Your 30s are the best years of your life. It only gets better after 30. How many times did you hear this when you turned 30? Whether or not your 30’s have treated you well or not, your 30s are all about coming into your own sense of self, becoming a confident, valuable member of society, creating your own beliefs and views on life and politics, and just learning about yourself and who you are. So you’re waiting for the BUT, right? There is a BUT… BUT, as great as it is finding who you are, there is a lot of crap going on in your body, especially in regards to your metabolism. You might have noticed that you can’t eat (and drink…) like you did when you were 23. So maybe instead of embracing your 30’s you are thinking: what the heck is happening to my body??!! While there are definitely some things going on in your body after 30, it is possible to still thrive and FEEL like these are the best years of your life! Here are 4 things that happens to your body after 30 and what to do about them:
#1: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) slows down
So this happens every decade after 20… According the the American Council on Exercise, your BMR slows down 2-3% every decade after 20. This means that your body burns 2-3% less calories while you are at rest every decade. This happens for a couple of reason. First your ability to naturally produce human growth hormone (HGH) decreases and, as a result, you lose muscle mass. When you have less muscle mass, your metabolism will naturally slow (more muscle increases your BMR, it helps your body burn more at rest). So what’s a girl to do to keep this from happening??? 3 words: hit the weights! Weight training will help you build and maintain lean body mass (I said lean muscle mass, not Hulk-quality muscle mass…there is a difference) so that you keep that muscle on your fab 35-year old bod and make sure your metabolism is still rocking. Another way you can help keep your hard-earned muscle is increasing your protein intake.
#2: Pregnancy can wreck your body…or maybe not?
Many women have all of the kids they plan (or don’t) to have in their 30s, especially now. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average age for first time mothers has increased 2 years since the year 2000; basically this means women are waiting later in life to have kids. While we have plenty of child-bearing years in our 30’s, it can be harder to “bounce back” the later you wait to have babies. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with waiting to have kids, but be mindful of how you treat your body during pregnancy. Many women use the old “I’m eating for 2” excuse for completely gorging out and letting htmselseves go during pregnancy. While you are technically eating for 2 (or more if you’re having multiple babies at once!), women really only need about 200 extra calories a day when they are pregnant…doesn’t sound like much when you look at it that way, right? Keeping in mind that every women and every body is different, the average woman should only gain about 25-30 pounds during the duration of their pregnancy. I say all of this to tell all you 30-somethings to take care of your bodies while you are growing a human! Keep your workout regimen as consistent as possible, stay active, feed and fuel your body properly. The more you do this during pregnancy, the easier it will be to get your pre-baby body back and keep away those insulin resistant hormones that can attack your metabolism when you gain too much baby weight.
#3: You can’t eat (or drink) like you did at 21.
Surprise, surprise right? This may not be true for the few people out there that maintain their 17 year old metabolism until they’re 40, but for the rest of us, we have to actually start watching what you eat (if you haven’t already). Have you noticed that you don’t bounce back from that late night out drinking with the girls as fast as you did at 22? Yep, that has to change too. Your body takes longer to recover the older we get. So if you have never been concerned with what you are putting in your body now is the time to start! Even if it isn’t about keeping your weight in check, it should be about putting goodness (not crap) in your body. Start by making yourself eat a healthy, protein filled breakfast every morning. Then follow that with training yourself to snack smart throughout the day so that you can keep your metabolism going and don’t binge at night. Next learn the power of HYDRATION; drink water, people! You should be drinking 3-5 liters of water a day, minimum; if you are working out, you should be drinking on the high end of that range. Water can literally fix anything. Dull skin? Drink water. Feeling bloated? Drink water. Feeling lethargic? Drink water. Learn the power of hydration in your 30s and your body will thank you!
#4: Your genetics start to take over.
Have you ever taken a look at your mom or grandma and thought agh I’m so glad I didn’t get Grandma’s saddlebags! While your barre and pilates class have helped keep your tight little booty, your genetics really start to come out in your 30s and you might start to find some trouble spots you didn’t have in your 20s. If you have some carb-resistant genes, you will find that eating the same old Friday night pizza at home doesn’t flatter your figure like it used to. I’m not saying cut out your cheats; you gotta live. But if you find your body is more carb resistant than it was in your 20’s, try to counterbalance that by increasing your protein to fill you up a little more so you don’t crave carbs as frequently. As I stated earlier, your metabolism does slow after 30, so an increase in protein will, not only help fill you up, but it will also help keep your fat-burning muscle. Don’t start blaming grandma for those hips! Eat your protein, hit the weights and keep it tight!