Why 40 is NOT the new 70* | fitness after 40

*with apologies to my 70-year old clients who are nowhere near ready for chair aerobics either…

Earlier this summer, I pitched a draft of a book I’d like to write on the topic of fitness for the over-40 female crowd.


While the pitch wasn’t accepted, I’m still convinced that it’s a project worth doing…

In the process of outlining the book, I spent considerable time scouring the internet to see what people think women’s fitness after 40 looks like and what other titles might already exist on the topic.

Surprisingly, I found only a dozen or so, despite the fact that (a) we’re the fastest growing demographic in North America, (b) mid-lifer women are flocking to the gym in record numbers and (c) as a group, we’re quite happy to spend money on books that help us live longer and healthier lives.

Even more surprising than finding so few titles addressing women’s fitness after 40 was the type of exercise typically prescribed;

All in stark contrast to the type of work my over-40 group fitness participants, personal training clients and fellow gym-goers do.  And certainly not the way I train myself.

fitness after 40

While I appreciate that bodies in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s may no longer function as efficiently as they did in their younger years, barring illness or injury, there’s no reason they need to be relegated to light weights, machine workouts and the treadmill.

My 40+ female clients and I all squat, lunge, deadlift, push-up, pull-up and interval train. We rarely use the plastic dumbbells in the gym. And we’re sometimes asked by the young, buff guys to spot for them on their heavy lifts. We are not bulky or masculine.

We are why 40 is not the new 70.




  1. I turn 61 this year and I am participating in my 120th tri next month. I swim/bike/run/yoga/lift (heavy) on a daily basis-sometimes twice a day if I am headed towards competition. My fellow competitors of the same age are out there too-I have always worked out with women my age or older. Have you seen the latest times to 60+ for the IM events? TWELVE hours! It’s amazing! If you USE it you don’t LOSE it! I run circles around the younger people I work with (preschoolers) and still have enough left to fit in a swim/yoga session at the end of 8 hours. Yay for old ladies!

    • 120 tri’s!!!!! That’s incredible Cheryl! Congrats on your achievements and your amazing attitude about fitness!

  2. I agree with you!

    Since joining your online fitness program: I lift, lunge, push up, burpee, squat, and do HIIT. This is just some of the exercises I do. I can’t imagine toning it down, one bit. I have gotten stronger and have definition in my arms. I even see a few little ab muscles trying to pop out. I am loving the results! Nope, 40 is not the new 70, we’ve only just begun.
    Evelyn recently posted…Why Women In Their 40s Need A Regular Fitness ProgramMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing your results and linking to my program in your blog post. I’m thrilled to have you as a member of this group and am so pleased that you’re enjoying it!

  3. Inspiring blog Tamara. Curious what you think of the book “Younger Next Year”? I like the heart rate training emphasis. Thanks for the thought provoking read.

  4. Thanks for finally saying it! I’m in my forties and lift heavy weights, do HIIT as well as ashtanga yoga and have every intention on getting better and training harder! It really ticks me off when people say you need to take it easy after 40. Just be sensible, but keep going and see where it leads to!
    Samantha recently posted…How To Change Your Job The Smart WayMy Profile

    • Yes! So important to be sensible and listen to your body, but we 40-year olds still have at least half of our lives to look forward to. Wanna be able to do all my favourite things for years to come!

  5. Love the quote!
    Yesterday an elderly couple (mid-70s) came into the gym. I loved seeing them workout together – I hope I continue to be that dedicated to my health at that age (and beyond!)
    PlumPetals recently posted…Where did the Week Go?My Profile

    • We have a lot of ‘seniors’ at the gym where I work. In many cases, they have a stronger commitment and are more consistent than the younger members. Of course, they have more time in their day, but they also see the value of regular exercise.

