Age-related changes to your body occur in your late 20s and 30s, but for many people, especially men, it’s the big 4-0 that really hits home the thought of “Struth…I’m getting old, how can I feel young again”?

Feeling old is a mindset, and I’d be a rich man for every man who said they were ‘too old’ for exercise, and ‘past’ doing weights or heading to the gym, to the point that they can no longer summons the energy to raise an eyebrow at the things that used to excite them. Remember the time when you used to be fast, or strong, good at this and Captain of that? If you were to compare yourself to a Ford truck then, you may have been an F350. What would you say you were now? An F250, 150 or 100?? Some men drop from hero to zero in less time than it took to reach them peddles when they learnt to drive and there is a host of reasons ‘why’. But that’s not what I am focusing on here.

What if I told you that it’s not too late? What would you do if there was a way to get back to be a F350 or beyond to a Ford F-450 Super Duty Limited worth $100,000. This dream machine comes with a “satin chrome” grille, panoramic moonroof with a retractable shade, seats that warm you, cool you down and massage you like a boss. There is copious real wood trim, a 10-speaker sound system and Sync3 out the wazoo. Interested how to be more of a F450 than a F100? Not a Ford Man? That’s okay, stay with me anyway.

Exercise is about as close as you can get to a real-world fountain of youth (the F350). The right types of exercise can prevent age-related muscle loss, stave off cognitive decline and even trigger mitochondrial biogenesis, a decline of which is common in aging. This reverses significant age-associated declines in mitochondrial mass, and in effect stops aging in its tracks.1

In fact, my 45-year-old (chronological age) client started my Fitter After Forty 30-day program, with a Biological age of 50 years which was 5 years older than he actually was. Following a daily regime of flexibility workouts, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combined with Strength Training and following a nutrition program of healthy whole foods for 30-days, he was able to lose over 10kg, 10 cm off his waist, clean up his diet and cut more than a decade off his Biological age to become 37 again. He wound back his body-clock and you can to.

Optimize Your Fitness After 40
The first step is to simply get moving, but beyond that, you’ll want to tweak your workouts for your 40-year-old self. This does not mean taking it easy — it means tailoring your workouts, so you can be in the best shape of your life, even if you’re 40 or beyond.

1. Be Flexible


mature man exercising

mature man doing his streches in the park

The research found that an inability to touch your toes while in a seated position (sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you) might mean your arteries have become stiff, and you have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.2
Yoga and foam rolling can be useful for increasing flexibility, and I also recommend active isolated stretches for Warming Up and static stretches for Warming Down such as the routines from my video library.



Upper Body Warm-Up (Count 1)

Complete 10 reps for each exercise. Do 2 sets.

Slow Wrist Roll

Backward/Forward Shoulder Roll

Shoulder Flexion and Extension Stretch

Internal / External Shoulder Rotation

Lower Body Warm-Up (ICT 2)

Complete 10 reps for each exercise. Do 2 sets.

Standing High Knee Drive w. Toe up dynamic stretch

Butt Kickers Dynamic Stretch

Standing Foot Grab Hip Dynamic Stretch

Dynamic Standing Hip External and Internal Rotator Stretch

Upper Body Warm Down (Tabata 1)

Complete 45 – 60 seconds for each exercise. Do 1-2 sets.

Seated Shoulder Flexor, Depressor w. Retractor Static Stretch

Shoulder Adductor, Protractor w. Elevator Static Stretch

Shoulder Stretch 2

Triceps Brachii Static Stretch

Lower Body Warm Down (Count 1)

Complete 45 – 60 seconds for each exercise. Do 1-2 sets.

