Fitness at 40 for Men!

Dear Davey,

I am 43 years old. I have tried working out with a trainer, I have joined gyms, I have changed my diet, I have tried every pill potion, powder and DVD there is to buy… all with no results. My question is this: is it even possible, at my age, to get rid of the gut, and gain some lean muscle? What do you recommend for us old guys?

From,
Corey

Hey Corey

Goodness! You make 43 sound like you’ve already got one foot in the grave – and I know that’s not the case!

The short answers to your question is YES! It is definitely possible for someone in their 40s to get rid of their gut and gain lean muscle. In fact, it’s possible for someone twice your age! You can build muscle at any age – and, as we get older, building and maintaining muscle becomes increasingly important.

In other words, 43 isn’t an excuse. It’s a reason. And it can be a great motivator.

You say that you’ve tired everything, and that nothing has worked. If you follow the strength training basics – and support your training with a proper diet – your body will build muscle. Any other result is scientifically impossible. It’s just a question of combining an effective weight loss plan and strength training program with the required time, energy and effort.

Keep in mind, results take time. If you try a program for 2 weeks and don’t see results, it doesn’t mean that your body isn’t transforming. And it’s certainly not a reason to give up. You may just need a little more time. I’d encourage you to stick with a sound and effective program for 2 months or more – and then evaluate your results.

And when you do evaluate your results, do so objectively. Take various body measurements (i.e., weight, waistline, chest, biceps, etc.) and compare the numbers on day 1 to the numbers on day 60. The numbers won’t lie.

I also recommend taking a before and after picture. Because many of the changes are slow, we don’t always notice the gradual transformation while looking in the mirror each day. But when compared side-by-side, you should be able to see some fairly major differences.

Also, pay attention to the non-physical benefits you’ll receive – like increased energy, better sleep and greater endurance. These count, too!

In the comments below, I’d love for the 40+ crowd to share some of their advice and feedback for Corey. I’ll send three lucky commentators a free copy of my Ultimate Guide to Working Out!

Love,
Davey

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. it makes me happy that I am the first comment.

    • Hi All:
      I’m 52 and I’ve been going to the gym off and on since the early 80’s. Always wanting that perfect body, I’ve had multiple personal trainers and continue to go to the gym about 4 days per week using the lessons I’ve learned over the years. The one thing that will not disappear on me are the love handles, or “double-butt” a term my ex-roomie, Dave uses on me. I’m flat in the front and love handles stick out on the sides…I hate them. Please help. Thanks, Wayne

  2. I am 48 and have done it. It takes a lot of work and a strict diet. Simple.

  3. Hey Cory, well I’m going to be 47 next month I’m 6′ 3” 185lbs and 5 yrs ago actually hit the scales at 235 which was a big “ouch”. So I took matters into my own hand and first and foremost was my diet, I found that the foods I was eating were not the best choices, so really adapted a diet that worked for me, mostly vegies and chicken, fish salads, food that had flavor and didn’t leave me wanting more. Second I started walking everywhere I found that I got lazy and was relying on the car way to much, my feet and blades now are my best form of exercise, and lastly the most important and this one was a easy one alcohol you will be surprised when you cut the beer right out how much you will loose, I find a glass of wine from time to time is the best way to go. Bottom line I don’t believe age to be a factor at all but more determination, if your determined to loose the weight and get in shape then you will succeed.

  4. Hi Davey and Corey,

    I started my program back in April, a combination of daily exercise and Weight Watchers. I’ve lost 30 lbs as of today, June 22, 2012. Make no mistake, it’s a LOT harder than it was 20 years ago (did I mention I’m 46?). I have 70 lbs to go, but I’m well on my way. The trick is WATER WATER WATER and CARDIO CARDIO CARDIO. My system is lifting 2x a week and daily cardio. I do 30 min on the elliptical machine every day at lunch. Corey, it’s hard, but you CAN do it and you MUST have patience. Remember, you didn’t put that weight on overnight and you won’t take it off overnight either.

    Hugs N Love!

    Steve

  5. At 48, it has taken longer to get results. And you won’t look like the 20-somethings out there so have realistic expectations. But I feel MUCH better and look much better than I did. High protein and low carbs. Alcohol slows recovery and adds empty calories. Make your workout a priority – Set a goal for 3x per week. If you don’t make it one week, don’t sweat it and get it the next week. Before you eat something, consider how many hours running on the treadmill it will take to work it off, you might think twice. When you go on vacation, cut yourself some slack but get back into your routine as soon as you get home. I planned my workouts for the time of day I’m most likely to want to snack. Gets me out of the kitchen.

