How to Get Abs After 40
The best way to get abs after 40 is by taking charge of your training, nutrition and cardio and doing it consistently enough until you reveal your abs.
Unfortunately, a lot of men over 40 overcomplicate this whole process, thinking the key to getting abs is about doing endless cardio, high intensity classes, insanity or going crazy to try and lose fat.
But that’s the fastest way to frustration, burnout and injury NOT getting abs.
Don’t spot reduce
Trying to get abs by doing endless crunches or spot reducing your belly fat won’t work.
Countless studies have been done that’s shown spot reduction i.e. doing endless crunches and sit-ups does nothing to remove that stubborn fat from around your mid-section.
It’s absolutely the worst way to get abs especially if you’re over 40 years old. When you lose fat, you lose it all over your body, so when your stomach fat goes down you’ll also lose fat on your face, back, legs and arms too.
That’s why to get abs, you must start thinking about your whole body and not specifically focusing on your stomach.
When you have abs, your whole body will be in shape too, your arms will look defined, your legs, chest and back will look great too.
In fact, if you have abs I can guarantee the rest of your body will look great too.
Trying to get abs without lifting weights is very difficult because as you drop “weight” it won’t all be fat if your body hasn’t been sent the signal to either build or hold onto lean muscle.
That’s why men who go on “diets” alone to lose a lot of weight end up looking worse in a lot of cases because they drop muscle AND fat making them look very unhealthy.
In fact, if you drop weight without doing strength training you might be happier being fatter when you get to the end goal!
Here are just a few of the benefits of lifting weights for a lean body:
- Builds lean muscle, boosting metabolism
- Gives a pleasing look, broad shoulders, tight waist, defined chest and arms
- Helps you gain strength which is important as you get older
- Boosts testosterone which in turn helps you get lean, especially important for men over 40
- Strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments, all very important as we age
- Wards off disease, such as diabetes and cancer
Now before you hit the gym lifting weights every day and doing endless isolation exercises, slow down!
The best lifting frequency for men over 40 is not more than 3 times per week and you should be focusing on compound movements that are safe, productive and joint friendly.
If in doubt keep it simple and focus on the basic exercises that cover the entire muscular structure of the body.
Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull-downs / pull-ups, bench presses and shoulder presses with barbells or dumbbells are by far some of the best exercises you can do as a man over 40!
Get your nutrition right
In order to lose fat and get abs you should be in a slight calorie deficit so that your body will use the energy balance to burn fat.
Now before you start severely restricting calories to lose fat, stop right there as that’s the worst possible way to lose fat and get lean!
You should be eating as many calories as possible that keep you burning fat, support lean muscle and keep testosterone as high as possible, there’s a big difference between eating in a SLIGHT calorie deficit that keeps you feeling full and drastically reducing calories that makes you feel starved.
When you restrict calories too much you’ll bring fat loss to a halt, encourage binge eating and kill testosterone.
It’s important that men over 40 focus on foods that are going to build lean muscle and keep testosterone as high as possible.
Some foods you can start to incorporate into your nutrition right away are eggs, salmon, avocados, lean beef, extra virgin olive oil and nut butters.
Abs nutrition is all about getting the right balance, you need approximately 0.8-1g of protein per pound of lean body weight per day, 35-50% of calories coming from carbohydrates and the remainder coming from healthy fats.
You shouldn’t be going too high in protein or doing “low carb” that kills testosterone, all macronutrients are important for men over 40.
The best abs foods are anything in its natural state, the fewer ingredients the better. Here are a few to start you off:
Abs friendly foods
- Lean cuts of beef
- Chicken breast
- Fresh fish i.e. salmon, mackerel, tuna.
- Whole grain pasta
- Potatoes, i.e. white and sweet
- Whole grain rice
- Fruit and vegetables
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut oil
- Nut butter
Perform a few cardio sessions
When I say perform “some” cardio I’d much rather you get your strength training and nutrition in place first. THEN you can look at performing cardio once you see fat loss happening from strength training and nutrition alone.
Too much cardio kills testosterone, increases appetite and simply doesn’t get you the lean body you want.
With that said though, it’s important if you recognise its limitations and how much you should be doing.
Cardio is beneficial for heart health and will create a bigger calorie deficit helping to immobilise more fat. A few steady state cardio sessions per week are all that you really need especially if you’re already losing fat from strength training and nutrition.
More cardio isn’t the answer to losing fat for men over 40.
Another option I talk about in my course, Abs Over 40 is incorporating ONE circuit style session with compound movements and lighter weights to burn extra fat.
This is super productive for men over 40 as it will compliment your weight training without cutting into your recovery and burning you out.
It also keeps things simple, saves times and is joint friendly as well.
The bottom line is it works very well if you’ve got your strength training workouts in place and following a solid nutrition plan.
Lower your body fat
Getting abs is about lowering your overall body fat percentage, so if you’re currently measuring your body fat at 20% right now you’ll need to get down to 10% or less to see your abs.
The best way to get your body fat percentage is to get some body fat callipers.
By taking a single pinch of the waist you can compare the measurement to a chart on the back of the packet and quickly see where you currently stand.
Once you know your body fat, you can then work out how much fat you need to lose and how long its going to take you.
Lose fat slowly
Getting lean and losing fat takes time! It took you some time to get out of shape in the first place and its going to take you some time to get back into shape.
For this reason, I recommend you aim to lose no more than 1-1½ lbs of fat per week, those that try and lose fat any faster than this will lose muscle, encourage binge eating and down regulate their metabolism.
1-1½ lbs of fat loss per week might not seem like a lot, but all those bits soon add up to huge improvement very quickly.
Getting abs over 40 is NOT about guesswork, it’s about having a plan that you can measure and see progress happening from week to week.
For example, if you currently weigh 220 lb now and your goal weight is 190 lb you should be at least 1-1½ lbs lighter by the end of next week, if you aren’t something isn’t working and needs to be changed.
It’s FAT you should be losing. Not just “weight” that could consist of muscle, water and fat.
To make this a reality, you should be tracking everything, scale weight, body fat percentage, measurements, weights currently being lifted, calories consumed etc.
In my Abs Over 40 course, I include a handy spreadsheet that will help you calculate the calories you need, will tell you how much fat you need to lose based on your current and goal body fat percentage.
It also includes some handy cells for recording everything from calories, body fat, workouts and measurements.