So you have hit 40 or are well past it, and now your prime must be over, right? We have been told since we were young that as you age, your body and mind will decline. Once you get past 25, it’s all downhill; and once you are past 40, the decline is even steeper. Well I am here to tell you that does not have to be the case. Here are three very simple ways to not only improve your overall health, but to get into the best shape you have ever been in, even after 40.
- Food!!! This is the most important factor when it comes to building muscle and burning fat. First of all, hormones are one of the main reasons that our performance tends to decline as we age. Specifically for men, testosterone declines after 40. Fortunately, even as we move into middle age, there is a completely natural way to increase the free testosterone in your blood: a mostly plant-based diet! Studies have shown that testosterone levels in men tend to increase as they derive a higher percentage of their calories from plant sources (see link to studies below). In addition to higher testosterone, plant-based diets decrease the inflammation markers in our blood, with a noticeable difference just 7 days after stopping the consumption of meat. The increased testosterone and reduced inflammation means you can train harder, recover quicker, and build muscle faster.
- Lifting Smarter!!! When lifting, especially over 40, the key is to design a workout that generates the best bang for your buck. One way to accomplish this is to begin each workout with compound lifts. A compound lift means at least two joints are moving at once, which works larger muscle groups in order to burn more fat and build more muscle. These types of lifts make your time more efficient, help to produce more testosterone, and burn more fat. Starting each workout with one or two compound lifts, such as back squats or pullups, will help prime your workouts to get you in the best shape in less time. This increased efficiency means there is no need for wasted hours in the gym to achieve your desired results.
- Persistence!!! This is the key to executing the first two tips. It is one thing to go into the gym consistently for a week, but sticking to it long-term will make all the difference. Find a partner, a trainer, or whatever else you need to stay accountable. A friend can help make sure you are sticking to a schedule, and you can push each other during your workouts. A trainer can keep you accountable, push you harder, and ensure the proper form for more efficient gains and bigger goals. No matter what you choose as your accountability, do not let one skip day turn into many. Forgive yourself, refocus your mind on the results you want, and get back after it.
So, the moral of the story is that you do not have to feel worse every year after 40. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. Make a commitment to your health today by starting with these simple tips, and let them shape your path to a healthy, revitalized you in 2018.