                                                                 

55%      Body weight exercises, (yoga or Pilates).
53%      Cardio sports such as running, swimming or biking.
52%      Resistance bands or balls.
39%      Circuit weight machines.
21%      TRX training.
15%       Bodybuilding.
6%         Fitness competitions.
3%         Competitive sports as tennis, squash or basketball.
25%       Other.

“I plan to keep up on what I am doing, no fixed goal as I just know I will be doing this for as long as I can, probably till the day I die if my body allows me…”

Your experience working with a physical trainer or as a trainer?

34%      I’ve never worked with a trainer.   
26%      I am currently working with a trainer.
8%        I want to work with a trainer.
5%        I am a trainer or coach with a product line.
2%        I’m training for competition as a goal in 2018.
2%        I am studying to become a trainer.
24%      Other


What is your current eating plan?

34%    NO PLAN
19%    Other
15%    Macros
10%    LCHP  Low Carbohydrate High Protein
6%      Keto
6%      IFYM   If It Fits Your Macros
5%      Intermittent fasting
3%      Paleo
3%      Traditional FDA guidelines

What are some of your fitness and health goals for 2018?

“I want to regain my competitive spirit and enter some races.”
“I’d like to tone up with muscle definition, lose inches & cellulite, firm up breasts.”
“Get stronger, lose weight 40lbs. Be able to run 5k without stopping…”
“Lose a few pounds of fat and build muscle definition.”
“Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy”
“To compete again in Figure in March this year, after that I want to work on my relationship with food.”
“Just turned 50 and my goal is to get in the best physical shape I have ever been.”
“Get in 5 30 minute workouts per week. Eat two veggies per day (I don’t like many veggies).”
“Be able to do 5 pushups on my toes in a row.”
“To gain muscle, reduce fat. Gain flexibility. And get in the best condition possible.
“My goals include decreasing body fat, building more muscle, and becoming stronger and keep my weight down.”
“Pro-card in Figure!” 
“Lose 10% fat and gain muscle quality through strength training.”
“Achieve 18% body fat. Maintain this but build muscles (bottom and legs). Have the best body I ever had.”
“Being consistent with food, tracking macros, prepping meals is the main focus for 2018.”
“Eat cleaner, build my strength and flexibility.”
“Lose 10 pounds of fat and replace with muscle.”
“To lose the extra weight I gained this last 3 years…was dealing with stressful work and some medical scare/issues. Now, I am clear of everything, I am bringing my sexy back!”
“Lose 2 stone in weight, reduce my BMI, go down a dress size, improve my flexibility and strength. Combat my menopausal issues.”
“Deadlift 200#, squat 150#, bench 120#”
“I started for stamina to keep up with my child, then liked the results so went for transformation, now I’ve made my goal definition. I want abs and a great booty!”
“Complete Spartan Obstacle Course Race’s Trifecta. Become more comfortable with gymnastic movements in CrossFit.”
“Make 2018 the best year ever!”
“To lose 10-15 pounds and gain additional upper body strength.”
“My goal is to continue to strength train to lose inches & add the Nutrition part in 2018 to lose 10 pounds.”
“Cut body fat”
“My goal is to compete in a bodybuilding competition again this year. Also just to continue to stay healthy.”
“Be consistent; and eat better.”
“I have signed up for 3 triathlons including 2 Olympic distances and 1 half iron man distance. And of course to keep on strength training.”
“To get a six-pack ab at the age of 62.”
“Love to lose 5-10 pounds and continue to tone up. Almost 60 years old and can’t believe that.”
“I want a flat core. More muscle in upper body. Maybe a chin up.”
“To do an unassisted pull up and lose a further 2kg but build muscle in the process.”
“Weight loss, more energy, fight aging, be strong.”
“To get back into feeling and being fit and athletic again like I was in 2015 and to continue challenging myself to be a better me.”
“Developing my thighs especially the gluts and hamstring clean bulking competing as figure in November 2018.”
“Become stronger, increase my endurance, gain muscle and lose 15lbs.”
“Drop some body fat to see more of them muscles I’ve been working hard to gain!”
“Lose fat. Gain muscle & flexibility. Encourage husband to do the same!” 
