October 2017 - Ageless In Shape

Monthly Archives: October 2017

Your Body Type And Metabolism – How it influence the way you train and eat

There are countless factors that makes you unique, and influence the way your body responds to exercise and nutrition. There is no "one size fits all" exercise regime that will help you get in the best possible shape you can be in, no matter what exercise “specialists” and “gurus” may have you believe.

Before continuing, I just have to mention that this article may get a bit “technical”. This is simply because I want you to understand how your exercise and eating habits may differ vastly from the next person to achieve the best and quickest possible way to get fit and in shape. I will explain each term as simply and thoroughly as possible.

There are a few rough guidelines that will help you choose the best possible training regime to start with. The two most obvious being your body type and metabolism.

Your body type

male body type

Your body can roughly be categorized into three types:

1  -  Ectomorph
2  -  Mesomorph
3  -  Endomorph

The Ectomorph

Let's look at your ectomorph first. Your ectomorph is normally categorised by a slim bone and muscle structure (look at picture for description). You are typically referred to as being “skinny” or “bony”.

Advantage: In general, you tend to keep your fat percentage quite low and stay lean. As you age, especially past 35 years, you will most probably start gaining some fat around you mid-section and other “typically familiar” problem areas. Still, even at these latter stages, you are still able to shed this fat much more quickly than someone with another body type will be able to.

Disadvantage: Unfortunately, due to your thin bone structure and long muscle fibers, it is very difficult to build muscle and gain a healthy weight. And when you do, it can be challenging to keep that weight on, especially if you don’t keep working out regularly and maintain a sufficient calorie intake.

The Mesomorph

This can be referred to as the “ideal body” type, characteristic by the athletic muscular look.

Advantage: You find it fairly easy to gain muscle, while keeping your fat percentage low. You also don’t lose your muscle mass too quickly. When you do gain fat due to an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, it is relatively easy to get back in shape a lot quicker than, for example, an endomorph would.

Disadvantage: Although mesomorphs have a lot less disadvantages than the other two body types, it does pose its own difficulties. It may surprise you that the biggest disadvantage is not a biological one. It is actually psychological, to be more specific, complacency.

Unfortunately, due to the ease with which the mesomorph gains muscle and manage to stay in shape, it creates a complacent mind-set which may cause you to lose focus and discipline. As a result it is very easy to neglect your workout routine as well as your diet. The result being an "out of shape body" that may be harder to rectify, especially as you get older.

The Endomorph

Your endomorph is characterized by a person with a big bone structure and normally carries quite a bit more fat than the other two body types. Such a person is sometimes referred to as being "stocky" or even "obese".

Advantage: Despite the obvious disadvantages, your endomorph is able to gain muscle mass relatively easily. You are also able to hang onto your muscle gains longer than normal, due to the fact that your body uses your fat storage as energy, and not "eat away" at your muscles. This can be especially useful if you are on a calorie deficient diet, but more on that later.

Disadvantage: The disadvantages should be obvious. The most important one being the difficulty to lose fat. Not only is it difficult to lose, but it's also very easy to regain the fat you were working so hard to lose in the first place. This can happen rather quickly due to lack of exercise and a poor diet.

Okay, so that is your three basic body types. Just remember, this is very rough classification and there are a lot of variation within this classification. My main aim for explaining these three body types, is simply to make you realize that your body type may require a completely different training regime than somebody with a completely different body structure.

Your Metabolism

This is where things starts getting interesting and a bit tricky. You've probably heard people being described as having an either fast or slow metabolism.

Unfortunately, the term has become the new “buzzword” in the industry, used by “fitness gurus”, celebrity trainers and diet specialists to promote their latest exercise regime or diet program. “Speed Up Your Metabolism And Lose 20 pounds In 3 Weeks” or “Killer Workout To Boost Your Metabolism And Build Your Dream Body In Six Weeks” has become popular catch phrases used in adverts online in social media and even in magazines.

The truth? Very few people really know what your metabolism is and how it works. Even scientists who have been studying it for years, still have a lot of questions. It actually is a complex biochemical process where your body reacts in a variety of ways to nutrition and physical activity, and in turn, the effect your body has on you eating habits and exercise abilities.

It is a very complex interaction between all these components, which makes it very difficult to fully understand or explain. It will probably take a document the size of a novel to begin to explain it in its entirety.

