When it comes to fitness nutrition, the average guy over 35 can’t seem to get a break. It seems like there’s volumes out there on how older women can lose weight, and there’s plenty of bodybuilding information out there for the young muscle heads, but not a lot out there for your everyday joe.
Who is your everyday joe?
Someone who works a real job and doesn’t have time to eat 8 meals a day.
Who doesn’t have the time or the will to live in a gym during all of his free hours.
And who’s just as concerned about living longer with a high quality of life as he is about his abs.
Here’s the deal: I know that each and every one of you wants to look better even if you don’t want to admit it. There’s no shame there. You’re a human being, and human beings are vain. You’re also probably starting to think about your health, paying more attention to your physicals, and beginning to consider your own mortality in ways that you didn’t when you were 21 and free as a bird.
But even if you wanted to spend every waking hour at the gym or blending kale smoothies, you probably can’t. You need something that works, but something that also fits in with the never ending list of responsibilities you now have.
I should also mention that 35 isn’t old. Neither is 40 or 50. You probably still have plenty of great years left on this Earth, and good on you if you want to spend them looking good and in great health.
I’m going to go over training in my next article, but in this article, we’re going to get into the primary factor that’s going to help you do that: your nutrition. Here’s five tips you can begin implementing into your nutrition regimen today to trim your waistline, build more muscle, and live a longer, healthier life:
I don’t recommend fasting for men in their 20s or younger, or for women. The reason is that younger men tend to be more insulin sensitive, and women have very sensitive thyroids that tend to shut down when deprived of calories. But for older men, intermittent fasting can be an amazing tool to burn fat, boost hormones, and increase longevity.
Intermittent fasting means that you avoid eating for specified periods of time throughout your day. Fasts generally last between 12 and 16 hours, and you eat all of your daily calories in a specific window of time. Of course, this is beneficial for fat loss because it deprives your body of calories, lowers your resting blood sugar, and decreases your levels of circulating insulin, but there’s another big reason why I often recommend it for older men…hormones.
Fasting down regulates insulin and leptin production. Insulin is antagonistic to growth hormone, and leptin is antagonistic to testosterone production. This means that when insulin or leptin is high, growth hormone and testosterone are probably low. One human study demonstrated that 24 hours of fasting could increase levels of growth hormone production by up to 2000% from baseline.
Another study showed that intermittent fasting increased luteinizing hormone (the hormone that stimulates your testes to produce testosterone) by 67% in males, and increased testosterone by as much as 180% in non-obese males.
Additionally, fasting is known to increase cellular autophagy. What the hell does that mean? This is the process by which your cells release toxins and estrogens that may have built up over time due to environmental exposure, and it can reduce your levels of total body chronic inflammation and risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Eat less carbs on some days, more on others.
I follow a ketogenic, high fat low carb diet, but that doesn’t mean that I think carbs are evil or that they don’t have a place in anyone’s diet. Carbohydrates can be an important tool for replenishing glycogen levels.
The problem is that, as you get older, your insulin sensitivity decreases. This, in turn, makes it more likely that more of the glucose that you ingest is going to get converted into fat.
Because of this, I recommend reserving your carbohydrate intake to after you’ve trained and expended some of your glycogen stores and maximized your insulin sensitivity. This doesn’t need to be immediately after, but at some point in the day after you’ve already trained.
On days where you’ve really exerted yourself, eat more carbs. On days when you didn’t train or didn’t have a really strenuous workout, eat less. This practice will have the dual benefit of restoring your glycogen when you need it while preserving your insulin sensitivity and reducing your tendency to store fat.
Take care of your intestines.
Another thing that happens when you get older is less ability to digest food like you once did. This is because we produce certain digestive enzymes at a lower rate as we age. Remember this: any food that you do not digest properly will cause damage to your digestive system. This is a big deal because your digestive system helps you to extract important nutrients and it houses a large portion of your immune system.
In some places, the waste in your intestines is separated from your immune system by a cell wall that’s only a single cell thick. If this cell wall is damaged, food and waste particles pass the barrier and cause inflammation. This can lead to chronic diarrhea, constipation, being bloated, and other very serious problems like allergies, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, Alzheimers disease, and cancer.
The first step to avoiding this and improving your digestion is to ensure that the food you eat is digestible. Avoid any foods that you have known intolerances to like dairy and gluten. If you eat nuts, soak them to increase their digestibility. If you eat bread, eat bread made from grains that have been sprouted. Rather than eating raw vegetables, make sure they’ve been lightly steamed or sauteed to soften the hard walls around the plant cells.
Additionally, you should try to eat fermented foods and drink fermented drinks whenever possible like kombucha, kefir, yogurt, raw sauerkraut, and kimchi. These items contain probiotic bacteria. These are friendly bacteria that help the digestive process and fight off bad, inflammation causing bacteria. You can also take a live probiotic supplement.
Finally, you should include digestive enzymes in your supplementation regimen to help you to digest proteins and carbohydrates.
Taking care of your intestinal tract will not only help you to feel better, it will also help you to process your nutrition more efficiently, leading to greater muscle gains and more energy.
You’ll also experience more brain energy. A little known fact is that your intestinal tract and brain are directly connected via a long nerve called the vagus nerve. This is why you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous. A healthy gut can help you to avoid brain fog and neurological disorders like Alzheimers Disease.
Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
When we think of fatty acids, there are two main types to consider: Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 3s reduce levels of inflammation and Omega 6 fatty acids increase levels of inflammation. If the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 gets too high, then inflammation can get out of control.
This is a problem because so many things in the modern American diet contain Omega 6: corn, plant and seed based oils (with the exceptions of coconut and olive oil), and corn fed meat.
So I recommend that you increase your intake of Omega 3 rich foods like fatty fish, soaked chia seeds, and flax. Dr. Michael Lewis, author of the book When Brains Collide, recommends that the average person supplement with as much as 5,000mg of omega 3 fatty acid per day.
Having adequate levels of Omega 3 in your diet will help to decrease your levels of total body chronic inflammation, and in turn, increase your insulin sensitivity, your ability to naturally produce anabolic hormones to build muscle, and your ability to burn fat.
Those are a few tips that you can begin implementing immediately to increase your ability to burn fat, build muscle, and perform better over the age of 35. If you’re interested in learning more, join our free online mastermind The Warrior Soul Agoge. We’ll give you free workouts each day over our private Facebook group and we’ll send nutrition and lifestyle tips directly to your inbox.
Let me know if you have any questions at all. You can send me an email at [email protected] or leave a comment below!
Chris Albert is the host of the Warrior Soul Podcast and Founder of Warrior Soul. Chris is also a world wide trainer and nutrition coach and is a contributing author at Testosterone Nation and Muscle and Strength.