A Brief Guide To Fitness After 40

A few years ago I reached a significant milestone in my life: I turned 40 years old. I hear that I was supposed to get a tattoo, buy a Harley, start a few bar fights, and despair over the insignificance of my life. But a mid-life crisis was the last thing on my mind.

I’ve continued training into my 40’s. The fact that I’ve lifted weights since my teenage years is no small part of my current enjoyment of life. I’d like to share some of my thoughts on building and keeping muscle and staying lean into your 40’s and beyond.

Here’s the bad news: your body does change somewhat as you age (I’m sure you needed my help to reach that profound conclusion). I can’t stay up until 3:00 a.m. and hope to be coherent the next day. I can’t binge on junk food without feeling lethargic. I’m not going to naturally put on another 20 lb. of muscle like I did when I was a novice trainee.

But there’s also good news for mature trainees like myself: old muscle does respond to training. My research indicates hypertrophy (muscle growth) is possible into the 7th decade of life (you may be out of luck if you try to build muscle in your 80’s, though strength gains can still occur). I intend to maintain a high level of fitness for as long as possible, and I’d encourage you to do the same.

Here are some adjustments I have made as I’ve gotten older. I think others will likely find them helpful–even younger trainees.

Sleep And Rest

I never have handled sleep deprivation that well. Now that I’m older I have noticed my body and mind is even more sensitive to this, so I try to get plenty of sleep. I’m not talking about taking two naps a day like your grandfather does–I mean getting 7-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation does bad things to your hormones: it lowers your testosterone and increases your hunger. Needless to say, neither of these is good for staying lean and strong.

Speaking of rest, I try to incorporate more of it into my training routine than in my younger days. I make sure to deload (do a lighter week of lifting) or just take a complete break from training every few weeks. This gives my joints a break and helps keep my central nervous system from getting burned out.

Training And Exercise


Dumbbells can be especially useful for mature trainees.

I still train with weights at least three times a week (as I have for the past 25 years). I still lift heavy, but I’m not nearly as obsessed with pushing and pulling big weights as I used to be. Joint health is now a concern, so I have made a few adjustments for the sake of longevity. Most of the changes in my routine are designed to train my muscles effectively with less weight. Here are a few examples:

*I’m more conscientious about stretching and warming up than I used to be.

*I do front squats a lot more than I used to. This movement just as effect as the back squat for legs with less spinal compression and shearing forces on the knees.

*I limit my heavy sets and spend a little more time doing sets with higher rep ranges.

*I do more dumbbell exercises than I used to. Dumbbell bench press, for example, tends to be easier on the shoulders than the barbell version (I had shoulder surgery back in the 90’s).

*I also try to incorporate more single arm and leg training than I used to.

I’m really just scratching the surface here as far as doing more with less weight. But I’m learning there are a lot of exercises and techniques that are very effective.

I am also more concerned with cardiovascular health these days. I do some interval training and/or steady-state cardio on the days I don’t lift.


I think we are only beginning to understand the toll inflammation takes on our health–the effect of consuming too much sugar and highly processed carbohydrates. Eating a higher protein, moderate carbohydrate/fat diet seems like a sensible way to combat this, so that’s what I do. I also use intermittent fasting as a way to stay lean.

Speaking of staying lean: I don’t “bulk up.” I haven’t done that since I was in my 20’s. I do find it necessary do the opposite: every year or two I spend a few weeks dieting to make sure I keep my waist narrow and my stomach flat. This keeps my body fat level from slowly creeping up–the nemesis of many men my age. Most guys my age have added a few pounds per year since high school, leaving them with terrible physiques.

Staying lean has been one of my top priorities as I get older. It is important for overall health and for optimizing testosterone–getting too fat will result in elevated estrogen levels.



Whey protein can help you build and keep muscle.

I consider myself a minimalist when it comes to supplementation: I use whey protein, micronized creatine monohydrate, fish oil, and a multivitamin. I think these supplements are the foundation for any trainee of any age.

I’ll add something else here: whey protein is particularly helpful for older athletes because our bodies use protein less efficiently as we age (another reason to increase your overall protein intake). Supplements that are rich in l-leucine (like whey protein or branch-chain amino acids) can help combat this.

I also take vitamin D (levels of this vitamin tend to decrease with age) as well as CoQ10 (which is good for cardiovascular health and blood pressure). Otherwise I haven’t changed my supplementation that much over the years.


Here’s something you may have noticed about most of my suggestions: most of them are good for trainees of any age. You can start incorporating many of these habits into your life as a young trainee–you’ll thank me now and when you get older.

Read More: Five Ways To Boost Your Testosterone

132 thoughts on “A Brief Guide To Fitness After 40”

  1. Actually a little surprised you recommend dumbbell over barbell presses. Since turning 40 I’ve noticed a tendency to get tendinitis in my elbows and shoulders, and actually find the barbells are easier to keep stable without aggravation since it forms a fully supported triangle between the bar and your shoulders/chest

    1. Tendinosis is what you get using dumbbells with light weights and repetitive motions. It’s a small pain initially and you think it’ll go away. The pain starts to get more intense and by that time, it’s too late. It is a slow and long healing process to regain that strength or more like pain free.

