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Workouts for Men: The Definitive Guide

By: Holly Smith, D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

workouts for men

The internet is filled with “workouts for men.” But which ones are actually good, and more importantly, right for YOUR particular age and lifestyle?

Being healthy and in great physical shape is at the top of most guys' list of goals — and the fitness industry knows it!

From social media to TV, radio, and magazines, you can’t avoid the information overload associated with workouts for men.

But what really works? The truth is, health and fitness is not one-size-fits-all.

While diet and exercise is the general blueprint, there are different factors that play into it, including your age, goals, and current level of fitness.

Don’t let the ads fool you!

There is no “quick fix,” magic patch, or miracle supplement to get you into the best shape of your life.

If you really want to transform your body and health, it takes dedication to consistent workouts and physical activity.

This definitive guide to workouts for men will keep you motivated and more knowledgeable when it comes to your health and fitness!

Don't forget to eat right, too! Check out Healthy Eating for Men: The Definitive Guide

Workouts Across the Age Spectrum

Exercising and staying active on a regular basis is one of the best ways to maintain strength, endurance, and to keep your body “young.”

However, the fact is that over time, guys will still need to adapt their workouts to their bodies’ capabilities.

The best workouts for men will be different depending on your age, experience, goals, and current level of fitness.

As men age, testosterone levels fall and lean body mass decreases, something known as sarcopenia.

People who are inactive start losing up to 3-5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30.

But studies have shown that men that engage in resistance exercises are actually able to maintain more muscle mass.

This means by being active, you can at least slow this age-related decline in lean body mass.

Other issues, like joint pain from arthritis and overuse injuries, can impact workouts.

By tailoring your workouts to your level of fitness and physical abilities you will avoid injuries and continue to stay active and lead a high quality of life.

On top of that, getting older means your body needs more time to warm up before and recover after workouts.

But you can use your age to your advantage by incorporating workouts that are optimal for your individual goals.

The Natural Testosterone Booster Guys 40+ Are Using For More Energy, Drive, & Results

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Workouts for Men in Their 30s

When you were a kid, 30 seemed old.

However, in reality, this is the prime age to get in great physical shape.

While maybe not quite as limber as you were in your 20s, guys in their 30s still have the high strength capacity and the ability to recover quickly.

Basically, all choices of workouts for men are on the table in your 30s.

That means this is the best time to really push your limits and see what your body is capable of doing.

Plyometrics and high-intensity intervals are awesome exercises to build aerobic and anaerobic endurance and improve strength.

Weight lifting is also important to boost testosterone levels and stave off muscle loss that will begin to decrease as you start to enter your 40s.

Your workouts in your 30s will set you up for a lifetime of consistent exercise.

Make it a habit to write out a schedule and dedicate time each day to focus on your fitness.

This doesn’t mean you have to engage in extreme exercise every day, as your body still requires recovery.

But you can take time on your off days for stretching, meditation, and recovery exercises.

In your 30s you should aim to lift heavy weights to the best of your ability.

First, figure out your one-rep max for specific exercises.

This is the most weight that you can lift if only performing a single repetition.

Then for your sets, pick a weight that is about 75-80% of your one-rep max.

If you want to see muscle growth, you need to teach your muscles to overcome increased resistance.

Write down your workouts, and keep track of the amount of weight and reps that you perform during every session.

This will help you keep track of your progress.

Workouts for Men in Their 40s

While 40 isn’t old, this is the age when guys' bodies start to take a little more time to recover, especially after tough workouts.

This means taking measures before and after workouts to ensure that your muscles are getting the repair that they need.

Warm-up and cool-down are necessary at every age, but become even more important as you move through your 40s.

Along with muscle strength, flexibility starts to rapidly decline with age.

A dynamic warm-up (such as the one provided later on in this article) will get the blood flowing to your muscles and connective tissues, and have you primed for a killer workout.

This is also the age to really focus on mobility and balance.

Stability workouts that utilize equipment like Bosu and Swiss balls will really help you work on muscle imbalances so that you can remain injury-free and feeling great.

This will set you up for strong workouts in your 50s and beyond.

