Do you think it’s possible to get six pack abs after 40?
I remember when I was in my thirties and thought I was too old to get abs, I thought that getting lean and seeing my abs was only for men in their teens and twenties and I was “past it.”
The last time I got close to seeing my abs was when I was 25 years old, and I thought those days were long gone. When I got into the most shredded shape of my life, I never envisioned doing it over 40 years old.
I also never thought I’d be entering fitness model competitions and getting on stage sporting a full set of six pack abs, but there I was, 41 years old and ripped.
Here’s me the day before entering the Pure Elite fitness model competition age 41 years old:
I have never taken any drugs of any sort and don’t even take protein powder!
As I write this, I’m 46 years old and can’t believe I thought I was “old” back in my thirties. I guess age is all relative.
So, you might be thinking it’s easy for you to get abs, you are genetically gifted or something like that, but the fact is you DO have abs as well.
You just must reveal them under that layer of body fat.
You see, getting abs is primarily about 2 things:
- Having strong abs using strength training
- Getting your body fat low enough so you can see them (proper training & nutrition)
What Not to do to Get Six Pack Abs After 40
Hammering your midsection with tons of crunches and sit ups is not the best way to reveal your abs.
You might strengthen them under that layer of fat, but you need to get lean enough to be able to see your abs in the first place.
On the other hand, doing tons of excessive cardio isn’t the best way to reveal your abs either.
In the picture you see, it’s hard to believe I didn’t do much direct ab work. I did do some forward and reverse crunches but that’s about it.
You will find that your abs will contract harder during the strength training exercises you perform, for example when you do a set of barbell squats your abs have to contract hard to keep your body in the correct position.
It’s these exercises that count the most in revealing our abs, especially for men over the age of 40.
Excessive amounts of cardio
On the one hand you have “experts” telling you it’s impossible to get lean and reveal your abs without doing tons or cardio and on the other it’s advocated that cardio interferes with testosterone, strips away muscle and down regulates your metabolism.
So, what’s the correct thing to do?
The answer is neither do excessive amounts of cardio, nor do too little either. You see there IS some truth in excessive amounts of cardio lowering testosterone production.
But moderate amounts of cardio 40-60 minutes, moderate intensity have been shown to INCREASE testosterone in men ages 40-75 years old.
If we look at the endocrine study, over a 12-month period, we can see that moderate cardio activity increases testosterone in middle aged men.
This is exactly what I did, when getting lean, for the most part moderate intensity cardio exercise 2 x per week coupled with HIIT cardio, 1-2 x per week.
What about HIIT cardio?
I have read a lot of nonsense saying that HIIT cardio isn’t effective at reducing body fat.
Not only have I personally lost more body fat when introducing HIIT style training into my workouts, but my conditioning went through the roof.
Here’s a study for you to look at, for the benefits.
HIIT doesn’t have to be running like a mad man on the treadmill for 20 minutes, it can be anything such as a swinging a kettlebell, immediately followed by pushing the prowler, or another full body movement such a deadlift or a clean and snatch.
The point is to perform exercises back-to-back that really get your heart rate up, followed by resting periods of 2-3 minutes before repeating the exercises again for a total of 2-3 rounds.
The whole session can be completed in 20-30 minutes. Perfect for busy men over 40.
HIIT style training can be perfect for men over 40 as something that’s often overlooked as we get older is our co-ordination.
By standing on our feet and performing demanding exercises that require muscle co-ordination really helps as we get older.
What about the afterburn effect of HIIT?
The afterburn effect i.e., the rate at which your body burns calories post exercise does exist, but over the years it’s been blown out of proportion.
EPOC refers to the calories burned after the session when you’re in oxygen debt. The increased metabolism is the result of being in oxygen debt and continues after the session is finished.
But the length of time that your body burns calories varies from person to person and largely depends on what exercise you have performed, how long you have performed it, conditioning etc.
The fact is it CAN have the ability to burn more calories long after the session has ended, but the myth this continues for DAYS is where the misinformation has come from AND the advice that it is a secret fat burning protocol is wrong.
