At the time of this writing, my body is on the mend since my knee surgery and blood clot last March, 2021.
My knee is not 100% and as we get older, if you have had an injury or a surgery in the past, I believe it is safer to DOUBLE the length of "recovery time" to ensure you don't rush through the full healing process. So if the Doc says 6 months, I do not believe that in 6 months you have the green light to go ALL out. Instead, take months 6 - 12 to rebuild to greater heights.
Use training tools and methods that are more joint friendly and produce less "mileage" on the body; sleds, bands, and calisthenics.
I'd say one of the biggest influences towards people's injuries is trying to impress others by posting their best on Instagram ALL the time.
You only have so many 1 rep maxes in your pocket before you injure yourself. As I often say, when I look back to my earliest years in the gym, from the YMCA to Diamond Gym to meeting some of the best powerlifters in the world, they made ALL their reps look clean.
The constant grinding, maxing and high intensity will destroy your body.
When I finish a training session, I always have more left in the tank. And that's exactly where you want to be as you train in your 40s and beyond.
You want energy for your family, career and overall health. There is no need to destroy yourself. Your training should improve your life outside of the gym. If your training interferes with life, career, etc then you are training too hard or simply not doing the right things outside of the gym.
For nutrition, I feel the carbs need to get lower as we age, especially if you want to lean out. Keep the protein high AND moderate your carbs, get that heart pumping. Do this through walking, hiking, biking and be mindful of heavy impact on the joints.
For carbs I like baked potatoes and rice. I eat fruits as well. I don't fear carbs but I utilize protein and healthy fats a bit more than carbs.
Update 13 Months Post Knee Surgery: My training has been going great. The big change was dialing in my nutrition. With 2 kids in the house, if you're a family man, you likely have some snack foods in the house. As an adult, those snack foods need to be eliminated from your eating. Period, end of story.
I perform calisthenics during every training session and often sneak them in throughout my day on "rest days". Hindu Squats and Push Ups are the norm. As we "get older", it is easy to get weaker. You need to train smarter and incorporate regular strength AND power work to keep your edge.
Even as you grow into your 40s and older, you do NOT want to become "Strong and Useless". Can you run? Jump? Climb? Lunge? You must be able to move your body. My 14 Week Training Plan for Men in their 40s is HERE.
Here is some footage of my training this past month:
The past 2 Months my training has been Monday - Friday, organized like this:
Monday - Lower Body Strength, Upper Body Calisthenics
Tuesday - Upper Body Strength, Sleds, Hindu Squats
Wednesdays - Carries and Calisthenics
Thursday - Lower Body Dynamic Effort / Speed, Upper Body Calisthenics
Friday - Upper Body Dynamic Effort / Speed, Sleds and Hindu Squats
Weekends are lots of sports with the kids and so if I am at a park, I might get some short runs, some hindu squats and push ups, etc.
On weeknights, it is not odd for me to do push ups and hindu squats as well as iso holds with lunges and squats. It feels good to get 20-40 reps for a few sets as the night draws in. It also helps calm my mind and relax me.
My buddy Jim Wendler told me he does a MURPH almost every day, except rather than running, he uses the air dyne or walks stadium stairs with a weight vest.
Jim breaks up his Murph into 2 session, morning and evening. Jim is performing hundreds of reps of calisthenics every single day. Remember, the mind drives the body. If you have excuses then you will have a weak body.
You can follow Bodyweight Bodybuilding if you're needing a break from the weights, and you'll feel better than ever before. Going all in on a calisthenics program helps you lean out because bodyweight training is much tougher if you're carrying excess body fat.
This week I was short on time, my training session was 12 rounds of this Bodyweight Bodybuilding routine:
A) Mixed Grip Pull Ups
B)Hanging Knee Raise
D) Push Ups
I did the above Bodyweight only circuit for 12 rounds. My body felt GREAT during and after this training session.
My current lower body training has been a lot of sled work, leg curls, unilateral bodyweight exercises such as lunges, step ups and split squats as well as my belt squat. I also do back extensions, both at the 45 degree and horizontal variation.
Many of my lessons in training come from my experience first and foremost, but also from all my knowledge that spans to the era of the early 1900s to our current day science and experience of current day.
See below, my inspiration to create The Kettlebell Combat Complex, I read about Herman Goerner with his Kettlebell Chain. I do that now with Kettlebells and CMBs.
See the Video below with Herman Goenrer, aka Goerner The Mighty:
Building muscle and strength in your 40s is VERY doable, contrary to popular opinion of the internet fake "Gurus". Training must be optimal at this age, NOT maximal.
You can get involved with my online training of Gladiator STRONG, where we train 3 and sometimes 4 x week as an optional "Extra" day.
scott tighe says
Great as always Zach! Thank you
Zach Even - Esh says
Thanks for reading and supporting, Scott!
Frank DiMeo says
Zach, God-willing, I will be 71 years young next month.
I still love to train and get in 3 or 4 session each week.
Basically I do deadlifts with an axle or trap bar once a week.
Sometimes I switch it out and do squats.
The rest of the week is bodyweight and Mace Fit®.
When I was diagnosed with a genetic heart problem, and sky-rocketing blood pressure, a lot had to change. The combinationof those is dangerous.
The doctor told me that my training and lifestyle was so good that these things should never have happened. They did happen though.
Nowadays, Holding my breath on a lift is pretty much out, as well as a lot of time under tension.
The the Lord there were ways to still get good training done.
Mace Fit® has helped a lot since the breath isn’t held during the exercises.
Same goes for my bodyweight exercises.
Mentally I am still in attack mode, I just attack in smarter ways now.
Zach Even - Esh says
Franky, we’ve known one another for about 20 years now, time flies!
Keep training smart and keep the heart pumping! The older we get, the more important it is to get in the basics of cardio!
I love the Mace, you can see me using it in this video:
Getting fired up by these articles, emails and replies Zach – thank you. Hope to keep attacking it at 71 – impressive! Goerner is animal.
Zach Even - Esh says
Wayne, you’re a BEAST! Time flies, my friend, let’s stay the course. I am WITH you.