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If you’re sitting there right now wondering can I still get ripped at 40 then the answer is an astounding YES!

Even if you’re over 40 years old…

Even if you’re very out of condition…

Even if you’ve never seen your abs before…

Even if you’re short of time.

The fitness industry is full of so much garbage that any man is left scratching his head wondering whether it’s even possible to get abs over 40.

Not only is it possible to get ripped and reveal your abs, but it’s possible to sustain abs for life, if you go about it the right way.

Believe it or not I didn’t reveal my abs until my late thirties and now I keep myself between 8-12% body fat all year round. If you go over 12% body fat (for a male) you start to lose that definition and abs start to disappear, but if you go too low in body fat percentage i.e. below 8% you might be very lean, but it’s very hard to sustain i.e. you must be strict with your diet.

Below 8% body fat and you’ll start to look too lean, testosterone will plummet and it will make you miserable trying to sustain that level of conditioning.

What I have found is sustaining a body fat percentage of 9-10% to be a lot more enjoyable. It’s lean enough to see the abs, but means you won’t have to sacrifice your entire existence to get there.

It’s all about balance…

It doesn’t matter how many crunches you do, if you’re not lowering your overall body fat percentage you’ll never looked ripped and reveal your abs.

This is where a lot of men go wrong and start doing endless cardio to burn fat. I can see what you’re trying to do, I guess if I knew nothing about how to get lean I might do the same. But this approach always fails.

The reason this approach fails is excessive cardio burns fat AND muscle. Muscle is responsible for keeping our metabolism running at a fast rate and when it’s reduced through excessive cardio, your body burns even LESS fat and you’ll end up looking soft and skinny, rather than lean and defined.

It’s a vicious circle, you burn more muscle and metabolism runs even slower. If doing excessive cardio was the answer to getting lean, there would be a lot more ripped marathon runners out there!

What you want is a nice, natural amount of muscle and low levels of body fat to look your best.

Once you’re over 40 years old you might think it’s “too late” to get ripped and reveal your abs. But the truth is, we only gain fat because of inactivity not due to being over 40 years old.

Our bodies work pretty much the same. Granted we can’t train like we used to do in our twenties and thirties, but we’re still capable of gaining lean muscle and losing body fat. If we can do that, then we’re capable of getting ripped.

In order to do that, you need a different approach than what you did in your twenties and thirties.

My approach to getting ripped is a lot different than what’s promoted as gospel. I never do more than 3 weight training sessions in the gym each week and I never do more than one or two cardio sessions.

I’ll do 1 or 2 deliberate cardio sessions of 70-80% maximum heart rate in the gym, but the cardio I most prefer is getting out at the weekends with my wife and exploring the country, going out for a walk is far more enjoyable and will keep you in a comfortable calorie deficit.

By far the most important component for getting ripped over 40 is strength training. This is what will build lean muscle that will keep your metabolism running fast, couple that with a nutrition plan that promotes healthy testosterone levels to ensure you’re burning fat and you’re set.

Generally, I’ll eat 2-3 meals per day and a few snacks that meet my caloric requirements. I prefer to get all my nutrition from whole foods, very rarely do I use supplements.

I mix up my proteins, eating from a variety of lean, healthy sources that keep me feeling full and satisfied. I’ll eat lean beef, chicken, salmon, mackerel, red snapper, pork tenderloin, just to name a few!

I’ll eat lots of complex carbohydrates including potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grain pasta, rice, oats and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

If you’re wondering what steps to take to get ripped, I’ll break that down for you in a few main areas:

Step 1 – Calculate How Much Fat You Need to Lose

Calculating how much fat you need to lose is the first step to reaching your goal. If you don’t know your starting point, you won’t know how many weeks it’s going to take you.

To quickly measure your body fat, I recommend getting some body fat callipers, by taking a single pinch of your waist and comparing that measurement to a chart on the back of the packet, you can quickly get an accurate body fat measurement.

Let’s say you measure your body fat at 20% that would mean you’d need to lose 22 pounds of fat to reach a body fat percentage of 9% (lean enough to see your abs).

If you’re losing 1-1.5lbs per week it should only take between 15-22 weeks to achieve this goal!

Doesn’t that feel great, knowing you could go from 20% body fat to 9% body fat in less than 6 months from now?

By breaking it down into small targets you now know that it’s going to take you 15-22 weeks to reach your goal of 9% body fat, there’s approximately 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat so if you create a deficit of 500 calories per day (through nutrition and exercise) you’ll be on target to lose that pound of fat each week.

What’s The Big Deal About 9% Body Fat?

9% body fat is a sweet spot for most men over 40, its lean enough to see your abs but not so lean you’ll start to look un healthy and will have a negative impact on testosterone.

