Fitness At Fifty & Beyond

A "fair weather" exerciser is the term used by a friend recently to describe my attitude to my fitness regime.  In my defence I have to say she was recalling my university years more than three decades ago when a hangover or a piece of chocolate cake would normally be sufficient excuse not to join her for a game of female rugby or a wet and windy run around campus.

Exercise like everything else you develop a passion for in life is generally something that is nurtured.  As children my parents always took my sister and I on long walks and encouraged us to pursue a variety of sports, which we did, some with more success than others.  To be honest though I am not sure that I actually really "enjoyed" them in the sense that I would wake with a burning passion to go and exercise. I loathed hockey and netball in equal measure, however, I did excel at swimming and as a teenager competed at county level.  I do however, think I fell into it by accident rather than intent.

Then on starting work I decided I needed a stress release and took up running with my flat mate at the time and that was my first proper foray into something I loved.  I enjoyed the escapism, the euphoria of pushing my body to the limit and ultimately the way it made me feel and look.  It became an addiction.   Every day, morning or night.

After children I fell out of love with exercise again, simply because time was more pressured.  Also I noticed my needs had changed.  My knees were really suffering from pounding the streets and I wanted something calmer that focused more on toning and strengthening. After an unsuccessful encounter with Yoga I fell in with Pilates and more recently Barrecore.   But what about my heart and my aerobic fitness?  I consider myself relatively active.  I walk a lot and can run for a bus in an emergency but I don't push myself aerobically beyond those boundaries.

  • Live In Fitness

As I approached my 50th birthday I took stock of my exercise regime as part of my Fabulous Fifty resolutions and decided to revisit it.  A newcomer to Instagram over Christmas I searched #fitnessat50 and came across the feed for Clare La Terriere aka @Clare_pilatesandposes.  Six weeks away from my 50th I was determined to hit the ground running to be the best 50 year old I could be so there was no time like the present, I contacted Clare and we booked in some sessions at her London flat.

Clare is a woman in her fifties and a mother of three grown up children, but looking at her posts she puts the majority of the younger fitness instagrammers to shame with her energy and her incredible abs and I can confirm having since met her that she is just as awe-inspiring in real life!

IMG_7810_web

Clare started her fitness journey aged 28, tired, depressed, plump and pregnant and apart from a period due to injury has never looked back, "I did it for my head, not my heart and I still do, everything else is a bonus" says Clare.

A fully qualified Personal Trainer and Pilates teacher, the turning point for Clare was discovering HIIT, a way of exercising that doesn't take a lot of time and requires minimal space and equipment.  HIIT involves short bursts of hard intense exercise followed by rest which forces your body to work anaerobically and thus burn fat and not muscle.  Clare's fitness levels went through the roof after taking it up and she now boasts a resting heart rate of 52, which for the uneducated is on a par to most Olympic athletes. Not bad for a woman in her fifties!

Age is not a barrier for fitness in Clare's opinion,  she says the biggest challenge facing women in their 50's is actually starting if you have never done it before.  Most of the women she sees want to shed a few pounds but haven't a clue how to start and quite simply don't want to go to the gym and be intimidated, so she teaches them how to exercise and reach their goals at home.  This provided the inspiration for Live in Fitness, a residential fitness programme, Clare runs from her home in North Norfolk providing clients with a bespoke exercise regime and advice on a healthy eating programme.

  • Working Out With Clare

The morning of my first meeting with Clare I was nervous.  I am guilty of using my age as an excuse for those things which are outside of my comfort zone and HIIT is definitely in that category.  I shouldn't have worried, Clare is a bundle of energy and was quick to put me at my ease as we chatted about all things fitness and 50 related.

Clare firmly believes that "Being 50 doesn't define us anymore, 50 is the new 40"  and her mantra is that nothing is impossible as long as you have the confidence and that is why she is there to say "Yes, you can actually do this, go for it!" 

After the warm-up, Clare took me through a sequence of 4 different exercises repeated 3 times so that the total routine only took 12 minutes.  I say "only".  It is hard, there are no two ways about it, but with Clare's natural exuberance and passion for exercise and gentle words of support  I made it to the end with maybe just a few co-ordination and balance issues.  This routine was then followed by some Pilates exercises and some stretching.