What is important for you to know is the following: In its simplest form, your metabolism is the process by which your body converts whatever you consume into energy, and is therefore also sensitive to external factors like exercise. In turn, it has a direct effect on your energy levels and nutritional requirements.

(In general, the faster your metabolism the quicker you burn calories and fat as a result. It is also generally accepted that people with a slow metabolism normally find it a lot more difficult to lose fat.)

This is where it becomes important to you. You do have more control over metabolism, and therefore your energy levels, than you may think. More about that in a later article. I just feel you need to know about this, simply due to the vital role it plays in the way your body reacts to exercise and nutrition.


If you are very confused at this moment, rest assured in the fact that you can consider yourself one of a very few percentage of people who realize how complex your body and its relationship with nutrition and exercise is.

The real point I was trying to make, is that there is NO one perfect exercise and nutritional plan that can be universally applied to everyone. You may now realize why there are so many contradicting statements and programs out there, as well as why what you have been doing up to know, is not working at all.

Having realized that, there is good news. There are a quite few exercise and training regimes available that use principles and techniques that can be used by anyone and has proven to be effective and reliable. They aren’t perfect, but can be used as a solid foundation or starting point, from where you can develop and mold it to fit your own body’s specific requirements.

I will be addressing and point you to a few of these programs in the next article. I know you have been asking for exercise and training regimes to follow for quite some time now. I realize you are keen to get started, but just felt it was necessary to address some myths and misconceptions first, which I did in a previous article. I also wanted to explain the importance of your body type and metabolism, and how it influences the way you train and why there are so much confusion and contradicting information out there. This has now been addressed in this article.

I promise we will get to the “meat and bones” part in the next article, where I will point you to a few very effective programs I can recommend, as well as give you a brief overview of each one to help you decide which one will suite you best.

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

See you in the next post!


Are These “Stumbling Blocks” Holding You Back From Attaining The Body You Always Wanted? – Myths, Misconceptions And Flat Out Lies

I think it is about time we get straight to the point, and be honest about a few things. This is something I am very passionate about, so my apologies if I am not going to come over as very diplomatic or “politically correct”.

If you are held back or discouraged for your own personal reasons, not to prioritize staying in shape or being fit, I completely respect it. Each one of us have the full right to choose and live according to our own set of priorities and values.

If you are being held back due to some external discouraging and false facts, presented by society and the big “health & fitness” marketing machine… I would like to address them and address them right now!

1.  What  you  see  on  the  cover  of  muscle & fitness  magazines  is  not  a  reflection  a  of  reality.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but hopefully most of what I am going to share, will be something many of you are already well aware of.

Let’s start with magazine covers. If you haven’t heard the term “Photoshopped” before, you probably have been out of touch with modern society for quite a few years. This image editing application has been used for more than 20 years to enhance the appearance of possibly everyone that graced the covers of magazines for the past few decades.

Every possible imperfection and blemish have been removed, skin and eye colour enhanced, and it hasn’t stopped there. The bodies of most swimsuit and fitness models have been seriously “modified”, even though most them looked perfectly in shape and toned to start with. In pursuit of the perfect look, midsections have been digitally trimmed more, six-packs made more pronounced by adding shadows and highlights. From head to toe, no body part escapes the “digital scalpel”.

Social media isn’t doing much to improve the situation. Especially platforms like Instagram is portraying an image of the perfect body and face that is completely out of touch with reality. Bodies are posed and photographed from just the right angle to make the bust look a little bigger, and mid-section a lot smaller than it really is. To make things worse, applications are now available that can add six-packs, broad shoulders, completely different hair and eye colours, with just a few clicks or taps on the screen.

The end result? A lot of men and women are putt-off from even trying to get themselves into shape, as the image of a fit and healthy body seems completely out of reach. A direct result of a completely false representation by mainstream media and society.

I hope this puts to rest any fear or discouraging feeling that this image created among anyone of you.
Remember, at the end of the day you are competing against one person only: Yourself! As long as you keep on beating the you from yesterday or last week, you are well on your way to reaching your goal.

2.  You  do  not  need  to  spend  hours  in  the  gym  to  get  the  best  possible  result.

To be honest, the exact opposite is true. Numerous studies revealed that testosterone levels actually spike and starts dropping after 40-45 minutes of exercise. This means after this period, the effectiveness of your training starts wearing off and can actually have a negative effect on your body.

