Getting old, feeling a little weak, soft, confidence down, performance down? Blood pressure sneaking up, cholesterol levels moving up. Your chest is starting to look like a little boobish? You want to do something but just cannot bring yourself to get to the gym? You also know that you need to do something about how you feel and look.
While there is not much you can do about your hair or your face showing the signs of aging, there is one thing all men can control and that is their body weight, body shape and body strength, which in turn changes the way you feel, confidence lifts and life turns for the better, now I know it is not that easy and it takes time. When you do this in a slow but determined way blood pressure, cholesterol levels and sugar levels will also start to normalize.
It takes regular set times, training partners, motivation, desire and life style changes, forget about diets, fasting, hours of jogging or walking, fit bits, 24 hour gyms and all the latest fads that come and go.
MEN NEED MEN
Men also need other men, I mean men that talk, listen, men that give a bit and take a bit, where they can say what they like and not be worried about who of what they may offend. An escape from the constant pressure of life, being a provider, a father, a husband. Something like what I call the old boys club
Combine this with Weight lifting, medium to high intensity cardio, and body strength exercises with a lower carb eating style and you are on your way, sounds simple and it is, very simple but it takes a desire and determination to get to where you want to be.
This training can be done by yourself but training with likeminded simular age men is desirable, it easier to get the motivated, a little competitive feel to feed off or help to lift your performance
One of the problems with middle age men is that some cannot see the shape they are in, often men who are overweight and complete out of shape cannot really see the state they are in. I know a few men who are 20+kgs over weight but cannot see it or are just in denial. I had one guy at my gym a 50 + year old who is about 25kg over weight ask me to help him with his training for a sparring session he had to get ready for.
I said sure and after some time I asked him about his weight and the fact he need to lose a bit and he said to me that he is just solid and that he had explained this to his doctor who had agreed with him.
I asked him what he weight when he was 30 years old and he said about the same as he weighs now, photo’s on his face book tell a very whole different story, men who want a change have to see a need to change, the best way to show it to someone is with a photo, get a friend to take a picture of you in a pair of shorts, print it and then look at it.
Men over 50 years old need weight lifting, medium to high intensity cardio exercise, body strength exercises and arms that have visible veins! You don’t need veins but as Russel a training partner of mine says” Girls love arm veins and if you don’t want veins “Go sit in the bloody car park!”
Losing weight long term is tough! Not because of your body doesn’t like losing weight or cannot lose weight but because it is very hard for a person to change his life style. Short term weight loss it quite easy most people can get stuck into a diet over the short term and see the scale reading drop over a few weeks. The first thing the average guy will do is have a little treat or celebration and that is as far as it gets. From my experience 2 to 3 week is the usual length of a diet, 2 weeks is the length of time it will tell everyone about it and how the weight is coming off so fast, then it is a slow slip back into the old ways.
When you are over 50 years old or even 40, losing weight by just doing exercise and not changing your diet is very difficult if not impossible, you will need to do so much exercise that you will be constantly tired and it is very difficult to find the time you would need, so I would get out of that frame of mind quickly! There is only one way to lose weight and that is to eat less!
Then there is the other thing you might start thinking once you start exercising or doing weight lifting and that is muscle weighs more than fat and that you are not losing weight because you are building muscles while you are losing fat!? Again get out of that thought out of your head!
There is only one thing that can be guaranteed about doing exercise and that is you will feel great and “you will never regret a training session”
Losing weight is all about what you put into your body, mostly how much you put in and a little less about what you put in, the average man eats way more than he needs, I used to be a really big eater in my late teens and early 20s when I was training hard for a boxing bout or in my late 20s trying to get bigger by lifting weights at the gym and eating.
In your 20s things are good, you feel fit, strong and unbreakable and always slim, in your 40s and 50s things change and things become a little tougher mostly unfit, weaker and easy to break!
Well we need to get over that and concentrate on the now, you can’t eat what you ate when you were in your 20’s, when you are in your 40s or 50s without putting on weight,
The stats I read is that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% training, I would be 100% believer in that statistic.
