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Losing Weight Over 50


Coach Kenneth Rippetoe


Health, Fitness, and Beauty

Kenneth is the founder and head coach of One with the Water, a nonprofit swim school that offers need-based scholarships to children with special needs, adults, low-income families, and service-disabled Veterans. He is a certified US Paralympic Disabilities Swim Coach and a strength and conditioning coach.

There is no denying our bodies change as we age, as do our body’s ability to burn fat, retain muscle mass, and metabolize our food. But whether you are 25 or 55, the truth remains: The only truly effective method of losing weight is the holy trifecta of good nutrition, strength training, and a whole mind-body exercise like swimming.


1. Nutrition - A healthy diet is just as important as exercise when hitting the gym and making goals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You need to maintain continuous energy throughout the day and maintain control over what you eat. There are two key things to achieving nutritional goals. First, listen to your body and start to understand what it’s craving. And then eat something healthy within the boundary of a single-ingredient food.


And second, exercise portion control. Start with your hands - Forget counting calories or weighing your food. The easiest way to figure out portion sizes is with your hands. Here’s a quick overview: • Your palm determines your protein portions. • Your fist determines your vegetable portions. • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions. • Your thumb determines your fat portions.


2. Barbell training: Barbell training is simply loaded human movement, and uses the most basic movement patterns that work the entire body as a coordinated system, gradually increasing loads that make our whole bodies stronger (including our backs) in a logical, understandable, time-tested manner.


I've taught elderly people to squat in the pool. I've taught people in their 40s with back injuries and disc problems to squat with a bench or chair. From zero weight, they add a book, and then a couple of books. Then after a few weeks, they work their way to holding a broom stick like they would a barbell. Once they've gain enough strength and coordination to where they need to add weight to a broomstick, we start with a junior bar, or women's bar, and work them up to the Olympic bar.


3. Get involved with a local masters swim program - the health benefits of swimming have been long been documented, but the benefits for an aging population are particularly acute, given the low-impact, full body nature of the workout.


Other benefits include: Increased cardio function; increased muscle tone and strength; anxiety, stress and depression relief, improved flexibility; and of course, weight loss. In fact, swimming is recognized as one of the best calorie burning exercises, which is great for weight loss and control. It’s up to you how many calories you burn, but on average you lose about 3 calories per pound of body weight per mile you swim.


Our One with the Water clients reported a large percentage increase and significant positive impacts in the following categories: Quality of Life, increased by 55% Social Well-Being, increased by 47% Mental Health 47% Physical Health 50% Swimming Abilities 85% Confidence/Self-Worth 61% Leadership Skills 40%

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