Welcome to Lean over 40 for men, not only have I been training naturally for decades, earned my personal training certification many moons ago, but I maintain abs after 40 year-round without excessively spending my life in the gym (all too common these days), spending money on supplements or going crazy doing workouts such as P90X that leave you nothing short of drained for very little in return.

Let’s clear something up, getting abs after 40 is TOTALLY possible if you go about it in the right way, as in what I’m going to share with you in this article.

I don’t care how old you are, age should not and WILL not be a limiting factor for you, so if your goal is to get abs after 40 and you want to do it in a completely natural way, have never seen your abs before or think you’re too old or “past it” think again.

A bit about me, when I was only in my 30’s I thought I was too old to ever see my abs, I thought that getting abs was for those men in their twenties and it wasn’t until age 40 that I finally got ripped and revealed my abs.

Here’s a picture of me on stage, age 41 with 7% bodyfat:

abs after 40

Pure Elite - October 2016

Note: I don’t recommend you aim for 7% body fat it requires extreme dedication with your diet and it’s simply not sustainable nor an enjoyable experience for most working-class men in their forties.

We’re going to get you to 10% body fat which is lean enough to see your abs, but a lot more manageable in terms of keeping your testosterone levels highest and sticking to a nutrition plan that’s sustainable.

Getting to a body fat percentage of 9-12% is your goal, you’ll look awesome and you can maintain it year-round if you go about it the right way.

Even if your goal isn’t to get abs and you simply want to get leaner, get a flat stomach or simply lose some fat for a holiday or vacation, this information is STILL applicable to your goal, so you might as well use it.

Why age isn’t a limiting factor to get abs after 40

What does it mean to reveal your abs?

There’s so much information and over complication of the topic but all you’re really doing is lowering your body fat percentage enough and building or holding onto lean muscle so that those abs pop and you can see them in the mirror.

But to do this you need to alter your body composition in a way that has you losing fat and either gaining lean muscle or holding onto your current muscle and losing fat.

This is where a lot of men over 40 mess up, they think the best way to get lean is to either do excessive cardio or eat like a bird restricting calories and killing their testosterone levels in the process.

I’m going to clear this up once and for all and tell you the steps you need to take to get abs after 40 or 50 or even 60.

Trusted information sources

There’s so much information and mis-information out there on losing fat and gaining muscle that it’s hard to know who to trust any more so before we dive into the details and before you get information about this topic, I want you to ask yourself a few questions before you digest any information.

Is the source you’re learning from over 40 with abs?

It’s amazing how many men are trying to teach you how to get abs, but they haven’t got abs themselves! So that’s the first thing you need to ask yourself, have they got abs? Can they prove it to you? After all you wouldn’t trust someone offering advice who isn’t even lean in the first place would you?

Can they sustain their abs year-round?

This one is interesting, the photo you see of me on stage above is proof that I know what it takes to get lean, but what about the rest of the year, do I blow up and get fat? Hell no! I keep myself around 9-12% body fat, I always have abs, just not stage shredded.

If I can do it without resorting to a miserable life eating like a bird and spending all my waking hours in the gym, I can teach you to do the same too.

Yes, I’m talking to the average man over 40, that works for a living, has bills to pay and a demanding family to look after.

I live a very “normal” life, don’t eat skewed diets and all that nonsense, yet I’m able to maintain by abs year-round so that’s the beauty of what I’m going to share with you.

It’s sustainable!

It’s not just for those who need advice for getting up on stage, if you want to rock a set of abs on holiday I’ve got you covered and if you want to simply get a flat stomach I’ve got you covered as well.

How do you get abs after 40?

Getting abs after 40 comes down to a series of steps executed over a long enough period until your goal becomes a reality.

Effective training programs work, period. It’s the person’s ability to stick to the program long enough to get results that leads to failure or poor programming being followed in the first place.

The failure rate of training and nutrition programs is because they’re downright confusing! They have too many exercises, too many workout sessions and nutrition programs that make you feel miserable.

My approach to training and nutrition is completely different and a very enjoyable experience at that.

Calculating body fat

By far the quickest and easiest way of getting your body fat percentage is by getting hold of some body fat calipers, taking a single pinch of the waist and comparing that measurement to a chart on the back of the packet.

This will provide you with an accurate starting point and it’s time to work out how much fat you need to lose to reach your end goal i.e. ideal body fat percentage that’s lean enough to see your abs.

