2013 was a great year for my fitness.
I was able to bring my body fat % down to 9.5%. I had a goal to bring it down below 10% and was able to do it. Diet was the key to achieving this goal. I did a combination of low carb and intermittent fasting. See these blog posts for more information LINK1 LINK2 LINK3. I was also able to remain pain and injury free. The key being I shifted to new routines that while still effective, they were geared more towards a guy over 50 rather than someone in their 20’s and 30’s.
While it was great to bring my body fat down, I didn’t reach two of my goals in 2013; six pack abs and to bulk up my upper body. I have a nice development going with my abs but there wasn’t much difference between 9.5% body fat and 11% body fat. And my upper body withered away to where I looked sickly. My weight reached a low of 139 at 5’10”. In December I started eating more, especially around the holidays. My weight came back up to 146 and my abs looked the same. My muscles also felt fuller, not deflated like they did.
So for 2014 my goal is to refine my diet and exercise program and bulk up while staying cut, or becoming more cut.
How will I do this?
I will break this down to two posts; one for exercise and one for diet.
Exercise changes – I will stick to working out at home in 2014 using body-weight and dumbbell exercises. My workouts will focus on the whole body and I will do these three times per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. These three days work well with my schedule. On Wednesdays and Fridays I will do cardio interval training. Sunday will be my Ab Blast and Tuesday will be a rest day. I have been using this for two weeks now and my weight has not decreased (good thing) and my body fat % has been in the 10-11% range. Time will tell if I can gain some muscle while keeping my body fat around 10%.
The exercises I use on my total body workouts are varied to shock my muscles and prevent boredom. I use 10-15 exercises per workout; 2-4 exercises for the large muscles (chest, back, legs), one exercise for each arm muscle (bicep, tricep, shoulders) and two for abs. Rest is as little as possible and reps are kept in the 10-15 range. For exercises like planks I will do those for 60 seconds. Exercises like pushups and pullups I will do to failure. Here are some of my favorite exercises for each muscle:
Exercises By Muscle Group
Incline DB Press
Bent Over DB Rows**
Bench Step ups
Ball Wall Sit
DB Front Raise
DB Rear Laterals
DB Extensions (lying or standing)**
Close Grip Pushups
DB Hammer Curls**
Ball DB Preacher Curls
DB Concentration Curls
Leg Raises from Chinup Bar**
DB Seated Twist
Bench Step Ups**
Run in Place**
Burpees (Half and Whole)**
** Note these are my favorite exercises
Now that I’m over 50, the emphasis is on maintaining my health and staying injury-free. Gone are the days of trying to look like Arnold and the pursuit of 18 inch arms. I want to keep the weight off, maintain the muscle I have and keep it toned. It is far more important to me to not throw out my shoulders or hurt my back then it is to be huge. In a lot of ways I am in better shape now in my 50’s than I was in my 20’s. 2014 will be all about perfecting, or coming close to perfection with, my diet and exercise. I would love to hear from anyone else over 50 and what routines you do.