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  • Writer's pictureChris Davidson

Looking Better Than 99% of People Over 40 is About One Thing

I tried every program possible to get in shape in my 30s, and I still looked like sh*t.

I constantly had ‘projects’. Big Plans.

Keto for 6 weeks. Powerlifting for 3 months. Cold showers for… well I didn’t last long with that one, to be honest. Brrrr.

But this kind of short-termism is fine for folks in their 20s and 30s — they have time to mess up and learn.

After 40 your body starts arguing with you a little, and the clock is ticking. Things don’t work as well as they once did, so you need to avoid wasting time on dumb stuff if you want to:

  • get in shape

  • lose weight

  • look and feel younger than your age

Look around you and you won’t see many folks over 40 in great shape and full of energy. Because 99% of people struggle to do something that can’t be found in their social media feeds and Google searches.

It’s consistently turning up and doing the Minimum Effective Dose.

What is M.E.D.?

Doing the Minimum Effective Dose means doing just enough to move the needle and improve your health, fitness, and body shape as you get older.

And then not trying to do any more than this because it’s unsustainable.

For folks over 40, it is better to nail this MED week-in week-out than to only manage to do something much higher maintenance for 6 weeks, while hating life, being desperate to stop, and eventually giving up and doing nothing for months.

Think about it.

From a purely mathematical perspective, it’s better to do:

2 workouts per week for 52 weeks (104 Workouts)than5 workouts per week for 6 weeks, 3 times a year (90 Workouts).

Similarly, it’s better to:

lose on average 1lb/0.5kg per week for 52 weeks (52lbs/26kg total fat loss)than3lbs per week for 4 weeks (-12lbs) with severe calorie restriction, then gain that weight back (+12lbs) because you give up (0 total fat loss).

Let’s look at what I’ve found, from self-experimentation and coaching tons of guys over 40, is the realistic, sustainable MED to nail every week, to stand out as one of the few people on this Earth who looks great after 40

This is your Workout MED

Two hours in total of resistance training and short bursts of cardio

Slice and dice it any way you want, 2 workouts of 1 hour, 6 workouts of 20 minutes, whatever — nail two hours of progressive overload resistance training and throw in 5 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training at the end.

This will:

  • build strength and muscle

  • give you some Running For A Bus fitness

  • help you burn body fat, and

  • transform your body shape in months.

And most importantly you can fit this in every single week because you haven’t had to turn your busy work and family life upside down.

Your body shape will improve even further if you can also nail your…

Healthy Eating & Fat Loss MED

80% for Health. 20% for Fun.

You can still lose weight after 40, you just don’t necessarily have the Ferrari-engine metabolism you had in your 20s, due to both age and a more sedentary lifestyle.

So the levels of indulgence we could get away with in the past bite us in the ass pretty quickly. <weeps quietly>.

Instead of short-term, masochistic approaches to ‘Going On A Diet’, we can lose body fat and stay trim using the minimum effective dose of dietary effort — restricting calories and eating healthier foods most of the time, say Monday to Friday, or 80% of the time, meaning:

  • High protein breakfasts (eggs, yogurt, etc)

  • High protein lunches (meat/fish salads)

  • minimal snacks between meals

  • be a bit hungry, then

  • a normal, yet portion-controlled, dinner.

In that way, you can still have indulgences, meals out with the family, take out, beer and wine, etc 20% of the time.

You will lose weight while retaining a healthy relationship with food and being in control of your body weight for decades to come.

Now the last thing to do is to fit in your…

Energy Boosting, Stress Reducing, Spring in Your Step MED

Sleep & Walk more while balancing your hormones.

The people I meet over 40 who have boundless energy, a youthful outlook, and seem younger than their years all have a few things in common:

  • they are conscious of having to manage stress

  • they prioritize their sleep

  • they understand the importance of hormonal balance as they get older.

Ultimately all those things are interconnected.

  • Sleep helps you manage stress and regulate Testosterone/Estrogen;

  • Reducing stress helps you sleep and keep Cortisol low which again regulates Testosterone/Estrogen;

  • Keeping testosterone (for men) and Estrogen (for women) as high as possible improves mood, energy levels, libido, and metabolism.

So what are the tiniest, simplest yet most effective steps for us to achieve all that? Two simple habits:

  1. Fit in as much walking as you can each week, whether on weekend hikes or running errands locally. This reduces stress, helps you sleep, builds stamina, burns some calories, and lifts your mood.

  2. Prioritize sleep by getting to bed 8 hours before you need to get up (duh!), and avoid screens, alcohol, and rich food before bedtime. The increased mental and physical recovery from simply getting more sleep will transform your life and body shape.

A little bit a lot of the time > A big bit just some of the time

That all seems overly simplistic right?

But ask yourself:

When was the last time I strung together months of working out a bit, eating right most of the time, and sleeping well?

If you’re anything like most folks over 40, it’s probably been a long time since you managed any of the really simple stuff.

It’s so easy to get distracted by the big promises and short-term fixes of much more hardcore, higher maintenance approaches, which we ultimately fail to stick to for long.

So nail that Minimum Effective Dose with your exercise, diet, and lifestyle habits.

Slow and sensible wins the race.

You can look and feel better than 99% of people your age if you can just keep moving the needle in the right direction every week in a sustainable way.

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