So, the best way to get lean with cardio?
A combination of BOTH moderate amounts of steady state cardio and HIIT training.
The best diet for 6 pack abs
The saying that abs are made in the kitchen is partly true. If you’re trying to get lean you need to pay attention to what you eat including how much you eat.
You need to be in a slight calorie deficit so that your body is forced to burn fat as fuel for the remainder of your energy requirements.
There’s no way round this.
But a huge mistake is going too low on calories, feeling starved, then either resorting to binge eating or quitting. When it comes to losing fat and revealing your abs there’s TONS of nutrition information on the internet.
As men over 40 we need to stick to foods that help us increase testosterone and keep fat to the minimum.
Here’s what really works:
- Getting the right number of calories, neither should they be too high or too low. A slight calorie deficit 200-500 calories maximum below maintenance.
- Getting enough protein without it being excessive (protein is thermogenic and just eating it will help you expend more calories). Aim for 0.75 – 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight per day.
- Get most calories from whole foods.
I won’t lie to you and say I always eat whole foods, I don’t.
In fact, I can’t imagine anything worse than not being able to enjoy a meal out with my wife, or never be able to eat cheeseburger when I want. The key is to factor in these foods.
For 90% of the time stick to clean foods in their natural state as much as possible, lean proteins, fibrous carbs, and healthy fats.
Forget cutting out carbs or going too low in fats. Both are needed for testosterone production and keeping you feeling full.
Get enough veggies. With all the talk about protein these days, veggies are not talked about as much as they should be.
But these superfoods are very important for long term health and will really power up your weight training workouts.
For men over 40, the number of meals you eat per day doesn’t matter so much as the number of calories that you’re getting.
Some men prefer to eat breakfast, some don’t. Some prefer to eat 3 meals and a few snacks, and some prefer to eat slightly less or more meals per day.
I urge you to find what works best for you.
Something you can stick to over the long term. But if you’re really struggling to lose fat. I recommend using the intermittent fasting protocol in my course, Ripped Abs Over 40.
This is a very easy strategy to stick to by eating very light in the morning, creating a bigger buffer of calories for the remainder of the day, and having a positive effect on hormones especially testosterone.
My course will show you everything you need to do with your nutrition from calculating calories to breaking those calories up into the meals you need for the day.
Studies have shown that when we don’t go without calories for a long period of time and then introduce a lot of calories into our systems, growth hormone and testosterone go through the roof.
This is exactly the type of environment we want to create, especially as men over 40.
Not to mention it’s extremely easy to stick to
I strength train only twice per week.
For men over 40 I recommend not strength training more than three times per week as anything extra won’t have any additional benefits and runs the risk of overtraining.
You need to train within your bodies ability to recover using compound movements that are not only safe, but the most productive exercises working 2-3 muscle groups at the same time.
Compound movements, coupled with multiple sets of lower reps, for joint health and recovery are the best way to go.
Forget doing tons of volume training on excessive training days with multiple exercises. That will only aggravate your joints and burn you out. FAST.
The biggest factor of all for six pack abs over 40, consistency
There’s a saying I love and it’s “Rome wasn’t built in day, but they were laying bricks every hour”
This holds true for getting a 6 pack! You won’t get a 6 pack overnight, but every decision you make regarding training and nutrition will either get you closer to your goal or further away from it.
Everyday counts towards your goal.
The number of calories you eat today, the food choices you make and whether you did the workout you were supposed to do will either get you closer to having a 6 pack or further away from it.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter if you have access to the best plan in the world. It won’t work unless you deliver on it, day in and day out.
The bottom line – you can get six pack abs after 40
I got a six pack after 40 and so can you.
The key is to follow a basic training program and an effective nutrition program that will help you strip off the fat in fastest and most efficient way possible.
Then you will:
- Gain more confidence
- Get envy from your peers
- Look great in clothes
- Get the women noticing you again!
I really hope you have enjoyed this article, make sure you get my free guide, 40 Laws of Lean for Men Over 40. Click on the button below!