How to Stay Fit Over 40

Society conditions men to fear their 40th birthday – which is called the Big 4-0. It’s your Over the Hill birthday! Is it true that life for a man ends at 40? Is it possible to remain fit over 40?

If you don’t take care of yourself, the answer is an empathic yes. Then again, if you haven’t been taking care of yourself, your life probably ended well before your 40th birthday.

I consulted an expert panel to ask them if life ends at 40.

Instead of talking about theory, we are men of action, are we not? What do men of action have to say?

“Screw off, society!”

Fit Over 40

I am almost 37. The other two men in that picture are several years older than I am. Do they look old and decrepit to you?

If we all went to a pool party in Vegas, could you men in your 20s meet more women than these old farts? Based on what I’ve observed of men in their 20s – I think not!

Although you can stay fit over 40, the game does change.

I asked Big George a question. “What changes as you get older, and what stays the same?” If you listened to our podcast, you’ll know that his answer is thoughtful and careful.

What changes when you are over 40?

“Well, Mike, as you know from your posts on TRT and HGH, hormones change. Monitor your testosterone levels. But I suspect you want to hear about something other than that. Here are some other aspects of training and lifting weights that change as you get older.”

1. Tendon/ligament tensile strength/flexibility.

“Your ligaments are tighter and less flexible. Warming up is not an option. It’s a prerequisite. If you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to train.”

“Soft tissue work is important, too. You can’t just go in the for the occasional massage. You need to learn how to massage yourself.”

That Beastie Ball Setup you posted on Danger & Play paid for itself in the first 15 minutes I had it.”

2. Recovery.

“When I was in my 20s, I could have marathon workouts every day. Now I keep my workouts under an hour. I still train hard, but I don’t waste any time or perform any unnecessary movements.”

3. Metabolism.

“Your metabolism will slow down. My days of eating pints of ice cream and still having abs are long gone.”

What stays the same?

1. Your body mechanics.

“Your body has certain biomechanics. Your leverages, arm and length length, etc., aren’t going to change when you get older.”

2. Discipline.

“If you go into the gym day in and day out, that is not going to change when you get older. You are your habits. Going to the gym is ingrained in you once you’re older. No one needs to tell you to go. You don’t need a training partner nagging you to go. You just go.

“In many ways, you become more disciplined. (See the later half of my email.)”

3. Motivation.

“I never trained just because I wanted to meet girls. I was driven to turn my body into a work of art – to achieve greatness. I have always had that motivation and always will.”

What gets better?

1. Self-knowlege.

“It sounds cliche, but it’s true. With self-knowledge comes wisdom. My training is far more intelligent and calculated than it was during my 20s.”

2. Discipline.

“Like I said earlier, discipline is a character trait. When you get to be my age, you’re either disciplined or you are not. As you get older, you build on your habits from your younger years. Character is cumulative. I am more disciplined today than when I was a punk kid.”

3. Mental toughness and focus.

“I don’t need to be high on 75 mgs of ephedra. I get inside my own head and can be in the murder mode in seconds.  I have become a master of this and have used music to program my frame of mind. I currently am 24 months without speaking a word to a single person at my gym other than person at the front desk when walking in.  They don’t exist. That part about training keeps improving with practice – which in my case is 30 years.”

I also asked Jay what changes when you turn 40.

Here’s his response.

Post your questions for me, Big George, and Jay.

  • Unknown Lol

    Is it true that your strength peak starts declining after 39?

    • Danger & Play Blog

      All of your athleticism starts declining. That’s why Master’s category for most sports is 35.

  • Victorian Gentleman

    Is it recommended to work out more than 3 or 4 days a week for a 40+ man? I’m a novice lifter, early 40s, slightly higher than average T for my age. When I started lifting less than 2 months ago I was 5-6 days a week, then read Starting Strength by Rippetoe, and now only go 3 days a week. Not sure what to do: I have the drive and time to train 6 days a week and don’t want to leave anything on the table but Rip and others drove home the value of rest and repair. Too early to say which gets better results.

