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Lift for Life® and Stronger For Longer Older Adults Program

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 29 December 2015
Hits: 10147

In an exciting development to our thriving Older Adults program, No Regrets Personal Training are taking part in the Federal Government’s Healthy Communities Initiative by providing the Lift for Life® program to the people of the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, with the aim of tackling chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes.Designed to complement our existing Stronger for Longer older adults group class, this government funded initiative allows us to make exercise more accessible to the wider community, including those experiencing disadvantage, helping to improve quality of life.

Lift for Life® is a unique strength training program, developed by researchers at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. The program was designed specifically for people with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing it. The program is also ideal for people with, or at risk of a range of chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis as well as those who have previously been sedentary or who are new to resistance training.




Through our Lift for Life® and Stronger for Longer program, you can begin to see benefits in the first few weeks. Even simple things like shopping, gardening or playing with the grand kids become easier and more enjoyable.

You can also achieve:
• better diabetes control
increased muscle strength and tone
• a healthier weight
stronger bones, improved flexibility, balance and posture
improved mood and increased energy

We have many people who come to us as they reach their mature years and they are full of fear. They may be on numerous medications for different conditions, struggling with aches and pains, or feel isolated because they no longer have the confidence to participate in social activities such as bowls, golf or even simple activities such as walking. And this causes a domino effect into other areas of their life – they worry about what the future holds and even if they’ll be well enough to simply enjoy life.

I can guarantee that participation in the Lift for Life® and Stronger for Longer program will transform your life for the better. No longer will you feel constrained by the limitations placed on you by poor health and fitness. You will be able to enjoy your retirement years, spend quality time with your family and grandkids and be able to do all of the activities you thought were now out of reach. This program will give you the freedom and confidence to experience a long and happy life. Age is no longer a barrier to living the life that you dream of.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the exercises we utilise in the studio with our older adult clients:



Strength training is by far THE BEST exercise for ALL people to undertake but in particular people who are overweight and older adults. Why? Because it is the only form of exercise that can ADD MUSCLE which is crucial for improving metabolism and preventing diseases like diabetes. But it also serves as a way to prevent chronic pain and injury, even reverse arthritis in some people. Understanding what strength training really is, is another thing. Most trainers and gyms adopt either too hard or too easy approach. For weight loss the “go hard go home” style of approach to exercise is common whereas older adults are given exercises as if they are already disabled and put them on a machine type of program. Both types of training will set people up for a lifetime of problems.

Exercises using functional movement patterns with the focus on building strength to improve life is what is needed. Not body building and definitely not Crossfit type training!
Functional exercises are designed to restore balance, lengthen, strengthen, and coordinate movement patterns specific to how you move! The human brain does not think in terms of isolated muscles. Instead, it recruits groups of muscles in uniquely programmed sequences. A well designed conditioning program must therefore be designed to integrate the whole body. We have many clients as old as 85 still able to build muscle through resistance training and improve quality of life. Some still think that lifting weights is dangerous! It is only dangerous when you make it up yourself or follow a program that does not have the goal of making you move better.


Recently we started a small group training class for people receiving Cancer treatment. Working closely with a well respected Oncologist we are able to significantly enhance these patients treatment and provide the body with a better chance of healing itself. Many people who are diagnosed with this horrible disease react by doing no exercise and resting, when in fact this is the worst thing you could do! To fully understand this and how inactivity, sugar and loss of muscle speeds up the rate at which cancer can spread I suggest you watch this recording of the free workshop below.

I want to take this opportunity to provide a clearer overview of this serious condition that has hit epidemic proportions.
A staggering 29 million people suffer from diabetes in the US alone with another 86 million pre-diabetic. And unfortunately, the numbers are only increasing. Incidences of diabetes have increased 700 percent over the past 50 years! And more than half of the people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes don’t even know they have it.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 occurs in 10-15% of diabetic people, has a genetic or autoimmune system dysfunction link and unfortunately has no cure. Type 2 is more prevalent and occurs in 85-90% of those with diabetes. Although it also has a link to genetics and ethnicity, you are at a higher risk of developing it if you are overweight, smoke, have high blood and/or cholesterol and make poor lifestyle choices in terms of food consumption and physical activity.
Even though Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable and nearly 100% curable by simply improving your lifestyle choices and behaviours.
And despite information to the contrary, diabetes is not a disease of the blood sugar, but a disorder of insulin and leptin signalling. Elevated blood sugar is only a SYMPTOM of diabetes, not the CAUSE. It is imperative that the root cause (insulin sensitivity) is addressed – and despite what many doctors will lead you to believe – this can be done through simple and effective lifestyle changes, such as diet modifications and a guided, effective, strength and resistance training program.