  6. Gregg in DC says:

    On January 1st of this year I made a commitment to myself to buy a gym membership, and actually use it! I realized at 43 that the only person to blame for my larger-than-wanted belly was …well, ME! So, instead of taking an hour each day to drink a Starbucks coffee filled with 1,000 calories, I gave the gift of good health to myself and I spend (at least) one hour in the gym 6 days a week. Just in one month I dropped a pants and shirt size, and the best outcome of it was absolutely feeling great about myself. It’s entirely doable, and all it requires is commitment. It’s the best gift you can give yourself (and everyone around you will appreciate it, too *wink**wink*)

    “No man has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

    Socrates (469 – 399 BC)

    • That’s a fun story , and sorry don’t know how to take of this picture off it’s in my reply , that’s not me. hehe

  7. Mike Gi says:

    I’m a natural health practitioner and rather then go on and on with all the reasons, it really boils down to something so simple. Google Paleo diet or Paleolithic diet, you cannot gain fat and WILL lose fat on this new lifestyle change with how you eat. Also, avoid all concentrates like coffee, smoking, alcohol, and any other insults – especially keeping your flour products down on the Paleolithic diet. Some aerobics help most people. If you need support with details and supplements that can help – cleansing therapies by the way will cut the response time to a tenth. That is, you can accomplish your results within few months versus perhaps a couple years and the results are amazing! Clear skin, great hair and nails, energy levels dramatically increase, libido/ sex drive same, and the soreness at gym becomes a thing of the past, quick gains and quick recovery !!

    • Hey Mike,

      You are right on track! Unfortunately, I think we in the US are so far behind on understanding nutrition that you are about a decade ahead of your time. And you’ll live a long happy life so I’m sure you’ll see everyone catch up to you eventually.
      I find that even if people notice that I’m staying healthy and fit and they ask questions, they don’t really want to do the hard work.
      It’s not easy for people to give up wheat and other grains, GMO foods, processed foods, legumes, alcohol etc. And when people like you and I do that, it’s often hard to find support among peers.

      Where do you get your motivation and what keeps you focused and on track? Is it the results?
      I personally set goals for myself and I work with a trainer so there’s someone to be accountable to. And the results do keep me motivated. But mostly I keep myself moving forward on my own to a large degree.
      What’s your secret sauce?
      Rich

  8. I’m 52 and i have done it. I went from a whopping 296lbs at 5’11” equates to a 42 inch waist and 2XL shirts that were tight. After a couple of steady years in the gym and following Weight Watchers to get my nutrition in check and some minimal work with a personal trainer for pointers i can now say that i have stopped smoking (4 years and going strong and didnt gain weight), lost 110lbs initially then gained about 10 back as i continued to go to the gym. I do a lot of cardio and at least 4-7 hours a week in the gym and now am in a 32 in jeans and a medium in shirts and they arent tight except where i want them to be – mainly in the stomach and chest. Anyone can do it, just have to set your mind to it and WORK. Without the discipline of 5 days a week in the gym at 5am i would not be able to maintain where i am today. Good luck and NEVER give up.

  9. Hey Mate – I’m 43 and have always struggled with being not being particularly overweight, but just unhappy with my body shape. It’s harder to keep the kilos off when you turn 30, and even more of an issue after 40!! However, I’ve found that being disciplined is the key factor – regular exercise, combining cardio and weights and good diet makes a big difference. I’m not a supplement fan, but the odd protein shake for breakfast helps. Definitely have more protein during the day and drop the carbs later in the day. Avoid excessive alcohol (abstinence is not required. – you gotta live some time). Working out with a buddy or personal trainer helps keep the motivation up. So far I’ve managed to drop a trouser size from my late 30s and hopefully with my new gym program it’s going to stay that way. Remember – being 40 is the new 30 – so enjoy life and don’t sweat the small stuff!

    Cheers!

    Mike (from down under)

  10. Dennis Oliver says:

    I am 47 and have never been better shape. I am a hard gainer. I really have to push the limits of working out to get anywhere. Some success (like having to buy medium shirts instead of smalls) breeds the desire to get further. I plan on working out and staying active until the day I die.

  11. Hi Guys,
    I’m SO happy to see all the encouraging remarks for Corey.

    Corey: Being 43 has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with your fitness. I’m 47 and compete in two triathlons and two marathons a year. I feel as healthy and strong as I did when I was 27. In some races, I actually beat those who are 10-15 years younger.