        1. Have you done “pre-hab” work for the shoulders (i.e. cuban rotations, L-flyes)? Have you done recovery work for your tennis elbow (i.e. finger extensions)? If not, then I recommend trying out these movements to see if they can alleviate some of your pain or eliminate it entirely as they have done so for me.
          For my part, the pains and subsequent cures could be chalked up to various imbalances in the rotator cuff and forearms/biceps.

    2. Dumbbells are always superior over Barbells.
      Only reason you would want to do Barbell is if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough Dumbbells.

    3. The main benefit of using dumbbells is that you can rotate your wrists to an angle where the strain isn’t nearly as hard on troublesome joints as if you’re doing barbell exercises for the same muscle groups.
      I haven’t stopped using barbells entirely, but already a few years ago (39 now) I started having frequent problems with shoulders and wrists and switching to dumbbells for shoulders, arms and some back exercises has allowed me to keep lifting heavy with no joint pain.

  2. I think cycling, swimming and hill walking are great forms of physical and mental relaxation when you get over 40. I could never go to a gym at any age, it’s boring, loud and there’s no fresh air and people never look happy there. I think the mental and even the spiritual aspects of taking healthy exercise are very important, even the fact they your using something like your long-sight (which is rarely used by modern city dwellers) when you’re hill-walking and cycling apparently is known to relax and reduce blood pressure considerably. I think gym work is too much of a strain on your body over 40 and it hits you in your 50s…so I’m told!

    1. My three favorites! I swam in high school 20 years ago and have an on-and-off swimmer since. I been getting back into it again the past few weeks and can say that it is still the tits. Nothing works your whole body quite like it. Learn to do all four strokes and you get a killer workout.
      Hiking is also clutch. Besides the cardio and leg workout, staring down from the top of a mountain is great for your soul.

      1. The thing I love about swimming, especially in the sea, is the pure raw vitality of having your body immersed in a force greater than you. It’s also the sudden cold shock, the salty whiff, the action of the waves against your body. It’s brilliant, perhaps there is something to Freud’s “Oceanic” feeling of oneness that we can experience on rare moments of pure unhindered joy and vitality like these.
        The hills and the mountains on foot or bike are also another “peak” experience I find. The mountains, especially if you’re walking or rambling induce a state where you use your primary senses as they should be used once more. Your sense of hearing, sight and especially smell come into their own in these environments, and, I suppose that’s what I mean about the mental and spiritual components that are also vitally important in exercise too. I just wouldn’t get that sense of well-being from going to a gym.

        1. I’m a hunter so I’m in total agreement with you about nature. However, weightlifting at the gym has its place too. The testosterone/adrenaline/”pump” you get from lifting is a high like none other. I enjoy both.

        2. I presume by hunting you mean with a rifle, shootgun and a dog or two, not horse hunting in a pack for deer or fox. I don’t think you do that type of hunting in the States at all, do you?
          No, I’ll give the gym a miss. Not my thing. I know my limits. Lol

        3. Yeah, I’m an on foot hunter only – big game and birds. I don’t think it is very popular, but I’m pretty sure people still use packs and horseback to hunt fox. People here use dogs to hunt feral boars, coyotes and mountain lions too. The USA likes to kill. We will hunt anything with any other thing.

        4. Hunting in Europe can mean either and both are highly regulated these days. Gun licences are only issued to people who are established members of a local rural and district shooting club. It’s not like the States where your gun laws are very liberal in comparison to our ones, so I guess you are more liberal than us on some things!

        5. Our 2nd Amendment is very popular. It’s ridiculously easy to get a gun here. I live in a state where anybody who can legally own a gun (i.e. not felons) can conceal carry.
          Due to tradition and the abundance of open land, hunting is a huge culture here. My entire school all took a hunters education course in 7th grade. We learned proper gun and hunting safety, etc.
          I stopped hunting for most my 20’s but as I grew older and became more hippyish and conscious of my health, I grew to really appreciate the ability to go shoot my own fresh, organic meat.

        6. Shooting anything gives you a primal thrill, even my pussy upland bird hunting. Real primal hunting is bow hunting. Those guys are nuts. How many people today are willing to get within 40 yards of a grizzly bear and then kill it with what is essentially a pointy stick? Look on youtube for this dude named Cameron Hanes – the guy is an insane bow hunter/ultra runner/endurance athlete. He has some sick videos.

        7. It’s very different to Europe. Here you’d never think when you’re out and about about people having guns in their homes or cars, let alone on them, unless they’re hunters, even our police forces are unarmed during the course of their duties.
          There was a huge controversy recently when a bachelor farmer living way out in a remote area by himself was broken into one night by a gang of “tinkers” (travelers/gypsies) who’d attacked numerous homesteads in the area. In order to defend himself when they broke down his door with a crowbar and chains in the middle of the night, he shoot and killed one of them with his rifle. He was summoned to court and the Judge didn’t accept the self defense plea, implying that essentially this 78 year old man should have physically fought off the two thugs half his age using nothing more than his fists! He lost his case and ended up in jail for two years and addition the family of the burglar who was shot dead is now trying to sue the farmer for lost earnings due to her husband’s untimely death!
          So, yes, this is what happens in lands that don’t have a second amendment!

        8. On the downside, everybody having guns means even the stupid have them so they get left out and kids shoot themselves, people get scared and shoot unarmed/nonthreatening people, they make suicide really easy, etc. I still prefer to have them rather than not.

        9. A guy and his son were mauled out my way a couple months ago doing that. They shot the bear 3 times. It said FU, tore them up then died about 100 ft away.

