How to Get Stronger, Faster, Fitter, and Healthier in Your 30s
"If you don't take care of yourself now, you can easily wake up in your forties 30 pounds overweight," says Mark Verstegen of Core Performance, a strength and training center in Arizona. "And if you let that happen, you'll spend a decade trying to dig your way out." Long hours in the office, infants up at night, and limited time for healthy eating and exercise can lead to malaise, stress, fatigue, and lost fitness. You're not likely to die of a heart attack or cancer now, but if you're not building healthy habits, you're setting yourself up for disease later. Adopt a healthy lifestyle in your thirties and you'll add years at the back end – and feel better along the way – helping prevent what Verstegen calls "deficit spending with your health."
You still have the potential for amazing performance: Embrace it by challenging yourself to train hard and lift more. At the very least, you need a bare-bones exercise routine that can keep you fit and lean into your forties. Nothing does this better than kettlebells. "Kettlebells raise heart rate, build strength, and activate metabolism quickly," says David Edwards, a trainer at New York Sports Club. "It's quick, intense, and you can knock out all the major muscle groups just by doing a standard kettlebell swing." Kettlebells also burn up to 21 calories a minute – the same as running a six-minute mile.
Most gyms have kettlebells, but all you need are two 15-pounders and one 35-pounder at home to get in a full-body workout. Supplements Omega-3 Many supplements lack evidence that they work. The biggest exception is omega-3, which is repeatedly linked to reduced risk of heart and brain diseases. Take one gram daily of a marine-based form that contains EPA and DHA. Multivitamin If your diet isn't optimal, take a multivitamin with calcium, antioxidants like lutein and lycopene, vitamin E (no more than 400 IU), B vitamins, and at least 400 IU vitamin D.
Metabolic rate declines one percent every four years after age 20. To help control weight gain, "pump the leafy greens," says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, an integrative aging specialist, building your diet around vegetables, lean protein, fish, and low-fat dairy. Get your carbs from whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and nuts. Eat organic or locally grown vegetables and grass-fed meats, which often contain fewer chemicals than conventionally or industrially produced foods, to limit the effect toxins can have on health and metabolism.
More men in their thirties are developing diabetes. Find out if you have a problem with insulin resistance – the body's inability to regulate sugar in food – by getting your blood-glucose levels tested. Also, ask for cholesterol and blood-pressure tests to establish baseline numbers, even if you're fit and lean. Sleep Get more deep sleep, which is when the body releases growth hormone. Deep sleep primarily occurs in the first four hours of your sleep cycle. But since everyone has a natural time when it's easy to fall asleep, don't try to push past that with the consolation of sleeping in late. Go to bed early.
The 25-Minute Routine
Do the following workout twice a week.
Two to three minutes of dynamic stretching – active exercises like leg swings and lunges that mimic natural movements – to help increase elasticity and mobility. Research shows static stretching, such as touching your toes, may even be harmful. Cardio-strength combo
Fifteen minutes of alternate kettlebell swings to near-failure; one minute of light rope-jumping to rest between swings.
Do three sets of three Turkish get-ups to each side, with one minute of rest between. To do a Turkish get-up, lie flat on the floor with a kettlebell in one hand above your head and stand up straight. Recovery Two to three minutes on a foam roller, massaging your calf muscles, glutes, and lower back.