I’m thrilled to announce my opinions on the ‘Benefits of Exercise for Men Over-40’ were profiled in a feature article for the Daily Mail yesterday.
Read the full article here – Bianca is a top writer; I’m delighted that we’ve both had brilliant feedback.
For those who know any men over-40 who would enjoy this and/or who would benefit themselves from from a customised exercise program – below, I’ve outlined the whole series of points I made that encapsulate my view. I’m giving you the full version, as the final flow of the Daily Mail article didn’t allow for everything to fit. You get:
- 4 Best Benefits of Regular Exercise for Men Over-40
- 8 Vital Training and Nutrition Strategies that Optimise Exercise Results for Men Over-40
- A FREE Customised Escalating Density Training Exercise Program for Men Over-40: Designed for Optimum Muscle, Strength Gain and Fat Loss Results
I hope you find it useful – please share with anyone you know that would also benefit!
4 Best Benefits of Regular Exercise for Men Over-40
The benefits are wide-ranging and unequivocally backed by science.Here are my top 4 benefits of regular exercise for men over 40.
1. Improve Sexual Performance
Regular exercise increases sexual drive, activity and satisfaction. Physical endurance and muscle tone improve sexual function and exercise jump-starts the sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood flow down-below to keep your ‘equipment’ working properly. Short bouts of intense exercise increase testosterone, which stimulates sexual desire. For example, men over 50 who work out regularly have a 30% lower risk of impotence than those who don’t.
2. Increase Energy and Endurance to Slow Ageing
Most people lose 10% of their aerobic capacity each year after the age of 30. However, men who work out regularly have more energy, strength and endurance than non-exercisers. Also, as you get older, your bones lose density, your joints become stiffer and less flexible, and your lean body mass decreases. Regular exercise improves or prevents muscle, joint and bone problems. In addition, many studies prove that men who train regularly have better memory, reaction times and concentration than their sedentary counterparts.
3. Reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety
Exercising reduces stress and anxiety by diminishing electrical activity in tense muscles, which makes you less hyperactive and jittery. Moreover, your body releases endorphins after you work out which boost your mood and promote relaxation. There is also evidence that strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. When older men exercise regularly, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, boosting their quality of life.
4. Reduce the Risk of many Diseases
The best reason of all to work out regularly is that it reduces your risk of many serious and potentially deadly diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, colon cancer, stroke, heart attack, and arthritis.
8 Vital Training and Nutrition Strategies that Optimise Exercise Results for Men Over-40
As it turns out, successful training for older men is remarkably similar to the way that younger guys should train, but there are a handful of strategies that can make the process more efficient and fruitful.
Here are 8 Vital Training and Nutrition Strategies for older men.
1. Maintain a High Protein Intake
As you age, your ability to digest protein gradually declines, requiring a higher protein intake than you needed when you were younger. The effects of protein on satiety, body composition, and recovery are indisputable. Although high protein diets do not demand supplementation, a good protein powder that you personally like can make life much, much easier.
If you don’t want to look and perform like everyone else, don’t eat like everyone else.
2. Choose the Right Activities
Find training movements and/or sports that you can do safely, and ideally, succeed at. While there are guys in their 60’s and 70’s who can compete in Olympic Weightlifting, Strongman, or Powerlifting, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can or will do the same. Successful training is about being able to perform healthily and pain-free, so make wiser choices that allow you to get stronger, bigger, leaner, and faster (or whatever your goals happen to be). Pain isn’t an inevitable part of training as you get older.
Be smart about managing this by using exercise and load adjustments. For example, switch to using a Buffalo Bar for Squats (or alternatively do Single-Leg exercises) for knee health and use Close-Grip or Neutral-Grip Bench Presses instead of wider grip presses for shoulder health.
3. Reset Your Expectations
It’s pivotal that you manage your expectations in a way that keeps you motivated and making progress. Base your expectations on your current status and rate of progress, not on what you did ‘back in the day’. Sure, always try to beat last year’s personal records, but what really counts is what you can do currently.
4. Restore Optimal Testosterone Levels
Short bouts of high intensity exercise increase testosterone, which has profound effects on energy, recovery, body composition, and overall mood.
For the older man, developments in the pharmaceutical field are accelerating at pace here. I’m not talking about steroids, which are expensive, illegal, and dangerous. I’m referring to the increasing use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), which is legal, medically supervised, safe, and a lot easier to do than most guys think. Take counsel from an expert in this field before pursuing this route.
5. Ruthlessly Maximize Training Economy
Everything you do in the gym has a cost, but not everything has a benefit. During formative years in the gym, most guys noticed that hard work pays off, and that it’s necessary to get out of our comfort zone in order to make progress. Unfortunately, many of us take the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy too far, and end up doing much more work than needed to make optimal progress.
As we age, it takes longer to recover from workouts and it also takes longer for injuries to heal. Instead of thinking, ‘What else could I do?’ think, ‘Will I really benefit from doing this?’ Make sure that the exercises you choose are safe, effective, and not redundant.