Diabetic drugs for Type 2 diabetes is not the answer, with most medications either raising insulin or lowering blood sugar. In addition, many of these medications come with a host of serious side effects which then causes a domino effect.

While we all know how important exercise is for everybody, it is imperative for those with diabetes (and those at high risk of developing the condition) and can bring with it a host of benefits including the following:

•    Lower blood sugar levels
•    Help reverse the insulin resistance that is associated with excess body fat
•    Delay and prevent the development of arthrosclerosis
•    Reduced weight while increasing strength and muscle mass
•    Increased circulation to all parts of the body
•    Reduction in depression and stress

Regular, consistent exercise is one of the fastest and most powerful ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance. 210 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity is recommended per week for health benefits (which if you do the maths is only 30 minutes per day), which can be broken up into smaller time intervals (eg. 3 x 10 minutes). This can help to regulate your blood glucose levels and ultimately reduce the likelihood of developing further complications in the future.

While aerobic exercise is beneficial, studies show that resistance training is more effective due to the metabolic adaptions of skeletal muscle. Lift for Life® suggests participating in strength and resistance training 2 to 3 times per week to notice the benefits of your exercise regime.

Strength training comes with a host of benefits including bone health, balance, muscular strength, endurance and the ability to perform simple everyday activities with greater ease.
It is no wonder that the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and Australian Government have thrown their support behind this program. The future is in your hands and with some simple and effective lifestyle changes, you can regain your health and wellbeing.

I highly suggest you read the following articles from Mercola ( and the Medical Fitness Network ( which will give you greater insights into Diabetes and the real causes.



When I talk to older people about the need to come and do some training with us, and they tell me they are too old, or they don’t need it, I ask them these questions.

Which of these two possible scenarios do you prefer?

1.    One, you live to 100 years but during the last 10 years you cannot care for yourself and must rely on family, aids, healthcare workers, etc?
2.    Or two, you may only live to 85 or 90 years BUT they are fully capable and healthy right up until the day that they die suddenly in their sleep?

I have never had anyone yet choose option #1. They always choose #2.

So one of our primary goals as Personal Trainers in the Melbourne area is to maximize functional capacity and see if we can alter a person’s aging trajectory so that they can maintain optimal function and quality of life. The current method most people are told is to go for a 30 minute walk once a day? Although great to do, this will not make any significant difference at all. The key is to add muscle, but not the way that most people think of, like some muscle bound guy like Arnie getting squashed on a bench press. It is all about improving function remember. Exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, balance training and postural retraining are the keys to improving function. By undertaking such exercises, performing simple everyday tasks such as gardening, participating in social exercises and doing the washing will become so much easier and enjoyable.


There is a misconception in the community that those who are unwell or ‘old’ cannot or should not exercise. Family, friends and the media often tell us that aches, pains and increasing amounts of medications are a ‘normal’ part of getting older. I am here to tell you that it is NOT normal and you CAN thrive in your older years.

With the right guidance and exercises, it is absolutely safe and imperative that older adults exercise.

The loss of muscle mass with advancing age, which is called Sarcopenia, is an important factor to address because it can have a dramatic impact of functional capacity. Failing to do so, in my opinion, would be more dangerous!

Therefore, in order to maintain your independence and simply do basic day to day activities, it is imperative that you undertake a strength training program to negate the effects of this loss of muscle. Below is a picture I have borrowed from Cody Sipe and Dan Ritchie from the Functional Aging Institute and highly recommend you look them up as the stuff these guys are teaching is phenomenal.


