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Fit After 40 !!

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  • Fit After 40 !!

    An article I wrote a few years back:

    Fit After Forty
    by Tim Wescott

    Over the hill at forty years of age ?

    Only if you choose to be!

    Just because you've hit the big FOUR - O, there is no reason to consider yourself done with living a full, vibrant life. The choice is yours to make. At thirty years of age, I felt like my life was literally over. I had been abusing my body, and let myself slide from a fit young man, to a person who was literally a shadow of his former self.

    I allowed myself to continue this less than optimal lifestyle that I was living, for many a year. I was small, weak, usually drunk ,and had no self-esteem what so ever. At the age of 38, I had a moment of clarity... or "Divine Intervention"... or maybe I just woke up.

    Call it whatever you want but it literally saved my life. I actually looked into my mirror one morning, and realized finally, that I better get on the stick, as my life was literally being wasted right before my very own bloodshot eyes.

    Right then and there I made a pact with myself to make some changes, and be part of the solution to my problems, rather than me being the problem itself. I had always, up until this period in my life, lived a healthy lifestyle, and even competed previously in power lifting meets, and later in a bodybuilding contest, placing fourth in a field of six entrants.

    I had been working out from around the age thirteen, built myself a great physique, even though I was rail thin and had less than perfect genetics. Now that I'm older I can definitely say that I am in the best condition of my life at 48 years old and improving steadily!

    I hate the fact that I'm getting older, as I'm sure most of us do. We all think about it from time to time. We begin to get forgetful, cranky, irritable, our eyesight starts to fail, and we inevitably begin to miss a step or two here and there. Eventually we begin to accept this as just a part of our evolution into middle age.

    It is our lot in life to get older, and wither away until we hit the old nursing home and wait to die! Right? WRONG! In the rest of this article I will show you how you can reverse the aging process, and get back in the game of life. Life doesn't end at 40 unless you say it does.

    Winning The Race Against Time:

    The most important thing you HAVE to do for yourself today, is to resolve to get back in shape. This entails a lifestyle change that will propel you, once again, into the land of the living, rather than the land of the nearly dead!

    Start a journal and write down your commitment/promise to yourself that you will change your lifestyle no matter what the sacrifice. Remember there is no dress rehearsal in life, this is it, live it to the fullest at any age, not only when you are young.

    The old adage "You're only as old as you feel"applies to us over 40 type people !

    Thinking young = being young!!

    What I'm really trying to convey here, is that a positive outlook, and an optimistic mindset, is imperative to regaining the youthful appearance we have managed to lose somewhere along the line. If you act like you're over the hill, you are kaput, but if you believe that with a few changes, and a lot of hard work on your part, that you can once again capture the vitality you once possessed you will do just that.

    Remember, bodybuilding is one of the pastimes that enable you to actually get better as you age. Most other sports require you to stop competing fairly early while you are at peak performance level. They all deem the term peak performance differently, but it's usually still at a fairly young age. I have met many men and women who compete in bodybuilding well into their seventies and eighties.

    For those of you who aren't interested in competition, there is nothing better for you as you age than weight training, coupled with cardiovascular work, and a healthy diet. Strength training increases bone density, and helps the body burn fat by adding lean muscle tissue to your frame. For every pound of muscle you add to your body you will burn more calories even at rest. Adding lean muscle increases your metabolism dramatically.

    Setting The Plan In Motion:

    My recommendations to those who want to begin working out at 40 or older are as follows:

    Start Out Slow - You didn't get out of shape overnight and you won't get into shape overnight either. Pace yourself and add more work to your routine when you are able to. Keep it progressive, and never sacrifice good form just to add weight to the barbell or dumbbell. Impeccable form is crucial for making progress and to prevent injury. train sensibly!!

    More Is Not Better, Better Is Better - Contrary to popular belief you do not have to literally live in the gym to make progress. Workout 4 days a week with weights, keeping the actual workouts to 45-60 minutes. Work hard with impeccable form, and go home. Be serious in your endeavors, and keep socializing to a minimum while training. Weight training is not a sprint it's a marathon . Make it part of your lifestyle and enjoy the journey.