    As several people have mentioned, it really is about diet and exercise. Cut back on the alcohol and bread, add more vegetables/fruit/water. Instead of getting into your car, talk a walk. You’ll be fine.

    Hello 50s! πŸ™‚

  12. I had the same perception about being able to transform my body at my age…44. I changed my mindset and committed to 2 days a week at the gym. I changed my diet slightly, but not much. I have lost 15 pounds and am actually started seeing a little definition in my ab area. I jokingly told a friend that I was committed to having a 6 pack and I will continue trying…but for now I am just happy to not have a stomach like a keg.

    Good luck and remember if you think you can or you can’t, you are right.

  13. Steven Embury says:

    Hey! I’m 50+ and just started working out about 10 months ago. I’m seeing some improvements physically. Deeper chest, tighter abs, stronger arms.
    But, also mental and emotional changes. I feel 100% better about my body and my energy level is through the roof.
    I’m realizing that age truly is just a number!!!

  14. hi,
    i’m 51 yrs old. i started working with a trainer just after my 50th birthday. i started at 303 lb. i got to that nweight due to medications as i was 40, 185 and 6 ft tall. but these medications added a total of 85 lb over about a year and since i cant stop taking the meds… since working with the trainer i have changed my diet. instead of eating 1 or 2 times a day to eating healthy chicken, fish and pork taking red meat almost totally out. but i do enjoy a occasional steak. added vegggies and salad and work out and no fast food. i have only lost about 20 lb. but i feel so muchn better and have a lot more energy and i do have physical changes ie. no side boobs. chest coming back up where it belongs. samller but, i can now fit into a plane seat. woo hoo. stronger legs defined arms and i can tell some differenced in my abdomin and waist even if i have only lost 1 1/2 inches there. it may take another year to get where i want to be but the changes are there and even if i cant lose much of the weight i can still change the package. (i can see my penis without a mirror again). lol
    so you probably have a better chance than i do as i’m 8+yrs older than you. good luck.

  15. Hey Corey,
    I’m 46yo and I had hit a brick wall like you did. I was doing all the stuff I did in my 20s and 30s that worked. Cut calories, eat sticks and twigs, cardio cardio cardio like it was my job. But nothing was working. I was eating around 1800 calories a day and my fat was not budging!
    I got scared and saw my doctor to see if I was hypothyroid or something. All tests came out fine.
    That was in January. I was 210lbs 6’3″ and my body fat was 18.6%. I felt old and unhappy and really frustrated. I started wondering if I needed to think about doing the gay steroid thing.
    Then I stumbled across intermittent fasting and the Paleo Diet. Check out Brad Pilon (Eat Stop Eat) and Martin Berkhan (Lean Gains) to learn more. (Don’t assume you know anything about metabolism slowing and all that crap until you read these guys’ stuff. They are not exactly wasting away or rebounding with fat.)
    I educated myself about insulin and glucagon. The importance of sleep to restore our fatigued adrenals. I learned about cortisol and how all that intense cardio was likely spiking my cortisol and working against me. I took herbs to detox my liver.
    I started working with a trainer because my daily level of fatigue was so bad that I couldn’t get my fat ass to the gym unless I had someone meeting me there to kick my ass.
    I started back to kickboxing (something I always enjoyed) and working out with weights twice per week.
    After doing 24 hour fasts twice or three times a week, my insulin sensitivity increased, my cholesterol numbers got better, my testosterone levels went up. All after doing intermittent fasting for only a month!
    Now here we are 5 months later and I weigh 188lbs and my body fat is at 14%. My muscles are bigger. Manboobs are gone! My trainer’s girlfriend thought I was in my early 30s. My trainer can’t believe the transformation. He said his clients usually take a year to make that much change in their bodies. He joked with me “you realize we’ve taken 20 years off of your body. and when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘me’!” πŸ™‚ He really does kick my ass.
    But I’m the one who has been eating clean. No wheat or grains, no beans, carbs only at night.
    Check out the Primal Blueprint if you are interested in changing your life. Mark Sisson is in his 60s and you’ll see he has ripped abs.
    You CAN look like you are in your 20s or 30s!
    You DON’T need to do cardio 5 times a week!
    You CAN eat foods you love (if you learn one of the intermittent fasting approaches I’ve mentioned. there are 16 hour fasts and 24 hour fasts)
    Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult and painful and you can eat and train in a way that is sustainable for a lifetime.
    All the best!!