        10. It’s a whole new level of awareness of life and nature. In a way it’s nearly sublime, especially if you haven’t done it before.

        11. Bear hunting with a bow is something I haven’t tried yet, sounds a bit challenging. If I were to do such a thing, guaranteed I’d have a .44 magnum with hard hitting loads under my vest (you can carry a sidearm, non-hunting, while you hunt in my state).

        12. So different than what we’re used to. We have “Stand your Ground” laws and some states even permit defending property with lethal force, and of course many states have very strong Castle Doctrine laws, which are fantastic..

      2. Hardcore hiking is something my wife and I engage in on a semi-regular basis. We go to places like the Great Smoky Mountains, or Daniel Boone National Park, or what have you, and scamper up the sides of mountains or interesting rock formations. Great fun, and very exhausting.

    2. I agree, I would feel like a hamster in a gym. Actually I don’t use weights or machines of any kind…I just do Parkour and calisthenics/bodyweight training. It might not give you the bodybuilder look, but you can’t beat it in terms of practical fitness and strength. Walking is great too, definitely.

        1. exactly ! since I bought my bar to do all combination of pull ups (tight,large..), my look improved quickly.

        2. Pull-up bars are amazing. The development they create (especially when combined with press-ups for your upper back, shoulders, traps and arms is outstanding!
          It gives you that strong look that makes a woman crave a hug from you.

        3. You should check out Gymnastic Rings, you can get em for like 30 bucks on Amazon, there is also a book call Overcoming Gravity, and it’s all about gymnastic Ring exercises, and doing Levers, Planks, and Iron Cross’s on the Rings will build Unbelievable Strength.

      1. I think the men on this site must be an exception to the general rule of going to gyms for guys. The majority of men, I come across don’t take enough regular exercise at all, they’re not necessarily fat or unhealthy, but, they’re not into weight training period. Some will play a sport at the weekends, while others would cycle and walk (not hill) a few times a week. In my experience about 95% of men are not into gyms. Unfortunately the pub and the bookies are more attractive to most men, but, that’s a part of who we are too, I suppose.

    3. Add a weight vest and that walking is awesome.
      Why do you find the gym boring? Surely it depends on what you do there?

      1. It’s the whole routine of going to a place where you have to do a load of exercises that seem superfluous to who I am and what I do each day. I don’t need to be built like rambo to feel well and healthy. That’s why I enjoy cycling and walking as they’re a break away from any formalized “work out” and in addition the muscles you build up are ones gained from something you actually like doing.
        Additionally, I don’t like the music, the lack of fresh air, and the incessant “busyness” of most gyms which all get on my nerves a bit!

        1. Well going to a gym is not synonymous with being built like Rambo (who’s that? Somebody that old people like to watch?). In any gym you will find rank after rank of cardio machines with people making no progress whatsoever or perhaps even going backwards.
          You don’t have to lift weights at the gym. For me, the gym is a convenient place for me to do my body-weight training. There are no distractions because I focus on what I am doing and everything else just disappears.

    4. If you want to keep cycling,swimming and hill walking way into your 60’s, plz incorporate strength training.
      I get a lot of guys who tell me that they play tennis, or hike or some other sport for fitness.
      My reply to them is always the same, If you want to keep doing those activities way into your old age, plz incorporate strength training into your life.
      And yeah,I don’t want to hear any anecdotal evidence either.

    5. Outside of obvoius cardiovascular health, the prime effect of outdoor cardio is battling depression, and overall sadness. Elliott Hulse had a great video about how to mend a broken heart… for guys who just split in an LTR, or marriage. His theory: They call it a broken heart, so exercise it to unbreak it.
      I’m 41 and still have tendencies to lift heavy a bit too much. 2-4 days in the gym is all I require now. The days of 5-6 days, 1.5-2.5 hours a day are past me. Leave that for the 20s-30s guys.

    1. I’m in the same boat. Stopped running about two years ago after too much tendinitis. Hiking, biking, swimming, and cross country skiing are my cardio now.

    2. I switched to swimming as a good day to day cardio. I still do once a week on a treadmill, a lot softer on feet and knees. Elliptical machines are good to. None of this is as fun as being outside and running, but just could not take the pounding anymore.

    3. It’s kind of a vicious circle. If you want to lose the weight, then jogging is too hard on your knees if you weigh too much. For cardio there is cycling, rowing and elliptical machines. Swimming is also good as it shifts a lot of the work to your upper body. For a cheap, indoor alternative there is skipping rope as it doesn’t pound your knees quite as hard.
      Race walking is another possibility that I have not tried myself, but the idea is that – past a certain speed – walking is so ridiculously inefficient that it puts a load on your heart and actually burns more calories on a mile-by-mile basis when compared to jogging. Unfortunately, when you do it, you look like a fag.

      1. I can attest to swimming. I did so much running while enlisted to pass my PT tests that after getting discharged, my body just naturally felt an aversion to it, and unless you go to places like Big Bend, West Texas isn’t biker friendly, so I do more swimming as cardio, then a dip in the hot tub, and lots of stretching. And I’m only 31.

        1. When I was in it was 6k or 12k every day at lunch (one-half or one hour respectively): that was just maintenance; I didn’t usually break a sweat. Then again, I was about 175 and lean and under 30.
          I am pushing 50 and living in China. Cycling involves a death wish and good swimming facilities are not common, difficult to access, and expensive (by local standards). So it is either back to jogging or skipping rope if I want to bother with cardio.

