What is the best way for a male over 40 to lose belly fat? The bottom line for losing belly fat for a man over 40 is to be in a caloric deficit.
Without being in a caloric deficit it doesn’t matter whether you play around with protein, carbs, or fat. And when I say you need to be in a caloric deficit, I don’t mean severely restricting calories so that you are barely eating anything!
I used to be a big fan of intermittent fasting and I still am – but only to a point.
You see, intermittent fasting was never designed to be done every day like a lot of people are doing these days.
It’s supposed to be done properly twice per month i.e., fasting for 2 full days per month with nothing but water and not eating anything during this period.
It’s not supposed to be used as a fat loss tool but to cleanse the body…
Intermittent fasting done properly will repair cell membranes, improve metabolism, and “reset” the body. It also has benefits for preventing cancer and is even mentioned in the bible as something that is good for us and should be done twice per month.
The problem is, done incorrectly like the gurus are recommending, can be a bad thing…
What’s happened is everyone seems to be doing intermittent fasting, which ultimately creates a bad relationship with food.
Skipping breakfast and not eating until 2pm is NOT intermittent fasting done correctly.
If someone has been severely restricting calories for a long time and then you are telling them to restrict them some more by only eating twice per day, how do you think that will work out?
More restriction is NOT what they need.
In fact, the more we restrict calories the more our bodies natural metabolism slows to preserve calories making fat loss very hard to achieve.
This is how the body was designed, less calories…the body slows metabolism, more calories the body will speed metabolism.
It’s for that reason that I don’t agree with intermittent fasting for someone that has already got a bad relationship with food.
In fact, increasing their calories and getting their bodies used to a baseline of calories is going to be the most effective strategy for them.
The bottom line for losing belly fat
When it comes to losing fat as a male over 40 the bottom line is eating slightly less calories than what your body burns per day and whether you get those calories in 2, 3, 4 or even 6 meals per day doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is being consistent with those calories.
But if you’re coming from a place of severe calorie restriction, I would recommend getting your calories back to baseline as a starting point to get your body used to processing real food again.
Then, if you create a 500-calorie deficit each day that will equate to approximately 3500 calories over the course of the week which will equate to a fat loss of approximately one pound.
This is a great way to go as the slow and steady mode of fat loss is always better than trying to lose weight quickly.
Let’s say that your magic number of calories is 2000 for losing fat, from those calories you would want to break them up into your macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat.
I recommend 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight per day. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 200 grams of protein per day.
Approximately 40% of total calories should come from carbs to keep you feeling full and fuel your workouts, but make sure its from healthy sources such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, pasta, oats, fruits, and vegetables etc.
The remainder of your calories should come from fat.
Foods such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds provide the body with a great source of healthy fats.
For us men over 40 fats are needed for keep testosterone production high and a whole host of important processes in the body.
I am not a fan of cutting out one of the important macros…
All are needed i.e., protein, carbs, and fat. Protein is important for growth and repair of the body; carbs are needed for energy production and to keep you feeling full and fat is needed for hormone health and testosterone production.
Again, the bottom line for losing fat is to be in a calorie deficit.
Some people blame one of the macros i.e., carbs for putting on weight, but carbs will only make you fat if you eat too many of them.
The same holds true for protein, if you eat too much your body will convert it into fat.
Strength training for a male over 40
I can’t stress the importance of weight training on a fat loss diet. If you just eat less calories and start dropping weight, some of that will be fat and some will be muscle.
Muscle is the last thing you want to be losing as it determines how fast your metabolism will run during the day, even while at rest.
In fact, building muscle becomes even more important as we get older. Did you know a gradual muscle loss (sarcopenia) occurs from the age of 25 if we choose to do nothing?
This could easily equate to 2.5 kg of muscle loss by the time we are age 50! And this will get replaced by fat. The less muscle and more fat we have, the worse our bodies will function and the worse we will look.
Strength training will ensure that what you lose will be primarily fat, when on a diet. You don’t have to go crazy but structure your workout so that you cover the entire body over the course of the week.
I can’t stress the importance of building muscle as we get older…
Three strength training workouts per week, work best for men over 40, personally I find working out on a Mon-Wed-Fri basis works very well.
By training on non-consecutive days, I provide the body with enough recovery between workout sessions.
Compound movements are exercises that train 2-3 muscle groups in one movement. They build the most muscle, burn fat and increase testosterone more than any other exercise.
These exercises should form the basis of your workouts, some great examples are bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, pull-downs, kettlebell workouts, snatches and any exercise that’s demanding and gets you standing on your feet.
These exercises also improve co-ordination which is essential as men over 40 get older.
By training using compound movements and paying attention to how much food you eat each day, you will be well on your way to losing what you want – fat.
A mistake I see all the time is men over 40 going crazy with cardio to lose belly fat. It’s like they suddenly decide they’ve had enough of being overweight and wake up the next day thinking going out running is the key to losing weight!
The problem is too much cardio is NOT a good time investment, can strip away lean muscle and quickly leads to burnout and injury.
I would much rather you focus on getting your nutrition and strength training correct first and then adding in cardio slowly once that is in place.
One of the best forms of cardio is simply walking because it creates a bigger caloric expenditure without having a big impact on appetite.
Excessive cardio can make you feel very hungry, not the best thing if you are trying to restrict calories. The key is to try and get 6000-9000 steps per day in addition to your weight’s workouts and nutrition plan.
Or simply add in 2 x steady state cardio session using the cross trainer or stationary bike.
There you have it! A simple way for a male over 40 to lose belly fat and if you need a step-by-step plan for losing belly fat while spending less time in the gym, check out my popular course, Ripped Abs Over 40.