Empowering Fitness: 5 Ways To Be Fit And Fabulous In Your Forties

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Are you creeping towards your forties fit and healthy or does the mirror tell a different story?  Having recently discovered the inside of a gym after almost ten years of hardly any exercise, I  decided that it was time to take control of my health. For too long I ignored the signs of an unhealthy lifestyle - tiredness, weight-gain and low energy. I guess I just put it down to getting older. The truth was, life simply got in the way and I made excuses. Life happens to all of us. In between the boardroom nibbles, after-work drinks and client dinners, there's the fine art of juggling families, careers, challenges and stress.

But it doesn't have to be this way. It's time to take ownership of your body.

Now that I can hold a kettle bell without passing out, I thought it would be great to get some motivational tips and advice from an expert. Cue Louise Gilmartin - Ajala, a Dubai based fitness and lifestyle consultant. Louise's specialised and holistic approach is both an inspiring and refreshing change to the conflicting advice out there.  Read on to discover how to be fit and fabulous in your forties.

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What inspired you to set up Food and Fitness by Louise?

I had been a food and nutrition teacher for 20 years and a ballerina in my younger days. I've always been passionate about food and fitness and have personally experienced the positive benefits to body and mind when our food, fitness and well being is aligned. Unfortunately, most people don’t get to experience how good their body is designed to feel. I wanted to share this knowledge and experience, to empower others to be the best version of themselves.

Women go through a lot of changes as they approach their 40's. What are the main concerns women talk to you about and what first steps can they take to owning their health?

As we approach our late 30’s our bodies do change.  Muscle mass naturally deteriorates which impacts metabolism and changes in hormones all play a part. The main concerns that clients voice is that they are very successful in all areas of their lives but struggle to get the results they want with their food and fitness; Weight-gain seems to appear and is difficult to get rid of. The impact of hormonal changes not only affects their body but their emotional well-being as well. they also struggle to balance family, career and carving time for themselves to address their food, fitness and well-being.

Many have concerns over long term sustainability of health and wanting to be fit and active for as long as possible. Clients often approach me after a number of tried and failed “quick fix” food and fitness plans. They're looking for alternative, long term sustainable changes to their lifestyle with strategies that are based on facts that work and fit in with their lifestyle.

Client training sessions

Client training sessions

You're based in Dubai which has a very glamorous lifestyle associated to it. How did you end up living in Dubai and who are your clients?

I came to Dubai in 2008 with my late husband. We re-located due to his job as a civil engineer. After his death I stayed and continued with my career in teaching and then set up Food and Fitness by Louise in late 2017. My clients range from career women and men to those juggling home and family life. I specialise in the approaching 40 and 40+ market and this is what unites my clients.

What's the one thing about your business that you love?

I love seeing clients progress towards their goals and starting to experience the benefits to their body and mind.  Clients who come to me with their concerns start to experience changes within 4-5 weeks, initially with how they feel and changes to their body shape. This builds self-confidence and motivation and those “feel good” vibes.

How do you think adopting a holistic approach to fitness specifically empowers women?

When our food, fitness and well-being is right for us, we are consistent, put trust in the process, and are doing it for ourselves. It gives us the tools we need to be the very best version of ourselves. Gaining the knowledge and understanding of “how” and “why” gives us the power to make informed choices so we can be fit, fabulous and forty.

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What's trending in the world of food and fitness and do you think trends tend to have a negative or positive effect in getting people to include exercise into their lifestyles?

I am pleased to say that we seem to be trending away from quick fixes with our food and fitness challenges, which is a welcome change. Instant gratification, social media pressure and quick fixes also results in quick fails and the negative downward spiral of quick fix and fail begins.

There's a growing awareness that changes to food and fitness need to be sustainable and in order to do this it takes hard work, time and often a shift in mindset. I am pleased to see a rising trend in plant-based food which is really positive. Although veganism is currently trending and we may choose to remain meat eaters, the rise in awareness of plant-based foods and embracing more into our food plan is incredibly beneficial.

Lifestyle or genetics? How much of a role can exercise play in preventing inherited diseases and conditions?

I read an article the other day in which 80% of GP referrals in the UK are now food, fitness and well-being related. Yes, some conditions are inherited but a large number of conditions we are seeing today, could be reduced by changes in our approach to the way we eat and by making small, consistent changes to our lifestyle.

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What are your top 5 tips for getting fit and feeling fabulous in your forties?

1)  Eat real food and eat more - Eat 5 times per day with 3 meals and 2 snacks. It’s not about how little you eat, it’s about eating the right amounts of the right foods.

2) Get rid of the reward and punishment mindset - food is fuel and your friend, not your enemy. You don't exercise to earn your food intake. You exercise to contribute to you being the best version of you and you eat to nourish your body.

3) Stop the 40 min jog on the treadmill - Our muscle mass naturally deteriorates as we mature and our metabolism slows down, both of which contribute to weight gain. Slow, long distances on a treadmill is not a good option for you and it's boring. Try interval training at a high Intensity for 15 minutes instead.

4) Don't be afraid of weights - lifting weights will not make you bulky. Women simply don't have the genetics to achieve this, but we do have the genetics to achieve tone and definition which not only looks great but means we can carry on burning calories even when we've left the gym and keep our metabolism ticking over.

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5) Plan your Food - plan your weekly meals in advance of shopping - that way you know you'll only have food in the fridge that you should be eating and you will minimise wastage. Not only good for your body but good for the environment as well.

What's your most favourite place on earth where you can be you? 

My favourite place is sat on my balcony in Tuscany at sunset, looking out over the olive groves and taking in the scenery.

What's your personal style?

I spend a lot of time in fitness wear but when I'm not, my style is minimal and stylish.

For more information visit foodandfitnessbylouise.com 

Photo's courtesy of Louise Gilmartin - Ajala.