  16. I am 43. I lost about 10 pounds a few years ago. It was very difficult and I ended up quickly putting it back on. I mentioned this and some other symptoms to my doctor. She ran some tests and found an underactive thyroid.

    I am now medicated for this issue, watching my diet and working out with a trainer twice a week. I am also running and playing tennis every week as well.

    I have lost 25 pounds and counting. I have more muscle… More energy… I’m happier… And I have no more back symptoms. (oh… And I have a rockin’ ass again!)

    In short it can be done at our age just talk to your doctor first before starting an exercise program. Who knows… You might find out as I did that something medical is holding you back!

    Peace, love, and broadway musicals!

  17. Well i just turned 40 and I though that was the end of my life. But reading your website has always encouraged me to work out.
    Refer to Davey’s another article “Too Old to Exercise”.
    Its time we 40’s and older men redefine fitness and how the world perceives men post 39yrs.
    Every TV advertisement portrays young men. On the other hand TV sit-coms show men in their 40s as over weight and unfit.Time to change that.
    There are a lot of encouraging stories around. I started working out quite late in life but today at 40 i still give the 20’s something a run for their money. I feel fitter, leaner and energetic than i was in my 20’s.

  18. I am 45 and I have changed my diet and started to work out on a new schedule. I have a very good personal trainer who listens to me and understands my ideas. The idea of the diet is “low carb”, “no carb” after around 3 p.m., “low fat”, a lot of protein. Everything is going fine. On one day of the week I “eat what I want” and that’s a very good thing, too. I am feeling better and better and do have more energy. Won’t look like Craig, but am feeling good. I work on TV so looks are important πŸ˜‰ Befriend me on Facebook “Alexander Hildebrand vom Wetter” if you want. Hi from Berlin. Alex

  19. chris campbell says:

    Im 42 and have started to work out a gain I feel much better then when I did not work out I still need more help. I would love you work out program and tips

    Chris from Arizona

  20. chris campbell says:

    Im 42 and have started to work out a gain I feel much better then when I did not work out I still need more help. I would love you work out program and tips

    Chris from Arizona

  21. I’m 40, and in the last year I’ve put on 20 pounds (much of it muscle). I’m currently working on dropping some fat (started at about 22% body fat). I’ve been successfully losing about 1-1.5 pounds a week. It is harder than it would have been years ago. I have to be much more careful about my diet. It helps to have a good trainer. Instead of the ones at my gym who mostly work with people who haven’t exercised in years, I went to a gym where the trainers were more experienced in getting results. It’s been well worth it.

  22. I love the “any other result is scientifically impossible!” I feel similiar though, the rapidish results I saw in my late 20’s are gone and with my life now a bit more hectic, I think I’ve come to be impatient. I’ve only recently started back to the gym and each time I get discouraged I volunteer at a nursing home. It motivates me because I know that by getting healthy now, I’ll be in a much better state, physically and mentally, in the future (the far off future lol)

  23. Hi Rich and Corey

    I actually lived in te US for 2 and a half years on a military assignment. You’re right about the nutrition aspects! Over processed and convenience foods certainly do play a large part of the average American diet.

    However, a little planning goes a long way. Surprisingly, the organic foods weren’t all that more expensive that their mass-produced counterparts. Enjoying eating means I taught myself to cook so I can eat what I want rather than eating out. Plenty of inspiration off the Food Network too – more Ellie Krieger than Paula Dean though! Lots more “healthy” supermarkets like Wholefoods, Fresh Market and Trader Joes have pre-made meals, so if you’re time pressed, that’s a good option.

    There’s no “secret sauce” – just a healthy attitude. Not getting discouraged with minor setbacks is a biggie. I still enjoy nights out with friends, drink like an Australian and eat “unhealthy” foods – but only occasionally and in moderation. A trainer is a great motivator, but mainly it’s up to you. Nobody is going to take the reins for you – you have to want to make yourself a better person.

    Seeing positive results is a great motivator. Feeling like you have more energy contributes to your overall well being. Ultimately its about supporting your self esteem and accepting that not everyone can look like an underwear model, but you can look good in your own underwear. πŸ˜‰

    Cheers!

    Mike (from down under)

  24. christopher says:

    these are wise words from DW.he knows what he is speaking about.he is a PT.ive lost the weight-just need more strength-more muscle.im in my 50s.i need to switch up to strength training-my weight loss is 98 per cent done.this blog entry has renewed my faith-again this guy DW-knows a lot of what he speaks.listen to him-DW-is not stupid.if anything-he is analytical.

