does aging have to mean more pounds?

So . . .

I was at the playground last week and a mom told me she had gained 7 pounds over the winter. She had learned it at her annual doctor’s appointment. She was totally upset. Her doctor told her that most people gain weight annually as we get older.

She asked me if what he said is true. She is a loyal Alexandria Stylebook subscriber who reads our Fitness on the Run articles.

The bad news first. Many Americans gain weight every year. Many won’t ever lose any of those pounds. Many will fall into the trap of believing genetics, hormones, inaccessibility to the time it takes, etc. which will prevent them from looking and feeling healthy.

The good news, you don’t have to be one of them. (Ok do the happy dance) I can tell you it is possible to look better, feel better and be stronger than you were in your 20s and 30s.

How do know I know this? Just take a look at my business partner and founder of Fitness on the Run, Adrien Cotton. She is one of the strongest and most disciplined athletes I know. As you can imagine, in my line of work, I know many! I admire how committed she is to her overall wellness and health, which includes making faith, family, sleep and stress-management all a priority. It isn’t easy balancing family and running a business. She is also a devoted friend to those of us who are so blessed to have her in our lives. But trust me, she like every other mom at times feels overwhelmed and exhausted.

So how does she do it at the age of 48?



1) She has a realistic idea of what she can achieve inside the gym and with her own physique. Adrien hails from Southern California where it seems like everyone is fit. She simply believes that is essential for her. There’s just no other way.

She is happy with her physique. She knows what she has to work with and accepts it for what it is. She is happier now with her fitness level than she was at 20, playing beach volleyball tournaments.

2) She makes her annual visit to doctor for full blood panel and physical a priority. She boasts her doctor tells her every year she is “never going to suffer from heart disease” because of her blood panel results. She’s one of the healthiest patients he’s had in his 30 years of practicing medicine.


3) She works hard in the gym. That means she doesn’t skimp on form or cut anything short. She chooses more difficult loads (weight) or movements. She rarely completes more than 5-8 of any exercise. Her theory is after that, form will compromise.

Yet, she also knows there are days it isn’t healthy to give too much energy to her training or frankly to train at all. Either her child will be up during the night, she works too late or her date with her also-fit husband went late. That will be a “light” lower energy output day for her.

4) She sees an Active Release Technique Specialist (Dr. Marty Skopp) when she feels a pesky injury AND when she isn’t injured – just for maintenance and correct posture and movement. She occasionally sees her favorite massage therapist Ann Bartlett or Cosper Scafidi (both at who know her body, her life and help keep her muscles primed for her movement patterns which are many.



5) She eats clean. Her priority is to always eat more protein than any other micronutrient. The next on the list is healthy fat. The last by far is her carbohydrates. There just aren’t very many outside of veggies.

She virtually eats no sugar. She contends “the more you eat the more you want.” She knows it’s not for everyone but she limits fruit as well.

In 2013 she stopped drinking for six months to see if it made a difference in how she felt, trained and slept. She was not surprised. Her sleep was quality. Her training was stronger and required less effort with better results. And she just felt better. After delivering twins, she had that lower abdomen pouch. After the 6 months, it was gone and surrounded by visible definition. If you’re interested she’d be thrilled to tell you about many more benefits of alcohol abstinence.

6) She plans all of her meals for the week.

7) She cheats. Although she keeps nothing in the house that is tempting for her and Bill, she’ll also admit it most (ice cream, cookies, etc.) just aren’t worth a belly ache or compromised sleep or training.

She will have a piece of bread or two at dinner “if it’s worth it.” She has had the same canister of dark chocolate covered minds in her kitchen since tax day. She loves Sees Candy from California. She will have a glass of wine occasionally but can’t handle much more.

8) She takes her sleep as seriously as her workouts.

9) She knows her limits and when it’s time to decompress, spend time in prayer, or simply sit and do nothing to give the brain a break.

So if you are thinking “can I really be in the best condition ever?” I can tell you, you can. It takes work, discipline and working with what you have.


  1. Avatar Susan G says:

    Great article! It goes to show that being fit and healthy doesn’t come in a magic pill but with good (and easy!) lifestyle choices. She is an inspiration!

  2. Avatar Shane Tews says:

    Go Adrien! You are an inspiration to us all.

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