So, you have reached middle age and have put on a few pounds that need to be lost. First, congratulations for taking charge of your health and taking the first step, you have come to the right place!
As a middle-aged man, you might be thinking what do I need to do differently to lose weight?
Is it even harder to lose weight now that I’m middle aged?
Do I need to eat differently?
What about exercise?
Allow me to help you, greatly.
Firstly, when it comes to losing weight a lot of approaches just aren’t sustainable. Period.
- You’re told you need to cut out carbohydrates
- You’re told you need to resort to eating salads, feeling starved all day
- You’re told you need to spend your entire existence in the gym doing endless cardio
And you’ve probably been told you need to eat bland boring meals that make your life miserable.
Thankfully, none of this is true!
Here at Lean Over 40 for Men I have been showing men over 40 how to lose weight, even get abs, by strength training no more than 2-3 times per week and NOT resorting to endless amounts of cardio.
Instead, I teach very short and effective workouts AND eating in a way that makes fat loss effortless.
In fact, the alternative is holding you back and preventing you from losing weight.
The main problem I see for middle aged men who want to lose weight is overcomplicating the entire process.
And when things are overcomplicated or you cannot wait until the diet plan or training schedule is over, it makes it practically impossible to stick to over the long term which is what’s needed to be successful!
Bland diets and crazy training programs don’t work because you simply cannot stick to them over the long term.
They encourage binge eating and ultimately cause burnout.
None of this is good for permanent fat loss, which is what you want.
So much for the wrong way, what you need is the right way to lose weight. Let me break it down into the most enjoyable and effective strategy:
Train with weights only 2-3 times per week
For middle aged men, weight training is the most important exercise you can do to lose weight.
Why is that?
- It builds lean muscle, permanently elevating metabolism
- It increases testosterone, which naturally declines with age
- It gives you a pleasing appearance, broad shoulders, narrow waist, hard chest etc
- It halts muscle loss which starts to happen from about age 25, if ignored a loss of 2.5kg can occur by age 50!
- Muscle needs more calories, so you get to eat more food without getting fat
When it comes to weight training you need to choose the exercises that are going to give you the best bang for your buck, namely compound exercises.
Compound exercises are the big multiple joint exercises that train 2-3 muscle groups in one movement, are the most demanding and burn the most calories.
They are the safest most effective exercises for men over 40 AND save time.
By focusing on compound exercises and following a workout plan that trains all the major muscle groups of the body and striving to get stronger in them (using excellent exercise technique) you are essentially doing what’s needed to permanent elevate metabolism, aid in fat burning and start to shift that excess weight.
The mistake a lot of middle-aged men make is thinking that lifting weights is for bodybuilders only, or those that simply want to get big and bulky.
I mentioned before that from aged 25 we start to lose muscle if we choose to do nothing. Well by aged 50, the muscle lost will also be replaced by FAT.
That means by choosing NOT to do any resistance training we are effectively choosing to downgrade our metabolism, making our bodies go through a metamorphosis of less muscle and MORE fat.
This explains why people complain of looking fatter but being the same weight.
The more fat we have, the worse we look and the more oestrogen (the female hormone we spew).
As you can see this isn’t good news!
Muscle is an extremely important part of the weight loss equation and even worse what is the biggest mistake I see a lot of middle-aged men making when it comes to weight loss?
Too much cardio!
So, you understand that building and preserving muscle is important for weight loss, what impact do you think performing excessive cardio has on the body without weight training?
Even more muscle loss!
In fact, it’s been proven that performing nothing but cardio with a calorie-controlled diet WILL result in weight loss, but A LOT of that weight will be from muscle.
And oftentimes more MUSCLE than fat loss.
As discussed, we need muscle for weight loss.
So, for now just note that weight training is key when trying to lose weight. Sticking to compound movements only 2-3 x per week, fully recovering from those workout sessions and coming back into the gym stronger than before is the perfect way to boost lean muscle and permanently increase your ability to burn fat.
Doing lots of silly isolation exercises, such as curls doesn’t have the same fat burning effect or hormonal increases like compound exercise do.
Also, lifting very light weights and doing endless reps isn’t the answer either. You need to train hard to maintain perfect exercise form for the last few reps of each set.
Not to mention lots of isolation exercises, too many sets and reps aggravate the joints; the last thing we want when middle aged and older.
Multiple sets of lower reps work best for middle aged men. They are far safer on the joints, allow for better recovery and improve body composition whilst minimising overtraining.
Get your nutrition right
The next part of the equation is to get your food right. You cannot lose weight if your calories are all over the place, you don’t track them or simply don’t know where you stand.
Calories are units of heat energy, and all food groups contain calories. Protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram, fat contains 9 calories per gram and alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.
The bottom line for losing weight is you need to be in an energy deficit meaning eating less food than what your body burns per day.
