Health & Fitness Expert and Ex Gladiator James Crossley, says that age should not determine fitness and factors such as work commitments, family life and low energy should not prevent women from being at the peak of physicality at forty. We caught up with him to ask him more about the fit at forty campaign and his advice on getting in shape.

James Crossley: Get Fit at Forty

James Crossley: Get Fit at Forty

So what is your background in Fitness?

I started lifting weights at 12 years old after watching 3 Rocky films in a 6 hour Rocky bonanza.

I did my first bodybuilding show at 15 and by 19 I was competing in Junior Mr. Britain. It was after this that I was auditioned for Gladiators.

I got my first Personal Training qualification at 19 and have added 20 plus bolt on qualifications throughout the years. I have competed in marathons, triathlons and currently compete in Strongman competitions.

Tell us a bit more about the 'Fit at forty campaign'

I notice many of my clients are over 40 with families and have fallen into bad habits of poor nutrition and little or no exercise. Forty is a crucial age to really start looking after your body, so I am looking to educate people on the importance of strength and mobility work, plus proper nutrition. With the 'Fit at Forty' campaign I want to dispel the myths surrounding fitness for people in their forties and prove that whoever you are and whatever you do, you can be fit at forty.

Women at 40 usually have other responsibilities that interfere with keeping fit, what is your advice of making the most of their time and making sure they exercise?

Prioritise! Most people in their 40s have a busy life but if you keep neglecting your body. The posture will sag, energy levels will plummet and once strong muscles will start to disappear. Get up a little earlier, watch less television there are always ways of finding a 30-minute exercise window.

 Why do you think people think that forty is too late to start exercising?

People think that hitting forty is a big signifier of getting older. Although we have much longer lifespans, so 40 really isn't that old. I have seen people start exercising in there 40's and take on extreme challenges such as run marathons. It's all about mindset, if you mentally say your old and tired that's how you will feel. The mind is a powerful tool so tell yourself you feel motivated, fit and strong!

Is it harder to lose weight at forty?

If you follow the correct training and nutritional methods and are most importantly motivated it's very easy. Stop listening to the negative voice in your head and bring out the positive.

How do you get women in their forties motivated?

Goals is the key. Find a goal that will motivate that individual. I often book a professional photographer for 8 weeks' time and that is a huge goal that gets fantastic results. Look at an event to enter or a social event that you want to drop 2 dress sizes for. I trained a couple for a wedding and between them they lost 3 stone- some of the relatives they hadn't seen for a while didn't even recognize them on the day!

What types of exercise do you recommend and that have the most benefit to women at forty? And on the flip side which are best to avoid?

First try and find exercise you enjoy otherwise it will be tough to keep it up. Second look for accountability so a trainer or friend to meet and train with. I would say route one would be strength work some HIIT training and some yoga. Training 3-4 times per week. Avoid endless cardio it has many downfalls.

 What are the benefits of exercising at forty?

1.Extending your life 2. Feeling better 3. Better sleep 4. improved posture 5. more mobile 6. more energy

What is a good example of a day's gym routine for a woman in her forties starting out?

Full body weights workout for 40 minutes looking at using big compound exercises if able to do them followed by 12 minutes of HIIT training on a cardio machine and finish on stretching.

Warm up- between A1-A2 30 seconds rest do all of A sets then 90 seconds rest and move on

A1 Squats 3 x10-12

A2 Incline dumbbell press 3 x 10-12

B1 Leg press 3x10-12

B2 Low pulley row 3x 10-12

C1 Single leg step up 3 x10-12

C2 Dumbbell shoulder press 3x10-12

HIIT interval on rower 20 seconds on 10 seconds of 12 minutes


And finally what is next for you?

I am pushing the Fit Forty campaign throughout the UK, I am also launching a T-shirt range with IF Strongwear and have recently developed an app for personal trainers to run their business form Goal wise I am claiming the highest mountain in Africa for new year and have a team strongman event next month.

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