Fit Over 50: The Start of a New You?

January is a popular time to turn over a new leaf and make some changes in your life but are New Year’s resolutions the answer? Fit over 50 expert Chris Zaremba shares his thoughts and offers advice on making changes that last throughout the year.

New Year New You

Fit Over 50: The Start of a New You? | Chris Zaremba | Linked FitnessIt’s that time of year again, when the fun and joys of Christmas and the New Year festivities are over, and perhaps you or people you know are planning for a new approach to life for the coming year. Such things are normally called ‘resolutions’. But, I’ve found that anything you have resolved to do is easily broken, often in a few days.

The worst thing about resolutions is that people often say they are going to spend more time doing things such as going to the gym, walking a set number of steps per day, cooking proper meals, or going for regular runs. However, they don’t identify tasks that they are going to spend less time on.

The day still has 24 hours, and more time on something means less time on something else. Best to identify this and agree it (with yourself) first, if there’s any chance in the resolutions continuing.

Once resolutions are broken – even a little bit – they are too easy to totally jettison. Far better to have a few guidelines to try to follow. If you slip a bit off course, then you can resume following the guidelines, either fully or to some extent, without feeling the wagon has disappeared into the setting sun for another year without you on board.

Related: 51 Expert Tips for Getting Fit Over 50

Fit Over 50

Nowhere is this more true than in my favourite subject, which is fitness in the over fifties. At age 50, I was – and I don’t like the word, but it is technically correct – obese. I washeading for some major medical nasties. But in the next four years, I lost around a third of my bodyweight in fat. My fitness levels also increased significantly.

For the years that followed, right up to my current age of 61, I have kept the bodyfat off, and improved a bit further on the fitness scale.

I ‘m now keen to help anyone, especially those like me in the better half of their first century, to both increase their fitness levels and reduce their fatness levels.

I have a range of tips and techniques that you can use as guidelines. However, let me give you just one sentence as my top guideline and recommendation:

Do more of the good things for your body, and fewer of the bad things.

Good vs Bad

Fit Over 50: The Start of a New You? | Chris Zaremba | Linked FitnessNo-one reaches the glorious half-century without some knowledge of what the good things are and what the bad things are. Go on, a little test:

Pizza or chicken salad? Chocolate cake or fresh fruit? Walking 15,000 steps a day or driving everywhere? Orange juice or glass of red wine? Taking the left side of an escalator and climbing, or riding it standing on the right? Driving to the burger-and-fries drive-through or walking to the greengrocers and butchers?

Not exactly difficult, at our age, to know the correct choice at this level. (Except perhaps the fourth one – it was the red wine, not orange juice, that gets my thumbs-up).

So my number one guideline for you (and for you to pass on to those that may benefit) is really to consider your actions – especially in the movement and eating & drinking areas. Decide if what you are about to do as an action really is one of the good things for your body, or the opposite. And try to do the right thing as often as you can.

Tied to this is a little bit of coming to terms with the fact that you have responsibility for the choices you make in these areas. You (and only you) are responsible for what you eat, and how much you move.

Related: Fit Over 50 Workout Routine

Making the Right Decision

Fit Over 50: The Start of a New You? | Chris Zaremba | Linked FitnessI’ve found it’s very easy to let your decision-making slip away, especially in a group of people. In a group there is often some level of peer pressure make a choice which is against your new guidelines. It’s going to be tough to select a different option either from ones you have chosen regularly before, or from the ones being taken by others around you.

However, New Year is probably the easiest time to make such a choice and be able to explain the new you that you are working towards should anyone around start to criticise your selected route.

And since this isn’t a resolution but a guideline, feel free to break it if you have reasoned it through and decided to go against the guideline on special occasions – but don’t go against it on habit or as a default action. Always logic it out and if the situation merits it, leave the guideline behind for that occasion. However, don’t have too many of these exceptional instances – come back to following the guideline after the special event.

There are no number recommendations as part of this guideline. Just think about what is best for your body and try to choose the best option as often as you can. If you feel like some choc digestives, what is better – two of them or four? One or two? And what’s better than that?

Of course, there’s lots more to my suggested fitness approach than just this. But just try to follow this one guideline, for as much of the time as possible, and you will make significant progress, I assure you.

How to Progress Further

If you find this all a bit easy and want to go further than this, go ahead. However, it’s important not to go overboard on the exercise front too much, too soon. If you (or someone you know) wants to join a gym, do so. And if you do, seek out the advice of a personal trainer. Any good one will conduct an assessment of your current condition, your goals and will create a plan to help you achieve the objectives you have.

Or maybe you feel like taking up jogging or running. Again, take some advice – and don’t leap into any substantial exercise programme unguided. It’s very easy to end up drained and uninspired, or worse, injured – without some constructive comments on the way.

And if you’d rather not get some one-to-one advice, then the good news is I’ll be your personal trainer and advisor on nutrition here every month throughout 2018. I may not have your exact requirements to hand, but I’ll give some nutrition, movement and lifestyle tips that would benefit everybody, and with a bit of fine tuning on your part, will benefit you in particular.

Related: Personal Trainer Zone: Q&A with Chris Zaremba

About Chris Zaremba

Personal Trainer Zone | Chris Zaremba | Fitness Over 50 | Linked FitnessChris Zaremba of is a fitness consultant and personal trainer specialising in the over 50’s. He follows his own advice and is the current World Champion Muscle Model and Fitness Model for his age group.

Chris has an International Diploma in Advanced Personal Training, and an Advanced Certification in Nutrition for Weight Loss and Nutrition for Physical Performance.

He has made many appearances in the media. Not only is he a regular author on fitness matters, he has also made several TV appearances. In 2013 the Community Channel made a documentary about his fitness journey. More recently, he appeared in a TV series called ‘Fit Happens’ to give advice on techniques to maximise fitness levels.

Chris writes for Linked Fitness every month, and always welcomes comments and questions on

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