This is where a lot of middle-aged men mess up! To lose fat, you need to be in a slight calorie deficit (300-500 less than BMR calories, which is the number of calories to maintain weight).
If you go too low in calories, you risk making weight loss even harder as your body holds onto all the reserves it can get, down regulating metabolism to save calories.
That’s why starving yourself is the worst way to lose weight, it encourages binge eating and isn’t sustainable over the long term.
Fat loss is a relatively slow process and aiming for 1-1½ pounds of fat loss per week is the best strategy to ensure you are losing all fat (not lean muscle).
It’s also the fastest way to permanently lose fat and keep it off.
If you get this process right, you will find you can lose weight by still feeling satisfied with the amount of food you eat. And more importantly, enjoy the meals you are eating.
Fat loss doesn’t need to be a miserable process like so many middle-aged men make it.
In fact, I have made this process super easy by incorporating intermittent fasting in my course, Ripped Abs Over 40.
Of your daily weight loss calories, approximately 30 percent should come from protein. This equates to approximately 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight per day.
Protein is useful for fat loss because:
- It helps to build and preserve lean muscle
- It’s thermogenic (requires calories to digest helping burn more fat)
- It keeps you feeling full
Neither should you go too high in protein nor go too low. I see too many men resorting to protein shakes to try and burn fat faster, but this invariably adds more calories and can bring fat loss to a halt.
Protein sources should come from lean sources such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, chicken breast, lean beef, eggs, cottage cheese etc.
Carbs are also needed for fat loss because they are filling, provide energy for your workouts and keep testosterone levels high.
If you don’t eat carbohydrates as part of your fat loss plan, the calories will have to come from somewhere!
I recommend 40-50% of your total daily calories coming from carbs.
Another problem with fat loss diets in general is they get you to cut out one of the important macronutrients, usually carbs or fat – but ALL are needed for optimal hormone functioning especially as we get older.
Some of the best carb sources are oats, brown pasta, brown rice, potatoes, fruits & vegetables.
Containing over double the number of calories per gram than protein and carbs, fat is also an important part of a fat loss diet plan.
Fat is needed for hormone production, boosting testosterone, lubricating joints, plus a whole lot of essential processes in the body.
Some saturated fat is needed but aim to get most of your fats from poly-unsaturated sources such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts & seeds etc.
High heated and cooking oils should be avoided, but as mentioned some saturated fats derived from natural sources are beneficial for increasing testosterone.
Steak for example, contains natural amounts of saturated fats.
Eating for fat loss doesn’t have to be boring! There are tons of healthy and tasty meals you can eat to lose weight and feel great!
As mentioned, if you couple intermittent fasting with tasty meals, not only will you find hitting your calorie numbers easy to stick with, but the process will be enjoyable AND sustainable!
Personally, I fast until 12pm, then eat 2 big meals and a few snacks per day. I always enjoy my food and if I want to go out with my wife for a meal and glass of wine at the weekend, I allow for the calories.
It was once thought that eating multiple meals per day i.e., 5-6 was the best route to fat loss as this would elevate metabolism and burn more calories, but it’s NOT the meal frequency that matters but how many calories are eaten over the course of the day.
Whether that’s 2, 3 or 4 doesn’t matter, what does matter is finding something that works for you over the long term AND hitting your daily calorie number each day.
That number will be personal to you, depending on current weight and body fat percentage.
Intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits and is very easy to implement for weight loss, that’s why I recommend it to my clients.
How much cardio do you really need to lose weight?
Well, the answer is NONE if you get the first two points correct, but cardio CAN help to speed up weight loss by creating a bigger energy deficit meaning you can eat more food.
The cardio that I recommend for most middle-aged men who want to lose weight is walking.
Yes, something as simple as walking in addition to your 2-3 strength training sessions per week is the best way to expend more calories.
Walking has a neural effect on appetite meaning you’re more likely to stick to your diet plan whilst expending more calories.
Aim for 6000-9000 steps per day and you are all set!
You won’t feel ravenous like excessive cardio training makes you feel and it’s much more enjoyable to go out for a walk in the country with a loved one or even increase your steps by walking more often in general.
Another option if walking isn’t your thing is 2 moderate low impact cardio sessions such as the cross trainer for 30-40 minutes.
This will help to improve cardio health, burn extra calories, and allow you to eat more during the day.
Just make sure that you don’t go crazy and start thinking that MORE cardio is the answer to weight loss when it isn’t.
Also, make sure it’s performed in addition to your weight training workouts, NOT as a replacement.
I hope you really enjoyed this article and it’s cleared up much of the confusion and overcomplication of middle-aged weight loss for men over 40.
The next step is to get hold of my free guide, 40 Laws of Lean for Men Over 40 by clicking on the button below.