  25. Hey Corey! Dont give up. I turned 40 with an extra 100 lbs that I did not want. A varied 4 week bootcamp that included light running and circuit style muscle stuff produced a 2 inch difference off my waist. In four weeks. It sure can be done and feels great! I am a light weight when it comes to fitness and I really only did what I could and didnt push myself nearly as much as i do now. Still, the results were great and doable at this age. That was just the beginning of the journey for me, but since then i have been able to get some great success with the gut. Its always work but worth it in the end. Here’s to your flat stomach, Corey

  26. I’m 54 and had the same problem for years. Finally reached my goals by stopping drinking booze. Seems elementary but alot of us kid ourselfs on our diets, do everything right but still drink.

  27. I’m 58 and have been working out since 1981. I have had personal trainers for 5 years and recently got certified to be a trainer. One thing I have learned is to stick with it, be consistant and yes 80% of it is diet. If I stick to my eating program I continue to lose weight and yes, my abs do show in a good way. I will probably never look like I want to, but I just keep trying and will never give up. I enjoy the journey. I think I look better than most 58 year olds and will just keep plugging away.

  28. I’m 45 and in the best shape of my life. I lost 100lbs between December 2010 and the fall of 2011 and now I’m at 10% body fat. Diet is key, cut out alcohol, sugar, processed food and bad fats. And commitment to fitness. Mix it up to keep it fresh. I’m constantly changing my workouts (I change my lifting routine about every six weeks) and mix up between lifting yoga, cardio and weight training (stretch, sweat and strength!). But no matter how much time you spend in the gym (and it is important to spend the time earning it), you will not see meaningful results without proper diet and rest. I’ve also found that meditation and visualization help me to stay on my fitness path. Good luck, you can do it!

  29. Okay. I HAD HAD HAD to chime in on this post. I was 38 and topping the scales at 192 pounds (5’10”) 36″ waist. I decided enough was bloody enough. I would eat what I wanted and was out drinking with the 20 year olds about 4x a week.

    I started going to the gym. Got a trainer for a couple weeks of sessions to learn what to do. Started. Stopped. Started. Stopped. Lost about 15 pounds but then didn’t move.

    It wasn’t until about six-eight months in that I broke through the wall. The way I did it was to find a way TO LIKE THE GYM. I mean by working and reworking my routines. Not following all the guides to the best results but to find the exercises I liked, build up a library of them so that when I go to the gym I only have 1-2 excercises out of 6-7 that I don’t like.

    Then I made goals for things I wanted to achieve. This kept me motivated and with a six month break (moved to NYC so didn’t have a gym for 3 months and spent 3 months getting back) I’m down to 31″ waist, 155 pounds and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I weigh LESS THAN I DID AS A SOPHOMORE IN HIGHSCHOOL!! I was just out for pride and got tons of complements and I’m just shy of 41st birthday.

    I don’t believe AT ALL you can’t look as good as someone whose 30. The little twinks were all over my stuff. The one thing I don’t agree with in the posts above is that the frequency of 2-3x a week will get you there. I go 4-5x a week and my record was 19 days straight (but granted this isn’t all muscle work, sometimes its just a light 30 minute bike) but it’s going often and eating right (low carbs high protein for me). And my weight hasn’t gone above 162 in almost a year now.

    KEEP GOING! You’ll get there!!

  30. Hi there, I’m 46.. Do you want to see a picture of my body? You’ll never believe it. As for rock n roll, there’s no age for fitness. the starting work is in your mind and your body will follow.

  31. I’m 48 and I used to work out at 31, and thank God for that, nevertheless, I find that a sensible diet meaning taking out all whites, white bread, pasta , rice, and after many pills and creatines etc, what worked for me then and now is Tribulus Terrestres and DHEA supplement. by increasing male hormones , I got Solid Results , and my trainers advised me that muscle remembers and it comes back when you work out again later and well it sure does I’m just getting back to it now with my DHEA AND Tribulus , they give me that extra Boost of energy and Muscle Toning and Building I prefer to tone that’s a personal choice. thanks Davey for your advice on breads I’m using whole wheat this time around. no red meats or alcohol it’s worth it and yeap your correct , make your workouts fun I would say and pump your fav music and before you know it on the third month the results will be very visible ,
    Best of Luck Guys , it works.

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