Personal trainer Lesley Maxwell, who is aged 55+, answers the top 3 questions 50+ clients want to know from how to get rid of a ‘spare tyre’ to how to change your body shape.

“I’ve been a fitness professional for over 15 years now and love making a positive difference to the health of so many people of all ages,” says Melbourne based personal trainer Lesley Maxwell.

When we asked her to share her most commonly asked questions Lesley kindly shared her insider tips. Ready to take action and get active? Read on!

Question 1: How do I get rid of my ‘spare tyre’?

Personal trainer Lesley Maxwell says: Weight gain especially around your midriff seems to be common for both men and women as we get a little older. The good news is you can actually change the shape of your body whatever age you are! The main reason this accumulation of weight occurs is your lifestyle as the weight hasn't just crept up on you overnight.

‘Weight creep’ is where a little weight has crept on every year until you find yourself with extra weight, especially around your midriff. Eating and drinking just a little more every day than our body burns off will ensure your weight is creeping up every year. It happens ever so slowly but a kilo or two every year sure adds up!

Keeping a trim waistline is important for our health

The trouble with this is the body fat you see on the ‘outside’ usually portrays what’s on the ‘inside’ – known as ‘visceral fat’ which is extremely dangerous as it gets around your internal organs. Simply changing something with our lifestyle such as what we eat and adding in some effective training can effectively change our body shape at any age!

Another common reason for the extra weight around your midriff is your ‘body composition’ (muscle and body fat ratio) has changed. It seems so unfair that every year after the age of about 30, we lose a little muscle and gain some soft body fat also known as age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).

Maintaining muscle is the secret to helping keep your metabolic system intact, overcoming diabetes, hormonal decline and obesity plus cardiovascular disease.

What you eat plays a huge part in your weight gain. The fastest way to lose weight healthily is to give up processed food, sugar and wheat. Eat clean foods or food (that contains just one ingredient) such as organic eggs, steak and green leaves, wild fish or good old fashioned roasts with fresh vegetables. Eating nourishing food doesn't have to be time consuming – actually the simpler the better. 

Question 2: What exercise should I doing to remain agile?

Personal trainer Lesley Maxwell says: It’s simple when you think about it. As humans we have just seven basic movement patterns and which are: Squat Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend Twist and Gait (walking or running).

Performing these simple moves on a regular basis will not only keep you agile – but also keep you out of an aged care home in later years!

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Squats are great for working out muscles in your lower body

Performing a simple squat not only works every muscle in your lower body but is one of the most fundamental movements in human life! You’d be surprised of how many times during the day you actually preform a squat without even realising it.

For example, getting up from the a chair, the toilet or the couch, getting out of a car and even getting out of bed. Apparently many people are admitted to aged care facilities because they can’t do these simple movements without help, so while a squat also gives you great shapely legs and strength – squats are a vital movement for everyday life.

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Lunges are a back-friendly exercise as it requires you to lift your chest and keep your back straight

A lunge movement on the other hand could be when you're picking something up off the ground or climbing up some stairs. Think how many flights of stairs you actually climb while at the airport or in a shopping centre. Lunges are also great for maintaining balance which is another thing many people lose in later years especially if they don’t work each side of their body independently.

Push and pull movements are used by our upper body such as when you're picking up shopping or a suitcase from the luggage terminal at the airport.

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Keeping your core muscles strong supports your spine that can help reduce back problems

Bend and twist movements work your core, obliques and abs which support your spine and prevent injury to your back. Keeping your core muscles strong supports your spine which helps eliminate back problems enabling you to continue doing the things you enjoy such as golf, tennis and travel.

Maintaining these seven basic moves will ensure every muscle in your body receives a workout and remain agile. Combine these movements with added weights is the most effective way of strengthening your body including your bones fending off osteoporosis and keeping you fit and agile.

Question 3: How do I change my body shape?

Personal trainer Lesley Maxwell says: The most effective form of exercise you can possibly perform to remain youthful and strong is weight training.

Lifting weights will add lean body tissue and strengthen your bones

It’s safe to say all exercise is better than none. However if you really want results to change your body and improve your health choose weight training as a priority for your exercise.

Lifting weights will add strength, lean body tissue plus strengthen your bones. Maintaining and building muscle is the secret to keeping your metabolic system intact, overcoming diabetes, hormonal decline, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Muscle supports your frame (skeleton) helping with back problems plus giving you a lovely shape and more youthful appearance. And that goes for the ladies too! Ladies please don’t be afraid of building some muscle as this is the tissue of youth.

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Lesley Maxwell recommends weight training for those looking to stay in shape

Without muscle we’ll either age soft and fat or thin and frail. Muscle is the key to giving you a great shape, increases hormone production and burns calories just to exist as it’s metabolically active.

Below is a simple full body training program which you can perform using weights either in a gym environment or a home workout:

3 x 10 squats
3 x 10 lunges (each leg)
3 x 10 chest press (push movement)
3 x 10 db rows (pull movement)
3 x 10 shoulder press (push movement)
3 x 10 bicep curls (pull movement)
3 x 10 triceps dips or kickbacks

Try one of Lesley's favourite home workouts for shaping legs and glutes – all you need is an exercise band

Note: Always speak with your health professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise and health regimen.

What is the question you would most like answered regarding diet and exercise? Let us know in the comments below.