Men: How to get in shape after 35

So you’ve reached your mid 30’s and realised you’ve let yourself slip a little. The heavy drinking sessions and questionable diet is starting to take its toll and your metabolism just isn’t what it used to be.

Life can sometimes get in the way – career, family, the temptation of a ‘few’ beers and a take away at the weekend, but at what point do you stop being the overweight, stressed out unhealthy guy and start to regain your superhero status?

Maybe you’ve already tried to make a change, you joined a gym, started cutting down on the beers but got a reality slap when you realised you can’t do what you could in your 20’s. You’re exhausted after a short jog, you can’t lift as heavy weights as the younger lads in the gym and it takes you longer to recover.

Maybe you don’t actually know what you’re supposed to be doing to get in shape in the first place, so you struggle to see any progress and just end up throwing in the towel.

Sound Familiar?

Well, it’s not all bad news.

We’ve condensed the exact steps we use to help our clients bounce back in to shape and get back the physique they had in their 20’s.

Lose the beginnings of your beer belly, build lean muscle and start turning heads again before you slide even further down the slippery slope, by following our definitive 6-step guide.

Reduce Heavy Low-Rep Training

We are not saying that you should be trading the barbells & dumbbells for aerobics, far from it. Consistently trying to lift heavy weights in the lower rep ranges (1-5) has a tendency to cause joint issues and leave you feeling fatigued. While guys in their 20’s may be able to train through this, as we get older, recovery becomes harder and we need to consider training longevity. The fastest way to slow progress down is to be injured.

Build Muscle

Along with general strength progress, there should be some focus on building up lean muscle mass. A loss of muscle often means you can’t do the activities or exercises you used to enjoy and your risk for injuries increases. Muscle tissue is proven to be essential for maintaining a healthy body as we age. The more lean muscle tissue we have, combined with living an active lifestyle and eating a nutrient-dense diet the better quality of life you will have.

Avoid Training To Failure

A common misconception in the training world is that you must train to your maximum every workout to make progress. Pushing every exercise to failure and crawling out of the gym in a pool of sweat every session might leave you feeling as if you have just had an effective workout however this isn’t required to achieve results. In fact, the majority of the time it’s not necessary at all. Work smart. There are a number of people who train hard but struggle to make any progress despite all of their efforts. If you consistently push your body to failure on every exercise a few things will begin to happen.

Get Mobile

In this day & age, it’s well known that we spend too much time sitting down hunched over a desk. We know that this can lead to poor posture and tight, weak muscles that coincide with aches & pains. Bringing a tight, weak body straight into the gym training under heavy loads without addressing any of your mobility issues may cause more problems than benefits.

For that reason alone, performing some mobility is a very important part of the training puzzle if you want to get results and prevent injury.


Have you ever just walked straight into the gym, done a few push-ups, maybe a few star jumps then just jumped straight into your weight training? At almost any age, even more at 35+, not performing some type of warm-up increases the likelihood of you picking up an injury or niggle. You must take the time to warm up properly.

Warm-ups need to be effective, to the point and simple. Address the key areas, get a bit of a sweat on, and prepare yourself for whatever your session starts with through some specific movement prep.

Build Your Aerobic Capacity

Basic aerobic capacity can decrease by 1% every year after 25.

By being physically active you help to slow the age-related declines. There are many ways that aerobic capacity can be tackled, and it’s good to mix up the energy systems being worked.

There has been a general trend to focus on interval training as opposed to longer aerobic training; however, we feel it is important to include both.

Follow A Structured Program

One of the most ignored aspects of recovery is properly structured exercise programming.

This means not just ‘doing a bunch of exercises and training hard’, as this is highly unlikely to yield results in the long term.

Those of us who do not follow a structured programme often end up doing things we like and are good at and neglect the things we don’t like or find difficult. These are often the things we should do more of too and by not, can be a fast ticket to injury and time off exercise.


One thing that separates the 40-somethings from the 20-somethings is recovery time.

There is a direct correlation between how well you recover and how hard you can train repeatedly and we should only exercise intensely to the degree to which we can recover.

Here are our 6 key points to recovering to maximise results:

1. Daily monitoring: The best way to measure how you are recovering is by asking yourself how you feel on a given day.

2. Pre-recovery : Pre-recovery is the broad term for all of the things that you do day-to-day outside of your workouts before you even get to the gym. It is something that many of us do not think about, probably in part because it might be the least sexy bit of advice that you will ever receive when it comes to exercise and nutrition, but also because what it actually means is that if you want to push the exercise boundaries, you need to do the basics, consistently.

3. Nutrition: The food that we nourish our bodies with is vital, both the quality and quantity. This can extend to more involved nutritional strategies for the more advanced exercisers amongst us, but at the outset, it will always come down to the basics, done consistently.

This includes eating and drinking enough of the right things, getting restful sleep, limiting stress, meditating, playing with the kids, or whatever else it is that helps you wind down and regenerate.

4. Hydration: A bit like nutrition, we have heard it all before when it comes to the importance of hydration, but it keeps being highlighted for very good reason – hydration is key.

5. Sleep: Sleep might be the most underrated ‘supplement’ available. Adequate sleep, especially long term, will be perhaps the biggest determining factor when it comes to recovery.

6. Mobility and soft tissue work Regular mobility training and soft tissue work are as important as intense exercise, assuming that you want to stay injury-free of course. We appreciate that for many of us who would prefer to spend our time exerting ourselves more intensely that this might seem like a bit of a nuisance, but neglect your stretching and mobility or soft tissue work at your peril – trust me, we’ve been there.

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