Ok men, let’s start with some basic facts. According to the National Institute of Health, as men enter their 30s, they start to lose muscle mass. Since the amount of muscle we our body consists of correlates to the amount of calories our body burns in a day, you want to do all you can to build and preserve muscle. Muscle mass burns a relatively large percentage of the calories you take in and losing muscle mass has the opposite effect. As if that is not already bad news, the rate of muscle loss accelerates as you age. The way to counteract that is to become more physically active.
It is fair to say that some men may have a genetic tendency toward weight gain and belly fat accumulation. However, in most cases, the role that genetics plays is very small. I would be willing to bet that lack of physical activity and other negative lifestyle choices play a much bigger role. By negative lifestyle choices I mean the regular consumption of alcohol and/or fatty foods that usually accompany alcohol consumption.
Reasons for Weight Gain:
• Decreased Metabolism
• Muscle Loss
• Sedentary Lifestyle
The best way to reverse the accumulation of fat and the loss of muscle mass is to add 3-4 resistance training sessions into your lifestyle. It is important to note that since weight training raises your metabolic rate for as long as 12 hours after exercising, it is even more crucial to make it part of your lifestyle. That means that if you lift weights, your body will burn calories faster. If you have never lifted weights before, start slowly and get professional instruction to avoid injury. Even if you did lift weights in the past, you might need to warm-up a little longer than you did in your 20s and 30s. The trainers at Prescription Fitness can work with you to develop a plan that will allow you to reach your goals.
Cardio is great for losing weight. There are many variations of cardiovascular exercise that will produce results: running, swimming, cycling, hiking, team sports, jumping rope, etc. If you choose to do cardio without any added resistance training, aim for three to five sessions per week, at 45 to 60 minutes per session. If you do decide to add resistance training to your routine, two to three sessions is a good place to begin.
I’ll be honest, losing weight at ANY age requires a combination of regular training and dietary adjustments BUT if you’re over 40, you’ve got to be single-minded; take your eating and training seriously! Focus on reducing your calorie intake by choosing foods that contain fewer calories or reducing the portion sizes of foods you already eat. Your diet should consist mostly of natural foods in sensible quantities, and drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive alcohol consumption.
So, although you may be busy with other responsibilities, being fit in your 40s should be a priority. Getting (or staying) fit not only prevents excess weight gain as you age, it also means preserving muscle mass, flexibility and cardiovascular health.