The first one is the leg of a healthy, active person with a high level of functional capacity. They have worked to maintain their bodies through regular physical activity and exercise. Because of the strength and power they have they are easily capable of getting out of a chair, climbing stairs, hiking, playing tennis, gardening and many other necessary and enjoyable activities. This is typical of one of our clients who has been doing weight training for years, for example Laurie Ford in the video.

The leg in the middle is a person we regularly see. They have not been as active as they could or should have been and maybe only participated in random exercise throughout their life. Because of this they have lost an average amount of muscle mass and strength. They still can perform most activities of daily living without too much difficulty yet more vigorous and strenuous tasks are no longer possible. They have therefore modified their lifestyle so that they do not have to do these activities anymore. For example they stopped playing tennis because they just couldn’t keep up with their doubles partner or they changed houses to not have to walk up the stairs anymore. This person has a little difficulty even getting off a chair or getting up off the floor and need to find a way to use chairs or something around them to give them a little extra boost. They have lost a good deal of functional movement skills just to live an ordinary life. These people are potential candidates for needing assisted living and are at risk of further decline into disability.

The third leg shows someone who has lost a considerable amount of muscle mass. So much so that they are no longer capable of performing all of their activities of daily living. Now just simple movements such as bathing, toileting, shopping, working, dressing and other tasks have become hard and they need help with some or all of these. This is the rehab client we would get who needs a lot of support to just do simple movements. We see this leg in people aged in their 40’s!

There has been many studies that have demonstrated the capability of people as old as 100 years to build muscle through high-intensity resistance training. Even with all of these studies being completed many people still think that older adults are incapable of regaining muscle and strength. Some still think that lifting weights is dangerous. However we know that weight training for preventing sarcopenia and building muscle mass is essential for improving function and avoiding disability. However many people are misinformed and believe that they are too old to go the gym and are even told so by many of the so called experts. There is a real fear around exercise for the elderly. But injury due to their clients lack of stability and strength is in fact a real possibility. As is using poor methods such as machines and isolated body building methods to improve strength. Which although they may achieve the goal of building muscle these movements do not improve the function of their clients, meaning they do not improve the way a person moves in real life. Technique is everything for this client as disaster awaits for the person who uses Bodybuilding techniques or tries movements that are dysfunctional and not relevant to the clients goals.

Remember I said earlier that only the people on a good strength training program showed great results. What I really meant was, only those on a functional strength training program showed great results.

I highly suggest you read the following articles which will give you a greater understanding of why exercise is of particular importance for the older adult.

Balance Training – Why It Is Essential For Everyone To Train This Skill -

The Danger Of Falls - The Leading Cause Of Injury Deaths Among Older Adults -

Can You Slow The Aging Process With Exercise?


At No Regrets, we pride ourselves on our small, non-judgement and intimate facility.

We understand that starting any new health and fitness regime can be scary. Our friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated team takes this into account every step of the way. Our private studio in Mitcham (Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs) is the perfect place to commence your journey – there aren’t any loud machines, or trainers yelling at clients. We know that this is not the way to improved health. As soon as you visit our studio, we guarantee that you will feel right at home.

Rest assured that during your session, you will have a team of experienced trainers on hand to guide you through each exercise, with individual advice and support, in a friendly environment. We understand that taking the first step is the hardest and we will be with you every step of the way as you begin your journey towards improved health and wellness.


The Lift for Life® program, which is based on medical research, was developed by researchers at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in response to the rising rate of chronic disease.

The Lift for Life® program was based on research that showed that reduced HbA1c levels by 0.8 percentage points, which may substantially reduce the risk of diabetes complications if maintained in the long-term.

To find out more about the Lift for Life® program, please visit



Reassuringly, the Lift for Life® program is only offered at centres (known as Providers) that have been accredited by Fitness Australia and the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

Lift for Life® has been developed to complement the care and advice given to you by your doctor. It’s important to remember that advice on any potential changes to your medication can only be given by your own doctor.

You can rest assured knowing that you will be improving your health and fitness in a safe environment and with the backing of some of Australia’s leading health organisations.


Lift for Life® sessions at No Regrets Personal Training (10/18 Redland Drive, Mitcham) are held on Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 11am.

To get involved call Nick Jack on 0408 525 564 or visit Alternatively, simply click the image below to schedule a free consultation.