10 Rules to Building a Better Physique in Middle Age
With so many systems, techniques, secrets, tips, videos, and articles out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when taking on the seemingly monumental task of building a better physique in middle-age. Don’t fret! These 10 simple rules will get you on your way.
#1: Train for Function & Physique
Simply pumping up your biceps is not going to cut it. You need to be functional and good looking. Make sure you’re using full ranges of motion, proper form, and a balanced workout regimen to enhance both your physique and your function.
#2: Don’t Train Like You’re 20
First things first: you are not in your 20s anymore. In your 20s you could beat the crap out of yourself in the gym, go drinking all night, then wake up at 7:00AM like nothing ever happened. Things are different now. When training for physique in middle age, your body will take longer to recover, require a more consistent and progressive training program, and take longer to show the results of all of your effort. Acknowledge and accept this shift prior to starting a new physique-quest.
#3: Double Recovery & Mobility Training
While it’s fun to go straight to the heavy weights, you need make sure you’re mobile enough to lift safely. If you’ve been sitting in a desk for the last 10-20 years with very little movement, you probably have some major imbalances that could lead to sever injury. Use stretches, joint mobility exercises, and slow unweighted movements for double the time you were planning on prior to lifting. After you finish your workout, cool down with the same routine.
#4: Double Your Water Intake
Your doctor probably harps on you all the time about drinking more water, and he or she should! The typical advice is to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces. If you weigh 180-pounds, that’s 90 ounces. Sounds like a lot at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it.
However, this calculation doesn’t account for your increased workouts. Depending on your training regimen, you may want to drink 1.5 to 2 times as much. In addition to the enhanced effect that being properly hydrated will have on your workout, you also need that water to flush your body of free radicals released when you train. This is especially important as you get started.
#5: Hire a Professional
If you really want to get serious about your physique in middle age, you need help. On top of that, you need someone who can show you how to avoid or recover from injuries that may occur. Unlike training when you were younger, you don’t have the time or energy to use a “trial by fire” approach to exercise. If you get hurt, it will derail your training schedule and possibly your overall health for a long time. Get serious and hire a professional when you get started.
#6: Physique in Middle Age Requires that You Supplement Correctly
You’ve probably heard this before: “You should be getting all the nutrients you need from the food you eat.” In an ideal world, that would be great. I’m sure you would love to eat organically grown super-foods, properly prepared and served 5-8 times a day, but you’re a working man! For this reason, you’ll probably need to supplement some of the nutrients you need for you new workout plan. You should, of course, get on a good diet, but don’t be afraid to get natural supplements to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
#7: Train Consistently
This is probably the most important advice you can get as you get back into training for a better physique in middle-age. Too many men and women burn out as they get back into training, especially if they trained hard in their 20s or 30s. You need to understand that it is more important for you to train 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week, then to train 90 minutes a day for 1 or 2 days week. You can always progress to longer training cycles, but starting out, just be consistent and make sure you’re training daily if possible.
#8: Recover When You Need To
There is no more, “no pain, no gain” when you train for physique in middle age. Yes, you will be sore, but “pain” in the sense that working out through or around injuries is a no-no. If you have an injury, you need to make sure it is fully recovered before loading on the weight. If you take a week off and the injury is not improving, go see your doctor. There is absolutely no use in messing around.
#9: Simplify Your Workouts
Don’t get complicated when you start you train. The key to training for physique in middle-age is to train for the long term, and to get more involved in the process of knowing how to train your body. Pick a workout method (like supersets, circuits, or low rep sets) or tool (like a dumbbell, barbell, or cable machine) and try to get your entire workout done. This will force you to think more about what you’re doing with your body, rather than switching up equipment all the time or referencing a complicated workout routine.
#10: Be Prepared for Slow Progress
If you’re starting a new physique training program and you haven’t trained for 5, 10, or 20+ years, don’t expect epic changes overnight! Your body will need to readjust itself to the physical demands of exercise. If you took you years to get into your current, unsatisfactory shape, understand that it may take years to reach your new goal.