        2. Crossing the road or driving is a hazard in China. Do they sell coffins with bikes?

        3. I have never seen a coffin monger here. However, you have to look both ways before you cross the road, especially it is a one-way road because Chinese drivers don’t pay attention to that shit.

        4. I was in Shanghai a few years ago and nearly got rammed by a bus on a zebra crossing. The bus ran a red light at 50 mph. Its madness over there.
          Safe to say that me and a mate were discouraged to rent scooters after that incident.

        5. You don’t really need a vehicle in Shanghai (or Beijing or Shenzhen) because there is a good subway system and taxis are easy to find. In second-tier cities there is no train, the buses don’t run late and cab drivers will simply refuse to take you where you want to go if it is inconvenient for them – like if you are living in the suburbs.
          I did notice that the worst drivers are the “professionals”: buses, trucks and taxis will cut you off or run your ass down, being in a hurry while being paid to get where they are going.

        6. That’s true, the group I was with had rented a minibus and our hearts would skip a beat when the driver made a manouver, I mean turn signals are only there because they came with the car and they’re never used. Driver speculate the other drivers’ moves.Somehow, it seems to work for them.
          I was in a smaller town named Hangzhou and I though it was much much nicer than Shanghai, and the people a lot more friendly too.

        7. Chinese are genetically incapable of using turn signals properly.
          I have heard that Hangzhou is nice (it is the centre for Canada’s largest dealer in leather coats – Danier Leather – although their second tier stuff is made elsewhere and top tier stuff is Italian leather that is actually assembled in Canada).

    4. You can lift light weights & shift between routines with little rest or do the same thing with bodyweight exercises. One of my favorite non running cardio workouts is to to go through a circuit of pullups, squats & pushups with little rest for about 7-10 mins. Take a longer rest after that as necessary & repeat another circuit.

      1. Bench/push-ups and chins/pull-downs can be interlaced because they work opposite muscle groups. However, you need to throw a set of 15 or so squats into the mix because your arms, chest and back simply don’t draw enough oxygen to keep your heart rate up, if you are looking for your weight routine to give you a cardio work out as well. Similarly, abs workouts that do not involve full core movements are shit for cardio. Even if you could do 300 sit ups, you would never get your heart rate very high.

    5. Heavy compound lifts will keep your heart strong. Remember the heart is a muscle. Exert it in bursts. You wouldn’t curl a half-pound dumbell for 45 minutes and expect to get any growth. The heart is more complex but the idea holds to some extent. My heart is pounding after 5 heavy deadlifts. Read ‘Starting Strength’ by Rippetoe.

    6. Tone the activity down. Don’t skip cardio.
      Try getting it through other ways which isn’t hard on the knees.
      Did you lift in your younger days?

    7. Swimming is great if your gym has a lap pool. Just avoid the times when they have all of the decrepit old ladies in there doing “water aerobics”, as that will shock your system and possibly give you a heart attack out of disgust.

  3. I just walk my dog and garden. Try to walk 15 miles a week and maybe do a few push-ups. My goal is not getting fat. 6’2 and 180 pounds. Could be better but………
    I am over 50. 40 is young.

    1. I try to do as much of my cardio as I can just doing outdoor chores. Leaves, yard, gardening (mostly vegetables), occasional bike ride with my daughter.

  4. Serious question for Clark (or anyone): Instead of taking more protein, would it help to eat less protein AND take an enzyme blend that helps your body absorb more protein?

    1. That can be part of your overall diet. For instance, if you eat a lot of corn, you shit a lot of corn. If you combine it with beans you get a usable protein level that is almost a high as steak. However, things like steak come with a lot of fat while soy beans come with a lot of carbs and most other foods come with a lot of carbs and fat just to get that protein.

      1. Actually, my context would be keeping the same high protein / fat diet (eg, eating one steak + veggies + enzyme instead of two steaks + veggies), because the good meat (the ones not shot up with hormones) tends to run a lot more expensive than the regular crud.
        Thank you.

        1. Last I checked you can get a pound of ground beef at Walmart for less than 3 bucks. Fry it, drain it, and then rinse it with boiling water to wash away excess fat. Unfortunately, that process washes away a lot of the flavor (mmm, fat tastes gooooood!) but that is probably your cheapest alternative for a high protein food with no carbs.
          Here in China it is crazy: chicken breasts (70% protein by calories and 30% fat assuming you grill or broil them without oil or butter) are barely $3 a pound. Fucking hamburger meat is twice or even three times that!

        2. The cheap stuff is shot up with (female) hormones, hence my idea to eat less, but absorb more. I’ve also alternate with whole turkey and chicken for variety, with the occasional wild game during the season.
          Edit: Wow! Sounds like meat in China is 2x that of what I am paying in the States! The grass-fed beef I get is ~$6-8/lb, the turkey is ~$2.5-4 lb, and the chicken is ~$1.5 / lb. (at least where I am).

        3. You can’t really get turkey here. I am talking about chicken breast – boneless and skinless – rather than whole chicken. The Chinese like skin and their meat on the bone so wings are particularly expensive and chicken feet are considered either a snack or a delicacy.

