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Top tips for getting into shape over 50 from celebrity trainer Paulette Sybliss

Interview by Ceri Wheeldon

paulette sybliss over 50s fitness tips image

Paulette Sybliss worked with Janet Jackson to get her into shape at 51 ready for her world tour – following the birth of her son. I asked Paulette to share her tips so that every woman over 50 can be fit and fabulous.

How easy is it to get into shape in your 50s and beyond?

It is no more difficult at 50 than it is at 30; habits are the only thing that may get in the way. At 50 we are set in our ways pretty much and habits are firmly formed and often we don’t want to break the habits of a lifetime however if the mindset is such that one truly wants to change and get into shape at 50 and beyond then nothing can get in the way.

In your programmes you promote training with weights as opposed to cardio. Why is this?

I promote training with weights as a better alternative. As a former sprinter, I’m not opposed to cardio at all. Women typically want to be toned, in fact, I am yet to speak to a woman in my 20 + years in the fitness industry who did not want to be ‘toned’.

However, to get toned requires lean muscle and the only thing that can develop lean muscle is by performing resistance training, be it with weights or starting off with body weight. When one performs just cardio then yes cardio burns calories and helps to strip fat but if there is no muscle under the fat then one is left with what is often referred to as ‘skinny fat’. Yes, they may have lost weight but they are not toned and that can be very demoralising.

What are the different types of weight training that women over 50 should consider?

Weight training can be done with weights or for newbies start off with body weight exercises and progress to adding additional weights. Most commercial gyms have fitness instructors who can take gym users around the gym and write a program for them. This is usually a free service. Clients should utilise this if they can.

How heavy do the weights have to be in order to be effective?

Workouts need to be challenging to be effective. There is no magic number to give, as everyone is different. As a rule I tell all my clients this, the last 3 reps (repetitions) you perform of an exercise should be challenging, performed with good technique but challenging. If the last 3 reps are as easy as the first 3 reps then that is a good indication that the weight chosen was too light so increase the next time. On the flip side if the last 3 reps could not be completed at all or with good technique then it may be worth dropping down in weight slightly.

How easy is it to start if you haven’t exercised for some time?

As with anything new it can be challenging but seek out help, as I said earlier, if you are a member of a gym utilise the free service of a fitness instructor, if you want to hire a personal trainer you have that option also but then you will have to pay for this. If you are working out at home, ask friends, often working out with a buddy is a great motivator and keeps you accountable at the same time.

Do you need to join a gym to do it?

No, you can work out at home. The internet has a wealth of free information and programmes that you can download and use at home. You can also check out my You Tube channel and e-books for more information.

How quickly should you see results?

No one became out of shape overnight so no one is going to get back into shape overnight. Consistency is key.

What are your 3 top tips for anyone starting out?

Patience, persistence and focus.


Paulette Sybliss is a certified female personal trainer with over 15 years experience in the fitness industry, including one to one training, group fitness training and presenting as well as nutrition and healthy eating coaching.

Paulette is also a fitness model athlete, former sprinter and long jump athlete, but her most important role is as mum to her daughter Ayana. As a 47-year old mum she tries to be an inspirational role model, demonstrating that fitness and good health has no age limits.

She passionately believes that healthy living is a lifestyle and not a short-term fad. It takes self-dedication and commitment to achieve long-term results, but once the foundations have been correctly laid, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals and maintaining them. Once you start to see the results, you won’t look back.

Paulette has worked with clients from many different backgrounds and all shapes and sizes. During 2017 she worked with Janet Jackson following the birth of her son in January, helping her to get in shape and stay in shape for her State of the World tour, which concluded in the USA in December.


Find out more about Paulette – www.paulettesybliss.com

Twitter: @paulettesybliss

Insta: @paulettesybliss

Facebook: paulettesybliss1

YouTube: paulettssybliss1

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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