To work out how much fat you need to lose, use this simple formula:

Desired body weight = lean body weight / desired lean mass percentage in decimal form.

Let’s say you’re a male that weighs 200lb with a body fat percentage of 20%, first we would calculate how much fat you have at 20% body fat:

200 x 0.2 = 40 lbs

Next, we need to calculate your fat free mass, this is your body weight with zero fat. Note, you must have some body fat to be healthy.

200 – 40 = 160 lbs (fat free mass)

Next, you would divide your fat free body weight by your goal body fat percentage. In this example, I’m using a goal body fat of 9%.

160 / 0.9 = 178 lbs

Lastly you would subtract your goal body weight from your current bodyweight.

200 – 178 = 22 lbs

So, in this example you’d need to lose 22 pounds of fat to achieve your goal body fat percentage of 9%. If you’re losing 1-1½lbs per week it should only take between 15-22 weeks to achieve this goal.

Why 9-12% body fat?

Between 9-12% body fat for men over 40 is an ideal body fat percentage to aim for, some men look better at a slighter lower body fat percentage and some men look better at a slighter higher i.e. 12% body fat percentage, it all comes down to what makes you feel the healthiest, perform best and look best.

Experience tells me that 9-12% body fat is the “sweet spot” that’s obtainable for men over 40, once you get there, you won’t have to make huge sacrifices to your social life and nutrition to maintain that level.

Right now, as I’m sitting here writing this I’m at 11% body fat, this is the upper end of what I’ll maintain but I have a very comfortable training and nutrition plan that allows me to do that.

The “killing yourself” method to get lean is not only not necessary, but it’s simply not needed to get or maintain an awesome body at any age.

Get your nutrition dialled in

Once you know how many pounds of fat you need to lose and how many weeks it’s going to take you, you’ll need a nutrition plan that provides adequate protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories that keeps you feeling full but keeps you losing fat.

To achieve this, you’ll need to target slightly LESS calories than what your body burns each day. You’ll need to know your BMR calories or how many calories you expend each day without gaining or losing any weight.

There’s tons of formulas out there for getting your BMR, but as everyone is different no formula can be 100% accurate. That’s why I recommend keeping it simple and simply multiplying your body weight in pounds x 15 to get your BMR calories.

When losing fat, you’ll want to eat no more than 20% LESS than your BMR calories per day, if you eat too few calories you’ll bring fat loss to a halt and risk messing up your metabolism.

In fact, if you’ve been “dieting” for a long period of time and fat loss has come to a screeching halt, I recommend eating more calories to bring leptin levels back up and help break the cycle of slow fat burning.

Eating too few calories for too long can be one of the reasons you’re not losing fat and increasing, NOT decreasing calories can break this cycle.

Of your daily calorie allowance you’ll want to get between 0.8-1g of protein per pound of lean body weight per day, approximately 40% of calories from carbohydrates and the remaining 25-30% of calories from healthy fats.

A mistake that men over 40 makes is going far too low in carbohydrates and fats, killing our already declining testosterone levels and encouraging binge eating.

Carbohydrates are super important as energy to fuel our workouts, keep us feeling full, keep our testosterone at peak levels and keep us feeling good.

Any fat loss diet needs to be both sustainable and enjoyable if you’re going to stick to it over the long term, it should never be a miserable experience.

Set your meal plan

Eating 5-6 tasteless meals per day is not only a miserable experience but it doesn’t lead to any faster fat loss than eat 2-3 bigger meals per day.

Not only is eating lots of small meals a pain, but you’ll need to prepare everything ahead of time and take it with you in Tupperware containers to work when it’s not necessary.

Eating bigger meals has been shown beneficial in increasing testosterone in men. When you go without eating for a sustained period and then introduce a surge of calories into your system, testosterone and growth hormone go through the roof!

The research is clear, it’s not the frequency of meals you eat per day, but the total amount of calories you eat over the course of the day that makes the difference between gaining fat or losing fat.

Fat loss needs to be a gradual process if you’re to be successful, 1-1½ pounds per week is the maximum amount of fat you should be losing each week. The relatively slow method of losing fat is the fastest way to get it off and keep it off over the long term.

Strength training, one of the keys to getting lean

Strength training is without a doubt, one of the most beneficial things you need to do to get lean as a man over 40. But before you start thinking endless volume, sets, reps and workouts days with lighter weights is the way to go, think again.