        4. Haha, that’s no BS. When I was in China recently for a 2-month stretch I was mid-bulk, so I was looking for a wide spread of calories and all the protein I could handle on the cheap with the hope of gaining a little muscle mass and fat.
          I ended up eating a lot of hard boiled eggs, peanuts and almonds, drinking that yogurt/smoothie drink that’s so popular over there, and eating a pile of seasoned pig fat with but a sliver of meat on it (less meat/more fat than bacon). Other than that it was white rice, oatmeal, steamed buns, raisins, sweet potatoes and leafy veggies. All of this was pretty cheap and most other stuff seemed too expensive except for the occasional night dinning out when I’d get the equivalent of a “beef bowl.”
          In the end I just got a little chubby and I actually lost weight and strength. It was a fucking disaster that took me a solid month in the gym back home to rectify. As a result, when training and dieting on the cheap in a foreign country, I recommend going on a cut or maintaining rather than trying to bulk, that is, unless you have the feta to spend on the good stuff.
          Also relevant to this strange phenomenon that I experienced of “getting chubby while losing weight” is the fact that I was bodyweight training at the park. I still went to failure and even kept my volume up to snuff, but it simply was not enough.
          I was replicating my full bodybuilding routine with various stationary bars at different angles for pushing and pulling (with various grips), park benches and ledges on the ground, gym bags filled with books, and the flat ground. I focused on dialing in my form and achieving the squeeze on my targeted muscles and went to failure, but clearly it was not enough.
          Whether it was my diet or the lack of heavy weights that made the experiment a failure, I do not know. All I know is that IF I’m ever in the position of relying on bodyweight training, then I will certainly not be bulking. I would much rather go on a cut, maintain, or even try to get some “lean gains” by experimenting with more volume/less calories, but I certainly will not “bulk.”

        5. Hahaha.
          Perhaps only you will get this, but when I was in Beijing 10 years ago, Thanksgiving holiday came rolling around and I went to one of my regular restaurants for some turkey to properly celebrate the holiday. The waitress (from Shandong) brought me a lighter instead and I smoked a cig. rather than eating my beloved turkey on Thanksgiving day.

        6. Ha ha. Turkey – literally translated – is “fire chicken” (huo ji). A lighter is “fire”+ something something. Between your accent and her accent, no real surprise that the communication was all fucked up!
          The language is a mess. They only have about 600 words that they recycle with tones, characters and contexts. If you were an Eskimo and wanted to rub noses, you could mess up the pronunciation and she might think you want to stick a pizza in her cunt!

        7. Yogurt is everywhere but milk is rare and fresh milk is all but impossible to come by.
          I laid out the money for a blender and sometimes I can get some All Bran or Bran Flakes or Raisin Bran that I have with their shitty, preserved milk. But Breakfast generally consists of one or more of the following:
          1) Fruit smoothie with yogurt and perhaps an egg or a scoop of protein
          2) Breakfast burger: egg, cheese (sometimes hard to get) and ham (there are a few types readily available that are tasty and healthy)
          3) a bowl of cereal.
          Overall, it is hard as fuck to get a high protein diet here in China. Common wisdom about Chinese food being “low fat” is bullshit, if they are talking about China Chinese food and not western, sanitized Chinese food. I was joking with a colleague at lunch an hour or so ago that next time I am in Canada I will go out for Chinese food, because I miss it!
          For girls “getting chubby while losing weight” is apparently called “skinny fat”. They have a BMI under 20 but are all skin and bone and. . .fat. If I go out and party then I get that. The Chinese love to booze it up when they party and I end up eating mounds of low-cal veggies while consuming copious amounts of alcohol and I will drop 5 pounds but none for the better.
          I have to free my mind so my ass will follow. I had a traffic accident back in May and I packed on 15 pounds while recovering. Now I have a slim girlfriend who is basically half my age who I promised to get back in shape so we can share a vacation in Thailand for Chinese New Year (February 2016). So I have less than 12 weeks to drop 20 pounds while getting buff. I did something like that before but I was two decades younger.
          What happened then is with three months of heavy weights I kept my same weight (about 175 pounds at 5’10”) but I probably cut by BFP in half, lost 3 inches off my waist (to 30), gained 16″ arms, and a forty something chest of pure muscle. Ahhh, the glory days.
          It sucks getting old, even if the girls stay the same age!

        8. There’s always dog & cat meat and puffer fish. My brother in law almost died from a puffer fish he ate in China that didn’t have the poison gland completely removed when prepared. yikes!

        1. Certainly (raw) peanut butter and guacamole are gods’ gift despite the massive fat count.

    2. 1.8g/kg protein of “lean” body mass is what has been shown scientifically to allow for efficient muscle fibre expansion (minimum volume). Creatine is is good for helping extend heavy sets for about 1 extra rep or so, which is significant over time.
      Bottom line most everyone misses on protein intake, which stalls progress and recovery. No supplement will get you over that.

    1. Isn’t soy supposed to increase estrogen production? I buy both a soy based and a whey based protein powder from Costco and use a scoop each.

      1. (Unfermented) soy has estrogen-like properties, and is pretty much like swallowing a birth-control pill (and too many things in modern life mimic estrogen), and is typically genetically modified, so I tend to stay away from it.
        Go for the fermented stuff, if you have to. That’s what the Asians consume.

      2. From what I’ve read, the estrogenic effect is only clearly visible in men, but it’s behind most of the “man boob” phenomena. Personally, I think it’s a substantial factor in the feminization of men.
        -0/10 Avoid like plague

      3. The Costco stuff is crap. I would recommend whey protein from a reputable company. Check out bodybuilding.com for example.

