#427 9/29/2010 40 AND FABULOUS

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To get back my youth, I would do anything in the world,
except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

Oscar Wilde, from The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

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11 Tips to Get Fit at 40

By Jeanine Natale

When I turned 40 this past February, one of the pledges I made was to look and feel much better than I had at 39, or at 38, 37, or 36, for that matter. I'd become pudgy and very out of shape through a combination of a badly broken toe that stranded me on crutches for months, terrible eating habits, and, of course, no exercise other than stumping around on those sticks.

Woman Holding Dumbbell

Even after I got off the crutches, it was several more months before I could really walk and move around normally again. Sick of how I was feeling and looking, I made up my mind that by the Big 4-0, I was going to be fabulous! Here are 11 tips that have helped get me to where I want to be.

  1. Favorite sports, new activities. My big transformation happened over summer, which meant I got to surf free of my wetsuit! Even without the effort of struggling into a suit, it takes good overall fitness, especially solid core strength, to carry that longboard over long stretches of sand, paddle, and master the all-important pop-up maneuver. If surfing isn't your thing, think about the kinds of activities and workouts that you loved doing when you were younger, or perhaps always wanted to do and never got around to. And if you've got kids, take a look at the kinds of things they like to do for fun. Okay, maybe learning to skateboard at 40 isn't such a bright idea, but playing basketball or soccer are both great workouts, as are ballet and martial arts.
  2. Chalene JohnsonSolid workout. While trying new activities is always a thrill, it's also a good idea to have a solid, regular workout program for developing overall fitness. Programs like Power 90®, Slim in 6®, and Turbo Jam® provide an excellent system to get yourself back in shape if you've let yourself go, so you can get back to those activities you love to do without the frustration of struggling to catch your breath in the middle of a game, when everyone else around you is raring to go. Then, too, the workouts are challenging—and fun—in their own right! Remember, you're as young as you feel, and as aging causes us to start losing muscle mass and bone density, getting back in shape doing something you love is a great way to fight back.
  3. Take a hike and do some yoga. Getting back on my feet, I found that doing a daily low-impact walk was a great way to get rid of specific sore spots in my feet and knees from limping around on crutches. And warming up before and after any kind of walk or run is a good way to avoid undoing your efforts at exercise by just being stiff and sore for days after. There are several studies showing yoga to be one of the best stretch exercises around at any age, but especially for those of us 40 and over. Even my own mom and dad, who have NEVER been fitness buffs, have discovered yoga and stretching at the ages of 70 and 80 respectively. I've seen the positive changes especially in my dad, who suffers from osteoporosis, peripheral neuropathy, and now Parkinson's disease. My mom, recently recovered from a broken hip, makes a great yoga buddy for my dad, and as the two of them have been at it for the last 6 months, I see my dad up and taking walks now, and eating healthy (something he also never did before!). And my mom isn't limping anymore or getting stiff knees. They're smiling more, too. I took an informal poll, and I found that at least 85 percent of people I know over the age of 20 who are in good health and good shape do yoga on a regular basis.
  4. Get a little color in those cheeks (but not too much!). Taking a walk on a sunny day is one way to do that. However, it is crucial to be safe and smart about it. That baking-sheet-style, lie-out-roasting tan isn't good for your skin at any age! Wear sunglasses with UV protection and carry sunscreen with you at all times when you are out in the sun. Apply it liberally and often! If you are working up a sweat, or you're walking on the beach splashing in the waves, sunscreen washes off—even the waterproof kind. Also, if you're taking a calcium supplement such as Beachbody's Core Cal-Mag™, a moderate amount of sunshine is one good way to get the vitamin D necessary to help your body absorb calcium. But I repeat, do NOT forget sunscreen!
  5. Woman Applying Cream to Her FaceMoisturize! No matter what time of year it is, I'm finding that my skin really is more sensitive to humidity levels, and dries out much more quickly. Do some research and find the products that are suited to your skin type—you'll be able to tell pretty quickly which lip balms and lotions are right for you—and use 'em! For summer especially, make sure they contain a strong enough sunscreen. Keep a little sample-size bottle in your car, another in your backpack or purse, and don't leave home without it!
  6. Truly healthy juices, truly healthy shakes. And I mean serious juice—the kind with dark leafy greens, beets, ginger, carrots, etc. I do love my juicer. Why? Because it leaves all the fibery goodness in my cocktail and I can get a heaping plateful of summer-fresh fruits and veggies in one glass—I always replace at least one meal, if not two, with a big 16-ounce glass of juice. But if dealing with a juicer and prepping veggies and fruits sounds too time consuming to you, check out Shakeology®, the Healthiest Meal of the Day®. This is a new discovery for me, and it contains everything I love about my juices, plus so much more.
  7. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements. Feel free to explore the vast world of supplements, vitamins, and minerals. I tend to have a very sensitive stomach when it comes to taking the pill form of some vitamins and herbal remedies, but recently a 46-year-old friend of mine, who is an excellent massage therapist and yoga buff, made me a juice with the following supplements: echinacea, goldenseal, ginseng, gingko, biotin, spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, yerba santa, grapefruit seed extract, acidophilus, 5-HTP amino acid complex, and bee pollen. I washed down a handful of probably 20 pills and capsules with that juice, and was very pleasantly surprised that it gave me no trouble whatsoever and had me feeling good all day. Do your research and find the mix that works for you.
  8. Be nice to your body—it needs you. Pulling all-nighters, eating junk food, and hunching over the computer for hours moving nothing but your fingertips: Ahhh, the good old days! If you still love doing this and you've been out of college for more than a decade, at least trade in the junk food for a healthier choice. And your body will thank you profusely if you just stand up every half hour to move around and stretch, even for a couple of minutes. In all honesty, recovering from those late nights—whether you're out partying or fervidly working on an important project—becomes much harder to do as our bodies age. If you have to be at work in the morning after a rough night, it shows up under your eyes, in your back, in your knees, in the heavy fog coating your brain—you get the picture. You can't always be on an optimal stress-free schedule, but being mindful of your body really does help.
  9. Avoid late-night meals and midnight snacks. If you've been active on a beautiful long summer day, you'll be good and ready for bed. If you want the experience to be a restful one, avoid eating a heavy late-night meal. While there are many studies and opinions on the actual long-term health effects of this, the general consensus is that if you do eat just before bed, keep it light and simple. As Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, says, "A heavy meal can sometimes lead to heartburn-type or reflux symptoms as you're lying down with a full stomach."
  10. Man SleepingGet a good night's sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep needs change over a person's lifetime, and older adults may produce and secrete less melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. Being active during the day and getting enough exercise goes a long way to not only keeping you healthy, but leaving you feeling more relaxed and, well, ready for bed.
  11. Be proactive and be proud of your active self! Whether you've always been in shape and are now beginning to feel the effects of aging, or were out of shape and reached 40 with more of a beginner's outlook on fitness, the fact that you are taking steps to get fit and get healthy both inside and outside is a major achievement that takes time, commitment, sweat, and effort. The payoffs are many, including less time feeling out of sorts and less time in the doctor’s office. With all the science and knowledge we have so readily available today, there's no reason to despair about old age. Age truly is just a number. In fact, a recent 2010 study by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research showed that, overall, people aged 70 and older who had a positive mental attitude about aging and who were physically active reported feeling much younger than their years. Conversely, those who had a more negative attitude about getting older tended to be less active; and reported feeling at least their age, if not older; and reporting more health problems than the younger group did.