Workouts for Men in Their 50s

Getting older doesn’t have to mean gaining weight or losing strength.

If anything, health and fitness become more important for men over 50.

And it’s never too late to start workouts for men to help you reach your fitness goals.

Maintaining cardiovascular endurance is crucial for men over 50.

The risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension increases with age, and it is essential to be proactive in your health to avoid these health issues.

Combined training with both cardio and resistance exercise not only improves fitness, but can also prevent or lessen the impact of chronic health problems.

Being consistent with your workouts will help stave off sarcopenia and decrease the risk of osteoporosis that begins to develop in older men.

Weight training is vital, but be sure to remain within your limits.

Avoid unneeded stress on your knees and back, as injuries in these areas tend to be the most common at this age.

As for all ages, a dynamic warm-up should be done prior to your workouts, along with a cool down and some static stretching afterward.

Since static stretches can actually hinder your workouts, you should save these until the end.

At this point, you are done with your high-power work and can focus more on flexibility and range of motion.

See the program 26,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these...

see the fit father program

Workouts for Men in Their 60s

Workouts for men are important later in life for so many reasons.

Exercise promotes healthy living, improved endurance, and decreased risk of injury when performing everyday activities.

Strength training will build lean muscle mass and increase your calorie-burning potential, which in turn will help you maintain healthy body composition and continue to lead a high quality of life.

Resistance training has been found to be important in supporting muscle growth later in life by slowing the loss of muscle mass.

In addition, there is evidence that high-intensity interval training can increase free testosterone levels in older males.

This all adds up to improved muscle mass and strength maintenance.

Falls tend to become more prevalent at this age, so this is also the time to work on balance exercises that improve proprioception and neuromuscular control.

There are a lot of individual health variables at this age, and you should discuss any medical issues with your doctor before starting a new workout or exercise routine.

This will ensure that all of your workouts are not only effective but also safe.

Find out how to boost testosterone levels as you age!

Best Workouts As Men Get Older

You’re only as old as you feel, and age is just a number, right?

While working out consistently may have you feeling like you’re a teenager, this doesn’t mean you should be doing the same intensity or style of workouts at 50 as you did at 20.

As guys age, tendons and connective tissue lose elasticity.

Trying to do too much during workouts, especially high-intensity plyometric exercises, can lead to injuries that could sideline you indefinitely.

This doesn’t mean that you should completely throw out high-intensity intervals or circuit training as you age.

On the contrary, these types of workouts for men should still be included in your exercise programs.

But there are plenty of ways to modify moves to make them safer.

In addition, as guys get older they should really incorporate mobility, stretching, and balance exercises.

This makes routines like yoga and Pilates great choices to get in great shape and build a solid foundation in the process.

Incorporating bodyweight exercises and using equipment like resistance bands is a great way to stay in shape as you get older while also staying safe in the process.

For example, a great full-body resistance training day for guys in their 50s or 60s could look something like this:

1. Dynamic warm-up

2. Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps of each of these exercises (rest one minute between each set):

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Shoulder lateral raises with resistance bands
  • Walking lunges
  • Resistance band bicep curls
  • Push-ups.

3. Cool-down and stretch

These exercises are safe and effective and will decrease your risk of injury.

You could also perform a workout like this as a circuit and move from one move to the next with minimal rest.

Then take a 1-2 minute break and repeat the circuit 2-3 more times.

This adds an added aerobic benefit as well.

This 15-minute bodyweight workout will focus on strengthening your core, upper body, and lower body.

Fitness Needs In Men Versus Women

Due to physiologic differences, men respond to different exercise stimuli differently than women.

This means that you can increase your workout gains by taking advantage and targeting the best exercises for your specific goals.

For example, studies have shown that during strength training men tend to convert their muscles to type 2a fibers, while women tend to convert more muscle to type 1 muscle fibers.

Type 2 muscle fibers are also known as the “fast-twitch” muscle fibers.

Type 1 muscle fibers are more efficient over long periods of time, while type 2 muscle fibers are better for short bursts of speed.

This means that men respond well to high-intensity workouts and strong bursts of power, such as those done in HIIT and plyometric exercises.