    When I was going 6 days a week I was a bit sore, sure, but I thought that was normal!

    What I can tell you is that you still get impressive gains as a novice lifter in your 40s, especially if you apply principles in Starting Strength, so it’s totally worth it.

    tl, dr: should I train 5-6 days a week as a novice lifter in my early 40s if I want max results and have the time and drive to do so?

    Grateful for any response.

    • Danger & Play Blog

      If you’re older and doing a lot of squats and dead lifts, you need those days off.

      Otherwise your joints will catch up with you. Your muscles might feel fine, but those joints will be on fire.

      Take your time. Your muscles will grow stronger than your tendons at first and that’s a recipe for injury.

      As far results for age goes…You know that guy Dr. Life that has his picture everywhere on TRT clinics.

      I’m old enough for member when he won that EAS contest (back when Muscle Media was called Muscle Media 2000 and was an awesome magazine). He was in his 50s back then and made an incredible transformation.

      It truly is never too late.

      • Victorian Gentleman

        Thanks as always. Funny you mention tendons, I’m also doing pretty heavy running, 10+ mile sessions, and my Achilles tendons feel wonky, worse than my muscles or joints, so maybe more rest is needed there too. Onward and upward.

        • http://fabfitover40.com Jay

          STOP RUNNING. PRONTO. Low impact cardio. You are on the fast track to knee replacements and major foot issues.

  • Anofuctus

    I’m 58 years old at this writing. Even though I’m up there in age I’m going to start a weight training program for 2-5 years and during this time the program will gradually transform in a bodybuilding program. I have to start with the basics first, which will take a good 2-3 years, then another two years of strength and power lifting training that will get me ready for my over ’60’s first ever Masters’ competition. And during that time, I’ll take a course to become a personal trainer with the knowledge and training that I’ve garnered over the years to aid others in their pursuit of something different.

    • T and A man

      Sounds like you’re never too old to be a winner.

      Well done, you’re in inspiration, keep us informed.

      • Danger & Play Blog

        Thank you. I’m going to be doing more stuff like that. Like I’ve said…We’re just warming up.

  • Torsten

    Hey not sure where to post this but your podcast about your mindset is fucking golden!

  • 7dials

    Speaking personally, my life was starting all over again at 40, as I was in my first year of sobriety. It’s not for nothing that most AA’s count their sobriety birthday as more important than their natal birthday. That makes me 20 now.

    As you said, the big 4-0 is nothing to be scared of, if you’re in shape, lifetime single and don’t have children. Why don’t I add ‘employed’? Because I was 40 when the UK economy was slinging as many white-collar workers as it could off the pension rolls and re-organising. I was out of work and had more pressing things to worry about than a number.

    40 is when a man has to start figuring out how to make self-respect do the work that his hormones used to do: to show up and do his thing not because he’s driven and it’s all new and exciting, but because that’s what his self-respect demands. And everyone flinches. Nobody makes it through the following twenty years without slipping, falling off, tripping up, or any other simile you like. I had to haul my own ass from the tarpit in my mid-50’s.

    I’ll tell you what’s great. The big 6-0. Again, if you’re in shape, lifetime single and don’t have children. I’m weeks away, and every morning I wake up, curse the devil for inventing work and taxes, and thank God for making me a bachelor with some self-discipline. At your age I wasn’t so grateful, because hormones and sex drive and stuff, but now I look at the old guys my age and I am so thankful I don’t have “someone to grow old with”. Call me Peter Pan, I could care less. I still lift, training five days a week, an hour a session. I still read interesting books, keep up with art movies and art, learn new stuff at work and stay away from junk food and culture. Never give up.

    • http://fabfitover40.com Jay

      You are my FUCKING IDOL BRO. But I digress..my daughters are amazing. And my newest woman (3rd time is the charm I tell myself) is equally amazing. Different strokes for different folks. But I envy you in many ways. Truly. Keep on keeping on.

    • dave farley

      love your attitude my friend if you get up every day and think bring it on world what have you got to try and knock me down today ,eventually nothing can keep you down.

