How to get ripped abs after 40

Are you a man over 40 who wants to get ripped abs? You have come to the right place! Getting ripped abs after 40 is completely possible if you follow the correct path.

I didn’t get ripped abs until age 41, and now as write this, aged 46, I still stay lean year-round, and I don’t down regulate my life to do so.

Rob Richley
Me aged 41 before fitness comp in London

In fact, my brand, Lean Over 40 for Men is focused on teaching men over 40 how to get into fantastic shape without sacrificing your life, spending your life in the gym, or going CRAZY trying to lose fat.

Let me show you a better way of how to get lean, one that doesn’t require the following:

Chugging down protein shakes
Training 4-6 times per week in the gym
Resorting to bland boring diets
Cutting out carbs
Never eating out or enjoying yourself at the weekend

Now before I get started, first let me explain that getting ripped abs after 40 will require some sacrifices, you can’t expect to just eat anything and train every now and again to get results.

You need to be consistent.

But there are smarter ways of going about this and if done correctly, you get to enjoy the process and have a life, not hate every minute of it.

Here is an overview, if you want a complete step by step course, have a look at my popular program Ripped Abs Over 40.

Resistance Training

Resistance training, coupled with nutrition is one of the most important elements of getting abs after 40. Without resistance training, you’re making it incredibly difficult to get lean.

When you lift weights, you will build lean muscle, ultimately leading to a permanently elevated metabolism. An elevated metabolism means you get to enjoy more food and burn fat even at rest.

In fact, from age 25 we naturally start to lose muscle if we choose to do nothing. By age 50, you will have lost at least 2-3 of muscle mass that will get replaced by fat.

This body metamorphosis means you can stay the same weight but look fatter as your body drops muscle and replaces it with fat!

Not good!

Can you imagine how drastically different you will look during this process?

That’s why resistance training is vital for getting abs after 40 and for general health and fitness into our 40’s and beyond.

In fact, training to build muscle and get lean, not only is better for health as we age, but helps strengthen bones and connective tissue too.

We need to halt or even reverse sarcopenia that often occurs with aging. But you can build muscle at any age, so never let age hold you back.

Resistance training is even more important as we age, to prevent muscle loss and to give us the best chance of burning fat.

Build muscle, increase your metabolism, and preserve muscle – that’s the first step to getting ripped abs after 40. What exercises we choose to do, are vitally important when we get older.

For most of your resistance exercises you should choose compound movements.

Compound movements train 2-3 large muscle groups at the same time, building the most muscle, using the most calories and increasing testosterone levels.

These exercises are also the safest, most practical and time saving exercises you can do. Some great examples of basic compound movements are bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-downs, overhead presses etc.

There are many variations of each, you need to choose exercises that you can progress on without injury.

Performing these movements with perfect exercise form is mandatory, you can’t expect to throw and heave weights about in your 40’s and beyond and make progress.

That’s a route to injury. You should focus on a handful of compound movements and use perfect exercise form.

What about isolation exercises?

Isolation exercises are any exercises that train a single muscle group in one movement. This could be something as simple as a barbell or dumbbell curl.

While some isolation exercise has benefits, they don’t have the same muscle and hormonal effects as compound movements do.

Most of your resistance training should revolve around compound movements.

Workout days

Men over 40 don’t need to be lifting weights more than 3 times per week. I know you’ve probably read to workout more.

But lifting weights more than this doesn’t provide extra benefits.

By lifting on 3-non-consecutive days each week you can train the entire body and provide the body with enough rest time between workout sessions.

That means you will make more progress and recover better from your workouts.

Multiple sets of lower reps work best for men over 40, they’re far safer, won’t over train you and are less likely to aggravate joints like excessive volume using light weights will.

Too many exercises, too many workout days and too many set and reps are the villains behind over training.

Doing too much work is a recipe for burnout and stagnation that you need to avoid. Always work within your bodies ability to recover for the best progress.


Nutrition is the other part of the equation as well as resistance training, men over 40 should be eating foods that increase testosterone levels and keep them feeling full.

There are many tasty meals you can enjoy without resorting to chicken and rice. I always enjoy the food I eat, if I hit my calorie totals, I’ll stay lean.

The bottom line for getting ripped abs after 40 is being in a caloric deficit.

No amount of playing around with any macronutrient matters if you aren’t eating less calories than what your body burns per day.

You must be in a calorie deficit to start burning fat.

Stick to whole foods and don’t waste time with junk foods. Get plenty of lean proteins, healthful carbs, and essential fats.

Every macronutrient is essential when it comes to leaning down. You need protein to build and repair muscle, carbs for energy and fats for testosterone production.

I don’t bother with protein powder; I don’t see any benefits. If you’re getting 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight per day you are getting adequate protein.

This can be achieved from whole foods, no protein powders needed!

Protein keeps you feeling full and satisfied, very beneficial when eating less calories than what your body burns each day.

It’s also thermogenic meaning you will burn fat just by digesting it.

Carbohydrates are needed for energy, fuelling your workouts, and feeding your brain. A mistake I see is all the time is going low carb to get lean, it’s the number of total calories you eat that matters.

Especially for men over 40, they will help to keep testosterone high. The higher we can keep testosterone the more muscle and fat we will burn.

Get most of your fat from polyunsaturated sources such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.

Cutting out fat when trying to get lean is a bad idea as we need it for a whole host of processes in the body, especially testosterone production.

Remember, the bottom line with getting abs after 40 is to be eating less calories than what your body burns per day.

How many calories do I need?

This is an individual situation depending on weight. You need to be eating 300-500 calories less than your BMR calories per day (the number of calories you need to sustain your weight).

If done correctly this will work out to be a fat loss of 1-1½ pounds of fat per week, the perfect amount to ensure it’s all fat loss and not muscle.

Those that try to rush this process always end up losing more muscle than fat and down regulating their metabolisms.

Losing fat slowly is the fastest long-term solution so give this process time.

Remember I mentioned resistance training as vital when aiming to get abs?

Well, as you drop fat, resistance training will ensure you’re holding onto your muscle and make it much more likely that all weight lost is FAT.

In fact, weight loss without resistance training is likely to be muscle & fat loss, or perhaps MORE muscle than fat lost!

Therefore, resorting to excessive cardio without doing any resistance training is a bad idea.

How will I see my abs?

Getting abs after 40 is not about doing endless crunches, it’s about getting your overall body fat percentage at 10% of below.

You do that by building & maintaining muscle and burning away fat, through diet.

Get some body fat callipers and measure your body fat percentage. Each week you should take a measurement and if done correctly should be pinching less fat.

Getting abs is a gradual process and taking a pinch of the waist with body fat callipers will ensure that you are moving in the right direction.

As your body weight drops, you’ll weight train to hold onto muscle and watch your fat pinch become less, you will eventually start to see your abs.


Once in a caloric deficit adding in cardio can help to speed up this process but it’s important not to go overboard.

Too much cardio can strip away muscle, making you look stringy and smooth rather than lean and defined.

Add in 2 x 30–40-minute moderate intensity cardio sessions or aim to get 6000-9000 steps per day as well as your resistance training.

The extra cardio can mean creating a bigger calorie deficit, meaning you could eat more food and still stay in a deficit.

Too much cardio can make you hungry, not good when trying to stick to a calorie-controlled plan.

Walking has a neural effect on appetite making it the perfect choice for burning fat without feeling ravenous.

There you have it.

I really hope you found this article of benefit and if you want a complete program for leaning down and getting abs, see my popular course Ripped Abs Over 40, that provides everything you need for getting a lean body without spending your life in the gym!

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