Way back when, a friend of mine commented that he just couldn't keep up like he used to on the volleyball court—that he was perhaps getting too old to do that sort of thing anymore. We were only 27 years old! It was probably the first time I had heard anyone my age mention something like that, and then—as now—I simply refused to accept it. Don't get me wrong, there is always the (unwelcome) possibility that some underlying health issue is a contributing factor, in which case serious medical attention must be sought. Fortunately, it wasn't so in this instance. But I remember being surprised by my friend's statement. He was in great shape—probably in better shape than I was—and at the time, I was riding at least 20 miles a day on my bike and was, indeed, quite healthy! Now at the ripe old age of 40, having "let myself go" only to make some much-needed and welcome improvements, I believe there's a lot to be said for being and feeling as young as you think you are, and there's no time like the present to be your best.

Related Articles
"5 Ways to Stay Young"
"Osteoporosis: 5 Ways to Keep a Healthy Skeleton"
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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, October 4th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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"Fall" Back into Shape: An End-of-Summer Health and Fitness Checklist

By Omar Shamout

The end of summer is nearly upon us, which means it's time to put those bikinis and Speedos® back in the closet and get back to those boring, less anatomically revealing, yet necessary parts of our lives, like work and school. No matter how much you boo and hiss (I did too as I was writing it), the dawning of fall reminds us that there are other responsibilities in life besides barbecues, beaches, and killer tans. Change is in the crisp autumn air, and with it comes a host of new activities and obstacles that can very easily knock you off the health and fitness wagon—the one you worked so hard to stay on all spring and summer in order to show off that P90X® physique, or those washboard Hip Hop Abs®! Beachbody's here to help, and we'd like to present you with a handy end-of-summer checklist so you can make a smooth and easy transition back into the daily grind.