    Warm Up Good - As we get older and do physical exercise, we need a better warm-up before beginning the actual workout. Our younger counterparts can waltz into the gym and just dig right in without too much concern, although it's not advisable to do so they are still less prone to getting injured because of their age.

    Always begin your training by riding a stationary bike, or walking on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes to get your core body temperature up a bit. Do a light set of the actual exercises you perform in your training before adding weight. Pyramiding up in weight while decreasing reps is a great way to train and ensures that you will be sufficiently warmed up when you go heavier.

    Do Cardio - Always do some type of cardiovascular exercise after you are finished with the weights. There are a myriad of machines and apparatus available today to keep cardio interesting, so you never get bored doing it.

    Most people love to hate cardio, but it is a necessary evil ,especially for us older folks. It will increase lung power, keep your heart and arteries pumping at optimum levels, help aid in your recovery from training, and the best part of all, is it's ability to help out in the fat burning department. No matter what type of cardio you choose, you should in my opinion, start out easy just walking on the treadmill.

    As you progress raise the incline on the treadmill to make it progressive as it gets easier, and you get into better shape. Graduate to a more advanced piece of machinery after a while such as the Recumbent Bike, Elliptical Trainer, Stair Stepper, etc. If all else fails just go out for a walk in good weather and keep it brisk and enjoy the scenery !

    Keep A Journal - Right from the start you should keep a training and diet log to keep track of your progress, and to learn in retrospect, what worked for you, or did not quite cut it as far as diet and training go.

    Things you may want to record daily are:
    - Bodyweight
    - Mood Before Training
    - Poundage's Used For Exercises
    - Comments Critiquing The Workout
    - Cardio,Distance And Calories Burned

    For diet you should add up protein, carbs, fats and calories for each meal and total them up for the day. Adjust things according to your progress, or lack thereof.

    Eat Right - all of the effort you put into the weights and cardio will be all for naught, unless your diet is in order. Try to get in 1 gram of good usable protein, per pound of bodyweight. Weight training and cardio, along with your other daily activities demands that we eat better, and ingest more protein than the average couch potato. The requirement recommended by the nutrition experts, for the average man or woman, are just that average, and who may I ask wants to just be average? Carbs and fats will be an individual thing, depending on your present condition.

    As a rule of thumb, try to get 1.5-2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight to start with, and simply keep fats to a minimum. Get most of your fats from good healthy sources, and you may want to supplement with EFA`s to ensure that the fats you ingest are healthy fats. For the sake of keeping things brief, concise, and easy to understand, I will list the foods that you should use in your diet for best results.

    Nutrition is of the utmost importance, and I don't mean to slight it here, but it would take novels to teach you all you need to know. Buy a good book or two, and read them from cover to cover, and avoid fad diets and quick fix methods at any cost, PLEASE. Above all stay away from useless junk food, except for the occasional rare treat. Sugar is sweet, but it's a surefire way to defeat your hard work.

    Protein Sources:
    - Fish
    - Chicken Breasts(skinless)
    - Turkey Breast Cutlets (skinless)
    - Eggs & Egg Whites
    - Tuna (water packed)
    - Skim Milk (in moderation)
    - Whey Protein Powder
    - Lean Beef

    Carbohydrate Sources:
    - Potatoes
    - Yams
    - Sweet Potatoes
    - Brown Rice
    - Oatmeal
    - Whole Grain Bread
    - Green Leafy Vegetables
    - Fibrous Vegetables
    - Fruits (in moderation)

    Fat Sources:
    - Flax Oil
    - Olive Oil
    - Egg Yolks
    - Salmon (and other Omega 3 fatty fish)
    - Natural Peanut Butter

    Buy a good nutrition book and learn all you can about your dietary needs.

    Stay Hydrated - Water, in copious amounts, is essential for bodybuilding and for overall good health, and proper bodily functions. Carry a 20 oz. sports bottle of water with at all times, and refill it when needed. Water is often the most overlooked component in a fitness regimen. There are far too many benefits from drinking water to list here, but it is imperative to drink a gallon a day as a minimum amount for most hard training active people. Water will also create a sensation of fullness which in turn will keep you from overeating.