  • Bodi PUA

    Thank God we are men. Our value is based on a lot more than our physicality whereas women have it tougher in this regard. Even on terms of physicality it’s a steady, slow decline for men rather than the cliff a lot of women seem to drop off at 30. You have to work, though. The average 40 year old man here in the UK has taken himself out of the game long before he reaches 40.

    There’s two kinds of guys in their forties. Average guys and then “those guys”. The edgy ones. Swarthy. Grizzled look. Cool clothes. Cool attitude. Perhaps an airy of mystery. Slightly aloof. Nobody knows what they do but they’re like a different breed. Outrageously young girls can’t stop looking at them. I know which one I’ll be…

    I’ll be 40 in around 8 months. Last week I made out with two twenty-four year olds. My forties are going to be great.

    • Danger & Play Blog

      The party starts sooner for women but lasts longer for men.

    • James d’Anconia

      Brilliant! :D

  • Cedric G

    SO Jay-
    Stop running and do the elliptical, walk on grass or sand, swim, hit the heavy bag, etc. for cardio?

    What about strength training after 40???

    Are 5×5 heavy compound lifts good? We all want to be stronger or should we switch to a Rosstraining.com “Never Gymless” body weoght routine or COnvoct Conditioning?

    What about Brazilian Ju Jit Su? I dont wanna do MMA but knowing how to choke out people is intriguing to me.

    Thanks

    • http://fabfitover40.com Jay

      Low Impact Cardio bro. Trust me. Lots of forms. You wanna know about productive strength training after 40-read my blog. http://www.fabfitover40.com

      Heavy weight lifting after 40 will get your retired quickly. The other stuff I can’t comment about.

    • CrackerDaddy

      FWIW, I’m an over-50 guy who is in his third week of StrongLifts 5X5 and I feel amazing. I used to do Cross-Fit 3 years ago until my joints and tendons finally gave out on me. The 5X5 program done properly will gradually build you up. I have more energy and drive and can’t wait to hit the gym when it’s gym day. Take a look for yourself. I don’t think you’ll regret it. StrongLifts

  • dave farley

    running just becomes pointless ,unless your a fighter and do it to increase stamina before a fight ,if not there are just so many other ways to get into shape you see men over 40 50 that run all the time you wouldn’t even know they train by looking at them in normal clothes ,I was getting knee surgery about 10 years ago and I was in the recovery room after the op and the man in the bed next to me was not even 40 he was a marathon runner and he had one false knee and 2 discs in his back replaced and his remaining knee was now on the verge of being replaced all due to years of running .

    • http://fabfitover40.com Jay

      It’s truly sad how numb to reality people who run long distances are. The runner’s “high” is not worth the never ending pain you’ll suffer thru the last 15 years of your life.
      Far better answers out there to get in your cardio.

      • dave farley

        after years of training you do become your own best personal trainer even if your thick as fuck you must of learnt what works for your own body ,you stop following the programs in the magazines and after buying 300 copies of flex magazine you realize there is no magic ingredient or workout and if you have been training for 15 years and don’t know how to build your own physique then you never will .

  • RedPill Networks

    I am close to 40 and have noticed a major shift in my health lately. I dont recover as well, and small things creep up, like muscle strains, if I dont stay active in the gym and in sports. The saying is true about the pool parties, when I was in my 20’s I was so self conscious I couldnt enjoy myself, and it was a big turn off. Now I can and the women enjoy it too, its much much easier to get chicks, especially being in shape.

    • http://fabfitover40.com Jay

      Be careful with the sports brother. Anything full contact or running/jumping on hard surfaces is asking for serious trouble-potentially gruesome soft tissue injuries etc. Work hard in the gym-train HIT Style focusing on maximal fiber contraction and get your cardio in for the ticker. Too many guys who are lean skip cardio and it’s a big mistake. Cardio is booring yada..yada but it keeps your heart pumping well into your golden years. And you never know when the Annunaki are going to come and try and take you back to the mother ship. You gotta be able to SPRINT into the caves-underground cities. You feel me?