Have you ever heard the term "silver fox?"
It's used to refer to an older man with gray or salt and pepper hair who's dashing, distinguished, and damn handsome.
That's right... even well past our "primes," us dudes can be pretty sexy. (Yeah, I said it. Own it!)
But the whole "silver fox" thing doesn't really work when you're hopelessly out of shape.
So if you're here, you're looking for a way out. A way to get your body back to something you can be proud of. The good news is, it's not too late!
Let's jump right into my guide to the best workout programs for a 50 year old man.
Why is getting in shape hard at 50 years old?
We all remember our high school days, when we could eat anything we wanted, barely exercise, and keep a flat stomach year-round.
The truth is it's a little bit harder to get lean for guys in their 50s. That doesn't mean it's impossible (not by a long shot), but there are a few key things going on that we need to account for:
Low(er) testosterone levels: Testosterone is part of what gives us energy and vigor to attack the day and hit the gym hard. Unfortunately, after 30 years old, men lose about 1% of our testosterone every year. It's not a HUGE deal, but it certainly doesn't make things any easier at those levels start to get lower and lower.
Recovery becomes harder: As we get older, our muscles just need a little longer to recover from strenuous workouts. Protein synthesis (the process by which our muscles use protein to rebuild and recover) slows down and/or becomes more difficult, and it becomes really, really important to make sure we get enough rest time in between workouts.
Lifetime of bad habits: Raise your hand if it's been a pretty long time since you put any effort into your fitness (it's OK, this is a judgement free zone!). Chances are if you're here, you haven't been paying too close attention to what you're eating and you haven't been making the time to exercise. And chances are this has been going on for years and years. Getting into shape doesn't have to be all that hard, but breaking free of your usual bad habits can be.
You're busy: If you're a 50 year old man, you're likely married, may have kids, and/or are established in a career with lots of responsibilities. You don't really have the time to be in the gym 5 or 6 days a week, or to go on long, multi-mile runs every day. Ah to be young and free again...
Those are some pretty legit excuses right there, but that's all they really are. Excuses.
It's definitely not too late to get into amazing shape. The key is to work smarter, not harder...
4 things to keep in mind when choosing a workout program:
Alright, so what does all of that mean when we're ready to start putting together our workout and exercise plan?
Here's what you should look for to make sure you get the best results:
Rest and recovery matter: The older you are, the harder your recovery process will be. If we plan on working out hard and pushing ourselves (which we do) we'll want at least a full day of rest in between workouts. Aim for something that has you working out 3 times per week maximum.
Focus on strength training: Long brutal cardio workouts (especially running or jogging) will wreak havoc on your joints and bones. It's good to challenge your heart and lungs, but don't forget about your muscles. Strong legs, a powerful back, and a well-balanced physique will have you feeling and looking amazing as you continue to grow older.
Work hard in the kitchen, too: You won't get anywhere eating whatever you want, whenever you want it. You'll need a nutrition plan based on whether you want to lose fat or build muscle. It doesn't have to suck... you can eat plenty of delicious and satisfying meals, just make sure you have a plan that'll help you reach your goals.
Don't settle: Just because you're 50 doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to walking like a snail on the treadmill and lifting 5 pound dumbbells. It's not too late to build a truly amazing physique if you're willing to push yourself.
With all of that said, it's time to actually come up with our workout (and nutrition!) plan.
Here are some awesome programs to help get you started:
For the 50 year old man who wants to lose lots of fat. Fast.
If your biggest concern right now is that you're carrying a lot of extra weight, the first thing you'll want to do is get significantly leaner. All of that stress from being overweight is going to take a major toll on your knees, joints, and body overall as you age.
The Aggressive Fat Loss program is a perfect fit for you.
What it does: On AFL, you'll lift weights three days per week and eat in a significant calorie deficit to drop fat fast, around 1.5 pounds per week or so. This combination will trigger your body to retain muscle (or build some) while shedding fat, improving your appearance dramatically.
How it works: Eating in a calorie deficit sounds hard, but AFL makes it pretty easy. The program is based around the concept of intermittent fasting, where you delay your first meal a few hours after waking, have some light/healthy fruit snacks in the afternoon, then reward yourself with a big dinner. This makes hitting your calorie target much more enjoyable. The workouts themselves are lower volume and spaced out perfectly to help you recovery and continue to get stronger.
Results: Check out this guy that lost well over 200 pounds following this exact program in about 18 months.
For the 50 year old man who wants to get lean and shredded.
If you used to be pretty strong and athletic, but have let the gut get a little out of hand (this is commonly known as the Dad Bod), all you really need to do is drop a bit of fat to reveal the young stud that still resides underneath. If you can gain a little bit of new muscle in the process, that's just gravy.
The Warrior Shredding Program is the one for you.
What it does: On the Warrior program, you'll lift heavy three days per week and eat at a moderate calorie deficit to drop fat. The goal here is slow fat loss so you can still gain some strength in the gym. The end result should have you looking lean and chiseled.
How it works: You'll eat a few hundred calories under your maintenance level every day while hitting the right balance of macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat). It sounds hard, but the program makes it simple. Intermittent fasting is optional but will supercharge your results and make the whole thing almost effortless. In the gym, you'll be focused on gaining strength on a few key movements to make your shoulders, back, and upper chest pop.
Results: This doughy dad lost over 40 pounds and got chiseled in just a few months.
Check out my full review and breakdown of the Warrior Shredding Program.
For the 50 year old man who wants to pack on some serious lean muscle.
Maybe you're already lean and athletic at 50 years old. If so, congrats! But where do you go from here?
You pack on some dense muscle and size, is what you do. The key is, you want to stay lean while you do it.
If so, the Greek God Program is where you need to be.
What it does: On this program, you'll be eating in a very small calorie surplus to promote muscle growth without adding excess fat. If you're lean already, your strength should explode while keeping your body fat low. The end result? You guessed it... a body like a Greek God.
How it works: Your training volume in the gym on the Greek God program will be a little higher, but rest and recovery are still a huge emphasis. You'll lift 3 days per week on non-consecutive days for plenty of rest and downtime. That's when your muscles will grow. The couple hundred extra calories you eat per day will ad slabs of muscle to your upper chest, shoulders, and back, in particular.
Results: Check out this dude who went from skinny fat to absolute beast on Greek God.
Six months on my Greek God Program by Joe Nelo. He went from the guy behind the computer to the gawd damn secret agent. His wife is thrilled and can’t believe how different it is to put her arms around him. Interestingly enough, his face looks younger and more good looking from this transformation. He’s now going to do chest specialization on my Program. Ps. Sign up for my transformation contest, link in bio.
Check out my full review and breakdown of the Greek God Program.
There are more workout programs out there than anyone could possibly break down. Whatever your situation and goals, you're bound to find one that suits your needs perfectly.
I hope my recommendations have been a good starting point, and I hope you're convinced that your goals absolutely ARE attainable with the right strategy.
And if you're not even sure where to start, the fitness brand Kinobody has created an awesome physique builder quiz. It takes about 30 seconds and tells you exactly how to get started.