So be sure to include higher intensity work during the week to really stimulate muscle growth and boost testosterone levels.

Learn how to do HIIT, and what HIIT workouts are best for different types of exercise.

Nutrition During and Around Your Workouts

One of the biggest questions guys have surrounds eating around workouts.

If you eat too close to your sweat session you could suffer from cramps and nausea as your food still digests.

However, if you go too long between eating and a workout you could bonk halfway through.

So what’s a guy to do?

Eating Before a Workout

What you consume before a workout can play a major role in how your workout goes.

Plus, your pre-workout nutrition will also determine how well your body and muscles respond to training once you are finished.

Guys that are trying to lose weight might think that fasting before their workouts is the best way to achieve this goal.

However, that really isn’t the case.

Sure, if you consume fewer calories than you burn, weight loss occurs.

But if you aren’t properly fueled for your workouts, you can’t give a full effort.

This means your workouts for men will suffer and you won’t be able to complete your exercises at your maximum effort.

In the end, this means less muscle mass, and a lower resting metabolic rate.

So to get the most benefit from your hard efforts in the gym, you should aim to have a pre-workout snack ideally about 2 to 3 hours before your workout.

Since you need energy, this should be a carbohydrate-rich snack of about 200 to 300 calories.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing a short intense workout, lifting heavy weights, or planning a long cardio session.

Eating prior to exercise will give you the energy you need for maximum results.

To avoid gut issues while working out, avoid foods that are high in fiber or that contain ingredients such as sugar alcohols that can cause gas and bloat.

For your pre-workout, pick simple carbs that can be digested more quickly, like a banana or toast and a fruit spread.

You can experiment around your workouts for men to figure out what works best for each of your planned exercise sessions.

Learn how you should be eating before and after a workout to maximize your muscle gain or fat loss!

Fueling After a Workout

After workouts for men, you want to get fuel to your muscles so that you don’t waste all the hard work you just did.

It has been the belief for a while now that the “anabolic window” or time when protein synthesis in muscles is greatest is within 30-60 minutes after a workout.

It is true that after finishing a hardcore exercise session your body has depleted its glycogen stores and your muscles are ready to take up whatever fuel it sees.

However, a meta-analysis in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine showed that the window actually lasts from four to six hours after a workout.

So as long as you are getting adequate protein and carbs during this time period you can still maximize your strength gains.

A food source that contains both protein and carbohydrates is the ultimate form of nutrition after a workout.

A 2021 study found that glycogen synthesis is enhanced when carbohydrates and protein are eaten together after exercise compared with carbohydrates alone.

Some good choices include a protein shake, peanut butter and an apple, or yogurt and nuts.

Research has even found that chocolate milk has an ideal ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to refuel after tough workouts for men.

Learn about workout meal timing and how you should be eating before or after a workout to lose weight.

Supplementing Your Fitness

The fitness industry is jam-packed with health supplements that promise just about anything-from bulking you up, to slimming you down, to giving you limitless energy.

Sorting through all of the different products out there can be just as confusing as choosing the right workouts for men!

One thing that is important to remember about supplements is in the name itself.

They are simply a supplement to a healthy diet.

No matter how many different pills or powders you consume, you can’t undo unhealthy eating habits.

Supplements are simply there to help fill in any gaps in nutrition that you may have.

As a busy dad, you may not always have the time to get your daily allowance of vitamins and minerals to support your body and immune system.

This is where dietary supplements can come in handy.

Another area where supplements are beneficial is when you don’t have the time after a workout to consume enough protein right after exercise.

Protein shakes and powders are a great option here.

Meet Burn RX. The Safe & Effective Metabolism Booster To Help You See Faster Results& Feel More Energized

Burn RX is for guys who are working on losing weight and want to see faster and easier results from their eating & exercise efforts. It helps your body burn more fat before, during, and after your workouts, which will improve your body composition while boosting your energy + metabolism.

Maximize Your Workouts With Proper Supplements

While supplements aren’t 100% necessary to lose fat or gain muscle, they can definitely help.

There are numerous supplements on the market today, and each requires its own article to discuss them.

However, the best-researched ones to get you started include protein powders and creatinine monohydrate. 