For years I was guilty of spending up to 1.5 hours or more working out, with long rests in between my sets. Not only was it very ineffective, I wasting a lot of time. It was only after time became an issue, that I started following exercise programs that was short, with very little rest between sets.

Not only did I start saving hours of per week working out, I started getting much better results. After some proper research, I realized this was actually supported by scientific research, and applicable to both men and women of all ages.

If time is your main concern, the fact that almost anyone can get in shape by spending 90 minutes or less per week exercising, should be more than enough to convince and encourage you to get started!

As a footnote, I just feel obliged to acknowledge that it is indeed possible to get amazing results, following the 2 hour plus extreme workouts published in fitness and bodybuilding magazines and performed by professional bodybuilders. That is to say if you are willing to be a walking chemical laboratory experiment (yes, I mean pumped full of anabolic steroids, growth hormone and everything in between).

3.  Stop  starving  yourself.

Actually, this misconception is rather ironic, as the exact opposite is true. The simple reason for this statement is the way your body responds when being starved and malnutrition occurs. Your body literally goes into starvation mode, meaning over a sustained period of time (not short term), your body starts burning less and less calories to cope with severely reduced food intake. This effect is compounded by that it now starts storing nearly every possible form of excess nutrition in the form of fat, to be used for energy later on.

Not only is it getting increasingly difficult to keep burning fat, but your body starts using muscle fibre as energy, meaning you start to loose healthy muscle mass in the process as well. Not a healthy or effective combination at all.

Off course you can get a away with dieting (starving) and get results for a couple of weeks. The problem is you can’t starve yourself indefinitely, and even if you do, your body will go into “starvation mode”, ending with the results I already mentioned.

When you stop dieting (starving), and start eating “normally” again, your body immediately “overreacts”. To compensate for the loss in nutrition, it starts storing as much of you food intake as it can, in the form of fat. This is the main reason why you see so many people quickly gain weight after ending a diet program. You may have experienced this effect yourself. It is called the “yo-yo” effect, and is the vicious and endless circle so many people are trapped in.

Please realize that you do NOT need to put yourself through this hell. The key to keep getting into shape, is all about what you eat and when you eat it – not how little you eat.

Combined with an appropriate exercise program, you will get the best possible result and outcome. More importantly, it is result you can sustain and keep living a healthy lifestyle, without torturing yourself.

4.  Don't  Trust  Your  Scale. 

That such a simple measuring device can cause so much controversy, is remarkable. On the one hand, it is dreaded or even hated by some people. Another group of people can’t wait to get on the scale in the morning to measure their progress or success. The results in turn, may actually set their mood and mindset for the day.
Using a scale the right way to measure your progress, is a valuable asset and I am not denying its usefulness at all. The problem is, that it measures weight, but not what kind of weight. It can not distinguish between the weight of muscle, bone and fat. And therein lies the problem.

Muscle and fat differ vastly in their mass, with muscle being a lot heavier than fat. This means that one person of a certain height can weigh 160 pounds and be extremely obese, while another person with exactly the same height and bone structure can be toned, fit and in shape with a six-pack.

It is clear how the scale can fool and discourage. You may be following a strict exercise program and making excellent progress, but the scale does not reflect that. To the contrary, it may actually show an increase in weight. You may be gaining a little muscle and lose a lot of fat, but a scale cannot tell the difference. You can imagine how discouraging this can be if you only trust a scale to measure your progress.
Instead, use the mirror, a simple measuring tape, or even the way your clothes fit to, to keep track of your progression.

I think its safe to conclude that, although definitely can be a useful device in the right circumstances, but can not be used as the true and only measure of progress and success. In this case the saying, “The scale does not lie”, is not a completely valid statement.

Watch me discussing this topic on my video channel

Well, there you have it. In my opinion, these are the main culprits that plays the biggest part in hindering or discouraging people from taking that step to getting in shape and start living a healthy and life.

There will obviously be many people strongly disagreeing with me and be able to find plenty of evidence to proof of it. I am very confident in my conclusions though. Not only have I experienced it personally, but throughout my 30 years in the industry I have seen it happen over and over again to men and women around me. I also did years of research to make sure there are more than enough legitimate scientific proof, to validate these conclusions.

There are quite a few remaining misconceptions I feel strongly about. These include arguments that, “doing hours of cardio a week is the only way to lose fat”, “You are too old to get into shape” and one of my favorites, “Women must stay away from weight training, as they will bulk up like men!”.  These are arguments for another day. I really hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Until next time, take care!