    There you have it, a good starting plan to get you off the couch and back into the race. Just because we are getting on in years doesn't mean that it is a signal to just give up on life. The discipline that bodybuilding requires will carry over into your everyday lives. It will also make previously impossible tasks relatively easy.

    You`1ll find yourself getting compliments from friends, and strangers alike, and walking with a new spring in your step. There is so much more involved that you will find out on your journey to better health, and a better physique.

    Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe, Boyer Coe, said that "Age is just mind over matter.... if you don't mind it don't matter" ! Take a tip from Boyer and think young to regain your youthful appearance. Good luck, and train hard !

    Strictly Business

  • #2
    Great article Tim, thanks for posting it.
    My Competition Prep Journal

    Muscular Development Forum Rules


    • #3
      My pleasure bro!
      Strictly Business


      • #4
        Good read.


        • #5
          Thanks Lynch,hopefully it`ll inspire more older guys who may read the board to train hard and get into`s never too late.
          Strictly Business


          • #6
            Good article, and well wrote. Thanks for sharing
            Behind the 8-ball again


            • #7
              I turn 40 on Wednesday.

              I can vouch for the truth in this article. My turn around came at almost the same time (38), but it was brought on by a diagnosis of Type II diabetes.

              Nothing like a message from the big guy upstairs to set you straight!

              I will try to come up with a 500 word article related to the event and the turnaround.

              Tim, the other message is that life is really forever changed, if you are a Former Fat Boy. The body will always want to return to that state, and I find that I need to live like a body builder, just to keep from getting fat again.

              All guys "thinking" about getting back into control should read and re-read your post....every day.

              Thanks for posting,


              • #8
                Thanks bob,I appreciate it my friend.

                Rhyalus,thank you for the kind words,glad you liked the article and that you could realte to it, as I`m sure many can.
                Strictly Business


                • #9
                  over 40

                  Tim, I enjoyed your article. I thought much of it should be relevant to anyone training at any age, though. If you can identify one big difference between under-40 & over-40 training for you, what would it be?


                  • #10
                    Thanks Mike.........the difference would be that I`m much smarter now.

                    What I mean is that I train just as hard as ever or even harder,but my training has evolved to a point where not much effort is wasted a nutshell I`ve learned a lot about my body and what it best responds to training and dietwise.

                    I honestly feel like a kid these days and my enthusiasm has never been higher.

                    I have had recent knee pains for the first time in many years and I think it was caused by training every bodypart twice weekly which I tried earlier this year after having not done it in eons.

                    Over-40 ,or under-40 makes no difference to me really as I have stayed in pretty decent condition now since 1993 competing regularly.

                    I literally train circles around much younger people in my gym.....not bragging at all,just trying to illustrate the point that getting older shouldn`t inhibit you in the gym as long as you have no physical problems or ailments.
                    Strictly Business


                    • #11
                      I have been lifting since I was 18...I am now 45. I am just as strong now as I have ever been. My biggest complaint is the injuries that I have accumalated when I was younger give me problems now. I have never been big on stretching but I think I need to start.

                      5'11'' 215 pounds right about 10 - 11% bf


                      • #12
                        Cool,I said I was gonna` start stretching for over 5 years and never did!!

                        Just started this year at the urging of my new training partner and it is helping bigtime.I recommend it.

                        At first I was hesitant because I would train,then do cardio,then abs,and I just wanted to get the hell outta` there and eat,but it`s worth the extra 10-15 minutes it takes to stretch.

                        My flexibilty is much first I was as rusty as the Tim Man from the Wizard Of Oz!! LOL
                        Strictly Business


                        • #13
                          I have been lifting since I wqs 18...Im now 45! I have competed in a couple of shows (not too genectically gifted) when I turned 40. I lift with basically the same way now as then. But I can tell you that the injuries that I occured in my youth (dislocations, knees, elbows, etc) are giving me fits now. I guess I should modify my workouts.

                          Stats: 5'11" 210 10%