Whey Protein

Studies have found that whey protein increases muscle protein synthesis, muscle mass and strength, enhances recovery, and even has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Research has found that when whey is ingested within the first few hours following a training session, there is a greater response in muscle protein synthesis.

In another study, consumption of whey resulted in significant gains in lean body mass over time, which was greater than gains from exercise alone. 

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Men)

As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy guys 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

Casein Protein

Casein is more slowly digested than whey.

This makes casein the preferred supplement in situations when a slow release of nutrients is beneficial.

For this reason, it is often marketed as a supplement to take before bedtime when you will be going 7-10 hours without eating. 

Since casein is digested more slowly, it can be thought of as anti-catabolic.

It is beneficial in preventing muscle breakdown when your body is in a fasting states-such as overnight or during a busy day when you have to go long periods without eating.

Creatine Monohydrate

When combined with heavy resistance training, creatine monohydrate supplementation has been shown to enhance physical performance, muscle mass, and fat-free mass. 

Double-blind studies using more specific muscle measurements found that combining creatine supplementation with strength training over several weeks does produce greater increases in muscle size compared with strength training alone by increasing factors involved in muscle growth. 

There are numerous other supplements out there that may benefit your workouts depending on your fitness goals.

The Fit Father Project is a great place to get additional information on different nutrients that are essential to your individual needs.

It is also important to discuss any supplements you plan on taking with your doctor to ensure that they don't interact with any medications you are currently taking or could impact any underlying health conditions you may have.

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Meet SuperFuel Vegan.
The Super Delicious 100% Plant-Based Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods

As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating… especially if you’re following a more plant-based diet. That’s why we built SuperFuel Vegan… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake to give you the premium 100% plant-based protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, & muscle building.
As a busy guy, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating… especially if you’re following a more plant-based diet. That’s why we built SuperFuel Vegan… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake to give you the premium 100% plant-based protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, & muscle building.

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Breaking Down Your Workouts: Split Days vs Full Body Workouts

An age-old question in strength training is whether you should do full-body workouts, or focus on specific body parts during each session.

There are pros and cons to splitting up your workouts to target specific body parts versus performing full-body workouts.

Ultimately, the choice will depend on your individual fitness goals and the types of exercises you are able to perform in the amount of time available.

Benefits of Full Body Workouts

Target Major Muscles Groups More Frequently With Full Body Exercise

Full-body workouts for men are great for a number of reasons.

For one, these exercises enable you to have killer workouts that target all of your major muscle groups.

And when you are utilizing these types of exercises, you can achieve a high level of results in under an hour a day, and as little as three days a week.

This is because you are hitting each muscle group in a single workout session instead of isolating your muscle groups to one day a week.

And research has shown that increasing the frequency of exercising each muscle group can lead to bigger strength and hypertrophy gains as compared to isolating muscle groups and only targeting them once a week.

Increase Fitness With Full Body Workouts

In the past, you may have tried workouts for men that had you target specific body parts on each day of the week.

For example, one day may have been “leg day,” and another day “back and bicep day.”

But studies have shown that full-body workouts can be more beneficial for improving fitness and building muscle.

A full-body workout engages all of your muscle groups during one session.

Plus, there are a number of ways to accomplish these workouts through either high-intensity interval training (HIIT), high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), bodyweight workouts, or traditional weightlifting.

This full-body, at-home resistance band workout will help you stay toned and lose weight!

Full Body Exercises Help Decrease Muscle Soreness

Not only will full-body workouts for men build muscle, but they will also allow you to go into your next workout without being extremely sore from your previous exercise session.

Since you aren’t doing countless reps on one body group, this will allow for better recovery and an ability to give your best effort for your next workout.

Maximize Muscle Building Potential

Full-body workouts for men are excellent because you are able to make the most out of muscle synthesis after each workout.

For one, you are giving your body enough time to recover before the next full-body workout.

In addition, by not taking off too much time between workouts you can hit the best window for muscle building potential.

This in turn will increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Full Body Exercises Help Avoid Overtraining

By splitting up your workouts into full-body exercises you can avoid overtraining specific muscle groups.

