Staying Fit at Fifty with Shawna Kaminski

I am on the road again and I am in San Diego at a Fitness Mastermind meeting, and one of the members is Shawna Kaminski, a fellow Canadian from Calgary.

Before the meeting started we chatted about the secrets to being fit at fifty. I am approaching 40 and I want to keep staying active and have my fitness increase with age. I was chatting with Shawna about what I can do to stay as fit as she is at fifty.

Shawna, can you share a couple of your secrets with us?

Shawna Kaminski: Well I think the biggest thing is people use age as an excuse, and they just say “you know what I am 38 and I shouldn’t be able to do that” or “I am turning 40 and I shouldn’t be doing that.” The whole thing is we just shouldn’t back off intensity.

If you are turning 50 and you haven’t done anything then you can’t start with super intense workouts, you have to kind of ease into things.

The biggest problem that I find with people is that they say “I turn 40 and my metabolism has tanked.” Well it is not your metabolism has tanked; over time you trade fat for muscle because you become more sedentary.

Everyone becomes sedentary and they don’t mean to, but they just slow down as they age or their children get older. If they have kids, children get older and you are not chasing them as much, you are sitting more and most people just have a natural slow down.

In their daily life, they are not as active, and then they kind of find ways not to be as intense in their workouts and that is intentional. And they use age as an excuse for it, which it really shouldn’t be.

Trading fat for muscle, being sedentary metabolism doesn’t tank so much and our muscle is metabolically active. And so the more muscles you have the more your metabolism will stay pumped up.

The key is maintaining your lean muscle tone and I am talking muscle mass. You don’t need to go and get huge, just maintain the muscle that you have built. My goal is I am trying to build more muscles. I am not going to build tons of muscles. I am maintaining what I have and so those muscles help maintain my metabolism.

Another thing is doing short workouts using cardio. So many people think they need to run and need to get on the treadmill. If you like running for mental health or you love marathons, great! But you are not going to get the body of your dreams by running. You cannot get super lean, you will maybe get a skinnier version of yourself, a skinny fat but you are not going to get the shaping muscle that you are hoping for.

If you want to run that’s fine but you need to do burst training with some strength training. You know when I look back on it, I am a mom, I was a teacher for 20 years, and now a fitness professional with several businesses; I don’t have a lot of time but I train every single day with very short workouts.

So what do I do? This is what I do, short burst training and strength training. When it comes to my training, I am trying to do heavy body-weight training, pull-ups, and push-ups, which people see as “oh that’s just bodyweight.” Well, you can’t change your body weight when you get tired. Looking back, that’s what I’ve been doing and it is working.

Rick Kaselj: Yes, it is working. Other things that I have noticed when I go to the gym, I am 40 and I see people that are 20, I know when it comes to learning a new exercise or learning a new compound movement, I need to go at things a little bit slower. I can’t rush my body like I did when I was 20.

I need to be a little bit smarter at being good with my body because if I tweak it or tweak my back it can probably throw my workout for a good week, so I need to be a little bit slower and smarter when it comes to doing my workouts to make sure that I have good movements and am not going to injure myself.

The second thing that I found out is that working out with other people kind of pushes your intensity. I think there’s research to back it up, that when you train yourself you kind of go to a certain intensity with the average person but when you train with others it will kind of push you out of that comfort zone and push you into that higher intensity.

That is something that you have to think about, if you are not pushing yourself hard enough try to train with someone else or another group. Maybe once a week or once every month go and train with another person or with another group to push you out of your comfort zone and to do different exercises.

Shawna Kaminski: The key to that is the balance between training smartly because we want to push ourselves. I also use that in my training boot camps, telling my new clients “50% today,” you are going to be sore anyway. You have the energy of the group and there might be some people who haven’t sprinted since junior high and they just go with it; I say to them to go easy, take modifications, and just kind of build on it.

We say it is a Marathon, it is not a sprint when it comes to training. And of course, it’s all backed by sensible eating. I don’t starve myself, I eat solid nutrition. It’s not a 10,000-hour rule. It is like “I am not on a diet this week.” This is how I live. I am pleasantly surprised when people say “are you getting ready for a contest?” or “did you just finish some physique contest?” Yes, in 1990. I have competed like a hundred years ago.

But it is just because since that time I am not on a contest diet but it is just sensible eating. I am not starving myself. I am just making healthy choices 80% of the time. Those are my secrets.

Rick Kaselj: Awesome. There you go, thank you very much Shawna, and thank you very much readers, listeners, and viewers. Here’s another interview for you and if you want more information when it comes to the injury site of things swing by, it is a resource for exercises and injuries.

Introducing The Challenge Fat Loss Program

If you are watching this on YouTube make sure you go above and subscribe to this. And also definitely check out Shawna’s newest program Challenge Fat Loss, I have a link down below to it. It’s an amazing workout program.

Functional Strength for Seniors