The 52-year old guy in the e-mail exclaimed: “SHOW ME SOMEONE MY AGE!” All I was trying to do was motivate and inspire my readers by showing them some before and after success stories. But it was almost like this guy was mad at me because the examples I displayed were age 20-something to 30-something.
Afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was trying to figure out whether he had some deep-rooted self-limiting belief that it’s impossible to get in shape after a certain age, or whether he was positive and open-minded and simply looking for tips for older men to burn fat. I figured maybe a little of both, and I thought I’d post my response on the blog because I think I can help and I’m sure there are lots of other men who would like to know this too…
So, why don’t I just cut to the chase and show you someone his age (and for the record, I don’t think 50 is old. I really do believe you are about as old as you think you are)…
Let me introduce you to Scott Holmes. Scott, a dedicated husband, father of one and a career law enforcement man, won the grand prize in our Burn the Fat Challenge Body Transformation Contest.
Scott began the 98-day before and after fitness contest at the age of 49, and during the contest, Scott had a big birthday – the BIG FIVE-O.
I think it’s a shame that so many people think it’s all downhill physically after age 40. The way most guys think, after age 50, you might as well back up the Hearse.
Well, Scott celebrated his fiftieth by winning the title of 2011 Burn the Fat Challenge OVERALL champion. Let me re-emphasize the “overall” part of that…
He didn’t just prove that it’s possible to have a great body after 50, he showed that it’s possible to have the best body improvements out of EVERY age group, out of hundreds of men who entered. Scott did what most guys don’t even do at 20 or 30.
So I asked Scott in a recent interview for our inner circle members, this question:
Tom: “What are your thoughts Scott, on this whole paradigm of aging in our society, where every time I run into a guy who is over 50, even over 40, their attitude is negative, like, “what’s the use – it’s too late, I’m too old.” And what encouraging words would you have for guys in their 40’s and 50’s and beyond who are struggling with their fitness and body shape?”
Scott: Well, before Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, I’d have to say I bought into that paradigm myself a little bit. I had no idea I’d be able to do as well as I did. I never dreamed I was going to be able to put on that much muscle mass. I only hoped to maintain what I had under the fat. I quickly learned each week as I watched my body fat percentage and lean body mass stats, that what I’d been told about aging all these years was obviously not true…
It depends on how hard you work, how much attention you’re willing to give to proper nutrition. I felt like I was able to prove to myself and hopefully to others, “Don’t believe everything negative you hear about aging.” You just need to work diligently and use proper nutrition.
I lost 27 pounds, but I was surprised at how well I was able to build up muscle. Just maintaining my lean body mass was my original goal. I surpassed that by being able to develop additional muscle while I was losing fat.
The biggest thing I can say is that hopefully my pictures can add proof and give inspiration to people. And also, certainly don’t believe everyone who tells you it can’t be done. It’s such a negative society out there where most people believe that once you hit a certain age, there’s no chance of improvement. I can tell you and hopefully show you that this is just not the case.”
I grilled Scott on that interview for an hour and here were the top tips he shared with our listeners:
1. Avoid negative influences. Don’t subject yourself to people and social activities where you know it will be nothing but temptation.
2. Surround yourself with positive influences. Get involved more with friends and social situations where you’ll be supported
3. Keep a training and nutrition journal. What you measure and what you are accountable for you will improve
4. Keep a very high compliance rate. Be consistent. Really stick to it. “I had a hot dog at a baseball game but I hardly went off my program at all the entire summer. It paid off.”
5. Use a small, conservative calorie deficit. Don’t do starvation diets – you’ll get too hungry and you won’t be able to keep up your compliance, plus you wont have as much energy to train hard and you have to train hard if you want to gain lean muscle as opposed to just losing weight.
6. Track your macronutrients. Do it just like Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle says – at least when you’re working on a serious goal (like winning a transformation contest), do it by the numbers – don’t guess – know your numbers of proteins, carbs and fat.
7. Keep the protein up. When you’re cutting calories, it pays to eat more protein – about 40% of y our total calories or well over 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, closer to 1.5 grams per pound when the calories are low and gaining muscle is one of your goals.
8. Try hardboiled eggs for a great protein snack that’s portable too. Eat 4 or 5 times per day to get in the protein you need in the most optimal way , keep hunger in check and keep your energy up. But if you have some larger meals that’s fine, just take protein snacks in between so you can hit that important protein goal.
9. Make your food taste good. Try some of Tom’s recipes from the Burn the Fat Inner Circle like the spicy turkey or chicken scramble wrap or the healthy fried rice or the healthy chicken stir fry. You have to stick with your program just like you planned it but there is no reason the food on that program has to taste bad.