For example, if you specifically focus on legs one day, there is a higher risk of overtraining as you try to cram all of your leg work into one day.

However, if you are able to do three workouts a week that incorporate full-body exercises, you can focus on all muscle groups simultaneously during these workouts.

By repeating this three times weekly, you will still get in the desired weekly sets and reps without causing excessive muscle damage.

This will allow you to lose weight and be able to build a great-looking physique.

While there are tons of benefits to full-body workouts, there can be downsides as well.

If you don’t take enough recovery between your workout sessions, you can still over-train.

This can make your workouts less productive.

Another issue with full-body workouts is that it is tougher to build maximum strength in specific areas since you are moving from one muscle group to the next.

However, if your primary goal is weight loss and overall strength building, full-body workouts for men are still going to be the top choice for you.

Are you looking for dumbbell workout ideas at home? Do this full-body workout in less than 30 minutes!

Split Routines

Split routines divide workouts into specific body parts or areas of the body.

There are different ways to incorporate these routines into your weekly schedule.

Similar to full-body workouts, split workouts have a time and place for their best uses.

The three most common types of splits include:

  • Working 1-2 muscle groups each day — for example, back and biceps or chest and triceps.
  • Upper/lower split — for example, upper body followed by lower body training days.
  • Push/pull/legs split — for example, pushing muscles are trained one day, then pulling muscles the next, and legs the following.

Split Workouts Can Maximize Strength Gains

If you are only targeting specific muscle groups once or twice a week you will have more energy to push your limits.

It’s unrealistic to push high intensities often without adequate rest, so splits can be a solid option for really maxing out your lifting weight while still giving you enough recovery time between muscle groups.

Splits are a great choice for weightlifters that want to spend all of their energy focusing on one or two muscle groups.

If you are specifically looking for muscle hypertrophy, split workouts can be a good option.

This will typically be the best choice for guys purely looking to add muscle mass.

May Decrease Fatigue Levels

Since the volume and intensity of your workouts can quickly lead to fatigue, splits are usually a safer bet to manage overall fatigue levels due to the multiple days of recovery in between certain muscle groups and exercises.

Full-body workouts can be a little tougher to manage when it comes to fatigue accumulation if you are doing these exercises three to four times a week.

Cons of Split Workouts

Most busy dads don't have unlimited time to workout.

Since it isn't feasible to get to the gym 5-6 days a week, split workouts aren't a great option.

Plus, since split workouts typically mean lower weekly training frequency, this will limit your muscle training frequencies for certain muscle groups.

With full-body workouts for men, you can get more bang for your buck while exercising.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

So What’s the Best?

As already mentioned, the best workout breakdown will hinge on your current fitness goals.

If your goal is to specifically target muscle hypertrophy and build their strength (aka bulk up), then using some form of split workouts to really focus on these muscle groups would be the way to go.

However, if you are like most busy dads, time is limited.

Between your job, family, and other obligations, you need to be efficient and effective with your gym time.

This makes full-body functional workouts a great option.

How Often to Workout?

To reach your full muscle-building potential, research suggests that you should train each muscle 2-3 times a week.

If you have an open schedule and your goal is to bulk up specific muscle groups you can incorporate split workouts and target specific body parts each day.

For example, Monday could be back and biceps day, Tuesday is chest day, and so on.

If you are like most dads you are pretty busy and may only have a few days that you can devote to formal exercise.

This may mean doing 2-3 full-body workouts a week to hit every muscle group.

And full-body workouts have shown to be quite effective in building lean muscle mass when done three times weekly.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a training frequency of 3 days per week produced superior results compared to once a week.

No matter which type of breakdown you choose, one of the key things in every workout is to exercise at the right intensity.

This is one of the big determining factors in reaching your highest fitness potential.

When talking about strength training, this equates to the weight you are lifting and the volume (the number of sets and reps).

Research from a 2018 study from the European Journal of Sports Science found that lifting around 80% of your one-rep max leads to significant strength gains.

Another meta-analysis published in 2016 compared the effect of various amounts of weekly sets in relationships to muscle mass improvements and suggested that the group that performed 10+ sets had superior results compared to the <5 and 5-9 weekly sets groups.