Despite having practised Pilates for more than 10 years, Clare also gave me some top tips for ensuring my core is always fully engaged (ribs down) and introduced me to a truly effective plank hold that knocks socks off the fully extended version.IMG_7795_web

The day after my first session I am not exaggerating when I say couldn't walk, bend or sit.  Barrecore involves a lot of focus on strengthening and toning the legs so I was genuinely surprised to wake the next day feeling like I had run the London marathon without any training.  Clare texted me to see how I was feeling, literally as unbeknown to her I was trying with great difficulty to pour myself into a David Bowie style jumpsuit for a party.  Needless to say I didn't manage much dancing that night!

The next week Clare was less forgiving and pushed me harder with another set of exercises, reminding me that it was me not her that was supposed to be out of breath and sweating but all in her naturally good-humoured way of course.

Clare's devotion to fitness and client satisfaction is unquestionable.  She was careful to make sure that I knew how to correctly carry out all the exercises she had shown me over the two sessions, making sure I recorded her on my phone at the end for my future reference.  Clare has kept in touch since and encourages her clients to contact her if they ever need further advice and support.

Since seeing Clare the biggest battle for me has been motivation which as my dear friend would say is evidence of my fair weather approach.  I also thrive on having people around me experiencing the same pain I am,  BUT to keep me focused at home I switch on Clare's recordings either from our session or on instagram and immediately am transported back to her flat and her warm words of encouragement to get my heart rate up.  Clare is full of wise words but on discussing tackling fitness as a 50 year old the words that ring truer than most are "Being 50 is not an issue.  It's the not taking responsibility for your own body that is the problem."   

Details of Clare's courses can be found on her website www.liveinfitness.co.uk.  You can also follow her on youtube and Instagram @Clare_pilatesandposes.

 

NB: All views in this piece are my own, if you do contact Clare please let her know you read about her here.  Thanks. 

 

 

 

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52 Comments

  1. March 25, 2017 / 8:56 am

    Hello Jo, I appreciate you for your fitness journey. You did really hard work. I get inspired from you and now I am also thinking to start my own fitness journey. Thanks for the post!!

    • March 24, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Have you checked out instagram or the internet – I have found some great pilates teachers to follow and instagram is how I found Clare. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • March 23, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      I think you are either a yoga or a pilates woman and yoga has just never done it for me. If I have inspired you that is great but Clare is a real inspiration so please check her out. #mg

  2. March 21, 2017 / 8:13 am

    I’m ashamed to admit I don’t exercise. But this post has inspired me. I do need to get into it, if only for my mind. #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 23, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      Yah the first step is thinking you need to change – let me know how you get on. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. March 19, 2017 / 6:55 am

    I tried to get back in Yoga after a long break and then ended up injuring my foot, as a result I am still healing. It was very frustrating. But exercise is such a wonderful thing, especially when done right. Really fab post! #mg
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    • March 19, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Oh Mac that is a shame, foot injuries can take some time to heal and our feet do so much work for us that it is important not to push it. Hope the end is in sight. Thanks for commenting. #mg

  4. March 17, 2017 / 10:23 am

    “It’s the not taking responsibility for your own body that is the problem” oh my word she is so right! I could come up with 100 excuses not to exercise. This was so useful for me, thank you. I really need to get myself organised and sort out a routine where I start with exercise and fit everything else around it. Being a blogger involves so much sitting down. I am getting up right now and going for a walk around the block! It’s a start at least. #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 17, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      Sharon my exercise regime has gone so downhill since I started blogging! I now have a Fitbit Flex 2 that beeps if I have been sitting down for more than 1 hour to remind to get up and move! Enjoy the walk. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. March 16, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    We all want a Clare now! I am a personal trainer, but I often think that I would love someone to push me. She sounds great and looks fabulous. I’m just back training after a year out for two shoulder operations. It’s so good to be back 🙂 Alison x #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 17, 2017 / 9:38 am

      That’s funny a friend who is a personal trainer still has sessions with a trainer and when I ask why she always says that she needs pushing too sometimes. Shoulder operations are no fun at all, glad to hear you are on the mend. Take it easy and glad you made it. #TweensTeensBeyond