Man Writing on a Clipboard

  1. Get organized. When our living room or workspace gets messy, we can head to the store to pick up some boxes or folders to organize the mess. Unfortunately, there's no store that can organize our personal lives, so it's up to us to make sure we're taking care of our minds and bodies properly amidst the endless things we have to get done. A heavy post-vacation workload; a big presentation; the upcoming sales trip; or a barrage of new classes, homework assignments, and tests can leave us feeling dizzy and unsure of just how we're going to accomplish everything in addition to eating right and staying active. Try to organize your schedule appropriately as far in advance as possible so you can figure out a way to achieve your goals. Creating a set routine each week can be a comforting way to visualize your responsibilities, and make everything seem manageable once it's all broken down in front of you.
  2. 10-Minute Trainer®Establish priorities. Now that you have before you a virtual flowchart of all the things you're supposed to do and all the places you have to be, your top priorities in life should become apparent. Apart from the obvious work-and-family unavoidables, focus on those activities that help you become whole, and feel good about your progress as a human being. If you're serious about your commitment to a Beachbody® way of life, make time to shop for healthy foods, pack your own lunches and healthy snacks for work or school, and schedule your cardio and/or weight training—because if our body and mind aren't nurtured, then everything else will suffer as a result. If you just can't figure out how it's all going to fit, start by weeding out things on your schedule that are only there for someone else's benefit. That's not to say you shouldn't do things for other people, but it's impossible to help your friends when you're not taking care of yourself first. Still pressed for time? Tony Horton's 10-Minute Trainer® is a great way to get all the benefits of cardio and weight training into one quick session each day.
  3. Manage stress. With all of this new September stress, it can be tempting to give up on our diets or workout regimen and take a much-needed break. In reality though, these are exactly the things you should make time for in order to avoid being weighed down by everything that life is throwing at you. Exercise and good nutrition are the best ways to stay sharp and at our best so we can maintain peak performance in all areas of our professional and social lives. It's when we're not firing on all cylinders that we begin to make mistakes and compound stress. We're all crunched for time, but as soon as you start making excuses for eating poorly, and succumbing to cheap and easy fast food options, the habit becomes harder and harder to break. Here are five key things to remember in your diet:
    1. Drink plenty of water.
    2. Eat your vegetables (for fiber, iron, and a host of other important vitamins and minerals).
    3. Keep your protein lean.
    4. Keep snacks small and healthy. An apple or a handful of raw almonds is ideal.
    5. Don't eat as a way of dealing with stress.

    These cornerstones will help give your body all the nutrients and fuel it needs to sustain itself through this busy time. Skipping the morning run for an extra hour of television that night, or the gym on the way home from work, may seem like reasonable choices, but you'll not only be passing up some quality "me" time, but you'll be ignoring your body as well. The body needs exercise in order for all its systems to run properly, and the endorphins released during cardio are known to relieve stress and make us feel happy. Finding time for even a 20-minute, low-intensity daily workout will allow you to achieve deeper, less interrupted sleep, so you'll actually wake up feeling more refreshed and energized than if you hadn't worked out.

  4. Woman and Man JoggingFind a buddy. There's no reason you should have to navigate the rough waters of health and fitness alone, so why not convince a friend or loved one to be a workout partner and/or start a new Beachbody fitness program with you? That way, you'll be less likely to ignore your routine or allow it to get lost in the shuffle. An exercise partner can keep you motivated and push you harder to achieve maximum results.
  5. Keep setting goals. If you've reached your target weight, we all know how tough it can be to maintain it over the long term. An easy way to stay focused is to constantly set new fitness goals for ourselves. Stop focusing on weight loss and think of new types of activities to incorporate into your routine so you can challenge yourself. Whether it's shaving another minute off your mile, hitting a new bench-press weight, or learning a new dance, don't let your mind rest by thinking you've reached your peak. There is always more you can achieve!
  6. Remember! Finally, when you're feeling like cheating on your diet, think back to all the hard work you put into getting your body looking and feeling great, and remember why you did it in the first place. A little self-imposed guilt trip will have you dropping that slice of pizza or candy bar like a bad habit, which is exactly what it is!

And don't forget, this isn't your last summer ever. You'll be donning that two-piece or banana hammock and hitting the pool in a matter of months, so use this list to keep your eye on the prize. It'll make getting your body back into Beachbody shape all the easier come May.

Related Articles
"10 Tricks for Losing Those Last 10 Pounds"
"A Little Planning Can Lead to Big Weight Loss"
"10 Fit Foods for Fall"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, October 4th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Recipe: Greek Feta Chicken

Recommended by P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt

Greek Feta ChickenMediterranean cuisine is considered to be among the healthiest in the world. This Greek chicken dish is not only delicious—it delivers an amazing 33 grams of protein with every serving. So "Greek out" with this easy-to-prepare dish.

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Glass baking dish
  • Medium bowl
  • Cookie sheet
  • Grill


  • 8 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/3 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper


  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, blanched and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

In glass baking dish, whisk together marinade ingredients. Set aside 1/3 cup of marinade to use later for basting; place in sealable container and refrigerate until needed. Add chicken to remaining marinade in baking dish, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour (or as long as overnight).

When chicken is done marinating, preheat grill (gas, charcoal, electric, or tabletop electric) and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Discard used marinade. Grill the chicken, basting with unused marinade set aside for this purpose, for 4 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear and center is no longer pink. While chicken is grilling, in medium bowl, mix together topping ingredients. Lightly coat cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and arrange chicken on pan. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of topping on each breast half. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until cheese is softened. Makes 8 servings.

Preparation Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes (may marinate longer if desired)

Cooking Time: 16 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
218 33 grams 1 gram 7 grams 6 grams 4 grams

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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