It's one of the most frequently asked questions across all our social platforms: how do I lose weight after 40? Believe it or not, your metabolism didn't go completely to hell in a handbasket after 39, but it can definitely feel that way. The truth is, for most of us, the change happens slowly but the realization can seem jarring. One day, you could zip up your jeans and the next, you couldn’t shoehorn yourself into them even if you greased your ass with coconut oil.
Everyone, male or female, goes through hormonal changes. Granted, women more so than men. Women go through seven notable hormonal changes in their lives. You read that right: seven. That's seven notable changes to your body's chemistry that can impact your ability to function in day-to-day life and lose weight and keep it off. These changes include:
Perimenopause is a particularly noticeable change because ourestrogen starts to decline in these years, and less estrogen can result in eating more and be less physically active. Lower estrogen levels is also associated with a slower metabolism. What's more: declining estrogen may inhibit your body's ability to use starches and blood sugar, which increases fat storage...especially around your midsection. Men aren’t exempt from this unfortunate phenomenon. Testosterone levels drop for men around 40, causing what pop-culture has so ironically named MENopause. You can read more about thathere.
So there's the hormones. There's also the fact that welose muscle mass as we age, and since muscle uses more energy (i.e. calories) than fat, this loss means we our resting metabolic rate declines.
All hope isn't lost though: you're simply going to have to change up your lifestyle a bit. Or a lot. It all depends on how you're living now.
Don't panic and keep reading. Here are 5 ways to keep the bulge at bay, from perimenopause (or MENopause) onward.
Like we said, muscle mass decreases with age, but training each muscle group twice a week can help stall this process, while also helping to boost your metabolism. You don't need to commit hours a week to training: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a brilliant way to see serious lean muscle gains in precious little time. Around 20 minutes 3-5 times a week. That's all it takes to enjoy noticeable perks of this practice.
How heavy is heavy?
Heavy is a relative term, and what is heavy to you during your first week of working out is not going to be the same as week five, or even three. So, get equipment that can grow with your gains so you won't have to keep buying new gear every two months. Our top recommendations are ourdumbbells and Sculpt Bar, which both come with plate weights so you can add or remove resistance as you need it. Thedumbbells and Sculpt Barcan also be used for total body training.
Good news: You can score our dumbbells FREE when you buy our Sculpt Bar and weights. So, you get 65lbs in interchangeable resistance and $124 worth of fat-burning, muscle building power for free. The offer is only valid for a limited time, though, so hustle for the muscle! Add this bundle to your cart and use code 'FREEDBS' during checkout.
When selecting a resistance, keep in mind that your lower body will be able to lift more than your upper body. This said, there is no universal 'right' weight. As long as you are lifting properly and can repeat the exercise for the desired duration (reps or time) for at least the first round, you're doing great. If you don't feel the burn and/or aren't getting fatigued, however, you're going to have to load up. Remember: lifting is supposed to be challenging. It’s the challenge that creates the change.
You may have been maintaining your weight by eating small, mostly healthy, and frequent meals throughout the day for years, and then, suddenly, this method stopped working for no apparent reason. Or you may have been able to eat whatever you wanted with no weighty repercussions. And now, that's over. The change is likely related to (you guessed it) your hormones. Because IF can help you reset and balance your hormones, it is arguably the most effective and easy lifestyle change you can make to fend off post-40 fat gain.
What is IF?
Intermittent fasting uses short, sustainable periods of fasting (~16 hours) followed by shorter periods of eating to help you burn more fat, build more muscle, sleep better, improve your mood and balance your hormones. And it works. It's worked for thousands of years for countless people, includingmany membersof our #FitFam who have combined our Fast &Furiously Fit ebookwith Sean's Fast & Furiously Fit workouts inSweatflix. The ebook provides all the science behind IF as well as ourShredFast program for max fat loss, including recipes for 40+ delicious meals, snacks and desserts. Here's the refreshing part of IF: there is nothing—absolutely NOTHING—you can't eat when you IF. Yes, you want to be eating mostly clean foods and a balanced diet, but you can eat carbs. You can eat ribs. You can eat ice cream and burgers (recipes for all of these in theebook!). With IF, the primary emphasis is on when you eat more thanwhatyou eat.
Sounds good, right? Of course it is, especially considering when we start gaining weight we always think we're going to have to eat less...particularly less of the foods we love. But when you IF, that’s not the case. See for yourself. Score 30% off theFast & Furiously Fit ebook when you use promo code FASTED30, and you can do Sean's challenge for free when you joinSweatflix for a 30 day free trial.
Regardless of your age, drinking any amount of alcohol stalls out your fat burning abilities, since processing alcohol andgetting it out of your system is your body’s top priority, from the moment you ingest it. As we age, however, our bodies process alcoholeven more poorly, leading to lower tolerance and an even longer period in which our fat burning engines are spinning their wheels.
Then there'sthe evidence that shows that alcohol messes with our hormone levels, disrupting sleep, and increasing hunger—especially the day after over-imbibing. Let's be clear: we include this point about alcohol to educate you, not chastise you. Deciding to drink or not drink is not a question of morality, but of what you want from your body and life. As trainer Lisa-Marie says, "I don't drink—I was teaching step when I was a teenager and feel I missed the window to start. Now, I don't see the point. I'd rather eat my calories." She adds, "If you drink, you just need to be aware of those calories. Account for them."
And be aware that booze doesn’t offer your body any nutrition. Again, we're not trying to shame anyone. We all have our indulgences. By her own admission, Lisa-Marie is up to a jar of almond butter a week—but she’s honest with herself about that. And she makes room for that indulgence in her diet.
Sleep is an unsung hero of fat loss and we can't tout it enough. Sleep resets your hormones—including the hormones thatcontrol hunger and satiety. When you're tired, you feel hungrier because of this imbalance. One day of feeling tired won't break you, but being chronically exhausted will definitely affect your body fat percentage.
Aim to sleep at least 7 hours, every day. Get your sleep hygiene in order to promote ideal slumber. This means:
You likely know about the 80/20 rule: eat 80% healthy, whole foods and you'll be able to manage your weight. The other 20% of your diet can constitute of processed foods. As we get older, that number may have to change to 90%. This is not about eating less—just about eating better. So, instead of your mid-day chewy granola bar and blueberry yogurt, you could eat an apple and 10 raw almonds. This has all the energy of the granola bar and yogurt, but packs more of a punch in terms of nutrients and uses cleaner fuel for a leaner body.
How Do I Lose Weight After 40? Create Your Own Plan of Attack!
But here's the thing: you may not have to adopt a 90/10 diet. Maybe intermittent fasting will be enough and you'll see amazing results from that. Maybe loading up thatSculpt Bar and those dumbbells will give you the lean gains you're after. Maybe cutting down or cutting out your nightly glass or two of wine is all you need. Or sleeping more. Maybe you need to adopt all of these strategies or only a few of them. Maybe it’s none: maybe you’re doing everything right and you there’s something else at play: a deeper metabolic or thyroid issue for which you should see your doctor. The point is, you won't know until you do something. What youdo know is that your body is changing, and if you don't like what you're seeing, you're going to have to take action.Take us up on our offer. Shop the Summer Sale. Grab theFast & Furiously Fit ebook with promo code FASTED30. TrySweatflix for 30 days, absolutely free. If you're unhappy, don’t sit around complaining about it. Dosomething.
Try this no-equipment back exercise in your next workout and start building a stronger back and core. Jenny Lam shows you how it’s done!
Amp up your fat burn and use the best lower body exercises for fat loss in more of your workouts. BodyRock Trainer Jess Shaw will show you how.
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