Sure, you’re not a pup anymore.
But simple tweaks to your regimen will keep you in the game for years to come, says Glenn Phipps, the sports scientist with ESPN’s Search4Hurt and trainer to world champion masters athletes.
Here are his tips for staying strong and lean in midlife.
MIND YOUR BACK
“Time to get serious about guarding against back degeneration.
“Ask yourself why you’re squatting and deadlifting, and whether there are safer exercises for achieving comparable results.
“If you must keep loading up the spine via these big moves, do them no more than once a week.”
“Once you hit 40, your body holds a lot of stories, aka old knee injuries.
“These can be a prelude to arthritis, an impediment to athletic performance and hard training.
“You can’t erase damage, but you can take pressure off it by staying lean and light. Ageing knees hate fat – and excessive upper-body muscle.”
“At some point it dawns on the ageing warrior that he’s as supple as a rock.
“A lot of guys will start going to yoga classes, but I think flexibility training is best done solo so you can target your specific issues.
“It’s pretty simple: stretch whatever’s tight. If you’ve been working at a desk for 20 years, start with your hip flexors.”
SHORT AND SWEET
“I know a former world champion fighter who still starts his days with 10-kay runs. Wrong move.
“The repetitive pounding exacerbates joint pain, and steady-state cardio is no longer the most efficient use of your time.
“HIIT, on the other hand, will bolster your maximum heart rate and testosterone levels.
“But you must earn the right to do HIIT by sorting out any symmetry and mobility issues first.
“Then, on a rower, do five three-minute bursts separated by three minutes of rest, aiming to reduce those breathers as you improve.”
“You need to tweak your approach to workout nutrition, too.
“As you age, your body’s ability to recruit fat for energy is waning, so to help this process along avoid eating any high-carbohydrate foods within the hour before training.
“But prioritise glucose replenishment post-workout to subdue the inflammatory response to exercise that can put pressure on your not-quite-what-it-was immune system.”
“Your biggest enemy is sarcopenia, the insidious process that can strip 3-8 per cent of your muscle mass per decade from the age of 30.
“Your best defence: weight training, specifically three sets of six moves at 80 per cent of your 1RM.
“Performed once a week and teamed with 7-8 hours of nightly shut-eye, this routine will help maintain T levels and, consequently, your ability to hang onto your granite-hard biceps.”
“Your body protests more as it ages. Fact of life.
“Up to a point, your best bet is to push on regardless, but make some allowances, such as following that heavy weights session with a rest day (or two).”
Here’s how Phipps would structure a 40-plus guy’s routine:
Mon Weights – upper body, high reps (12-20)
Tues Cardio – intervals on the rower
Wed Weights – lower body, high reps (12-20)
Thurs Injury-prevention day – stretching and stability exercises, tailored to your needs
Fri Weights – all body, low reps (6)
Sat & Sun Rest or active fun, eg, surfing, tennis