10. Try a basic strength training program like the upper lower 2 day split recommended in Tom’s “The New Bodybuilding Workout” (TNB)
11. Do the big muscle group exercises that cause more release of muscle building hormones; Squats, deadlifts, romanian deadlifts and for upper body be sure to use compound exercises like dips.
12. Superset training is fantastic because it gets you done faster and it can help relieve joint stress because you don’t need so much weight to get a great workout (Scott had rotator cuff surgery just months before the challenge – he was able to work around it and rehab it with intelligent strength training).
13. Do cardio, but not more than you have to. When your diet is super strict and you count everything to be sure you have a deficit, and you’re hitting the weight training hard, you may not have to do a lot of cardio if you don’t want to – even as little as 2-3 days per week will do it.
14. 90% of this is mental – having a goal you want to achieve, clearly in writing and being able to believe that you can achieve it and having high levels of self confidence are absolute requirements
15. Support and positive environment are everything. Get into a good support circle and read Tom’s “The Fifth Element” Report (Free download available at the Burn the Fat Inner Circle)
There you have it – a super summary of the philosophy of a body transformation champion – age 50 years young. If you simply apply a handful of these tips in your life, I have no doubt you’ll immediately start seeing better results…
Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Transformation contest champion… of course, you have to enter the next transformation contest if you want to win.
Train hard and expect success,
From one Scott to another I must say, you look great! Way to go. Even though I’m significantly younger than you my father is in his early fifties so perhaps he can be inspired by this as well. I will have to forward him this article.
Inspiring!!! have any photos of women to inspire?
will post more here on the blog soon
Most inspirational – thanks for keeping these messages coming (years after I invested in “Burn the Fat and Feed the Muscle”!)
Great to see (another) 50 year old man having such fine results. I would ask you to do an article about hormones. How to naturally keep a high level as you age (if its possible). Thats one of the impotant things for us 50 year olds.
Henrik. Sure, thats a great idea. I can do a post on optimizing hormones naturally — been doing research on that for past year or so… and or, bring on someone who specializes in that area for an interview. Train hard!
I also would love to see an article about hormone optimization as we age. There’s so much dubious alternative medicine stuff about it (like Mercola-type stuff ,eugh …), i would love to hear what a level-headed fella like Tom has to say about it.
Rob amen! Evidence based info on the subject is the way to go. in the meantime, ya’ll get SERIOUS about lifting weights… how much that alters your hormonal profile long term, im not sure, but pumping some iron will definitely give you some spikes in hormones!
I am 59 and I am headed towards being in the best shape of my life. I want to be able to hike, swim and all sorts of outdoor activities. I do not want to spend my fun years going from one doctor’s office to another. Thanks Tom for all the info.
Tom, getting shape is easy, keeping all of the muscle is harder. Can u help?
On 11-13-11 I will be 81 years old. I guess I have been caught up in the myth that I am too old to gain muscle, but I have your book & weigh myself once a week. I have been keeping records for over ten years and they show that I am holding steady at my college weight of 155 pounds, but much of it is fat now. I mave much less strength now than I had in my late 20s. I should tell you that I was injured in 1984 by a fall from a hang glider and I still have some of the limitations from it. I feel glad to still be alive. I have no aspirations to be a contest winner nor a body builder, but I sure would like to increase my strength some and reduce my fat, which bring me to the question: Do you think those tips will work for me?.
I would love to see women’s transformations post 40 – especially those who work full time 40+ hr week jobs and have families. It’s great if you are 25 and a trainer or a stay at home mom, or retired, self employed or work part time, etc with more flexibility in your schedule. Unfortunately I am stuck at a desk for 8-9 hrs a day. I have daily 8 am meetings and don’t get out of work until 5:30 or 6pm. We generally only get 30min to an hour for lunch – so doing a workout at lunch is not realistic – even more so since there are no showers at our worksite. I can take a lunch walk, but that generally means shoveling food at my desk. I would love to see women who are able to transform themselves and keep in good shape with a schedule and demands similar to mine.
I recently turned 55, and I’m in the best shape of my life. The combination of good nutrition and regular exercise (especially weight lifting) is the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth.
I’m right there with you Margo….no time for anything but work. Are we just out of luck or is there a way to do this with a schedule like ours?
This is a realy nice result. But hen I am loking at Scotts picture, I am sure he not reached adropause. How to transform your body, exercise, eat, supplement, etc after the andropause? It is very rare subject, because 50+ does not mean andropause, it can be 55 or more.
You do the same thing IMRE, you lift weights, you lift weights at 50, then you lift weights at 55… then you lift some more weights at age 60… then at age 65 you lift more weights… then when you turn 70 you keep lifting weights… and then you lift weights when youre 80. when they nail you in the box, then you can stop lifting weights.
