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Shaping Up For Summer, The Baby Boomer Way: Part 2!

As promised, here's the second part of the Legendary Fitness plan to shape up for summer. Last week we focused on cleaning out the pantry, stocking up on nutrient dense foods, purchasing supplements and being prepared.

Shaping Up For Summer, The Baby Boomer Way: Part 2!
Click Here For Part One!

Baby boomers! As promised, here's the second part of the Legendary Fitness plan to shape up for summer. Last week we focused on cleaning out the pantry, stocking up on nutrient dense foods, purchasing supplements and being prepared with protein bars and MRPs for times when a real meal is not possible. This week we turn our focus to the movement end of the Baby boomer shape up plan, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.

"Moving is fun," said Cat Smiley, Canadian Freestyle skier and host of the new radio talk show, Physically Tweaked, The Cat Smiley Show." Diane: I had the good fortune to be a guest on this new fitness radio talk show where we talked about the current levels of obesity. So many people believe that cardiovascular activity is boring. But, it doesn't have to be. Just try skiing the Cat Smiley way, and you'll never again believe that cardio is boring. Cat's right! Movement is fun! Interested in hearing this fitness talk show? Check out,

Click To Enlarge!

From skiing to blading, biking and tennis, dancing which served as John Grimek's cardiovascular exercise or running, you don't have to be tied to a piece of cardio equipment in the gym on a daily basis.

The point is to just start moving! How much movement you ask? Great question as this is an area of confusion.

Why is the amount of cardio needed so confusing? Because, there is so much conflicting information that it's hard to decide which advice to follow. The reason for the confusion is surprising, as the public is to blame for the differing information. In 1978 the American College of Sports Medicine recommended vigorous activity such as running, at least three times per week. But, recommendations were drastically scaled back in the 1990's when few were participating in rigorous activities that got their hearts revved up at least three times per week. As a result, intensity was replaced with moderation. Running and sprinting were replaced with brisk walking or gardening.

Boomers, we've discussed the physiological changes that occur after 40 in previous articles. One of the important factors is that the metabolism slows down after the age of 40. That means we need to either consume fewer calories or engage in activities where we burn more. If you want to have a legendary physique, you are going to have to work for it. Make it fun and it won't seem like work.

For all levels engaged in exercise activities, a proper warm-up is required. A moderate walk slowly increasing to a brisk walk for five to twenty minutes will do the trick. Use this walking warm-up before your cardio and resistance training.

Learning To Run. Beginner Cardio Routine

  • Start by walking 3-5 times per week at a moderate pace
  • At the end of the week, start increasing the speed or duration of the walk
  • As your pace and endurance increase, begin interval training which is alternating between very fast and moderate levels of walking for a minute on, followed by a minute off
  • Replace the fast walking with a slow jog and alternate between jogging and walking
  • Increase the duration of the jog. Five minutes of jogging, followed by one minute of walking.
  • Once again, increase the jog up to ten and then fifteen minutes.
  • Reach twenty minutes of jogging and start interval training again, this time alternating between short bursts of running (faster than jogging) and a quick recovery jog.
  • Increase the length of run time.
  • You are now a runner!

Some of you will progress through the stages quickly, while others will stay in each stage for several weeks. The point is to keep striving to make progress.

Some of you boomers are already suffering the wrath of Boomeritis with injuries that will not allow you to run. Follow the same routine with biking, working to increase speed, endurance or hill work, or if you must do your cardio in a gym use a recumbent bike or elliptical machine which tend to be easy on the joints.

Intermediate to advanced level running routine.

  • Work to increase endurance by increasing the time of the run
  • Add intensity to your running with interval training. Run sprints for 90 seconds, back off for 60-90 seconds at a moderate run and sprint again. 20-30 minutes of sprint intervals will increase your intensity and will burn many calories.
  • Run sprints up a hill. Walk back down quickly. Boomers watch out for running downhill, as this can be hard on the knees.

Intermediate and advanced runners already have their set number of running days per week. Try adding in variety with sprints, interval training or endurance running once per week.

Running can be hard on the knees so run on a track as often as possible. Also, replace your running shoes often. Check the inside of your shoes for wear, not just the outside. Running has wonderful benefits. It doesn't cost anything and provides an efficient means of burning many calories quickly. It also tends to remove the fat pockets from women's problem areas in the hips and thighs. Richard trained Laura Combes when she was crowned the first Ms. America. Running was a part of her routine to remove pockets of fat.

Getting In Shape For Summer Also Means Movement Through Resistance Training.

Beginning weight lifters had several tasks last week including the purchase of a gym membership or equipment for home use. You've done your warm-up and now it's time to begin with a simple circuit training routine. Use this routine for one to four weeks. You will do a full body workout, three times per week. Use fairly light weights so that you can get acclimated to lifting with proper technique and understand how to contract the working muscle, while relaxing others.

Diane: I can't stress enough, the importance of hiring a qualified trainer to teach you proper lifting techniques. Good form is important at all ages, but critical to us baby boomers that are struggling to remain injury free. Trust me on this one; some dollars spent now will save hundreds in medical deductibles later on.