While studies are a nice way to guide your workout plan, what does this all break down to for you?

A good blueprint would be to aim for three full-body weight sessions a week, with 3-4 sets per muscle group during each workout.

This will maximize your muscle-building potential in an effective and efficient way.

Learn how to set up your own home workout schedule!

Losing Weight vs Gaining Muscle

When guys first start a workout program, they usually have a goal in mind.

Most commonly, this is to lose X amount of pounds over a certain time period.

On the other hand, some guys may actually want to bulk up and put on some extra muscle.

This again will depend on your starting point.

If you are overweight and looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, losing weight is going to be a top priority.

However, in the process of losing weight, you also are going to want to gain muscle.

Body composition and improved muscle mass are key indicators of health, not just the number on the bathroom scale.

If you want that chiseled, fit body you need to shed fat without losing lean mass to keep your physique looking great.

This means building muscle at the same time.

Losing fat and gaining muscle can really go hand in hand.

Lean muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate and keeps your body burning fat even at rest.

Plus, strength training will help you not only gain, but also to preserve muscle mass even as you are losing weight.

Losing and gaining at the same time seems counterintuitive.

To lose fat, you need your body to be in a caloric deficit. And to gain muscle, you need a calorie surplus.

However, there are ways to lose fat while still maintaining, and even gaining muscle mass.

The key is to incorporate resistance and weight training along with cardio.

A research study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Medicine found that the key to losing fat without losing muscle is the combination of both resistance training and cardiovascular training.

This study compared groups that performed either endurance activity, resistance training, or a combination of both.

The results found that the combination group was able to lose about 16 pounds of fat while still gaining 10 pounds of muscle!

This is an example of how increasing lean muscle mass really impacts your metabolism.

By increasing your calorie burn with endurance exercises you will lose weight.

And by also incorporating strength training you will be able to maintain muscle mass.

Strength training for older guys requires a different approach to exercise and muscle building.

Putting On Muscle Mass

If you are already at your goal weight and are strictly looking to put on some muscle, you will want to prioritize strength training.

Aim for six to eight reps each set, doing three to four sets of each exercise.

This will allow you to use heavier weights so that you can really work on muscle hypertrophy.

While you can do lighter weights with higher reps to build muscle, studies have shown that using heavier weights is superior for maximizing strength adaptations.

But this doesn’t mean you have to completely neglect cardio work.

High-intensity intervals, circuit training, and plyometric exercises are excellent ways to enhance your fitness and build muscle.

While HIIT is typically seen as a great cardio option to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, it’s not just a cardiovascular benefit you will be getting.

Research from the University of North Carolina has even shown that HIIT is effective at increasing muscle size over a three week period of time.

And don’t forget your diet!

As mentioned above, it is important to choose the right types of foods before and after your workouts, which include both protein and carbohydrates to maximize your muscle growth potential.

Learn how to start building muscle TODAY.

What About Those Love Handles?

A lot of guys have “trouble areas” that they want to get rid of.

Unfortunately, no matter how many sit-ups or side bends you do, you can’t get rid of love handles or belly fat by simple spot reduction.

To lose fat you have to burn more calories than you consume.

You may think that cardio is the only way to burn enough calories to lose weight, but that is far from the truth.

Both cardio and strength training are essential.

A full-body resistance workout can burn a significant amount of calories, and the benefits for fat loss don’t stop there.

By building lean body mass you will be increasing your metabolic rate at rest so that you are burning more calories throughout the entire day.

Step one to sculpting those problem areas!

Strength training should include full-body workouts, along with workouts specifically designed to hit your core muscles.

No, you cannot spot reduce fat.

But good core and abdominal work are essential for overall fitness, and to make those underlying abdominal muscles appear once you shed some of the belly fat.

Learn how to lose visceral fat fast!

Proper Form

If you take one thing away from each workout, it should be that quality is more important than quantity.

Ripping off hundreds of bicep curls means nothing if you are flailing your arms wildly or using your momentum to swing the weights up.

Proper form becomes even more important as you get older.

Focusing on posture and slow controlled movements is critical on two fronts.