Supine Lower-trunk Flexor Static Stretch

Seated Hip External Rotator and Extensor Static Stretch

Kneeling Rectus Femoris Static Stretch

Plantor Flexor Static Stretch

2. Rissole (…get rid) Long Cardio Workouts

Extreme endurance exercises, such as the marathon and triathlon training, pose significant risks to your heart, some of which may be irreversible and life-threatening. In fact, the following can occur when you exercise too much or too hard:

  • You can develop microscopic tears in your muscle fibres (which may fail to heal if you continue over-exercising), and increased risk for injuries
  • Excess cortisol (a stress hormone) can be released, which not only contributes to catabolism but also to chronic disease
  • Your immune system may be weakened
  • Your body can enter a catabolic state, in which your tissues break down

3. HIITs Are Good for Us 40 Somethings Too

Research in the Netherlands found that men who begin High Intensive Interval Training (HIIT) after age 40 get similar benefits to those who started prior to age 30 — as well as show several health advantages compared to men who do not exercise. As little as four minutes of exercise performed at extreme intensity four times a week may also improve your anaerobic capacity by 28 percent and your VO2 max and maximal aerobic power by 15 percent in as little as six weeks. For comparison, those who performed an hour of steady cardiovascular exercise on a stationary bike five times a week only improved VO2 max by 10 percent, and their regimen had no effect on their anaerobic capacity. Using a method that increases heart rate, challenges muscle fatigue, and challenges you mentally such as the Countdown method. This type of training session is structured as an Upper/Lower Split, therefore both segments of your body will get used.
Try my Countdown 3 Workout to experience a HIIT workout

Workout Method

With two exercises start at the number of reps set out for both and work down until you have completed reps for each set down to 1.

A1. 6-Count Burpees

10 sets x 10 >1 rep, 2110 tempo, Nil rest

A2. Inverted Rows W. Boom gate bar, overhand grip

10 sets x 10 >1 rep, Nil rest


Rest 2 mins between each stage


B1. Speed Jacks

10 sets x 10 >1 rep, X tempo, Nil rest

B2. Mountain Climbers W. Up-downs

10 sets x 10 >1 rep, Nil rest

4. Simple Core Workout To Do In Your 40’s

Sometimes the simplest of movements result in the greatest gains to your fitness, and this is certainly the case with core exercises, such as planks. To do a plank, you hold your body (the trunk portion) off the ground, making sure to hold it in a straight line. This can be done with arms fully extended (full plank), or on your elbows (elbow plank). Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten. While building strength, planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups.

5. Get Stronger In Your 40’s

Include strength training as part of your exercise regime. Without weight training, your muscles will atrophy and lose mass. Age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and if you don’t do anything to stop it you can expect to lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s.4

Even if you’ve never done strength training before, now is the time to start. In addition to helping you maintain your muscle mass, strength training can help to build bone density, decrease your risk of falls, provide relief from joint pain, and even improve blood sugar control.

Strength Training For 40’s Workout

Complete a thorough warm-up before starting.

A1) Back Squats (Quads)

2-3 sets x 10 reps @211 pace.

Superset with…

A2) Push-Ups or Bench Press (Chest)

2-3 sets x 10 reps @211 pace.

Rest 1 min between sets


Recover for 2 minutes before starting Part B


B1) Deadlifts (Glutes)

2-3 sets x 10 reps @211 pace.

Superset with…

B2) Pronated Pull Up Negative (Lats/Back)

2-3 sets x Max reps @211 pace.

Superset with…

B3) Standing Arnold Press (Deltoids/Shoulders)

2 sets x 10 reps @211 pace.

Rest 1 min between sets

Warm Down.

Finally, it’s well known that one of most underrated areas of performance enhancement is recovery. Make sure you recover between workouts by stretching, taking cold baths, getting massages, drinking plenty of water and get plenty of movement throughout the day to reduce soreness and assist muscle resynthesis (growth).

Remember, if you’re fit at 40 or 50, you’re much more likely to be healthy into your 70s and 80s. The benefits of starting — and continuing — an exercise program is amazing, even if you do so in mid or late life.

Sources & References

  2. American Journal of Physiology May 9, 2012
  3. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Oct;297(4):H1314-8
  4. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1995 Nov;50 Spec No:5-8.

Are you 40 (or OVER) and want to get fit?

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