LIFE STYLE NOT DIET
Long term and permanent weight loss is about life style change and what you put in and how much you put into your body, you have heard it all before and constantly reminded to eat healthily. We all know it and have all done it but usually cannot stick to it. Well you will need to stick to it if you want any life changing results.
It’s is up to you, the simplest way to start is by cutting back on the bread, rice and pasta, not banning it completely but constantly be aware of how much and how often you are eating it, white bread and white rice have no real nutritional value and should be eaten very moderately if at all, wholemeal bread and rice are a much better option.
First thing you need to do is get some scales and put them in your bathroom and use them in the morning when you first get up, decide on a perfect weight you feel you will be happy with, if it is a long way from where you are now split the weight in to manageable targets, pick your first target weight and then start working towards it. Use the scales and constantly monitor your progress, on weekends things often go sideways so you will need to get back on track.
A lot of men have a scale phobia and some even hate them but if you want results, scales must be your friend, they are your honesty tool for getting where you want to be.
You need to eat light and control what you put into your mouth because it doesn’t take much to throw you off track. One important thing that make a huge difference, don’t eat between meals. If only change that it will make a difference, so some strength of character and start make the change.
START TRAINING AND GET STRONG
You will need to make time for you and stop putting everything else in front of what you need, or stop using it as an excuse for not training your body, the two biggest excuse I hear are “I have not got time” or “I will start training once I get my fitness up a bit” Piss weak is what I say, the best time to train is while everybody is still in bed. Most of the over 50s wake up early anyway, so why not use it. I often wake up at 5am in summer and rather than trying to get back to sleep just get up and do it. Starting in the gym at 5.30am is the best, the traffic is very light and it not usually crowded at the gym.
You will need a minimum of 1 hour at least twice a week best is three times per week, I usually do 1.5+ hours 3 times per week. I would not overdo it to start, then again if I was single and did not have 3 very over active kids I would go more often.
Older men don’t need to be as fit as an athlete so you don’t need to as hard as an athlete and you need to be very careful to avoid injuries and build it up slowly, avoid heavy weights or fast movements with weights. Injuries which you will get take a long time to heal so be very careful and warm up well.
I personally like to do 1 hour of weight lifting then 20 to 30 minutes of medium to high intensity cardio training and then finish of with arms or any main body part I have missed earlier, everyones situation will be different so you will have to find a class or create your own to make it work best for you.
Before I go any further I would like to say that I am not trained in any medical field and before you start any high intensity work out or exercise regime I recommend you see a doctor and get a full medical check-up and advice regarding what you are planning to do.
My back ground is that I was a competitive boxer and kick boxer, I have been coaching boxers and kick boxers for over 30 years. My speciality is getting competitive fighters fit and strong, for the last 7 years I have been training a group of 45+ men with an average age of 52 years old I lead the group and training with them in a group we call the old boys club, it a close knit bunch of blokes that like to push each other as hard as we can. I am 55 years old and also the owner of a business in Perth, Western Australia called Ringsport we sell boxing and Muay thai equipment.
Getting your heart rate up and your breathing rate up as high as you are comfortable with, regularly is the key to feeling good during, after and all day. I am and have always been hard worker and often like to see my heart rate up very high, now I would not recommend that to most people.
It is however important to push yourself out of your comfort zone often and look for improvements as you are training and over time. There are hundreds of ways that you can train and different routines that you can follow, some are great some a little boring.
The way I train and my training group train with me is what I think is perfect for any man and woman for that matter but especially men over 40 years. The following types programs if done regularly and with some intensity have been proven to
- Rebuild muscle.
- Recharging metabolism
- Reduce fat.
- Reduce resting blood pressure..
- Help resisting diabetes
- Increase bone density.
- Enhance mental health.
- Reverse physical frailty.
WHAT OLDER MEN NEED
Men need to be strong they need to look strong and they need to be fit, being confident with their shirt off would be a goal. Would you be happy to take your shirt of in public?
