We all know wisdom isn’t the only thing that comes with age. Our bodies, change, too. But some of the things women associate with the tip over 40—muscle loss, a slowed metabolism, stubborn fat, lower energy—don’t have to be your destiny. There are plenty of ways to maximize your results. What follows is a high-intensity workout and training guide for lasting fitness. Former IFBB Fitness Olympia champion Monica Brant has crafted a full-body circuit that targets hard-to-sculpt areas with strength exercises, plyometrics, and lateral and forward/backward moves to prime every muscle. Follow it along with advice from top fitness experts on how to keep your metabolism fired up at any age.
Perform this entire workout (including cardio) as a circuit. For beginners or intermediates, repeat 2-3x. For advanced, repeat 4x.
For better results and ample recovery, train at your highest intensity twice per week.
1. INCLINE TREADMILL OR STEPMILL
Perform for 10 minutes
For the treadmill: Without holding on to the handles, walk at the highest incline you can manage at whatever speed you can maintain for 10 minutes. (Shoot for 10-15%) If you feel like you have to hold on, slow your pace down instead.
For Stepmill: Start with resistance of 3, 4, or 5, working up to 15 over a few weks. Keeps the tempo slow and stead.
2. WALKING LUNGE FORWARD AND REVERSE
Perform 12 forward and 12 reverse
- Stand with your feet hip width, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Keeping your hands by your sides, step your right foot forward a few feet, lowering into a lunge until your front thigh is parallel with the floor and your back knee touches the floor.
- Pause at the bottom, then power through your front heel to quickly return to standing.
- Immediately lunge your left foot forward.
3. ELBOW PLANK WITH LEG EXTENSION
Perform 10 reps each leg
- Begin in plank with forearms on floor and hands clasped, forming a straight line from head to heels.
- Brace abs and slowly lift left leg a couple of feet.
- Squeeze at the top, then lower to start and repeat
- To make it harder, place your hands on a Bosu (round-side down).
4. SUMO SIDE WALK
- Stand with feet wider than shoulder-distance apart and toes pointed out 45 degrees.
- Lower hips back into a sumo squat, keeping chest high and hands clasped together. This is your starting position.
- Begin walking your feet to the left one at a time, keeping feet wide apart and staying in the sumo squat.
- To make it harder, add a resistance band below knees or hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your chest throughout the move.
5. FROG JUMP
Perform 10 reps
- Standing with feet shoulder width, toes facing forward or just slightly out, lower your hips into a mid-squat.
- Swing your arms back and then to the front as you leap forward, landing softly in a squat position.
- Quickly swing your arms back to starting position, then leap forward again.
- Jump as high and as far as you can, staying as low as possible once you’ve landed in the squat.
6. BALL CRUNCH
Perform 20-25 reps
- Sit on a stability ball, then roll your body forward until only your lower back is supported on the ball.
- Bend your knees 90 degrees and brace your abs to support your upper torso. Place your hands behind your head.
- From this starting position, lean back for a good stretch, then crunch your torso up, exhaling all your air at the top; inhale as you stretch back to the starting position.
7. SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFT
Perform 20 reps
- Stand with feet hip width, holding dumbbells in both hands.
- Bracing your abs, hunge forward from the hips and simultaneously lift your right leg off the floor, using your left glutes, hamstrings, and quads to stabilize you.
- Continue lower your torso until the weights are at mid-shin.
- Pull through your glutes to return to standing.
8. SIDE PLANK WITH LEG LIFT
Perform for 30 seconds on each side
- Begin in side plan, left arm bent 90 degrees with elbow directly below shoulder, legs and feet stacks, forming a straight line from head to heels.
- Keeping hips high, lift your right leg; hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- To make it harder, place your elbow on a Bosu ball, round-side up.
9. TURKISH GETUP
Perform 10 reps each side
- Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand, then lie faceup on the floor with your right knee bent 90 degrees, left hand 90 degrees from body, and left leg straight.
- Keeping your right arm straight, press through your right food and shift your weight onto your left elbow and then right hand until your torso is upright.
- Keeping your left leg straight and right arm overhead, lift your hips as much as needed to slide your left knee under you.
- Then place all your weight on that lower left leg and your still-bent right leg and lift your torso.
- Drive through your feet and press up to standing.
- Lunge back with your left leg to then reverse the process.