Drinking beer like a viking, sleeping on random couches, staying up until 4 in the morning—there are a lot of habits you’re probably happy to leave to your 20-year-old self.
But the magic of being able to eat pizza, burgers and chips and still lose weight and have abs? Those are sweet memories indeed. Once you’re over 40, trying to lose that unsightly fat and get rid of your gut seems like a daunting task.
I know because I’ve been there.
It seems like only yesterday that I was in high School and college, working out regularly in the weight room. I had 6-pack abs too and didn’t need to do crunches or sit-ups either. I was ripped year round.
Oh, and I could eat anything I wanted. I’d make weight-gainer shakes, eat burgers, pizza, fast food and junk… and I was still lean and muscular.
Fast forward to age 40.
Oh boy did things change. It seemed like my metabolism slowed to a halt.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey follow-up study found that among adults 25 to 44 years old, men gained about 3.4 percent of their body weight each 10-year interval; women gained 5.2 percent per 10 years.
You see, when your body is losing muscle due to age your metabolism slows down because muscle cells are where fat is burned. It’s as if you’re taking the fat-burning fire and dousing it with water.
Use these five tip to lose fat and get your metabolism in check after age.40.
1. Cut Way Back On Alcohol
Alcohol is the simplest sugar of all. A gram of sugar from alcohol contains about 7 calories. That’s almost twice as much per gram of sugar found in foods. When you were younger your body could metabolize these alcohol sugars along with the rest of the junk you ate.
But now, it will struggle to do anything more than let it increase the size of your gut. Alcohol does a number on your internal organs as well. Chronic alcohol consumption can destroy your liver. It can also screw with your hormone levels. Let’s face it: when you get older the last thing you want is to decrease your hormone levels more than they do naturally.
2. Cut Back On Meat
Did you know that one in three men over 40 will die from heart disease? It’s true. When you were younger your biggest risk for early death was an unfortunate accident. As you get into your 40’s and up the risk is now cardiovascular disease. As a guy who loves a good steak or burger, I know how hard it is to cut back on meat. But replacing meat with healthier plant-based fats can help lower your cholesterol and put less strain on your cardiovascular system. Some good healthy fats are olive oil, avocados, nuts, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon.
3. Up Your Protein
Sadly, we all lose a pound of muscle each year after age 30. That adds up as the years roll on. What to do about it?
Start by making sure you’re eating quality, lean proteins (again, not too heavy on the meats.( You don’t have to consume the large amounts you did when you were doing heavy lifting back in the day, but don’t skimp on it either. You also need to consider that protein isn’t stored in the body like fats and carbohydrates.
That means you should strive to have smaller, more frequent protein servings each day. Also, by consuming more protein you’re apt to consume less carbohydrates. Carbs in abundance give you a belly bloat. Not exactly what you’re looking for here. Think about trying to get 25-30 grams of protein in a meal.
4. Up the Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are essential part of your diet thanks he fiber, vitamins, minerals as well as their antioxidant properties. .
It seems odd that for so long people have heard about the USRDA and never know what it is or to follow it. The USRDA refers to the United States Recommended Daily Allowances of foods and micronutrients. The government has invested millions into these findings and recommendations.
Many people don’t realize that their perfect meal plan lies in the USRDA. For example, the USRDA for fruits and vegetables are 5-9 servings per day. Personally, I like 3 fruits and 4 veggies each day. Since time is always an issue, I’ll often add fruit and veggies (think spinach and broccoli) to shakes.
SIDE NOTE: If you’re gagging reading about spinach and broccoli in a shake, you really can’t tasted them:).
5. Resist Processed Carbs
All of those tasty bagels, pastries and donuts at office work meetings are not your friends. These carbohydrates are processed and any nutritional value has been stripped from them.
Your body will hold on to the excess sugar and throw your blood-sugar levels out of whack, causing you to overeat foods that don’t have any solid nutrition. Even worse, your metabolism slows and the carbs are even harder to work off.
Opt for carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains including whole-wheat bread and quinoa and whole oats, which will ensure your blood sugar remains stable and you can keep cravings in check.
You can still get your flat stomach and 6-pack abs in your 40’s and older. You simply have to change your approach. Trying to eat and train like you did when you were younger isn’t the answer. Now you’re older and wiser. Use your maturity, common sense and wisdom to help you rediscover your inner athlete.