I am going to keep everything including terminology very simple, the style of training I prescribe for the over 40s is in two main areas aerobic, strength, and some cross over. Improvements in your fitness, strength, some muscle growth and mental wellbeing will be some of the noticeable benefits that you will notice in a short time. Aerobic as in exercises that are mainly aimed at lifting your heart and breathing rate, strength exercises are one that are mainly aimed at stressing your muscles with weighted resistance, crossovers are exercises that combine aerobic activity with weighted exercises like, 15m runs with weighted exercises at each end of the run, which you may do for 2 or 3 minutes.
I like to do two strength exercises on each main body part, or main muscle groups per session when I say body part I mean
- Abs or core
With each body group and example, arms I would split them up into front and rear or Triceps and biceps so 2 exercises biceps and 2 for triceps so 4 exercises for arms.
I won’t go into specifics with each muscle group as I don’t think it is necessary, you can read about specifics in many other places. We just want building a strong healthy body that looks good and functions well, a body that will last longer and be healthy and functionable as long as it lasts.
We will stick to basics and at your age I expect you should all know the exercises needed, with all exercises I would start with 3 sets of 8 reps and build to 3 sets of 12 to 15. You should know your body but my advice if you are 45+ years don’t go to heavy, for what we are trying to achieve is a strong and fit body without injuries.
Here are a few routines that you can enjoy every week, it is important to change a training routine regular by adding different exercises and changing the emphasis from weights to aerobic or to boxing.
The amount you can finish in one day and weight you can lift is a variable and different for everyone, so take it easy and build it up slowly, the first time you do it, it will be hard and will slowly get easier.
You can mix and match the sequence that you do the session in, aerobic first or weights first, the aerobic part of the training is the hardest to get the motivation to do so usually I would do it first. If you get a little more serious you may want to start earlier or train longer.
You will need a place to train and some equipment, if you don’t have kettle bells for example, could use dumbbells, where theres a will there is a way. GO HARD OR GO HOME!!
- 6am - Warm up jogging around gym or skipping
- 6.04 – light stretch
- 20 sit ups, 20 leg raises, 20 crunches in own time
- Bike 1 x 3 min light to medium and then full speed to finish.
- Bike sprints 5 x 30 second sprints full speed, with 1 min breaks between.
- 15 – 20m Run throughs, combining with push ups, burpees and sit ups at each end. 3 x 2min
LEGS 6.35am ish
- Squats 3 x 10 or Seated leg press 3 x 10
- Leg extensions if available 3 x 10 reps
- Push ups 3 x 10 if first time building the numbers of reps to 20 reps
- Bench press 3 x 8 and build to 3 x 12 – 15 reps and then lift weights
- Inclined chest dumbbell flys 3 x 10
- Lat pull downs 3 x 8 reps
- Bent over rows 3 x 8 reps
- Curls 3 x 10 reps
- Hammer curls 3 x 10 reps
- 3 x 10 Shoulder press with dumbbells
- 6am - Warm up jogging around gym or skipping
- 6.04 – light stretch
- ABS - 20 sit ups, 20 leg extensions, 20 crunches, 20 side raises in own time
- Kettle bells 3 x 2min x 1 min rests - 30 sec 2 arm swings, 30 seconds toe to top repeat 3 times.
- Bike sprints 4 x 45 sec sprints full speed, with 1 min breaks between.
- Burpies 3 x 10 with push up and jump if knees are OK
LEGS 6.35am ish
- Squats 3 x 10
- Dead lifts 3 x 10
- Push ups 3 x 15 if first time building the numbers of reps
- Bench press 3 x 10 and build to 3 x 12 – 15 reps and then lift weights
- Cable chest press or Inclined chest dumbbell flys 3 x 10
- Lat pull downs wide 3 x 8 reps
- Lat pull downs narrow or close grip 3 x 8 reps
- Dips 3 x 8 on assisted dip machine if available
- Tricep press on cable machine or
- Curls 3 x 10 reps