Abbreviated training workouts, like I teach in my courses, are the way forward for men over 40. They demand much less from your recovery machinery and improve body composition like nothing else.

If you stick to the basic exercises proven safe for YOU, perform multiple sets of lower reps, which has been proven the safest and effective system for men over 40 then you’re more than half way to getting the body you want.

A lot of men over 40 do more volume and lighter weights as they get older, but this is a mistake. Getting stronger on the safest and most productive exercises is the best thing you can do and using multiple sets of lower reps ensures you have the best effect on the male hormonal system and body composition without leading to overtraining.

In my courses you’ll never be in the gym more an hour and you’ll never lift weights more than three times per week. But that’s exactly what you need for superior results – this system is truly awesome!

What about cardio?

On the one hand you have people who tell you to totally avoid cardio to lose fat and on the other hand you have people who advise cardio practically every day.

The truth is, if you get your nutrition and weight training dialled in correctly you’ll be well on your way to getting abs after 40, without spending your life in the gym and without needing supplements.

But adding a moderate amount of cardio can and will speed things up. By adding in 2 steady state cardio sessions per week, you can eat more calories on your non-weight training days and still lose fat. As we get older, cardio training becomes even more important for heart health.

The mistake I see all the time is men over 40 doing excessive amounts of cardio that ultimately kills their testosterone levels and doesn’t speed up the fat loss process! Don’t make this mistake, moderation is key when it comes to cardio training.

A recap of how to get abs after 40

You might be over 40 years old, but I can assure you getting abs isn’t about killing yourself and its not about being in your twenties or younger.

Getting abs is about an effective training program, that has benefits for not only getting you lean but keeping you lean for life.

The benefits of getting abs over 40 go WAY beyond the visual appearance you see in the mirror, the benefits of getting lean are huge.

So, let me re-iterate, you can get abs at any age if you put the following steps into practice:

Know where you currently stand – weight, body fat percentage, how much fat you need to lose to reach that 9-12% body fat sweet spot.

Set your calories – Get your BMR calories, eat maximum 20% less than your BMR calories per day. Break up your calories into balanced protein, carbohydrates and fats. 2-3 bigger meals will get the job done.

Forget supplements – Tons of lean muscle and pounds of fat have been lost without them. I don’t use or recommend them, even protein powder.

Strength train – work with your body’s ability to recover, no more than 3 x weight training per week, using multiple sets of low reps of the most effective exercises that target the major muscles of the body.

Include cardio – 2 steady state cardio sessions per week will help you eat more calories and lose more fat, but excessive cardio will kill testosterone levels, moderation is key here.

Stay consistent – the only reason you’d fail to get a flat stomach or even abs are because you aren’t being consistent or you’re following a poorly designed program.

To your success!

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    2 replies to "How to Get Abs After 40"

    • Samuel

      Hi Rob, thanks for the article, very helpful, being a 48yo male, I have 2 questions:
      1, how to difine ’performing multiple sets, lower reps of safest workout/excises’? do you mean heavier but safe weight x less reps x multiple sets?
      2, meal plans, do you mean instead of 5-6 meals a day, can do with 2-3 bigger meals a day with periodic intermittent fast?
      Thanks Sam

      • Rob Richley

        Hi Samuel,

        For most older lifters, multiple sets of low reps are the most productive and least taxing way to train.

        Examples are the 5 x 5 system, 4 x 5, 5 x 3 and the 5/4/3/2/1 system.

        There are many variations and the key are finding one that suits you best on an exercise. The reason they’re far more productive for older lifters is:

        Better and more thorough warm-ups
        More precise movement patterns
        Greater safety
        Reduced volume and easier on the joints

        Most people think that medium and higher reps are safer for older men, but multiple sets of lower reps help you train your body to move in a precise pattern on each rep you perform. This helps with recovery AND unnecessary wear and tear on your body.

        Heavy would mean a weight that challenges you for the last 2 reps of the exercise, but you can still complete in good form, it doesn’t mean loading up a bar that’s too heavy and lifting as heavy as possible.

        The key here is maintaining perfect exercise form before increasing weight.

        With nutrition it’s your total number of calories eaten over the course of the day that matters, whether you get that in 2 meals or 6 meals is personal preference BUT eating 2-3 bigger meals can be more beneficial for digestion and increased hormonal response. It’s also much easier to stick with, personally I eat 3 main meals.

        I’m not a huge fan of intermittent fasting, but it has its benefits.

        I hope that helps.

        Regards

        Rob

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