The High Performance Journal

20 Fitness Rules For Men & Women Over 40

get lean Oct 31, 2023

 The High Performance Journal - October 31st, 2023

At the time of writing this, I'm 43 years old who's about to turn 44. This means I've been working out for over 2 decades.

In my 20's, I'd often get injured. I had chronic lower back and shoulder pain coupled with a nagging stinger in my knee that would pop up every now and then.

From my 30s to 40s, I'm proud to say that I haven't gotten injured by the gym despite hitting some big lifting milestones like deadlifting 2x my body weight, squatting 1.5x my body weight, and doing pull-ups with 90 lbs on my back.

As I've aged, I've gotten smarter regarding the things I do at the gym (thankfully).

So in today's article, I want to share with you a few workout rules that have served both myself and my clients in their fitness journeys.

Some of these you may be doing already. Some of you're probably not.

In any case, working out is something we want to be doing for the rest of our lives.

Follow these rules to make that a reality...

20 Fitness Rules for Men & Women Over 40 (Print This)

#1 - Your focus in the gym is injury prevention first, results second.

#2 - Using proper form is more important than the weight you’re lifting. Instead of lifting as much weight as you can focus on putting the most tension on the muscles so it can build.

#3 - Keep your movements smooth and controlled. Focus on time under tension to build muscle while avoiding injury.

#4 - Stick with the same workouts for 8 to 16 weeks while using progressive overload to make gains in the gym.

#5 - Start your workouts with a ​dynamic warm-up using mobility stretches & muscle activation to keep yourself injury-free.

#6 - To speed up recovery, end every workout with a few minutes of box breathing to activate your parasympathetic nervous system:


#7 - Get your bloodwork done every 6 months. You need to know what’s happening under the hood.

#8 - Track your workouts. This may seem annoying at first but you'll find you'll make faster progress doing this than lifting aimlessly at the gym.

#9 - The path to sustainable health is to find a way of eating that works for the body you want and the lifestyle you want to live.

#10 - One of the best ways to live longer is to increase your lung capacity.​ So find a form of cardio that you enjoy and can see yourself doing for a lifetime. My personal preference is hiking with my daughter strapped to my back.

#11 - To optimize your brain and body get at least one hour of sun exposure a day or take vitamin D3.

#12 - Keep yourself at a healthy body fat percentage. One thing to note is that this number changes as you age and varies based on your gender:

#13 - Cardio is how you live a long life. Resistance training is how you live a quality life. Sleep is how you recover and regulate your hormones. Marry all 3 of these together to make a fitness kingdom.

#14 - Attune your lifestyle to the sun and your circadian rhythms​. Over time your body becomes its own alarm clock.

#15 - Sleep is the best legal performance-enhancing drug on the planet. Do everything you can to get the hours of sleep you need and work to enhance the quality of your sleep. Use a sleep tracker like an Oura ring or Whoop to measure your improvement.

Here's a free guide on the protocol we use to help our clients sleep better: ​The High Performance Sleep Protocol​ 

#16 - Create a habit of walking every day​. This is the most underrated exercise for living longer and a better working brain.

#17 - ​Creatine & magnesium​ should be everyday staples in most people’s supplement cabinets.

#18 - Your workouts should be centered around pillar movements such as the squat, deadlift, bench press, back row, lat pulldown, overhead press, lunge, and carry.

Don’t think these are mandatory exercises. Think of them as movements you want to become stronger in.

#19 - Drinking water is one of the most underrated ways to improve your health and body. Here's a little system I've created to help you drink water to boost performance:

#20 - Never use age as an excuse. Unless you were a pro athlete you can still become the fittest version of yourself past the age of 40 if you know how to do the right things.

Rules To Serve Your Fitness Life

If fitness is a lifestyle, here are your rules of engagement.

I'm not sure how long I will live but I do know that fitness will be an integral part of helping me live a long quality life.

Even if someone is not over the age of 40 these are rules that can serve them for a lifetime of gains.

Print out this list and take action by targeting the ones you're currently not doing.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan


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