I have been training consistently for 10 years now and am more or less familiar with how physical activity and nutrition Impact the human body. Training over 40 requires a slightly different approach as opposed to training in your 20s and 30s. Our body tends to lose testosterone as we go beyond 30. This rate compounds every decade thereafter. I won’t get into details on Testosterone (you can watch my video on Testosterone here https://youtu.be/QGiKKVYf9Wc) But to cut the long story short, the better your T-levels, the more lean muscle tissue you carry resulting in low body fat which has a direct impact on metabolism. An ageing adult tends to lose testosterone at an average of 1.6 percent every year as per research available from the NCBI(National Center for Biotechnology Information.). So, your main objective must be to preserve testosterone and age gradually and gracefully 😊
My 4 key tips on an educated approach to training and nutrition over 40
- Recovery-Your training intensity is directly related to your recovery. You will experience this as you get older, and workouts will need to be tweaked in order to remain progressive. Your recovery between workouts after 40 will be different as opposed to how it was in your 20s and 30s, in terms of your body’s response to exercise. You must do a combination of isolation and compound movements at a 70-75% MHR(Maximum hear rate) with that occasional intense set every now and then. Let us face it, to remain active in any sport and be consistent at it, your experience will have to be organic. You will evolve every year and learn about the nuances of the sport. Alongside Exercise and Nutrition having an impact on your body, your mobility, rehab & injury management will be a part of the process and become significant as you go along. Your organic evolution will teach you how to manage these variables better vs if you were to take the unnatural approach(I mean trying to get to a certain look or feel with the help of performance enhancement drugs where the Turnaround is shorter compared to the natural approach, however, it comes with its own set of problems) So make sure to rest adequately by prioritizing a few things like sleep, pre and post-workout nutrition, getting regular blood work done( once every 6 to 8 months in my opinion) to check for deficiencies and then alter your nutrition approach or supplement accordingly. All of this will aid in better recovery and keep you longer in the sport.
- Protein intake– This is paramount with age. You want to preserve lean mass as much as you can to stay closer to the fountain of youth. Exercise will give you the stimulus and consuming around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kg of B/W will ensure you are repairing damaged tissue adequately and making way for new ones to grow.
- Be selective with the type of exercise- This is more of a choice between accepting and acknowledging what your body is trying to tell you as opposed to what your mind wants. As a working athlete(I like to call myself a working athlete simply ‘casue of my day job status) your mind never wants to settle for anything less intense and impactful, but with age, there will come a time when you will have to be smart and listen to your body. You will have prolonged issues with your back, shoulders, and certain functional areas which will impair physical movements of a certain nature. A classic example is the conventional deadlift. There was a time I would do this 3 times a week and was very good at managing my performance on the lifts, however, now I keep it to sumo deadlifts(a shorter range of motion) ever once in a while and even use the occasional trap bar if I have to. This way I do not have a sore back all the time and by doing so, I am able to conserve my energy better, speed up recovery, and remain consistent all through the year. Even if you have to go light weight a few sessions and not train at maximum intensity, so be it. Choose an exercise you can perform at an optimal level or learn how to manage the difficult ones (for Example, if you have knee issues, stop the front squat as it will only worsen your game overall). This again will take courage to accept from a mental perspective and will come with years of training and experience.
- 10 min walks post meals– This is a strategy I have learned from an accomplished athlete and IFBB Pro, Stan Efferding’s lectures and have applied it to myself. If I were to put health and longevity in one line, it would be Learning how to manage blood sugar levels. Almost every potential medical illness has a correlation with blood sugar management. A quick recap on Blood Sugar management- Each time we eat, our digestive system breaks the food down into sugar which enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, insulin is produced by the pancreas to help the cells absorb the blood sugar and store it efficiently, if no insulin is there, blood sugar will keep rising leading to a host of problems. Now, our objective is to always produce as less insulin as possible and whatever is produced, should quickly do its job and go away. When your insulin is low, your body’s ability to manage weight is far better (weight loss will not happen in the presence of insulin) which improves your overall metabolism. Now, coming back to the point, these quick 10 min walks post your meals can be a game changer when it comes to blood sugar management. You will have to eat to survive and that is the order of life. Each time you will eat there will be an insulin response. These 10 mins walk when done consistently, helps your body to become better at managing blood sugar by digesting your food quickly and keeping your insulin low at all times. And it certainly is something you can manage in your daily schedule.
A sidenote- we are a nation where food choices are more compulsive and less selective. A classic example is vendors selling Peanuts(Mungfali) at railway stations as “TIMEPASS”. It is a certain indication of how responsible eating has no order for us as individuals. So, make sure to follow the above as you go along and listen to your body. The more organic your evolution, the greater will be your ability to learn, understand and act in any discipline. Remember, wherever there is pain there will be learning, and that is where the adaptation needs to happen.
We lift; therefore we are!