6. Specialize, But Don’t Be ‘Bad’ At Anything
As an older exercise enthusiast, you shouldn’t let any physical quality or capacity erode to ‘bad’ levels. What ‘bad’ entails for each quality or what it means for you personally will vary, but here’s a broad idea of what I’m talking about. Even if you can Deadlift 200kg, it is unacceptable to get winded after climbing a few flights of stairs, or to be unable to touch your toes while maintaining a good back position. If you allow yourself to think or say anything that ends with ‘…for my age’, stop.
Don’t miss my point – if you’re 40-plus, your body isn’t the same as it was in your 20’s. It’s most certainly different, but not entirely in a bad way. In most respects many can be fitter and more capable than ever – look up Jack Lalanne.
7. Restore Confidence in the Value of Hard Work
In nearly every human endeavour, as a general rule, hard work (and yes, it needs to be ‘smart’ work) pays off. However in many of our pursuits, it’s easy to become disconnected, and therefore, distrustful, of the process. For example, at work, office politics might derail your hard work at getting promoted. At home, numerous outside influences might offset your best efforts at raising happy, well-balanced children.
In the gym however, you can trust the value of hard, consistent work – the idea that when you do the right things, you (almost always) get the right results. And, if you do the ‘wrong’ things, you’ll get clear and immediate feedback, allowing you to make a quick course correction. There’s something about the quantitative, objective nature of resistance training that really appeals to men. Whenever you hit a new PR in the gym, there are no lingering doubts. The very first time I ever Bench Pressed 100kg, it was clear to me that I was now better than I had ever been before (in that lift of course).
In other words, when your numbers improve, you can take it as an unmistakable sign that you improved, your training worked, and you have irrefutable proof.
8. Take Control with Personal Autonomy
Any of us can fall prey to cancer or an accident – we certainly can’t control all of our circumstances in life. That said; why not exert our influence over the ones we can control? Why would I want to be 40% body fat and have trouble walking a mile at age 40 when it’s completely preventable? Forget age 40. Every day I see men in their 20’s who are in such pathetic condition that they’re unable to perform a single Push Up, or walk a mile in less than 30 minutes.
I don’t look down at those who aren’t in particularly good shape, but there is a certain line that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to cross. As I age, I recognize that I will inevitably experience a gradual decline in my physical performance, which is exactly why I’m working hard to accumulate a head start while I still can. This head start is ‘margin’. If walking around the block kicks your ass, you have low margin. It means that it won’t be long before sitting still kicks your ass. And of course, when that happens, pretty soon you’ll be dead.
The more muscle you carry, the better you can withstand the negative effects of various ’bad’ foods. Furthermore, muscular people can ingest more sugar than their less muscular peers, because their muscle mass helps to mediate the effects of insulin. Also, strong people are generally ‘safer’ than weak people, because they have the physical capacity to avoid or successfully negotiate physically traumatic events such as falls or fights.
FREE Customised Escalating Density Training Exercise Program for Men Over-40: Designed for Optimum Muscle, Strength Gain and Fat Loss Results
With the above benefits, training and nutrition strategies in mind, I’ve created a customised workout program for men over-40; designed for optimum muscle gain, strength and fat loss results.
Remember, the person who can train pain-free year-in and year-out has a distinct advantage over the person who’s constantly training through pain or working around injuries.
Here is an innovative, tailored exercise program that can safely be used by the majority of male lifters over-40 for the long haul. Perform this session 3 times per week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is great, as is Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Perform a dynamic mobility warm-up before you train to reduce aches and pains, lengthen typically tight areas and strengthen classically weak areas to prime your body to train.
- Use this Foam Roller & Lacrosse Ball Self-Myofascial Release routine to release tension in the Calves, Hamstrings, Quads, Hips, Glutes, Upper Back, Lats, Chest and Forearms
- Then, perform either of these two Dynamic Mobility Warm Up routines before your main workout.
- Hip Flexor Pulses (w/Overhead Lat and Tricep Stretch) – 10 reps each side
- Split-Stance Rocking Adductor Hip-Swivels – 5 reps each side
- Lying Hamstring Kick-Stretch – 10 reps each side
- Supine Scorpions – 5 reps each side
- Prone Scorpions – 5 reps each side
- Mountain Climber Pulses – 5 reps each side
- Squat to Stand w/ Overhead Reach – 5 reps each side
- Overhead Squat – 10 reps
- Lying Piriformis Stretch – 30 seconds each side
- Lying Hamstring Kick-Stretch – 10 reps each side
- V-Sit Roll and Reach – 5 reps
- Mountain Climber Pulses – 5 reps each side
- 3-Point Hip Flexor Stretch – 10 seconds each position on each side
- Bear Crawls – 15 seconds
- Inchworm Press Ups – 15 seconds
- Prisoner Squat – 10 reps
For the main workout, perform Escalating Density Training (EDT) circuits to boost Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone production while firing-up Metabolism and Fat Loss.
EDT consists of either doing more work in the same time, or the same work in less time as workouts progress – spot on for training efficiency.
Strive to add weight or do more reps in the same period of time each week for each circuit.
Two compound movements (one upper-body, one lower-body) will be alternated for 5 minutes.