“To lose body fat% and hopefully compete.”
“To stay consistent at the gym, keep eating healthy, continue building muscle.”
“Build strength and increase flexibility. Continue to lose body fat and build muscle through Keto, weight training, and yoga.”
“Lean out and get ripped. Build more muscle. Clean up the diet.”
“Complete carb cycling through January. Shred, tone and integrate the recent diet tweaks into my permanent lifestyle.”
“Lose weight, learn new things i.e. I’m getting older and my body is changing so I need to change my workouts/eating habits.”
“I want to begin weight training”.
“Lose fat. Build muscle. Run half marathon. Swim again. Flat belly!!”
“Build more muscle, complete all OCR races I haven’t done. Get more boxing training in.”
“To lose the last 10lbs. of fat that I’d like to lose and to gain about 10lbs. of muscle. To be fit, healthy and strong!”
“Lose 20-30 pounds. Make yoga a part of my fitness routine. Work on flexibility. Increase strength and flexibility in lower body. Start lifting weights.”
“I am planning on an adventure race – wilderness orienteering with 1 leg hiking/running/bush whacking, 1 leg mountain biking, 1 leg kayaking if my adrenals are up to it.”
“I would like to get more lower body shape and lose some fat too. Not for competition, just for vanity:-)”
“I bulked for the first time at 40 yrs old, in 2017. I planning to continue lifting heavy and cut this year.”
“To gain muscle and in time compete in powerlifting.”
“Drop body fat into teens, develop muscle, build base to compete in figure in the future.”
“I have some OMR goals at the gym. I am still working on leaning down but definitely looking at strength and physique goals.”
“Continue to refine my lifestyle so that diet becomes less of an issue. Working out 3-4 days per week consistently.”
“Lose those belly inches and rediscover my abs. Dropping 10lbs. would be a bonus.”
“First Olympic weightlifting competition and compete in my 2nd bodybuilding comp and not place last.
“Ideal weight by Christmas 2018 Stronger / toner than ever before Less joint & back pain.”
“To continue my journey of fitness and health.To become stronger and more defined.”
“To stay in my Keto lifestyle and inspire others to make themselves a priority. We are worth it!”
“Increase my strength using the Wendler 5.3.1 programme. Introduce gymnastics and weightlifting into my routine.”
“I want to be able to do a pull up. I want to see more definition in my muscles.”
“Definition for glutes and legs! Strengthen back!”
“To see definition and understand how to eat right to achieve my goals. I feel like I’m just a hamster on a wheel at times and living on a small Island makes it difficult to get direction and guidance.”
“To become stronger, and increase my level of rock climbing. Be able to do an unassisted pull up.”
“Continue strength training to further develop and define muscles. Working hard to get a booty!” 
“To be leaner and stronger, to stay in control of my diet. To look like I could kick your butt!”
“Get blood sugar under control and lose the belly!”
“Gain muscle, mainly in shoulders and glutes, maintain current level of leanness (about 19% bf), teach my kids the basic human movements.”
“To be at a healthy weight, continue to eat healthy (even through the holidays), watch my caloric intake, maintain portion control, and to not be so strict with myself (i.e. it’s okay if I miss a workout, I don’t eat well one day, etc.).”
“Body composition improvements (lose inches in waist), consistent double unders and consistent multiple reps unassisted pull ups, PR this year over last on major 1 rep max barbell movements.”
“Compete in Spartan. Fitness and health and abundant energy.”
“Lose weight and make this a lifestyle of looking and feeling fit.”
“Climbing five mountains. Do another 50 miler.”
“First quarter: hit 300 kilos in BP/S/DL Lose 5 kilos. Start pole fitness training.”
“Compete power lifting.”
“Push myself harder. Would like to increase my weekly running distance again and incorporate a set plan for lifting light weights/circuit training.”
“Lose body fat to low 20’s then work on building muscle to raise my resting metabolism.”
“Hike up to the 1,000 mile marker on Appalachian Trail this summer. Foam roll more consistently.”
“Keep lifestyle active and eat healthy.”
“I want my abs back!”

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