Getting Started With Fitness Later In Life
A lot of younger guys have no issue imagining themselves in the future walking around at 185-200 pounds and only 8-10% body fat. They can imagine hitting a 1200 pound total, and looking like a fitness model on the beach. With older guys it’s easy to see how all of this can seem a little over-whelming.
If you’re already 25%+ body fat and only bench press 175 pounds whilst in your 50’s, it may be difficult to see how the above could ever be achieved. The busier you are, and the more “overhead” in general you have, the more difficult these goals are to be to achieve, which is one of the key reasons I suggest only focusing on one or two goals at a time.
How on earth do you get started with these ambitious fitness goals? Are they even attainable?
In regards to whether or not they are attainable, it depends. It depends on:
- Your age
- Your current strength levels and muscle mass
- Whether or not you’re willing to go on TRT (which I really think you should if you’re over 40).
If you’re currently nowhere near the 1200 total and are over age 40, it’s unlikely you’ll ever hit that, but most of you will be more than happy in the “1000 club”, which would look something like this:
Bench – 250 pounds
Squat – 350 pounds
Deadlift – 400 pounds
This is very, very strong compared to most Men Over 40, and from a fitness standpoint, will put you miles ahead of your peers. The fat loss part, meaning staying lean year-round is do-able. Maybe for some it will be 10-14% instead of 8-10%, but it’s perfectly within your capabilities. If you’re not convinced, I’ve written extensively about this before, and how too many Men Over 40 have proven that ageing does not equal fat gain.
Where To Begin
We’ve established that great things are very much within your reach, how do we get them, and where do we start? Firstly, we need to set the correct expectations. It’s going to take some serious work, and your body fights against you when you age. TRT will alleviate most of this, but it’s still work that you will need to put in. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
If you want to lose weight, you will need to create a sustainable plan that will likely take 1-3 years to successfully execute. Yes. 1-3 years if you want to keep the weight off permanently. This means incorporating diet breaks and periods of maintenance calories. This goes the same for muscle gain by the way – it takes a long time to gain appreciable muscle.
There are no unrealistic goals, assuming you follow the numbers I gave you above. Only unrealistic timelines. The 1000 club at 12% body fat is perfectly achievable. Too many people have proven this.
Secondly, you need to do your research. Do lots of reading; blogs, books, watch YouTube videos, take notes and use all of this information to put together your action plan. Depending on how much weight you need to lose, this will take a long time. It’s like building a house. Or a business. You can’t expect it to just “happen”. It takes time. You can’t undo years and years of anti-fitness behaviour with just a few months of a perfect fitness lifestyle.
Thirdly, once you have a long-term action plan together, divide it up into smaller chunks. This could be monthly or quarterly, doesn’t really matter. The point is, you have targets to hit at the end of each “chunk” which are derived from your long-term fat loss (or muscle gain) goal. Feel free to give yourself a mini-reward at the end of each “chunk” if, and only if, you hit your target. This could be a mini-trip, weekend of relaxation, day at the beach, a maintenance week, a big party etc.
Remember to always follow the rule of prioritisation. This is crucial for younger men, but even more important for older guys. You can’t progress at everything at the same time. You can have everything at the same time, but you can’t progress at everything at the same time. There is a difference. You can be in the 1000 club and 12% body fat at the same time, but you will need to prioritise strength/muscle at different times to fat loss in order to actually get there.
I got down to 8% body fat a couple of times, but I sure as f***ing hell wasn’t getting any bigger or stronger whilst doing it. I also passed the 1000 club years ago, but I wasn’t losing fat whilst doing this. Just wouldn’t be possible unless I was on a load of drugs.
Progression is a different ballgame to maintenance.
Next, get to work on these shorter term targets. Your weight loss targets, body fat % targets (if you’ve got calipers), your weekly calorie deficit targets etc. You don’t need to overfocus on the actual composition of your diet, other than removing most sugars and addictive “trigger-type” foods that vary from one person to the next.
All that really matters is that you’re consuming enough protein and you’re in a consistent deficit. Also avoid “cheat days” and “cheat meals”. Instead, have low sugar snacks every evening, as long as they’re within your caloric budget.
Reward yourself when you hit your monthly or quarterly target, and keep working towards the long term fat loss goal until you finally hit it. The you can switch gears and go into muscle gain mode. Or, the inverse, if that’s what you’ve chosen to prioritise. I imagine most of you reading this will prioritise fat loss though.
Good luck 🙂
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