Why It Gets Harder As You Get Older…

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I’ve spoken before about how gaining weight in our society is absolutely 100% a choice. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. I would always rather acknowledge reality than bullshit myself.

In the UK, 66% of us are overweight, and in the US, this figure is 70%. These figures have been on the rise for many years. This is clearly a societal issue, not a biological one.

*These numbers are actually a little mis-leading, in the sense that things are FAR worse in the States, as the obesity levels are much higher than in the UK. So although the difference in overweight people is only 4%, the difference in obese people is far larger.

Comparisons aside, both countries are doing terribly. In fact, Western society as a whole is becoming fatter by the year.

Here’s some more statistics:

In England (2015), over 80% of men aged 55-64 were either overweight or obese. Jesus. These guys are asking for all kinds of health issues:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Etc.

Okay, enough doom and gloom. What can we do about it? Why does it get even more horrendous around middle age?

Understanding Differences As We Age

Unfortunately, everything seems to rapidly change for us men around age 35-40. Staying half-decent looking becomes a full-time job. A job that the vast majority of men fail to do.

Maybe the wife and kids get in the way. Maybe your money-earning job takes over. The canteen sucks. You’re stressed all the time. Whatever.

They are the non-biological issues (which I believe you MUST overpower if you want to be successful with this stuff). Now, let’s get to the things that you have zero control over.

Greater Levels Of Catabolism

Ever wonder what happened to Arnold? Or Stallone? Yep, that’s the ageing process for you. The contrast between how they looked at ages ~40 and ~60 is astounding. Eventually, everyone loses muscle and starts to sag.

Does this mean we should just throw our hands up in the air screaming “Screw it, I’m fucked anyway. If actors look worse as they age, then I definitely will!!” and swearing never to set foot inside a gym ever again? No.

That’s a recipe to die 10 years early due to heart failure. You’ll become another miserable, heart-breaking statistic. Would you rather that, or would you rather live a healthier, longer, happier life? One whereby you look incredibly good for your age, have high levels of energy and strength, and can be a role model for your kids to look up to?

I know which one I would choose.

Lower Testosterone & Energy Levels

Low test of course applies to catabolism, but here I want to relate it to energy levels. Energy is pretty much the baseline for everything; without it, you would struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you’d be depressed and productivity would be near zero.

Energy levels decrease as we age. This has huge metabolic consequences; making it far harder for you to lose the weight once you’ve gained it, and gaining weight is something that almost everyone seems to do when they “settle down”.

This is even more reason not to get fat in the first place. Once you gain it, it becomes that much harder to lose it again. Low energy levels mean you are less active across the 16 (or so) hours in which you’re awake, and greater catabolism means any energy deficit you put yourself in is going to endanger your muscle mass to a greater extent. Not good.

Does this mean we surrender forever to low energy levels, low motivation and allow ourselves to be depresed Grandpa’s? Nope.

Lower Recovery

I know what it feels like to be over-trained (or under-recovered), and it’s a pain in the ass. You’ve dug too deep and now you’re essentially fucked. One step forward, ten steps back. Grrrr.

It’s very frustrating when you couple this with higher catabolism, as more volume will help you maintian your muscle right?

Not if you can’t recover from said volume.

As you can see, as you get older, everything becomes almost like walking a tightrope. The same basic universal principles still apply, but the margin for error becomes that much smaller. You have to nail everything. It’s difficult to do without a coach.

This also means that when you are dieting (which reduces recovery already, for just about everyone), this goes DOUBLE for you. An older guy trying to recover whilst dieting?

Nightmare.

The Solution

Let’s say you are a guy over aged 40, and you’ve already gained a bunch of weight. Not much we can do now, as we can’t go back in time to prevent that.

BUT, we can lose it. You have to understand that it’s very difficult now you’re a little older:

  1. More muscle loss is likely to occur than usual (protein needs to be a little higher)
  2. Lower test and energy is a problem (need to reduce stress, and look into TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy))
  3. Lower recovery from workouts (optimise and spread out volume, diet breaks will also need to be a little more frequent)

As long as you understand that this will be a challenge, and you appreciate that it will be worth it, then you’re good to go. Do you want to live a long, healthy life? Do you want to see your kids and grandkids grow up? Do you want to be a strong, fit role-model?

Get to work.

 

 

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