        1. They sell the same Muscle Pharm brand bodybuilding is selling. Costco also has a few different vegetarian and organic options. Not the best in the world but not terrible. And the price can’t be beat.

    2. Soy has been GMO’ed. Plant.
      Whey is from milk. Animal.
      Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey.

        1. LOL! Maybe the steroids used on cattle gets transferred to you when you consume beef or dairy and you build muscles faster?

        2. In the US at least, they generally say if they are hormone-free or organic or non-GMO. US dairy has been shifting to it over the last year or so.

    3. Soy will fuck you up. Avoid at all costs.
      Compared to that, whey is just a waste of money.

      1. whey is good if you have a busy lifestyle and can’t cook or prepare special protein rich meals. And yeah, Soy is the worst.

        1. I recommend cooking your food in bulk on the weekends and consuming it throughout the week. That’s how I fit it into my busy lifestyle.
          Best of luck brother!

        2. Better (and cheaper) than buying whey (assuming you really want it):
          Get some cheap chocolate milk mix. Mix it in whole milk.
          It’s basically the same thing.

        3. I personally eat freshly cooked meat everyday to get my protein needs.
          But I have to advice some clients whey since they don’t have that much time to cook meals.

    4. Let me find the article linked to here at ROK a while back…. damn, can’t find it as quick as I thought I could. I’ll let you know when I find it later.
      Basically, someone was trashing soy protein, then this Scandinavian / fitness blogger posted a link to a study (which I read) that said so long as soy is not your ONLY source of protein, then there’s nothing to worry about. The study implied that any balanced consumption of soy with whey or meat would not increase your estrogen levels… i.e., soy is not quite the bugaboo that you may have been led to believe so long as you’re not Vegan or whatever.
      Nutrition is not my strong point, so take this comment for what it’s worth. The study actually eased my mind about some paranoia I had about soy. While I have no interest in consuming soy, I don’t necessarily shun it when it crops up as the second or third source of protein in a supplement or when it is an ingredient in some processed food I might be eating… hell, I’ll eat salted edamame as an aperitif.

    5. I know I’m really bucking the prevailing opinions here, and I certainly do not claim to know one way or another (I’m far from even pretending to be a nutritionist and I am not a scientist), but the evidence can still be considered or at least brought to light. It doesn’t appear to me that “soy consumption = bad” is a settled issue in moderation or even high quantities… just “ultra high” quantities.
      For the life of me, and believe me I tried, I could not find that damn article (full text, not just abstract) linked to by that Scandi I mentioned yesterday. So screw it, I found some other sources that basically summarize the findings of the study I mentioned and you might find them to be insightful.
      Within that blog post (among other links) there is a link to a pubmed article abstract that seems to be something similar to what I read in the [full] article I mentioned previously:
      The key is that “ultra high” levels of soy intake CAN fuck your shit up. But unless you are vegan or obsessed with soy, it’s not likely that these levels of consumption can be achieved.
      I hope this is helpful. This sort of information has been helpful to me as I’ve never been one to obsess over my diet beyond achieving my own balance in food groups, achieving caloric surplus/deficit, and focusing on something like consuming protein. In the end, studies like the one referenced gave me some ease of mind while considering the source of protein, which I like to vary between fish, eggs, steak, milk/cheese, chicken/turkey, beans, a bit of whey isolate, liver, almonds and peanuts. I heavily weigh my protein consumption towards beef first, then chicken/turkey and dairy for no particular reason other than I feel better, stronger, and fuller while eating in such a way.
      Honestly, I never seemed to require much more information than the basic heuristics learned at momma and pappa’s dinner table to determine what to eat in order to achieve a muscle/fat/weight goal, so I never really got into nutrition beyond the basics… and that’s my final warning for taking anything I said on this issue too seriously.

  5. Good article. I have to say that I disagree about front squats. Front squats don’t engage the hamstrings nearly as much, leading to a quad focused lift. The quads in full flex on the knee without the counterbalance of flexed hammies will pull on the knee joint causing problems. A proper, low bar back squat doesn’t stress the knees at all. It’s likely that you were doing high bar which doesn’t allow the stress of the lift to shift to the hips, where it should be. Rippetoe explains all of this. He discourages people from front squats unless they’re oly lifters (who must do it as part of the CJ)

    1. While I generally disagree with your emphasis on “barbell training only,” this was a good comment. While we’re coming from different perspectives with different goals (I’m a bodybuilder), I basically agree with you here.

      1. Bodybuilding is just a different game. I sometimes mouth off about it but it’s all good, especially when guys know what they’re doing as bbuilders. There’s a lot of overlap anyway. I just think too many beginners are duped into bbuilding style workouts when they should be building a foundation with composite lifts. That’s why I mouth off sometimes. Real bodybuilders are taking up quite a challenge.

        1. I think we almost locked horns a while back over this. It’s cool, I agree with you here as well.

        1. I had two years of business school under my belt when I went to Australia for a summer. I got back I just thought “WTF?” I dropped out and spent 6 years in the military, travelling and starting my own business designing board games, working in movies and generally slumming about.
          Then I finished my degree and went to law school. The story continues from there, but since that time I have never had any of the angst that middle-aged cubicle monkeys with a wife, 2.1 kids, a mortgage, a mini-van and liver pate rotting in the fridge seem to have.

