Don’t let your dream of a fitter, healthier body fade just because you’re getting older. A few changes to your routine can help you shave off those pounds in no time.
At 20, hitting the gym a few times a week and eating the occasional vegetable was enough to keep those abs chiseled. At 30, muscle definition was like a pair of Yeezys: hard to come by, but not exactly a pipe dream. And at 40, a friend mentions splitting dessert and you’re in dad bod territory before you know it.
Unfortunately, as we get older, our metabolisms have the tendency to take a vacation, grinding to a screeching halt and making it feel like weight gain and a bloated belly are foregone conclusions. Research suggests that our testosterone levels tend to decline as we round the corner toward middle age, taking our metabolisms along for the ride. In fact, research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that providing testosterone supplementation over just a three-month period raised men’s basal metabolic rate by as much as 13 percent.
Even if testosterone replacement therapy isn’t in the cards, there are still plenty of ways to combat those hormonal changes that often accompany middle age, revving your metabolism and bringing your long-lost muscle definition back with it. Following our 40 tips for men who want to lose weight after 40 can get you back in shape in a hurry.
1. Wake Up Earlier
The early bird catches the worm, especially when it comes to weight loss. Research conducted at Northwestern University reveals that catching some early morning sunlight was correlated with a significantly lower BMI when compared with people who caught some sun later on, and getting in some exercise on the early side may also help normalize your circadian rhythms, making it easier to get enough metabolism-boosting rest. Even better, research suggests that early birds tend to be more optimistic and have less stress than their nocturnal counterparts, potentially reducing your levels of stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger belly fat storage.
2. Start Your Meal With An Apple
An apple a day keeps the weight gain at bay. A medium-sized apple packs four grams of filling soluble fiber —that’s more than 13 percent of your RDA— and may be an effective edible solution for fending off the aches and pains that would otherwise keep you sidelined. Apple peels are loaded with pectin, a fiber that research published in Anaerobe reveals to be effective at boosting healthy gut bacteria, including lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, which can help rev your metabolism. Red apples are also packed with quercetin, a compound that can help reduce arthritis-related joint pain, and resveratrol, good for fighting belly fat.
3. Eat Slowly
Those meals wolfed down in the car are doing no favors for your metabolism; slow and steady really does win the race, particularly for those over 40. Research published in the BMJ reveals that eating slowly not only increases satiety, it also can help regulate the hormonal response in your gut, making it easier to curb those cravings and keep the pounds from piling on.
4. Pump Some Iron
The easiest way to lose weight after your 40th is by adding some weight training to your routine. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that just 20 minutes of weight training a day slashed men’s risk of abdominal obesity as the years passed, while performing the same amount of cardio had no such benefit. Packing on some muscle can also make you less prone to falling, reducing your risk of a debilitating fracture.
5. Eat Some Eggs
Starting your morning with some protein-packed eggs can help you shed that spare tire before you know it. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that middle-aged study participants who started their day with eggs lost more weight than those who kicked things off with a similarly caloric high-carb breakfast. If you’re worried that adding some eggs to your meal plan will raise your cholesterol, don’t be; research suggests that most people can safely consume three eggs each day without adversely affecting their cholesterol.
6. Get Nutty
High-fat foods, like nuts, can often feel off-limits to those eager to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you should shun then from your menu. A study conducted by researchers at Reina Sofia University Hospital found that, over the course of a 28-day observation, study participants who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, improved their insulin sensitivity and put on less belly fat than subjects whose meals were rich in saturated fats and carbohydrates. Nuts are also good sources of protein and fiber, which can help keep you full and fend off food cravings for longer than your average carbohydrate-rich meal.
7. Go Bananas
While most high-sugar foods aren’t exactly weight loss-friendly, bananas are a welcome exception to that rule. Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that study subjects with pre-diabetes who added inulin, a prebiotic fiber found in bananas, to their diet enjoyed greater weight and belly fat loss than those who missed out. Their blood sugar levels also stabilized after an inulin-rich meal, keeping those food cravings at bay. Studies have also linked the consumption of prebiotic fibers to increases in beneficial gut bacteria, increasing your metabolism and boosting your immune system, too.
8. Run It Off
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to enjoy some serious weight loss; just a few jogs a week can make you slimmer in no time. A study conducted by researchers at Duke University reveals that jogging just 12 miles a week yielded significant reductions in belly fat for study subjects. Luckily, jogging is one of the few activities that you can do almost anywhere for a major calorie burn; a 175-pound man can expect to torch upwards of 441 calories per hour while running at a leisurely pace.
9. Ditch The Junk
Once 40 rolls around, you’re undeniably a full-blown adult, so why are so many of us still eating like kids? Sure, you may promise yourself that you’re keeping those chips or cookies in your kitchen for when company comes over, but odds are, you’ll end up eating them yourself and find yourself facing down those extra pounds on the scale. In fact, researchers at Cornell found that people who kept junk food out in their kitchen were significantly heavier than those whose homes were full of healthier snacks. You don’t have to eat perfectly all the time, but making sure your cabinets aren’t loaded with the very foods making you fat can make a major difference.
10. Sleep It Off
One of the easiest ways to shave off the pounds that seem to pile on with every passing year is something you do every day: sleep. According to the CDC, one-third of adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep, putting themselves at an elevated risk for weight gain, heart disease, and even death. A study of 60,000 adults conducted over a 16-year period reveals that those who got in five hours of shut-eye or less each night increased their risk of gaining 30 pounds during the study by as much as 30 percent when compared to their better-rested counterparts. Getting too little sleep also increases the amount of hunger hormone ghrelin in your bloodstream, making it more likely you’ll turn to high-calorie processed foods for a quick hit of energy.