Ryan Emmelhainz is an expert when it comes to fitness for midlife women. He is a certified master trainer with 24-Hour Fitness in downtown Sacramento, and he’s also my trainer and friend. I chose to train with Ryan because I need accountability! I know what to do when I go to the gym. But if it’s a choice between a glass of wine and going to the gym, I choose the wine more often.
Ryan makes the gym a pleasant experience and having an appointment with him means I will actually work out! Now my workouts are fun – like hanging out with my friend – and consistent! And I’m seeing the results! I’m stronger, more toned, and I sleep like a baby! I sat down with him recently to ask him his thoughts about working out in midlife.
HF&S: Tell us about yourself and why you decided to become a trainer.
Ryan: I lost 100 lbs in my own weight loss journey and that turned into a career choice. I love helping people reach their goals and it’s my job to make it fun in the process. Seeing my clients succeed is the most rewarding thing for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
HF&S: What is the most essential component of a successful fitness program for midlife women?
Ryan: The most essential part of a fitness program for midlife women would be to incorporate what we call the 4 quadrants – cardio, weights, functional training and stretching. Most people only do one of four but for overall health and strength you need all four.
HF&S: What are the best exercises for weight loss?
Ryan: Based on my experience, the best exercise for weight loss is supersets. Supersetting means doing two exercises back-to-back with no rest in between. Most of the time they work the same muscle group, but they can also work opposing muscles.
For example, when we’re not super-setting, we do three sets of 12 rows with a 30-second rest in between sets. Then we do three sets of 12 chest presses, also with similar rest periods. With that method, our total rest time is three minutes for both exercises. (6 x 30 ÷ 60 = 3).
With supersetting, we combine those two exercises together so that we do one set of 12 rows and one set of 12 chest presses back-to-back before we rest, and we repeat that combination three times. With that method, our total rest time is cut in half (3 x 30 ÷ 60 = 1.5). This method keeps the heart rate up for fat loss while toning the muscle.
HF&S: How often do we need to work out to see results?
HF&S: Do you favor any commercial weight loss programs? If so, why?
Ryan: When it comes to commercial weight loss programs, I feel it is not one size fits all. You see what works through trial and error. Although intermittent fasting has had great success among people with weight loss goals.
HF&S: Speaking of intermittent fasting, there are a lot of fad diets out there. How can we know which ones work long-term and which ones are just unhealthy trends?
Ryan: There are plenty of studies on specific diets, including intermittent fasting. But do make sure you do your research and maybe even consult a nutritionist before starting. I’m not a fan of juicing/detox diets where you deprive your body of proper nutrition. And no matter what diet you choose, water is key! Drink it all day!
HF&S: What would you say to midlife women who want to be toned but don’t want to get big muscles?
Ryan: The number one fear I hear from my female clients is that they will get “bulky.” Unfortunately, drug use among female bodybuilders has caused women to wrongly think that they will look huge if they touch a weight. You will not get bulky from weights alone, especially when you are a midlife woman.
HF&S: What advice would you give to women who are just now starting a fitness program in midlife?
Ryan: My advice to beginners would be to start at a moderate weight and make sure you have proper form, even if you need to get a trainer to make sure you are performing the exercises properly. Making this investment will prevent injury and activate the proper muscle groups for better results.
HF&S: Is it even possible to have a great body when you’re over 50?
Ryan: It is 100% possible to have a great body at 50 and beyond. I’ve seen it several times and there are thousands of online testimonials of women in their fifties that look like they’re in their thirties. Results happen! You just need to be patient and consistent.
HF&S: What would you say are the most important health benefits of working out?
Ryan: The most beneficial aspects of working out are reducing chronic disease and improving bone density, which is a must as we age. Other benefits include sleep quality, brain function and increased energy.
You may also enjoy Get Fit After 50: 25 Minutes is All You Need!
If you are in Sacramento and you want to work out with Ryan, you can e-mail him at [email protected]
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