Can you get abs after 40 even if you’re currently out of shape?
The answer is YES you can! Even if you’re in your Forties, Fifties, Sixties or even Seventies I still think it’s possible to get abs.
It’s just now you’re a little older you must train differently. You can no longer imitate the workouts you used to do in your teens or twenties.
But the same principles apply…
To see your abs, you must lose the belly fat covering them up.
Now this is where most men over 40 go wrong by thinking it’s all to do with endless crunches and cardio, but that’s the fastest way to failure.
You can’t spot reduce fat from your stomach by doing endless crunches AND…
You can’t get abs from simply going crazy with cardio…
In fact, before you do anything make sure you get these two things in order:
The saying that abs are made in the kitchen does have credibility, however it’s only PART of the equation.
You need to lose fat and get your over all body fat percentage at 10% or under. The bottom line with nutrition to see your abs first and foremost (before playing around with macros) is to be eating less calories than what your body burns per day.
If you’re not in an energy deficit then playing around with the amount of protein you eat or messing with carbohydrates and fats won’t matter.
The trick is to eat approximately 300-500 LESS calories than it takes to maintain your current bodyweight (and this varies from person to person).
For example, I know if I eat 2200 calories per day, I will gradually start to lose fat. This is what you want, a gradual fat loss of 1 to 1½ pounds per week.
Any more than slightly less calories than your BMR and you risk losing muscle as well as fat and perhaps MORE muscle than fat.
Fat loss is a relatively slow process, and the slow route works out to be the FASTEST way to permanent fat loss.
Now from those calories you need a healthy proportion of proteins, approximately 25-30% or 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight per day.
40-50% of total calories coming from carbohydrates and the remainder, 20% coming from fat.
The foods you eat do count, avoid junk foods, and make sure all the food you eat is coming from healthy sources.
The less ingredients a food has, the healthier it is for you. For example, broccoli is broccoli and chicken breasts are chicken breasts.
By sticking to healthy foods to lose fat, you’re much more likely to hold onto muscle as you drop fat AND feel your best.
You need to supply the body with the foods it needs to function properly. You can’t keep eating junk and expecting your body to function at its best.
Here are some great foods to get you started:
Virgin Olive Oil
Losing fat to get abs after 40 doesn’t have to be boring! I always eat tasty meals. Check me out on Instagram to see what types of foods I’m eating to stay lean and healthy!
It was once thought that eating little and often i.e., 5 or more meals per day would help to speed up the metabolism but it’s not HOW many meals you eat, but the number of calories you eat each day that really matters.
Whether you get those calories in 4, 3 or 2 meals per day doesn’t really matter. What does matter is being consistent with your calories each day and monitoring your progress.
Each week you should take a scale measurement and body fat percentage measurement to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
Remember… to see your abs, the bottom line is you should be gradually losing FAT (not just weight) so you’ll want to see the scale moving but seeing your body fat percentage come down as well.
Take a single pinch of the waist using some body fat callipers then compare the fat pinch with the chart that comes with your body fat callipers.
You don’t need expensive callipers to get the job done, in fact there are some great ones on amazon.
After nutrition you should be doing some form of resistance training to get abs. Did you know from age 25 we naturally lose muscle very year if we choose to do nothing?
The muscle that is lost is replaced by fat, meaning:
More fat storage,
More prone to injury
The good news is we can fight back and build muscle into our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. But sitting back and choosing to do nothing is a bad idea.
You need to build muscle to keep your metabolism elevated and to get abs!
The best weight training exercises for men over 40 are compound movements. These exercises train 2-3 muscle groups at once, build the most muscle, burn more fat AND save time.
Isolation exercises only work single muscle groups and don’t do much for building muscle or burning fat. You can do compound movements using barbells, dumbbells or even use resistance bands!
You don’t need to be lifting weight any more than three times per week, advanced men can train as little as twice per week and still make a lot of progress.
The most important thing is progression, not how many gym visits you clock up during the week.
When it comes to cardio a lot of men over 40 go crazy and start running for miles or spending hours on the cross trainer or stationary bike.
Cardio can help speed up the fat burning process, but too much can have the opposite effect. Too much cardio lowers the metabolism and strips away lean muscle.
When we strip away lean muscle the metabolism runs slower, so the best option is to do moderate amounts of cardio along with your weight training and nutrition.
Also, too much cardio can make you very hungry which isn’t the best thing when you are trying to stick to eating less calories than what your body burns per day.
How much is too much?
Anymore than 1 hour of cardio per day is too much. As a general guideline, 2 to 3 cardio sessions as well as your weight training routine will work well.
Pick something you enjoy and is easy on the joints such as the stationary bike or cross trainer and elevate the heart rate for 30-40 minutes.
As we get older cardio is very beneficial for heart health, so don’t go neglecting it.
It’s amazing that men over 40 think that to get abs you need to be doing endless crunches, sit-ups, or a combination of them both!
The direct abs exercises I do are forward & reverse crunches and side bends.
Seeing your abs is all about lowering your over all body fat percentage and stripping away the fat so that you can see them.
In fact, the compound movements that you perform will do more for developing your abs than any other exercises.
Compound movements allow you to brace your abs HARD. Exercises such as squats and deadlifts require you to stabilise your whole body and for that to happen the abs will contract.
Bottom line, it’s the combination of everything COMBINED that will give you abs, not just one particular “magic” exercise or food.
The bottom line when it comes to getting abs is consistency.
You need to get each day’s nutrition right, each day’s rest or training right and each days sleep right. Then keep doing that repeatedly for long term progress to take of itself.
Check out my course, Ripped Abs Over 40 for a complete training and nutrition plan.