Thanks Tom so much :)
But it is a subject for whole book. Lower Testosterone and other hormones, gastrointestinal-food metabolism, energy systems, liver, pancreas changes,suplementation, etc… The only thing where research is exact and all agrees, is lifting weights, almost all other are still a big question. It seems that science do not want to speak a lot about andropause and how to make it better :(
Actually Tom, when they nail you in the box, they get to lift YOUR weight. Seems fair!
OK hears the run down im obese but my body looks normal the only thing is that i have a gut that pokes out and man jugs. But my gut doesn’t over lap or any thing my legs and arms are normal with a little bit of fat on both. i recently started going to the gym and hears what i do first i start off on the treadmill for an hour every 20 min i rest. i start my speed off on 2.5 and every 5 min i rise it 5 more and end off with 4.0 now does that help me burn calories or do i have to start off a little faster ? after that i work on my gut doing knee lifts and a crunch machine i do each of this work out 10 times in a set of 5 totaling 50 times how long after would i see results ? and after i hit the weights doing everything possible using dumb bells using the bar with weight on the end and here is the weight i use when working out( 20, 25, 30, 40 ) with these numbers can i build a lot of muscle and also does lifting weights burn calories ?
Tom, when I first read some of your comments about skinny-fat and body composition, I didn’t readily know what you were talking about. And then I looked at myself in the mirror. As a young man of 26, I didn’t fancy myself a body builder. But I did have a barbell set and a chinning bar in my bedroom doorway. They got used on a regular basis and pushups were a part of my regular workouts. I could press a handstand from a kneeling position and walk away on my hands. In those days I weighted 145 and was quite muscular.
Over the following 40 years, I gradually put on another 30 pounds. How sad. But I’ve now lost 27 of those added pounds, mostly through diet, and am nearly down to my weight in the days of my prime. But the body isn’t there today. Muscles aren’t quite there anymore. And my current weight of 147 leaves me with generous love handles. I’m having to rethink what my weight might actually be if I just lost the rest of the fat — and how much better it might be if I bulked up the muscle a bit at the same time and maintained my current weight.
A look in the mirror without my shirt provides the answer. Such a transformation would be a challenge at my age. But I chuckle at the suggestion that age 50 is over-the-hill and a lost cause. Hell, 50 is chicken from my viewpoint.
Yes it does seem once you pass 50 you realize that the vast majority of things written for men dealing with health and fitness are written for guys in their late teens and twenties. Steve Reeves is the only one I know of that addresses training for guys over 50 in his book Building the Classis Physique Naturally. Even there it’s 2 pages, but at least it’s there. Thanks for this post.
[…] plus there are special categories for the top team of 5 and for individual achievements like best transformation after age 50, most ripped and most […]
Great post! It really inspire a lot of men who lose hope in losing weight but here comes a site that help men to still have the chance of losing weight even if they are not that young anymore. Thanks for sharing! Keep it up!
Shedding pounds/Losing weight is never an easy task that’s why ultimate fat burner help by providing sensible information about losing weight.
Thank you for your time and shared knowledge. I have recently started training again.
My diet is excellent, no alcohol, sugars etc, weigh food and calculate calories according to your excellent BFFM e book I purchased years ago, I follow Bill Phillips training routine at the moment as I suffer with a weak lower back and want to gain some initial strength and protection as this has worked for me before, until I move onto one of your split routines. I do 40 min of hard cardio alternating daily with weights, I am a 47year old male. 5ft 11 inches. My scales say 170 lb 18% fat at present. I lost 2% fat in the first month. Could I ask you to suggest a sensible amount of time to lose a further 5%. The last time I trained I got stuck at 14%. I was younger and it took 4 months. Thanks Tom for your time.
Chris, thanks for your post. its more typical than not to get stuck /plateau after an extended period of calorie restriction or at least see results slow slightly. Sometimes after several months of restricted calorie dieting when you want to get even leaner, it pays to take a break at maintenance calories for a week or two to reset yourself physically and mentally or at least start using the carb cycling method as per BFFM so youre not in large calorie deficit all the time. Then, setting a goal of Up to 2% body fat loss a month is well within realistic range – that would be 2.5 months to drop 5% bf… though if it takes 3 or 4 months, you’re still there. for reference, most bodybuilders take 3 to 4 months to prep for a show where they are going from already lean (off season shape) to ripped. They lose it slowly on purpose. Better for you and not as extreme. be patient and celebrate all progress however slow. Train hard, Tom.
I would love to have the book but I spent too much money this kind of stuff before