One is that you will be targeting the correct muscles throughout each exercise.

And secondly, you will decrease your risk for injury.

During each lift, consciously think about the position of your body and what muscles you are targeting.

You should feel these muscles contract in a smooth manner.

This is true for bodyweight exercises or with moves using weights or resistance bands.

By focusing on the concentric and eccentric phases of each lift you can be sure that you are actually using the correct muscles.

In the end, this matters much more than how many reps you can do.

And you will see the benefits in your strength gains and improved physique.

Using proper form will also ensure that you don't injure yourself while working out.

Strains, sprains, and torn muscles can occur if you aren't using your body or the gym equipment properly.

If you are ever unsure about how to use certain weights or equipment at the gym, always ask first!

This will save you a lot of time, and pain, in the long run.

This video goes over all of the benefits of lifting weights and guides you through the research behind it.

What About Cardio?

Cardio plays a key role in any workout program, even if you are only looking to build muscle.

Some guys that are looking to bulk up worry that cardio will cause them to lose muscle and so they avoid it completely.

However, cardio not only improves your aerobic endurance, but it can also build muscle.

Again, it’s about tailoring your cardio sessions to your fitness goals.

If you are looking to lose weight, then you are going to add more cardio than a guy that is looking to purely put on muscle.

For guys that are looking to bulk up, high-intensity bursts of cardio are a better option than hours of endurance cardio.

Learn about burning fat during cardio and the best types of cardio that you can do to lose weight.

Workout From Anywhere

The year 2020 was a crazy ride, especially when it comes to fitness.

With gyms shut down, many people resorted to home and outdoor workouts to stay in shape.

The beauty of workouts is that with the right equipment and safety tips, you can exercise from just about anywhere!

If you want to start working out at home, this video will show you how!

Proper Gear and Equipment in the Gym

If you are working out at a gym, chances are that they will have all of the equipment necessary to complete your workouts.

You can utilize either machines or free weights, and there are pros and cons to each of these choices.

Free weights are typically the best option for full-body workouts because the movements force you to engage your entire body through the exercises, especially your core.

Utilizing free weights results in more functional movements that you would perform in everyday life.

However, machines have a place in your workout arsenal as well.

For example, if you are coming back from an injury, using a leg press machine may be a better option than doing barbell squats.

With the machine, you are locked in and have less chance of low back injuries.

Lat pulldowns and other pulley machines are other examples of great pieces of equipment that really work your muscles, and when done correctly, still engage all of your small stabilizing muscles.

If you aren’t sure how to correctly use gym equipment, always be sure to talk to the fitness staff and trainers.

They will be more than happy to demonstrate the correct movements.

Plus, you may get some free training tips at the same time!

Discover the essentials of the best workout routine for men.

Staying Safe Outdoors

A lot of dads out there really enjoy exercising outdoors.

The beauty and sounds of nature are an amazing background for some serious workouts.

While most people think of outdoor activities as being limited to things like running or biking, the truth is you can move virtually any workout outside to break up the monotony of your training sessions.

There are some key things to remember when exercising outdoors, especially in extreme temperatures.

Cold Weather Workouts

If you enjoy exercising outdoors, you don’t have to stop in the winter.

But the change of season means that it gets dark earlier at night.

This makes it even more important to stay smart and safe during your workouts.

Still, just because it’s dark outside doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout.

The early mornings and evenings in the winter are still great times to get in your cardio as long as you’re prepared.

If you are walking or running outdoors before the sun rises or after sunset you should wear a reflective vest or headlamp.

You can even carry a small flashlight so that others can see you.

You also should be prepared for running on icy or snowy sidewalks and roads.

If you know that your route will be a bit slippery, you can equip your running shoes with spikes or cleats.

During the colder days of fall and winter, you should wear layers.

This allows you to remove clothing as your workout progresses and your muscles start warming up.

Choose fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin so you're not exercising with wet fabric hanging off of you.

The inner layer should be a moisture-wicking fabric, so it wicks away sweat and you're not chilled.

The second layer should be a warmer layer, like a long sleeve shirt.

If there is rain or snow you can add a third protective layer, such as a windbreaker.

