It’s never to late to build a stronger, fitter and leaner body, but to do so quickly you can’t afford to ignore New Body Plan creator Jon Lipsey’s 6 tried-and-tested tips
I created the New Body Plan fat-burning and muscle-building training and nutrition programme with one very simple objective in mind: to help prove to all men, especially those in their forties or older, that age really is just a number. I wanted to give them – to give you – all the tools and tips you need to roll back the years so you can look, feel and perform better than ever.
There’s no doubt that burning fat and building muscle when you’re over 40 is a challenge – but it’s not an insurmountable one, and we’ll get to why soon. Firstly, the chances are that you have greater work, family and financial commitments that make finding time to look after yourself more difficult.
And then there’s the fact your body is less “primed” that it was to burn fat and add muscle because of lower levels of the primary male sex hormone testosterone. Your T levels peak around the age of 20, then gradually decline over time, with extra drop-offs along the way caused by various factors, including falling in love and fatherhood.
Back to your best
These reasons are why so many men hit their forties the not-so-proud owner of a “Dad Bod”, with not much upper-body muscle and a large belly instead of the v-shaped, naturally-athletic physique they had in their twenties.
But, as I’ve hinted, it’s entirely possible for you to turn back the clock and build a stronger, leaner and more muscular body – and I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do. The good news is that it won’t require you to turn your life upside down, spend every waking moment in the gym, nor live entirely off chicken breasts and broccoli. In fact, all you need to do is start training a little smarter. Here are my top 6 training tips which, if you put into practice, will allow you to transform your physique so you can look, feel and perform at your best. So, what are you waiting for?
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1 Always grease the groove!
It can be tempting, especially when you’re short of time, to jump straight into a session without a proper warm-up. You can get away with this when you’re younger, but the older you get the more important it is to “grease the groove” ahead of a weights workout to maximise the impact of your session whilst minimising your risk of injury.
A good warm-up prepares not only your central nervous system and muscles for the workout ahead – allowing you to perform better, which will lead to faster, more impressive results – it also gives you a moment to prepare mentally and really think about what you want to get out of the session.
What it means for you: Mobility drills, as featured in all New Body Plan warm-ups, as well as more dynamic movements will fully prepare your brain and body to fire on all cylinders so you can push yourself harder to burn more fat and build more muscle to make rapid changes to how you look.
2 Lift lighter for longer!
It may seem like those twenty-somethings in your gym, with their sky-high testosterone levels, only have to look at a dumbbell to build muscle. But in one way you’ve an advantage over them: you’re not wrestling with the insecurity of youth and an ego obsessed with impressing the rest of the gym or strangers on Instagram! Consequently they’re never 100% focused on their training, so they can’t put in the same effort and commitment as you can.
What’s more, these boys always try to lift weights that are far too heavy for them, so their sets are too short with awful form and movement patterns so most of their workouts are a complete waste of time and effort.
What it means for you: Don’t obsess over the weight you’re lifting, but instead focus on quality reps that move through a complete range of motion. Lifting lighter weights for longer sets (8 to 12 reps) will place more tension on your working muscles, and that’s what will make them grow bigger and stronger.
3 Take your time with tension
When I talk of tension, that means the length of time you expose a muscle to a workload. The longer your muscles are under tension in a workout, the greater the load on those muscle fibres, and so the greater your subsequent growth response.
If a weight is too heavy the muscles alone can’t move it, which is why you see so many guys – again, mainly the young arrogant ones – swinging weights around so momentum is doing all of the work, which is why they never change their bodies for the better. The smart way to maximise tension on a muscle is to slow your reps down and build a better mind-to-muscle connection by really focusing on your muscles as they move and manage the weight through each stage of every rep.
What it means for you: The mind-to-muscle connection is one of the biggest factors behind muscle growth. Actually looking at the muscle, either directly or in a mirror, is a great way to focus your mind on connecting to the muscle to make it work as hard as possible. And always squeeze the working muscle at the top of the rep and fully stretch it at the bottom to maximise tension.
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4 Be smart with exercise selection!
Another big problem for younger lifters is their over-reliance on always doing the same exercises in the same order, week after week. It’s why so many of these clueless youngsters shamelessly wear stringer vests that are stretched tight over a broad chest yet hang loose over their upper backs, and wear tracksuit bottoms that fail to cover up their reluctance to ever train legs.
They favour the muscles they see in the mirror because they like seeing their chest, shoulders and arms get a pump on – it makes for a great social media post. For them, back and leg day can wait, but it comes at a cost of an unbalanced physique and injury-prone body that takes years of work to rectify.
What it means for you: Building a stronger and leaner physique requires you to dedicate equal training time to all your major muscle groups, which is why all the New Body Plan body-transformation programmes focus on training different muscles groups each session. This will maximise your results and guarantee balanced gains for a stronger, more resilient body.
5 Keep cardio short and sweet!
It’s a myth that hours of long and arduous running is the best way to burn body fat, and as you get older and want results faster, you need to prioritise training quality over training quantity.
That applies especially to cardio, because too much steady-state activity – such as jogging – not only fails to burn as much fat as other forms of exercise, such as lifting weights and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) – but will increase your risk of painful and rehabilitating joint and connective tissues problems. And if there’s one thing that makes building a stronger and leaner body impossible it’s time out from exercise because of injury.
What it means for you: To lose fat as fast as possible the most effective strategy is to lift weights and include some high-intensity interval-style training drills at the end of each weights workout. HIIT complements weight training because your effort is concentrated into small but all-out efforts, and research has consistently demonstrated these are the best ways to burn fat and transform your physique, without the risk of wear-and-tear injuries.
6 Execute with intent!
To make changes to your body that will render your friends, family and colleagues speechless you need to approach every training session with the attitude that it’s going to be the best workout you’ve ever done. And if you follow my previous five tips then you’ll stack the odds in your favour of pushing yourself hard and in the right direction to make the biggest possible changes to your physique in the fastest possible time.
So, during your warm-up shut out all negative thoughts about problems at work or anything else that’s playing on your mind. The next hour is your time, and your chance to take a massive stride towards building the body you’ve always wanted.
What it means for you: You can have the best training programme in the world on paper, but execution is everything when it comes to putting it into practice to transform your physique. If music motivates you then make a training playlist of tunes to get you in the mood. Then, in the gym, turn up the volume and make every lift count!
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