  6. As a woman over forty (41.5 to be exact), I raise my hand to the beastmode-training way of life. And here’s the thing: I feel better and am muscle-stronger than I was in my 20’s. Never mind that I fart more now. It doesn’t matter!
    Yum Yucky recently posted…8 Behaviors That Lead to Failure and RegretMy Profile

    • You and I are kindred-sisters-in-strength! (Although I don’t think I fart any more now than before; have to ask the husband 😉 )

  7. It’s amazing to me how little knowledge so many people have when it comes to the right exercises for them. I think this would be a great book idea!
    Alysia @ Slim Sanity recently posted…Blog Tip Friday: Helpful Links 13My Profile

  8. Lawdy, so true and so demeaning for those over 40 who don’t have unusual limitations. As for your book idea – go go go. Check out Maureen Hagen and what she has written, especially WOW Women on Weights.
    Kymberly (@KymberlyFunFit) recently posted…Exercise and Confidence in Midlife: I Am EnoughMy Profile

  9. Oh my gosh! Don’t sign me up for chair aerobics! I’d rather sweat buckets and lift heavy things. Thank you for writing this and leading the charge for keeping us fit and strong!
    Coco recently posted…New And Improved! Friday Five Link UpMy Profile

  10. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, no argument here!!! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted…Some Truth & Inspiration for Friday!My Profile

  11. I agree with a lot of your sentiments and ideas and ADORE you… but one comment kind of stuck out for me…..YOGA… it can address muscular atrophy, reduced metabolic rate, and weight gain of over 40. It’s not just about balance, flexibility and core strength…..

    Perhaps the gung-ho westernized version, but the long standing eastern version is WAY more than just that…..#justsayin
    jules recently posted…Is Physicality a Foreign Language to you?My Profile

    • Jules, thanks so much for bringing that up. Certainly my experience to yoga has been limited to the westernized type. And the books on fitness for mid lifers also seemed to emphasize the same. I’m curious now as to how the older, eastern practices differ?

      • It’s hard to explain in just a comment at the moment… (we can chat more later) but since you are an avid lifter (and trainer)… Imagine that feeling you get after the set of reps, when you were in the zone, you accomplished a little addition to your personal best, AND felt totally connected to yourself and the weight……(plus the “high”)

        Eastern Yoga does ALL of that with each sequence of pose and breath and is an extremely natural extension to a personal best with each stretch…..You feel totally connected to yourself and the muscles during the whole time, not just when the “pose” is right…. It is actually called “whole-ing” yourself.

        *we can always chat more later on this*
        jules recently posted…Is Physicality a Foreign Language to you?My Profile

        • This is why I love blogging; I get a chance to learn things I would never otherwise know about!
          I’m gonna do some reading Jules; you’ve intrigued me.
          And just in case it wasn’t clear from my post, I do find Western yoga valuable as a component of a well-rounded fitness program. The meditative and relaxation piece of it can help with stress hormone reduction (which is a big piece of the belly fat puzzle). I was just surprised to see it given so much more emphasis than strength training in some of the books I came across. xo

  12. It’s funny, all I see is info about older women who seem extremely fit to me!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Coming out: Part 1My Profile

    • Carol, I think it depends on where you’re looking. Certainly my social media feed is full of super strong and fit 40 and 50 year old women. But traditional book publishing seems to be behind the times… That’s where I was focusing my search efforts in support of a book proposal.

  13. I hope you do find someone who will take in your book. It’s much needed. I do pilates and yoga and light weighs, but I also do spin class and body fit and interval training too. Your book is needed. Keep trying. The Help was rejected 47 times.

    • Thanks so much Chloe. I’m in the process of deciding what to do. Self-publish vs. pitch another publishing company. The first would probably be easier than the second 😉

      You sound like you have a very well-balanced approach to fitness!

  14. Wow sounds like you found yourself quite a niche there my friend! After joining your online group, I have been more consistent with weights than any other time in my life. In my 20s, I was all about cardio. 40s is about really taking care of your body at all levels so you can rock the 70s 🙂
    Stephanie Robbins recently posted…Affiliate Marketing Back to School InfographicMy Profile


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