Getting Fit And In Shape After 40 – My Story, Living Proof

Not only is it possible to get in shape, but easier than you think. The principles described in the following paragraphs documents my story and how it applies to you. This really is aimed at men and women of all ages but will be especially useful for everyone over 35, all the way up to your sixties and over.

Hi, My name is Wessel. I am the creator of AgelessInShape, and gym and fitness enthusiast for almost three decades. At age 46, with almost 30 years experience in the gym, health and fitness industry, I experienced almost all the ups-and-downs you can relate to.

I think this story is very relevant for anyone who wants to get into shape and be fit, no matter what stage of your life you find yourself in. Let's get started.

The Early Years

I first got interested in getting in shape as a very skinny and tall 16 years old. Getting tired of all the teasing, I desperately needed to do something about it. I started visiting the gym on a regular basis to gain weight, specifically muscle. After starting to see results, I was completely hooked.

This growing love and dedication for working out and getting into even better shape continued to grow.  Throughout my tertiary education and the first couple of years as a young employee, it reached its peak. I worked out for up to 6 days a week for up 1-2 hours at a time. Obviously, this could not continue.

Adult Life Intervenes

The increasing responsibilities of everyday adult life, combined with work stress started to take its toll. Drive and motivation started diminishing,  combined with less and less time available.  A few bad habits also started to develop. Although I managed to "convince" myself I was doing enough, my long infrequent workouts were not practical, to say the least. But most importantly, I definitely wasn't following a fit and healthy lifestyle anymore.

My first wake-up call came in 2002 An "innocent" bump on my shoulder, turned out to be Stage One Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). Luckily it got caught very early. After 5 months of intensive radiation therapy, I was in remission. The therapy took its toll, however, and my bone structure and energy levels were permanently compromised. 

Would you think a stint with cancer would be serious enough to take a serious look at my life and way of living? Well, not in my case. The experience was soon "forgotten". Life continued, as did my bad habits. Long story short, this continued for the next 8 years. Then, I guess I needed a proper reality check...

The Big Wake-Up Call

In the beginning of 2011, my health really started to deteriorate.  I was constantly tired and nauseous. An appointment was made for blood tests to be done. Guess what, my "old friend" was back. This time around it was much more serious. My body was littered with cancer cells, from a tennis ball sized tumor next to my heart, to my lungs and intestines. Now it was Stage 3 Lymphoma, bordering on Stage 4.

"My apologies for the long, sometimes graphic story, but I honestly think you need to see this in the whole perspective to get the message"

Back to 2011.  An intensive course of chemotherapy started on a weekly basis. I tried to continue working throughout the treatment, but my energy levels and my immune system started dropping drastically. As a result, working basically came to a standstill during the latter part of the year. Needless to say, any form of exercise was discarded. 

Severe breathing problems started to develop in November 2011, and a battery of tests followed. Things just went from very bad to dire. My cancer developed a resistance to the chemotherapy, and my whole body was now littered with malignant cells. I was told there was nothing more the oncologist could do for me. 

I was referred to a hematologist, specializing in blood disorders and related cancers, and he is living proof that miracle workers actually exist. He let me take a break from treatment to give my body some rest before the next BIG fight started.

Some pictures I took during my mid-thirties, after regaining some weight (including love handles and some belly fat) after my 1st stint with cancer, before loosing it all again. I put them next to ones I have just taken as I am writing this bio. Judge for yourself.)

A Small Miracle An The Road To Recovery

That's how 2012 started. The plan was drastic and straightforward: Use the strongest possible chemotherapy to kill every possible cancer cell, put me in isolation where my bone marrow will be destroyed as well, followed by a bone marrow transplant. That was my only slim chance left to survive. I will not bore you with any more graphic details. Let's just say the next 6 months was "rather unpleasant" and I won't wish the experience on my worst enemy.

In July 2012, I walked out of the isolation ward, which was my home for more than a month.  I was finally in remission. Obviously, it was incredible news and a small miracle. I went home to recover.  So I lived "happily ever after" correct? Not quite...

The following is very important, as I think anyone who went through a dramatic life-altering experience can relate to this.  All the specialists know how to treat you, tells you what to do and you get all the support from family and friends throughout your ordeal. The ONE thing that is very seldom talked about or catered for, is your state of mind after such an event, and how you "reboot" your life, and start living again. 