Select a weight for each exercise that you can lift 8–12 times. The goal is to get as many reps as possible within the 5-minute time frame – so do not go to failure. Instead, perform only 4–6 reps for the lower-body exercise; then put the weight down and perform 4–6 reps for the upper-body exercise. Alternate back and forth until the 5 minutes are up. Use these exercises:
- Dumbbell Deficit Reverse Lunge
- Neutral-Grip (Feet-Elevated) TRX Inverted Row
After this circuit, rest 3–5 minutes. Then increase your weights by 5 to 10 percent and repeat the circuit for another 5 minutes. After that circuit, rest 5 more minutes and proceed to circuit B.
Three movements (one lower-body, two upper-body) will be cycled for 6 minutes.
Select weights you can lift 10–15 times. The goal is to get as many reps as possible within the 6-minute time frame – so do not perform these exercises to failure. Instead, perform only 4–6 reps for the first exercise; then put the weight down and perform 4–6 reps for the next, and then finally 4–6 reps for the final exercise. Keep cycling through these three exercises for 6 minutes. Use these exercises:
- Barbell Hip Thrust
- Neutral-Grip Dumbbell (weighted) Push Up
- Prone Rear-Delt Raise
After this circuit, rest 3–5 minutes. Then increase your weight by 3 to 5 percent and repeat the circuit for another 6 minutes. After that circuit, rest 5 more minutes and proceed to circuit C.
Two core isolation movements will be alternated for 4 minutes:
- Perform 30 seconds of RKC Planks immediately followed by;
- 15 seconds of Side Planks on each side
Keep cycling through these two exercises for 4 minutes.
Two functional fat loss movements will be alternated for 4 minutes:
- Perform 30 seconds of Farmer’s Walks (use heavy dumbbells) immediately followed by;
- 30 seconds of Kettlebell Swings
Keep cycling through these two exercises for 4 minutes. After this circuit, rest 2 minutes and then repeat the circuit with the same weight.
Here’s the logic that underpins my training recommendations for 40-plus male trainees.
Stay in the 6-15 rep range for ideal soft-tissue health. No need to go any lower than six reps as you can get strong while avoiding excessive stress on the tissues incurred from maximal loading. Don’t go any higher than 15 reps as this wouldn’t be very conducive to maximal strength and muscularity, despite being easy on the joints.
Train 3 days per week, spreading the sessions evenly over the week. This will allow for adequate recovery between sessions.
Some lifts involve more risk than others. Many seasoned lifters have incurred an acute injury from heavy Squats, Bench Presses, and Deadlifts. Further, Behind the Neck Presses and Upright Rows have been shown to be more injurious to the shoulder joint than other shoulder exercises. Yet, I’ve never seen anyone injure themselves with Inverted Rows or Farmer’s Walks.
The caveat is that the exercises have to be ‘manly’ lifts – no sissy exercises are allowed. These exercises will still allow for great strength and size gains, and with this Escalating Density Training programming, also promote fat loss with much less risk compared to more traditional methods.
|Knee-Dominant||Dumbbell Deficit Reverse Lunge|
|Hip-Dominant||Barbell Hip Thrust|
|Upper Body Push||Neutral-Grip Dumbbell (weighted) Push Up|
|Upper Body Pull||Neutral-Grip (Feet-Elevated) TRX Inverted Row|
|Core||RKC Plank, Side Plank|
|Functional Fat Loss Exercises||Farmer’s Walk, Kettlebell Swing|
|Bodybuilding Accessory Lifts||Prone Rear-Delt Raise|
- With the Deficit Reverse Lunge, make sure you take an adequate rearward step. Feel free to use a considerable forward trunk lean, which works more glute and takes some stress off the knees.
- With the Barbell Hip Thrust, make sure you don’t hyperextend the low back or allow the pelvis to rotate forwards as the movement rises.
Upper Body Push
- With the (weighted) Push Up, hold onto dumbbells positioned on the ground as this is easier on the wrists. Maintain good core stability and don’t allow the hips to sag. Wear a weight vest or have a partner stack weight-plates on your upper back if you need extra resistance.
Upper Body Pull
- With Inverted Row, use a TRX, Rings, or Blast Straps to allow for natural arm motion. Elevate the feet to increase the challenge.
- With RKC Plank, make sure you squeeze your glutes hard to engage a posterior pelvic tilt. Drive the elbows toward the feet and the feet toward the elbows to increase the challenge.
- With the Side Plank, make sure you stay in a straight line. Elevate the feet to increase the challenge.
Functional Fat Loss Exercises
- With Farmer’s Walk, start with the implements elevated so you don’t have to bend over and pick them up. Maintain good posture while you walk.
- With Kettlebell Swing, hinge at the hips and sit back, keeping the lumbar spine as neutral as possible.
Bodybuilding Accessory Lifts
- With the Prone Rear-Delt Raise, drape the head over the edge of the inclined bench so the neck isn’t forced to hyperextend. Use the upper back to pull your arms back and to the sides of your body and also retract the shoulder blades so you get more ‘bang for your buck’.
I hope you found this detailed article and customised training program useful. I’m thrilled it’s featured in an international media outlet like the Daily Mail.