Training at 40 - What to do.

Looking to feel as fit as you did in your early 20's?

Sick and tired of feeling sluggish?

For those who are exercising over 40 years of age it is proven that we need to start lifting weights in order to increase longevity. Supplemented with a diet that is richer in protein (See cited papers below)

In this article, we discuss: What do you have to do to be fit and healthy over 40 when...

1. What to do when the same old exercise regime has stopped working... 

2. Food: It doesn't have to be complicated.

3. How to regain the fitness from your youth.

(2.5 minute read)

Exercise at 40

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What happens to the body as you age?

As we get older the first thing to happen is that the body starts to ache. Stress is higher and the kids simply come first. It's ok, but now its time to look after you!

'But what happens to the body itself?'

Our muscles and tendons are only as strong as we make them. Meaning that if they are not under stress (from weight training or other resisted exercise) then we simply plateau or in most cases we get weaker. 

So firstly. Stop running and pounding the roads. I'm all for running I competed at it for over 8 years at a National Level. But hear me out as someone who has been through it, tested various research papers and physical activity regimes. 

1. As we get older our natural strength levels decrease.

This is due to our musculature not being challenged. This is mainly due to lifestyle, sitting at a desk and lack of general manual labour. 

2. How to fix it...

Therefore all research points in the direction of lifting weights in order to improve your health and fitness. 

If you like running then change it to:

Uphill running only. The resistance of a 30 degree incline ads huge opportunity for our leg strength to increase. But remember, its just a temporary solution for a bigger problem as we age. Our upper body and back muscles do NOT get worked running sadly... take it from a 27-year-old male who had the posture of a 90-year-old after years of distance running. 

So you do NEED to lift weights... 

'Lifting weights? What will it do for me'

Learn to lift weights with supervision. But why?

Lifting weights helps maintain lean muscle mass, resulting in:

  • More muscle mass which will burn fat (as you get older you lose muscle and then we burn less calories resulting in us getting "fatter")
  • Lifting weights results in more strength to prevent injury.
  • Keeps joints and ligaments strong and helps to prevent falls. 
  • Develop confidence in knowing HOW to do it properly with the help of an expert.

N.B. You do not need to lift crazy heavy weights and no you don't need a mirror like the lads in the commercial gym down the road. 


As put by the NY Times (and the meta-analysis paper cited below), if over 40 you need to eat more protein. Our diet in Ireland is heavy in carbohydrates and low in good fats and even lower in protein.  

The review highlighted, finds that eating more protein, well past the amounts currently recommended, can significantly augment the effects of lifting weights, especially for people past the age of 40.

That doesn't mean 'hit the Atkins diet and go for broke'...

It means try upping your protein intake to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Using not only meat sources but plant based proteins found in quinoa, beans and peas etc. The study itself wound up with 49 high-quality past experiments that had studied a total of 1,863 people, including men and women, young and old, and experienced weight trainers as well as novices.

Remember EXPERIENCED trainers. Not the PT who posts more pics of himself than he does of helpful tips.


1. Lift weights for 30 minutes on 2-3 days of the week.

2. Lower your carbohydrate intake, up your protein but do so with supervision. 

3. Seek the advice of a proffessional on learning how to weight train for your own individual needs and movement patterns. 

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Larry Brady