Some men look their best at a slightly higher body fat i.e. 10-12%, other men look best at a slightly lower number. If you aim to get down to 9-12% body fat and couple that with a nice natural amount of muscle you’re going to look and feel awesome!

Step 2 – Set Those Calories

The next step is to set your BMR calories, by far the quickest way of getting your BMR is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 15.

This will provide you with a starting point of calories that sustains your bodyweight. You’ll then need to adjust this number so that you’re eating at no more than 20% less than your BMR.

By eating at 20% less than your BMR calories you should be on target to lose approximately 1-1.5 lbs of body fat per week, the correct amount of fat to lose for a lean body composition.

Note. Fat loss is a gradual process, those that try to rush this process always end up losing more lean muscle than bodyfat, resulting in a down regulated metabolism.

Step 3 – Create a Meal Plan

The next step is to create a meal plan and break those calories up into the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

A split of 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 30% fat works well for men over 40. This is because you’ll be getting adequate protein to build and sustain lean muscle and adequate carbohydrates and fats to keep energy levels and testosterone high.

For men over 40, eating a good amount of healthy fat is essential, fats will boost testosterone production AND help to get you lean.

By getting 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight you’ll be consuming enough daily protein, you really don’t need huge amounts of protein to get lean.

One you’ve broken those calories up into the correct proportions of daily protein, carbohydrates and fat it’s time to break those calories up into 2-3 meals per day.

Step 4 – Create a Training Plan

One of the most important components of getting lean is strength training. Lifting weights will give your body those awesome looking proportions, broad shoulders, narrow waist and defined chest.

If you strength train correctly you’ll build a nice natural amount of muscle, not look huge and “puffy” like a bodybuilder. This is far more appealing to most men (and women) that I’ve spoken to.

Should I Include Cardio?

Cardio is awesome so long as you go about it the right way! Time and time again I see too many guys performing way too many cardio sessions resulting in LESS fat loss, more lean muscle loss and lowered testosterone levels.

Doing too much cardio for a man over 40 is the worst way to lose body fat!

With that said, performing one or two low impact cardio sessions at 70-80% maximum heart rate is very beneficial for keeping you in a calorie deficit.

A good rule of thumb is 3 strength training sessions and 1 cardio session (on non-weight training days), plus enjoying a walk whenever possible.

Step 5 – Stay Accountable

The key to getting ripped over 40 is taking consistent action on a solid training program and measuring progress each week. Every week you should be-able to see that 1-1½lb loss of body fat.

You should be-able to see consistent progress from week to week. The only reason you’d fail to get ripped over 40 is you aren’t sustaining an enjoyable training and nutrition plan.

This is exactly why I believe in keeping things simple.

The minimum effective dose is all you need to get ripped over 40. Just enough exercise and nutrition to help you get ripped, but not so much you can’t function properly or have time for anything else in your life.

As a man over 40, you simply haven’t got time to be obsessing about your training every day.

Putting It All Together

Let me re-iterate, you CAN get ripped over 40.

You don’t have to become obsessed…

You don’t have to spend a fortune on supplements…

You don’t have to be in the gym every day…

You don’t have to eat boring skewed diets…

But you DO have to train and eat correctly!

  • Get your bodyfat percentage – find out how much fat you need to lose.
  • Set those calories – get your BMR and eat no less than 20% BMR calories.
  • Create a meal plan – get your macros and design a plan of 2-3 meals per day.
  • Create a training plan – structure a solid strength training and cardio program into your weekly schedule.
  • Measure progress – measure your body fat each week and watch progress happening.

To your success!

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    6 replies to "Can I Still Get Ripped at 40?"

    • Jeff Heath

      Great article. Motivating. 42

    • Rob Richley

      Thanks Jeff.

    • Weslon

      1 of the most well written article on the internet. It definitely motivates me and point out my mistakes. Thanks, Wes. Turning 46 next month

      • Rob Richley

        Hi Wes,

        thanks very much I’m pleased it was helpful for you.

        regards

        Rob

    • Erick Carrillo

      Hi Rob,

      Thank you for this article, it is the motivation boost I need, I’m 33, but I assume that all of these advice apply to me as well, I’m starting reducing my body fat, I was in 25% and now I’m around 23%. Moreover, I’m really motivated to continue with this lifestyle and hopefully I’ll reach my goal of getting ripped. Greetings from Costa Rica!

      PST-I’ll send you a pic once I’ve reach 12%

      • Rob Richley

        Hi Erick,

        Yes it applies to men in their 30’s aswell. I’m really pleased I could help you!

        regards

        Rob

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