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Fitness Through The Decades

Seven is the number of completion, but it’s also the number of surgeries that I’ve had throughout my career in health and fitness. Our clients assume that we’ve got it easy because we’re fit. We couldn’t possibly know how they feel when they’re: sore, have joint pain, feel demotivated, struggle with depression or anxiety, or battle with diet.

The truth is that we have such great success with our clients because we’ve faced the same struggles they have and come out on the other side successful. We can teach from a place of experience and victory rather than solely from a place of theory.

My wife Annie Hodges and I began Unbroken Fitness Solutions LLC. Personal Training studios so we could pool our combined 50+ years of fitness experience to change our clients lives through fitness 1 rep at a time.

During my undergrad I studied the human body, and it fascinated me, but while I was getting a degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education I had to pay my way through school as a personal trainer. Little did I know I would continue training as a career and better yet, passion. And EVEN better yet, find a beautiful woman who shares that passion to spend the rest of my life with!

We’ve seen a lot throughout our years in fitness. We’ve rehabbed gunshot wounds, stroke victims, helped people lose tens of thousands of pounds in cumulative weight, trained Navy Seals, Marine Recon, Professional Athletes and more! With all of that experience we’ve been able to pick out some of the common threads that we see are “themes” in fitness throughout the decades and we’re sharing it with you in an effort to help prepare you for a long happy and healthy life.

We’re going to start with the 30-39 year olds. Not because we want to neglect our young adults, but because this is typically where people feel ready to start asking for help. There are three big tips for those in your 30’s:

  1. Maintain flexibility: After having a decade in the workforce (usually sitting behind a desk) people in their 30’s are always surprised with how much their flexibility has already begun to deteriorate, causing joint dysfunctions that lead to injuries like torn ligaments and/or tendonitis.

  2. Build muscle mass while you still have hormones on your side. I’m not suggesting you become a bodybuilder, but increased muscle mass increases metabolism. This means, if you are having trouble losing weight, (although counterintuitive) building muscle is the way to go. More muscle means you burn more calories, even at rest. Furthermore, Once you hit 30 testosterone levels start to decrease (in men and women). This makes it harder to gain muscle. There are ways to combat this naturally through diet and exercise.

  3. Develop good eating habits now: learning how to eat properly doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does changing your daily habits. It takes months, even years to develop good eating habits. Our clients come to us needing an instant change. They’ve become frustrated with FAD diets that promise quick results but always leave them worse off than they were before. We have to do damage control and educate clients on the complexities of proper nutrition and behavioral change, while battling marketing hype and pseudo science that have indoctrinated them into an instant gratification “I need it yesterday” mentality that promises that all they need is a 90 day challenge to fix the 10 years of neglect to their bodies. If you can be patient and learn healthy eating habits early, you will set yourself up for success in this marathon we call life.

To our fellow 40-49 year olds, there are a couple things that surprised us once I got into this age category. Before we get into those, the lessons from the 30-39 year olds, still apply to you. The three tips highlighted for those in their 30’s are foundational. If you haven’t started yet, start there. If you have started, however, here are three more tips for you:

  1. WARM UP! It becomes increasingly important to ensure joints and muscles are warmed up before beginning strenuous exercise as we age in order to avoid injury. By increasing your body's temperature muscles become more malleable and less likely to strain or tear. Your body also produces synovial fluid which acts as joint lubrication for the movement you’re about to undergo.

  2. Find the balance between your former athlete and your current athlete. As much as high school sports seem like yesterday, your body is different. Have a clear vision of your current goals and the path that will get you there. The vast majority of us have different goals than we did as a high school or college athlete and therefore should have a program that aligns with those goals; this will typically include a program focusing on longevity, joint mobility, weight control and overall strength. Hiring a coach can help if you feel lost. Feel free to find us at

  3. Pay attention to digestive changes. Just as hormones change, the functionality of major bodily systems also change as we age. The muscles in the digestive tract actually become stiffer and weaker the older we get, which often results in food sensitivities and slower digestion. Pay attention to what you are eating that may be causing discomfort and avoid those foods.

Anybody looking to stay fit and feeling good at 50-59 should ensure they are reading all of the above mentioned points for anybody over age 30 but also consider joint and bone health of the utmost importance.

  1. Strength Train: Bone density stays relatively stable in healthy people until about age 50, at which point bone resorption (breakdown) actually begins to outpace bone formation and this can cause a reduction in overall bone density that can lead to osteoporosis. Activities that stress your skeletal and muscular systems including strength training help to prevent this reduction in bone density.

  2. Micro-Nutrient Rich Diet: For the same reasons listed above, it’s important to support bone density by eating a diet rich in micronutrients, particularly calcium, zinc, magnesium & Vitamin D. Here in the U.S. we have high calorie foods that are low in micronutrients (which is why we have such high prevalence of chronic disease and obesity). The best delivery system for these nutrients are the foods that God put on this planet for us. Try your best to stay away from the processed, prepackaged foods.

  3. Joint Stabilization: Lifting weights and engaging in other weight bearing exercises, including single leg and single arm exercises helps to build the muscles and strengthen tendons surrounding the joints. Strengthening these joints develops stability, helps to avoid injury and can help avoid falls in older age.

For our friends over the age of 60, it is so important to keep moving. You’ve heard the expression, “A body in motion, stay’s in motion.” and this becomes continually more important as we age.

  1. Keep Moving: Regular cardio activity, stretching, and functional strength movements will keep your synovial fluids moving throughout your joints, allowing you to continue doing the things you love to do. It becomes increasingly difficult to restart a fitness routine after being sedentary for any period of time as we age so consistency is key to feeling good.

  2. Work on Balance: Poor balance and gait issues are leading causes of falls in older adults. Falls are often avoidable by developing an intentional program to work on strength, stability and balance regularly throughout your senior years. Doing exercises in varying environments, including single leg exercises or with equipment such as BOSU ball or a half foam roll will continually challenge your balance, making you more stable during normal day to day activities.

  3. Develop a mobility and flexibility exercise program: Daily stretching and mobility drills elongate the muscles and keep the joints from being pulled into dysfunctional positions by either tight or underactive muscles. Focusing on flexibility will allow the kinetic chain to function efficiently and keep you moving naturally for longer.

We are confident that these tips will keep your body operating at a high level for a very long time, allowing you to be the best version of yourself for the people you love. We also hope this helps to shatter some of the misconceptions and falsehoods that you’ve heard and get you on track to a happier and healthier you throughout the ages.

If you don't know where to start, or need help along your journey, we invite you to book a no commitment complimentary consultation, or call us at (760)201-6235.

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