If you are out for a run or walk you can tie the top layer around your waist when you start to warm up.

You can also choose a loop route that comes back by your house or car so that you can leave excess clothing there as you continue your workout.

Planning your workouts ahead of time will keep you safe and comfortable during your workouts.

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The Dog Days of Summer

While summer is a great time to get outdoors, extreme heat and humidity can lead to dangerous health issues including heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke.

Always check the weather forecast before heading out the door so that you are prepared for the conditions.

Getting out in the early morning or late evening is a good option to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

If you plan your workouts before the sun rises you can avoid the sun blasting down on you.

Of course remember that if you are planning a run or ride along roadways, be sure to wear a headlamp and reflective clothing if you are out when it’s still dark.

On hot days be sure to take along hydration or plan pit stops with fluids and electrolytes.

Becoming dehydrated will not only hamper your workout efforts, but can lead to dangerous health situations.

If the heat index is dangerously high, you should consider keeping your workout indoors.

When exercising outdoors in the summer, it is important to know the signs of heat exhaustion so that you can stop and receive help before it progresses to heatstroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include cool and clammy skin, nausea, vomiting, a rapid heart rate, or feeling faint or dizzy.

If you notice any of these symptoms, stop your workout immediately and seek medical attention.

Heatstroke is a true medical emergency and results in hot and dry skin, lack of sweating, a throbbing headache, and even loss of consciousness.

Outdoor workouts are an excellent way to change up your routine and get in great aerobic shape.

Taking steps to keep yourself safe will keep you healthy enough to continue these workouts.

This video will show you 10 exercises to do in your backyard by yourself or with your family!

Sample Workout Plan For Fit Dads

OK, so we’ve talked about the general approach to workouts for men, but a lot of guys out there like to have a set program so that they can plan accordingly.

This is a smart approach, since making a schedule of your workouts will not only keep you accountable, but it will allow you to plan out your days so that you keep enough time to recover between your training sessions.

Here is a general blueprint for what a typical week should incorporate.

You can move around the days to fit your schedule, but you should have at least 48 hours between your weight lifting sessions to ensure proper muscle recovery.

Your warm-up prior to each workout should include some light cardio along with dynamic stretching.

Dynamic stretching has been shown to increase power output when compared to static stretching and will make your workouts more effective.

Try adding this dynamic warm-up session prior to your strength and cardio workouts:

Warm-Up

Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio.

This can be jogging, rowing, biking, jump rope, or any activity that starts to raise your heart rate.

Follow this with some dynamic stretching before starting the main workout.

Stretches

Inchworm

  • Start on your hands and feet with your hips in the air in an inverted V position.
  • Then walk your feet as far forward as possible while keeping your legs straight.
  • Then, walk your hands out, extending your body into a plank position.
  • Then raise your hips up again into an inverted V and repeat 5 times.

Leg Swings

  • Hold on to a wall or chair.
  • Swing one leg back and forth as if you’re kicking a soccer ball.
  • Do about 10 swings with each leg.

Back and Chest Rotations

  • Start down on all fours with your knees below your hips and wrists below your shoulders.
  • Place your left fingertips behind your left ear.
  • Rotate your upper body to the left, so that your left elbow points up to the ceiling.
  • Then twist your torso back to the starting position.
  • Continue for 8 reps on the left, then switch sides and repeat on the right.

After your warm-up, you can jump into your training session for the day!

  • Monday: Full Body Resistance Workout
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: HIIT Workout
  • Thursday: Stretching/Balance Workout
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Full Body Resistance Workout
  • Sunday: Endurance Cardio (run, bike, walk, swim, etc)

By following a workout plan that includes strength training, high-intensity cardio, and balance and flexibility exercises, you can target all aspects of fitness.

And the beauty of this plan is that the workouts can be adapted for men of any age and any level of fitness.

It doesn't matter how old or young you are, anyone can start on the path to fitness.

All you need is the motivation to get started and the perseverance to stick to your goals.

With this guide to workouts for men, now is the perfect time to start!

Holly Smith D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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Our Fit Father Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Father Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Father Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality. – The Fit Father Project Team

 

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