        2. The mistake of getting married too young to a fucking bitch in combination with buying a house.
          That’s two ball and chains right there.

        3. Buying a home is a smart investment decision when done wisely. But even the wisest man will tell you a woman is the worst investment you can make (financially speaking).

        4. If your investment in residential real estate is well diversified and itself forms about 1%of a well diversified portfolio, then yes it’s a good investment.

    1. I think “midlife crisis” is an invention and not a fact of reality. Reassessing your choices in life and adjusting where you went wrong is hardly a crisis.

  6. 43 here. 6’2″, 185-190lbs, ~15% body fat. I’ve never had a weight problem, thankfully. My regimen includes two lifting workouts per week, roughly two competitive ice hockey games per week (against guys half my age, on average), and eating as clean as I can. My usual dinner is grilled chicken breast, grilled bell peppers, and some rice. Once a week I substitute a nice steak for the chicken. Cheat day is pizza. And I probably drink too much beer, but whatever – I have abs. None of that “dad bod” shit for me.

    1. Good for you, man. I’m 6’0″ and hover around 210 lbs. Would like to get that down to around 180, but have been struggling. I’ll drop for a bit then unexpectedly it’ll bounce right back up to 210. Very frustrating. I carry it pretty well at least; fairly muscular look, just a small belly. What do you eat for lunches and breakfasts?

      1. Breakfasts are generally a couple cups of coffee, maybe an oatmeal bar if my stomach is feeling particularly empty. Lunches are usually a good-sized sandwich – turkey or roast beef usually, but ham/salami if I’m in a cheating mood. Always with spinach, never lettuce.

      2. I’m round 16% body fat. Eat poached eggs with mushrooms and spinach for breakfast, quarter chook for lunch, and tend to relax for dinner. I.e. Pasta etc… Hence the body fat.

    2. Nearly 53 now, squatting double my weight of 77kg. Started early 20’s till early 30’s. Got married etc…. Did nothing till 47. Cannot emphases too much how benefiting it is to do powerlifting.
      I agree with the writer, you don’t need that many supplements
      Try 5 X 5 strong lifts for guys who want to start something that will change their lives.

  7. Thankyou. Excellent article. I’m 43 and agree with all the key points particularly rest, nutrition and very recently Vitamin D supplementation (thanks to an earlier Roosh article about that ..cheers mate).

  8. I would highly recommend looking into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I don’t even know where to start with the benefits. Typical class involves warm up, technique/drilling and then we spar (roll). It’s the best form of cardio because nothing motivates you more than another man trying to essentially kill you. It stretches out your hips, back, hamstrings all while not stressing your joints(unless caught in a submission then you avoid injury by tapping).
    I suffered a herniated disc 8 years ago and had pain shooting down my leg, a year of PT did nothing. But I started doing jiu jitsu to get my spine back and fell in love. It’s so gratifying to nail a technique you’ve been working on in live sparring, sometimes the day you learned, sometimes months or years after. It’s just as challenging mentally a sport that it is physically.
    It’s fun to trade knowledge with other practitioners, have rivalries with other gyms, and mostly to just have a place to go bond with a group of like-minded guys away from the wives and outside distractions.
    This website often complains about the lack of male spaces but I can tell you BJJ gyms are amongst the last(many even have females but mine doesn’t). Often the crappiest looking gyms have the best talent. I’ve met friends through BJJ that I will have for life.
    Oh and also, don’t let age stop you! I started at 22 and have caught up to many guys that started in their teens and there is several guys in the 43-48 range that regularly hand me my ass on the mats.

    1. Lol, because there is nothing like rolling around on the floor with a sweaty half naked man!
      Otherwise, point well taken.

    2. I once ran 3 miles in great time, then 30 minutes later had a jitz competition (unexpectedly) among a group of 4 friends. I can usually tap my buddy Lonnie within about 3-4 min or less.. Due to my exhaustion and his sharpened skills, we went straight for 16 minutes ending in dual half locked heel hooks, and a draw.
      Shit was unreal, we both had each other on 3-4 occasions in tappable submissions that were held 20sec to a min, and got out partially due to sweat and lack of long sleeves or a gui. That was by far the most exhausted from performance of any competition I’ve ever been in my life. Nothing compares.
      I think Royce Gracie once put it:”All fights, whether knocked out, beat down, pushed down, or grappled, end up on the ground, so you’d better know how to fight there.”

  9. Generally, I think that whey protein is a waste of your money and completely unnecessary. You can get all the protein you need from your diet. And you don’t actually need as much protein as you think.
    Otherwise I agree with the approach in this article.

    1. I’ve been trying to drop one of 2 whey shakes per day, and eat more almonds and walnuts instead.

  10. Yep – The joint health thing is a bitch. I no longer work to anywhere near muscle exhaustion – I work until my joints tell me they are done. I’ve learned the hard way not to ignore those warnings.

    1. For some reason I don’t have any joint issues whatsoever. I’ve heard other men around my age who are/were gym rats complain about it a lot though. I’m certainly lifting more weight than they are these days, with no issues. I wonder if there’s a genetic component to this?

      1. This is usually due to lifting with bad form for years, which eventually takes its toll. In many cases it’s the shoulders. You have these guys who want to use a compound movement as an isolation exercise, and then they wonder why their shoulder joints feel so sore all the time.
        There is a genetic component, as some people can take more abuse then others.