I was literally and figuratively a shadow of my former self. I was left skin and bones, with a weird "empty" feeling, drained of almost all emotion.  Hard to explain, but I have a suspicion quite a few of you may know this feeling too well. 

I knew I had to start getting busy again and started working a couple of days a week whenever I could find the energy, even though I didn't really feel up to it. This is where the discipline, developed during my years of working out, really started paying off. (Which also helped me through some of the toughest moments of my treatment.) 

From years of experiencing it firsthand, I knew that just taking that first step and start doing something you don't feel like or even dread, will always leave you grateful and glad you did it afterward.  Finally, I started feeling like my life wasn't in limbo anymore. Still, not much seemed to excite me or remotely made feel motivated to really start living. 

A New Beginning

Getting into shape was furthest from my mind. After losing everything I worked so hard for over so many years, it just seemed like a futile and impossible goal to reach, especially at the age of 42. 

However, for no particular reason, I decided, to "get some exercise"  one day. I definitely had no intention or plan to start working out regularly again. After this "spur of the moment" decision, I ended up in the gym doing a light workout for about 30 minutes. And that small unplanned workout changed everything...

More pictures I took during my mid-thirties, after regaining some weight (including love handles and some belly fat) after my 1st stint with cancer, before loosing it all again. I put them next to ones I have just taken as I am writing this bio. Judge for yourself.)

Afterwards, I experienced a vaguely familiar euphoric feeling. Everything looked and felt a little better. I even felt more energized than I did in years. Yes, I know what you are thinking: "This is far-fetched, all in my head, or I am simply over exaggerating or flat out lying."  However, I will bet there is quite a few of you who know this exact feeling pretty well.  A quick science fact... 

Physical exercise releases endorphins, that "feel good" hormone that is sometimes released by other activities that excite and exhilarate. People experience that relaxed and pleasant feeling after a few drinks or having a smoke to cope with a stressful situation. You probably find it hard to believe, so go ahead and Google it. 

The point is, it changed my mood and mindset enough to want me to go back and exercise more. Even if its simply lifts my mood and makes me feel more positive in general.  Long story short, I started working out more regularly, started feeling more healthy in general, and obviously, my body felt stronger and I even started noticing some small changes.

I reached a point where I started thinking about the possibility of making a real effort to get in shape again. A few problems though: I was already in my forties,  I didn't have the time to spend hours in the gym anymore and the severe treatment left me with a lot less energy than I had before.

Accidental Discovery, Making The Change And Thriving Again

During this period, I stumbled across an article written by a trainer/author who I  had a lot of respect for. Throughout my almost 30 years of working out and devouring hundreds of magazines and books (and thousands of article), you learn to sift through the garbage and "noise", and who to trust. The article outlined a few steps to follow and offered a complete workout regime and diet plan, aimed specifically at people over 40 years (although it works for men & women of all ages). 

I was very interested, as the training programme included spending a lot less time working out and the author was already in his late fifties and looking awesome (no, NOT Photoshopped).  I started following the regime and diet but was not holding my breath. I followed too many "new fitness recipes" and "body transformation programmes" throughout the years that promised "small" miracles, only to be disappointed.  

After six weeks, I was pleasantly surprised. My body actually responded quickly to the new programme. A year later I not only managed to get back into shape but actually started looking better than I did in my late twenties. And the best part, I am still improving to this day!

A Welcome And Very Positive Conclusion

This is by far not the only training programme that works, and I even made adjustments to this one to suit my own body and metabolism. It just happened to suit my needs and is easy to follow, and a perfect starting point for anyone just starting out or trying to get back into shape. The point I am trying to make is this:

You can get in shape at ANY age, and you don't need to spend hours in the gym or starve yourself in the process. 

Right, I have spent way too much time talking about myself. I just hope my story is evidence that it is possible, no matter what stage of your life you find yourself in. If I managed to just make you think twice, I will be happy.

My goal is to use my 30-year experience to try my best to help you start your new journey, encourage you to get back into shape, or get past a frustrating situation you've been stuck in, not making any progress. Through proving useful and interesting articles, addressing specific topics, sharing motivational stories, providing helpful hints and tips, and answering important questions you may have, I really believe we can do this!

As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my  mailing list  to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.

Speak to you soon.