  6. March 16, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    Very inspiring post – I have loved cardio exercise my entire life, but have definitely dipped in and out of it since the kids. But I’m getting back into it again at the moment and for me, it’s all about how I feel mentally – it transforms me – my husband can vouch for that! Clare sounds a brilliant motivator. #tweenteensbeyond
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    • March 17, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Yes Susie you are so right, cardio gives you that rush or endorphins that no other exercise can, it is just a good all rounder. Clare is very motivating in fact that has just reminded me of Mr Motivator from the TV years ago but you are probably too young to remember him! Thanks for joining us again. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. March 16, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    It’s a really interesting read Jo… I have been running off and on over the past 5 years and I love it for all the reasons you describe. I can’t imagine my knees will like it for the long term though. I would love to see my Mum taking up some form of exercise – she is 60 next year and even something gentle would be so good for her..

    Thanks so much for sharing with #coolmumclub
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    • March 17, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Running is without doubt the best all round exercise for lifting your mood, burning fat and getting strong, but my knees just don’t like it anymore. Get your mum into Pilates! My mother started it when she was 65 and is 75 now and loves it! Thanks for commenting. #coolmumclub

  8. March 16, 2017 / 7:51 pm

    I am a fair weather exerciser !! I have no shame in admitting it, although I wish I wasn’t ! Can’t wait for the end of March to dust off my running shoes !! This post has inspired me even more than the warmer weather on the horizon !!
    #TweenTeensBeyond

    • March 17, 2017 / 9:33 am

      As I get older I need fair weather far more than I used to for sure. So glad you have been inspired to get running! Thanks for commenting. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • March 17, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Oh I so don’t think so! I may have to frame those three words! Thanks for commenting. #ablogginggoodtime

  9. March 16, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    You can run for a bus – that made me giggle! I cannot wait to get back into exercise once this baby is born. I have never felt so sluggish before in my life. Nearing 40 isn’t helping either! Exercise sure does have so many benefits. More than we care to realize! This Barrecore looks so interesting, I will have to give it a look! Thanks for sharing with us Jo … #globalblogging … I hope the linky is going well! x

    • March 17, 2017 / 9:30 am

      Ha ha I glad I made you smile Jacqui – my family would say that I rarely use a bus so running for one is rare too! I hope everything goes smoothly with the new arrival and look forward to reading your post birth exercise stories – they have to make me smile though! #globalblogging

  10. March 16, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Routines for fitness are something that I think we all have to be prepared to restart. They stop for various reasons – don’t want to go out in the winter, or the class shuts down, or injury. All those have happened to me! Restarting is something that has to happen regularly and it’s hard. #TeensTweensBeyond
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    • March 17, 2017 / 9:27 am

      Yes you are right Janet, everyone falls off the exercise bandwagon at some point, it’s just as you get older it is increasingly tougher to climb back on. Thanks for joining us this week. #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. March 15, 2017 / 2:15 pm

    I while ago I took up swimming and found that it was really toning me up, however I then developed a problem with my hip. My pelvis is slightly tipped and after 51 years my muscles have started to complain about it. I’m going to physio and was told not to do breast stroke. I can’t do crawl because I don’t like getting my face wet (wuss I hear you cry lol!) So I’ve invented a new stroke called the ‘brawl’ – breast stroke arms and crawl legs! I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂 #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 15, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      This made me smile because I have always been rubbish at breast stroke legs and my husband always says that they are more like crawl legs so hoorah I have found someone else to join my club. Thanks so much for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  12. March 15, 2017 / 11:02 am

    without really bothering with exercise I’m always considered myself reasonably fit – we’d go hiking on holidays and I had no problems. Now I’m starting to feel the years and weight pile up, but I still can’t bring myself to do ‘exercise’. The spur has come from an odd source – taking advantage of my ’empty nest’ status and going out to gigs. I NEED to be fitter to do this, so I’ve taken up zumba in the privacy of my own home. It looks much like prancing around to music but it does seem to be making a difference

    • March 15, 2017 / 12:31 pm

      Ha ha Mary I love this! I have never tried Zumba myself but know it is very active and like all dancing it is fun – so what better way of keeping fit! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • March 15, 2017 / 12:32 pm

      Yes that was my problem and even now in Barrecore my instructor will frequently say “go lower Jo” and I have to explain that my knees just won’t let me! It’s definitely an age thing! Hey ho. Thanks for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. Nige
    March 14, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    It’s difficult to find time to keep fit especially with kids but saying that I need to find the time to do more fab post #teenstweensandbeyond

