Articles from the world of fitness, strength training, nutrition and lifestyle for people over 40.
Are you in a training rut?
Have you been working out regularly but not seeing any changes?
Do you get frustrated because you’re putting in the time but not experiencing the benefits?
I’ve got good news for you. There’s a solution to your lack of workout progress.
It all starts with coming to terms with your age and training your body accordingly.
When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s I could eat anything I wanted and lift a few weights and I was muscular and lean all the time.
As I approached 40 things changed.
All of a sudden, I wasn’t quite as strong as I had been. I was also gaining more body fat and didn’t look quite as muscular as I had back in the day. Yet I kept plugging away with the same training system that I had used when I was younger. Guess what? No results:(
It wasn’t until I came to terms with getting older and rethinking my fitness approach did things start to turn around. In fact, I’m in better shape now in my early 50’s than I was when I hit 40.
If you’re struggling with staying lean and muscular as you age, you’re not alone. I was there too. You just have to change a few things with your training to get on the right track again.
Here are a few tips to get that lean, muscular body as you age:
Keep Your Workouts Brief
As you get older you can still workout hard but you don’t want to get stuck doing long workouts. We require a little more recovery time as we age. It’s a natural thing. If your workouts are too long you will cut into your body’s ability to recuperate and recover.
Just as important as a good workout is proper recovery. Your body doesn’t change during the workout. It changes while you are resting. I like to set up workouts to last no longer than 35-40 minutes. Short workouts are ideal for getting in just the right amount of work, but not too much.
Stop Counting Reps
One of the biggest reasons many guys don’t get anything from their workouts is that they get locked into counting sets and reps. For example, let’s say your plan is to do 3 sets of 12 reps on an exercise. Do you reach that 12th rep and simply put the weight down? Or do you keep going until you can’t complete another rep in good form?
Listen, your muscles don’t count reps. All your muscles know is stimulus. It’s good to have a repetition “range” for each exercise you do as it will help you choose the appropriate weight. But beyond that you should aim for completing as many reps as you can with your selected weight, not a predetermined number of reps.
Choose Age- Friendly Exercises
As we age, we have to be careful not to get hurt. The last thing you want from your fitness program is for it to hurt you. I found as I hit my 40’s that I needed to replace some exercises. For instance, I rarely do barbell exercises any more. In fact, I never do squats, deadlifts and bench presses with barbells at all.
These fantastic exercises as been replaced with dumbbell, kettlebell and bodyweight exercise variations of each. This allows for working the muscle without beating up the joints.
Keep Up Your Intensity
One of the mistakes a lot of guys make as they get older is not working hard enough. Listen, you don’t need to go nuts with your workouts but you still need to push yourself. .
What does that mean? Strive to do one more repetition or use 5 more pounds on an exercise.
You can also reduce the time in between sets to increase your intensity. It’s all about the challenge. Challenge yourself to be just a bit better than the previous workout. This will help you reach your goals of weight loss and muscle gain faster too.
Hit It and Quit It
I’ve always told my clients to get addicted to the results, not the process. Of course you should be engaged with your workouts and look forward to them. But some guys think if something is working, then they need to increase it for faster results. Big mistake.
As we get older we need rest and recovery in between workouts. Give yourself 2 or 3 complete days of rest per week from working out.
That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a couch potato on the “off” days. Some stretching, walking the dog, yoga, a bike ride are all great activities to enjoy while you’re recovering from your workouts. Personally, I go with 3 non-consecutive strength training workouts each week plus 2 conditioning workouts. I like to get 2 days of rest that are usually dedicated to yard work, a little stretching and grilling:)
Train Like An Athlete
No, I don’t mean trying to keep up with some program designed for a professional athlete. That wouldn’t be a good fit.
I’m referring to a program that helps you build strength with safe, useful exercises that enable you to move better and feel more athletic. Exercises such as one-leg training, bodyweight training and core training will go a long way in making you feel, look and perform better. Conditioning should have variety these days. Try to do some H.I.I.T cardio in your training too.
Getting older is what it is. Embrace it and live in the present. But make sure you train your body with an age-appropriate system that will have you feeling better and able to do more things you used to do.
You don’t need to live in the gym either. Short, intense workouts will give you better results and give you more time to enjoy your life.
Getting older is not a pass to be out of shape. You just need to match your training to your age and needs. Once you do this your results will be amazing.
Of course, you probably don’t have time to scour the internet and try to piece together some program that may or may not work for you.
That’s where I come in:)
If you’re sick of struggling with middle age and all of the weight gain, muscle loss and aches and pains that go with it, I’m here to help you.
Let me cut years of frustration and help you get back to feeling and looking your best. The best part? It doesn’t matter what your age is or if you’re busy and don’t have much time in your schedule. We can design a complete training system to help you crush your goals.