Not everyone over forty falls into the same category. Meaning some people over forty have enjoyed health and fitness lifestyles since they were in their twenties while others have been sedentary and eating unhealthy for decades. My advice for someone that has been dedicated to a health and fitness regimen for many years is going to be different than someone who hasn’t and wants to turn things around in their forties or older. Regardless, let’s get into some recommendations that everyone can benefit from.
One practice in general that trainees over forty should prioritize is restoration. Your recovery abilities may be compromised from years of wear and tear if you have been training for many years or your recovery abilities may be compromised from years of unhealthy living. Either way, you will benefit a great deal from integrating restoration practices into your regimen. Some examples include getting a sports massage every week or every other week. At the very least once a month. Go to a spa once a week or a few times per month and relax in the sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi.
Address nagging injuries that are holding you back by getting checked out by an Active Release Practitioner (ART) in your area. I have utilized ART for over fifteen years and find it invaluable for addressing injuries. In fact, earlier this year I had a serious groin injury that I thought was going to sideline my training for a long time. Fortunately, I was treated by Dr. Kyle Buth an ART practitioner in my area who helped me get back to intense training in a few weeks. If you have nagging injuries that you have used as an excuse not to be more active, it is time to be more proactive. Get the injuries and get back on track.
I am a big fan of systemic enzymes for mitigating the need for excess inflammation and inducing healing and recovery. Systemic enzymes are by far my favorite supplement for training recovery. Check out Restorezyme
Integrating three-mile daily walks to loosen up the body clear the mind and increase overall activity is also highly recommended. Fitness expert Clarence Bass
Clarence Bass who is ripped to the bone at an astonishing eighty-two states that a sedentary lifestyle as people get older is the main reason the metabolism slows down rather than simply from aging. Therefore, instead of sitting around watching TV for hours or wasting time on social media, increase your activity level. Walking unlike intense training can be done every day and is also an excellent starting point for getting back into a fitness regimen.
Joint mobility work is also important and helps prevent injuries. I have a joint mobility video on YouTube you can follow along with. Similar to walking, joint mobility work can be done daily and is excellent for active recovery as well.
Next, sleep while important for any age becomes more important as you get older. Especially if you’re very active and engage in intense training several times per week. The sleep-deprived always looks much older than their biological ages and eventually the adrenaline ride they are on will come crashing down. Lack of sleep is similar to credit card debt. Eventually, you have to pay it back and like credit card debt the interest is going to be high. So many positive things happen when you’re in a deep sleep state such as sex hormone and growth hormone production and improvements in insulin and leptin sensitivity. You will find that sugar cravings decrease significantly with regular deep sleep as well as the need to rely on caffeine to get through the day.
To facilitate getting into a deep sleep, avoid eating for a few hours before bedtime. Turn the TV and computer off for a few hours before bedtime as well and instead read a book, go for a walk, and or meditate. If you find meditation challenging, just try lying down for fifteen minutes in silence and focus on deep breathing. Magnesium before bedtime also improves sleep quality and boosts testosterone and growth hormone. Check out my recovery oil for a fantastic option for increasing cellular levels of magnesium.
Regarding strength training program design, focus on compound exercises. I recommend prioritizing the following five categories at each session
Upper body press
Upper body pull
Lower body press
Lower body pull
3-4 full-body workouts per week are very effective and if you need more recovery time you can dial it back to two full-body workouts. Avoid training to failure and emphasize optimal technique.
When you train to failure, your technique almost always degrades and you are much more likely to get injured. 1-2 reps away from your maximum will allow you to train more often with much less wear and tear and therefore more long-term progress. You build strength much faster when you train frequently and avoid going to your limit and it can be challenging not to increase the intensity, but stay disciplined. Most of your training sessions should be focused on building strength not demonstrating it. Many trainees of all ages make the mistake of training to their limit every time they train and usually have poor results to show for all their efforts. Make most of your workouts deposit training sessions so when you want to test your strength and make a withdrawal it is a significant one that inspires you to stay on course. For a variety of training programs to keep you busy all year, pick up my ebook
Finally, optimizing hormones is a crucial component of aging well and prolonging your ability to not only train at a high level but also feel great in general. I have tons of articles on the topic at Hormone Optimization
Also, check out my comprehensive Eight-hour Lecture Series