5 Things Every Guy Over 35 Ought to Know About Building Muscle and Losing Fat


This post originally appeared in December of 2014. While working to make these older posts easier to find for the new reader by way of the soon-to-launch Site Navigator, I figured I’d bump a few of these for those of you who haven’t yet seen them.



This post is intended to shed some light on a few things that I’ve discovered in my years of successfully helping guys who thought it was too late to start, or who had minimal hopes for progress due to their age, build truly impressive bodies.

I’ve highlighted five of the most common misconceptions that represent shared beliefs that these great guys, just like you, have picked up along the way.

Here they are.

1. It IS Possible to do Both at the Same Time

One of the single, most common fitness myths that has been perpetuated over the years is that it is impossible to build muscle and lose body fat at the same time. I chose not to accept this logic long ago, and have spent years disproving it in case after case. This belief lulls people like you into inaction regularly since it suggests that you would have to focus on one adaptation or the other, and commit all of your diet and training efforts towards a singular goal.

I regularly get clients, over the age of 35, to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. We call this “recomposition”, and it is all but an unavoidable symptom of the types of diet and training regimens that I prescribe.

Building muscle is the long-term solution to a pesky body fat problem, and we all know that it is no fun to simply strip off fat if you aren’t happy with what is underneath.

Simply put, place your emphasis on establishing some better dietary habits, and regularly train in a manner that promotes muscle growth, and causes your body to burn up fuel. Think of your body like an engine; you might burn fuel like a four cylinder now, but with a few tweaks you can be guzzling gas like a big block V8. Do this, and you will get V8 performance and horrible fuel economy (a good thing in this context)- read: More muscle and less fat.


2. You DO NOT Need to Adhere to a Crazy Diet

One of the biggest reason that guys in their late thirties and forties fail at producing their intended results when implementing a diet strategy is that they are led to believe that they must go “whole hog” on some restrictive diet.

Look, enjoying good foods is one of the simplest pleasures in life. There is no reason that you can’t still enjoy your favorite meals regularly. The restriction approach, though often good on paper, violates an important rule of mine with regards to a client’s success:

You can’t expect a person to turn their life upside down and adjust their entire lifestyle, particularly if that involves eliminating things that he derives pleasure from. It simply won’t work long term.

I build more effective diets for clients by assisting them in establishing a few solid habits to their existing daily routine. These simple changes begin to produce results and often times lead to the guy making some adjustments of his own, with no coaxing, once the progress becomes noticeable. Even then I don’t restrict. Life should be enjoyable, and being the asshole out at dinner with the tupperware container of boiled chicken breast and sweet potatoes is just not a recipe for any kind of social success (unless you exclusively hang around CrossFitters, in which case, you have bigger issues than I can assist you with).

A man needs to enjoy his food and his drink, which brings me to my next point…


3. Alcohol is NOT a NO-NO

I can’t tell you the number of times a new client has expressed to me, with an almost apologetic tone, that he enjoys having a few beers after work, or a night out with the guys a few times per week or month. It brings me great pleasure each time I “pull back the curtain” so to say, and explain to him that it is perfectly OK to enjoy his favorite tasty beverage.

Two of my best, in person clients are Dan and Brian. Both are the same age (47), and both enjoy beers with me while they are training. We call it their “peri-workout” nutrition, and I can promise you that it has not impeded their progress (You’ll recognize Brian’s body from the TEAMPAIN January ad, or the banner below this article).

“Living a little” should not be considered a guilty pleasure. Hell, what is the point of life but to live? Again we see how restriction is by no means a necessary component of a successful diet and training plan.

If you only knew the level of rabid-drunkenness that most of the Greyskull All Stars that you’ve seen in my books and videos possess, you’d be amazed (hell, Tommy and I were drinking while filming this video, and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind looking a bit more like him).


4. You DON’T Need to “Live in the Gym”

This is another massive misconception that some have. You might think that you need to change your address to the gym to really make the progress that you want. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Recovery time between hard workouts becomes even more of a factor as we age. My average trainee over the age of 35 works out hard about three times per week. On top of that I will more than likely have him knock out some simple bodyweight exercises at home on the “off days”, but even these efforts take up less than ten minutes of their day.

Getting leaner and more muscular is not rocket science, it’s simply a matter of knowing where you want to go, and building a solid plan based around efficient methods to get you there. Time takes care of the rest.


5. You are NOT Too Old to Start

It’s never too late to start blazing a trail towards your ideal body. If I had a dollar for every guy who came to me stating that he just wanted to “maintain”, or expressed that he had to be “realistic” about what he would be able to accomplish from his training, I could be retired on paper.

I’ve stated before that the only thing that Greyskull guys “maintain” are erections (something they have much more frequent use for with the opposite sex after a bit).

The old Chinese proverb states that, “The best time to plant an oak tree is twenty years ago or today”. If you’re 35 or older and haven’t begun planning for retirement you wouldn’t say, “It’s too late”, you’d hustle to make it happen.

You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in the next six to twelve months with some simple focus and direction. It’s never too late to start, and there is no better time to do so than today.


I hope this has been informative to those of you who may have been infected by some of the “over the hill” mind viruses out there waiting to prey on you and rob you of your potential.

I’m happy to assist you in getting the results that you want at anytime. Please pass this along to anyone else you may know who might be plagued by these limiting beliefs, they’ll thank you when they’re jacked and lean by 2016 (unintentional rhyme).



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