The best way for a middle-aged man to lose weight is focus on the two most important things without getting burned out or frustrated by the process.
Nutrition and strength training…
Losing weight is a simple and straightforward process, but many overcomplicate It with crazy workout schedules and skewed diets. It’s no wonder men over 40 are so confused about the best way to lose weight.
Before we discuss what, you should be doing, first let’s talk about what you need to avoid so you will be well educated and not waste anymore time with your fat loss journey.
Mistake #1 – Endless cardio
I see this all the time, it’s almost as if middle aged men have had a discussion in the office and decided they are going to “attack” their new cardio schedule tomorrow, either running outside or going to the gym and doing endless cardio.
Cardio can be helpful if you have nutrition and strength training set up correctly, but by itself it is the worst way to lose weight, will strip your body of lean muscle, burn you out quickly and lower your metabolism.
Too much cardio has been shown to lower testosterone levels in men and isn’t a good time investment for burning fat. The more cardio you do, the more muscle you tend to lose, resulting in an even slower metabolism.
This makes fat loss even more difficult and setting yourself up for future failure.
Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to lose fat while doing tons of cardio?
In fact, the more cardio you do, the fatter you seem to become, it’s a vicious circle. It’s because cardio isn’t the answer when it comes to losing fat, so stop doing more and more of it.
Now I’m not saying that cardio doesn’t have its place and it’s important for heart health but using it solely as a fat loss tool is a bad idea.
Mistake #2 – skewed diets
What are skewed diets?
I would like to think of them as being any nutrition plan strays away from the essentials.
It either goes too low in total calories or cuts out one of the important macros i.e., protein, carbs, fat, or a combination of them all.
Inadvertently, we need all the macronutrients…
…protein is important for the building & growth of muscles, carbohydrates are needed to fuel your workouts & keep you feeling full, and fat is needed for a whole lot of chemical processes in the body, not to mention testosterone production.
Ketogenic diets are popular right now to lose weight but who wants to eat that way forever? Keto diets get you to go very low in carbs…. but you need carbs!
That is one of the main reasons I don’t believe in diets to lose weight, because they always get you cutting out one of the macronutrients.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through life saying to my wife I can’t eat bread, or I can’t eat pasta at the weekends. It’s just not sustainable or practical.
Mistake #3 – Going too low in calories
I briefly mentioned calories above and going too low in them is the reason why a lot of middle-aged men aren’t losing weight.
They aren’t eating enough!
Now don’t get me wrong if your goal is to lose fat you need to be in caloric deficit. There is no way around this and playing around with combinations of protein, carbs and fat won’t make any difference if you aren’t eating less calories than what your body burns per day…
…But for a lot of middle-aged men they have restricted calories for far too long and made their metabolisms slow as a result.
Our bodies are designed to slow metabolism any time it thinks a famine is around the corner, making fat loss very hard to achieve.
By periodically increasing calories, you can bring leptin levels back up to normal levels and get your body back to baseline calories i.e., the number of calories it takes to maintain your weight.
If your body is always in a state of starvation, it’s going to be difficult to lose fat and restricting calories even more is not the answer.
Essentially you are “resetting” your body and getting it used to more calories so when you enter a calorie deficit again it will be a gradual, but more successful fat loss journey.
The two keys to fat loss for middle-aged men
The two keys to fat loss for middle-aged men are nutrition and strength training.
If you get these two points correct you will lose weight properly and you don’t need to go crazy in the gym or get burned out while doing so.
Let’s examine each piece in a little more detail:
I mentioned calories briefly and to lose weight you need to be eating slightly less calories than what your body burns per day.
I recommend no more than 500 calories less than your BMR (the amount you need to sustain weight) per day.
The number of calories is highly individual, but a good starting point would be to multiply your bodyweight in pounds x 12. So, a 200-pound man would start at 2400 calories per day and measure his scale weight & body fat percentage each week, to measure progress.
If he was losing weight too quickly, he would eat slightly more calories or if he wasn’t losing weight, he would eat slightly less calories.
The key point to remember is that fat loss is a relatively slow process and if you create a 500-calorie deficit per day, essentially you should be on track to lose a pound a week, (3500 calories).
Fat loss should be gradual, those who try, and rush always end up rebounding and gaining the fat back!
Keep it at no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week.
From those calories you should be getting 0.7 – grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight per day, 40-50% of calories coming from carbohydrates and the remainder, approximately 20% coming from healthy fats.
Totally avoid junk foods and stick to lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If you do this correctly you can still enjoy lots of tasty meals and still lose fat.
Fat loss shouldn’t be a miserable process, it should be enjoyable, and you should be able to eat food you enjoy.
The number of meals that you eat throughout the day isn’t as important as hitting your calories, but if you want something simple, effective, and easy to stick to intermittent fasting can work very well.
Intermittent fasting can make eating less calories easier to stick with as it makes the diet more enjoyable and keeps you feeling full.
So, let’s say you have got your diet right, what’s the next best thing you need to do to lose weight as a middle-aged man?
Lifting weights or some form of resistance training is vitally important as we get older. Did you know that from age 25 we naturally start to lose muscle if we choose to do nothing?
The natural process of sarcopenia will have us losing up to 2.5 k.gs of muscle by the time we are 50 if we choose to do nothing.
Now that might not seem like a big deal, but when we lose muscle, our bodies can’t burn the same number of calories.
That means we get to store more fat as we can’t eat as much food!
It’s a downward spiral, in fact the amount of muscle we have on our bodies determines how many calories and how much food we can eat each day.
Now, when it comes to losing weight if you just “diet” you will lose weight, but I guarantee half of that will be muscle and oftentimes more muscle than fat lost!
But it’s been proven that men at all ages can build muscle, so this process can be reversed. That is why strength training is so important for middle aged men. So, if you aren’t doing some form of strength training, start proto!
The best exercises for middle aged men
Middle aged men should stick to compound movements, these are the exercises that are the safest, stimulate gains in muscle & strength and have the most positive effect on testosterone and growth hormone.
Compound movements train 2-3 large muscle groups in one movement, burning more calories and saving you time.
They are also safe and there are alternatives if you can’t perform an exercise due to an injury. Some examples include squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, rows, standing presses.
Putting it all together
I hope you found this article useful, and I have motivated you and saved you valuable time! If you want a complete step-by-step course covering everything we just talked about, check out Ripped Abs Over 40.