    • March 14, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      Oh Nigel I was looking forward to an insight into exercise from the male perspective – let me know if you find something inspiring. I think your posts are pretty spot on actually. Thanks for commenting and joining us again. #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. March 14, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    I definitely need to work on my fitness. I make the excuse that I don’t have enough time, but really as with most things if I wanted to do it enough I would find the time. This has been a really inspiring post, I might even get as far as putting my trainers on and give it a go. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at #PostsFromTheHeart
    Mummy Times Two recently posted…A Review Of Pigeon Organics Children’s ClothingMy Profile

    • March 14, 2017 / 1:39 pm

      Thinking about it and planning it is half the battle with exercise. Glad you have been inspired. Good luck and thanks for commenting. #PostsFromTheHeart

  15. March 14, 2017 / 11:14 am

    Hmm. I’ve seen HIIT mentioned here and there but it never really registered with me. I’m definitely off to follow Clare on IG! Thanks for the tip!
    I could use something to change up my workout routine, especially since I’ve cancelled my gym membership.
    #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 14, 2017 / 1:38 pm

      Yes go for it Alisa. Give it a whirl and let me and Clare know how you get on! #TweensTeensBeyond

  16. March 14, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Great post. I will definitely look into this website if I can do some of the exercises at home. Definitely on my list of goals I set for this year. I’m pretty fit but there is always room for improvement and for me one of the key areas is flexibility too!

    • March 14, 2017 / 1:42 pm

      Thanks Caroline. Clare really is an inspiration for women in their prime! She is literally a human dynamo. Do take a look and let me know how you get on. Thanks for joining us again.

  17. March 14, 2017 / 10:16 am

    Firstly, you do not look 50!! Amazing. I, too am a lover of pilates – totally hooked after starting two years ago. I follow Clare on IG and need to embark on her HIIT for sure. I’d love to try barrecore also – I need to look into that. Oh and loving that 50 is the new 40! Yay to that! #TweensTeensBeyond
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    • March 14, 2017 / 1:37 pm

      Oh Helen that is not me but I will take the compliment anyway! Ha ha. Definitely have a look at Clare’s posts/exercises – she makes them look so easy! If only! #TweensTeensBeyond

  18. March 13, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    Fitness has been an ongoing struggle with me. Even before I was a teenager I started exercising as I was always a plump child. Now in my forties I end up losing and gaining weight due to lack of consistency with my fitness programme. I have to add that the days that I do exercise I feel cheerful and energised. I like what Claire said about exercising is for the head. That’s absolutely true. #mg
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    • March 14, 2017 / 1:36 pm

      There is no doubt that once you do get into the rhythm of exercise you do feel so much better in yourself, physically and mentally like Clare says. The trick is not to fall off the bandwagon again particularly as we get older as it so much harder to get started again. Thanks for commenting. #mg

  19. March 13, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    It’s certainly a time when we need to think about our bodies Jo isn’t it Jo. It sounds as though you have put yourself through the paces and found someone that has inspired you too which is half the battle. Motivation is a problem if we don’t get a real buzz or have someone holding us accountable. Do you think you will carry on? #TweensTeensBeyond

    • March 14, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      As you can probably tell Nicky motivation has always been a problem with me, once I start I am generally fairly good. There is nothing worse than not exercising for a while and then the first class back you literally feel like an old woman of 70 not 50! #TweensTeensBeyond

  20. March 13, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Wow… I am in my thirties but post kids have just not found the time/inclination to keep gym-fit (I used to love the gym in my twenties). It’s just laziness now, but this post has got something stirring in me!!! Fingers crossed. Thanks for sharing with #globalblogging

    • March 13, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Nicole, it is hard when you are home with kids to fit everything in and finding time to squeeze in exercise is never easy, but then running around after them when they are little is good fitness in itself. Thanks for commenting. #globalblogging

  21. March 13, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I am little ashamed to say that I’m not fit in my thirties. Maybe by my fifties I’ll have gained the will power to exercise! #GlobalBlogging
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    • March 13, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      We all start exercise at different times in our lives but maybe you are fitter than you realise. Some people are blessed and you could be one of them! Thanks for commenting Heather. #GlobalBlogging

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