Beginner Circuit Training

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Beginner Circuit Training!

Perform each exercise doing one set of 12-15 reps. If you are not too sore on Day Two, run through the circuit training routine a second time. Follow this advice on the third training day and you'll be running through this routine three times. When ready, it's time to move on to the intermediate routine.

Intermediate Resistance Training

Plan on four workout sessions per week, two for upper body and two for the lower body. At this level, you understand how to contract the muscle worked and can execute good form.

Workout One, use moderately heavy weights, 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Intermediate - Workout 1!

Workout Two, use moderately heavy weights, 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Intermediate - Workout 2!

Workout Three, repeat workout one, but use light/moderate weights for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

Workout Four, repeat workout two, but use light/moderate weights for 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps

Please remember baby boomers, there is no one workout program that will work for everyone. We are just trying to give you some guidelines from which to build a foundation. For those of you that need to have individualized workout routines designed, Legendary Fitness, LLC will soon be announcing the launch date of the new website, where we will be offering program design and phone consultations. Click here to obtain our newsletter that will let you know the launch date, as well as our appearances and magazine articles. You'll also find useful Baby boomer tips and facts.

Advanced Level Resistance Training, Five Days Per Week

Day One, Chest and Triceps, 3 moderately heavy sets with 8-12 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Advanced - Day 1!

Day Two, Back and Biceps, 3 moderately heavy sets with 8-12 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Advanced - Day 2!

Day Three, Legs, 3 moderately heavy sets with 12-15 reps

  • Leg Extensions - View Exercise
  • Squats
  • Leg Press
  • Leg Curls
  • Stiffleg Deadlifts
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Calf Raises

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Advanced - Day 3!

Day Four, Shoulders, Traps, Forearms, 3 moderately heavy sets, 8-12 reps

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Advanced - Day 4!

Day Five, repeat workout number one. Evaluate where you are in your periodization training and determine the intensity levels.

While training programs should be tailored towards individual needs, there are several key rules that should be followed by all lifters. Richard recently received an email that is full of questions many lifters share.


    1. How do I increase my poundages?
    2. When I try and lift heavy my form becomes bad, so how do I increase my poundages without compromising form.
    3. Is it a better idea to lift a bit heavier weight and compromise on the form, or stick to a lower weight (which you have been doing for a couple of months).
    4. If you do not increase your weight lifting capabilities, does this stunt muscle growth?
    5. How often should one strive to lift heaver weights?
    6. Is it a good idea help increase your poundage by taking help from the spotter right from the first rep?
    7. How often should one switch between high wt/low rep and low wt/high rep, (is it necessary) or should one just stick to high weights?

I really hope you could help me with the above, as it has been affecting my workouts lately and was sure I could count on an experienced bodybuilder like you.

Tarun N.


Hi Tarun,

Progressive resistance is the premier principle in strength gains, yet each of us has different potentials. You should NEVER compromise form or you're setting yourself up for injury. You should NEVER (or rarely) do singles; they're just too dangerous, especially without an experienced spotter. The first thing you should do is pick a weight that you can do 6 or 8 repetitions with and work on doing more repetitions of that weight until you can do 10-12 repetitions with it.

Then you add weight until you are back down to 4-6 repetitions and work on doing more repetitions with that weight until you can do 10-12 repetitions with it, etc. You should progress on this simple scheme for years!

Spotters will only help if you only use them on the last repetition if you are lifting to momentary failure. They do no good if you're going to use them to lift the weight for you.

When you begin to experience sticking points here are several things you can do:

    1) Take a short layoff and get lots of sleep and think about your diet; make sure you are providing your body with maximum recovery and nutrition and then come back to training with renewed enthusiasm.
    2) Work in the power rack on the part of the motion that seems to stall (example: do partials by setting the pins so you are just working the portion of the lift that seems to be giving you problems).
    3) Just do high reps (10-15) for a month or so to give your tendons and ligaments a break and build capillaries in the muscles and then go back to the heavier weights and lower reps You just can't keep gaining strength in a linear fashion forever. But these tips should help you achieve your potential.

Happy training,

For baby boomers of all levels trying to shape up for summer, you should have your training journals in place, logging workouts, cardio and nutrition on a daily basis. Whenever possible, log the information as it happens. It's so easy to forget that you had a MRP at 10 am when it's now twelve hours later.

Reading is motivational at all levels. As discussed last week, we are starting a book discussion group. Dave Draper's, Your Body Revival and Todor Bompa's, Serious Strength Training are our current picks for discussion in April.

Train hard, train smart and get in shape for summer!
Richard and Diane

Last call!!! We've been hearing from you and are still gathering your thoughts and views on the current state of bodybuilding. Do you have an opinion that you would like to share? Send us an email and we will put together a sampling of reader emails in the coming weeks.

Train hard, train smart and make it a legendary week!
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.

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All submitted photos become property of Legendary Fitness, LLC; submission shall constitute a grant to the use of your photos and information as we deem appropriate.

Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.

The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.