My Diet And Workout When I’m 40 Or 50 Years Old

A reader recently asked me what changes I made to my diet and workout once I reached my 40s and 50s

Considering I’m still in my 30s at the time I’m writing this, that’s a tough question to answer without access to a time machine.

But it IS a good question.

So, how about I look into the future and guess what changes I might make to my diet and workout when I do eventually reach 40 and 50?

Let’s start with diet…

My Diet In The Future

In terms of my diet, I don’t see much change coming in the next few decades. In fact, I don’t foresee making a single major change.

Whether I’m 20, 30, 40, 50, or 150, I’m still going to be:

  • Eating an amount of calories that makes my body weight and body fat percentage do what I want it to do. As I get older, that will exclusively be maintaining healthy levels of both.
  • Eating an amount of protein that provides all of the benefits I want out of protein. As I get older, maintaining muscle moves to the top of that list of benefits. My goal is to fight the aging process and avoid losing muscle for as long as I can.
  • Filling in the rest of my daily calories with a ratio of carbs and fat that suits my preferences, while ensuring neither ends up excessively low or excessively high.
  • Getting the majority of my calories and macronutrients from higher quality sources while keeping the fun, lower quality stuff around as a small but enjoyable part of my diet. I mean, why live to 150 if you’re not going to eat some cookies every once in a while with your great, great, great, great grandkids?
  • Designing everything else around what’s PECS (preferable, enjoyable, convenient, sustainable) for me at that time, which probably won’t be much different from what’s PECS for me right now.

This is all stuff I already do in my 30s, so my plan is to continue doing it in my 40s and 50s.

My Workout In The Future

With weight training, my guess is that I’ll be:

  • Doing 3 weight training workouts a week, using the 3-day upper/lower split. I’ve always found it to be ideal for people in this age range in terms of recovery, scheduling, injury prevention, and frequency for making (or maintaining) progress.
  • Training to maintain muscle and strength (and overall health/fitness) for as long as I can. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to be well into my 130s before I notice any sort of drop-off. Fingers crossed. 😉
  • Probably using something like my 3-day muscle building program – “3DM” – from Superior Muscle Growth. Or, maybe even something like The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance program (also in Superior Muscle Growth), as muscle maintenance will be my goal, and that is a damn fine muscle-maintenance program.
  • Staying in moderate/higher rep ranges (e.g. 8-15), to minimize how pissed off my joints get at me for lifting heavy things.
  • Taking training breaks (deloading, taking a few days off, etc.) when my body feels like it’s needed. I do this already, but I might feel like it’s needed a bit more often as I get older.
  • Replacing any exercise that becomes problematic for me (e.g. pain, injury, etc.). It seems like every decade, there’s a couple of exercises that my body decides it doesn’t want me to do anymore. If any new exercise gets added to this list in my 40s or 50s, I’ll replace it with some similar variation that provides the same training stimulus without the issues.

My Cardio/Activity Level In The Future

My guess is that I’ll be:

  • Walking… at a brisk pace… and doing it fairly often. Big proven health benefits with little to no downsides. This is something I already do, so I’ll just be keeping it going. My goal will continue to be reaching a solid step count as close to daily as realistically possible.

My Summary For The Future

Outside of a few small adjustments, what I mainly see myself doing in the future (40s, 50s, and beyond) is much less about making changes to my diet and workout, and much more about maintaining the good diet and workout habits I’ve been working hard to build in my 20s and 30s.

That’s the ideal scenario I’m hoping/working for.

My Advice For Your Future

  • If you’re currently in your 20s or 30s, now would be a wonderful time to make the necessary changes that will put you in this same ideal position when you get into your 40s and 50s. As with most things diet and fitness related, the earlier you do it, the better off you’ll be.
  • If you’re already in your 40s or 50s and you missed that opportunity, don’t feel too bad. Focus on making those changes now so you’re better off in your 60s and 70s.
  • If you’re already in your 60s or 70s and you missed both of those opportunities, guess what? Make the changes now so you’re better off in your 80s and 90s.
  • And if you’re already in your 80s or 90s, I’m going to request that you make those changes ASAP so you’re better off in your 140s and 150s, because I plan to still be writing these articles and I’m probably going to need your suggestions for new topics to cover at that point.

(By the way, I’ll try to come back and update this article in the next 10-20 years and let you know how many of my guesses turned out to be true. See you then.)

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About Jay
Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers, and diet professionals at every level.