  11. Thanks for addressing my age group. A 40-55 y/o man site is needful – one Not run by a Lib, proto-lib, or someone else I would immediately punch. ‘Last Call’ would be a good title. Blue-Collar work, ‘Dominating your younger coworkers’, health, etc…a variety of stuff.

  12. I’m 40 and as lean as ever, I talking almost Fight Club ripped, which may be too skinny. I’m shocked. Didn’t think it was possible, and I did it without exercise* –sort of.
    I’m building my own house. I don’t mean acting as a GC and coordinating subcontractors. I mean building the fucker from the ground up with my own two hands. The first step was demolishing an old structure. Holy shit, it is beyond exercise. The first few weeks I felt crippled but, I toughened up and now an 80 lb. bag of concrete feels like a 30 lb. bag of dog food.
    The mental exercise has been good too –maybe better.
    And getting ripped only costs a couple hundred thousand dollars…
    *I do grow a garden and eat right.

    1. Great experience. Wish I had the funds currently to do the same. I used to work construction from 18-34yo.. which ultimately trashed my body. However, you’re damn right. I was freakin ripped all those years. My functional strength at 6’4″ 190 lbs was beyond that of many guys much bigger than me who lift.
      Now I’m 233 lbs. and loaded down with much more muscle. There’s so many muscles you use building a house you’ll never activate in a gym it’s insane. Nothing’s more satisfying than living in a house you built yourself. Good luck on the finish, it’s worth doing it right the first time.
      Also, note that beyond 33yo or so, most injuries to guys who regularly lift occur outside the gym. Big, dumb, non-functional muscles, stuck in the precise motor engram of doing that one form-focused exercise. Bend over to pick up a basket of clothes, throw out back, run after dog who got loose, tear a quad or ACL.. I constantly hear these types of stories at the gym, so I’m careful with my currently dumbed-down muscle mass.

  13. You forgot one major thing. Taking significant time off from supplements.
    If you want healthy kidneys, liver, heart and every other organ in your body, you need time off this SHIT. It is all chemicals (talking about creatine and other shit) and which usually contains additives and preservatives which kill your organs slowly from the inside. Even better, get everything from natural sources and have no worries at all.
    Develop an on/off cycle for your supplements and you should grow into a nice ripe raisin in your 90’s.
    Cardio is for fags. Just have good sex regularly and that’s all you need.

      1. I was more talking about creatine and other powders like pre-workouts, intra-workouts, etc. etc.
        Good whey protein is a micro-filtrated isolate and has no other additives and preservatives derived from free-range grass-fed non-hormone injected cows’ milk. Good luck finding something like this without paying a pretty penny.
        Creatine isn’t a chemical? “Synthetic creatine is usually made from sarcosine (or its salts) and cyanamide which are combined in a reactor with catalyst compounds”. What do you call that then?

        1. On a molecular level there is no difference between synthetically created creatine and the creatine found in meat.
          Also, creatine does not cause any kind of damage to the internal organs. That is a myth.
          When you buy plain creatine monohydrate from a supplement company that is all you get. There are no preservatives in it.
          I do agree with you that pre-workouts and intraworkouts are bullshit. The supplement industry has led a whole generation to believe that they cannot have a decent workout without gulping down a pre-workout before hitting the weights. And intra-workout supplements are just a waste of money. Lifting weights is not an endurancde sport, after all.

        2. It does not matter if on a molecular level something is the same or not. The difference is that something is chemically and synthetically derived while the other is naturally occurring in food. The ends does not justify the means.

  14. One other factor for older guys – if you’re with a woman who does not exercise, eats crap and has no interest in staying healthy, it will be that much harder for you to maintain a good physique. Hence, you should decide whether your health is worth the sacrifice for the relationship with the overweight wife/GF. Dump the bitch and you’ll probably have better fitting clothes within a month without even doing anything!

  15. I went to a cardiologist and got a clean bill of health before I restarted my weightlifting routine. I’m more than a little older than the author of this article, but what he says is pretty much bang on. I’m now lifting almost as much as when I was a teenager. You feel better, you have more energy and you can do more things during the day without keeling over from fatigue. An added benefit is that you no longer need Viagara or Cialis to get hard.
    Another thing that I noticed was that before I started working out, the explosive sensation that one normally gets with ejaculation was largely gone. I could still have sex, but it was getting to be more difficult to maintain an erection and when I did come, I would feel nothing physically. This is an early sign of potential heart problems and is the reason I went to a cardiologist.
    I started lifting about 9 months ago and the changes have been dramatic. The sensations are back. I can get and stay hard for a lot longer, and this allows me to keep on “working” and make my wife happy. Of course you also become the man she desires and that is always good.
    What surprised me the most was the looks you start getting from young women. If only they knew my real age 😉
    There are so many benefits to lifting that I can’t see why more men don’t take it up as a hobby or sport.
    On another note, I don’t take supplements, rather I eat a lot of fish, sardines and other high protein meals. Lots of vegies too. For snacks, it’s either cherry tomatoes, or unsalted nuts. No chips, no chocolate bars, no pies, and for me a real tragedy, no more cake! (My wife and daughters make really good cakes too)

  16. Biggest factor in keeping fit/strong while aging is you have to accept ‘repair’ takes longer and adjust for it.
    Also you have to stretch and hydrate more.

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